button to main menu  Old Cumbria Gazetteer
Mayburgh, Yanwath etc
Mayburgh Earthwork
Mayburgh Henge
civil parish:-   Yanwath and Eamont Bridge (formerly Westmorland)
county:-   Cumbria
locality type:-   henge
locality type:-   stone circle (gone) 
locality type:-   standing stone
coordinates:-   NY51922843
1Km square:-   NY5128
10Km square:-   NY52
altitude:-   394 feet
altitude:-   120m
SummaryText:-   Circular bank 6.4m high, with inner area diameter about 87m; single monolith in the middle. There used to be two circles of stones.
references:-   Waterhouse, John: 1985: Stone Circles of Cumbria: Phillimore and Co (Chichester, Sussex):: ISBN 0 85033 566 3
Burl, H A W: 1976: Stone Circles of the British Isles: Yale University Press (United States)

BMF54.jpg (taken 2.6.2006)  
Click to enlarge
BQF27.jpg (taken 11.3.2009)  

evidence:-   old map:- OS County Series (Wmd 3 16) 
placename:-  Mayburgh
source data:-   Maps, County Series maps of Great Britain, scales 6 and 25 inches to 1 mile, published by the Ordnance Survey, Southampton, Hampshire, from about 1863 to 1948.
OS County Series (Cmd 58 8) 

evidence:-   descriptive text:- Simpson 1746
placename:-  Mayburgh
item:-  peace treaty
source data:-   Atlas, three volumes of maps and descriptive text published as 'The Agreeable Historian, or the Compleat English Traveller ...', by Samuel Simpson, 1746.
image SMP3P7, button  goto source
Page 1025:-  "..."
"... Near it [Artur's Round Table] is a kind of Fortifica[tion],"
image SMP3P8, button  goto source
Page 1026:-  "[Fortifica]tion, being a Pile of Stones heaped up in the Form of a Horseshoe, called Mayburgh. At this Place a Peace was concluded in 926, between King Ethelstan, Constantine King of Scots, and other Princes."

evidence:-   old map:- Jefferys 1770 (Wmd) 
placename:-  Druids Temple
source data:-   Map, 4 sheets, The County of Westmoreland, scale 1 inch to 1 mile, surveyed 1768, and engraved and published by Thomas Jefferys, London, 1770.
"Druids Temple"
stone circle and standing stone 
item:-  National Library of Scotland : EME.s.47
Image © National Library of Scotland

evidence:-   descriptive text:- West 1778 (11th edn 1821) 
placename:-  Mayburgh
placename:-  Breingwin
placename:-  Mysirion
placename:-  Maybirion
placename:-  Maybir
item:-  placename, Mayburgh
source data:-   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 WS21P171, button  goto source
Page 171:-  "... Near Eamont bridge is Arthur's round table, and at a small distance from it is Mayburgh, both of remote antiquity, and doubtful use. ... the latter has the circumstances of a British fort; but the rude pillar inclines some to believe it the remains of a druid temple. It is entirely formed of loose stones and pebbles, collected from the adjacent rivers and fields. That the height has once been great, may be collected from the vast breadth of the base, increased by the fall of stones from the top. It incloses an area of 80 yards or more, and near the middle stands a red stone, upwards of three yards high. The entrance is on the eastern side, and opens to a sweet view of Brougham-house, to which the rude pillar when whitened (and of this Mr. Brougham is very careful) is a fine obelisk."
image WS21P172, button  goto source
Page 172:-  "If the name of this very extraordinary monument was Breingwin, then Mr. Pennant, from Rowland, has pointed out its use, viz. 'a supreme consistry of druidical administration, as the British name imports.' But if the present name be a Saxon corruption of the ancient name, which probably was Mysirion, by the Saxons pronounced Maybirion, or Maybir, and to bring its till (sic) nearer to their own language, Mayburgh, then this conjecture being admitted, it will signify a place of study and contemplation [1]. Such places the druids had, and were the public school destined for the colloquial instruction of pupils in mysteries of religion, and the arcana of civil government. Druidical remains are frequent in the neighbourhood, and many of them similar; but Mayburgh is such a huge and singular construction, that it must have been designed for some extraordinary use."
"[1] Mona Antiqua, page 84."

evidence:-   old text:- Clarke 1787
placename:-  Mayburgh
placename:-  Mayborough
source data:-   Guide book, A Survey of the Lakes of Cumberland, Westmorland, and Lancashire, written and published by James Clarke, Penrith, Cumberland, and in London etc, 1787; published 1787-93.
image CL13P009, button  goto source
Page 9:-  "..."
"Near to Eamont Bridge is Mayburgh, or Mayborough, a singular and astonishing piece of antiquity, nothing similar to it appearing either in this or any other country that I can hear of. This curious monument of former ages is a circle, consisting of a"
image CL13P010, button  goto source
Page 10:-  "mound of loose, detached stones (none of them of any great size) containing an area or circus of 90 yards in diameter: the rampart is about 5 yards high, and its external bound comprehends about five acres. In that part which fronts the East is an entrance about 20 yards wide; and near the centre stands a single stone of prodigious magnitude, being upwards of 12 feet high. Some years ago, there were four other stones, though not so large as this which remains; of these, two were placed like door-posts at the entrance, and two in the amphitheatre. These smaller stones were blasted and removed by order of a person who appears to have been at that time the farmer of this place: one of the men employed in the work having hanged himself, and the other turning lunatic, has given a fair opening for vulgar superstition, to impute those misfortunes to their sacrilege in defacing what they suppose was formerly a place of eminent sanctity."
"The origin and design of this singular structure are so uncertain, that nothing more than mere conjecture can possibly be adduced concerning them; it is, according to some, a temple of the Druids, according to others it is a fortress: It may be "the circle of the terrible Loda, with the massy stone of his power," (so often named in those sublime, pathetic, and unequalled poems ascribed to Ossian;) it may, in short, be whatever learning guided by fancy can dictate."
"Among the rest, permit me to lay a conjecture before my readers. The famous Round Table is universally acknowledged to be the scene where the brave of other days vindicated their knighthood by feats of arms. May not this is some measure prove a key to this my serious structure? Their vicinity argues for it, and nothing makes against the idea that this is the Gymnasium where the wrestlers, the racers, and others, not of the degree of knights, performed their exercises; exercises not yet forgotten among the plain, uncultivated mountaineers of this country."
"That it has been no place of worship belonging to the Druids I think very evident: we no where learn that they had either temple or altar. They prophesied, it is said, from the intrails of human victims laid upon stones; but they resided, they worshipped, they taught their pupils in the woods. Their principal seat was in the Isle of Anglisea among the oaks, whence they had their name; and their chief festival was on the first day of the vernal new moon, when they went with great solemnity to gather the sacred misseltoe, to which they attributed many miraculous effects."
source data:-   image CL13P010, button  goto source
Page 10:-  "A farther and stronger argument of Mayburgh having been built about the same time with the Round Table, is drawn from a very well-known piece of history. The knights of King Arthur, the Teutonics, Hospitallers, and Templars, (who were nearly the same,) having built Marienburgh in Prussia, (which differs little in sound from Mayburgh, and had its name from a large oak which stood there,) were afterwards banished Germany; many of them then came into England, where considerable possessions were allotted them. That these domains were in this neighbourhood the name and privileges of Temple-Sowerby plainly evince, as it enjoys to this day the immunities of these knights, viz. exemption from land-tax and all tolls in every market, and freedom from the jurisdiction of the Bishop; the Lord thereof acting both as Bishop and Chancellor in his own Lordship."
"Before we dismiss the subject, I cannot help remarking that the great Countess of Pembroke is totally silent respecting Mayburgh, notwithstanding it was her own property; and Sir Philip Sydney, whose intelligence was very great, resided with her at Brougham Castle during the time he wrote part of his Arcadia."
"Dr. Burn and some others say, that Penrith Castle was built of the stones which were"
image CL13P011, button  goto source
Page 11:-  "taken from Mayburgh; but as neither the stones are of the same kind, nor were the roads in those times practicable for carriages, they must surely be wrong informed."

evidence:-   old text:- Camden 1789 (Gough Additions) 
placename:-  Mayborough
source data:-   Book, 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.
image CAM2P162, button  goto source
Page 162:-  "... on the summit of a small hill, is Mayborough, a vast circular dike of loose stones, the height and diameter at bottom stupendous; it slopes on both sides, and is formed of pebbles. The entrance is on the east, the area 88 yards diameter. Near the middle is an upright stone, nine feet eight inches high, and 17 in circumference in the thickest part. There have been three more placed so as to form a square with it. Four more stood at the corners of the entrance, but all these have been long removed. This may have been a druidical tribunal like Bryngwyn at Trew Drw in Anglesea. Dr. Stukeley supposed it a British cursus. Mr. West derives its name from the British Mysirion,a place of study and contemplation. ..."

evidence:-   old map:- Cary 1789 (edn 1805) 
placename:-  Druids Temple
source data:-   Map, uncoloured engraving, Westmoreland, scale about 2.5 miles to 1 inch, by John Cary, London, 1789; edition 1805.
"Druids Temple"
item:-  JandMN : 129
Image © see bottom of page

evidence:-   old print:- Otley 1823 (8th edn 1849) 
placename:-  Mayburgh
source data:-   Engraving, Mayburgh, Yanwath and Eamont Bridge, drawn by T Binns, engraved by O Jewitt, on p.69 of A Descriptive Guide of the English Lakes, by Jonathan Otley, 8th edition, 1849.
image  click to enlarge
item:-  Armitt Library : A1180.22
Image © see bottom of page

evidence:-   descriptive text:- Otley 1823 (5th edn 1834) 
source data:-   Guide book, A Concise Description of the English Lakes, the mountains in their vicinity, and the roads by which they may be visited, with remarks on the mineralogy and geology of the district, by Jonathan Otley, published by the author, Keswick, Cumberland now Cumbria, by J Richardson, London, and by Arthur Foster, Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria, 1823; published 1823-49, latterly as the Descriptive Guide to the English Lakes.
image OT01P082, button  goto source
Page 82:-  "Mayburgh lies about a quarter of a mile distant from the last, between the river Eamont and the road to Pooley. An area of near one hundred yards in diameter is circumscribed by a mound, formed of an enormous quantity of pebble stones, apparently gathered from the adjoining lands - surmounted by a fence-wall of more modern date, and shaded by lofty trees. There is an entrance on one side, and near the centre stands a rough porphyritic stone about ten feet in height. The dates and purposes of these two interesting pieces of antiquity [also King Arthur's Round Table], are left entirely to conjecture."

evidence:-   descriptive text:- Ford 1839 (3rd edn 1843) 
placename:-  Mayburgh's Mystic Round
source data:-   Guide book, A Description of Scenery in the Lake District, by Rev William Ford, published by Charles Thurnam, Carlisle, by W Edwards, 12 Ave Maria Lane, Charles Tilt, Fleet Street, William Smith, 113 Fleet Street, London, by Currie and Bowman, Newcastle, by Bancks and Co, Manchester, by Oliver and Boyd, Edinburgh, and by Sinclair, Dumfries, 1839.
image FD01P133, button  goto source
Page 133:-  "..."
"... Mayburgh's Mystic Round, a hill, on the summit of which is a circular enclosure, one hundred yards in diameter, formed by pebble stones, having in its centre a column of unhewn stone eleven feet high, and twenty-two feet in circumference. Antiquarians have hazarded several but unsatisfactory conjectures, as to the uses of these mysterious structures. They are evidently of British origin, ..."

evidence:-   site plan:- Historical Monuments 1936
placename:-  Mayburgh
source data:-   Site plan, uncoloured lithograph, Mayburgh, Yanwath, Yanwath and Eamont Bridge, Westmorland, scale about 1 to 400, published by Royal Commission on Historical Monuments England, London, 1936.
image  click to enlarge
On p.253 of the Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Westmorland. 
printed, top  "MAYBURGH / In Yanwath parish"
RCHME no. Wmd, Yanwath and Eamont Bridge 14 
item:-  Armitt Library : A745.149
Image © see bottom of page

evidence:-   old print:- Robertson 1911
placename:-  Mayborough
source data:-   Print, lithograph? Mayborough, Penrith, from a watercolour by Arthur Tucker, published by Chatto and Windus, London, 1911.
image  click to enlarge
Tipped in opposite p.6 of Wordsworthshire by Eric Robertson. 
printed at bottom:-  "MAYBOROUGH, PENRITH"
signed at painting lower left:-  "Arthur Tucker"
item:-  JandMN : 197.3
Image © see bottom of page

evidence:-   old print:- 
placename:-  Mayburgh
source data:-   Print, uncoloured engraving, Mayburgh, Westmorland, drawn by J M W Turner, engraved by J Horsburgh, published by Robert Cadell, Edinburgh and Whittaker and Co, London, 1834.
image  click to enlarge
printed at bottom left, right, centre:-  "J. M. W. Turner R.A. / J. Horsburgh. / Mayburgh. / EDINBURGH, 1834, PRINTED FOR ROBERT CADELL; & WHITTAKER &CO. LONDON."
item:-  Dove Cottage : 2008.107.229
Image © see bottom of page

Click to enlarge
BMF55.jpg (taken 2.6.2006)  

Robertson, Dawn & Koronka, Peter: 1992: Secrets and Legends of Old Westmorland: Pagan Press (Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria) &Cumbria CC (library service)

person:-    : English Heritage

button to lakes menu  Lakes Guides menu.