Page:The parochial history of Cornwall.djvu/183

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141
BURIAN.

ditary coat armour of Beverley. See St. Michael Penkivell. Since the writing hereof this place is become the hereditary honorary title of Hugh Lord Boscawen, Baron of Boscawen-rose, and Viscount of Falmouth.

Upon Boscawen downs, some of which was lately the lands of Mr. Christopher Davis, stands a monument called Dance Meyns, that is to say the dance stones; which are nineteen pyramidal stones, about six foot high above ground, set in a round circle, distant from each other about twelve feet, having in the centre one pitched far bigger than the rest; a little to the north of those are two admirable great stones in perpendicular manner, much bigger than the rest, those are vulgarly called the Pipers. But since it is not probable that those stones were either dancers or pipers, I take the common appellation dance meyns, only by the dialect to be a corruption of dans meyns, id est, men's stones; that is to say stones set up in memory of once so many famous men that lived in those parts, or lie interred there, before the sixth century.* Mr. Davis aforesaid informed me, that, contiguous with those dans meynes, he caused not long since divers barrows of earth to be carried abroad in order to manure his lands, in several of which burrows he found two or three urns or earthern pots, sound and firm, having in them pieces of bones, and ashes.

  • That there exists, however, a prevalent connection of these monuments with allusions to dancing, is shown in the the Essay on Dracontia, by the Rev. J. B. Deane, F.S.A. in Archaeologia, vol. xxv. The name of Dans Maen is generally given to the various stone circles in the county of Cornwall. Dr. Borlase remarks that there are four circles in the hundred of Penrith, having nineteen stones each; viz. Boscawen-un, Rosmodrevy, Tregaseal, and Boskednan, the two most distant being not eight miles apart. Of Boscawen-un there are views in the works of Borlase and Stukeley, as well as among the more accurate etchings by William Cotton, Esq. 4to. 1827. He has also given a view and plan of the dans-meyne at Bolleit in this parish; and two obeliscal stones at the same place are represented in Borlase, pl. 10. See also in pl. 14 the hanging stone in Karn Boscawen, and a Maen Tôl, or holed stone, both in Burian; as is the circle called Rosmodrevy. EDIT.