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




Dowsborough hill is replete with all sorts of strange names that beg for explanation: Great Bear, Robin Upright's Hill, Knacker's Hole.. One of them (mentioned below), 'Dead Woman's Ditch' is supposed to refer to the murdered wife of John Walford. The place he was left to hang in irons is now called 'Walford's Gibbet'. Ruth Tongue collected a little tale about the site from a farmer's daughter in Cannington.
Arter Walford were 'anged up there to Dowsburgh, there was a lot o' talk down to the Castle o' Comfort Inn, and they got to talking, and then they got to drinking zider and then one vellow getting a bit over-merry, they dared 'en to go up to Walford's Gibbet. Well, 'twere getting late at night, and being over full o' zider, 'e said 'e would, and off 'e goes. Well no sooner be 'e out o' front door than a couple o' rascals gets out by back door, and straight up over the 'ill. Laughing to themselves, they come up through the barn and the bushes like, till they come to the foot o' the gibbet, and they 'ided in bushes. And bye and bye they 'ears bootses coming up 'ill, getting a bit slower like, as they comes nearer to where gibbet was, and they chuckles to theirselves, and then boots comes a bit slower, like, and then, out o' the air above 'em comes a voice - "Oh! Idn't it cold up 'ere! Be yew cold too?"
Well by the time the vellow with the boots, and they two got down to Castle o' Comfort, they weren't cold no more.

You can still visit the Castle of Comfort today, it's marked 'hotel' on the map. But perhaps you'll only want to walk up to the Walford's Gibbet during the daylight.

Story copied from 'English Folktales' by Briggs and Tongue, 1965.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
26th August 2005ce
Edited 26th August 2005ce

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