The Stone Circle at Temple Druid
The stone circle was created in 2007 by Ros Briagha, who studied, dowsed and worked with the energies and stones already in the land.
“The ancient set-up was of a long stone row, over 200 yards long, and a burial chamber, or dolmen, whose location is now no longer visible. However, our plan was to erect the new circle and a dolmen and put in two standing stones. One being put back in its place in the ancient layout, and one being put where it will take up a relationship with the stone circle, guiding folk in to it in the manner of Maen Mawr, by Cerrig Duon, a lovely little circle on the slopes of the Black Mountain, about 40 miles away. This placing of a large stone, literally Maen Mawr in Welsh, as a guide towards a circle of smaller stones is found in other sites too, and felt appropriate here. We looked at the number of stones available just on the Trusts’ land, in the two fields next to the top field, and there were at least 25. When Jon placed 22 stones on a circle of 22 megalithic yards’ diameter, they are placed roughly every 3.3 megalithic yards. It is possible to make the circle a calender of the rising and setting positions of the sun and moon with this number, and although there is likely to be poor visibility to the east, there could be views to the west, if the trees are kept low. We then discussed grading the stones in size around the circle and this fitted well with the sizes of stones that are available. We felt it would be good to grade them with smallest at the southern entrance, and getting bigger towards the north.
We looked at the second field, where the stone was standing until only 20 years ago. The farmer who moved it lives next door, so we decided try to find out exactly which stone it was, so we could replace it. We finally looked at the bottom field. There are around 12 large stones at the edge, plus at least 2 buried ones on a small platform halfway up the field. The platform felt the right place to put a dolmen, of 3 uprights and a capstone, slightly off the path, with a standing stone on the path. People would only see the stone at first, once the trees grew tall, but when they came up to it, they would see the dolmen too. There were at least three 6 ft stones here, and a big 7×5 one that could be the capstone.
The first holes marked North, South, East and West and I then put in Imbolc sunrise, Beltane, midwinter solstice, and the major southerly moon rise. The minor south moon rise is almost the same as Beltane at this latitude, so it did not get its own point. These points were approximately 3 megalithic yards apart, and I was able to pace the next segment, of sun and moon sets, and then check they were correct.
I went up and down the hedge bank, trying to get the best stones, and also picking the two out for the standing stones in the second and top fields. One of these was the one that was only moved 20 years ago, I had felt quite clear which stone this was. There was also another really tall big one that felt ideal for the top field, where it would be visible as a guide into the circle.
So first we put in the “old” stone where it was marked on my map from 1896. It was a cube, just the right height for sitting on, and trees will be planted fanning out in a circle from it and with a path leading up to it, so it will become a central focus of the field. Next came the standing stone for the top field. Up came the stone in the dumper truck, and I pointed out the spot to drop it off, and then came the JCB and in minutes it was nudged into the ground. I checked that it could be seen, and just as I had hoped, the top just showing as you enter the field. It is visible from the road too, outlined against the skyline.
The next day the first thing to do was to check my measurements on the circle. It seemed that I had only put 4 points in each segment apart from the east-south one, giving 19 stones, but Jon felt that it was better to have 5, so we changed it and corrected any discrepancies using the figures from Brithdir. This brought us to a 24 stone circle, but the stones had other ideas!
The 18 inch wide, six inch deep spade holes vanished into the 3 foot wide, 4 foot deep and 4 foot long JCB holes. At some point we lost the 5th hole in the north-west quadrant, but it was a filler, not a sunset point, so we did not worry too much. Some stones went in less accurately than hoped, but most were pretty spot on. A lesson for the future: place marker poles in a bigger outer ring, maybe 7 ft out, so these points can still be seen even when all the ground is gone!
After an hour or so of brisk and focused activity, we were looking at a lovely stone circle! The stones all looked very harmonious, mostly similar in size but gradually getting smaller towards the south, which has a slightly bigger one again. After the stones were in, we tidied up, and then I put the lumps of white quartz into the centre to mark a potential fire pit. As we sat there, we could see the sun slowly going down to set behind the stone that we had placed to mark this very sunset, at Imbolc.”
Ros Briagha lives and works in Wales. She can be reached at :firstname.lastname@example.org
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