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Updated on June 10, 2011

Elvinhow is a Cumbrian field name given to the field in which stood the mill at which my ancestors worked for a number of generations.

'Elvin' refers to elves which are reputed to be rather malicious fairies or faeries. 'How' in Cumbria comes from an old Viking word and it means 'grave' or 'burial place'. So Elvinhow is 'the burial place of the elves'.

Today Elvinhow is almost sat upon and is loomed over by the mighty Sellafield Nuclear Site. Over the years fields have merged together and it is now more popularly known as Seascale How Farm

On the farm and only a short distance from the ruins of the mill in which my forbears worked is the Grey Croft Stone circle. The circle has been dated to around 2500 BC, Today just 10 of the 12 circle stones remain to form a circle of around 30 metres in diameter.

Grey Croft Stone Circle


Back in 1820 the Seascale farmer, one James Fox took it upon himself to bury the stones as they made ploughing the field difficult and reduced the amount of land for planting. It is highly likely that my ancestors assisted in the burial of the stones. In 1949 the stones were dug up once again and placed into their original positions. The stones vary in height from 3' to 6'.There were a number of artifacts dug up during their restoration. During the restoration work a burial cairn and human remains were found within the perimeter of the circle.

Seascale Mill

The Red dot maks the position of Grey Croft Stone Circle
The Red dot maks the position of Grey Croft Stone Circle

I use Elvinhow as one of my email addresses and in other places too. It helps me remember my roots.

In the 1980's I researched my family tree in depth. All simple hard working English folk with strong injections of Scottish and Irish blood. Not a drop of blue blood anywhere. Illegitimacy and hardship on the land and down the mines. I am proud of my forbears.

I discovered Elvinhow in the Carlisle Record Office. There is even a Painted Map of the immediate area including my ancestors Seascale Mill home.

I have visited twice. There is not a lot to see. The roofless walls of part of the mill remain. Some of the old mill stones lay half buried to the side. The outline of the mill pond is visible in the field.

The building itself so very simple. The living quarters cramped. Easy to envisage the hard life lived here. Entering for the first time the hairs on the back of my neck stood up and I felt that I was being watched. I am not a superstitious person, nor do I believe in ghosts but Seascale Mill and Elvinhow left their marks on me.

I terms of interesting off the beaten track places to visit in England, for me this compared to the very mysterious St. Nectans Glen.

Greycroft Cirle with Sellafield in the Background

Stone Circles of Cumbria


Submit a Comment
  • Peter Dickinson profile imageAUTHOR

    Peter Dickinson 

    8 years ago from South East Asia

    Hello, heello. Thanks. I enjoyed writing it.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 

    8 years ago from London, UK

    A great hub and very enjoyable to read. Thank you.

  • Peter Dickinson profile imageAUTHOR

    Peter Dickinson 

    8 years ago from South East Asia

    Thank you Eiddwen. Much appreciated.

  • Eiddwen profile image


    8 years ago from Wales

    Great hub , so well presented and informative.

    A brilliant video clip to give the finninshing touch to the hub.

    I push all the buttons here and rate up.

    Take care



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