The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Devil's Stone (Staple Fitzpaine)

Standing Stone / Menhir


The Somerset Historic Environment Record has this to say:
Measures 6ft by 5ft 4ins by 5ft. Composed of hard sandstone of irregular shape, somewhat hollowed out on the sides and partly smoothed and rounded at the top. Several holes on the upper sides.

Local legend has it that the devil gripped it at these holes and flung it at the nearby church, or that hearing of the intended building of the church here, gathered some stones as he approached but fell asleep and dropped the stones.
It also seems that there are a number of similar, smaller stones in the vicinity (suggesting the natural nature of the Devil's Stone) but still, the stone is near the crossroads at the heart of the village.

At Staple Fitzpaine, a few miles west of Taunton, there is by the roadside a big 'Sarten,' known as "the Devil's Stone", because, having come overnight with a lot of big stones on his back, wherewith to pelt the builders of a church which he heard was to be built, against his wish, in that then benighted place, he suddenly saw in the morning the beautiful tower of the finished church; and in his chagrin and amazement he was so taken aback that he dropped his budget of stones from his back; and this big one in particular, from off his shoulder, remains on the spot to this day, as a strong (though dumb) witness of the fact!
Sent in by 'F' on p61 of
Notes and Queries
The Folk-Lore Journal, Vol. 7, No. 1. (1889), pp. 53-63.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
30th June 2005ce
Edited 5th April 2007ce

Comments (0)

You must be logged in to add a comment