Maidens, The Pipers and the Blind Fiddler
Neolithic / Bronze Age Stone Circle and Standing Stones
St. Buryan, Cornwall OS Map Ref SW433245
OS Maps - Landranger 203 (Land's End & Isles of Scilly), Explorer 102 (Lands End)
The Merry Maidens Stone Circle, Summer 1999
The most well known, most accessible, best preserved and most popular of the stone circles at the western tip of Cornwall, on a warm summers day the Merry Maidens receive a steady stream of visitors of all nationalities and descriptions.
In the time I was there I met a Spanish woman who had lost her friend at the Glastonbury festival two months before and was still looking for her - she offered me freshly picked blackberries, there was the young couple with baby in a backpack wondering around waving crystals trying to pick up vibrations, the family in matching pacamacs, the band of Christians, and a coach load of tourists from the other side of the world. All had come to, or stopped by, this pretty circle for their own reasons, some to wonder, some to worship, some were just drawn here, others just because it was a nice place to picnic - and who can argue ?
The Merry Maidens themselves consist of nineteen dressed granite blocks of between 0.9 and 1.2 metres in height with a diameter of around 23 metres and is therefore very similar in size and design to the more secluded Boscawen-un a few miles to the northwest.
However, while Boscawen-un has its guardian standing stone in the centre of the circle, the Maidens also known as the Rosemodress or Dans Maen (Stone Dance), have theirs outside of the circle, the two massive Pipers stand out of sight in a field to the northeast.
There are also two other stones associated with this site, and herein lies some confusion. Some sources quote The Fiddler, just to the west of the circle, while others mention The Blind Fiddler, a couple of miles to the north, and shown below. Whichever it is, the legend is the same - the Maidens are a group of girls turned to stone for dancing on the Sabbath, as were the Pipers and the Fiddler (be he the blind or sighted one).
Close by the circle is the Tregiffian burial chamber, excavated in the 1960's but now sadly damaged by the road that runs through it, the original cup-marked entrance stone is now in a museum, but a replica of it still remains.
Date: late Neolithic or early Bronze Age
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