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

Folklore Posts by Earthstepper

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Beauchamp Roding (Christianised Site)

Legend tells that the stone stood on a hill top some distance from the intended site of the church. When the stone was dragged down to be incorporated into the church structure, it returned overnight to the hilltop. This happened three times and eventually the church was relocated and built on the hilltop so that the stone could remain undisturbed.

Lyonesse (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

There is a persistent legend that the Lost Land of Lyonesse once stretched from Scilly to Land's End. This realm was said to be the home of Tristan who went on to woo Iseult etc. The capital of Lyonesse was the City of Lions and was built around the hill which is now the treacherous reef of the Seven Stones. One night a huge wave (tsunami?) swept over Lyonesse and only one man escaped. This was Trevilian who galloped ahead of the flood on a white horse and survived to found the Cornish Trevelyan family.

There are many field walls and hut circles to be seen at the lowest tide when it is possible to walk from Samson to Bryher and from Bryher to Tresco. In Roman times, all of the islands were one (variously referred to as Sylina Insula and Siluram Insulam - singular, not plural ie The Scilly Island) with the exception of St Agnes and Annet. This has given rise to the legend that Scilly is a remnant of the Lost Land of Lyonesse. The legend further relates that the rest of Lyonesse lies beneath the sea between Scilly and Lands End and over towards the Lizard. There really is a submerged forest in Mount's Bay and fishermen have reported seeing the tops of houses near the Longships lighthouse. The legend is further related in Cheryl Straffon's excellent guide to Ancient Sites on the Isles of Scilly (Meyn Mamvro). Whatever else may lie beneath the waves, there are the remains of hundreds of shipwrecks awaiting the marine archaeolgist.

South Hill (Entrance Grave)

Close by this chamber are the ruined cottages of the last people to live on Samson. The island was abandoned in the 19th century when almost all of the men were drowned while attempting to rescue people from a shipwreck.

In the background, can be seen field walls on the sands which are only uncovered at low tide. There are many field walls and hut circles to be seen at the lowest tide when it is posible to walk from Samson to Bryher and from Bryher to Tresco. (See entry for Lyonesse)

Ambresbury Banks (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

Boudica is firmy linked to this site and local people will still tell you that "Boadicea's Camp was where she poisoned herself after the Romans beat her".

The image of Boudica and her daughters owes much to the statue on the Embankment at Westminster. People are familiar with the statue and will assure you that "Boadicea's chariot had knives on the wheels which she used to chop off the Romans' legs" When pressed further, the informant invariably maintains that the battle took place somewhere to the west and that after her army was defeated, Boadicea retreated to Ambresbury Banks where she poisoned her daughters and then herself.

The plateau fort is now in trees, but was built on high ground overlooking the Lea Valley and the batttle is supposed to have taken place in the general area of St Alban's. The legend is very strongly held and quite unshakeable. Difficult to know if it is a long held tradition or an echo of 18th/19th century antiquarian interest.

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