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placename:- Castlerigg Stone Circle
other name:- Carles, The
other name:- Castlerigg Circle
site name:- Chestnut Hill
parish St John's Castlerigg and Wythburn parish, once in Cumberland
county:- Cumbria
stone circle
coordinates:- NY29142363
10Km square:- NY22

1Km square NY2923

photograph

Castlerigg Stone Circle -- Chestnut Hill -- St John's Castlerigg and Wythburn -- Cumbria / -- 14.3.2009
photograph

Castlerigg Stone Circle -- Chestnut Hill -- St John's Castlerigg and Wythburn -- Cumbria / -- 14.3.2009

old map:- OS County Series (Cmd 64 7)

County Series maps of Great Britain, scales 6 and 25 inches to 1 mile, published by the Ordnance Survey, Southampton, Hampshire, from about 1863 to 1948.

placename:- Druidical Circle
antiquity
date:- 1890=1899
period:- 19th century, late; 1890s

old print:- Heaton Cooper 1905 (edn 1908)

thumbnail HC0151, button to large image
Print, colour halftone, Druid Circle, near Keswick, moonlight, Castlerigg Stone Circle, St John's Castlerigg and Wythburn, Cumberland, from a watercolour painting by Alfred Heaton Cooper, published by Adam and Charles Black, London, 2nd edn 1908.
Opposite p.150 of The English Lakes, painted by Alfred Heaton Cooper, described by William T Palmer.
printed at tissue opposite the print:-
DRUID CIRCLE, NEAR KESWICK / Moonlight

placename:- Druid Circle
date:- 1905
period:- 1900s

old photograph:- Bell 1880s-1940s

thumbnail HB0619, button to large image
Photograph, sepia, Castlerigg Stone Circle, St John's Castlerigg and Wythburn, Cumberland, by Herbert Bell, photographer, Ambleside, Westmorland, 1890s.
date:- 1890=1899
period:- 19th century, late

source:- Martineau 1855

Guide book, A Complete Guide to the English Lakes, by Harriet Martineau, published by John Garnett, Windermere, Westmorland, and by Whittaker and Co, London, 1855; published 1855-71.
Page 94:-
... 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
Page 95:-
settlement; and the oracle demanded a sacrifice to appease the divine wrath. The lot fell on a young girl who was betrothed: and, on an appointed day, she was conveyed, with all the ceremonies, to the temple. A small hut of wickerwork, like a large beehive, was found set up on the western side of the temple. The girl was led into the circle, and placed in the midst, while the dedication proceeded. We are even told that she was adorned with an oak garland, and held mistletoe in her hand. The whole population was looking on from a distance: but it must have been within reasonable reach, as every one was required to contribute a stick to the fire. The wretched lover saw all from afar; and he daringly resolved,- let the god be as wrathful as he pleased,- not to contribute so much as a twig to the burning of his beloved. She was seen to enter the door, which was next the circle; and then the priest closed it up, and heaped the dried leaves and sticks that were brought all round the hut. The arch-druid meantime was procuring fire from two pieces of wood. He succeeded, and set the pile in a blaze. In this moment of desperation, the lover saw every mountain round give forth a great cataract; and all the floods gushed to the temple as to a centre, and made an island of the little hut,- returning when they had extinguished the fire. The victim came forth, with not a hair singed, and not a leaf of her garland withered. The arch-druid, skilled to interpret thunder, seems to have understood in this case the voice of waters; for he announced that, henceforth, the god would have no more human sacrifices. Any resident who is sufficiently familiar with
Page 96:-
the country people to get them to speak their minds fully, will find that they still hold to the notion that nobody can count the druid stones correctly; and also that a treasure is buried under the largest stone. As to the first, there are, in most such circles, some smaller stones cropping out of the ground which some visitors will, and others will not, include among those of the circle. ... As for the treasure, can any one prove that it is not there? Nobody wants to undermine the stone, to get rid of the tradition: so our neighbours are like the Arabs at Petra, who have been shooting with sling, bow, and matchlock, for a thousand years, at the urn, where they are sure Pharaoh's treasure is,- in its niche in the rock temple. For a thousand years, they have failed to bring it down, and are determined that no European shall. And no European would dismantle the temple to disabuse the Arabs; and so the tradition and the urn stand untouched. So may it be for ages to come with ... the giant of eight tons' weight that presides over the Keswick circle!
person:- : Druids
date:- 1855
period:- 19th century, late; 1850s

old map:- Garnett 1850s-60s H

Map of the English Lakes, scale about 3.5 miles to 1 inch, published by John Garnett, Windermere, Westmorland, 1850s-60s.
thumbnail GAR2NY22, button to large image
Druid Stones
no symbol

placename:- Druid Stones
date:- 1850=1869
period:- 19th century, late; 1850s; 1860s

old map:- Ford 1839 map

Map of the Lake District, published in A Description of Scenery in the Lake District, by William Ford, published by Charles Thurnham, London, 1839.
thumbnail FD02NY22, button to large image
Druid Stones

placename:- Druid Stones
county:- Westmoreland
date:- 1839
period:- 19th century, early; 1830s

descriptive text:- Ford 1839 (3rd edn 1843)

Description of Scenery in the Lake District, by William Ford, published by Charles Thurnham, London, et al, 1839; published 1839-52.
Page 59:-
...
THE DRUID'S CIRCLE.
This religious monument is situated on the top of a lone hill, one mile and three quarters on the road from Keswick to Penrith, in the centre of the loftiest mountains in the district, away from the sight and sound of human life. It occupies a circular area three hundred and thirty-six feet in circumference, and one hundred and fourteen feet in diameter, surrounded by thirty-eight granite stones
Page 60:-
from three to eight feet high, having at the east end ten other stones, forming three sides of a square. From these stones is seen the whole encircling country; Skiddaw and Blencathra to the north present their deep-chasmed and precipitous fronts; the Dodds, Wanthwaite Pikes, with the savage dale of Naddle, shut up the scene to the south; and to the west, the fells beyond Keswick rear their majestic and undulating summits to the clouds; whilst on the east, the dreary waste of Hutton Moor is over-topped by the blue summit of Cross Fell. It was amidst such scenes as these that the Druid sage warmed into piety the hardy tempers of the Britons, and employed the solemnity of nature to aid the sanctity of religion: for

placename:- Druid's Circle
date:- 1839
period:- 19th century, early; 1830s

source:- Otley 1823

Guidebook, Concise Description of the English Lakes, later A Description of the English Lakes, by Jonathan Otley, published by the author, Keswick, Cumberland, by J Richardson, London, and by Arthur Foster, Kirky Lonsdale, Cumbria, 1823 onwards.
image OT01P081, button   goto source.
Page 81:-
THE ANTIQUITIES.
A Druidical Circle, 100 feet by 108 in diameter, in a field adjoining the old Penrith road, at the top of the hill, a mile and a half from Keswick.
image OT2E10, button   goto source.
thumbnail OT2E10, button to large image
It is formed by rough cobble stones of various sizes, similar to what are scattered over the surface, and imbedded in the diluvium of the adjacent grounds. The largest stands upwards of seven feet in height, and may weigh about eight tons.

old text:- Camden 1789 (Gough Additions)

Britannia, or A Chorographical Description of the Flourishing Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland, by William Camden, 1586, translated from the 1607 Latin edition by Richard Gough, published London, 1789.
Page 181:-
...
... In the neighbourhood of this place [Castlerigg], on the right hand of the road from Keswic to Penrith, is a collection of stones of unequal size
Page 182:-
and shape, about 39 yards diameter, and on the east side within the circle or area two or more rows of like stones, including a space about eight yards by four. Stukely desribes it as very intire, 100 feet diameter, consisting of 40 stones, some very large. At the east end a grave, made of such other stones, in the very east point of the circle, and within it not a stone wanting, though some are removed out of their original situation. They call it the Carles, and corruptly Castle rigg. There seemed to be another lower in the next pasture towards the town.
...
... About a mile and an half from Keswic on a high hill in a field called the Castle, is a druidical circle of stones, tending to an oval 35 yards diameter from north to south and near 30 from east to west. These stones are at present 40, but many fallen. At the north end are two five feet high; two more of nearly the same height at the south end, and one at the east near seven feet. On this side is the Kistvaen of great stones.

placename:- Carles
locality:- Castle Hill
person:- : Stukeley, William
date:- 1789
period:- 18th century, late; 1780s

old text:- Clarke 1787

Guide book, A Survey of the Lakes of Cumberland, Westmorland, and Lancashire, by James Clarke, Penrith, Cumberland, and in London etc, 1787 and 1789; and Plans of the Lakes ... 1793.
Page 62:-
About a quarter of a mile farther on the left is Castrigg, or Castle-Rigg: here is a druidical monument, consisting of a circle of fifty-two large stones. This temple (as they all commonly get that name) differs from all I have seen, in having on the Eastern side an inclosure formed within the circle; this inclosure is on the form of an oblong-square, one of the shorter sides of which is formed by part of the circle, and its dimensions are nearly four yards by two.
It is amazing how our rude forefathers could remove such large stones, and place them in regular order! The stones of which this is composed are of a kind not to be found within many miles of this place; it is situated upon a steep hill, and we know they were unacquainted with, not only the use of every mechanic power, but even of carriages: had they even known these, we know of no carriage capable of transporting, or even bearing the weight of these enormous masses.
locality:- Castrigg
locality:- Castlerigg
date:- 1787
period:- 18th century, late; 1780s

old map:- West 1784 map

A Map of the Lakes in Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire, now Cumbria, scale about 3.5 miles to 1 inch, engraved by Paas, 53 Holborn, London, included in the Guide to the Lakes by Thomas West, published by William Pennington, Kendal, Westmorland, and in London, from the 3rd edition 1784, to 1821.
image WS02NY22, button   goto source.
thumbnail WS02NY22, button to large image
Circle of seven dots near Castlerigg village.
Druids Temple

placename:- Druids Temple
date:- 1784
period:- 18th century, late; 1780s

descriptive text:- West 1778 (11th edn 1821)

Guide book, A Guide to the Lakes, by Thomas West, published by William Pennington, Kendal, Cumbria once Westmorland, and in London, 1778 to 1821.
image WS21P110, button   goto source.
Page 110:-
... [from the front of Mr. Wren's house] In a field on the left, near the second mile-post, stands conspicuous, the above-mentioned wide circus of rude stones; the awful monument of the barbarous superstition which enslaved the minds of ancient times. Mr. Pennant had in his possession an excellent drawing of these druidical remains.
image WS21P208, button   goto source.
Addendum; Mr Gray's Journal, 1769
Page 208:-
... After dinner walked up the Penrith road two miles, or more, and turning into a cornfield to the right, called Castle-rigg, saw a druid circle of large stones, 108 feet in diameter, the biggest not eight feet high, but most of them still erect: they are fifty in number [1].
[1] See this piece of antiquity more fully described, with a plate annexed, by Mr. Pennant, in his second tour of Scotland, 1772, page 38.
person:- : Pennant, Thomas
date:- 1769; 1778
period:- 18th century, late; 1760s; 1770s

descriptive text:-
Castlerigg Remembered by John Keats, from Hyperion book 2:-

placename:- Druid Stones

old print:- Pearson 1900s

Guide book, Pearson's Gossipy Guide to the English Lakes and Neighbouring Districts, published by C Arthur Pearson, Henrietta Street, London, 1900s.
thumbnail PS1E60, button to large image
Print, halftone photograph, The Druidical Circle, near Keswick, Castlerigg Stone Circle, St John's Castlerigg and Wythburn, Cumberland, published by C Arthur Pearson, Henrietta Street, London, 1900s.
On p.163 of Pearson's Gossipy Guide to the English Lakes and Neighbouring Districts.
printed at bottom:-
THE DRUIDICAL CIRCLE, NEAR KESWICK (pp.162, 163).

placename:- Druidical Circle, The
date:- 1900=1909
period:- 1900s

old print:- Rose 1832-35 (vol.3 no.36)

Engravings - Westmorland, Cumberland, Durham and Northumberland Illustrated; from drawings by Thomas Allom, George Pickering, and H Gastineau, described by Thomas Rose, published by H Fisher, R Fisher, and P Jackson, Newgate Street, London, 1832-35.
thumbnail PR0045, button to large image
Print, uncoloured engraving, Druids' Stones, near Keswick, Castlerigg, Cumberland, drawn by Thomas Allom, engraved by H Adlard, published by Fisher, Son and Co, London, 1832-35.
vol.3 pl.36 in the set of prints, Westmorland, Cumberland, Durham and Northumberland Illustrated.
printed at bottom left, right, centre:-
T. Allom. / H. Adlard. / DRUIDS' STONES, NEAR KESWICK.

placename:- Druids' Stones
date:- 1832=1835
period:- 19th century, early

old print:- Otley 1823 (8th edn 1849)

Guidebook, Concise Description of the English Lakes, later A Description of the English Lakes, by Jonathan Otley, published by the author, Keswick, Cumberland, by J Richardson, London, and by Arthur Foster, Kirky Lonsdale, Cumbria, 1823 onwards.
thumbnail O80E18, button to large image
Print, engraving, Druidical Circle near Keswick, ie Castlerigg Stone Circle, St John's Castlerigg and Wythburn, drawn by Mr Binns, Halifax, engraved by Mr Jewitt, Headington, Oxfordshire, published by Jonathan Otley, Keswick, Cumberland et al, 1849.
On p.67 of A Descriptive Guide of the English Lakes, by Jonathan Otley, 8th edition, 1849.

placename:- Druidical Circle
date:- 1849
period:- 19th century, early

old print:- Sylvan 1847

thumbnail SYL145, button to large image
Print, engraving, Druid's Circle near Keswick, Castlerigg Stone Circle, Cumberland, published by John Johnstone, Paternoster Row, London, et al, 1847.
On p.189 of Sylvan's Pictorial Guide to the English Lakes.
printed at bottom:-
DRUID'S CIRCLE NEAR KESWICK

placename:- Druid's Circle
date:- 1847
period:- 19th century, early

old print:- Bogg 1898

Book, Lakeland and Ribblesdale, OR A Thousand Miles of Wandering along the Roman Wall, the Old Border Region, Lakeland, and Ribblesdale, by Edmund Bogg, publishd by Edmund Bogg, 3 Woodhouse Lane, and James Miles, Guildford Street, Leeds, Yorkshire, 1898.
thumbnail BGG147, button to large image
Print, engraving, Druidical Circle ie Castlerigg Stone Circle, St John's Castlerigg and Wythburn, Cumberland, by P M Teesdale, published by Edmund Bogg, 3 Woodhouse Lane, and James Miles, Guildford Street, Leeds, Yorkshire, 1898.
Included on p.154 of Lakeland and Ribblesdale, by Edmund Bogg.
date:-
period:- 19th century, late

old print:- Lowther 1780s-90s

Scrapbook, 4 volumes, of descriptive texts, maps, and prints of views and coats of arms, for Westmorland and Cumberland, assembled by a member of the Lowther Family, late 18th early 19th century.
thumbnail BMZ94, button to large image
Print, engraving, Druid's Monument near Keswick, Cumbria, late 18th century.
Pasted in the Lowther scrapbook, vol.3; between pp.90-91.
printed at bottom:-
DRUID'S MONUMENT near Keswick in CUMBERLAND

placename:- Druid's Monument
date:- 1760=1799
period:- 18th century, late

old print:- Lowther 1780s-90s

Scrapbook, 4 volumes, of descriptive texts, maps, and prints of views and coats of arms, for Westmorland and Cumberland, assembled by a member of the Lowther Family, late 18th early 19th century.
thumbnail BMZ02, button to large image
Print, engraving, Druidical Remains, ie Castlerigg Stone Circle, St John's Castlerigg and Wythburn, late 18th century.
This image is engraved on the same plate as Long Meg and her Daughters.
Pasted in the Lowther scrapbook, vol.3; between pp.90-91.
printed at bottom:-
Druidical Remains
date:- 1760=1799
period:- 18th century, late

photographs
tiny photograph, 
button to large Castlerigg Stone Circle -- Chestnut Hill -- St John's Castlerigg and Wythburn -- Cumbria / -- 14.3.2009
tiny photograph, 
button to large Castlerigg Stone Circle -- Chestnut Hill -- St John's Castlerigg and Wythburn -- Cumbria / -- 14.3.2009
tiny photograph, 
button to large Castlerigg Stone Circle -- Chestnut Hill -- St John's Castlerigg and Wythburn -- Cumbria / -- 18.3.2011
tiny photograph, 
button to large Castlerigg Stone Circle -- Chestnut Hill -- St John's Castlerigg and Wythburn -- Cumbria / -- 18.3.2011
tiny photograph, 
button to large Castlerigg Stone Circle -- Chestnut Hill -- St John's Castlerigg and Wythburn -- Cumbria / -- All round from the middle. -- 18.3.2011

hearsay Flatened circle Thom type A; shows seven solar and lunar declinations.
38 stones left of 42, ring 32.6x29.9m
William Stukeley wrote of a second stone circle in the next field towards Keswick; there is no trace of this.
Waterhouse, John: 1985: Stone Circles of Cumbria: Phillimore and Co (Chichester, Sussex):: ISBN 0 85033 566 3
Thom, A: 1967: Megalithic Sites in Britain: Oxford University Press (Oxford, Oxfordshire)
Burl, H A W: 1976: Stone Circles of the British Isles: Yale University Press (United States)

button   station, Castlerigg Stone Circle

Old Cumbria Gazetteer - JandMN: 2013

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