Sarsen

Definitions

  • Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Sarsen One of the large sandstone blocks scattered over the English chalk downs; -- called also sarsen stone, and Druid stone.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n sarsen Same as Saracen (formerly used in a vague sense for foreigner).
    • n sarsen The name given in southwestern England to former inhabitants of the region, and especially to former workers of the tin-mines, the ancient piles of attle in Cornwall and Devon being designated as “Jews' pits,” “Jews' leavings,” “attal-Sarsen” or “-Saracen,” “remains of the Sarcens,” etc.
    • n sarsen [lowercase] Same as Saracen's stone (which see, under Saracen).
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Sarsen sär′sen a local name for the old inhabitants who worked the tin-mines in Cornwall and Devonshire—(the piles of old mining refuse are called attal-Sarsen and Jews' leavings)
    • Sarsen Also Sars′den-stone, Sar′acen's-stone, a name given to the Greywethers of Cornwall
    • ***

Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Etymol. uncertain; perhaps for saracen stone, i.e., a heathen or pagan stone or monument

Usage

In literature:

Two large "Sarsens" or megaliths lie by the side of the building, and a magnificent yew stands in the churchyard.
"Wanderings in Wessex" by Edric Holmes
Here again all the stones are sarsens and all are carefully worked.
"Rough Stone Monuments and Their Builders" by T. Eric Peet
The alternative name Sarsen, has an interesting derivation.
"Stonehenge" by Frank Stevens
Some sarsen stones just showed above the grass: the old folk say that these boulders grow in size and increase in number.
"Round About a Great Estate" by Richard Jefferies
Many of the sarsen stones or greywethers of S.E.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Part 1, Slice 2" by Various
Here lies a sarsen-stone, hard as iron, about a foot thick, the top of which chances to be smooth and level.
"Wild Life in a Southern County" by Richard Jefferies
Thuck sarsen be all five hunderd weight.
"Greene Ferne Farm" by Richard Jefferies
The wind of the downland charmed his bones So off he went for the Sarsen Stones.
"Reynard the Fox" by John Masefield
***

In poetry:

Feathery ash in leathery Lambourne
Waves above the sarsen stone,
And Edwardian plantations
So coniferously moan
As to make the swelling downland,
Far surrounding, seem their own.
"Upper Lambourne" by Sir John Betjeman