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Merry Maidens

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Located in rural Cornwall, the Merry Maidens are a perfect stone circle made of 19 stones of local granite.

History

The Merry Maidens date from the Neolithic era (c.5500-3500 BC). Their current name comes from the local legend that they were 19 girls turned into stone for dancing on the Sabbath.

The stones are also known as the Dawn's Men, which comes from a corruption of Dans Maen, "the stone dance." (For a similar tale elsewhere in Cornwall, see The Hurlers.)

The stones were restored to their upright positions between 1862 and 1869.

What to See

The Merry Maidens consist of 19 stones of local granite, which form a perfect circle 78 feet (23.8m) in diameter. The stones are spaced about 12 feet apart from each other, with a 20-foot gap at the east end that is probably the entrance.

The stones average about 4 feet high and are arranged from shortest to tallest; the tallest stones are on the southwest side of the circle.

There are also two standing stones to the north of the circle, which are dubbed the Pipers, and one to the west called the Fiddler. Like the Maidens, these were named for the legend of the wicked Sabbath dancers.

The stone circle is easy to access. From a small pull-out parking lot along highway B3315, it is a short walk along a grassy path across a field to the stones.

Quick Facts on Merry Maidens

Site Information
Names:Dawn's Men; Merry Maidens
State:Cornwall
Country:England
Categories:Megaliths; Stone Circles
Faiths:Prehistoric
Styles:Neolithic
Dates:c. 5500-3500 BCE
Status:ruins
Visitor and Contact Information
Location:England
Coordinates:50.065137° N, 5.588731° W  (view on Google Maps)
Lodging:View hotels near this location
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

Map of Merry Maidens

Below is a location map and aerial view of Merry Maidens. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.

References

  1. Personal visit (July 23, 2007).
  2. Aubrey Burl, A Guide to the Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany, rev. ed. (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2005), 34.
  3. Timothy Darvill, Paul Stamper and Jane Timby, England: An Oxford Archaeological Guide (Oxford University Press, 2002), 445.

More Information

Article Info

Title:Merry Maidens
Author:Holly Hayes
Last updated:04/15/2010
Permalink:www.sacred-destinations.com/usa/merry-maidens
Link code:<a href="http://www.sacred-destinations.com/usa/merry-maidens">Merry Maidens</a>