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

Knowlton Henges



[There was] an old ruined church in the neighbourhood of the farm where he was shepherd. It was roofless, more than half fallen down, and all the standing portion, with the tower, overgrown with old ivy; the building itself stood in the centre of a huge round earth-work and trench, with large barrows on the ground outside the circle. Concerning this church [Caleb] had a wonderful story: its decay and ruin had come about after the great bell in the tower had mysteriously disappeared, stolen one stormy night, it was believed, by the Devil himself. The stolen bell, it was discovered, had been flung into a small river at a distance of some miles from the church, and there in summertime when the water was low, it could be distinctly seen lying half buried in the mud at the bottom. But all the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't pull it out; the Devil, who pulled the other way, was strongest. Eventually some wise person said that a team of white oxen would be able to pull it out, and after much seeking the white oxen were obtained, and thick ropes were tied to the sunken bell, and the cattle were goaded and yelled at, and tugged and strained until the bell came up and was finaly drawn right up to the top of the steep, cliff-like bank of the stream. Then one of the teamsters shouted in triumph, "Now we've got out the bell, in spite of all the devils in hell," and no sooner had he spoken the bold words than the ropes parted, and back tumbled the bell to its old place at the bottom of the river, where it remains to this day. Caleb had once met a man in those parts who assured him that he had seen the bell with his own eyes, lying nearly buried in mud at the bottom of the stream.
From 'A Shepherd's Life; impressions of the South Wiltshire downs' (1921), by WH Hudson.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
28th October 2009ce

Comments (0)

You must be logged in to add a comment