1. An Evening With Long Meg
2. Long Meg 1
3. Long Meg 2

oil on canvas, 40" x 30", 2003, £555

Since I wanted to cast the shadow away from the viewer, astronomically sun-dialing to the circle, I brought in a tinge of colour at the edges to hint at an enveloping wrap on sunset as the ("natural") sky washes over a washed-out hill. With the landscape's background almost bleached it was imperative to make the ash trees appear as brittle as possible, allowing Long Meg itself to provide the colour and hues. Devil of a job distinguishing cows from stones as the sun sank on this one!
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A late neolithic to early bronze age site, constructed some time between 3200BCE and 2800BCE, of local porphyritic stone - except Long Meg herself, a 12’ tall 3-sided pillar of sandstone from the Eden Valley over a mile away. It is thought Long Meg predates the circle and was initially a territorial marker for the local settlement. Burl suggests the circle was interposed between Long Meg and an 600’ by 700’ enclosure to the south, re-using the pillar as an astronomical marker: from the circle, Long Meg indicates the position of mid-winter sunset. Sited to the south west of the circle, Long Meg also sports carvings possibly reflecting the sun’s winter path. With a large portalled entrance also to the south west, the circle is one Britain’s largest, measuring nearly 360’ by 300’ in diameter, with the heaviest stones weighing around 30 tons. The stones originally totalled about 70, with 59 still on site - 27 upright (like many stone circles, the stones are said to be countless), and were erected on a slope with a possible bank and ditch. A track now runs through the circle leading to a farm, the location of which is where Stukeley reported another circle in the early 1700s. Both Stukeley, in 1725, and Aubrey, a century earlier, noted 2 cairns within the circle, both since ploughed away. Many stories focus on this site, still a focal-point for festival gatherings, and the stones have been classed as Long Meg’s coven, lovers and daughters over the years. Long Meg herself, a mediaeval term for any tall object, comes from a C12th tale wherein she was a local witch turned to stone with her coven by the wizard Michael Scott. If a piece is broken from the pillar legend says it will bleed. Another tale tells that many stones were blown up under orders from a C18th landowner to clear for farming, but when they got to Long Meg a thunder storm arose from nowhere and everybody ran off complaining of bad omens.
OS: NY.572.373 Take the A686 north easterly from Penrith, then a minor road to Little Salkeld. Long Meg and her Daughters are off the road from Little Salkeld to Glassonby, now with new signs rather than the old wooden one at a crossroads proclaiming “Druid’s Circle” and often pointing the wrong way


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Featuring the modiste Rachel Leary to scale!

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