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Folklore Posts by pure joy

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Colerne Park (Round Barrow(s))

'The History of Colerne' (1975 - no author) says that local tradition has connected them with the Danes and the large mound was a one time known as "The Danes Tump", where a Danish King was supposed to have been buried.

Bolster Bank (Dyke)

The village of St.Agnes still holds a 'Bolster Festival' in April / May. This consists of two weeks of celebrations in the village including workshops, culminating in a weekend to celebrate the rise and fall of the Giant Bolster. First a lantern and torch procession through the village to the top of the St. Agnes Beacon and a large bonfire and barbecue. Then the next day witness the deeds of the giant revealed in street theatre and dance, before a colourful procession of giant moving puppets to the cliff top at Chapel Porth where the wicked giant was tricked into death whilst proving his love for Agnes.

For the latest info contact St Agnes Tourist Information Centre: Tel - 01872 554150 / Web -

Cubert Common Burrow (Round Barrow(s))

Craig Weatherhill, in 'Cornovia: Ancient Sites of Cornwall & Scilly' (Cornwall Books - 1985, revised 1997 & 2000), mentions that "local tradition warns that any attempt to dig the barrow will invoke violent thunderstorms".

Carn Brea (Tor enclosure)

Craig Weatherhill and Paul Devereux, in 'Myths and Legends of Cornwall' (Sigma Leisure, 1994) write that the Giant's "sightless petrified head is said to protrude from an outcrop at the eastern end of this impressive hill, while his hand, also turned to stone, can be found at the opposite end of the great system of prehistoric earthworks which surround two of it's three summits. Later tradition gives this giant the unlikely name of John of Gaunt."

They add that Carn Brea has one of the most remarkable examples of a mythical sacrificial rock (at SW683407)..."a huge oval boulder studded with basins and which has the name of the 'Giant's Crocks and Kettles'." I think this is the rock pictured by Hamish, and to a lesser extent in one of my pics.

The reason that Carn Brea is covered in stones whilst St.Agnes Beacon is not, relates to the legend of Bolster (the giant of St.Agnes) feuding with the giant on Carn Brea and throwing all the rock around the Beacon at Carn Brea.

Buzza Hill (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

When Borlase was excavating the graves the excavation apparently had to be halted because of a violent and destructive thunder storm. Islanders attributed this to the wrath of the giants who lay buried here.

St. Agnes Beacon (Cairn(s))

The panoramic plate on the Beacon gives a tale about the cairns....."Legend has it the Giant Bolster could stand with one foot on St.Agnes Beacon and the other on Carn Brae. Giant Bolster's wife was made to clear the neighbouring field of stones, three aprons full are seen today as barrows (burial mounds) on top of the beacon".

I've also read that the two giants on St.Agnes Beacon and Carn Brea would hurl bolders across the space between the two hills, and Bolster was able to stride from the Beacon to Carn Brea with one mighty step.

Carn Brea (Tor enclosure)

Like Trencrom Hill and St.Agnes Beacon, there is a legend of a Giant of the hill. The giant feuded with the giant Bolster at St.Agnes Beacon, which is 10km (6miles) to the north.

The Carn Brae giant has several natural rocks named after him on the hill, such as The Giant's Head, Hand, Couch and Cradle.

Burnt Axon (Round Barrow(s))

The devouring Bisterne Dragon is said to have had a lair on Burley Beacon (which is a few hundred metres to the east of the barrow)

Warbstow Bury (Hillfort)

This giant must have been killed twice! The info board at Warbstow Bury says that local tradition believes the internal mound is the burial site of the Warbstow Giant who was slain by the giant of Condolden Beacon, who lived near Tintagel. I suspect that this might the hill on which the Condolden Barrow stands.

Condolden Barrow (Round Barrow(s))

This barrow is probably on the beacon hill that is attached by folklore to Warbstow Bury, via a story of two giants fighting (I love stories about giants!).

Boadicea's Grave (Round Barrow(s))

As well as being the legendary grave of Boudica, legend says that this barrow (like many others) contained buried treasure in the form of a golden coffin or table.

Casterley Camp (Hillfort)

There was a belief that a gold chair was buried in the ramparts. Another old story says that Upavon village was originally sited at Casterley Camp.

Chanctonbury Ring (Hillfort)

This tree-covered hilltop includes a fort, dykes, and a now-destroyed burial mound. The Romans also built a temple here. Numerous traditions have grown up such as that the Devil will appear if you run backwards seven times around the clump of trees at midnight on Midsummer Eve and he will offer you a bowl of milk, soup, or porridge. Although you may have worked up an appetite with all the exertion I would advise you to refuse - it's really payment for your soul.

The trees are said to be uncountable (although the 1987 hurricane did apparently thin them out); but anyone who does count the right number will raise the ghosts of Julius Caesar and his army. The ghost of an old white-bearded man is said to search for the treasure buried in the hill; and the hooves of invisible horses have been heard.

West Kennet (Long Barrow)

Considering its age and fame, very little folklore seems to exist. The only reference I can find is that the ghost of a priest enters the barrow at sunrise on Midsummer Day followed by a ghostly white dog with red ears, which is pretty similar to what Rhiannon found.

Devil's Jump Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

The legend I've read about the Marston Moretaine church is that the division of the tower happened when the Devil was trying to steal it; it was too heavy for him so he put it down and left it. Great story!

Adam's Grave (Long Barrow)

Said to be the resting place of a giant. And if you run around it seven times the giant is supposed to come out (and say 'why the hell did you wake me up' I guess)

The Hoar Stone (Chambered Tomb)

Also said to be a named after a Civil War general called Hoar, but that sounds a bit pony to me.

Cadbury Camp (Nailsea) (Hillfort)

Another ‘cadbury’ and another Arthurian legend! There is rumoured to be a cavern in this hillfort where King Arthur and his knights lie sleeping, waiting to be called out to help England face her enemies. Black magic and witchcraft were said to have been practiced here, plus dancing around a thorn tree on May Eve and Midsummer Eve

Grimsbury Castle (Hillfort)

I’m no expert on these things but I read that ‘Grim’ is a nickname given to Woden, who was held in awe by many Anglo-Saxons and had many sites thus named after him including this hill fort. Somewhere in the nearby woods there is supposed to be a bottomless pond in which lies a golden calf.

Maes Knoll (Hillfort)

Legend gives us a pretty traditional and widespread 'earth from the spade' story. The story goes that a giant called Gorm (uuuum, Gorm? Gormless?) was wandering around with aload of earth on his spade. Not remembering what it was for he dumped it and made the tump on Maes Knoll.
Showing 1-20 of 63 folklore posts. Most recent first | Next 20
My real name is Martin, but there is already a Martin vigorously posting on this fantastic web site so I decided to use 'Pure Joy'; which was the title of the Teardrop Explodes and Julian Cope fanzine that I set up in 1988 and ran until 1991/2. Strangely my interest in ancient sites pre-dates the knowledge that Julian was also into them. However Julian's book has certainly led me to visit more, and plan holidays and pit-stops around places to visit! Studying History (and International Relations) at Uni and coming from the West Country led to a healthy fascination with ancient sites and the countryside.

I was born in 1970 in Colerne, a historic village between Bath and Chippenham (mentioned in the Domesday Book) and have spent time in Bath, Reading, Manchester, West Africa, and Ethiopia. I'm currently living near London, but itching to live in the countryside, preferably Cornwall, or Africa. Reality check! little money and inertia creep.

Most of my working life has been in the voluntary sector, usually by supporting voluntary and community groups with advice and information. I enjoy doing quite a bit of voluntary work with our Credit Union, and as an elected Council member of the National Trust.

I'm no photography expert but I like to take photos (nearly always black and white) of places I visit. Some of the earlier ones looked good but it was only with a £25 point and shoot camera that was amazing unreliable. I've now got an old Pentax SLR, but at the moment I refuse to use filters and special effects. You get what you see.

Up side of ancient site = the sense of history, the countryside, the walk, the sense of adventure, the tranquillity, and the weird things that sometimes happen.

Downside = the loneliness, territorial cows, and the cravings to get back to the countryside

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