We visited Boscawen-un stone circle again this week mainly because Charles love to photograph the ancient Cornish landmarks and at one point he had built up a fairly good collection but it was sadly lost down a crack of the computer never to be seen again. The years have gone by and a return visit to Boscawen –un, a well preserved stone circle came to the top of our to-do list at last and the other afternoon we had a couple of hours to spare and so we set off!
We drove along the Penzance to Land’s End road, peering to our left for a small footpath entrance and small lay-by to park in just prior to Crows-an-Wra . Bingo!! We spotted a kissing gate with Boscawen-un carved into one of the posts! Lucy Landrover was left to look after herself all alone except for the traffic speeding towards Land’s End and we set off in the autumn sunshine along a broad, grassy, path.
With the bracken beside us already turning the bronze of autumn and with the glossy black berries of late summer flanking the path, it was a pleasant walk along the well trimmed track to find the Bronze Age circle again. A fork in the path brought a moment of indecision but Charles had already spotted the circle ahead of us and so the choice was an easy one. This route brings you to a wall with projecting traditional granite steps set within it and an arch of trees framing the first glimpse of ancient site. The stones of this circle are much chunkier and have a more powerful feeling than the previous circles we had visited and Charles was intrigued after recently reading of a newly discovered carving on one of the stones, in the north east corner of (perhaps) two feet.
Boscawen- un is an early Bronze Age stone circle of nineteen stones, arranged in a slight ovoid with a wider westward facing entrance, set around a central stone. Eighteen of the stones are hewn from granite and the nineteenth stone is interestingly made of Quartz and it is this stone that is thought particularly to represent the female within the again feminine ring, surrounding the single male standing stone. It is thought that the quartz stone is aligned to the full moon at solstice and the male stone is aligned to the rising sun.
Look out for two fallen stones on the north eastern corner, one of which bears an axe petroglyph similar to those found at Stonehenge.
This circle is part of a “megalithic arrangement” extending over part of the Land’s End peninsula with a number of standing stones and circles nearby – the Merry Maidens the Blind Fiddler and the Piper are the most well known surviving examples.
We didn’t discover the carvings of course but we did visit a very special place of ancient spirituality and had the privilege of wandering amongst the stones, erected so very long ago and you know when we wandered back to the road Lucy Land Rover had found two friends to join her in the lay-by in this little backwater as the traffic roared passed towards Lands End!
A translation of the name (thanks to Wikipedia!)
Boscawen-Un is a Cornish name, from the words bos (farmstead) and scawen (elder or elderberry tree). The suffix Un denotes an adjacent pasture. Therefore, the name translates as the pasture of the farmstead at the elderberry tree