Standing Stones

Standing Stones and Stone Circles

There are three main types of standing stones; holed stones, stone circles and quoits.

The Tol-Ven Stone

This stone stands in the back garden of a cottage at Tolvan Cross, north of Gweek. It is a Bronze Age monolith that stands over 7 feet tall and is wider at the base than the top. No-one knows how deep into the ground it goes. The circular hole in the centre is 17 inches in diameter and its edge is bevelled as if some Bronze Age rope had worn the granite smooth with rubbing. Holed stones are said to have healing powers and this one is believed to aid fertility in newly married couples. They have to squeeze their bodies through the hole naked so I guess that where it's positioned now there aren't too many people that do it anymore!

The Merry Maidens

The Piper Stone

At Boleigh, near Lands End, is a stone circle called The Merry Maidens and two longstones known as the Pipers. Originally only the Pipers stood there and on certain nights when there was a full moon, they would come to life and play an entrancing tune on their pipes. A curse befell anyone who heard it so the fields where they stood were avoided as much as possible. One Sunday night though 19 young girls from the local village dared each other to enter the field instead of attending church. Soon they were all in the field and the Pipers began to play.

Slowly at first but getting faster and faster, the girls danced in a circle until the music was so frantic that all became a blur. Then there was a crack of thunder and a flash of lightning and the maidens were turned to stone. Myth says that even now under a full moon the stones turn back into girls and dance again, and because they were caught in a moment of high frenzy there are said to be extraordinary powers of energy radiating from the stones.

Another possible reason for the Piper stones to be where they are is that Boleigh is the site of the last battle between the English and the Cornish, which took place in 935AD. To celebrate the English victory King Athelstan gave a charter to found a collegiate church at St. Buryan. The Pipers are believed to have been erected by the king as peace stones to seal the treaty. This theory is unlikely to be right though because of the time scale. The stones are probably from much earlier times. It is said that the stones cannot be correctly counted by a man, only a woman.

Logan Stones

A Logan stone is a stone that is balanced on top of others which can be rocked by a slight push but is nearly impossible to move otherwise. The most famous of these is Logan Rock near Treen which until the early 19th century could be rocked by fingertip pressure alone. One old story says that it was used as a form of court because no criminal could make it rock. It weighs 80 tons and now it still rocks but not so smoothly. In 1824 a naval lieutenant and a dozen of his shipmates managed to push the stone onto the beach below but there was such a fuss from the local people that he had to have it replaced at his own expense.

There is another Logan stone on Bodmin Moor, at Temple, and if it is touched at midnight the ghost of a black bull appears.