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The Nine Maidens stone alignment, The Fiddler standing stone and two Bronze Age round barrows

A Scheduled Monument in St. Columb Major, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.4718 / 50°28'18"N

Longitude: -4.9091 / 4°54'32"W

OS Eastings: 193664.1433

OS Northings: 67594.5118

OS Grid: SW936675

Mapcode National: GBR ZP.F9S0

Mapcode Global: FRA 07LT.59N

Entry Name: The Nine Maidens stone alignment, The Fiddler standing stone and two Bronze Age round barrows

Scheduled Date: 26 November 1928

Last Amended: 12 November 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021223

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32986

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Columb Major

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Columb Major

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a stone alignment and standing stone of Neolithic to
Bronze Age date, known as the Nine Maidens and the Fiddler or Magi Stone
respectively, and two Bronze Age round barrows or burial monuments. They
are situated on slightly sloping high ground, west of a summit north east
of St Columb Major. The round barrows are associated with others beyond
this scheduling, being western outliers of a wider hill and ridge-top
barrow cemetery. The scheduling is divided into four separate areas of

The stone alignment, on the south west in the scheduling, runs fairly
straight south west to north east across the slight natural gradient. It
is almost exactly in line with the Fiddler standing stone, located on a
ridge approximately 600m north east, described below. The alignment is
107.6m long and has nine component stones, set fairly closely and evenly.
The three stones on the south west end are closest together, with
intervals of 8m and 9m between them. The others are 11m-15m apart, except
on the north east where the end stone is 23m beyond the rest. The Nine
Maidens are Listed Grade I.

The nine stones in the alignment are of a type of local grey slate
streaked with white quartz, and are apparently unworked. In plan the
stones are roughly rectangular at ground level, apart from that on the
south east end which is squarish, and their longer axes are orientated
with the alignment. They measure 0.3m-0.9m across. In outline they are
pillar-like, most tapering slightly towards the top. The central stone has
a marked bulge below its middle, and that sixth from the south east has a
jagged top, but this is only 0.6m high and is thought to have been
truncated in antiquity. The other stones are 1.04m to 2.05m high (the
north east end stone is lying, broken and partly embedded, but would have
been higher originally). The south west end stone and broken sixth stone
are upright, and that eighth from the south west inclines slightly north
west. All the other stones are angled to the south east; the seventh from
the south west leans close to the ground, indicating that it is displaced.

The standing stone known as the Fiddler or Magi Stone, also named the
Whitehorse and the Old Man, is on the north in the scheduling. The stone
is recumbent, its axis lying south west-north east, but is considered to
remain at its original site. It measures approximately 1.5m-1.6m across,
having been truncated to a length similar to its original width, and rises
around 0.6m above ground level. The stone type is the local grey slate
with white quartz, resembling that used for the Nine Maidens.

Moving east to the two round barrows, the first is sub-circular in plan,
and measures approximately 22m across overall. It has a mound measuring
18.3m north-south by 17.5m east-west, and up to 2.5m high. Aerial
photographs provide evidence of a buried ditch surrounding this, around 2m
wide. The fabric of the mound is exposed in places, and includes clayey
earth with darker soil above it and local white quartz rubble above this,
providing evidence for layered construction. In profile, the mound has
curving sides modified by erosion, and a flattish top with a hollow up to
4m across and 0.5m deep, considered to be the result of an antiquarian

The second barrow, on the north east in the scheduling, has an earth and
stone mound approximately 21m in diameter and 0.4m high, rising to around
0.6m above the natural slope to the north. It has a platform type profile,
with a broad, slightly concave top. There is no evidence for an external

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Stone alignments or stone rows consist of upright stones set in a single line,
or in two or more parallel lines, up to several hundred metres in length. They
are often sited close to prehistoric burial monuments, such as small cairns
and cists, and to ritual monuments, such as stone circles, and are therefore
considered to have had an important ceremonial function. Stone alignments were
being constructed and used from the Late Neolithic period to the Middle Bronze
Age (c.2500-1000 BC) and provide rare evidence of ceremonial and ritual
practices during these periods. Due to their rarity and longevity as a
monument type, all examples that are not extensively damaged will be
considered worthy of protection.

Round barrows are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period
to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period
2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen mounds, sometimes ditched,
which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation
or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus of burials in later
periods. Often superficially similar, although differing widely in size,
they exhibit regional variations in form and a diversity of burial
practices. There are over 10,000 surviving examples recorded nationally
(many more have already been destroyed), occuring across most of Britain,
including the Wessex area where it is often possible to classify them more
closely, for example as bowl or bell barrows. Often occupying prominent
locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and
their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type
provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social
organisations amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly
representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surving
examples are considered worthy of protection.

Despite limited modification, the stone alignment, standing stone, and
round barrows in this scheduling survive well. The underlying old land
surfaces, and remains of any structures or other deposits associated with
these and with the upstanding earthworks and stones, will also survive.
The stone alignment has the largest stones of any known in Cornwall, and
its relationship with the contemporary standing stone is rare and will
contribute to our understanding of prehistoric ritual activity. The close
association with round barrows is of interest in considering the
development of ritual landscapes over time.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Barnatt, J, Prehistoric Cornwall: The Ceremonial Monuments, (1982), 221-223
Borlase, W, Antiquities Historical and Monumental of the County of Cornwall, (1754), Opp 206
Borlase, W C, Naenia Cornubiae, (1872), 99
Carew, R, The Survey of Cornwall, (1602), 219
Henderson, C, St Columb Major, (1930), 62
Norden, J, Speculi Britanniae Pars. A description of Cornwall, (1650), 48
Pearse Chope, R (ed), Early Tours in Devon and Cornwall, (1968), 200
Johnson, N, Rose, P, 'The Human Landscape to c 1800' in Bodmin Moor An Archaeological Survey, , Vol. 1, (1994), 33
Polsue, J (ed), 'Lake's Parochial History of Cornwall' in Lake's Parochial History of Cornwall, , Vol. 1, (1867), 227
Pool, PAS, 'Antiquities of Cornwall' in Introduction, The Man and His Work, (1973), vi-vii
Bowden, E to Parkes, C, (2003)
Date approx, CAU SMR, (1990)
Mr Eustice to Parkes, C, (2003)
MS at RIC library, Truro, Whitley, N, Plan of the Nine Maidens on St Breock Downs, (1855)
MS at RIC library, Truro. Date approx, Henderson, C, Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities, Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities, (1917)
MS at RIC library, Truro. Date approx, Henderson, C, Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities, Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities, (1917)
OW819, (1932)
Saunders, AD, AM7, (1956)
SW 96 NW 1, Fletcher, MJ, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1972)
SW 96 NW 31, Fletcher, MJ, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1972)
SW 96 NW 38, Brown, JG, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1977)
Title: Cornwall Mapping Project
Source Date: 1995

Title: Ordnance Survey 1" Map
Source Date: 1810

Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Map
Source Date: 1880
Date approx.
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Map
Source Date: 1908
Date approx.
Title: St Columb Major Tithe Apportionment
Source Date: 1840

Title: St Issey Tithe Apportionment
Source Date: 1841

Source: Historic England

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