|According to the Pub Barstaff, the bluestone directly in front of the Deleval Arms is not the original, but was placed as a decoy to prevent drunken locals damaging the original, which has been dumped in the beer garden at the back of the pub.
It's also said that the correct spelling is 'Blewstone' and that this refers to the stone's original status as the 'ancient saxon oath stone' that was previously in the centre of the now demolished village of Hartley.
The immediate area is dripping with macabre folklore regarding the Deleval family, who had a reputation for madness, wild parties and witch-burning.
According to 'County Folklore Vol IV, Northumberland', 1904, by MC Balfour, this stone was known as the witches obelisk. It had a variation of an old common theme which said that if you were to run round it seven times without stopping, 'The Witch' would appear.
Here's the text on display in the Deleval Arms Hotel:
"The Blue whinstone at the Old Hartley, near the entrance to the Deleval Arms Hotel, once marked the centre of the village of Old Hartley. A number of these large stones can be seen at various places on the Northumberland coast.
It is generally supposed that they rolled down during the ice age when the ice moved from west to east at the time of the great thaw.
In the early English and Saxon periods, they were called 'Moot Stones' and were used as a meeting place by the 'Wittan', a council of Village elders who gathered to formulate the laws and dispense justice.
During Norman times these stones were used as markers for castles and boundaries.
"Ye large Blew Stone marked ye site of Warkworth Castle" and at Mokseaton, "Ye Boulder Stone was a large "Blew Stone" near ye burn".
The Old Hartley Blue Stone marked the centre of the village and stood near the Blacksmith's shop, it was here that the villagers would meet before setting out on a journey.
At the time of the black death in 1348 it was thought that if one touched the stone they would be immune from the plague.
Over the years the stone became a symbol of good fortune and it was said to become a citizen of Old Hartley you had first to kiss the Blue Stone.
The Story goes that William Carr, the Hartley Samson, who was born at the Hartley Old Engine, and who was in his prime was the strongest man in all England, used to demonstrate his strength by lifting the stone and carrying it under his arm.
When the old village was demolished in 1940, the stone was buried in the path leading from the Blacksmith's shop to the PM chapel and when the new road was planned, Mr Wesley Dickinson removed the stone for safe keeping. When the roadworks were completed in 1973, the Whitley Bay Borough Council replaced the stone as near as possible to it's original position."
According to C.T. Trechmann in 1913, the area immediately to the east of the stone yielded evidence of prehistoric flintworking.
Whilst this proves nowt about the age of the stone, the concentration of flints opposite St Mary's island was in direct contrast with the paucity of similar evidence between this area and the mouth of the Tyne.
'Notes on Neolithic Chipping Sites in Northumberland and Durham' (Transactions Natural History Society of Northumberland, Durham and Newcastle, 2, IV pt. 1, p. 81)
Posted by Hob
18th September 2003ce
Edited 8th September 2006ce