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

The Wedderstone

Standing Stone / Menhir (Destroyed)


It's true. As usual I don't even know if this exists any more, and I don't know where it is if it does. But someone liked it enough to give it a proper name. It gets an elaborate mention in the Denham Tracts:
When ye lang for a mutton bone
Think on the Wedderstone.

The Wedderstone stands in a field near the village of Catton in Allendale. Tradition states that many years ago a notorious sheep-stealer infested this part of the county, who, it appears, was the terror of the whole of the neighbouring farmers; in the first place because he appeared to be a good judge of mutton, from the fact of his generally taking the choice of the flock; and in the secon place, that, although he paid a visit to every sheep-fold for several miles around, and to many where a strict watch was kept, he remained unsuspected; neither was there the slightest suspicion as to who the thief might be.

At length, however, the invisible became visible. It appeared that his method of carrying off his booty was to tie the four legs of the animal together, and then, by putting his head through the space between the feet and body, thus carry it away on his shoulders. On his last visit to his neighbour's flock, the animal which he had selected for his week's provision being heavy, he stopped to rest himself, and placed his burden upon the top of a small stone column (without taking it off his shoulders), when the animal became suddenly restive, commenced struggling, and slipped off the stone on the opposite side. Its weight thus suddenly drawn round his neck, the poor wretch was unable to extricate himself, and was found on the following morning quite dead.
Of course, the story is connected with many a stone across the country. Mr Grinsell wrote a whole article about them in Folklore v96 (1985). He said 'The author has found no supporting evidence for the site of this stone', but it does seem curious that Catton has its Stone Hall and Stone Stile. But I can't see any stone on the old maps. Still. You never know.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
31st October 2009ce

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