Standing Stones in Cornwall

cornwall standing stone

The Cheesewring
Natural, rather than man made, the Cheesewring near Minions on the southern edge of Bodmin Moor, is a series of giant flat boulders, some over 30 feet in circumference, with the largest ones sitting on the smaller ones.Although formed by natural erosion, the Cornish folklore blames Giants for them being there
The tale is that the Giants were annoyed that the Saints were getting a better deal than they were. St Tue, a particularly small saint, heard the Giants arguing about the best way to rid Cornwall of Saints. He decided to challenge the leader of the Giants, Uther, a particularly large and strong giant, to a trial of strength. The deal was that if the giants won, then the saints would leave Cornwall forever, but if the saints won the giants would convert to Christianity.
twelve large rocks were gathered for the contest. Uther picked up the smallest rock and hurled it onto the summit of Stowes Hill. St Tue, getting heavenly help, picked up a larger rock, and managed to throw it exactly the same distance, landing on the smaller first rock. The contest continued with larger rocks piling on smaller ones, until Uther failed with the last rock, and it rolled back down the hill where St Tue picked it up and hurled it (with the help of the angels) onto the top of the heap.
The saints won, and the giants under Uther abandoned their sinful ways. And the Cheesewring remains to this day as a reminder of the struggle between the Giants and the Saints in Cornwall.The Cheesewring is associated with Daniel Gumb, a local stonecutter whose work is to be found in Linkinhorne churchyard. It is said that Daniel lived in a cave beneath the Cheesewring and that many of his designs could be seen carved in the granite of the cave, but the cave collapsed and all that remains is 'D Gumb 1735', which was carved above the cave entrance.
Duloe Stone Circle
Duloe is a small village north of Looe. The stone circle consists of 8 stones, that unusually have been made of quartz


The Hurlers of St Cleer
A memorial to the perils of playing games on a Sunday. The Hurlers are a line of three stone circles on the edge of Bodmin Moor not far from Liskeard, ranging in diameter from 108 feet to 140 feet, and dating from about 1500 BC. their original purpose was probably something to do with the druids, but today nobody knows. However legend tells of St Cleer himself being responsible for their creation. Local men playing hurling on a Sunday, refused St Cleer's demands that they desist hurling and go to church. St Cleer was angered by their refusal, and he turned them to stone to play hurling forever on the Moor.


King Doniert's Stone
An inscribed stone near Dobwalls which translates as " Doniert ordered this cross for the good of his soul" He is thought to have been a ninth century king who drowned in the River Fowey.

Lanyon Quoit
Between Penzance and lands End, King Arthur is said to have used the stone top as a dining table just before his last battle. This burial chamber is well preserved, and the impressive top stone measures 15 feet by 10 feet. Maneuvering such massive slabs from a quarry to their final resting place would have been a huge undertaking for Bronze Age man.


Near Madron, on the Lands End peninsula, the men-an-Tol is an upright circular stone with a hole in the middle. On either side it is flanked by two upright stones. It is now thought that this was an early astronomical observatory. It is also known as the Devil's Eye
It is known locally as the Crick Stone, and is believed to have healing powers for a crick in the back. Legend said that if someone with a health problem crawled through the hole nine times, then they would be cured. Children suffering from rickets were passed naked through the hole three times. It has also for obvious reasons been considered to be a fertility symbol.


Men Scryfa
The name means inscribed stone, and it is one of several standing stones along the Tinners Way (a modern long distance footpath) including the Men-an-Tol. There is an inscription on the stone in Latin "Rialobrani Cunovali Filii" meaning Rialobran, son of Cunoval. It is thought to be the tombstone of a king killed in the 6th century Battle of Gendhal Moor. The stone is nine feet high, and the legend is that the king was as tall as that. he is said to be buried under the stone, complete with his treasures and weapons.


The Merry Maidens and the Pipers
At Boleigh near Lands End, the Merry Maidens are a group of 19 stones in a large circle 70 feet in diameter.Legends says that 19 maidens on their way to church on a Sunday were distracted by the Pipers playing a dance. They started to dance, but a thunderbolt came to punish them for dancing and piping on the Sabbath. the Maidens are in one field, and the two tall standing stones called the Pipers are a few hundred yards away.


Trethevy Quoit
Near Liskeard, a very impressive Quoit. Quoits were megalithic chamber tombs, and are about 4000 years old. Trevethy Quoit is particularly well preserved (many of these burial chambers have been destroyed over the years by farming, and by the effects of the weather). Burial chambers like this would have held twenty or thirty corpses, who would have been buried with their treasures and weapons

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