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Swayne's Jumps

Standing Stones


According to Berta Lawrence in her 'Somerset Legends' (1973) during the civil war there was a man called Jan Swayne who lived in Moorlinch. Found to be a 'rebel' he was dragged from his bed to be taken to Bridgwater where he was to be hanged. Somehow he persuaded the troopers who came for him to untie him to show his crying children a last entertainment of how far he could leap (the 'police' are always stupid in films today too, so no change). Naturally he took three immense leaps - a hop, skip and a jump - which took him into the impenetrable and swampy Loxley Woods where he could hide safely.

The site of his leaps is known as 'Swayne's Jumps' or 'Swayne's Leaps' and you may find four (or even five) small stones in a line. The Somerset Historic Environment Record mentions them being in the SMR records, but I don't see a mention on Magic. Perhaps they're old, perhaps not? In the distant past perhaps this area would have been even boggier. Take your wellingtons and have a look. Apparently an old sign designates the place 'Jan Swaynes Jumps'.

The folklore is similar to that attached to other pairs or lines of stones (eg the Deerleap Stones).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
30th August 2005ce

Comments (2)

grew up in moorlinch. story i was told was much the same, but was Monmouth rebellion not civil war, and loxley woods is pretty small and not at all boggy - it's on a big hill running through the bogs that form the levels. Posted by robertmurphy1000
10th August 2014ce
That's nice to know the story is still known and gets handed on. People rarely leave similar comments on TMA but hopefully that's not a reflection of whether all the tales are known locally, who knows.

And it's very interesting you mention the jumps mark a bit of land that would have been a safe unboggy route in the area. (although I suppose if they weren't, they'd have disappeared anyway :)

Have you ever seen the stones? are they still there free of encroaching plants? (they sound tiny on the somerset HER )
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
11th August 2014ce
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