Journey to the Stones - Ancient Sites and Pagan Mysteries of Celtic
Cornwall Ian McNeil Cooke
Revised edition 1996, Paperback. 232 pages size 244x184mm, 40
photographs in colour and 29 in black and white, plus a wealth of line
illustrations, maps and diagrams.
Highly recommended book, written by a real local expert. One of our top sellers.
Eight comprehensively described walks with detailed maps take you to
over 60 prehistoric and early Christian sites in the Land's End
Peninsula including all the quoits and stone circles, as well as a selection of holy
wells, inscribed stones, standing stones, barrows, hillforts, crosses, fogous and settlements.
The esoteric associations
of certain trees, plants and flowers; mermaids; phallic moonstones; the Celtic
Sun God Bran; midsummer and midwinter sacrifices; pagan festivals and the magic of metals are
all woven into the walks and linked to the ancient stones.
Other sections investigate the symbolisms of sun, moon and certain numbers
- why are there always nine maidens, never eight or ten? And how does the
crescent moon appear to give new life to the dying sun?
Ian writes: The idea of structuring the book around a series of walks stems
from my belief that it is only by experiencing the local landscape on foot that
a deep and intimate acquaintance with this unique peninsula can be attained.
Eight circular walks are described in detail but there is ample scope for the
less energetic to shorten, combine, or otherwise amend routes to suit individual
abilities and desires; wherever practicable I have made use of footpaths rather
than using a possibly shorter route by road in the hope that this will prove to
be both more interesting and at the same time help to keep tracks open for
others to use.
Illustrations of Stone Circles, Cromlechs and other remains of the
Aboriginal Britons in the West of Cornwall William Cotton (1827),
reprint edited by Ian McNeil Cooke
Re-published by Men-an-Tol Studio in 1998. A4 paperback
format of 75 pages including 11 pages of black and white line
"During a visit to Cornwall, in the autumn of 1826, I was led to notice
the various remains of the superstition of our Ancestors, consisting of
Circles of Stones, Cromlehs, Hill Castles, and singularly shaped Rocks,
which there abound: and having made sketches of several near the Land's
End, I was induced, by a curiosity to know something more about them, to
read through Dr.Borlase's learned work on the Antiquities of Cornwall." (
W.Cotton: extract from his preface)
Editor's Preface: Despite a few minor surveying errors
(see his plan of Boscawen-un circle) and his mistaken report of the total
destruction of Zennor Quoit - he had probably been informed of the pulling down
of a large quoit at Trewey not far away - his drawings owe far less to artistic
licence than the engravings in Dr.Borlase's monumental work three quarters of a
century earlier and are a valuable record of the state of the sites in the early
19th century. Cotton was the first person to publish drawings of the Merry
Maidens, West Lanyon Quoit, and the two circles at Tregeseal - one of
which is now completely destroyed.
Cotton recognised his debt to the work and opinions of Dr.Borlase, and makes
reference to Classical and Biblical sources, as well as to the religions of the
Eastern Mediterranean, in his discussion on the origins of the inhabitants of
Britain and their Druidical 'opinions, manners, and customs'. Although Druids
were only recorded during the Roman era they must have existed as an indigenous
priestly caste for many centuries before written history began, and Cotton
acknowledges that, despite their practice of human sacrifice - a common enough
custom in many contemporary cultures - they were, nevertheless, 'a studious and
learned body of men'.
As the author of my own Journey to the Stones I have much pleasure in
republishing this much earlier journey: the text has been retyped while
retaining Cotton's spelling and punctuation, and keeping to the original layout
as much as possible; only pagination and reference numbers have been
A huge number of ancient churches throughout Western Europe are still adorned
with sculptures that would surprise and, in many cases, totally disgust many a
sophisticated 21st century viewer. Men and women blatantly display their
genitals as well as performing all manner of explicit sexual activity
copulation, masturbation, fellatio, homosexuality. Such images, apparently in
complete antithesis to all that is taught by, and about, the Church, are usually
explained away as a warning to parishioners against indulging in sins of the
flesh. But Saint Priapus argues that some, at least, of these images reflect the
popularity and importance of the ancient god of fertility and protection who
continued to be invoked under auspices of Catholicism until well into the 19th
Ian McNeil Cooke author of Journey to the Stones and Mother and Sun—the
Cornish Fogou, is privately printed by the Men-an-Tol Studio and contains 262
pages that include over 220 black and white illustrations as well as a
comprehensive index and referenced bibliography.
The title is a large format paperback, printed in black on white 100gsm A4 Rey Text and Graphics
paper using a Ricoh Aficio 1015 digital photocopier, and bound in a 'green
linen' thin card cover using a Prima hot glue binder.
Antiquities of West Cornwall Guide 1 - The Men-an-Tol holed stone
Ian McNeil Cooke
1990, 32 pages plus 8 with full colour photographs.
Sites covered include The Men-an-Tol, Men Scryfa Inscribed Stone, The
Nine Maidens Stone Circle, Bosiliack Barrow, Lanyon Quoit, Chun Quoit,
Chun Castle, Bosullow Iron Age Settlement, Madron Well and Baptistery;
plus notes on Stone Circles and Chambered Barrows.
Illustrated with the author's own artwork, see below.
Antiquities of West Cornwall Guide 2 - The Merry Maidens stone circle Ian McNeil Cooke
1990, 32 pages plus 8 full colour photographs.
Sites covered include St.Buryan Church and
Crosses, Boskenna Cross, Boscawen Ros Menhirs, The Pipers Menhirs,
Boleigh Fogou, Merry Maidens Stone Circle, Nun Careg Cross, Gun Rith
Menhir, Tregiffian Barrow; plus notes on Standing Stones.
Antiquities of West Cornwall Guide 3 - Carn Euny village and fogou Ian McNeil Cooke
1991, 32 pages plus 6 colour photographs.
Sites include Sancreed Church, Crosses and Holy
Well, Boscawen-un Stone Circle, Brane Barrow, Carn Euny Village and Fogou,
Chapel Euny Holy Well, Caer Bran Hillfort, Brane Cross; with detailed
notes on fogous.
Antiquities of West Cornwall Guide 4 - The Tinners Way - St.Just to St.Ives Ian McNeil Cooke
1991, 48 pages plus 8 colour photographs.
Sites include St.Just Church and Crosses,
Kenidjack Cliff Castle, Tregeseal Stone Circle, Holed Stones, Boslow
Inscribed Stone, Boswens Menhir, Chun Quoit, Chun Castle, Bosullow Iron
Age Village, Men-an-Tol, Men Scryfa, The Nine Maidens Stone Circle,
Bodrifty Iron Age Settlement, Mulfra Quoit, Zennor Quoit, Towednack Church
and Crosses, St.Ives Church, Cross and Holy Well.