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Traditions and Hearthside Stories of West Cornwall, Vol. 2, by William Bottrell, [1873], at


The most striking objects seen after passing through the hamlet are two large long stones or pillars of granite, sometimes called the pipers, but formerly known as the hurlers, which stand in the fields on the north side of the road. Antiquaries are far from being unanimous in their conjectures as to the purpose intended to be served in the erection of these remarkable stones. Whether they were astronomical, sacerdotal, or sepulchral monuments—Whether erected for all or neither of these objects—the learned think it premature to decide. There is no mark on these mysterious stones to throw any light on the subject. Yet it is pretty certain that all the large menhere stood in pairs; that their bearing is generally east and west; that they are mostly on an open plain near other Celtic monuments, and the vestiges of ancient British habitations; and we may be sure they were formerly more numerous and regarded as objects of great importance, from the number of dwelling-places, enclosures, and names of old Cornish families terminating in Menhere, as Tremenhere, or Tremener, (Longstone place) Polmener, (Long-stone pool) Goonmenhere, (Longstone downs) and many others. Probably many of the companion stones of the erect single pillars may be still, found lying along in some hedge, at no great distance, (about the twelfth of the circle north of east or south of west), from those which remain where placed thousands of years ago.

If the menhere (as has been conjectured from being found in pairs, bearing nearly east and west) were intended to mark the times of the equinox or solstice, these seasons being sacred festivals of Baal or the Sun, the desire of the early Christians to obliterate all remembrances of Pagan rites may account for the prostration or destruction of such objects as must have been regarded with religious veneration, from their importance to show the times to sow the grain, and do various kinds of work pertaining to pastoral life; and, above all, to denote the sacred festivals of

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our forefathers, which we still commemorate in our Midsummer bonfires. These long stones at Boleigh are the more interesting because there are not many of the original pairs to be found standing in the west. There is another pair near Newbridge, and one may be seen lying prostrate in Escols lane, Sennen, at a short distance from the stile on the pathway to Escols village.

There is a tradition that this menhere was taken down from where it stood, in the middle of the field, by a giant, who lived in Escols, by him rolled into the hedge, and his son, ten years of age, placed the trigg (propping stone) as we may still see it. An old lady of Escols informed me that the other stone of the pair was in a hedge at no great distance, prostrate also. The erection of these huge monoliths proves that the animal powers and mechanical skill of our ancestors were of no mean order.

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