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

Yellowmead Multiple Stone Circle

Stone Circle


As FourWinds says in the associated forum posts - Yellowmead is surely all about the Tor that overlooks the site: Sheeps Tor (don't blame me for the lack of apostrophe, blame the OS). And up on Sheeps Tor, naturally, there are pixies.
Amid [the 'vast clatter of boulders' on the side on which the village lies] is a narrow opening between two upright rocks, which will admit the visitor, though not without a little difficulty, into a small grotto, celebrated in local legend, and known as the Pixies' Cave.

On entering the cleft we shall find that the passage, which is only a few feet in length, turns abruptly to the left, and we shall also have to descend a little, as the floor of the cave is several feet lower than the rock at the entrance. This turning leads immediately into the cave which we shall find to be a small square apartment capable of containing several persons, but scarcely high enough to permit us to stand upright. On our left as we enter is a rude stone seat, and in the furthest corner a low narrow passage, extending for some little distance, is discoverable.

According to a note in Polwhele's Devon, this cavern became the retreat durng the Civil Wars of one of the Elford family, who here successfully hid himself from Cromwell's soldiers, and it is related that he beguiled the time by painting on the rocky walls of the cavern, traces of the pictures remaining long afterwards, hut nothing of the sort is discoverable now [..]

The cave is rather difficult to find, and one might pass and re-pass the crevice which forms its opening, without ever dreaming that such a place existed there, so narrow does the entrance look. The clatter is a perfect wilderness of boulders, and stretches around to the eastern side of the tor, where the rocks rise perpendicularly, forming a precipice of great height.

As we stand at the entrance to the grotto we may look down upon the little village of Sheepstor and its church with sturdy granite tower, nestling in the sheltered combe, while the grey tor rises high behind us, exposed to all the buffetings of the wild moorland storm.
From chapter 1 of 'Tales of the Dartmoor Pixies'
by William Crossing [1890]. Online in full at the Sacred Texts Archive.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
3rd March 2007ce
Edited 3rd March 2007ce

Comments (0)

You must be logged in to add a comment