Near Madron and Lanyon Farm, Penwith, Cornwall, England
The infamous holey-stone known as “Men-an-tol” is located in tip of Cornwall near Madron and Lanyon Farm. This is one of England’s most highly photographed megalithic sites. The name “Men-An-Tol” means “holed stone”. Its purpose is unknown, but theorized to be a Druid ritual site, A Faerie Portal, A calendar, A gateway to the Otherworlds, A burial site, A ritual site, as well as a half a dozen other suggestions … but the truth is, its purpose still remains a mystery. There are only four stones remaining that are known parts of the monument – two upright stones with the holed stone inbetween them, and a fallen stone at the foot of the western upright. It is believed, especially from antiquarian illustrations, that through the ages, these stones have been moved around and re-arranged at various times. In the 18th century, William Borlase describes the layout as triangular. During the 19th century, JT Blight proposed that the site is the remains of a stone circle. If this was the case, the holed stone would probably be aligned along the circumference of the circle and have a special ritual significance by providing a lens through which to view other sites or features, or as some propose, a window into other worlds. Archaeological theory proposes it as a component of a burial chamber or cist dating from the Bronze Age but lacks but since no extensive excavations have been conducted. WC Borlase in 1885 discovered a single flaked flint. Holed stones are rare in Cornwall, and outside of this site – there is only the Tolvan Stone near Gweek. All the others are much smaller with holes less than 15 cm in diameter, too small for a human (adult or infant) to pass through. There is much folklore surrounding the ‘men-at-tol’ as well as traditions. The site is known for curing many ailments, especially rickets in children, by passing the sufferer through the hole. It is also utilized in rituals and rites to travel between various worlds. There is believed to be a faerie or piskie guardian who lives here that makes the miraculous cures. It is believed that changeling babies were brought here and passed through the stone in order for the mother to get the real child back. Local legends state that if at full moon a woman passes through the holed stone seven times backwards she would soon become pregnant. For centuries children with rickets were passed naked through the hole to heal them. The circular stones line up exactly with the center stone at Boscawen-Un. It has been known as a alternative cure for ‘scrofulous taint” or the “Kings Evil”. Men-At-Tol was also legendary for fixing back problems. This mere fact gave it the name “Crick stone”. Some saw the site as a protection against witchcraft and ill-wishes, while others feel it can be utilized for augury or fortune telling. With the three upright granite stones – the round stone in the middle holed out with two small standing to each side in front and behind the holey stone, form a three-dimensional “101”.
- More Information: http://www.historic-cornwall.org.uk/a2m/bronze_age/stone_circle/men_an_tol/men_an_tol.htm