Saints and Stones: Men-an-Tol

The name Men-an-Tol means simply holed stone and despite having been considered a significant and popular monument from a very early date, its true purpose remains a mystery. While its age in uncertain, it is thought to originate in the late Neolithic or early Bronze Age.

The Men-an-Tol structure today consists of four stones: one fallen, two uprights, and between these a circular one, 4-1/2 feet in diameter, pierced by a hole that occupies about half its size. In addition a number of recumbent stones are present, some visible and some buried.

Some speculate that it may have once been part of a stone circle, others that it was once part of a tomb. In addition, some say it was part of some ancient calendar. According to Pastscape, "Plans of the positions of the recumbent stones in particular suggest that the monument as it is known is actually part of a stone circle, up to 18m in diameter. Although hole stones are not generally associated with stone circles they have been shown to form part of these monuments in Scotland. The holed stone may be naturally shaped rather than sculpted hence the larger size of the hole compared to others known in the region. It has also been suggested that it could have been a capstone for the 'cairn' originally, before being moved to its present position."

In addition, the holed stone and flanking standing stones have been present in folklore for centuries, as people believed the holed stone exuded healing properties.

About Men-an-Tol

Cornwall's Archaeological Heritage: Men-an-Tol
Megalithic Portal: Men-an-Tol
Modern Antiquarian: Men-an-Tol
Pastscape: Men an Tol
Stone Pages: Men-an-Tol
Wikipedia: Men-an-Tol

Journey to Men-an-Tol

Men-an-Tol is located near the Madron-Morvah road about three miles northwest of the village of Madron in the West Penwith area of Cornwall in southwest England. From the small parking area near the road, it is approximately a 1/2 mile walk up a dirt road to the site, which is sign posted and off to the right.

Streetmap UK NGR SW426349.

Visitors Information

Visitors information for Men-an-Tol may be found at the Cornwall's Archaeological Heritage website. For general Cornwall tourist information, see the Visit Cornwall website.

Additional Photos of Men-an-Tol

Sign for Men-an-Tol on Madron-Morvah Road
Dirt Road to Men-an-Tol and Other Sites
Sign and Stone Stile Leading to Men-an-Tol
Sign of CASPN (Cornwall Ancient Sites Protection Network) Near Men-an-Tol
Approaching Men-an-Tol
Close-Up of Circular Holed Stone at Men-an-Tol
Close-Up of Upright Stone at Men-an-Tol
Close-Up of Upright Stone at Men-an-Tol
Two of a Number of Recumbent Stones at Men-an-Tol
Self-Portrait at Men-an-Tol

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