|If you were travelling from Everleigh to Collingbourne Kingston, you'd come this way. You might well go through the strip of woodland between the barrows. But I hope you'd have a clear conscience.
You see, there was once a pair of highway robbers who terrorised the Bath road - they were no Robin Hoods and would take from rich and poor alike. That was bad enough, but when they killed an old farmer and his wife with an iron bar, and then set fire to the farmhouse to disguise their crime - well the local men had had enough. Everyone was after them and the murderers had to hide up by day where they could, moving on under the cover of night.
This night they were crossing the Downs between Everleigh and Collingbourne Kingston. Luckily (so they thought) there were some woods which they could take a rest in - but they forgot that nobody ever went that way after dark if they could help it - especially those with evil consciences. They heard the distant shouting of their pursuers and headed deeper between the trees. But - what was that strange green light ahead? Two green saucer-like eyes were watching them! They stumbled away down another path in panic - but there the eyes were again shining right by their shoulders.
Screaming they ran out of the wood and straight into the hands of the men - who took them straight to Devizes Jail. "We knew we'd get them when they ran down into the woods. All we had to do was wait and let the Black Dog send 'em back," the villagers said.
The robbers were hanged back in the eighteenth century, but it's said the (crime fighting?) Black Dog was seen in the twentieth.
Story from 'Forgotten folk tales' by Ruth Tongue (1970).
Elsewhere (like the Wambarrows) Black Dogs are associated with barrows - so I don't see why these barrows shouldn't be his home.
Posted by Rhiannon
28th May 2009ce
Edited 28th May 2009ce