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

Mitchell's Fold

Stone Circle


This circle is known in the neighbourhood by the name of Mitchell's Fold. The traditionary story of which is - that within this circle an old man of the name of Mitchell kept a cow, which cow was indued with so much benevolence for the human race, that she contributed to the supply of almost all the wants of the surrounding peasantry, constantly suffering herself to be milked for any one's benefit; and whatever was the quantity required by the person who was milking her, she supplied it. No vessel, however capacious, was suffered to return empty, nor to be only partially filled; till, at last, an old wicked hag of a witch, jealous of and hating so great a good, brought her pail and milked the generous beast; at the same time threw a spell over her, which prevented her from ever afterwards supplying her owner, or the neighbourhood with a single pailful.
p144 in 'Museum Europaeum' by Charles Hulbert (1825).

This version misses off the more satisfying ending which I know, viz, the cow was pretty disgusted and disappeared, never to be seen again - and meanwhile the witch was turned into the largest standing stone.

But on second thoughts, maybe the people were taking advantage of the overly generous cow - and the witch did a good job of saving the poor animal from Abuse. They didn't have the RSPCA in those days you know.

There are apparently some good carvings of the story at a church at SO298993, done in 1879, which could be worth a look.

The story is mentioned in the third volume of 'The Family Memoirs of Rev. William Stukeley':
Cherbury, Shropshire.-- "A proverb in this country, 'Medgelly's cow, for one that gives a deal of milk.' The report of this temple is that a cow in this place gave milk to all the honest and good folks of the neighbourhood; but one of evil life milked her into a sieve, whereupon the cow disappeared and never came more." --1753. p179.
Stukely quoted in Edward Peacock's contribution to
Notes and Queries
The Folk-Lore Journal, Vol. 6, No. 4. (1888), pp. 273.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
1st May 2002ce
Edited 5th October 2007ce

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