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Hanging Stone

Natural Rock Feature

Folklore

This monolith is made from the natural stone of the Leicestershire and Rutland aea.

This natural hanging stone near Oaks in Charwood is the most prominent outcrop in a rocky area that is now part of a nature reserve.

The stone stands 15' high.

Legend tells that this small stone got its name from the accidental hanging of a deer poacher called John of Oxley. Whilst out poaching deer on what is now the Garendon Estate, he was chased off the grounds by the game keepers. Oxley lost sight of his persuers and decided to take refuge in a rocky outcrop. His deer still strapped to his back, Oxley lay over the stone to rest and slipped, the ropes getting caught around his neck. An Odinists end if ever there was one eh Julian?

THE LEGEND OF THE HANGMAN'S STONE

It happened but twice in the tide of time
And once since the Conqueror came,
That Shepshed men were in bed by ten
And Whytwyck wyghts the same.

There were fat red deer in Bardon Park,
Fat hogs on the great Ives Head,
Fat goats in crowds on the grey Lubcloud,
Fat sheep on the Forest shed.

There were coneys in store upon Warren Hill,
And hares upon Longcliffe dell;
And a pheasant whirred it a foot were stirred
In the Haw of the Holy Well.

There were trout in shoals in the Charley Brook,
And pike in the Abbot's lake,
And herons in flocks under Whytwyck rocks,
Their nightly rest would take.

All these were the cause why the Shepeshed men
And the Whytwyck wyghts the same,
Never slumbered when the clock told ten,
But watched for the sylvan game.

What matter that wardens and trusty Regarders
Looked well to the forest right;
The Shepeshed encroachers were aye practised poachers
And their day was the noon of night.

If the smaller prey did not hap in their way,
What matter, the sheep and deer
Were a goodlier meal and the verb "To steal"
Was neuter or nameless here.

John of Oxley had watched on the round Cat Hill,
He had harried all Timber Wood;
Each rabbit and hare said "Ha! Ha!" to his snare
But the venison, he knew, was good.

A herd was resting beneath the broad oak,
(The ranger, he knew, was abed),
One shaft he drew on his well-tried yew
And a gallant hart lay dead.

He tied its legs and hoisted his prize,
And he toiled over Lubcloud brow;
He reached the tall stone, standing out and alone,
Standing then as it standeth now.

With his back to the stone he rested his load
And he chuckled with glee to think
That the rest of the way on the downhill lay,
And his wife would have spiced the strong drink.

That the rest of the way of John of Oxley ne'er trod;
The spcied ale was untouched by him.
In the morning grey there looks that way
But the mountain mists were dim.

Days passed and he came not; his children played
And wept, then played again.
They saw with wet eyes that their mother's wet eyes
Were still on the hills, in vain.

A swineherd was passing over great Ives Head
When he noticed a motionless man.
He shouted in vain, no reply could he gain,
So down the grey stone he ran.

All was clear, there was Oxley one side the stone
On the other the down-hanging deer.
The burden had slipped and his neck it had nipped!
He was hanged by his prize, it was clear.

The gallows still stands upon Shepeshed high lands
As a mark for the poacher to own
How the wicked will get within their own net;
And it's called "The Grey Hangman's Stone"!

Info supplied by Leigh Haywood.

email: leighvitki@hotmail.com
Posted by leighvitki
27th January 2006ce

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