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

Rillaton Barrow

Round Barrow(s)


A party were hunting the wild boar in Trewartha Marsh. Whenever a hunter came near the Cheesewring a prophet - by whom an Archdruid is meant - who lived there received him, seated in the stone chair, and offered him to drink out of his golden goblet, and if there were as many as fifty hunters approach, each drank, and the goblet was not emptied. Now on this day of the boar hunt one of those hunting vowed that he would drink the cup dry. So he rode up to the rocks, and there saw the grey Druid holding out his cup. The hunter took the goblet and drank till he could drink no more, and he was so incensed at his failure that he dashed what remained of the wine in the Druid's face, and spurred his horse to ride away with the cup. But the steed plunged over the rocks and fell with his rider, who broke his neck, and as he still clutched the cup he was buried with it.
The Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould, 'Book of Cornwall' (1899) p107-8.

You will note that the golden cup itself was unearthed much earlier. So any romantic notions that the story preceded the cup's discovery are unfortunately on shaky ground. There are variations of the story from other British sites, and it is also common in Scandinavia. Mr Grinsell notes that B-G's "story seems unsupported by any other published source prior to his own. One suspects that he was unable to resist the chance for a good story offered by the find of the gold cup [a Bronze Age cup was found at the barrow in 1837], combined with his own immense erudition." (see Grinsell's 'Folklore of Prehistoric Sites in Britain' (1976)).

There seem to be two dates quoted everywhere for the discovery of the cup - 1818 and 1837. But it definitely seems to be 1837.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
29th October 2006ce
Edited 24th November 2011ce

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