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Standing Stone / Menhir


Of "a field between Lilburn and Middleton, near Morpeth" a tale is told of a stone of "religious significance", which was not to be moved, on pain of awakening it's guardian demons.

Two local farm workers decided this was an indicator of buried treasure, and set about the stone with shovels. After a while, they began to think they were wasting their time, and tales of demons guarding the stone must be as false as those of treasure. Whereupon they were spooked by a slight movement beneath their newly dug pit. Despite this ominous sign, their greed encouraged them to keep digging.

Now the earth shuddered, and a monstrous creature, resembling a swan, flapped its wings and flew out of the pit, with a strange and hideous cry. The peasants fled to escape the evil creature, and the stone remains inviolate to this day.

This from 'Myth and Magic of Northumbria' (Coquet Editions, SandhillPress Ltd, 1992, ISBN 0 94098 27 1), but there's a whopping discrepancy. Lilburn is at the other end of Northumberland, near Wooler. Up there there is another Middleton, Middleton Hall, and more or less 'twixt the two, is the standing stone at Newton Mill
So maybe this tale relates to the stone near Wooler.
Hob Posted by Hob
5th October 2004ce
Edited 5th October 2004ce

Comments (1)

This tale can also be found in 'The Local Historian's Table Book' vol 2 of the Legendary Division by M A Richardson, dated 1844. The tale is pretty much the same and the location is given as "in the fields between Lilburn and Middleton" with no mention of it being near Morpeth, so I think it must refer to another standing stone up near Wooler unfortunately. Posted by LauraC
7th July 2009ce
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