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Folklore Posts by thesweetcheat

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The Parade (Cliff Fort)

Information from the board on-site:
Named "The Parade" because it is said to have been used as a training ground for soldiers garrisoned at Castletown, the area in front of you has had a varied past.

This was a prehistoric settlement located for safety on a promontory. Naturally protected on three sides by cliffs and by the fast flowing waters of the Sound, only the approach from land was vulnerable. To block off that neck of land, the people who lived here dug ditches and mounded the earth up into ramparts. These formed protective and defensive banks of earth, some of which were faced with stone.

Three banks were constructed with a narrow entrance route through the middle. Over the centuries the banks have collapsed and the ditches have begun to fill up leaving the rounded earthworks you see here.

When a cafe was built here over a hundred years ago, it cut into the ramparts and caused considerable damage to the archaeological site. The cafe was demolished and following investigation by archaeologists, the banks have been carefully restored to their 19th century appearance.

The area has long been a place for recreation. During the early 20th century, the Parade was used by local residents for egg rolling races at Easter. These eggs were hard boiled in water with gorse flowers to give them a rich yellow or yellow-brown colour.

St Patrick's Isle (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

The Moddey Dhoo or Black Dog is said to prowl the grounds of Peel Castle and St Patrick's Isle:
THEY say, that an Apparition called In their Language, the Mauthe Doog, in the shape of a large black Spaniel with curled shaggy Hair, was used to haunt Peel Castle; and has been frequently seen in every Room, but particularly in the Guard Chamber, where, as soon as Candles were lighted, it came and lay down before the Fire in presence of all the Soldiers who, at length, by being so much accustomed to the Sight of it, lost great Part of the Terror they were seized with at its first Appearance. They still, however, retain'd a certain Awe, as believing it was an Evil Spirit which only waited Permission to do them Hurt, and for that Reason, forbore Swearing and all prophane Discourse while in its Company. But tho' they endured the Shock of such a Guest when all together in a Body, none cared to be left alone with it: it being the Custom, therefore, for one of the Soldiers to lock the Gates of the Castle at a certain Hour, and carry them to the Captain, to whose Apartment, as I said before, the Way led through a Church; they agreed among themselves, that whoever was to succeed the ensuing Night, his Fellow in this Errand would accompany him that went first, and by this means, no Man would be expos'd singly to the Danger: for I forgot to mention that the Mauthe Doog was always seen to come from that Passage at the Close of Day, and return to it again as soon as the Morning dawned; which made them look en this Place as its peculiar Residence.

ONE Night a Fellow being drunk, and by the Strength of his Liquor rend'red more daring than ordinary, laugh'd at the Simplicity of his Companions, and tho' it was not his Turn to go with the Keys, would needs take that Office upon him, to testify his Courage. All the Soldiers endeavour'd to dissuade him, but more they said, the more resolute he seemed, and swore that he desired nothing more than that Mauthe Doog would follow him, as it had done the others, for he would try if it were Dog, or Devil. After having talked in a very reprobate manner for some Time, he snatched up Keys and went out of the Guard-Room: in some Time after his Departure a great Noise was heard, but nobody had Boldness to see what occasioned it, till the Adventurer returning, they demanded the Knowledge of him, but as loud and noisy as he had been at leaving them, he was now become sober and silent enough, for he was never heard to speak more: and tho' all the Time he lived, which was three Days, he was entreated by all who come near him, either to speak, or if he could not do that, to make some Signs, by which they might understand what had happened to him, yet nothing intelligible could be got from him, only, that by the Distortion of his Limbs and Features, it might be guess'd that he died in Agonies more than is common in a natural Death.

THE Mauthe Doog was, however, never seen after in the Castle, nor would any one attempt to go thro' that Passage, for which Reason it was closed up, and another Way made. This Accident happened about Threescore Years since, and I heard it attested by several, but especially by an old Soldier, who assured me he had seen it oftener than he had then Hairs on his Head.


From The History and Description of the Isle of Man: Viz. Its Antiquity, History, Laws, Customs, Religion and Manners of Its Inhabitants - George Waldron (1744, W. Bickerton)

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.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/domesday/dblock/GB-248000-840000/page/10

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:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsO7SeCvgMw

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.

http://www.invectis.co.uk/iow/wl_ventnor.html

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.
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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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