button to main menu  Martineau's Complete Guide to the English Lakes, 1855

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Page 94:-

Keswick, fifth tour
  ascent of Saddleback

  Castlerigg Stone Circle
  counting stones

An expedition to Saddleback affords a good opportunity for visiting the Druids' Temple, a mile and a-half from Keswick. This very well-preserved memorial of antiquity stands in a field, near the entrance of St. John's Vale. The stones, forty-eight in number, form an oval; and there is a peculiarity in this case which distinguishes it from all other Druidical monuments extant in England. On the eastern side, within the circle, there is a small recess formed by ten stones, making an oblong square. As Southey observed, the spot is the most commanding that could be chosen, short of a mountain side; and it is indeed nearly surrounded by mountains, which it recognises in their true forms, from the levels,- with the exception of the plain towards Penrith,- being sunk out of view. The old legend about the last human sacrifice of the Druids may belong to any of the monuments of that age in the district; and it is probably claimed for them all. According to that old story; when some people settled in a clearing of the woods, beside a river, somewhere to the south of the district, the priests took up their station further north, among the mountains, where there were plenty of stones fit and ready for their temple. After a time, a fever laid waste the lower
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