Long Meg Band
The Real Long Meg


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LONG MEG AND HER DAUGHTERS


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Little Salkeld. Here on a hill is a famous family perhaps twice as old as Christianity, Long Meg and Her Daughters. We may call them Cumberland's Stonehenge, for they make up a stone circle nearly 400 yards round, the biggest in the land after Stonehenge itself.

High above the village we find them, at a magnificent viewpoint where most of the Cumberland mountains are in sight. There are 67 in the family circle, many of the stones being exceptionally large and almost all shapeless. Some are higher than a man, and are 10 or 15 feet round. A few are now level with the ground. Some are rocks of greenstone, others are limestone or granite. Long Meg herself stands alone a few yards away, 18 feet high and 15 feet round, and weighing, we imagine, about 17 tons. She is roughly tapering and slightly round shouldered, and facing her are four big daughters, making a crude sort of gateway.

It is a place to stand and wonder, a place where history and religion grow dim. Here in the mind's eye we may imagine the ancient folk and their ceremonies, and here we feel as Wordsworth felt when he came and afterwards wrote:

A weight of awe, not easy to be borne,
Fell suddenly upon my spirit, cast
From the dread bosom of the unknown past,
When first I saw that family forlorn.

Passage and photo from Arthur Mee's book,
The King's England
The Lake Counties

(first printed in 1937, Hodder and Stoughton Ltd)

 


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