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Cauldon Lowe

Round Barrow(s)

Also known as:
  • Caldon Low
  • Ribden Lowe

Nearest Town:Ashbourne (10km E)
OS Ref (GB):   SK077478 / Sheets: 119, 128
Latitude:53° 1' 37.37" N
Longitude:   1° 53' 6.65" W

Added by Rhiannon

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Legend has it that the round barrow on top of the hill (also known as Ribden Lowe) was inhabited by fairies. Mary Howitt (a popular Victorian writer) wrote a ballad about watching them dance on midsummer's night and the remarkably helpful activities they were planning - sound more like the domestic hob to me..
"And where have you been, my Mary,
And where have you been from me?"
"I've been to the top of the Caldon-Low,
The midsummer night to see!"

"And what did you see, my Mary,
All up on the Caldon-Low?"
"I saw the glad sunshine come down,
And I saw the merry winds blow."

"And what did you hear, my Mary,
All up on the Caldon-Hill?"
"I heard the drops of water made,
And the ears of the green corn fill."

"Oh! tell me all, my Mary,
All, all that ever you know,
For you must have seen the fairies,
Last night, on the Caldon-Low."

"Then take me on your knee, mother;
And listen, mother of mine.
A hundred fairies danced last night,
And the harpers they were nine.

"And their harp strings rung so merrily
To their dancing feet so small:
But oh, the words of their talking
Were merrier far than all."

"And what were the words, my Mary,
That then you heard them say?"
"I'll tell you all, my mother;
But let me have my way.

"Some of them played with the water
And rolled it down the hill;
'And this,' they said, 'shall speedily turn
The poor old miller's mill;

"'For there has been no water
Ever since the first of May;
And a busy man will the miller be
At dawning of the day.

"Oh, the miller, how he will laugh
When he sees the milldam rise!
The jolly old miller, how he will laugh
Till the tears fill both his eyes!"

"And some they seized the little winds
That sounded over the hill;
And each put a horn into his mouth,
And blew both loud and shrill.

"'And there,' they said, 'the merry winds go
Away from every horn;
And they shall clear the mildew dank
From the blind old widow's corn.

"'Oh, the poor, blind widow,
Though she has been blind so long,
She'll be blithe enough when the mildew's gone
And the corn stands tall and strong.'

"And some they brought the brown lintseed,
And flung it down from the Low;
'And this,' they said, 'by the sunrise,
In the weaver's croft shall grow.

"'Oh, the poor, lame weaver,
How he will laugh outright
When he sees his dwindling flax-field
All full of flowers by night!'

"And then outspoke a brownie,
With a long beard on his chin:
'I have spun up all the tow,' said he,
'And I want some more to spin.

"'I've spun a piece of hempen cloth,
And I want to spin another;
A little sheet for Mary's bed,
And an apron for her mother.'

"With that I could not help but laugh,
And I laughed out loud and free;
And then on the top of the Caldon-Low
There was no one left but me.

"And all on the top of the Caldon-Low
The mists were cold and gray,
And nothing I saw but the mossy stones,
That round about me lay.

"But coming down from the hilltop
I heard afar below
How busy the jolly miller was
And how merry the wheel did go.

"And I peeped into the widow's field,
And, sure enough, were seen
The yellow ears of mildewed corn
All standing stout and green.

"And down by the weaver's croft I stole,
To see if the fax were sprung;
And I met the weaver at his gate
With the good news on his tongue.

"Now this is all I hear, mother,
And all that I did see;
So prithee, make my bed, mother,
For I'm tired as I can be."

I found this at
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
27th January 2005ce
Edited 26th February 2005ce


Add miscellaneous Add miscellaneous
This "slightly mutilated" barrow is 1.8m high and about 30m across. An antiquarian excavation found a large flat capstone over a drywalled cist in the centre of the barrow. The cist contained a contracted inhumation, a flint knife and two barbed and tanged arrowheads. Next to the cist was a 0.6m deep pit paved with flat stones; it contained a cremation, two flints and five pieces of bone. Pottery and two small pieces of bronze were also found. No fairies.

Info from the scheduled monument record.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
27th January 2005ce
Edited 27th January 2005ce