Merry Maidens Stone Circle

Merry Maidens Stone Circle

The name for the stone circle - Merry Maidens - is from a myth that nineteen maidens were turned into stone as punishment for dancing on a Sunday. The Pipers, two megaliths on the opposite side of the road from the circle, are also mentioned as the petrified remains of the musicians who played for the dancers.

The stone circle dates from the late neolithic period and although it now contains 19 standing stones, it is thought that there were originally only 18. This is because of a mid-19th century reconstruction effort where some of the old stones were moved and new stones were added.

We can therefore assume that at least this version of the myth dates from Victorian times, given the number of maidens involved! The alternative name for the circle which was more common before the Victorian period, Dawn's Men, is thought to be a corruption of the Cornish Dans Maen meaning "Stone Dance".

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