standing stones

standing stones

Hymn to the "Nine Ladies" Stone Circle - Peak District, Derbyshire, England

7mo ago
SOURCE  

Description

I visited this ancient place yesterday - a fine, early Autumn day. No-one around, in stark contrast to the turmoil which beset the Nine Ladies lasting for over ten years - namely commercial quarrying interests versus those who wish to protect these places, of which more below. It is a small early Bronze Age (c 2500 BC) stone circle traditionally believed to depict nine ladies turned to stone as a penalty for dancing on the Sabbath. It is part of a complex of prehistoric circles and standing stones on Stanton Moor, Derbyshire. There are nine upright stones, each of local millstone grit, and each less than a metre high, in a clearing in a (relatively) modern wood planted on Stanton Moor. They sit in a rough circle with a gap at the south side of the circle where no stone-hole has been found. However, an additional stone, lying flat rather than upright, was discovered after being exposed as a crop mark in the dry weather of 1976. It is now visible.The circle is built on an embankment which levelled the local terrain. The small "King Stone" lies forty metres from the circle to the west-south-west and is clearly visible from it. The Nine Ladies were among the 28 archetypal monuments in England and Wales included in General Pitt-Rivers' Schedule to the first Ancient Monuments Protection Act, which became law in 1882. It was taken into state care the following year. The site has been the focus of a long-running environmental protest. In 1999 Stancliffe Stone Ltd submitted a planning application to re-open two dormant quarries (Endcliffe and Lees Cross) on the wooded hillside beside Stanton Moor. The proposed quarry was only 200 metres (660 ft) from Nine Ladies, on land owned by Haddon Hall estate and leased to Stancliffe Stone. A local protest group SLAG (Stanton Lees Action Group) was set up to oppose the quarry. The group was joined by environmental protesters who set up a long-running and controversial protest camp. They built many tree houses, from which the inhabitants are hard to evict. The protesters defied a court eviction order in February 2004, and continued to occupy the site until the winter of 2008--09. In 2004 the High Court of England classified the two quarries as dormant. This decision was appealed but the classification was upheld in June 2005. This meant that the quarries could not re-open until the Peak District National Park Authority agreed on a set of working conditions for them. In 2008 permission to quarry near the circle was finally revoked. (Adapted from and courtesy of Wikipedia). My photos here include shots of the many clooties and other artifacts placed on a young oak tree just South of the circle, among other things in remembrance of the ten year struggle of the many protesters (and indeed the Peak District National Park Authority, the Friends of the Peak District, and the Council to Protect Rural England (CPRE)) in defence of this sacred and beautiful place from the predations of commercial quarrying interests. All is quiet now, as it should be. The music is "Shackleton's Cross", composed and performed here by Howard Goodall CBE, of whom I am very fond, both for his compositions and his eloquent public teaching about the language of music. I have uploaded a couple of his TV broadcasts elsewhere on my Channel. This particular piece is included in the Album "Inspired", and although Mr Goodall's inspiration for this music was a painting by Edward Seago depicting the final resting place in the Antarctic of Sir Earnest Shackleton, I thought it fitting for this subject too. I hope Mr Goodall will not mind my using his beautiful, reflective piece in this context.