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Devil's Stone (Staple Fitzpaine)

Standing Stone / Menhir

Also known as:
  • Monument No. 1089124

Nearest Town:Taunton (7km NW)
OS Ref (GB):   ST266179 / Sheet: 193
Latitude:50° 57' 18.95" N
Longitude:   3° 2' 42.52" W

Added by Rhiannon


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Fieldnotes

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Visited 30.5.10.
Failed to find this one - if it is still there? I drove all around the village and had a good look near the crossroads. All I could see was several large boulder type stones on the kerbside near the crossroads but no sign of a standing stone. The one local I saw out and about knew nothing of a standing stone when I asked him. Perhaps it has been destroyed at some point in the past or perhaps it is just well hidden?
Posted by CARL
1st June 2010ce

Folklore

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The Somerset Historic Environment Record has this to say:
Measures 6ft by 5ft 4ins by 5ft. Composed of hard sandstone of irregular shape, somewhat hollowed out on the sides and partly smoothed and rounded at the top. Several holes on the upper sides.

Local legend has it that the devil gripped it at these holes and flung it at the nearby church, or that hearing of the intended building of the church here, gathered some stones as he approached but fell asleep and dropped the stones.
It also seems that there are a number of similar, smaller stones in the vicinity (suggesting the natural nature of the Devil's Stone) but still, the stone is near the crossroads at the heart of the village.

At Staple Fitzpaine, a few miles west of Taunton, there is by the roadside a big 'Sarten,' known as "the Devil's Stone", because, having come overnight with a lot of big stones on his back, wherewith to pelt the builders of a church which he heard was to be built, against his wish, in that then benighted place, he suddenly saw in the morning the beautiful tower of the finished church; and in his chagrin and amazement he was so taken aback that he dropped his budget of stones from his back; and this big one in particular, from off his shoulder, remains on the spot to this day, as a strong (though dumb) witness of the fact!
Sent in by 'F' on p61 of
Notes and Queries
The Folk-Lore Journal, Vol. 7, No. 1. (1889), pp. 53-63.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
30th June 2005ce
Edited 5th April 2007ce

Miscellaneous

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Details of stone on Pastscape

A standing stone known as "The Devil's Stone" was alleged to be of prehistoric origin. Field investigation found the massive quartz block measuring 2.1m long, 1.2m wide and 1.65m high and due to its proximity to a quarry thought it more likely to be of medieval date or later.
The Somerset SMR (No: 33497) records a standing stone of uncertain date from field name evidence (`Hour Stone' on Tithe Map) and local tradition. (1)
At SS 91427 38665 in an improved pasture field immediately adjacent to a massive limestone quarry (SS 93 NW 57) is a massive quartz block. The stone measures 2.1 m long, 1.2 m wide and is 1.65 m high. The farmer states that the local name for the stone is `The Devil's Stone' and that tradition links it to the Devil hurling material from Dunkery Beacon.
The stone appears unlikely to be prehistoric in origin. Its close proximity to the limestone quarry suggests rather a medieval, or more likely early post-medieval origin.
(Incorrectly plotted on NMR 1:10,000 record sheet) (2)
Chance Posted by Chance
9th May 2016ce