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


Circle henge


Some gleanings from Jerome F Heavey's article 'The Heele Stone' in Folklore 88, no2, pp238-9 (1977).

The name 'Heel Stone' is at least three centuries old: John Aubrey mentioned a certain stone that had a large depression shaped like a friar's heel. The story hasn't changed much since that time - basically the Devil threw a stone at a friar who'd been spying on the construction of stonehenge, and it struck him on the heel, and his heel left an imprint.

Heavey suggests the name actually comes from the most obvious characteristic of the stone - the fact it 'heels' or tilts. This word was in the written language with this meaning in the 16th century, and doubtless in use for much longer before that..

Whatever, the story about the friar and the devil conveniently explains the position of the stone too, lying some distance from the main stones, and looking for all the world as though it could have been thrown there. Heavey does conclude by admitting 'we shall never know', though.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
24th April 2008ce

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