Cee’s B&W: Older than 50 Years

Lanyon Quoit

Proudly

they stand,

ancient stones

steeped in mystery,

weathered

and windblown

on the lonely roadside,

sheltering

stories of times

long past.

Men Scryfa

Name

carved in stone,

black feathers bathed

in blood,

 warrior

fallen in battle,

legend

unforgotten.

Men-an-Tol

Crawling

on hands and knees,

scrabbling and

squeezing,

hoping

and praying

that aches and pains

are drawn away

by weathered stone

during undignified

rebirth.


This post is for Cee’s Black and White challenge. This week’s theme is older than 50 years. The pictures I’ve chosen to share are of three ancient stone monuments in Cornwall. These are all definitely older than 50 years!

The first picture is the Lanyon Quoit, the most well known of the Cornish quoits due to its position beside the road between Madron and Morvah. It dates back to the Neolithic, though its exact age is unknown. It sits at the northern end of a long barrow, though whether it was ever actually covered in earth is debated. Until 1815, when it collapsed in a storm, it had four support stones and was tall enough for a man on horseback to shelter beneath. One of the stones, unfortunately, was so badly damaged that when it was reconstructed nine years later only three stones were used, leaving it smaller than it had been previously.

The second is the Mên Scryfa. This is thought to have originally been a prehistoric standing stone, though it has an early christian inscription carved into its northerly side (dating from the 6th-8th centuries) for which it is most well known. The inscription reads ‘Rialobrani Cunovali fili’ in Roman script. This translates to ‘Rialobranus son of Cunovalus’. The names then translate further into ‘Royal Raven son of Famous Leader’.

The third picture is of the Mên-an-Tol, an arrangement of stones thought to date back to either the late Neolithic or early Bronze Age. Its exact configuration has changed many times over the years. A sketch of the site made in 1749, when it was first archaeologically investigated, show the stones at right angles rather than in their current straight line. There are also several other stones still buried in the area and it has been suggested that the standing stones were actually once part of a stone circle, with the holed stone either at the center of the circle or at the entrance to a nearby tomb. Local folklore says that climbing through the hole can cure your ills. I decided not to try it.

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38 thoughts on “Cee’s B&W: Older than 50 Years

    • Thanks, Ali. Cornwall has so many ancient stones that you’re spoilt for choice! These three are all relatively close together and are easy to find. There’s also a stone circle somewhere near them (possibly the Nine Maidens), but my dad found the walk out to these to be hard enough, without being dragged further out on to the moors!

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    • The land that most of the stones are on is owned by local farmers. They allow visitors but they still make use of the grazing for their cattle. The breed is quite a docile one, or so I’m told, so it’s safe to approach them. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. 🙂

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  3. Reblogged this on mira prabhu and commented:
    Three ancient stone monuments in Cornwall….what have they seen? God alone knows! And the poetry is stark and beautiful too…thank you, Story Teller’s Abode….I love stories too and enjoy spinning them too!

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