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Lower Boscaswell Fogou

It is a very common notion amongst the peasantry, that a just retribution overtakes those who wilfully destroy monuments, such as stone circles, crosses, wells, and the like. Mr Blight writes me - "While at Boscaswell, in St Just, a few weeks since, an old man told me that a person who altered an old Holy Well there, was drowned the next day in sight of his house, and that a person who carried away the stones of an ancient chapel, had his house burned down that very night." We hope that the certainty of punishment will prevent any further spoilation.

From Popular Romances of the West of England, second series, collected and edited by Robert Hunt.

Hangman's Stone, Hampnett (Holed Stone)

According to DP Sullivan (Old Stones Of The Cotswolds & Forest Of Dean - 1999 Reardon), this is another of those hangman's stones that takes its name from an idiotic thief:
It obtained its name, apparently, from an incident involving a sheep rustler who, when getting over the stile with his spoils fell and was hung by the entangled sheep. ... It is possible that this stone once marked a gibbet, giving a more plausible reason for its name.

Y Garreg Fawr (Burial Chamber)

According to tradition it was originally a megalithic dolmen about 4000 years old. It has served mainly as a small platform used by preachers, the Parish Clerk and others to make public announcements. In the past there was a large tree in front of it on which were nailed fox tails and the corpses of other creatures which preyed on chickens.

Charming local customs abound. Taken from the village information board near the stone.

The Fairy Well (Sacred Well)

This is a wishing-well of some note in the
district; people even now go there to drop in
crooked pins, and wish. It is only a square hole
in the ground high up on the cliffs, at the base of
an overhanging rock, situated at the end of a nut
grove; a stream runs along the side, and a little of
it flows into the well by a gutter.

From "Ancient and Holy Wells of Cornwall" - M&L Quiller-Couch (1894).

Mynydd Rhiw (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery)

At the southwestern end of Mynydd Rhiw there is a very prominent conical outcrop called Clip y Gylfinhir:
Mrs Williams, of Pwll Defaid, told me that the rock opposite, called Clip y Gylfinhir, on Bodwydog Mountain, a part of Mynydd y Rhiw, was the resort of the Tylwyth Teg, and that they revelled there when it was covered in mist; she added that a neighbouring farm called Bodermud Isa', was well known at one time as the place the fairies came to do their baking.
From Celtic Folkore - John Rhys (1901)

The name translates at Crag of the Curlew (literally "long beak").

Capel Tan-y-Foel (Standing Stone / Menhir)

According to the GAT sites record, there are two stones, one fallen/recumbent at SH22602770 to the NW of the standing one.

The record states:
The stones are known locally as Lladron Maelrhys - two thieves stole from the church and were turned into stone as they crossed the parish boundary.

Taff's Well (Sacred Well)

According to local legend, the ghost of a 'Grey Lady' once haunted the well. The lady, dressed in grey, is said to have beckoned a man collecting water from the well. As he approached she asked the man to 'hold me tight by both hands'. The man obliged but his grip loosened. As he let go a stabbing pain caught him in the side, the Grey Lady complained his grip wasn't tight enough and now she would remain a ghost for another hundred years. She vanished and has never been seen again ... or has she?
From the info board on site.

In Chris Barber's "Mysterious Wales" (1982 David & Charles) he says that the well was famous for healing rheumatism and similar ailments.
It was reported that one child, who went there as a cripple, was able to throw away his crutches after a fortnight's bathing and run about the green meadow on the riverside.

Castell Bach and Castell Mawr (Hillfort)

From the Llanrhystud Heritage Trail leaflet:
From here you will see Castel Bach and Castel Mawr (sic), the sites of two Iron Age hillforts facing each other. Local legend suggests that there was once a terrible battle between them and the gully dividing them is know as Pantglas (Pantgalanas) the dell of slaughter. However there was once a medieval castle overlooking the village to the northeast known as Caer Penrhos. The castle was thought to have been built by Cadwaladr ap Gruffudd between 1147 - 1149. There was much turbulence at the time and records show much bloodshed which might be associated with the legend.

Carreg y Fendith (Natural Rock Feature)

Information from the board near the site:
Earliest records show that this stone was known as 'Carreg Ateb' (Answer Stone) as calling across the river at this point produces an echo.

Legend has it that the Abbot of St Dogmaels blessed the river and fishing boats here, hence its modern name. The tradition has recently been revived.

What is now called The Blessing Stone may well have been the capstone of a dolmen (from the Breton tol-maen - 'stone table') that stood on level ground above, where the view is spectacular. Nearby, lie other stones that may have been the uprights originally used to support the capstone. Within 7 miles of St Dogmaels there are many dolmens, most notable being Pentre Ifan, Llech-y-Drybedd, Trellyffant and Carreg Coetan Arthur. The Blessing Stone is of a very similar shape to the Llech-y-Drybedd capstone. Capstone shapes often mirror the local landscape.

Zennor Quoit (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

The logan stone up on Zennor Hill has a sad tale attached to it, associated with Carn Galva to the west:
The giant of Carn Galva was a gentle character who protected the people from the more warlike giants of Lelant. He was a playful, sociable giant, fond of a young fellow from Choon, who used to visit him. One day they were playing Quoits, when the giant “tapped” his playfellow on the head with the tips of his fingers. At the same time he said, “be sure to come again tomorrow, my son, and we will have a capital game of bob”.

But the giant’s fingers had gone right through the boy’s skull, and though he tried to save him, it was no use. The giant mourned for his dead friend, but in seven years or so he pined away and died of a broken heart. The logan stone on which he used to rock himself remains at Zennor.

Robert Hunt, Popular Romances of the West of England, 3rd edn, London, Chatto and
Windus, 1881

Meg's Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

From "Domesday Reloaded 1986":
Megstone is a huge boulder at the entrance to Belladrum farm beside the A833. The story about 'Meg's Stone' is that she was a witch, and when she died, two men were carrying her coffin to the graveyard. They stopped at the pub to have a drink. They were so drunk that they could not carry the coffin any further so they made a hole in the ground and put the coffin in the hole. Then they rolled a huge stone over it.

There is a piece of metal sticking out of the rock and there is a rumour that every night at midnight a metal cross rises out of the stone.

It is quite probable that the boulder was deposited by glacial action during the ice age, and most people now treat the story as no more than an interesting legend.

The hamlet next to the stone is called Megstone.

Coire Raibeirt (Natural Rock Feature)

From Canmore:
There are 'two huge granite boulders, situated on a shelving rock over an abyss on the Loch Avon side of Cairngorm, with hand-made cups on them about a foot wide and correspondingly deep - "sitting on which is said to be efficaceous in cases of barrenness" '. Pilgrimages have been made to them within living memory.
A Mitchell 1875.

Mitchell and Drummond, A and J (1875) 'Vacation notes in Cromar, Burghead, and Strathspey. Including notice of one of the supposed burial-places of St Columba', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, vol.10
Page(s): 645

Penshaw Hill (Hillfort)

Penshaw Hill is mentioned in the Mackem dialect song "The Lambton Worm" (as "Pensher Hill"), which tells the tale of the dragon:

"One Sunday morn young Lambton went
A-fishing' in the Wear;
An' catched a fish upon he's heuk,
He thowt leuk't varry queer.
But whatt'n a kind of fish it was
Young Lambton cuddent tell.
He waddn't fash te carry'd hyem,
So he hoyed it doon a well.

cho: Whisht! Lads, haad yor gobs,
An Aa'll tell ye's aall an aaful story
Whisht! Lads, haad yor gobs,
An' Aa'll tell ye 'boot the worm.

Noo Lambton felt inclined te gan
An' fight i' foreign wars.
he joined a troop o' Knights that cared
For nowther woonds nor scars,
An' off he went te Palestine
Where queer things him befel,
An' varry seun forgat aboot
The queer worm i' the well.

But the worm got fat an' growed and' growed
An' growed an aaful size;
He'd greet big teeth, a greet big gob,
An' greet big goggle eyes.
An' when at neets he craaled aboot
Te pick up bits o' news,
If he felt dry upon the road,
He milked a dozen coos.

This feorful worm wad often feed
On caalves an' lambs an' sheep,
An' swally little barins alive
When they laid doon te sleep.
An' when he'd eaten aall he cud
An' he had had he's fill,
He craaled away an' lapped he's tail
Seven times roond Pensher Hill.

The news of this myest aaful worm
An' his queer gannins on
Seun crossed the seas, gat te the ears
Ov brave and' bowld Sor John.
So hyem he cam an' catched the beast
An' cut 'im in twe haalves,
An' that seun stopped he's eatin' bairns,
An' sheep an' lambs and caalves.

So noo ye knaa hoo aall the foaks
On byeth sides ov the Wear
Lost lots o' sheep an' lots o' sleep
An' leeved i' mortal feor.
So let's hev one te brave Sor John
That kept the bairns frae harm,
Saved coos an' caalves by myekin' haalves
O' the famis Lambton Worm.

Final Chorus

Noo lads, Aa'll haad me gob,
That's aall Aa knaa aboot the story
Ov Sor John's clivvor job
Wi' the aaful Lambton Worm."

For the full dialect effect:

Luccombe Down (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery)

Close by but now apparently dried up, Pastscape records the site of "St Boniface Wishing Well" (SZ 5676878118):

"St. Boniface Wishing Well", a spring formerly much venerated, especially by seamen, because an impervious stratum caused it to rise high up on the side of a chalk down.

From "Undercliff of the IOW", 1911, 118-9. (J.L. Whitehead)

From Ward Lock's Illustrated Guidebook:

The Wishing Well is interesting to the geologist on account of its unusual height, and to the superstitious from the reverence formerly paid to it on account of a popular belief that if one achieved the difficult feat of climbing to the spring without looking backward, any three wishes formed while drinking its waters would be gratified.

Drumashie Moor (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

The area around Loch Ashie is the site of a reported "phantom battle" (or battles). The fullest version I have found is in the excellent "The Guide To Mysterious Loch Ness" by Geoff Holder (2007 Tempus). There appear to have been two different phantom battles:

The first was reported in newspapers in 1870-1 and was seen shortly after dawn on a May morning. In that report, the battle seems to have been contemporary, with "large bodies of men in close formation and smaller bodies of cavalry facing an attacking army marching from the east".

The same battle was seen during the First World War and then at some time between 1950-73 by a group of picnicking Americans, who according to Geoff Holder's book "took it to be a local pageant".

The second battle was seen in the 1940s when a "mist-bound shepherd heard and saw a small-scale battle involving wild-looking, bearded, long-haired men in ragged clothes, armed with wooden clubs and short-bladed swords. The shepherd hid behind a rock but realised the warriors were not aware of him. After about ten minutes of combat, the mist lifted and the scene disappeared."

The Whet Stone (Natural Rock Feature)

Glacial erratic boulder on Hergest Ridge. According to the nearby info board, the stone is supposed to go down to the nearby spring to drink at midnight, rather like the nearby Four Stones over the border in Radnorshire.

The Stiperstones (Cairn(s))

As if the Devil in his chair and the dead of Shropshire weren't enough:

Watch out for the Seven Whistlers. Legend has it that six birds fly up and down the Stiperstones slopes looking for a lost companion. When the seventh bird is found, the end of the world will occur

As mentioned in "Shropshire - An Archaeological Guide" by Michael Watson (Shropshire Books 2002), but no further source for the legend is given.

Llanfihangel Rogiet (Standing Stone / Menhir)

From "Mysterious Wales" - Chris Barber (Paladin 1983):

This stone, 7 feet high and 5 feet broad, stands in the middle of a field to the west of Llanfihangel Rogiet church. One historian suggests that it was placed in the field to mark the height to which the water rose on the occasion of the Severn flood in 1606. The legendary origin is much more interesting. It was hurled from Portishead, or some other spot on the far side of the Bristol Channel, by the Devil in a fit of temper!

Sadly Barber doesn't give any source for this legend.

Arbor Low (Circle henge)

Slightly longer extract from "Romances of the Peak" by W.M. Turner (London 1901), including local "bravery":

"... coming away from a visit there in the year 1897, I accosted a young herdsman who was attending some cattle grazing by the wayside. After touching on several points I came cautiously to the Druidical circle business. I wanted to know how it came there and its purpose and so forth. He could not tell. It had been there undisturbed for generations and according to the account given him by the old people, and that was all, excepting, there may have been a battle there and people buried about the place.

'How did he come to know that?' 'Well, you see', he said, 'the folks round about never go that way at night for fear of boggarts. Several have been seen prowling about, and it is the common talk that people must have been buried there'. 'Did you ever go that way at night?' I asked. He said that he had not, but he bravely added, he would not mind, for he did not believe in such things."

Cudden Point (Rocky Outcrop)

"THIS point is situated in the parish of Perranuthnoe; the parish, it will be remembered, into which Trelawney escaped, aided by the fleetness of his horse, from the deluge which buried the lands between this and the Scilly Isles.

At the low-water of spring-tides, the children from all the neighbourhood flock to the sands around this point, in the hope of finding treasure, which they believe is buried in the sands beneath the sea, and which is, it is said, occasionally discovered. Amongst other things, an especial search is made for a silver table, which was lost by a very wealthy lord, by some said to be the old Lord Pengerswick, who enriched himself by grinding down the poor. On one occasion, when the calmness of summer, the clearness of the skies, and the tranquillity of the waters invited the luxurious to the enjoyments of the sea, this magnate, with a party of gay and thoughtless friends, was floating in a beautiful boat lazily with the tide, and feasting from numerous luxuries spread on a silver table. Suddenly - no one lived to tell the cause - the boat sank in the calm, transparent waters; and, long after the event, the fishermen would tell of sounds of revelry heard from beneath the waters, and some have said they have seen these wicked ones still seated around the silver table."

From Popular Romances of the West of England collected and edited by Robert Hunt, p.213 1st Edition 1865
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"The fleeting hour of life of those who love the hills is quickly spent, but the hills are eternal. Always there will be the lonely ridge, the dancing beck, the silent forest; always there will be the exhilaration of the summits. These are for the seeking, and those who seek and find while there is still time will be blessed both in mind and body." Alfred Wainwright

"The movers move, the shakers shake, the winners write their history. But from high on the high hills, it all looks like nothing." Justin Sullivan

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