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

Hurl Stone

Standing Stone / Menhir


Among the traditions attaching to megaliths and boulders a very common one is that they have been hurled to their place by giants, and crosses have been added by giants to this sport. The famous Hurle Stone at Chillingham, much famed for its circumambulatory ritual expressed in the jingling rhyme:

"Wind about and turn again,
And thrice round the Hurl Stane.
Round about and wind again,
Thrice round the Hurl Stane"

is actually a Christian cross. In this case the acquisition of the tradition may be due to the conformation of the shattered shaft which is pointed and inclines to the east, thus giving it "from a distance the look of a gigantic cross-bow bolt hurled here."**

*Denham Tracts, ii, p142.
**History of Northumberland (Northumberland County History Committee) vol.xiv, 1935, pp323-4
In Pre-Christian Survivals in Connection with Crosses in the North of England
E. M. Guest
Folklore, Vol. 52, No. 3. (Sep., 1941), pp. 224-228.

So is the idea that it was a cross actually part of the folklore? To my untrained eye it seems more convincing crossbow bolt. And when a giant's thrown it, you just know it's a standing stone and not a cross shaft. Probably.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
27th March 2007ce
Edited 27th March 2007ce

Comments (0)

You must be logged in to add a comment