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Hangman's Stone (Combe Martin)

Standing Stone / Menhir

Also known as:
  • The Hanging Stones

Nearest Town:Ilfracombe (8km W)
OS Ref (GB):   SS60204688 / Sheet: 180
Latitude:51° 12' 12.38" N
Longitude:   4° 0' 4.89" W

Added by Chance

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Details of stone on Pastscape

(SS 60214688) "Mr Badcock seems to have been of the opinion that these ancient stones at Combe Martin, that were called the Hanging Stones, were some Druidical remains of a temple: and the Hangman Stone is the Stonehenge or Balanced-stone, which was remarkable in all these edifices. It is said that there is but one pillar left, which served as a boundary between Combe Martin and the next parish (1). A menher which now crowns Hangman Hill, in long 4 degs. 0'6", lat. 51 degs. 12'14". The stone is 5'3" high, its breadth points N59 degs. E. The N W side is 33", N E 18", S E 32 1/2",, & the S W side is 16" tapering to the top. "This is probably 'the one pillar left' according to Badcock' (2). Given as long 4 degs. 0'6" lat 51 degs. 12'14" (3) Mentioned. (4) (SS 60214688) Description in Authy 2 correct. Although the long. & lats. are approximately correct Hangman Hill lies further to the North. The stone is of the local red grit stone and stands alone. (5) SS60204688. Well preserved. 0.8 metres wide, 0.4m. thick and 1.5m. high. Probably of pre-historic origin. There are no traces of any other stones in the vicinity. Positioned on 1/2500. (6) SS 603469. Standing stone on Knap Down, listed as Bronze Age by Grinsell who also stated that it may be the 'Hangman Stone' described by Westcote on the boundary between Combe Martin and Trentishoe. (7) (SS 60204688). Standing Stone (NR). (8) This standing stone is as described and measured by authority 6, and there seems no reason to refute claims to its prehistoric origin. Nevertheless historical elements attributed to it by authorities 1, 2 and 7 appear to be entirely fallacious. Palmer (3) noted that Chanter and Worth had misidentified Knap Down as Hangman Hill, on the Tithe map (a) at SS 585481 (now called `Little Hangman') and then described as 62 acres of pasture. Grinsell (7) is probably correct in ascribing the stone to Knap Down, though the OS 2" drawing (c) depicts enclosed ground and in 1842 (b) it would have been in one of several fields called `Vellacotts', making up a holding of 84 acres. Grinsells suggestion that it may be Westcotes `Hangman Stone' is unsupportable geographically. Westcote (7a) says a series of stones marked the parish boundary of Combe Martin and Martinhoe (now Trentishoe) of which one was locally known as the `hang-man-stone' and associated with a sheep stealing legend. Chanter and Worth (2) are perhaps quoting the Badcock reference in Polwheles muddled account (1). The `one pillar left' of a complex setting almost certainly applies to the stone on Mattocks Down, (SS 601438), dealt with at length by Westcote, when it was a more complete setting. There is thus no reason to suspect that was ever anything other than a single, un-named prehistoric standing stone (9).
Chance Posted by Chance
17th October 2012ce