Our latest video from a tour of Cornish antiquities shows Zennor Quoit, famously saved from demolition in 1861, by William Borlase (a great grandson of Dr. William Borlase and vicar at Zennor). A local farmer proposed to convert the monument into a cattle–shed, but the Reverend intervened and successfully offered a financial incentive of five shillings to the farmer to build it elsewhere. The farmer had already built stone posts on the site ready to erect it, and these can still be seen today.

Watch this space for more videos to come. Previous videos in the series can be found here.

Our Tarot Tuesday card this week is card IV of the Major Arcana, The Emperor.

The Emperor: “Authority, Father figure, Masculine influence, Rational, Stable

Counterpart to the Empress, the Emperor signifies a powerful influence, generally male in nature.

It is generally acknowledged that there are two main authorities in any civilisation: Church and State. Looking at the first of these, there are many examples where the Christian church has subsumed earlier important sites. A famous letter from Pope Gregory to Mellitus in June 601 is quoted (by Bede) encouraging the use of pagan temples by converts to Christianity:

Tell Augustine that he should be no means destroy the temples of the gods but rather the idols within those temples. Let him, after he has purified them with holy water, place altars and relics of the saints in them. For, if those temples are well built, they should be converted from the worship of demons to the service of the true God.

Looking at the ‘male’ aspect of this card, there is one site that has been subverted by the church from its original purpose that stands literally head and shoulders above all others. The tallest monolith in the UK, the mighty Rudston Monolith.

Image by Moth Clark

Standing nearly 8m tall (and reputed to be as deep below as above ground) the stone stands in the churchyard and has been capped with a metal ‘hat’ – the stone was originally as much as a metre taller. The stone is part of a wider complex of monuments which includes cursii and barrows and is seen as a phallic focal point for rituals in local folklore. The current church is Norman in date, although it’s possible that an earlier Saxon church occupied the same site (see the Bede quote above).

Which heritage site would you associate with this card? Leave a comment.

Previous articles in this series can be found here.

A founder member of Heritage Action, Graham writes:

As you’re reading this, I think it’s safe to assume that you have a healthy interest in prehistoric monuments, so it’s unlikely that you’ve NOT heard of the magnificent cinematic masterpiece that is “Standing With Stones”.

This wonderful film was created in its entirety by Rupert Soskin and Michael Bott, who funded, wrote, presented and produced the whole thing by themselves. It truly is a labour of love, and well worth a watch if you haven’t already, and a re-watch if you have.

The film was followed up a few months later with a book entitled “Standing with Stones: A Photographic Journey Through Megalithic Britain and Ireland”, which – again – is a must-have item for any fellow stonehuggers out there.

Since the release of the film, many of us have hoped for a follow-up, and various discussions have taken place over the years. Michael and Rupert have sporadically hosted Facebook chats on the subject, and now 10 years after the release of the original film the two of them have got together to create a regular Standing With Stones podcast! Followers are encouraged to show their gratitude with regular donations via the Patreon platform, which will help to fund the shows but also eventually hopefully fund a second film!

A Standing With Stones Community on Facebook has been created and contains regular updates and “open house” live chats along with the podcasts and snippets of previously unseen and brand new film footage. Contributors receive priority access to certain content as an incentive to donate.

I can highly recommend getting involved with this group. Michael and Rupert are absolutely delightful and extremely knowledgeable on the subject. The discussions are very easy going, free-flowing and welcome interaction from viewers whose interjections are usually responded to during the chat.

I cannot speak highly enough of these two wonderful gentlemen and their dedication to the subject. The megalithic world benefits greatly from their efforts.

Recently we asked why treasure from a “charity” detecting rally wasn’t benefitting the charity. Now the finder, Jason, says he will be donating a percentage to them “of course”! We like that, (even though he won’t say what percentage) and we particularly like that he said “of course“: it shows he knows it’s something all charity rally attendees ought to do as fairness dictates that:

If a rally is marketed as “for charity” the charity should benefit from the finds.

It means those wanting a reward for finding treasure at a “charity rally” ought always to feel honour bound to also tell The Treasury how much of it they’d like sent direct to the charity. Let’s call it Jason’s Rule. It could be worth millions to the charity sector so if you know a charity that has lent its name to a rally (there are hundreds) do tell them about it. They could be making FAR more!

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting
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At this time when there’s a supplementary public consultation about minor changes to a plan which still flouts UNESCO’s concerns, it’s worth recalling that this all started with David Cameron not looking to enhance Stonehenge but to get votes – which meant the tunnel had to be short because short means cheap.
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That reality hasn’t changed. All else is flim-flam by the same archaeologists employed by self-interested charities or in receipt of Government funding or patronage who said his original plan would be good for Stonehenge.
 

But David Cameron no longer cares. Here he is recently at the Wilderness Festival. We think there’s something very wrong with our protection system if it allows something so timeless and precious as Stonehenge to fall victim to a defunct political agenda. How dreadful is that?

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So please respond to the current consultation here. Let’s make it impossible for Highways England to give Mr Cameron what he no longer wants.

Carn Brea, near Redruth in Cornwall is an important Neolithic Tor Enclosure site. Word has just reached us that the area at the north base of the tor is under threat of development (shades of Old Oswestry here?). The intended use of the land is for a major BMX park and racetrack, a much-needed facility for the local youths. The right idea, in the wrong place! Below is a message from a local campaign group trying to get the development re-sited.

A message from Friends of Carn Brea Meadow

As you may or may not know there is a planning application currently filed with Cornwall Council to develop part of the land at the base of Carn Brea. You can see the application here – https://goo.gl/9g3Hny

Take a look at the two photos below.

Photo 1 shows Carn Brea, according to Historic England a “Neolithic hilltop enclosure with a later settlement and defensive structures, a prehistoric field system, a medieval castle and deer park”. You will notice the green fields flanking the hill – well these vital flood areas (most of which are classed as a conservation area) are in danger – BIG DANGER.

Photo 2 shows the same view but highlights two areas. The area marked in Red is hoping to be developed in the planning application. A local professional who was invited by Cornwall Council to assess the planning application said in their findings “Approval of this application might set a precedent for further encroachment of the land around Carn Brea.” – such as that marked in Blue.

This has caused a big storm in the area; the proposed development is for a BMX racing facility. The Friends of Carn Brea Meadow (consisting of families, working local people and retirees) have nothing against Cornwall having such a facility but they cannot support an application to develop over 8 acres of beautiful land.

Did you know the proposed development would see the destruction of over 140 perfectly healthy trees – trees that were planted by the local community over 20 years ago as a part of a publicly backed community initiate?

But we’re not alone – over 2000 objectors have signed this online petition – https://bit.ly/2n15jBr saying they agree that this land should not be developed.

Wait, there’s more.

Did you know this current land is free to access (YES that’s right, you can go there with you families, just like many locals do, for FREE) and the area in Red has matured over the years to become a beautiful natural meadow – it even has orchids growing in it. Not supermarket potted orchids – real naturally growing ones. Go and take your children there and show them.

But we need your help to protect this area.

The racetrack wants to use BIG LIGHTS so it can operate for up to 12 hours a day all year round (weather dependent).

It wants to use a TANNOY SYSTEM so race commentary can be heard by the masses.

It wants PARKING FOR UPTO 200 CARS.

It wants to WIDEN PARTS OF THE GREAT FLAT LODE (a Heritage Mining Trail) SO CARS CAN DRIVE DOWN IT.

None of the Friends of Carn Brea Meadow are against Cornwall having a BMX racetrack locally but cannot support the development of land that –

– Falls within a conservation area.
– Is an area of Great Landscape Value
– Is a World Heritage Site.
– Is next to one of Cornwall’s largest UNESCO World Heritage assets.
– Is listed as partly in county wildlife site area.
– Is listed as an early medieval site.

All definitions and points above were taken from Cornwall Council’s online public mapping information. https://map.cornwall.gov.uk/ website/ccmap/…

So how can you help us save this land?

It’s simple, just follow these easy steps, but you’ll need to hurry –

  1. Share this post.
  2. Go to https://goo.gl/9g3Hny by the 9th of August and submit an objection – this is your only formal way to voice your objections in time to Cornwall Council.
  3. Sign the public objection petition – https://bit.ly/2n15jBr
  4. Sign the public petition for a detailed ecological study of the site to be conducted – https://bit.ly/2OHtKjH

Thank you, let’s try and save Carn Brea and the surrounding land from development as once it’s gone – there’s no getting it back.

All of the information used in this post was sourced from Cornwall Council, the submitted planning application documents, and Historic England.

Kernow bys vyken!

Continuing the Tarot Tuesday theme, this week we look at card XX of the Major Arcana, Judgment.

Judgment: “Change, Decisions, Success, Transformation, Upheaval

Judgment tells a story of transition, but unlike Death or the Tower, it is not sudden change, or born of luck or intuition, but change that springs from reason.

Today’s site, the Devil’s Quoits at Stanton Harcourt in Oxfordshire has featured on the Heritage Journal before.

The Time Team dug here in the mid 1990’s and identified that the site had been used in the Mesolithic era. The henge was built in the late Neolithic, transforming the site. The stone circle was added in the Bronze Age for a further transformation. Sadly, only two stones remained before major upheaval of the site to create a wartime airfield. The site was successfully restored in the 2000’s.

Which heritage site would you associate with this card?

Previous articles in this series can be found here.

To clarify yesterday’s article, hundreds of farmers annually give permission for metal detecting having been told it’s “for charity”. Yet the finds never go to the charity, they go to the detectorists. In our 2011 article “Charity Metal Detecting Rallies: A racket exposed” we showed them up for what they are:

  • If communities are dead set on allowing the digging up of their local archaeological record to raise charity money (and they shouldn’t be – let them ask PAS or any archaeologist in private what they think) they’d be vastly better off hiring a few detecting machines for their local amateur archaeology society to do it (although their ethics would hopefully preclude it).
  • That way, 100% of any government Treasure rewards could go to the charity, 100% of all the other finds could go to the charity and 100% of the finds would be willingly and accurately reported to PAS (making the exercise less damaging than any metal detecting rally in history!)
  • Let’s hope it never happens but tell me Dear Reader, if avoidable archaeological damage had to take place would you rather it was on the basis that £2.3 million might go to a church restoration fund or to self-proclaimed history lovers every one of whom had signed a contract ensuring every single last penny went to themselves and not the landowner or charity?
  • The Establishment would never get involved in a stunt by a local community to dig up artefacts to raise money for charity. They’d see it as crass and uncivilised. Yet that’s what they do in the case of charity detecting rallies.

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No, it isn’t going to the charity. “Charity rally” didn’t mean that mate.

A Roman enamelled gold ring has been found by a metal detectorist on a “charity” dig held on a known site at Crewkerne where a rare Roman lead-lined coffin had been found.

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Permission for the event had been given on the basis it was “for charity” so the detectorist will be donating his share of any proceeds or reward to the charity.

We presume.


PS The finder has just confirmed he will NOT be giving his half to the charity.  So the same as all the hundreds of other “charity metal detecting rallies” then.


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by Alan S

We last featured the stone circle on Stannon Moor here about 9 years ago! So a revisit was long overdue. Especially as I’d heard of a 4-stone ‘setting’ close to the circle that I’d not noticed on my last visit. I arranged to meet up once again with Dr. Sandy Gerrard along with Gordon and Janet from ACE Archaeology Club in Devon for a return visit to the circle and environs.

The stone setting is enigmatic, consisting of two pairs of stones, roughly aligned to the south-east with Stannon Moor and Louden Hill stone circles (although the circles are not intervisible). The setting is a staggered linear arrangement of four small end-set granite slabs.

The stone setting, with Stannon circle on the horizon

The northern two slabs of the setting are 1.25m apart on a north-south axis, the greater width of each of these northern slabs is set transversely to the axis of the pair. The southern two slabs are 2m apart on a NNW-SSE axis, with their northern slab 1.8m south-west of the southern slab in the northern pair. The southern two slabs are smaller than those to the north, with their greatest width roughly in line with the axis of the pair.

Taking a look around, we espied a small stone on the horizon to the south, which appeared to be in direct alignment with the two southern stones. Without the recent dry weather, I doubt we would have spotted this stone from the setting.

The southern stones of the setting, with the horizon stone arrowed.

Leaving a ranging pole as a guide we walked south where further stones, 10 or 11 in total, also appeared to line up, for a distance of around 150m. Did we have a row?

The southernmost stone appeared to have the attributes of a ‘blocking’ stone, a common feature of Neolithic stone rows. Looking roughly north-east, the blocking stone lined up with a large moorstone to point directly at the notch on Rough Tor – was this our first landscape treat? Is it an astronomical alignment?

View from the southern blocking stone toward Rough Tor.

Walking up and down the row, several other treats and tricks immediately became apparent:

  • From the north walking south, Brown Willy appears on the south-east horizon as soon as the stone setting is left behind, a view which grows the further south you travel.
  • Around 2/3rds along the row, Alex Tor to the south-west dips below the horizon, disappearing from view.
  • Walking north, there are three ‘sea triangles’ to be seen to the west, which disappear one by one as you move north.
  • From the southern blocking stone, the viewer appears to be in the centre of a landscape bowl, an omphalos moment perhaps?

This row, if that is what it is – and all the signs point that way – is not currently listed on the HER, but once the survey notes have been analysed, with field notes and measurements properly written up on our sister site: The Stone Rows of Great Britain we shall almost certainly be taking steps to ensure it is included.

Many thanks to Sandy, Gordon, and Janet for an interesting day out on the moors!

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