Maes Howe


A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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Maeshowe or Maiden's Mound, a tumulus in Stenness parish, Orkney, near the head of the Loch of Harray, 9 miles WNW of Kirkwall and 5¾ NE of Stromness. Conical in shape, it rises to the height of 36 feet above the level of the circumjacent plain, and is engirt at a distance of 80 feet from its base by a moat of considerable breadth. On the W side it is entered by a narrow passage, 62 feet long and from 21/3 to 4½ feet high, the whole being mostly constructed of huge blocks of stone. It was first opened in 1861, and was then found to contain a central chamber, 15 feet square, converging to a vaulted roof originally 20 feet high. Three little cham. bers branch off from the one in the middle; and on the stones are a series of Runic inscriptions, supposed to date from the middle of the 12th century, and thus affording no clue to the origin of the tumulus itself. See James Fergusson's Rude Stone Monuments (1872); and vol. i., pp. 101.104, of Dr Hill Burton's History of Scotland (ed. 1876).

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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