Samuel Palmer to the Ruralists..
An exhibition that has opened at the Victoria Gallery, Bath.
Paul Nash's Eclipse of the Sunflower is there, also Druid Landscape, Megalithic Landscape and work by Graham Sutherland, and The Ruralists of course who lived in Wiltshire, Inshaw painted Silbury and the Owl... continues...
John Wood mentions in the 1769 edition of his 'Description of Bath' that -
The predominant Colour of that part of the Stone in the Works of Stantondrue, supposed to have been taken from Oaky Hole, is Red; and it is so exceedingly hard, that it will polish almost as well as some of the purple Italian Marble, and is as beautiful: The other Stone is of two Colours, White and Grey; the white Stone seems to have been the Produce of Dundry Hill, but the grey Stone resembles the Sand Rocks about Stantondrue, and seems to have been taken from them.
Oaky Hole , I thought... where can that be? I think he's determined to get oaks in there because it's the favourite tree of druids. And where would a druid and his disciples hang out - a cave, like (so he says) Pythagoras and his disciples did. He says that the cave is situated by the City of Wells - so it's Wookey Hole. Geologists probably have alternative theories, but it's interesting as a mythological explanation that gets the druids in there. Wood hypothesised that Stanton Drew itself was a druidical temple and college.
The stone called "Hawkwell's Quoit" is accounted for by a [...] legend. An ancient knight, whose name was Hawkwell, and whose effigy is preserved in Chew Magna church, is reported to have been a giant of immense strength and of a very wicked and malignant disposition. Amongst his other exploits he is reported to have dug a spadeful of earth out of the side of Dundry-hill and flung it from the hole (which is still to be seen in the hill side) to the top of a hill above Norton Malreward, two miles distant, where it forms a considerable tumulus, or barrow, visible many miles round. On his jumping to where the earth had fallen, and having the capabilities of "Spring-heel Jack," he did so at one bound, he scraped his feet on his shovel and so formed a second but smaller barrow; then being an excellent quoit player he threw one of his quoits from the top of the heap intending to knock down the steeple of Stanton Drew church, distant about two and a half miles; in this instance, however, his aim was deficient, and the stone quoit fell short of the mark.
'The Cheerful Visitor' writing in The Bristol Mercury, September 2nd, 1854.