The Nine Maidens stone alignment, The Fiddler standing stone and two Bronze Age round barrows


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of The Nine Maidens stone alignment, The Fiddler standing stone and two Bronze Age round barrows
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1021223 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 15-Sep-2019 at 16:58:57.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
St. Columb Major
Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
St. Issey
National Grid Reference:
SW 93664 67595, SW 93935 68207, SW 94090 68052, SW 94140 68248

Reasons for Designation

Stone alignments or stone rows consist of upright stones set in a single line, or in two or more parallel lines, up to several hundred metres in length. They are often sited close to prehistoric burial monuments, such as small cairns and cists, and to ritual monuments, such as stone circles, and are therefore considered to have had an important ceremonial function. Stone alignments were being constructed and used from the Late Neolithic period to the Middle Bronze Age (c.2500-1000 BC) and provide rare evidence of ceremonial and ritual practices during these periods. Due to their rarity and longevity as a monument type, all examples that are not extensively damaged will be considered worthy of protection.

Round barrows are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus of burials in later periods. Often superficially similar, although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving examples recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occuring across most of Britain, including the Wessex area where it is often possible to classify them more closely, for example as bowl or bell barrows. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Despite limited modification, the stone alignment, standing stone, and round barrows in this scheduling survive well. The underlying old land surfaces, and remains of any structures or other deposits associated with these and with the upstanding earthworks and stones, will also survive. The stone alignment has the largest stones of any known in Cornwall, and its relationship with the contemporary standing stone is rare and will contribute to our understanding of prehistoric ritual activity. The close association with round barrows is of interest in considering the development of ritual landscapes over time.


The monument includes a stone alignment and standing stone of Neolithic to Bronze Age date, known as the Nine Maidens and the Fiddler or Magi Stone respectively, and two Bronze Age round barrows or burial monuments. They are situated on slightly sloping high ground, west of a summit north east of St Columb Major. The round barrows are associated with others beyond this scheduling, being western outliers of a wider hill and ridge-top barrow cemetery. The scheduling is divided into four separate areas of protection.

The stone alignment, on the south west in the scheduling, runs fairly straight south west to north east across the slight natural gradient. It is almost exactly in line with the Fiddler standing stone, located on a ridge approximately 600m north east, described below. The alignment is 107.6m long and has nine component stones, set fairly closely and evenly. The three stones on the south west end are closest together, with intervals of 8m and 9m between them. The others are 11m-15m apart, except on the north east where the end stone is 23m beyond the rest. The Nine Maidens are Listed Grade I.

The nine stones in the alignment are of a type of local grey slate streaked with white quartz, and are apparently unworked. In plan the stones are roughly rectangular at ground level, apart from that on the south east end which is squarish, and their longer axes are orientated with the alignment. They measure 0.3m-0.9m across. In outline they are pillar-like, most tapering slightly towards the top. The central stone has a marked bulge below its middle, and that sixth from the south east has a jagged top, but this is only 0.6m high and is thought to have been truncated in antiquity. The other stones are 1.04m to 2.05m high (the north east end stone is lying, broken and partly embedded, but would have been higher originally). The south west end stone and broken sixth stone are upright, and that eighth from the south west inclines slightly north west. All the other stones are angled to the south east; the seventh from the south west leans close to the ground, indicating that it is displaced.

The standing stone known as the Fiddler or Magi Stone, also named the Whitehorse and the Old Man, is on the north in the scheduling. The stone is recumbent, its axis lying south west-north east, but is considered to remain at its original site. It measures approximately 1.5m-1.6m across, having been truncated to a length similar to its original width, and rises around 0.6m above ground level. The stone type is the local grey slate with white quartz, resembling that used for the Nine Maidens.

Moving east to the two round barrows, the first is sub-circular in plan, and measures approximately 22m across overall. It has a mound measuring 18.3m north-south by 17.5m east-west, and up to 2.5m high. Aerial photographs provide evidence of a buried ditch surrounding this, around 2m wide. The fabric of the mound is exposed in places, and includes clayey earth with darker soil above it and local white quartz rubble above this, providing evidence for layered construction. In profile, the mound has curving sides modified by erosion, and a flattish top with a hollow up to 4m across and 0.5m deep, considered to be the result of an antiquarian excavation.

The second barrow, on the north east in the scheduling, has an earth and stone mound approximately 21m in diameter and 0.4m high, rising to around 0.6m above the natural slope to the north. It has a platform type profile, with a broad, slightly concave top. There is no evidence for an external ditch.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Barnatt, J, Prehistoric Cornwall: The Ceremonial Monuments, (1982), 221-223
Borlase, W, Antiquities Historical and Monumental of the County of Cornwall, (1754), Opp 206
Borlase, W C, Naenia Cornubiae, (1872), 99
Carew, R, The Survey of Cornwall, (1602), 219
Henderson, C, St Columb Major, (1930), 62
Norden, J, Speculi Britanniae Pars. A description of Cornwall, (1650), 48
Pearse Chope, R (ed), Early Tours in Devon and Cornwall, (1968), 200
Johnson, N, Rose, P, 'The Human Landscape to c 1800' in Bodmin Moor An Archaeological Survey, , Vol. 1, (1994), 33
Polsue, J (ed), 'Lake's Parochial History of Cornwall' in Lake's Parochial History of Cornwall, , Vol. 1, (1867), 227
Pool, PAS, 'Antiquities of Cornwall' in Introduction, The Man and His Work, (1973), vi-vii
Bowden, E to Parkes, C, (2003)
Date approx, CAU SMR, (1990)
Mr Eustice to Parkes, C, (2003)
MS at RIC library, Truro, Whitley, N, Plan of the Nine Maidens on St Breock Downs, (1855)
MS at RIC library, Truro. Date approx, Henderson, C, Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities, Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities, (1917)
MS at RIC library, Truro. Date approx, Henderson, C, Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities, Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities, (1917)
OW819, (1932)
Saunders, AD, AM7, (1956)
SW 96 NW 1, Fletcher, MJ, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1972)
SW 96 NW 31, Fletcher, MJ, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1972)
SW 96 NW 38, Brown, JG, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1977)
Title: Cornwall Mapping Project Source Date: 1995 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: Ordnance Survey 1" Map Source Date: 1810 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Map Source Date: 1880 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Date approx.
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Map Source Date: 1908 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Date approx.
Title: St Columb Major Tithe Apportionment Source Date: 1840 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: St Issey Tithe Apportionment Source Date: 1841 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].