Longstone in original position

Longstone in original postion.
(click to enlarge)
Credit: Henrietta Quinnell (Miles)

The granite moorlands of the St Austell area were once, like Bodmin Moor and Penwith, marked out by standing stones and barrows or cairns. Single standing stones may have been erected to mark a route to an important ceremonial site. They may have marked significant places that were themselves honoured over a long period of time. The most familiar one in the clay country is the Longstone which now stands in Roche. Its original position was on the Longstone Downs. It weighs 2.8 tonnes and is almost 3.5 metres long.

There were many ceremonial centres on the high granite moorlands, where they could be seen and from where people could see the surrounding countryside. Probably they were not all in use at the same time and they may have represented different traditions of worship and belief. They were built away from where people lived. It is possible that they represented burial and religious centres to which the people of the more fertile sheltered lowlands made pilgrimages. Certainly to people of the Bronze Age, the moors were a very special place that had to be approached along set routes and with a feeling of awe.