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Wyck Beacon (Round Barrow(s))

This round barrow still stands about 2.5m high, perched on top of the hill. Today it apparently sports a triangulation pillar.

Grinsell and O'Neil's research for the 1960 'Gloucestershire Barrows' found that it was considered to be the grave of a famous highwayman from Westcote village. Perhaps you know more?
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
19th April 2005ce

Temple of Diana

Further to RiotGibbon's post, I found this in Peter Ackroyd's "London the Biography":

In the records of St Paul's Cathedral the adjacent buildings are known as 'Camera Dianae'. A 15th century chronicler recalled a time when 'London worships Diana'. She was the goddess of the hunt, so perhaps linking with the ceremony "that took place at St Paul's as late as the 16th century: a stag's head was impaled on a spear and carried about the church; it was then received upon the steps of the church by priests wearing garlands of flowers upon their heads."
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
8th April 2005ce

Castle How (Hillfort)

The Iron-Age fort at Castle How has fairly unusual rock cut defensive ditches, and the top of the knoll is artificially levelled too - surely no small task. The top is known as 'the fairy glen', and - you've guessed it - is the haunt of the little people.

The Bords describe two anecdotes about the site in 'Secret Country'. The first is about a man who was climbing up to the top of the fort. He stumbled, and in doing so overturned a rock. Clambering on, he happened to look back, and there was a man dressed in green sitting on the same stone. When shortly he turned to look again, the figure was gone.

Secondly, they tell of some children who (no doubt searching for treasure) were spending the day digging on the fort. They found a hut with a slate roof. Returning to the spot after their lunch they could not find the hut, though the spades appeared to be in the same place they'd left them nearby. A few days later the children's father was walking his dog on top of the hill, when he saw two tiny figures dressed in green. In a rather unfriendly gesture he set his dog on them, but the poor animal stopped in its tracks before it reached them, and returned nervously. The man then saw the figures 'step into the ground'.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
7th April 2005ce

Robin Hood's Butts (Somerset) (Round Barrow(s))

From Mathews' "Tales of the Blackdown Borderland", 1923.
Many years ago when passing by the spot I was told that an old couple, who got their living by making brooms from the heather so plentiful hereabout, actually dug themselves a big cave in one of the barrows, and used it for a dwelling place for some years.
They obviously weren't afraid of the ghosts - he also mentions how "A great battle took place there long ago and hundreds of Cromwell's soldiers are buried there" and that "a tradition of ghostly possession persists" with children (and faint-hearted adults) not daring to pass the mounds at night.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
4th April 2005ce

Pole's Wood South (Long Barrow)

The antiquarian Reverend David Royce (a Victorian rector of Nether Swell) said the barrow had been "seen at times, by those gifted with second sight, swathed in unearthly flame".


('Gloucestershire Barrows' - Grinsell and O'Neil - Proc Brist Glos Arch Soc 1960)
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
4th April 2005ce

Windmill Tump (Long Barrow)

Leslie Grinsell collected a couple of stories about the barrow. Mrs Clifford, who excavated the site, heard there was a tradition of an underground passage here extending for some distance from the Tump. He also spoke to a Mr Rymer of Cherington in 1960, who told him of the belief that a golden coffin lay buried inside.

('Gloucestershire Barrows' - Proc Brist Glos Arch Soc 1960.)
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
4th April 2005ce

The Grickstone (Long Barrow)

The 'Grickstone' itself is apparently a stone alone with no hint of a barrow. Grinsell and O'Neil'*s source said it "was put up when the Greek wars were in England" and "a Greek officer is supposed to have been buried under it."

Not far away there was Grickstone Farm long barrow at ST782832. Its three chambers were excavated in 1844, revealing many skeletons. You could still see some slabs of stone at its SE end in 1960. The photo on the Megalithic Portal just has it as a bump in the ground. Their photo of the stone though makes that look worth visiting - and it's conveniently next to a footpath.

(*'Gloucestershire Barrows' - Trans Brist Gloc Arch Soc 1960.)
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
4th April 2005ce
Edited 26th March 2011ce

Lamborough Banks (Long Barrow)

It is said that a mysterious passageway lies beneath Lamborough Banks.

(Grinsell and O'Neil: 'Gloucestershire Barrows' - Proc Brist Glos Arch Soc 1960.)
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
4th April 2005ce
Edited 18th August 2005ce

The Giant's Stone (Long Barrow)

"Men have had the terrifying experience of seeing headless human beings [here] which have vanished."
(Thank god they vanished, eh. Mentioned in Trans Brist Glouc Arch Soc 1931.)

Also, a look at the map shows that the stones are in 'Battlescombe' - you can't help speculating that they might be caught up in a story about people (or giants?) killed in battle - many megaliths are said to be such graves. Maybe if you live locally you know more??
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
4th April 2005ce

Oldwalls Farm (Long Barrow)

This barrow is on the edge of a slight spur and is 56m long, orientated ESE-WNW. It's been rounded down by ploughing but a 1947 aerial photograph shows it trapezoid shape, with the wider end at the east.

In the 1940s, rumour was that the barrow had been opened 70 years previously in search of a golden coffin.

(info from Magic / 'Gloucestershire barrows' PBGArchSoc 1960)
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
4th April 2005ce

Lodge Park (Long Barrow)

Traditions of an underground passage at the site were noted by Grinsell and O'Neill in their 'Gloucestershire Barrows' edition of the Trans Brist Glouc Arch Soc for 1960. Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
4th April 2005ce

Hazleton Long Barrows

The eminent Leslie Valentine Grinsell spoke to a local farmer in Puesdown Inn in 1959. He told him that the older farmers in the area would say that when the plough went over one of these longbarrows, the ground sounded hollow.

The south barrow used to have 2 upright stones at its SE end, but these were gone by the 1920s. Got in the way of the plough probably. Oh well. But they kind of indicate the 'megalithic' nature of the barrow and hence that it might well have sounded hollow, maybe having a chamber inside.

(Trans Brist Gloc Arch Soc 1960 - Gloucestershire Barrows)
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
4th April 2005ce

The Merry Maidens (Stone Circle)

"I do know a story about the Merry Maidens, and it is a true story".

"In 1907 an emmet (an outsider) from England bought the farm where the Merry Maidens stone circle stands. Thinking that the stones lessened the value of the field, the new owner ordered one of his workers to pull them down and add them to the stone walls surrounding the meadow".

The worker, a Cornishman, protested, but the Englishman insisted: "This is my field, and I'll do with it what I please, and you'll do as I say!"
Next day the Cornishman hitched up three shire horses to a chain and began the task. Anyway, while pulling over the first stone the lead horse panicked, reared up, then fell over dead.
Reporting this to his master, the Cornishman asked if he should fetch another horse for the task.
"No," said the landowner. "Set the stone back upright. We'll pull the lot of them down later."

But the stone circle was left undisturbed, and remains so to this day.

Daniel Bowen Craigue. May 2002.
stubob Posted by stubob
28th March 2005ce

Crousa Common Menhirs (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Slimmed down a little from:
Robert Hunt's "The Crowza Stones."
"Popular Romances of the West of England. Volume 2". 1903.

St Just, from his home in Penwith, being weary of having little to do, except offering prayers for the tinners and fishermen, went on a visit to the hospitable St Keverne, who had fixed his hermitage in a well-selected spot, not far from the Lizard headland.

St Just gloried in the goodly chalice from which he drank the richest of wines, and envied St Keverne the possession of a cup of such rare value. Again and again did he pledge St Keverne; their holy bond of brotherhood was to be for ever.

The time came when St Just felt he must return to his flock; he departed. St Keverne sending many a blessing after his good brother.

St Just had not long left before St Keverne missed his cup. Diligent search was made in every corner of his dwelling, but no cup could be found. At length St Keverne could not but feel that he had been robbed of his treasure by his friend.

His rage was excessive. St Keverne felt that his wisest course was to pursue the thief inflict summary punishment on him, and recover his cup. St Keverne started in pursuit of St Just. Passing over Crowza Down, some of the boulders of "Ironstone" which are scattered over the surface caught his eye, and presently he whipped a few of these stone pebbles into his pockets, and hastened onward.

Near Tre-men-keverne he spied St Just. St Keverne worked himself up into a boiling rage, and toiled with increased speed up the hill, hallooing to the saintly thief; who pursued his way for some time in the well-assumed quiet of conscious innocence.

Long and loud did St Keverne call on St Just to stop, but the latter was deaf to all calls of the kind and on he went, quickening a little.

At length St Keverne came within a stone's throw of the culprit, and calling him a thief and adding some of the most choice epithets from his holy vocabulary. Taking a stone from his pocket, he let it fly after St Just. The stone falling heavily by the side of St Just, convinced him making all the use he could of his legs. He quietly untied the chalice, which he had fastened to his girdle, and let it fall to the ground.

St Keverne came up to where his cup glistened in the sunshine. He had recovered his treasure. Therefore he took, one by one, the stones from his pockets--he hurled them, fairly aimed, after the retreating culprit, and cursed him as he went.

There the pebbles remained where they fell, the peculiarity of the stone being in all respects unlike anything around, but being clearly the Crowza stones, attesting the truth of the legend; and their weights, each one 'being several hundred pounds, proving the power of the giant saint.
stubob Posted by stubob
28th March 2005ce

Devil's Quoit (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

From Robert Hunt's "Popular Romances of the West of England. Volume 1" Published 1903.

"It is curious to find one tradition directly contradicting another. We are told, on the one hand, that The devil never came into Cornwall.

Because, when he crossed the Tamar, and made Torpoint for a brief space his resting-place, he could not but observe that everything, vegetable or animal, was put by the Cornish people into a pie.

He saw and heard of fishy pie, star-gazy pie, conger pie, and indeed pies of all the fishes in the sea. Of parsley pie, and herby pie, of lamy pie, and piggy pie, and pies without number. Therefore, fearing they might take a fancy to a "devily pie," he took himself back again into Devonshire".
stubob Posted by stubob
28th March 2005ce

Bowerman's Nose (Natural Rock Feature)

The monumental mass of granite on Dartmoor, known as Bowerman's Nose, may hand down to us the resting-place and name of a giant whose nose was the index of his vice; though Carrington, in his poem. of " Dartmoor," supposes these rocks to be

"A granite god,
To whom, in days long flown, the suppliant knee
In trembling homage bow'd."

Let those, however, who are curious in this problem visit the granite idol; when, as Carrington assures us, he will find that the inhabitants of

"The hamlets near
Have legends rude connected with the spot
(Wild swept by every wind), on which he stands,
The Giant of the Moor."

"Popular Romances of the West of England" Robert Hunt. 1903.
stubob Posted by stubob
28th March 2005ce
Edited 29th March 2005ce

Gigmagog's Grave Ballywillin, Coleraine (Wedge Tomb)

The Farmer whose land it is on says the field has always been known as Gigmagog's field, although has never known the identity of Gigmagog. Posted by hashi
28th March 2005ce

Nine Maidens (Troon) (Stone Circle)

"Tradition says the stones indicate the graves of nine sisters. Hals (?) appears to think some nuns were buried here".

Robert Hunt's "Popular Romances of the West of England. Vol 1". 1903.
stubob Posted by stubob
28th March 2005ce

Zennor Quoit (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

"I was in the neighbourhood of Zennor in 1859, and by accident came across the Zennor cromlech, and was struck with the mode of its construction (not having heard of its existence before), and thinking it bore some resemblance to the Druidical altars I had read of, I inquired of a group of persons who were gathered round the village smithery, whether any one could tell me anything respecting the heap of stones on the top of the hill. Several were in total ignorance of their existence.

One said, 'Tes caal'd the gient's kite; thas all I knaw.' At last, one more thoughtful, and one who, I found out, was considered the wiseacre and oracle of the village, looked up and gave me this important piece of information,

--'Them ere rocks were put there afore you nor me was boern or thoft ov; but who don it es a puzler to everybody in Sunnur (Zennor). I de bleve theze put up theer wen thes ere wurld was maade; but wether they was or no don't very much mattur by hal akounts. Thes I'd knaw, that nobody caant take car em awa; if anybody was too, they'd be brot there agin. Hees an ef they wus tuk'd awa wone nite, theys shur to be hal rite up top o' th hil fust thing in morenin. But I caant tel ee s' much as Passen can; ef you 'd zea he, he 'd tel he hal about et.'"

From Robert Hunt's "Popular Romances of the West of England. Volume 1". 1903.
stubob Posted by stubob
28th March 2005ce
Edited 15th June 2005ce

Rudston Monolith (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Folklore from 'DF' at Driffield Online
Many moons ago - when I was small, we were led to believe that if you ran round the stone backwards 100 times an Angel would appear from the top, blowing a trumpet. Many's the time that my friend and I got to 99 times but never dared to run the last lap!!
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
23rd March 2005ce

Robin Hood's Butts (Somerset) (Round Barrow(s))

This is from 'English Fairy and Other Folk Tales'
by Edwin Sidney Hartland (1890). He quotes from an older book called 'Pandemonium' by Bovet (1684).
The place near which they most ordinarily showed themselves was on the side of a hill, named Black-down, between the parishes of Pittminster and Chestonford, not many miles from Tanton. Those that have had occasion to travel that way have frequently seen them there, appearing like men and women, of a stature generally near the smaller size of men. Their habits used to be of red, blue, or green, according to the old way of country garb, with high crowned hats.

One time, about fifty years since, a person living at Comb St. Nicholas, a parish lying on one side of that hill, near Chard, was riding towards his home that way, and saw, just before him, on the side of the hill, a great company of people, that seemed to him like country folks assembled as at a fair. There were all sorts of commodities, to his appearance, as at our ordinary fairs: pewterers, shoemakers, pedlars, with all kind of trinkets, fruit, and drinking-booths. He could not remember anything which he had usually seen at fairs but what he saw there. It was once in his thoughts that it might be some fair for Chestonford, there being a considerable one at some time of the year; but then again he considered that it was not the season for it. He was under very great surprise, and admired what the meaning of what he saw should be.

At length it came into his mind what he had heard concerning the Fairies on the side of that hill, and it being near the road he was to take, he resolved to ride in amongst them, and see what they were. Accordingly he put on his horse that way, and though he saw them perfectly all along as he came, yet when he was upon the place where all this had appeared to him, he could discern nothing at all, only seemed to be crowded and thrust, as when one passes through a throng of people. All the rest became invisible to him until he came to a little distance, and then it appeared to him again as at first.

He found himself in pain, and so hastened home; where, being arrived, lameness seized him all on one side, which continued on him as long as he lived, which was many years, for he was living in Comb, and gave an account to any that inquired of this accident for more than twenty years afterwards; and this relation I had from a person of known honour, who had it from the man himself.

There were some whose names I have now forgot, but they then lived at a gentleman's house, named Comb Farm, near the place before specified. Both the man, his wife, and divers of the neighbours assured me they had at many times seen this fair-keeping in the summer-time, as they came from Tanton market, but that they durst not adventure in amongst them, for that every one that had done so had received great damage by it.
Chestonford is now called Churchinford.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
22nd March 2005ce

The Rollright Stones (Stone Circle)

In the book 'Ghosts and Witches of the Cotswolds' J A Brooks tells how the Stones are supposed to go down to the stream to drink on New Year's Eve. There was no evidence of this the next day when I visited (01/01/2005ce) but an offering of Holly, Ivy and Misletoe had been made to one of the Stones.

J Harvey Bloom's book Folk Lore, Old Customs and Superstitions in Shakespeare's Land recalls how a farmer would shut his gates around the stones and would find them open the next day, even if fastened by padlocks and chains. He also tells of how a farmer tried to move a stone down the hill and how his team of horses became terrified and could only move it a few yards. It only took one horse, however, to pull the stone back up the hill.
Posted by Zeb
20th March 2005ce

Elbolton Hill (Sacred Hill)

The cave gazetteer at CAPRA explains that pottery and skeletons from the Neolithic and Early Bronze ages were found in the caves inside Elbolton. Finds are in the Craven museum in Skipton.

There are so many caves here with many weird names. Elbolton Cave /Pot itself is also known as Navvy Noodle Hole and Knave Knoll Hole. It is rather a strange landscape with these entrances to worlds below - it is any wonder it is famed as the haunt of fairies?

A tale related in the Readers Digest 'Folklore Myths and Legends of Britain' mentions them - and they weren't very nice ones either. A man from Burnsall was walking home in the moonlight, when he was surprised to come across a crowd of them dancing. They hadn't seen him so for a while he tried to keep quiet, watching their antics. However, (quite well-meaningly I feel) he eventually piped up: "Na' then, Ah'll sing a song if tha loikes." But the fairies were not impressed and actually beat him up. His bruises lasted for ages.

I've found the story in Yorkshire Legends and Traditions which says:
[The man from near Burnsall] was passing Elbothon Hill - the fairies' haunt - when he saw a large number of them dancing in the moonlight. He knew their wishes always to be left uninterrupted; but he so far forgot himself as to off to join in their revellings by singing a song. He was at once attacked by the whole band, and so punished by pinches and kicks, that he was glad to get away as quickly as possible. He, however, succeeded, as he fled, in taking one of them prisoner - whether a lady or a gentleman the record sayeth not - and he secured, as he thought, him or her, in the pocket of his coat. Rejoicing in the capture, he hastened home, where he delighted his children, by telling of the beautiful living doll he had secured for them. But, alas! when the prison-house was opened and searched, the prisoner had fled!
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
18th March 2005ce
Edited 22nd July 2012ce

Dane's Dyke

The 'Readers Digest Folklore Myths and Legends of Britain' suggests that the dyke is haunted by a spectral 'White Lady'. I can't find any more on her, but did notice on the map that there is a spring called the Gell/Gel-Spring at the southern end of the dyke - and white ladies are often associated with springs and water. Can 'gell' mean girl? Or is the fact it is an old word for 'leech' more significant? Or perhaps it's just like the word 'gill' for a narrow stream. Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
18th March 2005ce

Brimham Rocks (Rocky Outcrop)

This idea of a 'druidic oracle' stone and much more besides can be found at
Mr Rooke holds the usual opinion of the Britons as being ignorant, I'm afraid.
Some Account of the Brimham Rocks in Yorkshire
In a Letter to the Rev. Mr. Norris, Secretary
By Hayman Rooke Esq.
Read at the Society of Antiquaries, May 25th 1786.

I think [this] may be called an oracular stone, though it goes by the name of the Great Cannon. It rests upon a bed of rock, where a road plainly appears to have been made leading to the hole (a), which at the entrance is three feet wide, six feet deep, and about three feet six inches high. Within this aperture on the right hand is a round hole, marked (b), two feet diameter, perforated quite through the rock, sixteen feet, and running from south to north. In the above mentioned aperture, a man might lie concealed, and predict future events to those that come to consult the oracle, and is heard distinctly on the north side of the rock, where the hole is not visible. This might make the credulous Britons think the predictions proceeded solely from the rock deity. The voice on the outside is as distinctly conveyed to the person in the aperture, as was several times tried.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
16th March 2005ce
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