King Arthur’s Hall and
Emblance Downs Stone Circles
A field trip by the Tamar Dowsers - June 2021
Many things have changed during the 2020/1 pandemic and its enforced lockdowns. The last time the TDs were out as a group was in September 2019 - at Mount Edgcumbe, and prior to that in August at Siblyback Lake with TD member Helen Fox. The last time we went to King Arthur’s Hall (KAH), as a group, was in 2006 - and the visit to Emblance Downs Stone Circles was a first. Physically, Bodmin Moor is doubtless largely and endearingly unchanged, but it did look strange, almost surreal, in the unrelenting sunshine - It’s a Scorcher at
St Breward read the improbable local headline, possibly. Wyrd or what?
It is unlikely that KAH has, or had, anything to do with the sleeping leader of mythical Albion, nor does it seem ever to have been a building, as such - and the Stone Circles on Emblance Downs have been neither circular nor erect for centuries. But putting such minor textual misunderstandings aside, both are top quality dowsing locations for diviners of all persuasions.
This outing was led admirably by TD member Stuart Dow, who gave us an introduction to his own reading of KAH and an excellent summary of the views of other dowsing-friendly notables, such as Paul Broadhurst and Robin Heath. Then, armed with sketch maps on which to record our findings, we were encouraged to explore the site for ourselves.
As you might expect, fourteen dowsers can come up with an awful lot of very different perspectives in quite a short time. Everyone had their own pet angles to explore, but there was also much cross fertilisation of ideas. Bodmin Moor can seem a changeless and often inhospitable environment, but dowsers and dowsing have moved on a lot in the last fifteen years, and this was an opportunity for a fresh examination of a timeless old masterpiece.
For those who have never been there, or maybe have only seen it on the Internet, KAH is a sunken sharply rectangular pit the size of a large swimming pool or a small football pitch. Its internal dimensions are a pair of classic 13/12/5 double triangles of sacred geometry fame, and its lengthways cardinal alignment is true north/south. Stuart told us that the Time-seekers Group had found that the solid rock ‘floor’ of the hall is approximately 1.3m below the current surface level of the soil, and that it appeared to be virtually flat. It is surrounded by a single row of upright stones, some fallen or ‘repurposed’ - and four enclosing earth-and-stone banks, presumably made from the infill of the original construction.
It has never been dug by professional archaeologists, but Stuart and others have been pressing English Heritage to allow such an excavation for some time.
And that’s just about it - leaving every bar-room historian, journeyman dowser and dog-walking passer-by to take a view on why such a large and human-resource-hungry structure would be there, in such an out of the way location, in the first place.
The rectangular shape would normally suggest a post Celtic era construction date, but just about the only facet that most dowsers can agree on is that the current incarnation is around 4,000 -5,000 years old, making it a late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age structure, contemporary with other megaliths on Bodmin Moor and Dartmoor.
Some have mused that it might have been an oversized animal pen, but our corporate dowsing did not find this - and only a full soil analysis would provide any serious evidence one way or another. There are several internal springs, one of which rarely runs dry, which would have been an aid to habitation (or indeed husbandry) - but why excavate such a big pit to such precise dimensions, even in a windswept moorland setting, with no digging or dowsing evidence of roofing in any period?
Some have dowsed ritual activity here, although there is little subtle evidence of burials. Again, only a full-scale dig would confirm or deny this. Astro-archaeologists, aided by dowsers of a similar inclination, may have come up with reasons for the location, if not the scale, of KAH - and the potential for the reflection of the night sky in a defined area of water is at least intriguing, especially if the base layer does prove to have been reasonably watertight in times gone by.
For my own part, I found that the shape of KAH appears to have been tightly defined within Benker earth grid lines, which is usually an indication of a significant sacred site or a higher-status homestead.
Two celestial grid lines (as described by EEG founder Bill Gawn) are to be found here. These are a comparatively rare crossing of two parts of the earth/mars grid, which intersect in dug out area dead in the centre, and in the spot that is still the dampest in the summer. This would give the site a very ‘male’ feel, but it is balanced up by the presence of the spring water and two lunar grid lines, which traverse the ‘hall’. The crossing martian lines form a manifestation (which I have never found anywhere else) distinctly different from those generated by crossing earth energy lines. Interestingly, others present also found an astro-archaeological basis, or input, for the shape and/or the location of KAH.
In addition to the earth grids, several TDs found energy currents - including banded and ‘dragon’ lines - running through the ‘hall’. The dowsable energy of the site across a wide spectrum of subtle landscape features, is quite apparent.
When asking to be shown the most important feature for me to dowse that day, I was led to find a ‘line of consciousness’, which runs straight from the edge of the outcrop of Brown Willy (the highest point of Cornwall), through the crossing point of the two martian lines at KAH, through an outlying stone a hundred metres or so SW of KAH on the open moor and - according to the dowsing of my colleague Pete Bousfield - on to distant St Michael’s Mount. The line dowses as being over 80,000 years old - well pre-modern human, but significantly post geological. I am not quite sure what to make of this piece of information!
Another dowser picked up the first use of the site at 53,000 years ago, so maybe I was not as wide of the mark as I had logically supposed.
Others found spiritual or non-physical entities present at KAH - some religious, some elemental and even some from other planets, which actually chimes surprisingly well with the dowsing of the celestial grid lines mentioned above.
Several TDs found the stones surrounding the pit to be alternatively and deliberately male/female. They also dowsed as being contemporary with the existing structure. There was some debate about whether the stones had some calendrical purpose, or whether they were memorial stones for significant former users of the site.
A number of hut circles were dowsed immediately to the west of KAH, which are of a similar date to the extant ‘hall’. This finding was subsequently corroborated by reference to a previous geophysical survey plan of the area.
KAH was felt by some to be a meeting place, but whether it was a ceremonial site was less clear. As ever, with a structure this large, this enduring and this old, doubtless subsequent cultures have made us of it for different purposes.
Without the modern stile and wire fence, it would have had a different feel - and there was some agreement that this was a place for gathering, with people stood on the ‘viewing’ banks.
Emblance Downs Stone Circles are two ruinous former megaliths, side by side and half a mile to the east of KAH. They appear to have been deliberately destroyed, probably in the late 18th century to deter people from using the site - although this does not seem to have worked!
As has happened elsewhere, some of the former standing stones have been identified in nearby field boundary walls - and work may well be undertaken to catalogue these.
The circles do retain some of their energetic features, despite the felling and removal of most of the original stonework. There are the typical energy, water and grid lines to be dowsed - and the site guardian is still in post, despite the degradation of the physical structure. He/she seemed happy that someone was actually taking some positive notice of the site for a change!
Two earth/venus grid lines cross on the edge of the western circle between two of the remaining standing stones. Again, this was something of a first for me, and again the manifestation was interesting to the point of being unique - in the form of a convoluted spiral, somewhat akin to a labyrinth.
The ‘circles’ make up for their lack of physicality by being energetically largely undisturbed in recent times. Another positive side of sites like this is that it shows just how hard the would-be destroyers would have had to work to eradicate the benevolent nature of such structures.
People seemed to be able work around the complete absence of sanitary facilities; patches of reddening skin were treated with appropriate jollop; and Ros provided assistance to a girl who fell off a pony and landed on her (the rider’s) head. Thankfully, she was wearing a regulation hard hat and she was shaken but otherwise apparently undamaged. All taken in our stride by the TDs out on an unpredictable day’s dowsing.
Many thanks to Stuart for setting up this event, and for handling the unavoidable administration - and to Rosie and Neve for bringing the stone circles to our attention, and for providing us with the benefit of their experience.
Many thanks, too, to all those who took the trouble to submit their findings.