Nestled amid the windswept moorlands and dramatic landscapes of Cornwall stands an ancient and enigmatic monument, shrouded in myth and mystery.
Mên-An-Tol, a small stone circle with a central holed stone, has captured the imaginations of generations, becoming a focal point for tales of magic, healing, and folklore. In this blog post, we will journey through the myths and legends that have swirled around Mên-An-Tol, revealing the deep connections between this mystical site and Cornwall's rich cultural heritage.
The Stone Circle and Its Unique Features
Before diving into the myths, let's briefly introduce Mên-An-Tol itself. Located near the village of Morvah, Mên-An-Tol consists of three upright stones: two stones forming a gateway with a circular hole in the center, and a third standing stone a short distance away. Its exact purpose and origin remain a subject of debate among archaeologists and historians.
1. The Fairy Portal Myth
One of the most enduring legends associated with Mên-An-Tol is its role as a portal to the realm of the fairies. According to local folklore, passing through the holed stone can transport you to the fairy world or allow you to communicate with the spirits that dwell beyond. It's believed that if a person passes through the stone nine times, they will be granted a wish or the ability to see the fairies.
2. Healing Properties and Cures
Mên-An-Tol has also been associated with healing and fertility rituals. Infertile women would pass through the holed stone in the hopes of conceiving a child. Others sought relief from various ailments, crawling through the stone's hole as a means of curing physical ailments, particularly in children. Some locals still believe in the site's healing properties today.
3. The Hurlers Connection
Mên-An-Tol is closely linked to the nearby stone circles known as The Hurlers. Local legend suggests that The Hurlers were once men turned to stone for playing the game of hurling on the Sabbath. Mên-An-Tol, in this narrative, served as a kind of ancient stone hospital, and those who sought healing would pass through the holed stone while chanting prayers.
4. Historical Significance
Beyond the myths and legends, Mên-An-Tol holds historical significance as an ancient archaeological site. It is believed to date back to the Bronze Age, making it over 3,500 years old. Its enduring presence on the Cornish landscape adds to its allure and mystique.
Mên-An-Tol, with its timeless stones and mystical aura, stands as a testament to Cornwall's rich history and folklore. The stories of fairy portals, healing rituals, and ancient games echo through the ages, drawing curious visitors from near and far. Whether you approach Mên-An-Tol as a site of historical significance or as a place where myths come to life, it is undeniably one of Cornwall's most captivating and enduring treasures, inviting all who visit to step through its holed stone and into the realm of legends and mysteries.