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The Men-an-Tol is one of Britain's smallest Megalithic standing stone sites, but also one of the best known, set in the bleak Cornish landscape it's origins are uncertain, but it was probably an Iron age tomb of around 4,000 years ago, recent research shows it is also part of a stone circle..

Raven at the MÍn-an-Tol

The MÍn-an-Tol is one of Britain's smallest Megalithic standing stone sites, but also one of the best known and a tourist attraction, set in the bleak Cornish landscape it's origins are uncertain, but it was probably an Iron age tomb of around 4,000 years ago, recent research shows it is also part of a  stone circle of up twenty stones....but stones have been taken away, it was a larger place in the past. The main stones are a little over one meter each, the hole 0.5 meter in diameter. They are granite, the holed stone may be naturally so in the first place, a large hag stone if you like.
The name MÍn-an-Tol is Cornish language for 'Holed Stone', it has in the past been also known as the 'Devil's eye', and 'Crick stone' because of it's reputation for curing backache.
Children with Rickets and Tuberculosis were for for centuries passed through the of hole of this circular standing stone three times naked and then through the grass three times anti-clockwise, or Widdershins. Also, it's said that if  a woman passes backwards through the hole seven times under a full moon, she'll soon be pregnant, well I guess this is one way to test the limits of fertility!
Some quarters say the place protects from witchcraft yet many visitors are Witches and Wiccans. My  painting is an impression of it sometime in the past, so as to eliminate present day farm buildings, but not before about 1815 when they were lined up as they are today.   Drawings by the archaeological researcher William Borlase  in 1749 show the westernmost stone was at an angle of 135į to the other two.

On a lighter note, is it the origin of the term LOL  ?  A problem that also has effected another west country archaeological site, the Tregeseal stone circle about three miles away is damage by cattle using the stones as rubbing posts, free ranging cattle have been reintroduced under Natural England agri-environmental scheme, but this sounds to me like the return of an old problem, rather than truly a new one! To find the Men an Tol they are  a short walk from the Madron to Morvah road ,the B3306,the path to the stones is clearly sign posted and you can park in a lay-by.

 



16 x 20 inch acrylic on canvas.
 

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