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

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Rhiannon

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Yes Tor (Cairn(s)) — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Yes Tor</b>Posted by Rhiannon

Bellever (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork) — Images

<b>Bellever</b>Posted by Rhiannon

Rippon Tor (Cairn(s)) — Images

<b>Rippon Tor</b>Posted by Rhiannon

Yellowmead Multiple Stone Circle — Images

<b>Yellowmead Multiple Stone Circle</b>Posted by Rhiannon

Vixen Tor (Cist) — Images

<b>Vixen Tor</b>Posted by Rhiannon

Wistman's Wood — Images

<b>Wistman's Wood</b>Posted by Rhiannon

The Plague Market At Merrivale (Multiple Stone Rows / Avenue) — Images

<b>The Plague Market At Merrivale</b>Posted by Rhiannon<b>The Plague Market At Merrivale</b>Posted by Rhiannon

Brent Tor (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork) — Images

<b>Brent Tor</b>Posted by Rhiannon

The Spinsters' Rock (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Images

<b>The Spinsters' Rock</b>Posted by Rhiannon

Bowerman's Nose (Natural Rock Feature) — Images

<b>Bowerman's Nose</b>Posted by Rhiannon

Puggie Stone (Natural Rock Feature) — Folklore

If you had £3m you could have bought the house that owns the land this stands on. It would be nice to overlook the Puggie Stone from your windows. I wouldn't say no.
Scarcely half a mile above Holy-street, a tor rises near the river's brink on the south side, called, by the country people, the Puckie, or Puggie Stone, and celebrated for the large rock-basin, or pan, (as it is popularly called,) on its summit. The antiquary, trusting to local report, will be disappointed when after having succeeded in scaling the rock, he finds that the characteristics of the genuine rock-basin, as described [on p.29] are not sufficiently clear to enable him to pronounce, that this is not one of the examples, attributable exclusively to the operation of natural agencies. Although of large size, it is not of the usual circular form, nor do its sides display any decisive indications of artificial adaptation. But if disappointed in the main object of his research, the explorere will be repaid for his escalade, by the commanding view he will have gained of the wild-wood glen down which the Teign rushes, foaming along its rock-bound channel, in all the youthful vigour of a mountain-born torrent.

For the means of examining this basin, as it can only be reached by a ladder, I am indebted to the kindness of Mr. Nicolas Clampit, the hospitable occupier of the interesting old mansion at Holy-street, one of the Forest tenants.
Samuel Rowe's 'Perambulation of the antient and Royal Forest of Dartmoor and the Venville Precincts' (1848). You'd think he would like the fact the basin's not 'real' and natural. You'd think he might like that someone deliberately adjusted it (c.f. druid sacrifices). If anyone even did. I would like it either way, natural or artificial.

'Puckie' surely has to have connections with the piskies - like 'puck'. (Though a 'puggy' was a word for a squirrel far away in eastern England).

JLW Page (in his 'exploration of Dartmoor and its antiquities' 1889) says "This isolated stone is certainly the largest single mass off the Moor, though some of the blocks under Combe Farm, at the entrance of the Teign Gorge, rivals. It has a length of twenty-five feet, a breadth of eleven, and is no less than fourteen feet in height."

Bowerman's Nose (Natural Rock Feature) — Folklore

[There is] the tradition that "Bowerman" lived in the locality at the time of the Conquest. He must have had something peculiarly striking in the pattern of his nose! Still we like to keep our "Bowerman" as a personality, and feel hardly grateful to modern learning, which comes down upon us with ponderous weight and says we have ignorantly corrupted the Celtic name of Vawr Maen, the Great Stone.
From 'Dartmoor and its surroundings: what to see and how to find it.' by Beatrix F Cresswell, 1900.

Bowerman's Nose (Natural Rock Feature) — Images

<b>Bowerman's Nose</b>Posted by Rhiannon

Castallack Round (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork) — Folklore

Historic England's website mentions the alternative name of Roundago, so I guess this is the place. It says 'the round was first depicted on the 1840 Tithe Map when it still had a massive stone outer wall with an entrance to the south and a colonnade of stones which led to an inner circular enclosure. When described by Blight in 1865, the inner enclosure could hardly be traced and the avenue had been removed. However, the ramparts were still massively constructed.'
Unfortunately, not a few of the hoary remains of an unlettered age have been wilfully or ignorantly destroyed, although some owe their preservation as much to the lasting superstitions of the people as to their remote positions, apart from the haunts of man. The following story will shew that some ojections still remain in the popular mind against interfering with these ancient stones. Farmers find the rude crosses, which are still very numerous in Cornwall, extremely convenient as gate-posts, and to that use many of them have been brought. Such an one set his labourer to sink a pit for a post, but when the pit was finished and the labourer weas told that the cross standing in the field, a little distance off, was to be placed in it, the man absolutely refused to have any hand in the matter; not, be it said, on account of the beautiful or the antique, but for fear of "the old people."

Another farmer related that he had a neighbour who "haeled down a lot of stwuns called the Roundago, and sold 'em for building the docks at Penzance. But ne'er a penny of the money he got for 'em ever prospered, and there wasn't wan of the hosses that haeled 'em that lived out the twelve-month; and they do say that some of the stwuns do weep blood, but" --reluctantly-- "I don't believe that."
From 'Cornwall Pre-historic and Present' by C G Harper in 'Architecture' v2, pp176-184 (1897).

Henry VIII Mound (Round Barrow(s)) — Folklore

In the grounds of the Lodge, which command a fine view of the Thames, St George's Hills and Kingston Vale, is a mound, marked as the King's Standinge on the oldest extant map of the Park, dated 1637, the year of its first enclosure. This quaint name, the real meaning of which cannot be determined, is supposed to have reference to the legend that Henry VIII. stood upon the mound to watch for the going up of the rocket which was to announce to him that the head of Anne Boleyn had fallen, and, in deference to this tradition, care was taken when Sidmouth Wood was planted not to intercept the view from the mound, by leaving a clear space, through which the dome of St. Paul's can be seen on exceptionally clear days, between two rows of trees that some years hence will form a fine avenue. Unfortunately, however, there is really no more historic foundation for the romantic story connected with the King's Standinge-- Henry having been far away from Richmond on the day of the unfortunate queen's death -- than for the even more improbable supposition that Oliver's Mount takes its name from Oliver Cromwell having witnessed from it a battle between the Royal and Parliamentary forces, no struggle having taken place that could possibly have been seen from Richmond Park.
From 'The Royal Manor of Richmond, with Petersham, Ham and Kew' by Mrs A G Bell (1907).

Kit's Coty (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Images

<b>Kit's Coty</b>Posted by Rhiannon

Whitcott Keysett (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Miscellaneous

At a distance of somewhat more than a mile from Clun, in a field to the right, near the hamlet of Whitcott Keysett, stands one of those extraordinary stones which are usually classed under the title of Druldical monuments. It is a flat, broad stone, of very irregular shape, placed upright in the ground, in which it is evidently inserted to a considerable depth. Above ground it measures eight feet three inches in height by seven feet broad.
From 'Wanderings of an Antiquary' by Thomas Wright, 1854. (It's curious that I added this site to the database myself, a million years ago - it must have a bit of folklore to go with it?).

Painswick Hill (Hillfort) — Images

<b>Painswick Hill</b>Posted by Rhiannon

Lud's Church (Natural Rock Feature) — Images

<b>Lud's Church</b>Posted by Rhiannon

Reynard's Kitchen — Images

<b>Reynard's Kitchen</b>Posted by Rhiannon

The Wrekin (Hillfort) — Folklore

From 'Hell's Gate' we ascend to 'Heaven's Gate' and so win our way to the brow of the Wrekin, 1,335 feet above the sea. 'There is on the Toppe of this Hill a delicate plaine Ground, and in this plaine a fayre Fountaine,' wrote Leland, the antiquary, long ago. No water is to be found there now except such as collects, from time to time, in the 'Raven's Bowl,' a cup-like depression on the top of a conical outcrop of rock, know as the 'Bladder, (or Balder's) Stone.' At the foot of this rock there is a deep, narrow, crooked cleft, yclept the 'Needle's Eye.' Now the fable goes that, if any young maid dips her foot into the Raven's Bowl, and then 'threads the Needle's Eye,' by scrambling through the cloven rock, she will be married within a twelvemonth, 'so sure as there's acherns in Shropshire.
Acherns = acorns? From 'Nooks and Corners of Shropshire' by H T Timmins (1899).

The Great Circle, North East Circle & Avenues (Stone Circle) — Folklore

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.

Maes Knoll (Hillfort) — Folklore

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.

Ffynnon Eilian (Sacred Well) — Folklore

WELSH SUPERSTITION

At the late Flint Assizes a man was indicted for extorting 14s. 6d. from another person under the pretence of rescuing him from "the well," Llaneilion.

It appears that a profitable species of incantation has long been practised by the wizards and witches in the neighbourhood of this celebrated well. It is customary, even at the present day for people at enmity with each other to write the names of those they wish to denounce on a piece of slate or paper, which they throw into the mysterious well; and it is implicitly believed, that so long as the name remains therein, the person is at the mercy of the evil genii, and consigned to ultimate perdition.

To escape from this worse than papal malediction, sums of money are given to have the name removed, and thus restore the party to peace. This indictment, it is hoped, will have the effect of finally destroying this ridiculous and superstitious custom. About twelve years ago, a poor tailor in Flintshire was charged with stealing a goose from an old woman; she was asked how she came to suspect the offender; when she observed that having threatened to "throw his name into the well," he confessed the crime!
From the Royal Cornwall Gazette, Falmouth Packet and Plymouth Journal, September 9th, 1818. Kind of reminds me of the lead curses thrown into the pool at Aquae Sulis nearly 2000 years before.

Guernsey — Links

Digimap Guernsey


Online mapping for Guernsey monuments. It's not brilliant - you don't seem to be able to filter by the age of the monument, which is a shame. And it won't give the grid reference. But it might help you a bit.

La Varde (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Folklore

"L'Autel des Vardes" at L'Ancresse.

This consists of five enormous blocks of granite, laid horizontally on perpendicular piles, as large as their enormous covering. Around it, the remains of a circle of stones, of which the radius is thirty-three feet, and the centre of which coincides with the tomb. Mr Metivier says in his "Souvenirs Historiques de Guernesey" that this "Cercle de la Plain," in Norse Land Kretz, on this exposed elevation, could not fail to attract the attention of the Franks, Saxons, and Normans, and thus gave its name to the surrounding district.

In it were found bones, stone hatchets, hammers, skulls, limpet shells, etc., etc.

It is perhaps to this latter fact that we must attribute the idea which is entertained by the peasantry that hidden treasures, when discovered by a mortal, are transformed in appearance by the demon who guards them into worthless shells.
From Guernsey Folk Lore by Edgar MacCulloch, edited by Edith Carey (1903).

Hitter Hill (Cairn(s)) — Images

<b>Hitter Hill</b>Posted by Rhiannon

Oliver's Castle (Hillfort) — Images

<b>Oliver's Castle</b>Posted by Rhiannon

Gib Hill (Artificial Mound) — Images

<b>Gib Hill</b>Posted by Rhiannon

Kilcarroll (Rath) — Folklore

In the townland of Kilcarrol in Thomas Keating's land there is a fort by the name of "The Fort of The Black Dog". There was a tree growing in the middle of it, one night a man was going to another house and as he was passing the fort a light appeared before him. The next thing he saw was a black dog. The man turned to run but the dog caught him by the coat and turned him back. The man took up a stick which was beside him and started to beat the dog, but the dog stretched him on the ground. They were fighting for a long time until a man came to them. They both killed the dog and they buried him near the tree and covered him with a pile of stones round, and the stones are to be seen yet and the tree also.
From the Schools Collection of the 1930s, currently being transcribed at Duchas.ie. The black dog isn't overtly described as supernatural (and it seems to be mortal) but its attendant light and habit of lurking about in a fort suggest otherwise to listeners of the story that know these symbols. The Historic Environment Viewer shows quite a collection of interesting things here - the rath, which contains a 'Foot Stone' according to the old 25" map (maybe a foot print of someone in stone?), and also Tobercarroll (a holy well), and a penitential station.

White Loch of Myrton (Crannog) — Folklore

The White Loch of Myrton has a rather other-worldly reputation. It was said that:
In Galloway, the Loch, called Loch-myrton, although it be common to all fresh water to freeze in Winter, yet the one halfe of this Loch doth never freeze at any time.
From 'A Memoriall of the most rare and wonderfull things in Scotland' - published in 'Certeine Matters Concerning the Realme of Scotland, composed together', 1603.

Andrew Symson disagrees in his 'Large Description of Galloway' (1684), and being a minster is rather disaproving of people's rituals involving the water:
This loch is very famous in many writers, who report that it never freezeth in the greatest frosts. Whether it had that vertue of old, I know not; but sure I am it hath it not now; for this same year it was so hard frozen that the heaviest carriages might have been carried over it. However, I deny not but the water thereof may be medicinal, having receaved severall credible informations, that severall persons, both old and young, have been cured of continued diseases by washing therein; yet still I cannot approve of their washing three times therein, which, they say, they must do; neither the frequenting thereof the first Sunday of the quarter, viz. the first Sunday of February, May, August and November; although many foolish people affirm, that not only the water of this loch, but also many other springs and wells have more vertue on those days than any other.
It also had fairy connections:
Sir Godfrey McCulloch having squandered his patrimony and sold his estates in Mochrum to the Maxwells of Monreith, took up house at Cardoness. Here a neighbour, William Gordon, having poinded some cattle straying on his lands, Sir Godfrey joined a party illegally convened to release them. A fray was the result, in which McCulloch, in the words of his indictment, "did shoot at the said Gordon with aa gun charged, and by the shot broke his thigh bone and leg, so that he immediately fell to the ground and within a few hours thereafter died of the same shot wound." Sir Godfrey fled the country, and some years after ventured on a Sunday to attend a church in Edinburgh. A Galloway man was among the congregation, who, recognising him, jumped up and cried: "Pit to the door, there's a murderer in the kirk!" This was done, McCullough arrested, tried, condemned, and his head "stricken fra his body" the 5th of March 1697. So say the Criminal Records: there is a very different local version of the story.

Long long before the fatal encounter, and before he had entered on the evil courses which led to his ruin, Sir Godfrey, young and curly, sat at a window in the Tower of Myrtoun watching the operations of a gang of workmen forming a new sewer from his house to the White Loch below it. Suddenly he was startled by the apparition close beside him of a very little old man whose hair and beard were snowy white, whose strangely-cut costume was green, and who seemed in a state of furious wrath.

Sir Godfrey received him, notwithstanding, with the greatest urbanity, and begged to be told in what way he could serve him. the answer was a startling one; "McCulloch," said the visitor, "I am the king of the brownies! My palace has been for ages in the mound on which your tower stands, and you are driving your common sewer right through my chalmer of dais [i.e. his best room]."

Sir Godfrey, confounded, threw up the window and ordered the workmen to stop at once, professing his perfect readisness to make the drain in any such direction as might least incommode his majesty, if he would graciously indicate the same. His courtesy was accepted, and Sir Godfrey received a promise in return from the now mollified potentate, that he, the said king, would stand by and help him in the time of his greatest need.

It was long after this that the knight of Myrtoun disposed of his enemy in the summary way we have already mentioned, and for which he was condemned to die. The procession had started for the place of eecution; a crowd was collected to see the awful sight; when the spectators were surprised by seeing a very little man with white hair and beard, dressed too in an antique suit of green, and mounted on a white horse. He issued from the castle-rock, crossed the loch without a moment's hesitation, and rode straight up to the cart on which Sir Godfrey, accompanied by the executioner and a minister, was standing. They plainly saw Sir Godfrey get on the horse behind the little man, who was no other than the king of the brownies (and thus fulfilled his promise by arriving in his hour of need): the two recrossed the loch, and mounting the castle-rock they disappeared.

When the astonished crowd again turned their eyes to the cart a figure was still there, and wondrous like Sir Godfrey; it was, therefore, generally believed that he had met a felon's doom, and most people thought no more about it. A few only knew better, but these cared little to speak about the matter. At rare intervals, however, one of the initiated would impart the story to a friend, and tell how a head had rolled upon the ground, leaving a bleeding trunk upon the scaffold: then adding in a confidential whisper, "It was no' him ava, it was just a kin' o' glamour."
From Andrew Agnew's 'Hereditary Sheriffs of Galloway', volume 2, 1893.

Little Dennis (Promontory Fort) — Folklore

The parish of St Antony in Kirrier occupies a mere neck of land, bounded on one side by the Helford River, and on the other by the Durra. The church, embosomed in trees, and almost close to the water's edge, stands on the southern side of the narrowest part of the promontory, the extreme eastern point of which is cut off by an ancient earthwork, Castle Dinas, which was occupied during the Great Rebellion, and surrendered to Sir Thomas Fairfax in 1646. It was the last place in Cornwall held for the King, except St. Michael's Mount and Pendennis Castle, and was defended by Sir Richard Vyvyan.

The situation of the church is very peculiar, and has a legend attached similar to that of Gunwalloe. It is said that soon after the Conquest, as some Normans of rank were crossing from Normandy into England, a tempest drove them on the Cornish coast where they were in momentary danger of destruction; but in their distress they called on St Antony, and vowed if he would save them from shipwreck they would build a church in his honour on the spot where they should first land. The ship was wafted into the Durra creek, and there the pious Normans as soon as possible fulfilled their vow.
From J T Blight's Churches of West Cornwall (1885).

Clava Cairns — Images

<b>Clava Cairns</b>Posted by Rhiannon<b>Clava Cairns</b>Posted by Rhiannon

Druidtemple (Clava Cairn) — Images

<b>Druidtemple</b>Posted by Rhiannon

Hendre Waelod (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Folklore

The high road regained, the party was met by Mr. Pochin, who piloted the visitors to a Cromlech on the side of the hill overhanging the Conway river. Here, again, it was found that the relic of the past was in danger of destruction, and at the evening meeting it was resolved to appeal (through Mr. Pochin) to the owner to get it properly fenced.

This Cromlech is known by the name of Allor Moloch, and a local guide-book refers to a tradition which connects it with Edred, duke of Mercia, and Anarawd, prince of Wales, who fought in a bloody battle in the district in 880.

"As soon as Edred, the Saxon chieftain, was taken, a fire was kindled under the altar, and between the two upright stones, or arms of the God Moloch as some call them, until all the stones became intensely hot, when Edred was placed there by means of tongs or pincers specially prepared for the purpose; the heat being so great that his body was turned into ashes and scattered to the winds."

Pennant further informs us that "Anarawd styled the battle Dial Rodri, or the Revenge of Roderic, for his father, Roderic the Great, had the year before been slain by the Saxons."
From the visit of the Cambrian Archaeological Society, August 1882, recorded in The Antiquary volume 6.
Allor Moloch means the Altar of Moloch. Moloch is Canaanite god mentioned in the bible. He was supposedly cast as a bronze statue which was fired up before sacrificial victims were chucked inside. Nice. Still you know what the Romans used to say about the Druids, probably fibs. Anyway, a good pagan name for a non-Christian monument.

Slagachorrie (Stone Fort / Dun) — Folklore

SLAGACHORRIE -- The Hollow of the Glenlet.
The term was anciently applied to a semicircular recess occurring among the hills, though such a depression only varied in shape with the local geological formation, but in all cases it was originally due to the disintegrating influence of some mountain torrent. Occasionally it means a whirlpool in the sea.

Some maintain that the name is Slochd a Corrie, the Ravine of the Kettle, and the following tradition is told in support of this view: --

On that tragic night in 1442, when the Comyn Family were unsuspectingly put to the dagger at their own table, in Raite Castle, by the Mackintoshes, whom their hosts had intended as the real victims, one of the domestics - a covetous young fellow - is said to have done a crafty deed. Coolly taking advantage of the terrible death struggle which raged in the great hall, he very stealthily entered the strong room and emptied the contents of the various coffers into an old kettle for his own personal use.

Soon after midnight he slipped away from the Castle, under the cover of darkness, and sped with his heavy burden across the Hill of the Ord. On reaching this lonely hollow, he hastily dug a suitable pit, in a secret cranny, and therein carefully deposited his ill-gotten gear - hoping to remove it at the earliest possible opportunity. But the Fates had decreed it otherwise; the lad never returned, and the kettle with all its precious treasure still remains undiscovered, even to the present day.
From The natural history of a highland parish, Ardlach, Nairnshire' by Robert Thomson, 1900.

Vespasian's Camp and Blick Mead (Hillfort) — News

Mesolithic dog on long walk from Yorkshire?


https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/oct/07/archaelogists-evidence-earliest-known-journey-uk-history-stonehenge-wilsthire-mesolithic-man-dog

David Jacques and his team have found a dog's tooth at Blick Mead. It dates from 7000 years ago. So people had dogs at the site all that time ago, it's a nice thought. But more interestingly, they found that the isotopes in its enamel match those in the water in the Vale of York. Suggesting that dog and owner had walked all that way.

Which, one might suggest, wouldn't be unreasonable if you were a Mesolithic hunter-gatherer roaming around Britain? And maybe that if you were in Wiltshire that year you might pop in. But Jacques suggests Yorkshire's too far away for that and they must have deliberately been drawn in from a long way away, as were others, especially for whatever exciting and famous stuff was going on at Amesbury at that time.

The article also includes a nice bit of anti-tunnel sentiment.

Skipsea Castle (Artificial Mound) — News

Skipsea Castle based on Iron Age mound


https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/oct/03/skipsea-castle-yorkshire-built-on-iron-age-mound

Jim Leary spoke more about this on the Today programme at 6.55
( http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07wn3rq ). His team took a core down through the mound to ascertain its age, as part of the 'Round Mounds' project. They've been looking at others and he's got others in mind for the future...
more details at
https://roundmoundsproject.wordpress.com/

Maenaddwyn (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

<b>Maenaddwyn</b>Posted by Rhiannon

Perthi Duon (Burial Chamber) — Miscellaneous

The dolmen at PERTHI DUON, in the parish of Llanidan, three-quarters of a mile S.W. by S. of the (New) Church, is first mentioned by Rowlands. He says: "There is a shapely cromlech on the lands of Blochty... now thrown down and lying flat on its supporters". This was in 1723. From a sketch which he gives we see that it was called "Maen Llwyd".

[..] In the Arch. Camb. of 1846 a correspondent writes of this monument: "About twenty years ago (1826) brass or copper chisels were found in digging under it, when it fell down... there are still three uprights under it".
From 'The Megalithic Remains of Anglesey' by E N Baynes, 1911.

Perthi Duon (Burial Chamber) — Images

<b>Perthi Duon</b>Posted by Rhiannon

Wayland's Smithy (Long Barrow) — Folklore

Mr Aubrey's account of it is this. "About a mile [or less] from the Hill [White-Horse Hill] there are a great many large stones, which though very confused, must yet be laid there on purpose. Some of them are placed edgwise, but the rest are so disorderly, that one would imagine, they were tumbled out of a cart."

The disorder which Mr Aubrey speaks of, is occasioned, by the people having thrown down some of the stones (for they all seem originally to have been set on edge) and broken them to pieces to mend their highways. Those that are left, enclose a piece of ground of an irregular figure at present, but which formerly might have been an oblong square, extending duly North and South.

On the eastside of the Southern extremity, stand Three Squarish flat stones of about four or five feet over each way, set on edge, and supporting a Fourth of much larger dimensions, lying flat upon them. These altogether form a Cavern or sheltering place.

[...] All the account, which the country people are able to give of it, is "At this place lived formerly an invisible Smith; and if a traveller's Horse had lost a Shoe upon the road, he had no more to do, than to bring the Horse to this place, with a piece of money, and leaving both there for some little time, he might come again and find the money gone, but the Horse now shod." The stones standing upon the Rudge way as it is called; (which was the situation, that they chose for burial monuments) I suppose, gave occasion to the whole being called WAYLAND-SMITH; which is the name it was always known by to the country people.
From 'A letter to Dr Mead' by Francis Wise (1738).

Uffington White Horse (Hill Figure) — Miscellaneous

After this manner our Horse is formed, on the side of an high and steep hill, facing the North west. His dimensions are extended over an acre of ground, or thereabouts: his Head, Neck, Body and Tail, consist of one white line; as does also each of his Four Legs. This is done by cutting a trench into the chalk, of about two or three feet deep, and about ten feet broad. The Chalk of the trench being of a brighter colour, than the turf which surrounds it, the rays of the afternoon's Sun darting upon it makes the whole figure visible for ten or a dozen, nay fifteen miles, if I am rightly informed.

The Horse at first view is enough to raise the admiration of every curious spectator, being designed in so masterlike a manner, that it may defy the painter's skill, to give a more exact description of that animal: which were it not so apparent, would hardly gain belief with an antiquary, who considers to how low an ebb the art of drawing was sunk at that time; as appears from the works of their best makers, the Saxon coins, and the jewel of King Alfred, described by Dr Hickes and others, and now preserved in the Museum at Oxford.

If we consider it further, we must otherwise allow, that no small skill in Opticks was requisite, both for the choice of the ground, and for disposing rude lines, as they appear to a person on the spot, in such a manner, as to form so beautiful a representation.

And again, if durability was intended, the ingenuity of the artist will appear still greater. For from its barren soil, and steep situation, it has nothing to fear from the inroads of the plough, the grazing of larger cattle, or the stagnation of waters; all of which contribute more or less to efface things of this sort.

When I saw it, the Head had suffered a little, and wanted reparation; and the extremities of his hinder legs from their unavoidable situation, have by the fall of rains been filled up in some measure with the washings of the upper parts; so that in the nearest view of him, the Tail, which does not suffer the same inconvenience, and has continued entire from the beginning, seems longer than his legs. The supplies which nature is continually affording, occasion the turf on the upper verge of his body, for want of continuity, to crumble, and fall off into the white trench, which in many years time produces small specks of turf, and not a little obscures the brightness of the Horse.

Though there is no danger from hence of the whole figure being obliterated; yet the neighbouring inhabitants have a custom of Scouring the Horse, as they call it; at which time a solemn festival is celebrated, and manlike games with prizes exhibited, which no doubt had their original in the Saxon times, in memory of the victory.

This falling of the turf into the trench is the reason likewise, why the country people erroneously imagine, that the Horse, since his first fabrication, has shifted his quarters, and is got higher upon the Hill, than formerly.
Francis Wise, who is convinced it's all down to the Saxons (and unfairly rubbishes the latter's drawing skills to compound his error), in 'A letter to Dr Mead concerning some antiquities in Berkshire' (1738).

Wayland's Smithy (Long Barrow) — Images

<b>Wayland's Smithy</b>Posted by Rhiannon<b>Wayland's Smithy</b>Posted by Rhiannon

Dragon Hill (Artificial Mound) — Folklore

Between the Ickleton-way and White-horse-hill, under the Horse, stands a large Barrow, which the common people living hereabouts, call DRAGON-HILL, and they have a tradition, that "Here St George killed the Dragon." The Horse too is brought into the Legend, as belonging to that Saint, who is usually pictured on Horse-back. They shew besides a bare place on the top of it, which is a plain of about forty or fifty yards over, where the turf, I don't know by what means, can gain no footing; which they imagine proceeds "from the venemous blood that issued from the Dragon's wound."
Francis Wise: 'A letter to Dr Mead concerning some antiquities in Berkshire' (1738).

Hagworm Hill (Round Barrow(s)) — Folklore

Historic England's record says that the round barrow here is a respectable 3m high. It's on a prominent hill and there's a photo on the 'Earthworks' blog that makes it look mysterious with its cap of trees. The area sounds like it's full of weirdness (as you can read). But regarding the barrow itself, to quote the blog...
Local children often call this 'the witches hill'.

Various signs of veneration can often still be found on Hagworm hill. A clay figure of a Mother Goddess, obviously made fairly recently, and coloured rags tied in the thorn tree on the summit of the hill. Painted egg shells, and a small stick carved with runes. All these and others have been noticed left on the hill by people who still regard this as a sacred place.

I was also told by a local man that as a child he and his friends believed it was a flying saucer that had crashed many years before and become grown over with trees, and that the aliens still lived inside, though his parents told him this was not true, as it was fairies that lived inside the hill. Each generation has its own little green men.
The Earthworks blog is full of interesting landscapey fortean things.

The OED says a hagworm is "A northern name for the adder or viper; but in some districts applied to the common snake, and in others to the blindworm" (the latter being the slowworm).

Corlealackagh (Court Tomb) — Folklore

In a field belonging to Patrick McKenna, Corlealackagh, Castleblayney, there is a mound, or raised ground, containing huge boulders of stone, and here and there is an odd hawthorn bush, evidently of a very good age. The place is known as the "Giant's Grave" and is marked on the Sapper's map as such. The oldest man in the district never heard it called by any other name but he says that the position of the stones and boulders have been changed.

A number of men from the Archaeological Society Co Louth came to visit the place about fifteen years ago and locals helped them to dig down into the earth to see what they might find buried there. They misplaced the stones from their original position and left them scattered about. A few years later a gentleman called Rev. Fr. Rapmund[?] who was interested in such places secured a number of volunteer workers and undertook the task of digging down deep in the earth at this spot.

They laboured for days and only succeeded in unearthing flat stone slabs one after another till they had 13 unearthed. They again continued their work in the hope of reaching the body of the Giant which was perhaps cremated but no such treasure was ever found. The Rev. gentleman asked his volunteer band to replace the stone slabs just as they had found them, which they did. When the portion of the large stone boulders that was under the earth was uncovered it was discovered that there were strokes of different lengths on one of these boulders, and experts said that it was something in the Ogham language. The strokes or marks were copied to be translated into English but we cannot find any person to translate the message written in Ogham.

From year to year I pay a visit to the Giant's Grave, and I tell the children what I know about it and we have taken "snaps" of it. It is never ploughed or tilled by the man who owns the farm containing it, as there are several lone blackthorn bushes around it, and there is a belief in this district that any one who interferes or cuts down a lone bush will be afflicted for life, by having a "hump" grown on his back overnight.
Were it not for this belief, the farmer says he'd have used the stones for building purposes ere this.
From the Schools' Collection of the 1930s, now being digitised at Duchas.ie.
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This hill, it has a meaning that is very important for me, but it's not rational. It's beautiful, but when you look, there's nothing there. But I'd be a fool if I didn't listen to it.

-- Alan Garner.


...I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn...

-- William Wordsworth.


I'm currently mad on visiting Anglo-Saxon and Norman carvings and enjoy the process of drawing them:
http://wiltshirewandering.blogspot.co.uk/

and I've been helping digitise the Schools' Collection of the National Folklore Collection of Ireland... you can also at
http://www.duchas.ie/en

Some interesting websites with landscape and fairy folklore:
http://earthworks-m.blogspot.co.uk
http://faeryfolklorist.blogspot.co.uk

My TMA Content: