|This Iron Age cliff fort has been reused for defensive purposes over the centuries, during the Napoleonic and First World wars. But the IA earthworks (presumably referred to in the folklore below) aren't the first signs of the place's significance - there are also Bronze Age barrows which survive.
In the parish of Goran is an intrenchment running from cliff to cliff, and cutting off about a hundred acres of coarse ground. This is about twenty feet broad, and twenty-four feet high in most places.
Marvellous as it may appear, tradition assures us that this was the work of a giant, and that he performed the task in a single night. This fortification has long been known as Thica Vosa, and the Hack and Cast.
The giant, who lived on the promontory, was the terror of the neighbourhood, and great were the rejoicings in Goran when his death was accomplished through a stratagem by a neighbouring doctor.
The giant fell ill through eating some food--children or otherwise--to satisfy his voracity, which had disturbed his stomach. His roars and groans were heard for miles, and great was the terror throughout the neighbourhood. A messenger, however, soon arrived at the residence of the doctor of the parish, and he bravely resolved to obey the summons of the giant, and visit him. He found the giant rolling on the ground with pain, and he at once determined to rid the world, if possible, of the monster.
He told him that he must be bled. The giant submitted, and the doctor moreover said that, to insure relief, a large hole in the cliff must be filled with the blood. The giant lay on the ground, his arm extended over the hole, and the blood flowing a torrent into it. Relieved by the loss of blood, he permitted the stream to flow on, until he at last became so weak, that the doctor kicked him over the cliff, and killed him. The well-known promontory of The Dead Man, or Dodman, is so called from the dead giant. The spot on which he fell is the "Giant's House," and the hole has ever since been most favourable to the growth of ivy.
From Hunt's 'Popular Romances of the West of England' (3rd ed. 1903), online at the Sacred Texts Archive.
Posted by Rhiannon
15th November 2005ce
Edited 15th November 2005ce