Long Meg

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A large stone circle near Hunsonby (Cumberland/Cumbria) was variously known in the 17th century as ‘Long Meg and her Daughters’ or ‘Great Meg and her Sisters’; Meg, twelve foot high, stands outside the ring formed by the rest—77 of them, according to one source of that period, 66 or 67 according to Victorian sightseers, 59 by a modern count. Tradition says that when counting the stones it is impossible to reach the same total twice, and that men who once tried to uproot them were scared off by a fierce storm. They are said to be women turned to stone for witchcraft, or because Meg's sisters ‘solicited her to an unlawful love’. A treasure is buried under Meg, and she is said to bleed if a piece is chipped off her. The name is unlikely to refer to a particular individual, since ‘Long Meg’ was a proverbial nickname for any tall, thin woman (Westwood, 1985: 310–11).

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