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 Location: Near the village of Minions, Cornwall, England.  Grid Reference: 50� 31' N, 04� 27.5 W


      The Hurlers: (Triple Stone Circle).The Hurlers, Cornwall

These three stone circles, once linked by a gravel pathway are aligned NNE to SSW, suggestive of an orientation to Orion's belt at the time they were built in around 1,500 BC.

Situated and aligned to the St. Michael's Leyline.


(1877 Ground-plan of the Hurlers)




   The Hurlers:

This site consists of three large aligned stone circles, running from NNE to SSW, built in a pass, between the River Fowey and the River Lynher, the sides of Stowe's Hill and Caradon rising to north and south. Multiple or associated circles are not unusual in the south-west of England and they often lie between rivers at suitable positions for converging people and traders. A recent dig has revealed the presence of a 'Crystal' (Quartz) avenue running between the circles. (


Physical Description of the Circles:

The Southern Circle is the smallest (32.9m/108ft across) and it has only nine stones left; the largest is The Central circle, slightly egg shaped, with a diameter of 41.8 x 40.5m (137 x 132ft) and 14 stones, while The Northern circle is 34.7 (113ft) across: 15 stones are here, of which four have fallen, and there were probably a further nine. The central and the northern rings were once linked by a granite pathway along their axis.

The Hurlers (ancient-wisdom)

Looking downhill across the three circles.

All the stones in the circles have been carefully erected so that they all appear the same height. Some stones are diamond-shaped, others round, and one has been shaped so that its uppermost edge is cloven. A spread of quartz crystals in the central circle may have come from shaping the stones with hammers. The northern circle was crossed by a boundary bank, and two stones 120m (393ft) to the WSW from the central site could be boundary posts, although astronomical purposes have been assigned them.

The Hurlers (ancent-wisdom.co.uk)

The central pillar in the central circle.

Only the central circle has a large proportion of its stones in-situ, but this is because they were reset after the site was excavated by Raleigh-Radford in 1935-6. Fourteen stone uprights survive in the central circle, with fourteen markers for missing stones, placed in empty stone sockets during restoration works. Originally all the circles are said to have contained twenty nine stones (though the central circle is considerably larger than the other two) and it was Carew who noted the �...strange observation that a re-doubled numbering never eveneth with the first�. The inner faces of the stones are smooth and regular and most of the stones are flat topped and graded so that the tallest stones are to the south. This is also the case with the north circle and possibly also the south circle.

The Hurlers stone circles.

'Male' and 'Female' stones alternate as at Avebury and other megalithic sites.

It has been noted that flat lozenge shaped stones tend to alternate with more slender uprights and it has been proposed that the former represent the feminine principle whilst the latter represent the masculine. Excavations revealed a quartz crystal �floor� within the central circle and the small granite block currently sited within the circle may originally have marked the true centre.

Although not set out in a straight line, the centres of the circles trend towards the ridge to the north, with the still impressive bulk of Rillaton Barrow on the near horizon and the summit of Stowe�s Hill with it�s Neolithic tor enclosure and the striking natural granite formation known as the Cheesewring on the skyline. These three circles were probably only a single component of what is commonly termed as a 'ceremonial landscape'.


Tradition and Myth:

The name The Hurlers refers to an old tradition that the circles are men or women turned to stone, such as The Pipers, The Merry Maidens, Stanton Drew, The King Stone and The Rollright Stones. As the historian William Camden wrote in 1610: 'The neighbouring inhabitants terme them Hurlers, as being by devout and godly error persuaded that they had been men sometime transformed into stones, for profaning the Lord's Day with hurling the ball'.

According to another legend, it is impossible to count the number of Hurlers at Minions, but should you do so correctly, a misfortune will befall you.



The three circles are aligned NNE to SSW. There are several other examples of 'triple circles' in Britain, a design feature which can be seen to date back to the earliest stages of circle building, at the Thornborough henges in Yorkshire which date back to around 3,000 BC. The feature of building three structures, slightly aligned off-centre, and orientated NNE to SSW can be seen at other ancient structures around the world such as the pyramids of Ghiza, and Teotihuacan for example.

(More about Triple Stone-circles)

The Pipers (The Hurlers).

Two standing stones known as the Pipers lie to the south-west of the Hurlers flanking a modern boundary bank. �Outliers� such as these are a common feature of stone circles in Cornwall and further afield and they are likely to be prehistoric in origin, re-used as a prominent landmark when the boundary was first established. Interestingly, both the Pipers and the Hurlers fall on an approximate alignment between the �embanked avenue� and stone circle on Craddock Moor and the prominent barrow group on Caradon Hill. The Pipers may thus represent a �portal� giving access to the Hurlers from the west.


Astronomy at the Hurlers:

Article: MailOnline. 19 December 2007.

'Hurlers may have been built to mirror the stars, say astronomers'.

Anthony Harding, Professor of Archaeology at Exeter University said it was possible that the Hurlers could have been erected to align with Orion's belt.

"There has been a big debate about this sort of theory," he said. "Though many archaeologists are sceptical whether this can be the case. "On December 21 we will be standing in the line of the three circles we will see Orion's belt due south in line with the stones."

The three stone circles in Cornwall have been discovered to align perfectly with the constellation Orion.

New research now suggests The Hurlers were built as a primitive calendar which indicates the exact date of mid winter. Once a year at midnight on the winter solstice, they line up exactly with Orion's position in the night sky.

Brian Sheen, a retired research chemist and astronomer who runs the Roseland Observatory, in St Stephen, Cornwall, said the stones were built around 1500 BC. Using a specialist computer programme that predicts the future position of stars he confirmed the alignment between Orion and the circles would occur. Mr Sheen said: "As far as I can tell these Hurlers, a series of three stone circles, actually mirror the belt of Orion

The 5,500-year-old Earthworks, at Thornborough, Yorkshire, the Stone Circles on the Orkney Islands and the Egyptian Pyramids at Giza are (some of*) the other known ancient structures linked to Orion.

Anthony Harding, Professor of Archaeology at Exeter University said it was possible that the Hurlers could have been erected to align with Orion's belt.
There has been a big debate about this sort of theory," he said. "Though many archaeologists are sceptical whether this can be the case". (1)

* (My Note.)

(Triple-Circles and Orion Worship)



Other Monuments in the Area.

The Hurlers can be considered as a single part of a connected landscape. The circles were positioned so that it is possible to see along three valleys directly from the site, and there are several other important monuments nearby including the Rillaton round barrow, The Christianised 'Long-stone' menhir, The 'Cheesewring',  and Trethevy Quoit.

Trethevy quoit, locally known as The Giant's House, is one of England's most impressive dolmens. The capstone is 3.7m (12ft) long and, in its half-fallen state, 4.6m (15ft) high. There's also a natural hole piercing its highest point. The function of this port-hole is still a mystery: experts speculate that it was used for astronomical observations.

The rectangular chamber is made of six uprights (originally seven), averaging about 3m (10 ft). A small doorway appears to have been cut out of the entrance stone. The sloping angle of the stones is reminiscent of many free-standing stones, as the Stones of Stenness, in the Orkney Isles (Scotland). Trethevy is surrounded by the remains of a mound, which probably once covered the lower part of the stones.

(More about Holed Stones)

(Dolmens Homepage)



(Stone Circles Homepage)

(Other Prehistoric English Sites)



1). http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-503384/Hurlers-built-mirror-stars-say-astronomers.
2). http://www.thisisdevon.co.uk/story-19797335-detail/story.html#axzz2eqoilYn8


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