The History and Antiquities of Allerdale Ward

The History and Antiquities of Allerdale Ward is in Victorian Books.

The History And Antiquities Of The Allerdale Ward Above Derwent, In The County Of Cumberland: With Biographical Notices And Memoirs By Samuel Jefferson, 1842.

Parish of Lamplugh

On an eminence in the Stockhow Hall estate, in this parish, are the remains of a druidical circle [Map] called Standing Stones. Only the northern segment is now to be seen; the remainder having been blasted and removed a few years ago to make fences with. The part remaming consists of six large stones, of the kind provincially called the smooth blue cobble, placed at irregular distances, varying from eighteen paces to one; and the circle, when perfect, may have been one hundred paces in diameter. The stones are mostly of an oblong figure, placed endwise in the circumference of the circle; four of the largest are nearly four feet in height above ground, and are supported in an upright position by other large stones around their bases underground. The neighbouring rock is of limestone. We can ascertain no tradition relating to the stones beyond the name, which is common to similar erections in other parts of the kingdom.

Parish of Whitbeck

Miscellaneous Antiquities

At Hall-foss are the remains of a Druidical monument called Standing Stones, which formed a circle twenty-five yards m diameter. In 1794, they were described as consisting of "eight massy rude columns some of which have lately been broken and taken away."

At Annaside, near the sea, is a similar monument of antiquity, forming a circle twenty yards in diameter, consisting of twelve stones. On the north-west side are the ruins of a building through which an old road leads; but nothing is known respecting its antiquity.

In a field near Gutterby is anotlier monument composed of thirty stones, and called Kirkstones. They form parts of two circles, an exterior and an inner one, — similar in position to those at Stonehenge in Wiltshire. The interior range has two sides. The stones are larger, and the circles have been more extensive, than those in this parish previously described. About 200 yards to the south, is a large cairn of stones, about fifteen yards in diameter, haying massy stones for its base.

Parish of Millom


The druidical temple, at Swineside [Map], is thus described by Mr. Gough, in his additions to Camden1:- "It is nearly a circle of very large stones, pretty entire, only a few fallen upon sloping ground in a swampy meadow. No situation could be more agreeable to the druids than this; mountains almost encircle it, not a tree is to be seen in the neighbourhood, nor a house, except a shepherd's cot at the foot of a mountain, sur- rounded by a few barren pastures.

"At the entrance, there are four large stones, two placed on each side, at the distance of six feet The largest on the left side, is five feet six inches in height, and ten feet in circumference. Through this you enter into a circular area, 29 yards by 30. This entrance is nearly south-east On the north or right hand side, is a huge stone, of a conical formf in height nearly nbe feet Opposite the entrance is another large stone, which has once been erect, but is now fallen within the area; its length is eight feet To the left hand or south-west is one, in height seven feet, in circumference eleven feet nine inches. The altar probably stood in the middle, as there are some stones still to be seen, sunk deep in the earth. The circle is nearly complete, except on the western, some stones are wanting. The largest stones are about 31 or 32 in number. The outward part of the circle, upon the sloping ground, is surrounded with a buttress, or rude pavement of smaller stones, raised about half a yard from the surface of the earth.

The situation and aspect of the druidical temple, near Keswick, is in every respect similar to this, except the rectangular recess, formed by ten large stones, which is peculiar to that at Keswick; but upon the whole, I think a preference will be given to this at Swineshead, as the stones in general appear much larger, and the circle more entire.

"This monument of antiquity, when viewed within the circle, strikes you with astonishment, how the massy stones could be placed in such regular order, either by human strength or mechanical power."

The Rev. Jeremiah Gilpin, A.M. of Broughton in Fumess, was so much interested in these vene- rable remains of a remote and, comparatively speaking, unknown period, that he was at the expense of having a view of them engraved, which appeared in the Gentleman's Magazine, for the year 1785.

Note 1. Vol. ii. p. 432.

Chapel Sucken

Chapel Sucken, a long narrow township in the south part of the parish, comprehends the hamlets of Kirksanton and Haverigg. It has been supposed, (we know not on what authority, excepting the very doubtful one of its name) that there was formerly a church or chapel in the former hamlet, and from which it took its name, (see page 148).

At Kirksanton is a small tumulus, on the summit of which are two stones standing perpendicularly, about eight feet in height, and placed fifteen feet asunder. Near these, it is stated in Hutchinson's Cumberland, that "several other large stones stood lately, placed in a rude manner."

The Parish of Gosforth

Near Seascale is the site of a Druid's temple, the stones of which were all removed and buried by a person who farmed the Seascale-hall estate, excepting one which was left standing.