The monument commonly called Long Meg
A weight of Awe not easy to be borne
Fell suddenly upon my spirit, cast
From the dread bosom of the unknown past,
When first I saw that family forlorn;
Speak Thou, whose massy strength and stature scorn
The power of years – pre-eminent, and placed
Apart, to overlook the circle vast.
Speak Giant-mother! tell it to the Morn,
While she dispels the cumbrous shades of night;
Let the Moon hear, emerging from a cloud,
At whose behest uprose on British ground
That Sisterhood in hieroglyphic round
Forth-shadowing, some have deemed the infinite
The inviolable God that tames the proud.
- Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 April 2021 18:47
- Written by GRAHAM BROOKS
I claim no knowledge at all about prehistoric archaeology. But I do find some of the sites very fascinating but again I do not try to understand their function or meaning beyond the need for shelter, or the need to commemorate their dead relatives.
These occur throughout the country, the most famous and complex being Stonehenge. Others can be just a few small stones arranged in an approximate circle with little dressing of the stone having taken place. They are occasionally associated with avenues of standing stones, single standing stones, or avenues made from earth banks. The remains we see today are often much altered from the original form with either some stones having fallen over or totally removed for other use over the centuries.
There has been numerous theories as to their use with various astronomical alignments being postulated with the commonest being to either the summer or winter solstice.
It consists of a mound about 1 ft high with a small surrounding circle of stones and an outer circle of 34 boulders. About 90 ft in diameter and 30 ft beyond the inner circle. (ref. Westmorland A survey and inventory by theRoyal commission on Historical Monuments 1936. page 90)
Excavation report C&W transactions old series VI P178.
Said to be one of the finest stone circles in the country after Stonehenge.
The circle is approximately 350 feet in diameter and therefore is the third largest in the country and was thought to originally contain 70 stones. Now there are 59 stones of which 27 are still standing. Long Meg is a large stone that stands 60ft to one side and is approximately 12ft high. It is thought to date to circa 1500BC. Long Meg is made from the local red sandstone whilst all her daughters are Rhyolite a type of granite.
William Wordsworth visited the stones in 1822 and wrote the following
The monument commonly called Long Meg
There are examples of rock art carved on Long Meg
The works consists of what appears to be the remains of two concentric rings of stone (diameter 27m/ 86 ft.) probably representing the inner and outer of a rough enclosing wall. Most of stones are fallen, but some thirty remain standing.
Ref. RCHM Inventory of Westmorland 1936.
This circle consists of 43 shap granite erratic boulders and one other type, limestone arranged into an appriximate circle 138 ft in diameter. The boulders appear to be embeded in a bank.
Ref. RCHM Inventory of Westmorland 1936.
A view of the hill fort on the summit of Carrock Fell.
The remains of the stone rampart on the south side.
NY 469 127. On a promentory overlooking Matter5dale (Haweswater) Scheduled Ancient Monument
The monument is located on the top of Castle Crag, a projection of rock extending north-east from Birks Crag. The ground falls precipitously from the north-west, north-east and south-east sides of the crag. It is an Iron Age hillfort with stone rampart and rock-cut ditch covers ca 0.16 acres. Entrance on NW. The site is easily defensible.
The hillfort includes an oval-shaped internal enclosure measuring approx 46 x 22m that is protected on its south-west side by a rampart of stones up to 2m wide and 1m high . The precipitous slopes on the other sides preclude the need for ramparts there. There is an entrance at the south-west corner of the enclosure leading up a narrow ledge of rock. Within the enclosure are 3 artificially levelled areas - 2 circular areas measuring c. 3m diam and an irregularly shaped area measuring a maximum of 6.5 x 4.6m. Outside the stone rampart is a rock-cut ditch 4m wide and up to 3m deep and beyond this is a second rock-cut ditch 10m wide and 2-3m deep. Between the ditches a rocky knoll has been used as an outer enclosure and contains further artificially levelled areas. Towards the south-eastern end of the outer enclosure is a cutting in the rock forming an entrance 2.5m wide. Outside the outer ditch is a rectangular artificially levelled area measuring c 19 x 15m which enhances a terrace in the adjacent hillside.
PLAN FROM RCHM SURVEY OF WESTMORLAND 1936.
Illustrations from Lake District History by Colingwood 1928.
Situated at NY 0884 7603
Fragmentary remains of a fort. It is best preserved on the southside as a double ramport with a well defined entrance. North side defenses have been obliterated.
100m E-W by 150m N-S maximum preserved
Situated NY 0864 7639.
A hill summit surrounded by a rock cut ditch 30 ft wide by 7 - 8 ft deep with associated bank enclosing an area about 300 ft in diameter. A central rock boss 80ft diameter is defended by stone walls.
The stone wall across the peninsula
The Peninsula enclosed by the wall
The barrier from the inside.
There are 2 enclosures within the fort the outer and an inner at the point of the peninsula. The western portion is approximately 140ft by 30ft and has no internal features. The outer area is 140ft by 90ft with walls 12 - 14ft thick and again no obvious features are apparent.
Consists of abank made of over 5 million water washed cobbles between four and seven metres high with a circumference of over 150 metres. It has a single entrance which had four standing stones in it. There where four standing stones in the centre of which only one remains.
Drawing of Myburgh, Eamont Bridge taken from Mayburgh and King Arthur's Round Table by C W Dymond CWAAS transactions (1st Series) vol 11 (1891).
Despite its name this henge has no relation with King Arthur. It consists of a flat central platform surrounded by a ditch with a bank on the out side. Originally there was two entrances the north west one and part of the bank has been destroyed by modern road work.
Cairns come in many forms but the term is usually used to mean a pile of stones. These may have been piled up to act as a marker of a tribes territory, occasionaly they covered a grave (when the term barrow is also used) or a pile of stones that have been cleared from an area prior to cultivation, Field Clearance cairns.
A chambered tomb that has been exposed within a cairn at Balvaid, Gleann Beag NG 845 166. The remains of the cairn from the other side.
The cairn is 19m by 16m and the chamber is 5 ft by 6 ft. No skeletal remains were found when the cairn was excavated.
COLLIE NA BORGIE CAIRNS.
A pair of long cairns (appears to be 3 but one has been cut by a track). The southern on has the best preservation. some of the uprights marking out the courtyard to the front remain and part of the chamber is still visible.
Site at NC 71542 59033.
Remains of a cairn at NY
White Raise Cairn on Moor Divock NY 48886 22435.
A 20m diameter cairn but very disturbed with the remains of a cyst.
Cyst in which bones of an adult were found.
A pair of cairns on the sky line at NY 35102 34798. on the lower part of Rospow Hills near Hesket Newmarket
Both appear to have excavated.
The northern cairn.
The southern cairn.
A Bronze age cairn on the top of Mickle Rigg above Uldale NY 26343 37252.
KING ORRY'S GRAVE, LAXEY ISLE OF MAN.
The forecourt at the eastern end.
Standing stone and open cyst at west end.
It is not sure if these were 2 graves or if this was one single cairn or two cairns on the same alignment. Reports from the 1830s suggest that there was a single mound. this has now been disturbed due to a road through the site and cottages being built near them.
Overgrown cyst at Balladoole, Isle of Man. SC 24607 68187. Dating from about 100 BC.
The site also contains the ramparts of an Celtic Iron Age Fort encircling the summit of the hill, a viking boat burial and an early christian Keeill.
Brochs were defensible dry stone circular towers built between the 4th century BC and 1st century AD, mainly allong the western sea board of north Scotland and the islands. They consisted of two leaves of dry stone walling tied together. The outer wall always has a distinct inward batter. The single entrance was the most susceptible part and was always the most well built. The entrance was narrow about 0.75m and up to 1.6m. the lintel over the door was often the biggest stone in the building and in a number of buildings it was triangular in shape giving an impressive look to the doorway. A shortway down the passage would have been a wooden door which closed against door jambs. The jambs were often formed from upright slabs set into the thickness of the wall or the wall of the paasage was set back slightly. Occasionally there was a transverse kerbstone. the door would be barred and there was a draw bar and a suitable slot is present in the wall. Inside the door is often a cell built into the thickness of the wall to act as a guardhouse. Another feature is a staircase between the 2 leaves of the wall starting from a chamber within the wall at ground level.
There were two types of ground floor construction with the either the ground fllor walls being solid and the galleries starting higher up, or the galleries start at ground level. Another feature is a ledge or sacrement made from either stones sticking ut of the wall or a shelf set into the wall, running around the inside of the walls. It is thought that this shelf was to support internal wooden structures. Some modern excavations have also uncovered post holes in the floor which may have been for support of internal wooden structures.
The Glen Elg brochs.
These 2 brochs are probably the best preserved on the mainland. Situated about 500m apart it is not known if they were both occupied at the same time.
Part of the stone walls that remain to nearly 10m high with the structure that holds the two leaves together.
The small defensible entrance to the broch.
The remains of this broch still standing to 7 m.
The remains of the internal staircase. Between the two leaves of the wall to reach the upper levels.
AN DUN BROCH, CLACHTOLL. NC 03673 27835
Perched on a low cliff over looking Stoer Bay. 16.1m in diameter
Recently excavated entrance (2019)
Close up of the large triangular stone over the entrance.
A very ruined broch in Strathnaver NC 71389 59420.
The site of the broch on a small rocky knoll on the eastern edge of Druim Chuibhe overlooking the estuary of the River Naver. NC 69736 60968.
The remains of the outer walls.
The inside has obviously been cleared and formed into a sheepfold.
DUN NA MHAIGH BROCH
A ruined broch at NC 55233 53029 on a rocky knoll with a perfect view down Tongue Bay
A section of the outside wall that remains. There is a wall around the outside of the broch giving an enclosure around the broch.
The excavated and partial reconstructed entrance.
A ruined broch on the coast at NC 02920 06916 which has had two cottages built into it.
Remains of Broch from the coast.
Remains of the inside wall.
TIREFOUR CASTLE, LISMORE, NM 86752 42911
With walls 4.5m thick and an internal diameter 12.4m, the walls stand to between 3 and 4.9 m.
BOGLEHALL STANDING STONES.
In a field next to the B867. NO 050 383. These may have been a 'four poster'.
There are 10 roundhouses in this area of varying sizes surviving as circles of stone. Carbon dating of three give a bronze/iron age date. The walls were either made of stone or were two stone facings with earth and rubble between being between 1 and 2 metres thick and standing to about 1 metre. The entrance usually faced SE. No roof survive but they were probably conical thatch on wood rafters resting on the wall with secondary wooden supports inside in the larger diameter huts.
Excavated remains of round house 1.
8m. diameter and is situated on a slight raised platform. Carbon 14 dating of 726 BC.
Excavated remains of round house 8. This has a small sheiling built into it later.
17.5 m diameter the biggest structure in the area. Dating to 254 - 213 BC.
A prehistoric hut circle in a small settlement at SD 64615 90635.
On Aughertree Fell there are 3 Romano-British settlement enclosures with associated field systems and tracks on the north facing slope.
The eastern settlement is sub circular with inner and outer banks uypto 12m high with a 1m deep ditch between and contains 0.4ha and has smaller enclosures inside it.
The middle enclosure contains 0.75ha with 2 banks upto 1.3m high and a ditch 1m deep and 7m wide.
Outline of the field system stand out with a hut circle in the centre. The large rock has a deep pool on the opposite side said to be a possible well.
No one realy knows the reasaon why these underground chambers were excavated and built.
Entrance to Souterrain at Port Nancon NC 42819 61288.
Originally lead out of a hut circle whic has been destroyed by the road. There is a flight of twelve steps down into the chamber.
Inside of the souterrain.
The chamber is 8.5m long, 1.5m wide and 1.65 m high built of dry stone walls in rough courses with large boulders at the bottom and roofed with large slabs and an earth floor.