Merry Maidens

Merry Maidens

This is the best known and preserved circle in Cornwall: it is believed to be complete, which is rare in itself. Its nineteen granite stones are not large (The tallest, 1.4m high, is in the south west, and the shortest directly opposite), but neat and regular, and form a perfect circle of 23.8m (77ft 10in) diameter. The stones are regularly spaced and exactly at the east there is a gap (an entrance or the site of a missing stone).

Restoration works carried out in the middle of the 19th century replaced some of the stones incorrectly and altered the originally even spacing between the uprights. Individual stones would appear to have been carefully chosen for their shape and size. Their flat inner faces are arranged along the circumference of the circle, their tops are flat and level, and they are graded in size, the tallest stones lying in the south-west quadrant of the circle. Early reports of the site refer to traces of an earth bank, particularly noticeable around the south and west sides.

There is some evidence for the existence of a second stone circle close by, although its exact location is unknown. From accounts by Dr Borlase it would have been of a similar size to the Merry Maidens, although by the 19th Century only seven remaining stones were to be seen, four of which were still upright. There are no traces of this site today.

Location

Penzance

Cornwall

TR19 6BQ