button to main menu  Gents Mag 1824 part 1 p.3

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Gentleman's Magazine 1824 part 1 p.3

  Karl Lofts
Karl Lofts, Shap

Rosegill, Jan. 12.
AT Shap is a stupendous monument of antiquity called Carl Lofts, i.e. "the liftings of the Ceorles or husbandmen." It is composed of two rows of large stones of unhewn granite, from six to twelve feet in diameter. The form is a gentle curve, or something like the head of a well-formed mason's hammer. It commences about half a mile south of the town, and runs parallel with the Kendal road, on the east side, for about three quarters of a mile, when it turns off in a north-west direction for about the length of a mile and three quarters, or perhaps about three thousand yards. At the south end, about twenty yards from the south-west corner, on the outside of the stones, was a small tumulus, which, since the inclosure of Shap common in 1815, is now levelled and destroyed. When this tumulus was opened into, it was found to be composed of granite and cobble stone: as the strata of stone here is lime-stone, the granite must have been gathered on the surrounding surface, and the cobble must have been brought from some distance. At about the distance of 100 yards from the turn at the south end, on the outside, was a circle about eighteen feet in diameter of similar stones, each about one yard and a half in diameter, and in the centre thereof was one about one yard and a half high from the surface of the ground that tapered to a point. This has also been destroyed since the inclosure of the common.
The distance of the stones in the lines was eight, ten, or twelve yards; but at the turn at the south end, which remains perfect, they are something nearer, being from three to eight yards. The distance between each line at the south end is eighty-nine feet. This distance seems gradually to have diminished about one yard in every hundred, till it came to a wedge-like point at the north end, near to the field called Skellaw. In this field called Skellaw, which signifies "the hill of the skulls," is a small tumulus on an eminence, which no doubt is connected with the monument, though it deviates about 190 yards to the north-east from the last stone now remaining; but it highly probable the stones were continued a little further northward; this deviation, however, may be accounted for from the eligibility of the situation for prospect, as from this spot the tumulus at the south end could be seen, and nearly the whole line of the monument.
A few years ago a countryman wanting stones for the highway, dug into this tumulus, thinking to find stone; but not finding the appearance of any, he soon desisted. In his attempt, however, he found human bones.
When the antiquary now views the remains of this remarkable monument, he cannot but regret at what, perhaps, he may call the barbarous treament it has met with. The southern end, which extended about half a mile on the common, had both rows tolerably perfect till the inclosure of the common in 1815; since then these stones have nearly all been blasted and removed into the walls, excepting fourteen, which compose the turn at the south end, which are on a plot of land alloted to the Earl of Lonsdale, and which he has given orders to be preserved. The northern end, for nearly the length of a mile, lying amongst old inclosed and arable land, had generally been removed at former periods before the recollection of any person now living. There are, however, four on a piece of land, which cannot be tilled for limestone rock, which seem to form the terminating point, or at least part of it, at the north end. They are respectively 11, 25, and 20 yards distant from each other. Probably two may have been
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