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

Folklore Posts by faerygirl

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Thor Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Said in local folklore to have been a thunderbolt cast down from the skies by Thor, God of storms, (Corbett, 1962), and first recorded in the late thirteenth century in the survey of the Chadlington hundred. It is possible that the name Thor Stone is from the name of a nearby village of Taston, recorded as Thorstan in 1278 CE. Close by is a stone cross, placed there by early Christians to abate the evil influences from the Thor Stone

Between these two old monuments was once an elm tree which was a meeting place of the villagers in times gone by (Pumphrey,1990)

Drumelzier Haugh (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Local legend connects the stone with the burial place of Merlin the Wizard. Merlin was said to be buried 183m NNW of Drumelzier Church, close to the right bank of the River Tweed. There are no structural remains and none have ever been recorded at the place in question, but it is possible that the tradition may have been originated from the unrecorded descovery of a Bronze Age cist in the area, which links to the Drumelzier Stone.

Wayland's Smithy (Long Barrow)

Wayland or Volund is the divine smith in Norse, Anglo-Saxon and Germanic. It is said that is you leave your horse tethered there overnight with a silver coin as payment, the horse will have been re-shoed in the morning!

In folklore, Volund and his two brothers steal the "swan-shifts" of three swan maidens then go on to convince the swan maidens to stay in their human forms and become their wives. After a period of 9 years the Swan-Maidens manage to find their swan-shifts and turn back into swans! Interesting as it has been observed that Waylands Smithy aligns to Deneb in the consellation Cygnus (The Swan)

Reference "The Cygnus Mystery" by Andrew Collins

Swallowhead Springs (Sacred Well)

Swallowhead Springs has been proposed as a site for worship of the Celtic Goddess Brid or Bridget (Bride in Scotland and Breeshey on the Isle of Man). She presided over fire, art, beauty and is said to be the mother of the Gods. She is often associated with the return of the flow of water in the month of march and therefore the return of life in spring.

(Reference "The Avebury Cycle" by Dames)

Newgrange (Passage Grave)

Known anciently as Brugh na Boinne "Place of the Boyne" Newgrange is said to be the tomb of 'three times fifty sons of kings' belonging to the legendary kingdom of Tara (Illustrated guide to Newgrange by O'Kelly) It is also identified as the sidhe of Angus Mac Og, leader of the Tuatha da Danann- the children of the godess Danu/ Dana.
One legend "The Dream of Angus" relates how he fell in love with a swan-maiden after she visited him in a dream. After she agreed to marry him, they fly off to Newgrange in the form of swans, where they lived happily ever after. In Scottish folklore, Angus was married to the goddess Bride, who was herself a swan-maiden.

This is an interesting refernce as Newgrange itself may represent the layout of the constellation Cygnus- The Swan.

Hawk Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

In local folklore the Hawk Stone formed an integral part of a stone circle here, but there is little known evidence to substantiate this. In Thorn Graves' (1980) dowsing experiments at the Rollright circle, he found what he described as an 'overground' linking the Circle to the Hawk Stone, but no other connecting sites are known along this line. Interestingly one legend surrounding the monolith tells how this monolith was thrown, or dragged, across the land by a old witch or hag, though we are not told from where- a motif found in connection with spirit lines across the country.

In Corbett's History of Spelsbury (1962) the author referenced some of the folklore spoken of the holed Hawk Stone by one Mr Caleb Lainchbury who said the cleft at the top of the Hawk Stone at Dean was supposed to have been made by the chains of the witches who were tied to it and burnt. As witches seem to have been extremely rare in Oxfordshire it cannot have been a very common practise to burn them at Dean; but there may have been some kind of fire ceremonies near the stone. In name, Hawk stone may come from a fancied resemblence to a Hawk, or because there very often are hawks hovering over those upland fields: or it may simply be a corruption of 'Hoar' meaning old.

In pagan Celtic Britain hawks played a not inconsiderable part in their shamanic lore and,according to Ross [1967] were "malevolent birds". This evidently important and visually impressive monolith plays a substantial part in an incredibly precise alignment (ley) running roughly east-west across the landscape.

Scorhill (Stone Circle)


A modern happening reported in 1998 was that a small herd of moorland ponies were seen to walk up to the circle. The herd leader entered the ring of stones and stood there for about a minute, it then rejoined the rest of the ponies. One by one all the ponies did the same thing, went into the circle stood there for 30 - 60 seconds and the came out. All the animals faced the same direction whilst they were stood in the stone ring. It was suggested at the time that the ponies were 'taking energy' from the stones - who knows?

A story which possibly reinforces the 'natural energy' theory is that of a lady who for six and a half years had suffered with a swelling in the knee. This made walking difficult to say the least. Many doctors had examined the joint but none were able to solve the problem. Living in the Chagford area the woman was aware of the stories relating to Scorhill circle, so one day she made a slow and painful trip up to the stones. Having sat inside the circle for a while she then made her way back, by the time she had reached Scorhill Gate the swelling had reduced by 50%. By and by the ability to walk soon returned and the swelling has caused few problems ever since.

Nine Ladies of Stanton Moor (Stone Circle)

The image of an unidentified man dressed in black is said to be seen standing just outside the stone circle after dark. According to legend, the 9 stones are witches caught dancing on the Sabbath to the sounds of the Devil's fiddle playing. In this view,the man in black could be the Devil admiring his handiwork. It is also said that when the moon is full, the stones move around in a ritual dance.

TRIBE website

Boscawen-Un (Stone Circle)

Boscawen-ûn; Cornish name derived from bod, "dwelling or farmstead" and scawen, "elder tree". The suffix –un comes from goon, "downland or unenclosed pasture".

Folklore has it that Boscawen-ûn is a circle created by maidens dancing on the Sabbath being turned to stone. Whilst this story is attractive, perhaps more credible is the possibility of Boscawen-ûn being one of the three Gorsedds, or Druid Meeting Places, of Britain. The Welsh Triads which date back to around the 6th Century AD record "Boskawen of Dumnonia" as being one of the "Gorsedds of Poetry of the Island of Britain". Certainly the circle is still an important spiritual meeting place for local Pagan groups and ritual offerings are still placed here.

- From Historic-Cornwall website

Tregeseal (Stone Circle)

Lots of different fairy and devil tales for this one. One story tells of a local miner finding a Fairy Feast at the circle and was bound in gossamer thread and left there all night.There is another involving pixies enticing passers by and hosting "Little Folk" parties with dancing! There are stories of actual encounters with the Devil on nearby Carn Kenidjack, which dominates the horizon.

The Tree Of Life Rock (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art)

E.T. Cowling in "Rombalds Way" (1946) describing the Tree of life stone, records that ......

"it is one of the few known to local inhabitants, and marks the site of many May day religious services." Mayday folklore and customs have often been related to promoting fertility in people, animals and the land. Perhaps there is a link to Yorkshires' other carved stone The Fertility Stone
Hey Ho, here we go...

Geology graduate who grew up in the (barren) West Midlands, did some travelling and then ended up back in sunny Wolverhampton (mostly by default). Got some fab friends who like rocks as much as I do, so we spend lots of our freetime in country roads arguing over dodgy directions to another stone monument.

I'm as interested in the theories behind this stuff as anything else and think that most people are thinking too small. The positioning and alignment of most (if not all) burrows, megaliths, monoliths, bumps, dips and circles show an understanding of energy that we no longer possess. But thats all a bit too deep to get into on here. These trips are pilgrimages for me, in the same way as people visit churches or Mecca (silly modern religions)

I'm a holistic therapist living with the love of my life, Martin, and a lizard named Stan. I LOVE food as long as it never had a face, I'm rather partial to red wine and I'm happy to be alive and able to walk freely through moor, hill and vale finding sacred sites to "power up" and get me through.

Thats about it really...

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