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The Priapus Stone, Great Urswick

The Priapus Stone, Church Rd, Great Urswick, Cumbria. The stone lies in a wall beside a country road about half a mile S of Great Urswick village - close to Holme Bank farm. A relic of a pre-Christian/pagan fertility worship, the stone is 7 foot long, 2 foot 6 inches wide and 1 foot thick. It's weight is approx 1 and a quarter ton. It is made out of a lump of un-hewn limestone, probably from nearby quarries. At one end there are six small holes, five are together in a cluster allowing for fingers to be placed. Up until 1920 the stone had stood up-right in the field close by, but it was built into the wall in order that less damage might occur. It is a somewhat crude phallic symbol that was, long ago, used in ancient fertility rites. The people of Urswick used to decorate the stone to look like Priapus, the ancient god of fertility and son of Aphrodite. The ancient Greeks and Romans honoured him with temples and wall paintings.

Birkrigg Stone Circle

There is much evidence of prehistoric occupation in the area around Urswick and Birkrigg. Several bronze age tumuli can be found on Birkrigg Common. The Druid’s Circle lies on the south-east side of the Common. It consists of two roughly concentric rings. Approximately 30 concentric stone circles exist in the United Kingdom, the best being Stonehenge, with no others in Cumbria. The outer ring consists of about 20 stones which are placed irregularly, some stones obscured by bracken, others are covered by turf. The inner circle has a diameter of about 8.5m and consists of 12 stones made of local limestone with varying heights.


 Urswick Stone Walls, Fort and Burial Chambers

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There are the remains of a fort to the north of Great Urswick (pictured right) and a settlement north west of Little Urswick known as Urswick Stone Walls (pictured below).

There are a number of walks in the area which encompass these  ancient  sites:




There are also several burial chambers in the area.

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