Ancient Cairns or Modern Folly?
Standing as sentinels on the Pennine skyline when viewed from the west, the Nine Standards are a puzzling legacy from the past.
Are they ancient or modern? Boundary markers, beacons or burial sites? Having known these nine lofty cairns as a presence on the hills since his childhood, Stephen Walker set out to find and present whatever evidence he could to shed light on the history of these tantalising features of the fells.
The book combines assiduous detective work – tracking down every reference to the Nine Standards in historical records – with speculation as to their origins and significance. Stephen Walker succeeds in conveying the excitement of the historical chase, as he followed up obscure references and ventured into the arcane world of medieval archives. He has shown that the Nine Standards are no modern folly (they are named in documents from the sixteenth century) and plays with a range of possible origins from the prehistoric to the medieval centuries. Whether or not his speculations are accepted, he has done a valuable service in scouring the archives and bringing together the scattered references to the Nine Standards. Dr Angus J L Winchester, Senior Lecturer in History, Lancaster University.
Colour plates - some black & white photographs