Nine Maidens Stone Circle:
Near Lanyon Farm and Madron, Cornwall, England
Not far from the Ding Dong Mine and Men-at-tol lies two stone circles next to one another. The one on a small hill-rise I could not determine the name of, but the one elevated a bit from the boggy areas around the shafts of Ding Dong is the “Nine Maidens” or “Boskednan”. This circle is in poor condition but considered a very magical place to most of its visitors. It is believed there were upwards of 22 Neolithic stones originally, though only 6 remain completely standing, and only 10-11 can be sighted. The circle is approximately 22 meters in diameter. The row measures 80 meters in length and varies in stone sizes from .6 meters to 2 meters. All of the stones are aligned to face the northeast, towards the stone that has been labelled “The Fiddler” which lies about 730 meters from the stone circle. It is believed that the original circle included the fiddler at one time. The remaining 10-12 stone’s current location is unknown to this day. In 2004 this circle was partially restored. The common belief is that the Nine Maidens was used for Pagan rituals. The stones are aligned to the four cardinal points (North, South, East, and West) suggesting they may also have been used as some agricultural calendar. This is also Cornwall’s only known Neolithic structure. There is much folklore and legend around the circle – many of which are Christian and designed to ward people away from the circle. The most popular of which is that once nine maidens were cast into stone because they engaged in dancing on this spot during a Sunday. The fiddler who is also encased in stone is the musician who chose to play for them. Tales of bad luck to visitors of the Circle may have also been the Church’s method to lure people away from it. Some say from a distance the stones are like 9 white maidens swaying and dancing in the sunlight everyday at noon. Another legend states that the assembled crowd were 17 brothers turned to stone for dancing. Another belief is that there is a curse placed on anyone who interferes with the stone circle. What we do know is that it is a cairn circle or kerbed cairn that stands in an area of a scattered rockfield below a tor. There are sixteen stones in the area, one uprooted outside the circle, one buried, and two leaning flat with just the tops visible. Reports through the years have stated from 10-16 remaining stones. You can look at these pictures for the number I saw on my 2010 visit. In 1985 a horror film called “The Circle of Doom” was shot here, and they had erected an additional stone for the circle – but the legend of the curse for any to interfere with the circle was believed to have struck and the sole copy of the finished film was lost in the post. St. Michael’s ley-line passes through the circle narrowing from a width of 7 meters to a point here. Burials are believed to reside below. The other circle has roughly 6 stones remaining.
The other stone circle: