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placename:- Giant's Grave
site name:- St Andrew's Church
locality:- Penrith
parish Penrith town, once in Cumberland
county:- Cumbria
grave; cross; gravestone; hogback gravestone
coordinates:- NY51643017
10Km square:- NY53

1Km square NY5130


Giant's Grave -- St Andrew's Church -- Penrith -- Penrith -- Cumbria / -- 1.5.2009

Giant's Grave -- St Andrew's Church -- Penrith -- Penrith -- Cumbria / -- 12.5.2006

source:- Burrow 1920s

Road strip maps with parts in Westmorland, Cumberland etc, now Cumbria, irregular scale about 1.5 miles to 1 inch, by E J Burrow and Co, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, 1920s.
... The churchyard contains two ancient sandstone pillars with traces of Runic decoration, set at either end of what is known as the Giant's Grave. ...

date:- 1920=1929
period:- 1920s

source:- Martineau 1855

Guide book, A Complete Guide to the English Lakes, by Harriet Martineau, published by John Garnett, Windermere, Westmorland, and by Whittaker and Co, London, 1855; published 1855-71.
Page 170:-
... In the churchyard of Penrith is the monument about which nobody really knows any thing, though it goes by the name of the Giant's Grave. It consists of two stone pillars, with four slabs between them, set up on edge. There are some undecipherable carvings on the upper part of the pillars. This was the monument which Sir. Walter Scott's
Page 171:-
family could not get him past, (though they had all seen it "dozens of times,") when, failing and infirm, he set out on his last sad journey, in pursuit of health. Passing through Penrith, he would see the Giant's Grave; and thither he limped, to wonder once more what it could mean.
person:- : Scott, Walter, Sir
date:- 1855
period:- 19th century, late; 1850s

descriptive text:- Ford 1839 (3rd edn 1843)

Description of Scenery in the Lake District, by William Ford, published by Charles Thurnham, London, et al, 1839; published 1839-52.
Page 131:-
[Penrith] ... In the churchyard is a curious relic of antiquity, called the Giant's Grave, consisting of two large pillars, ten feet in height, and distant fifteen feet from each other in the direction of east and west, having the space between them partly enclosed on each side by four large thin stones. ...

placename:- Giant's Grave
date:- 1839
period:- 19th century, early; 1830s

old text:- Camden 1789 (Gough Additions)

Britannia, or A Chorographical Description of the Flourishing Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland, by William Camden, 1586, translated from the 1607 Latin edition by Richard Gough, published London, 1789.
Page 188:-
... On the north side [of the church] in the church-yard are two square obelisks, of a single stone each, 11 or 12 feet high, about 12 inches diameter, and 12 by 8 at the sides, the highest about 18 inches diameter, with something like a transverse piece to each, and mortified into a round base. They are 14 feet asunder, and between them is a grave inclosed between four semicircular stones of unequal lengths of five, six, and four and an half, and two feet high, having on the outsides rude carving and the tops
Page 189:-
notched. This is called the Giant's Grave, and ascribed to sir Ewan Caesarius, who is said to have been as tall as one of the columns, and capable of stretching his arms from one to the other to have destroyed robbers and wild boars in Englewood forest, and to have had an hermitage hereabouts called sir Hugh's parlour. From the latter part of this tradition Dr. Todd describes the four stones as cut in the form of boars, which, unless he saw them less sunk in the ground than at present, can only mean that they were cut round, and perhaps rough on the edge like the back of those animals. The Doctor supposes these pillars were intended to place corpses on at the north or Death's door of the church; but their height contradicts this, and the name of Grave, given to it by uniform tradition, assigns it as the burying-place of some considerable person, whose eminence is expressed by the distance of the stones asunder. Mr. Sandford says the place was opened in his time, and the great long hand-bones of a man, and a broad sword were found. ...

placename:- Giant's Grave
person:- : Caesarius, Ewan, Sir
person:- : Todd, Dr
person:- : Sandford, Mr
date:- 1789
period:- 18th century, late; 1780s

old text:- Clarke 1787

Guide book, A Survey of the Lakes of Cumberland, Westmorland, and Lancashire, by James Clarke, Penrith, Cumberland, and in London etc, 1787 and 1789; and Plans of the Lakes ... 1793.
page 16:-
In the church-yard is a curious monument of antiquity, generally called the Giant's-Grave: it consists of two pillars, about four yards high, and 40 inches in circumference, placed parallel to the side of the church, and distant about five yards from each other: on these is the remains of carved work, and from one to the other are two rows of large stones cut into segments of circles, likewise bearing marks of sculpture, and inclosing a small area. The origin of this, like most of our northern antiquities, is obscure, some affirming it to be the burying-place of one champion, some of another: most of them however agree, that his sirname was Caesarius, though one calls him Sir Owen, another Sir Hugh, and a third Sir Ewan.
Dr Burn tells us, upon the authority of Mr Sandford's manuscript history, that Sir Hugh Caesario had an hermitage in that neighbourhood called Sir Hugh's Parlour: ...
Page 17:-
... Mr Sandford farther says, whilst he was Schoolmaster in Penrith, this place was opened by William Turner, and the bones of a man of extraordinary stature, and a broad sword, were found there.
An equally probable account of this place is taken from an old tradition and song, which informs us that one Torquin, a man of gigantic stature, but addicted to all kinds of rapine and brutality, lived in a cave in this neighbourhood, on the banks of the river Emont. This den, which yet retains the name of the Giant's Cave, is about two miles from Penrith, ...

placename:- Giant's Grave
person:- : Caesarius, Hugh, Sir
person:- : Sandford, Mr
person:- : Torquin
person:- : Turner, William
date:- 1787
period:- 18th century, late; 1780s

descriptive text:- West 1778 (11th edn 1821)

Guide book, A Guide to the Lakes, by Thomas West, published by William Pennington, Kendal, Cumbria once Westmorland, and in London, 1778 to 1821.
image WS21P170, button   goto source.
Page 170:-
In the church-yard are some sepulchral monuments, which have long been the subject of antiquarian speculation, not yet decided. Thus much is evident, that the pillars alluded to are of one stone, formed like the ancient spears; the shafts round, for about seven feet high; above that, they appear to be square, and to have terminated in a point. They are about ten feet high, stand parallel to the church, distant from each other fifteen feet. The space between is inclosed with circular stones, by some conjectured to represent boars. There remains visible, on the upper part of the pillars, some ornamental work, but no inscription or figures appear at present, and the stones are so much fretted by time, that it rests upon mere conjecture to affirm there ever were any. They probably mark the tomb of some great man, or family, before the custom was introduced of interring within churches, and are most likely British, or if not, must be Saxon.
date:- 1778
period:- 18th century, late; 1770s

descriptive text:- Simpson 1746

The three volumes of maps and descriptive text published as 'The Agreeable Historian, or the Compleat English Traveller ...', by Samuel Simpson, 1746.
image SMP4P183, button   goto source.
In the Church Yard of this Place, on the N. Side of the Church are two large pyramidal Pillars, erected about four Yards high each of them, and about five Yards distant from one another: These, it is said, were set up in Memory of one Sir Owen Caesar, Knight, in old Time, a famous Warrior of great Strength and Stature, who lived in these Parts, and kill'd wild Boars in the Parish of Englewood, which much infested the Country: He was bury'd here, and, as Tradition reports, was of that prodigious Stature, as to reach from one Pillar to the other; to which it farther adds, That the rude Figures of Boars, which are wrought in the Stone, and placed on each Side of his Grave, are in
image SMP4P185, button   goto source.
Memory of his great Exploits on those Creatures.
person:- : Caesar, Owen, Sir
date:- 1746
period:- 18th century, early; 1740s

descriptive text:- Defoe 1724-26

Travel book, Tour through England and Wales, by Daniel Defoe, published in parts, London, 1724-26.
At Penrith also we saw several remarkable things, some of which I find mentioned by the right reverend continuator of Mr. Cambden, and which I was glad to see, so confirm'd my observation, viz. ... Two remarkable pillars fourteen or fifteen foot assunder, and twelve foot high the lowest of them, though they seem equal. The people told us, they were the monuments of Sir Owen Caesar, the author above nam'd calls him, Sir Ewen Caesarius, and perhaps he may be right; but we have no inscription upon them. This Sir Owen, they tell us, was a champion of mighty strength, and of gygantick stature, and so he was, to be sure, if, as they say, he was as tall as one of the columns, and could touch both pillars with his hand at the same time.
They relate nothing but good of him, and that he exerted his mighty strength to kill robbers, such as infested the borders much in those days, others related wild boars; but the former is most probable.

person:- : Caesar, Owen, Sir
date:- 1724=1726
period:- 18th century, early; 1720s

descriptive text:- Bowen 1720 (plate 94)

Road book, Britannia Depicta Or Ogilby Improv'd, including road strip maps with sections in Westmorland, scale about 2 miles to 1 inch, derived from maps by Ogilby, 1675, and a county map of Westmorland, scale about 8 miles to 1 inch, with text by John Owen, published by Emanuel Bowen, London, 1720; published 1720-64.
thumbnail B094m282, button to large image
Notice the two vertical ?stones drawn by the church at Penrith.
... In ye Church Yard on ye North Side of ye Church, are 2 large Pillars, about 4 Yards high, and 5 Yards distant, which as ye Tradition goes, were erected in Memory of one Sr. Owen Casarins Kt. a famous Warriour of Old, of great Strength & Stature, who Lived in these parts & Killed wild Bears &c. He was Buryed here & (as tis related) was of that vast extent as to reach from one Pillar to ye other. Tis further Added that ye Rude Figures of Bears wrought in Stone & placed on each side his Grave, are in Memory of his great exploits. ...
person:- : Casarins, Owen, Sir
date:- 1720
period:- 18th century, early; 1720s

old map:- Ogilby 1675 (plate 38)

The grave is by St Andrew's Church, but to the north not south.
Road book, Britannia, strip road maps, with sections in Westmorland and Cumberland etc, scale about 1 inch to 1 mile, by John Ogilby, London, 1675; and a general map of England and Wales.
image OG38m282, button   goto source.
thumbnail OG38m282, button to large image
In mile 282, Cumberland.
Two pillars near the church in Penrith.
date:- 1675
period:- 17th century, late; 1670s

old print:- Robertson 1911

Wordsworthshire, by Eric Robertson, Windermere, Westmorland, illustrated by Arthur Tucker, published by Chatto and Windus, London, 1911.
thumbnail RSN105, button to large image
Print, lithograph? Penrith Churchyard, from a watercolour by Arthur Tucker, published by Chatto and Windus, London, 1911.
Tipped in opposite p.16 of Wordsworthshire by Eric Robertson.
Showing the Giant's Grave and the Hutchinson Family tomb.
printed at bottom:-
PENRITH CHURCHYARD / ('Giant's Graves' and, in nearest foreground, Hutchinson family tomb)

placename:- Giant's Graves
person:- : Hutchinson Family
date:- 1911
period:- 1910s

old print:- Pearson 1900s

Guide book, Pearson's Gossipy Guide to the English Lakes and Neighbouring Districts, published by C Arthur Pearson, Henrietta Street, London, 1900s.
thumbnail PS1E72, button to large image
Print, halftone photograph, The Giant's Grave, Penrith Churchyard, St Andrew's Church, Penrith, Cumberland, published by C Arthur Pearson, Henrietta Street, London, 1900s.
On p.207 of Pearson's Gossipy Guide to the English Lakes and Neighbouring Districts.
printed at bottom:-

placename:- Giant's Grave
date:- 1900=1909
period:- 1900s

old print:- Rose 1832-35 (vol.3 no.4)

Engravings - Westmorland, Cumberland, Durham and Northumberland Illustrated; from drawings by Thomas Allom, George Pickering, and H Gastineau, described by Thomas Rose, published by H Fisher, R Fisher, and P Jackson, Newgate Street, London, 1832-35.
thumbnail PR0033, button to large image
Print, uncoloured engraving, The Giant's Grave, in the Churchyard, Penrith, Cumberland, drawn by Thomas Allom, engraved by R Sands, published by Fisher, Son and Co, London, 1835.
vol.3 pl.4 in the set of prints, Westmorland, Cumberland, Durham and Northumberland Illustrated.
printed at bottom left, right, centre:-

placename:- Giant's Grave
date:- 1832=1835
period:- 19th century, early

old print:-
thumbnail PR0108, button to large image
Print, uncoloured engraving, Monumental Stones, Penrith, Cumberland, ie the Giant's Grave, drawn by Mrs Dawson Turner, engraved by T Higham, published by W Clarke, New Bond Street, 1817.
Included in the Antiquarian Itinerary.
printed at bottom:-
Engraved by T. Higham for the Antiquarian Itinerary from a Sketch by Mrs. Dawson Turner. / Monumental Stones, Penrith, Cumberland. / Published for the proprietors June 1. 1817. by W. Clarke. New Bond Street.
date:- 1817
period:- 19th century, early

old print:- Calverley 1899

Notes on the Early Sulptured Crosses, Shrines and Monuments in the Present Diocese of Carisle, by Rev William Slater Calverley, edited by W G Collingwood, published for the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, by Titus Wilson, Kendal, Westmorland, 1899.
thumbnail CV1131, button to large image
thumbnail CV1132, button to large image
Photographs by W L Fletcher.
date:- 1899
period:- 19th century, late; 1890s

tiny photograph, 
button to large Giant's Grave -- St Andrew's Church -- Penrith -- Penrith -- Cumbria / -- 22.7.2005

tiny photograph, 
button to large Giant's Grave -- St Andrew's Church -- Penrith -- Penrith -- Cumbria / -- Drawn by T Allom, engraved by R Sands, published by Fisher ans Co, 1820s.
tiny photograph, 
button to large Giant's Grave -- St Andrew's Church -- Penrith -- Penrith -- Cumbria / -- 19th century engraving of the hogback gravestones.
tiny photograph, 
button to large Giant's Grave -- St Andrew's Church -- Penrith -- Penrith -- Cumbria / -- 19th century engraving of the hogback gravestones.

observation The 'Giant's Grave' in the churchyard of St St Andrew's Church, Penrith, is an arrangement of two crosses and four hogback tombstones. All are badly weathered.

hearsay The giant was Tarquin, supposedly killed by Sir Lancelot of the Lake.

Old Cumbria Gazetteer - JandMN: 2013

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