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Historic England Research Records

Men An Tol

Hob Uid: 424271
Location :
Cornwall
Madron
Grid Ref : SW4264434944
Summary : Men-an-Tol consists of one holed stone, three standing stones, six recumbent stones, one possible stone and a possible cairn. The recumbent stones are both visible and buried. The 'cairn' exists as a low stony mound just to the southeast of the holed stone and it should be noted that there are two other early Bronze Age barrows/cairns between 120 and 150 metres to the north. The holed stone and flanking standing stones have been present in folklore for centuries, as people believed the holed stone exuded healing properties. It is thought to date to either the late Neolithic or early Bronze Age, depending on the interpretation preferred.Plans of the positions of the recumbent stones in particular suggest that the monument as it is known is actually part of a stone circle, up to 18m in diameter. Although hole stones are not generally associated with stone circles they have been shown to form part of these monuments in Scotland. The holed stone may be naturally shaped rather than sculpted hence the larger size of the hole compared to others known in the region. It has also been suggested that it could have been a capstone for the 'cairn' originally, before being moved to its present position. If it was part of a stone circle it was likely to have been turned by a 90 degree angle, however as it has been cemented in with concrete at the base any evidence of this movement has been lost.
More information : [SW 4264 3493] Men-An-Tol [NR] (1)

The Men-an-Tol in Madron consists "of two upright stones, each about 4 ft. in height, now standing 19 ft. apart; midway in line between them stands a flat stone roughly circular 4 ft in diameter, having a rounded hole through it, 21 in. by 19 in. in diameter. The westernmost stone has been moved and brought into a straight line with the other two since 1815". [See AO/59/375/1] (2)

In Daniel's opinion there is insufficient evidence to merit the assertion that the Men-an-tol is the remains of a buial chamber. (3)

Men An Tol, Madron, is scheduled as an ancient monument. (4)

Stone 'A' is roughly square in section with sides of 0.4m. and is 1.3m high.

'B' the holed stone, is roughly octagonal in outline, 1.3m wide, 1.1 high and 0.3m thick. The circular hole is 0.5m in diameter.

'C' is an upright stone, 1.2m high. it is roughly triangular in section with sides of 0.6m.

'D' is a recumbent slab at the foot of 'C'. It is 1.2m long, 0.4m at its
widest point and approximately 0.3m thick.

'E' is a recumbent block 1.3m long, 0.7m at its widest point, and is
0.5m thick.

'F' is erect 0.9m. high and 1.1m long.

In their present arrangement no conclusions could be drawn regarding the origin or purpose of this group of stones.

Ground photograph AO 60/298/1, from the NE. A 25 inch survey has been made. (5)

No change from survey of 29 9 60. (6)

In the past Men-an-Tol has been interpreted as use with astronomical alignments as well as a cure for various diseases such as rickets. In particular holed stones are not only rare but there is only one other known example of such a large hole in Cornwall.

It has been suggested that the monument dates to the late Neolithic or early Bronze Age and it is now known that more stones are present at the site than previously thought. Gorse clearance in the late 20th century revealed that the site comprises in total of one holed stone, three standing stones, six recumbent stones, one possible stone and a possible cairn. The recumbent stones are both visible and buried.

The 'cairn' exists as a low stony mound just to the southeast of the holed stone. It should also be noted that two other early Bronze Age barrows or cairns are sited between 120 and 150 metres to the north of Men-an-Tol. Plans of the positions of these stones suggest that the monument as it is known is actually part of a stone circle, up to 18m in diameter. Although hole stones are not generally associated with stone circles they have been shown to form part of these monuments in Scotland.

If this monument was a stone circle it is likely that it has been moved, or rotated at a 90 degree angle. This is perhaps not surprising as it has been prominent in folklore for centuries and may have been interfered with. The two standing stones either side of the holed stone may also have been moved from original positions, which would throw some doubt on their relationship with the other stones in the possible circle. The holed stone could be a natural occurence rather than sculpted hence the larger size of the hole compared to others known in the region. It may have also taken on greater significance due to this fact. It has also been suggested that it could have been a capstone for the 'cairn' originally, before being moved to its present position. (7)


Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : 6" 1908
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : The Victoria history of the county of Cornwall : volume one
Source details :
Page(s) : 372-3
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1, 1906
Source Number : 6
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F2 NVQ 16-APR-75
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : Cornish archaeology
Source details : "The Men-an-Tol Reconsidered", A Preston-Jones
Page(s) : May-16
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 32
Source Number : 2a
Source : Antiquities of Cornwall
Source details : W. Borlase
Page(s) : 177
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : -1769
Source Number : 2b
Source : A Guide to the Mount's Bay, and the Land's End; being a sketch of the topography, natural history, agriculture, fisheries, antiquities, mineralogy, and geology
Source details :
Page(s) : 77
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2c
Source : Prehistoric Stone Monuments of the British Isles : Cornwall
Source details :
Page(s) : 17
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2d
Source : The Land's End District: It's Antiquities, Natural History, Natural Phenomena and Scenery
Source details :
Page(s) : 19, 212
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2e
Source : Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall
Source details :
Page(s) : 152
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 4
Source Number : 3
Source : The prehistoric chamber tombs of England and Wales
Source details :
Page(s) : 242
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : A.M. England and Wales, 1958 (M.O.W.)
Page(s) : 19
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 GHP 29-SEP-60
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Late Neolithic
Display Date : Late Neolithic
Monument End Date : -2200
Monument Start Date : -2900
Monument Type : Standing Stone, Stone, Holed Stone, Stone Circle
Evidence : Structure, Conjectural Evidence
Monument Period Name : Early Bronze Age
Display Date : Early Bronze Age
Monument End Date : -1600
Monument Start Date : -2600
Monument Type : Standing Stone, Stone, Holed Stone, Cairn
Evidence : Structure, Conjectural Evidence

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : CO 56
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SW 43 SW 38
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 424395
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 423745
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, MEN-AN-TOL
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1800-01-01
End Date : 1899-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SW 43 SW 35
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1960-09-29
End Date : 1960-09-29
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SW 43 SW 35
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1975-04-16
End Date : 1975-04-16
Associated Activities : Primary, MEN AN TOL, LANYON FARM
Activity type : MANAGEMENT SURVEY
Start Date : 1993-01-01
End Date : 1993-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LANYON QUOIT AND MEN AN TOL
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2001-01-01
End Date : 2001-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LANYON FARM, WEST PENWITH
Activity type : MANAGEMENT SURVEY
Start Date : 2010-01-01
End Date : 2010-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, ANCIENT PENWITH PROJECT
Activity type : MANAGEMENT SURVEY
Start Date : 2016-01-01
End Date : 2016-12-31