The Framing of Sperris Quoit

Sperris Quoit is located in West Cornwall and is an example of one of the earliest stone monuments found here in the UK dating from the Neolithic. A type of megalithic burial chamber, this Quoit is not as impressive as its neighbour Zennor, with only one upright it is completely missing its capstone. Although excavations found a cremation pit which gives evidence for its purpose.

Sperris Quoit

Just above the quoit are a number of interesting moor stones, some of these are capstone shaped and you can see where the inspiration for the design of some of the West Cornwall quoits came from. One collection of rocks on slightly higher ground to the quoit has a square gap through which you can look.

Framing stone

In one direction the quoit is framed and in the other direction a local headland.

Framing of Sperris Quoit
Framing of headland

If you clamber on top you will see one of the stone has some deep etchings into the surface, whether these are natural or manmade is hard to tell, but the position of the stone and orientation of the etchings are of interest. Forming a T shape, the top of the T runs from 230 degrees in the direction of the headland to 50 degrees in the direction of the quoit.


Underneath the frame seems to follow the same orientation. This would mean that the winter solstice sunset would fall over the headland and shine through the framed gap onto the quoit. Giving an illumination of the stone at this most ceremonial time of the calendar.
This has not been tested and would need to be tried out observationally before confirmation of this alignment could be verified.

The framed headland itself as a position for winter solstice is a great choice as it is a liminal location. The level of the sea horizon changes with the Moon phase, meaning that you may get the sunset onto a high sea horizon above the headland, or just onto the headland itself. If it set into the sea, you would have the added opportunity of seeing a green flash while looking through the framing stone.

2 thoughts on “The Framing of Sperris Quoit

  1. Very interesting how the level of the ocean horizon can change with the tides, I’ve never thought of that! I tried to locate the framing stones in the directions indicated but only see some on the slope to the northwest of the quoit, and nothing that seems to fit the description toward the southwest and the winter solstice sunset. Am I in the right place? 50.190191°, -5.544538°


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