Thursday 3 August 2023

STORIES OF THE STONES. by Sharon Tregenza


On my latest trip "home" to Cornwall to see family, I thought it would be fun to revisit some of the ancient stones and monuments that intrigued me as a child.

The weather was iffy too - not beach time for sure so we took a trip up onto the moors.

Lanyon Quoit was first. 

It's one of a number of quoits in West Penwith. It was probably designed as a repository for bones of the dead. There's a deep spiritual history associated with these stones and supposedly shamans would assemble there to consult with the spirits of their dead ancestors in trance journeys. On a bleak, windy, overcast, afternoon that was easy to imagine. 

On to Men an Tol

Men an Tol is believed to have belonged to the bronze age. It consists of four stones, the most memorable is the circular and pierced upright stone. It has a strong place in local folklore and magical powers are attributed to it. It is supposed to aid back pain and in the past children with rickets were passed through the hole to be cured. It is associated with fertility too and its powers were sought by childless women. I remember crawling through the stone with ease as a kid but didn't dare try it now.

The rain had eased so we completed the day with a long walk across a blustery Botallack cliffs. A stunning piece of coastline dotted with old tin mine workings.

There are plenty more interesting stones to see. We'll visit some of those next time.


Penny Dolan said...

Wonderful! I love the Cornish stones and their stories, so thank you. I'll look forward to next month's stories and photographs.

Many years ago, when tourism was a much smaller thing, we drove all the way from London to Cornwall.

We arrived at night, and unable to find our holiday home in the darkness, turned off the road and simply parked on a gravelly patch of ground.

When we woke in the morning, we found we were parked almost on the edge of a cliff, just above an old tin mine like the one in your photo. Very glad we hadn't rolled the car further forward in the dark . . .

And the holiday home was a corrugated iron "summer house" in the back of an elderly woman's garden. She was not very hospitable and we sometimes quote something she said to us one day "I was going through your rubbish... "

Sharon Tregenza said...

Oh wow, that's a great story, Penny. I'm very glad you didn't roll over the cliff in the night.

Every time I go back to Cornwall to visit - I wonder if I should move back. But the problem is it's so far from everywhere else and as I get older I want to be near my adult children. I am writing about the myths and legends though and enjoying that immensely.