|Ruth Tongue's sources (for her 1965 'Somerset Folklore) knew this as the Danish Camp, or perhaps even 'a Roman look-out or summer camp' (ah, a Roman summer camp, how sweet) and traditionally 'a band of Danish sea-robbers made it their fort while they preyed on the villages.' However, the women they kidnapped thought up a devious plan to get them all incapacitated, so one night while they were all feasting and drinking, the locals suddenly attacked and massacred the lot of them. 'On wild autumn nights at midnight they say you can still hear the revelry, followed by the clash of arms.' Only one of the Danes survived. A girl had fallen in love with the young musician boy who had fled before the battle, his harp slung over his shoulder. She sheltered him for several days until he was discovered - and killed. Afterwards his ghost was said to roam the slopes of Dowsborough - or 'Danesborough'- and heard singing faintly and plucking at his harp. To put it even more romantically (as Lawrence does in 'Somerset Legends'): "At times a startled pony pricks his ears at soft movements in the bracken and the notes of a muted song."
Tongue mentions that 'Wordsworth remembers him in a poem." Wordsworth did live for a time on the edge of the Quantocks. So no doubt 'The Danish Boy'
is the poem she refers to.
John Garland's 'Haunted Somerset' (2007) mentions Berta Lawrence's 'Quantock Country', in which she says:
Near Danesborough Ring the Quantock woodmen swore they heard ghostly music issuing from underground, the revelling of Viking warriors feasting with wassail-cup and song.
Posted by Rhiannon
2nd August 2005ce
Edited 17th April 2009ce