Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Hell Stone

See how the tall stones lean together,
how each one kisses the capstone,
how the glorious body is laid within
accoutred and accompanied by wealth.

Watch how the boulders and flat stones
are heaped up, how earth is tamped down
to make the hollow hill where a king sleeps.
When I see the green mound I will recall this.

But I dreamt it naked, saw it stripped bare,
the kissing stones a sieve for the wind,
the hill’s womb empty; and in the dream
I knew myself too to be unremembered.

Paul Hyland

from Art of the Impossible (Bloodaxe Books, 2004)

The Hellstone on Portesham Hill is an impressive dolmen, restored in 1866 after the capstone had fallen some six years earlier. The Dorset historian, Rev. John Hutchins writes in his ‘History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset’, “The common people call it Hell stone, and have a tradition that the devil flung it from Portland Pike, a north point of that island full in view, as he was diverting himself at quoits.”

Easily reached along either of 2 permissive paths both leading off from the right of way footpath which runs from the minor road running between Portesham and Winterbourne Steepleton (at about half a mile north of Portesham - park in layby) and the Hardy Monument. The first is near the road and signposted, the second is 400 yards further on and easily missed!

The massive stones of this inaccurately rebuilt monument make it no less impressive. It consists of 9 uprights up to 6' high and 2' thick supporting a 20 ton, 10' x 8' x 2' thick capstone forming a 9' x 5' x 5' chamber. This stands at the SE end of a mound formerly 88' long and up to 40' wide more or less aligned along the directions of the mid-winter solstice sunrise and summer solstice sunset.


Hell Stone BBC Video


"Dolmen" originates from the expression taol maen, which means "stone table" in Breton, and was first used archaeologically by Théophile Corret de la Tour d'Auvergne. The etymology of the German Hünenbett or Hünengrab and Dutch Hunebed all evoke the image of giants building the structures. Of other Celtic languages, "cromlech" derives from Welsh and "quoit" is commonly used in Cornwall. Anta is the term used in Portugal, and dös in Sweden.


Broch, Crannog and Hillfort - by Templates para novo blogger