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Devil's Quoit (Stackpole)

Standing Stone / Menhir


I saw this stone alone in its field on a beautiful warm summer's day. However, it's not always alone. It is one of the Dancing Stones of Stackpole (the other two are here and here, the central one being in a field called 'Horestone Park', according to Sikes in 'British Goblins' - 1880). Sometimes they meet up and go to Rhyd Sais where they dance until they're too tired to dance any more. Sometimes their music is provided by the Devil himself, who plays for them on his flute.
(folklore from Barber's More Mysterious Wales)

Janet and Colin Bord specifically state (in 'Secret Country') that the stones dance 'The Hay' - a country dance.

William Howell, in "Cambrian Superstitions," (1831) says that anyone witnessing the stones dancing is granted exceptionally good luck. He mentions that witches are also said to have conducted their 'revels' at the stones (presumably while they are standing still - it could get a bit dangerous dancing with them).

Rhyd Sais means 'ford of the English' - or Saxon, which Sais originally meant. (Where the ford actually is, I don't know - do you?) I wonder whether this part of the story links with the fact one of the stones is called the Harold Stone. Harold is (according to the information on Coflein) Harold Godwinson - the Anglo-Saxon loser at the battle of Hastings, who had earlier successfully beaten Grufudd ap Llewelyn (who had control of the whole of Wales). Pembrokeshire has been known as the 'Little England beyond Wales' so maybe 'Rhyd Sais' wouldn't have the negative connotations it might have elsewhere in Wales. It's all very confusing.. do you know more?

Coflein even suggests there should be another stone, at SR97309530. The three are somewhat in a line, but the entry doesn't suggest why there 'should' be another - I suppose it would make the gaps between the stones equal. If the line of the stones is important - could that imply that we've lost the site of Rhyd Sais? Bosherston lakes are artificial (made to go with the now demolished house) so are they covering where the ford would once have been - in line with the stones? Or am I really entering the realms of fantasy now.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
4th March 2004ce
Edited 16th August 2005ce

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