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Winceby Stone

Natural Rock Feature


The Stone used to lie in the field where the civil war Battle of Winceby took place. It's marked on a map of 1880 but then seems to disappear.
There was the large stone in Winceby field, where soldiers had sharpened their swords before the battle. This was a stone of fearful interest, for much treasure was supposed to have been buried under it. Numerous attempts have abeen made to get at this treasure, but they were always defeated by some accident or piece of bad luck. On the last occasion, by 'yokkin' several horses to chains fastened round the stone, they nearly succeeded in pulling it over, when, in his excitement, one of the men uttered an oath, and the devil instantly appeared, and stamped on it with his foot. 'Tha cheans all brok, tha osses fell, an' tha stoan went back t' its owd place solidder nur ivver; an' if ya doan't believe ya ma goa an' look fur yer sen, an' ya'll see tha divvill's fut mark like three kraws' claws, a-top o' tha stoan.' It was firmly believed that the lane was haunted, and that loud groans were often heard there. -- Notes and Queries, vol. ix., p. 466.

[The Big Stone at Slash Lane, near Winceby]This stone cannot be moved, at least all attempts have so far failed, especially on one occasion, when it was with much difficulty reared up by ropes pulled by men and dragged by horses, for on a man saying, 'Let God or devil come now, we have it,' the stone fell back, dragging over the men and horses who were hauling at the ropes, and something appeared standing on the stone, doubtless Samwell the Old Lad, that is the Devil, who had been so rashly defied. -- Lincolnshire Notes and Queries, vol. ii., p. 235.
Copied from 'County Folk-lore v.VII: Lincolnshire' collected by Mrs Gutch and Mabel Peacock (1908).

This article in 'Horncastle News' (10th April 2002) describes that the stone got buried for many years in the field, but that in 1970 Frank Scott and his colleagues on the farm finally moved it out of the way - it took heavy lifting gear though. "Me and my mate were in that hole as quick as we could and dug down as far and fast as possible but we never found any treasure, nor devils either. By the number of broken ploughshares all around, we thought it was quite likely the stone was cursed, by every farmer and farm hand involved no doubt."

The folklore is similar to many prehistoric stones in that it's connected to the battle, has treasure lurking under it, and is said to be immovable. It's even got supernatural marks on it from the devil. Pretty much a stoney folklore full house.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
22nd January 2014ce
Edited 23rd January 2014ce

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