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Showing 1-20 of 22 folklore posts. Most recent first | Next 20

Crois Chnoca Breaca (Standing Stone / Menhir)

see also this thread:

"one day a year local people used to walk in procession along an old road, round the church, to the old stone, drape coloured pieces of cloth around it, and give oblations"

From The Outer Hebrides and their Legends by Otta F. Swire, 1966:

"It is said that there was a standing stone carved with a cross and known as Crois nan Cnoca Breaca on a small hill on the north boundary of Ormaclett and that it marked the spot where 'Our Saviour of Victory' stood and so long as Howmore Church was in we all those who came to it from the south always knelt there to pray. Martin says that the people bowed to the church from this stone which they set up at the first point from which St. Columba's church at Howmore could be seen and so it was called 'the bowing stone'. One wonders if both the stone and the sacredness of this part of South Uist are not much older than Christianity."

Glastonbury Tor (Sacred Hill)

Geoffrey Russell suggested that the terracing around the Tor may once have been part of a sacred maze design, a design which may also have given rise to the Cretan Labyrinth legend. This belief was also held by Professor Philip Ratz, who excavated the Tor summit in the 1960s.

If this was the case, then the maze is supposed to end with a tunnel into an underground chamber. Several other legends suggest that the Tor is hollow, including Rhiannon's post below.

For more information about the maze theory, see the link at the bottom of the page.

Silbury Hill (Artificial Mound)

Hecateus of Abdera, a Greek writer writing in the 4th century BCE, wrote of a large island to the north of Gaul populated by a race called the Hyperboreans. Their chief god was Apollo, and they had a city dedicated to him, with a "remarkable round temple".

The large island is thought to be Britain, and the round temple has previously been identified as Stonehenge. However, the Greek word translated as "round" is "sphairoeides" which actually means "spherical" and not round. Geoffrey Ashe in his "Mythology of the British Isles" suggests that the word in question has been misspelled at some point in the past, and originally may have been "speiroeides", meaning "spiral".

Ashe discusses the possibility of a "spiral temple" being a labirynth of some kind, or even rock art, but surely there's a chance that Hecateus' "remarkable round temple" - when "spiral" is substituted for "round" - could actually be Silbury Hill, with it's spiral path?

London Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

One legend - quoted by Theo Brown in "Trojans in the West Country" - suggests that the London Stone was an altar set up by Brutus in honour of Diana. "So long as the stone of Brutus is safe, so London shall flourish."

Market Knowe (Cairn(s))

The site is called the Market Knowe because Longforgan's market was held here, certainly as far back as 1633.

Sluggan (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Further to what Rhiannon says below, Ulric was the commander-in-chief of a band of Viking raiders under Olaf Tryggvenson who were defeated by the Scots in a battle here in 968 CE. Legend has it Olaf is buried nearby under Dun Aula at Barbreck House, futher down Gleann Domhain.

Giant's Stone (Standing Stones)

From the Second Statistical Account:

"Close by the road leading from the church to Menzion House, there are the remains of a Druidical temple or Pictish court of justice. Only one stone is left of a number similar in appearance and size which stood together, and which have been removed for the purpose of dike- building, &c. It is called the Standing Stone, and is five feet above the surface of the earth. From behind it, a person of diminutive stature, known by the name of Little John, discharged an arrow at the head of a freebooter of formidable dimension who greatly annoyed the peaceful inhabitants, and who, though on the opposite side of the Tweed, was unable to elude the deadly stroke."

Dundee Law (Hillfort)

The Gaelic form of Dundee is Dùn Dèagh - 'the fort of Daig'. Daig was a fairly uncommon Irish name meaning fire. However, Conall Corc, the legendary King of Munster, was exiled in Scotland in the 5th century, and one of his sons was named Daig.

Seward's Stone, Belmont (Standing Stone / Menhir)

You were looking at the wrong sources Mr Brand! Seward's Stone is presumably named for Seward, Earl of Northumbria, who MacBeth killed. Whether or not this stone or the nearby MacBeth's Stone actually have any links with the MacBeth story I don't know.

Drumel Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

from a letter in the Scots Magazine, Nov 1985:

Sixty years ago I used to go for holidays in Aberdeenshire with my grandparents. Grandfather was a shepherd in the Glen O' Noth, Gartly. There was an old stone standing in a field on New Noth Farm which I passed every day when going for milk. It was supposed to mark the grave of an old warrior. The story I was told was that one year they were building a new cow house and took the stone to use as a lintel. The first night after the cows were shut in, they made a great rumpus. The farmer and my grandfather went out the next night to stand guard with guns. They never told what they heard or saw, but the stone was taken out and put back in the field.

Mrs Kathleen Davidson

Cona Bhacain (Standing Stone / Menhir)

This stone is also associated with the legends of the Fianna, led by Finn MacCool / Fionn MacCumhaill / Fingal. It is said that Finn used to tie his dog, Bran, to this stone while he was at his nearby fort, hence it's shape, and it's name Bhacain, or tether-stake.

Archie McKerracher wrote of a legend that this stone was "used to protect maidens' virtue, for when the girls returned from harvesting in the godless Lowlands they were sent underneath it, and no unwanted children occurred"

Clach a' Mharsainte (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Legend has it that a travelling packman sat down in the shade of this standing stone one hot summer's day, and as he threw off his pack, it fell behind the stone and he was strangled by the straps.

Auchingarrich Farm (Standing Stone / Menhir)

The OS Name Book in 1860 said that the stone was "Supposed to mark the grave of one of the heroes who fell at the battle of Mons Grampus"

Coille Dhubh (Standing Stones)

"Beside the road in the Black Wood of Chesthill stood the tall upright Clach nan Tagnairn." Every Hallowe'en wildcats would come and walk in circles around the stone, to welcome a huge black cat which sat on top of it. In 1838 a traveller is supposed to have stumbled on this ceremony and was attacked by the cats. Fighting them off as he fled, when he reached Woodend House a dead wildcat was found still clinging to his back.

"Opposite" the Cat Stone was the Stone of the Demon, where Macnab of Carnban Castle met a sticky end. He apparently forced a girl work naked in the fields, so her mother cast a spell on him, and he was thrown from his horse at this stone, his neck broken.

Bridge of Lyon Cairn (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art)

The name of the cairn, Uaigh an t-Seanalair - the General's Grave - is supposed to refer either to Pontius Pilate or his father. There is a legend in Fortingall that Pontius Pilate was born here to a local mother and a Roman father.

Carn na Marbh (Round Barrow(s))

Carn na Marbh, or the Mound of the Dead, was used in 14th century for burying victims of the plague away from the church graveyard. But it may actually be a re-used barrow, as legend has it that it was the focal point of the Samhain festival. A great fire was lit on top of it each year, and the locals would dance around the mound. The Samhain celebrations here apparently came to an end in 1924, because the local gamekeeper was unhappy with people collecting wood from the surrounding hills for the fire!

Eilean nam Faoileag (Crannog)

There are information boards spaced out around the loch, and one is opposite the crannog on the S shore. I forget the name of the clan it talks about, but presumably it was the Robertsons of Struan. Apparently, if they were being chased by their enemies, they would head for the shore of Loch Rannoch, and run out to Eilean nam Faoileag on the submerged sand bank. Anyone trying to follow them, not knowing where the curved causeway was, would inevitably perish.

Fortingall (Stone Circle)

The Samhain festival was celebrated at Fortingall right up until 1924, when it was apparently stopped by the local keeper - the building of the bonfire each year was taking away the cover in the surrounding area for the game!
Showing 1-20 of 22 folklore posts. Most recent first | Next 20

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