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Wick Barrow (Round Barrow(s))

The Folk Lore of Wick Barrow on UTube

The prehistoric burial mound known as Wick Barrow is over 5,000 years old. This film describes the folk-lore associated with the site and the archaeological excavations carried out in the early 20th century by the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society.

The film contains an interview with Victor Ambrus who created an archaeological reconstruction drawing of how the mound may have looked over 4,000 years ago.

The Humber Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

For some reason best known to the Ordinance Survey, it is the only standing stone in Leicestershire to appear marked on the maps. Maybe this is part of the “Magic” of the Stone, at work, as Leicestershire is dotted with other, more prominent Standing Stones.
The Humber Stone is located near the traffic island of Thurmaston Lane and Sandhill Avenue in the north-east of Leicester, now swallowed up into the conurbation of the city itself.
Estimated to weigh about 15-20 tons, it is of Mountsorrel (or syenite) granite rock, known as a glacial erratic. It may have been deposited during the last ice age, but human intervention in its siting cannot be ruled out. (One theory suggests that it was brought, by glacier, from the Humber, although this is unlikely.)
It is a matter for conjecture as to whether the stone gave its name to the near-by village, (also now within the city limits) or vice versa. There are several theories as to the derivation of the name. Contenders in the etymological stakes include amber or humberd, being of Druidic origin, as well as Humbeart’s Stan meaning “the stone belonging to the tribal chief Humbeart.” It has been known by several names over the centuries, which muddies the waters still further. These include Hoston, Holy Stone, Holstone or Hell Stone.
Ost End is the name of the field to the east of the Stone, and the one to the west is called West End, so the Stone was a landmark when the fields were laid out and named. There is also a Hell Hole Furlong nearby. Hell, Hole and Holy all have the same etymological root and occur in many place names throughout the country.
The Gods of the “Old Religion” (Paganism) became the Devil of the new (Christianity), in many other aspects of folklore and legend. If they couldn’t be “canonised” as in the case of Bride, who became St. Brigit, then they were made into figures of fear and loathing. Those who still worshipped the various aspects of the old Goddess and Her Consort, were often decried as Witches. Their ceremonies were said to be Devil Worship and, therefore, to be despised. In many cases the Christian Church overcame the problem by building their churches on Pagan sites. They even, often unwittingly, included Pagan images in the fabric of the buildings!
All of this further complicates any study of the roots of stories and names of the Stone. It does, however, explain why in some cases things are said to be both lucky and unlucky; it depended whether you heard it from a Christian or a Pagan!
It was extensively excavated in 1878, by William Pochin of nearby Barkby, for a geologist’s report about rocks carried by glaciers. He also removed a large piece of the Stone for analyses. Not long after doing so Mr. Pochin shot off half his hand! There is a photograph in the village archives of a man standing, dwarfed, next to the exposed rock, presumably Mr. Pochin, or one of his workers.
The Stone, recently partially re-excavated by “The Friends of the Humber Stone,” is thought to be some three metres high. However the “Friends” have only uncovered about one metre, as any more would need ground works on an engineering scale to ensure public safety.
It is believed to have stood exposed to the elements in an artificial hollow until about 1750, when the landowner decided to bury it so that the land could be ploughed. He was a Curate, so perhaps he also had ulterior motives for burying the Stone; maybe the locals still revered the old Pagan ways? Whatever his reasons, soon after the Stone had been covered, he was thrown from his gig and killed.
Much mystery and legend surrounds the Stone. Certainly no-one who harms the Stone prospers by doing so. There is a story of a wealthy landowner who broke a chunk off the Stone in the 18th century to try to destroy it so that the land could be used. Just six years later (in 1810), he died penniless and destitute in the parish workhouse!
Another story tells of a man who, whilst passing the Stone by Moonlight on his way home, heard “groaning” and fled in fear of his life.
Many tales relate to the faery-folk who are said to inhabit the Stone. They should on no account be upset, or misfortune in one form or another will befall the miscreant.
There is also rumour of an underground passage between the Stone and Leicester Abbey. This is now a ruin in Abbey Park, northwest Leicester, not far from the site of St. John’s Stone. (This was to be found between the roads of what are now Somerset Avenue and Milverton Avenue, in the north of the city, three miles to the West of the Humber Stone). Although no such tunnel has ever been found, these stories are thought to be folk memories of what have come to be known as “Ley Lines,” or lines of “Earth Energy.”
Other legends attached to the Stone include; if you touch, or worse, break pieces off the Stone your ears will turn to stone and if you fall asleep near or on the Stone you will be captured by the faeries.
There are reports of old people sitting on a huge granite rock at the top of nearby Thurmaston Lane, known locally as “the dangerous hill.” They would bathe their eyes in the pools of rain water that collected in its crevices in Summer, as this water was rumoured to have curative powers. Was this the Humber Stone? Locals who can remember this practice say not. They feel that the Humber Stone would not have been so benevolent! They say this was a second, smaller stone, if so it has been lost.
Now a listed monument, the Stone cannot be moved or tampered with. The new access road to the Hamilton housing estate had to avoid the Stone. It is said that this was due to the concerns of one member of the Planning Department who feared the consequences should the Stone be moved. It even forced the mighty “Tesco’s” to re-route their approach road.
The stories of the Humber Stone must spread far and wide. The travellers, who so thoughtlessly dumped rubbish far in the near-by car park and around the Lake, still revered the Stone enough not to desecrate it. Perhaps they didn’t want any part of their anatomy turned to stone!
Many local inhabitants don’t like to get too near the Stone, especially after dark. One near-by farmer would only talk to us over the fence after sundown recently; but then it was Hallow’een, (Samhain on the Pagan calendar), and a Full Moon to boot!
It is interesting to note the alignment of the Stone in relation to other Stones; the St. John’s Stone was due West, and the Moody Bush Stone is due East. These three are said to line up and the Sunrise of Beltane (May 1st) is said to be on this alignment.
Standing to the east of the Stone and looking towards Bradgate Park, it will be seen that the contours of the land are reflected in the contours of the Stone. Although this could just be coincidence, considering how many bits have been chipped of.
Another theory put forward is that Stones such as these were often arranged in a formation something like a wheel. One central Stone with several surrounding Stones marking the ends of the “spokes”. It is not known if the Humber Stone is the hub or a spoke marker!

Information from the Humber Stone Witch

Snivelling Corner (Standing Stone / Menhir)

3. Snivelling Corner

About a mile north of Ashbury is a spot known as Snivelling Corner, a few yards south-east of where a footpath from Ashbury crosses a stream, and a quarter of a mile east of Tanner's Barn. The spot is marked by a rough sarsen, three feet long, two feet high, and one foot thick, with a cavity on one side.

The tradition is that in days gone by, Wayland the Smith wanted some nails, so he sent his imp, Flibbertigibbet, down to the village of Ashbury to get the nails. But after the manner of boys, instead of coming straight back with the nails Flibbertigibbet went birds' nesting with some of the boys of the village. After an impatient wait Wayland spied him and in his fury threw a stone at him which pierced the ground and hit the imp on the heel. The dent in the stone is supposed to be where it hit the heel of the imp, who went away snivelling: hence Snivelling Corner !

It is curious how often indentations on stones are attributed to heelmarks. It is said that the Heel Stone of Stonchenge bears the imprint of the lieel of the friar when the stone was hurled at him by the Devil. There is also a good deal of folklore relating to other marks on stones, supposed to represent the imprints of the feet, or hands, of the Devil, or giants or other super-natural beings. A Saxon parallel to the Snivelling Corner legend has already been noted in the section on the legend of Wayland Smith.

L. V. Grinsell
White Horse Hill and the surrounding country - Page 21
Saint Catherine Press; 1st Edition edition - (1939

Loxwell (Sacred Well)


" Pure fount, that, welling from this wooded hill,
Dost wander forth, as into life's wide vale,
Thou to the traveller dost tell no tale
Of other years; a lone, unnoticed rill,
In thy forsaken tract, unheard of men,
Making thy own sweet music through the glen.
Time was when other sounds, and songs arose;
When o'er the pensive scene, at evening's close,
The distant bell was heard; or the full chant
At morn came sounding high and jubilant,
Or, stealing on the wildered pilgrim's way,
The moon light Miserere died away,
Like all things earthly—
Stranger, mark the spot—
No echoes of the chiding world intrude—
The structure rose, and vanish'd—solitude
Possess'd the woods again—old Time forgot,
Passing to wider spoil, its place and name,
Since then, ev'n as the clouds of yesterday,
Seven hundred years have well nigh pasa'd away:
No wreck remains of all its early pride,
Like its own orisons its fame has died.
But this pure fount, thro' rolling years the same,
Yet lifts its small still voice, like penitence,
Or lowly prayer. Then pass, admonish'd, hence,
Happy, thrice happy, if thro' good or ill,
Christian, thy heart respond to this forsaken rill,"
W.L.Bowles 1828

The Stone that Turns (Sautin) (Standing Stone / Menhir)

A legend says that the Druids, by running and dancing around this megalith in their sacred ceremonies, caused the stone to come to life. It is said that every night before midnight the stone turns on its base and begins to whoop or cry out. It is also said to do the same thing, but with more energy, on Christmas Eve.

Since being placed together, the other stone, the Sautin Polissoir, is also said to do the same.

The Fairies Bedroom (Burial Chamber)

Gargantua, the giant, is said to have used this chamber as a bed. Maybe he liked sharing his bed with a few fairies!

See - The Life of Gargantua and of Pantagruel (in French, La vie de Gargantua et de Pantagruel) a connected series of five novels written in the 16th century.

Gargantua's sharpening Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Gargantua, the giant, is said to have used this stone to sharpen his scythe, which he then took to finish off the soldiers of Caesar

See - The Life of Gargantua and of Pantagruel (in French, La vie de Gargantua et de Pantagruel) a connected series of five novels written in the 16th century.

The gorge of the devil (Rocky Outcrop)

Near Soumont-Saint-Quentin, in the departement Calvados, 9 km north of the city Falaise, lived the count of Quesnay.

He had a beautiful castle, fruitful land, and everybody respected him. he had a fair daughter, the charming Lucia. The elegancy of Lucia (and her wealth) attracted a lot of knights, that hoped to get invitations to the castle of Quesnay.

Lucia loved heroic epic. One day a troubadour came to the castle. He was young and handsome, tall and strong, and around 25 years old. After the servants had cleared the table he offered to sing a lovesong. Lucia asked for a heroic epic instead and the bard arose, tuned his lute and sang a song about a knight.

"Who has travelled through the brown Provence and the golden Bourgogne, the bellicose Flanders and rough Brittany, without even once asking for mercy? The valiant black knight, the knight of the lions.

Who has destroyed the most lances and unsaddled the most enemies in twenty jousts and many an encounter? The valiant black knight, the knight of the lions.

Who has never betrayed his beliefs, never won by deception, never fled, never gave up, never kneeled in front of his peers? The valiant black knight, the knight of the lions.

And nevertheless he strays around, melancholic and musing by day; sleeping in the shadow of huge solitary trees at night, having painful dreams, the valiant black knight, the knight of the lions.

He is woeful, woeful to the bottom of his heart and his state will persist until he finds a soul that matches his soul, the woeful, valiant black knight, the knight of the lions."

The people applauded him and the count asked him to stay some days, but he answered, that he wanted to continue his journey on the next morning.

On the next morning a handmaid of Lucia asked him to come to Lucia's rooms. He went there and kneeled in front of Lucia. She asked him to stand up and asked if he had sung about a real knight or invented the story. He answered, that the knight of lions exists and that she will meet him soon, because on his search for the most beautiful belle he would most likely drop by at the castle of Quesnay. Lucia blushed and gave him a gold piece.

Some time later the count of Quesnay held a tournament. The winner would get Lucia as wife, after one probationary year. Most of the celibate knights of Normandy prepared themselves for the tournament.

The tournament was a feast for the senses. The plain around the castle was full of tents and carts. Lots of visitors were standing at the palisades, two referees sat on their horses, armoured cap-a-pie, on both ends of the tournament field. On the galleries sat the noblemen. Lucia sat between her parents. Finally the heralds declared the rules of the tournament, trumpets resounded, fourty knights stormed the arena on horseback.

Finally only one knight sat in his saddle in the arena, that was full of blood and debris of arms. His weapons were black and his shield wore three golden lions. The audience shouted: "Honour be to the knight of the lions". They brought the knight to Lucia, he kneeled in front of her and his knave lifted his helmet. It was the troubardour. Lucia gave him the blessed sash, as a promise of marriage. The count announced the victory of the knight of the lions. The knight said he would return after one year to marry the lovely Lucia.

Some months later it was deadly silent in the castle of Quesnay. Why? Satan had abducted Lucia. He made advances to her, promised her the throne in hell, the reign over the whole world, jewellery and diamonds. Lucia refused to accept anything. The devil gnashed his teeth in anger and menaced her with thousandfold tortures. She hoped to escape and was unimpressible.

And really, after a drinking bout the devil was so tired, that he fell asleep and Lucia snuck out of hell. She could already see the castle of Quesnay when a thunderstorm began. The ground opened and out of an abyss craggy mountains ascended. One of the mountains opened up and out of it stepped Satan. He saw Lucia and threw some rocks at her. When he heard a loud voice behind him: "Bloody Satan, leave that girl alone, I dare you." The devil turned around and saw a knight with three golden lions on his shield, he asked: "are you ready to die?" Lucia recognized the knight and thanked God. The blessed sash was attached to the sleeve of the knight. The devil saw the blessed sash and took fright. He fled into hell.

Thereupon Lucia and the knight of the lions married and they lived happily ever after.

The castle of Quesnay has vanished ages ago, but the mountain out of which the devil appeared is still existing. On the ground of a narrow gorge runs a torrent, the Laizon. There is a bridge and a washhouse and the ruin of a mill. Rocks lie around as if they were fallen from the sky. That's the gorge of the devil.

Les Légendes Normandes, by Louis Bascan, a collection of Norman legends of older sources, reprint of 1929, published by "les Editions du Bastion", 1999, ISBN=2745500503, page 84-95, (French)

The Milk Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Women wanting to be a mother are told to rub their finger in a sort of cup that can be seen towards the bottom of the stones natural folds.

They are then told to wipe this "milk" on their navel. This act was to be repeated as often as required, no doubt until the woman fell pregnant.

Les Sept Bonnettes (Stone Circle)

According to legend, six girls and a fiddler went to dance on the mound on a Sunday, instead of going to church.

As their dance became wilder their heads become stiff, their arms began sticking to their bodies, and then their legs began to sink into the ground. The fiddler in the middle suffered the same fate.

Local residents rushed to the site but the group had turned to stone.

Dolmen du Cruz Moquen (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

A traditional folklore was that girls wishing to marry should sit on the stone during the nights of full moon.

They were to do this after first noting their petticoats.

La Borne Grand Pere (Carving)

Legend tells that if you fall asleep by the stone on a beautiful moonlit night with a gold coin tight in the palm of the right hand, you wake up rich the next day.

Pierre-aux-Dames (Musée d'art et d'histoire) (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art)

Switzerland has very little, if any, folklore concerning megalithic sites. This is because the tribes that lived in the area adopted a scorched earth policy and destroyed all their villages before beginning their doomed mass migration in 58 B.C.. When Julius Caesar burned the bridge of Geneva, to stop the advance of the Helvetii, the area around Troinex would have been trashed too.

See -

The Pierre-aux-Dames is a mystery of this period. The four sculpted figures are attributed to the Gallo-Roman period due to their dress, the use of metal tools and the craftsmanship employed. That said, the mound and the tombs were clearly placed in the late Bronze Age which could have been 1,000 years earlier. It may be possible that the stone was sculpted by Greek or Mediterranean stone masons commissioned specially for the task. Alternatively, the sculpture may have been produced after the Roman conquest of the area by descendants of the Helvetii in order to preserve the memory of their ancestors.

Whatever the truth behind the Pierre-aux-Dames, modern myths are being created about the fertility of the soil and the grapes that are grown to produce wine in the area.


The Fairy Music

THE evil influence of the fairy glance does not kill, but it throws the object into a death-like trance, in which the real body is carried off to some fairy mansion, while a log of wood, or some ugly, deformed creature is left in its place, clothed with the shadow of the stolen form.
Young women, remarkable for beauty, young men, and handsome children, are the chief victims of the fairy stroke. The girls are wedded to fairy chiefs, and the young men to fairy queens; and if the mortal children do not turn out well, they are sent back, and others carried off in their place.
It is sometimes possible, by the spells of a powerful fairy-man, to bring back a living being from Fairy-land. But they are never quite the same after. They have always a spirit-look, especially if they have listened to the fairy music. For the fairy music is soft and low and plaintive, with a fatal charm for mortal ears.

Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, and Superstitions of Ireland By Lady Francesca Speranza Wilde

A huge collection of folklore and folk-magic from Oscar Wildes' mother.

View online at Google Books, Sacred-texts Com, or download this collection for your iPhone or iPod.

Morgan's Hill (Round Barrow(s))

Morgan's Hill is so named after a Mr. Morgan of Heddington who murdered his uncle. For this he not only hung but his body was left hanging on the hill top gibbet.

Gibbeting was common law punishment, which a judge could impose in addition to execution. This practice was regularised in England by the Murder Act 1752, which empowered judges to impose this for murder. It was most often used for traitors, murderers, highwaymen, pirates, and sheep-stealers, and was intended to discourage others from committing similar offences.

As was the case with murderers, he was not given a Christian burial in a church yard but what was left of his remains were placed face down and covered with stones. In Morgan's case, this was somewhere on the parish boundary between Heddington and Bishop Cannings, probably just over the road from Smallgrain Plantation. It would appear that the spot contains several bodies of highwaymen too, but none of the infamous Cherhill Gang who robbed the stagecoaches naked, for none was ever caught.

This tale told to me by the late Mr. Atwell of the motor museum who was shown the very spot while out horse riding "on the same day they buried Winston Churchill".

Combe Gibbet (Long Barrow)

The Black Legend

The black legend is the tale of forbidden love, a femme fatale, exposed passion and a multiple murder.
Crafted by a Hollywood icon into a 1940's silent black and white movie, the story told by a young John Schlesinger and Alan Cooke contains the same sinful mix of ingredients found in such film noir classics like The postman always knocks twice.
Unlike the pulp fiction penned by Raymond Chandler, this eternal triangle of temptation, lust and homicide, was not played out on the backstreets of some depression hit U.S. city, but on top of the highest and most sacred hill on the Wiltshire Berkshire border.

After 333 years of damnation, have the murdered or murderers' found peace in this ancient landscape?

As with any tale that has become legend, sorting fact from fiction is not straight forward. Many variations on the same theme have grown up and with the script writers hand at work, aspects may have been lost in the mix, added to or completely created. The tale I will now tell may not be the whole story but I shall attempt to be as honest and direct as can be construed.

Travel back in time to a cold winters day in the year 1676, the 23rd of February 1676 to be precise. The place is Winchester Assizes where a farm labourer named George Bromham and a widow named Dorothy Newman are standing trial for murder. The record of the trial is to be found in the Western Circuit Gaol Book for the period XXII-XXIX Charles II, the exact chapter XXVIII Ch.II, is retained in Winchester Library. George Bromham was a farm labourer living in the tiny village of Combe, just below Walbury Hillfort on the edge of Berkshire. He was married to Mrs. Martha Bromham and had a young son, Robert. It would appear that George Bromham had formed some kind of illicit association with the widow Dorothy Newman who lived in the larger village of Inkpen, a few miles over the other side of Walbury Hillfort, in the valley below.

It is not stated how long this relationship had been formed or what brought the two together or even if the relationship was "village gossip". What is clear is that one dark day in the weeks leading up to the trial, Martha and her son Robert were walking the ancient Wigmoreash Drove which connects Inkpen and Woodhay to the top of Inkpen Beacon and Combe. Either George or both George and Dorothy were lying in wait, and beat Martha and Robert to death with a "staffe". Whether both committed murder or not, the beaten bodies of Martha and Robert were dumped into the dew pond known as Wigmoreash Pond or as it became known "Murders' pool".

The tale now twists with the addition of a character called "Mad Thomas". Thomas is said to have been the village idiot and either deaf , dumb or both. It was Thomas who is said to have witnessed the dastardly deed and altered the authorities to the bodies and the culprit(s). Indeed Thomas is said to have been called as a witness at the Assizes. Whether this was fact or fiction is unclear, it may have been written into the film's script for convenience, the guilty party(s) may have been brought down by other factors such as tracks in the snow or mud, the murder weapon(s), blood stained clothing, village gossip or a guilty confession.

Whatever or whoever it was that pointed the finger of suspicion at George Bromham and Dorothy Newman, both were haled off to the Assizes at Winchester, both stood trial for the murder of Martha and her son Robert, both were convicted and found guilty of murder and both were ordered to be hanged "in chaynes near the place of the murder". Their public hanging took place on 3rd March 1676 in Winchester.

Records suggest that some dispute arose as to who would be liable for the cost of the "hanging in chaynes", which would involve the building and erection of a considerable sized double gibbet, together with two sets of iron "chaynes". As the crime was neither committed, or planned in either the parish of Combe or Inkpen, but on their borders. This was settled by the cost being equally split between both parishes and the place that neither parish had claim to as the boundary stopped at the side ditches, the Long Barrow itself. Records indicate that the two dead bodies were then brought back to Inkpen and laid out in the barn at the back of the Crown and Garter Inn, where they were measured up by the local blacksmith and fitted in their chaynes. This barn is reputed to have became a tourist attraction, probably initiated by the landlord, and was renamed 'Gibbet Barn'. It would appear that the final hanging of the bodies of George and Dorothy, now bound in their chaynes, took place each side of their double gibbet on the 6th day of March 1676.

The original gibbet lasted an unknown length of time, but the second gibbet was erected in 1850 to replace the rotted original. This was struck by lightning, and was replaced by number three in 1949. It is unclear if this was a `prop' used in the film. However, that one lasted only one year, and number four was erected in 1950. Since then the gibbet has been sawn down by vandals on two occasions, in 1965 and 1969, both events believed to have been in protest against hanging. The fourth gibbet blew down in gales during the winter of 1977-78, where the stump had rotted away. The current gibbet was re-erected on May Day, Beltane, 1st May 1979.

La Pierre-Levée (Poitiers) (Burial Chamber)

The Venerable Bitard and the Big Penis Videos

La Pierre Levée seems to have become entwined with Poitiers and this is recorded in the various legends and folklore connected with, and still lived out on the site.

One legend says that St. Radegonde , who is buried just over the river in …glise Ste-Radegonde, brought the huge capstone block on her head and the pillars in her apron. The church of Ste-Radegonde can be seen in the background on the 18th c. print of La Pierre Levée from Monuments Druidiques.

The other, more famous folklore comes from the writings of François Rabelais (c. 1494 – April 9, 1553) who was a major French Renaissance writer, doctor and Renaissance humanist. He has historically been regarded as a writer of fantasy, satire, the grotesque, and both bawdy jokes and songs.

Rabelais studied at the University of Poitiers and wrote The Life of Gargantua and Pantagruel (in French, La vie de Gargantua et de Pantagruel).

This is the story of two giants, the father (Gargantua) and his son (Pantagruel) and their adventures, written in an amusing, extravagant, satirical vein. There is much crudity and scatological humour as well as a large amount of violence.
Pantagruel was said to have snatched La Pierre Levée from a local cliff face and placed it in the Dunes, turning it into a banquet table for local scholars who, 'when they have nothing else to do, pass the time by climbing up onto the stone and banqueting there with large quantities of bottles, hams and pastries, and inscribing their names on the capstone with a knife'. This was illustrated as early as 1561 in Georg Hoefnagel's "Civitates orbis terratum"

Well things have moved on since then and every year around the spring equinox, a week long festival takes place called the 69th Student's Semaine. This is overseen by the Bitards, a brotherhood of alcohol enthusiasts who keep alive the infamous Bitardbourg . Activities take place every day, such as the drunken parade to and from La Pierre Levée in honour of Pantagruel. Some of this material is for adults only but for a taste here is the big penis 2007

The Venerable Bitard (LST!)

The demigod of estudiants Poitiers has its origins in ancient times, when gods lived on Olympus. Juno, wife of Jupiter, leaped one day with a shepherd. The anger of her husband must have influenced the destiny: she gave birth in pain. His offspring was a monster head weasel, body of carp, turkey feathers, peacock feathers, wing rails and academic honours. This being, God by his mother, was the revered Bitard (LST!). But Juno, horrified by the sight of her divine child, hurled him over mountains and valleys. The latter fell in the forest of Liguge. For many miracles, he made known his divine nature to the natives. They paid him a cult and fought a shrine in his honor. In the fifth century, St. Martin converted many natives to their religion. The shrine became a convent. But insiders, rejecting the new ideas, fled into the woods with the relics of revered Bitard (LST!). They taught their religion to their children. Thus, over the centuries, their mysteries were sent to dignitaries of the Order of the revered Bitard (LST!). The cult is still celebrated "schoolboys faithful" at night and secret meetings which are allowed the dignitaries.
In addition, every year, around the spring equinox, the heart of a large gathering in the forest of Chanteloup, estudiants, guided by the College, engaged in hunting Bitard (Praised be He!) then back to Poitiers for the new Grand Bitardier through the city.

Pierre du Sacrifice (Burial Chamber)

The information board gives two legends associated with this destroyed tumulus.

The first, and the source of the "Sacrifice" tag, suggests that the straight groove formed along the middle of the stone was used "aux sacrifices rituels et a la magic noire", (for sacrifice rituals to do with black magic). Presumably the "victim" was sacrificed upon the stone and the blood would be collected as it dripped down the groove into a cup or chalice. This would point to the stone being in a more or less flat position when the tumulus was intact, possibly forming part of the capstone or roof.
The groove is hardly natural and does not travel the whole width of the stone. See enclosed photos. There was record of a Sheppard's crook or Crosse being carved into one of the upright stones too. Whether this was ancient or done in the later Christian era is unclear, as is also if it survived the 19th century destruction. Maybe it was carved by the church authorities in order to "sanctify and purify" a pagan relic.

A much more ancient legend tells of the "petits hommes", the little people who were said to inhabit the forest. They were said to have built the tumulus and made it there home. They were so strong that they could carry the enormous 15 tonne blocks with their bare hands. Maybe they were the faries and they could move the huge stones using their magic.

Fosbury Camp (Hillfort)

During one of the later outbreaks of plague in the 1660's, the Rector of nearby Vernham Dene, convinced all the villagers suffering from plague to leave and set up camp on this nearby hill. He convinced them he would bring supplies to them. However, once they had gone he 'forgot' about them, and their makeshift camp starved to death.
His ghost is now said to walk towards the top of the hill, always fading from view just before he arrives at the former campsite.

Avebury (Circle henge)

History of Handfasting or hand-festa

Their are two theories as to the origins of this term;-
a) Originally a loan from Old Norse hand-festa "to strike a bargain by joining hands".
b) "Handfasting" was the word used by the ancient Celts to describe their traditional trial-marriage ceremony, during which couples were literally bound together. The handfasting was a temporary agreement, that expired after a year and a day. However, it could be made permanent after that time, or continued for another year and a day, if both spouses agreed.

Either way, handfasting was suppressed following the Synod of Whitby in 664, when Celtic Christianity was abandoned for the Catholic Church. At The Council of Trent, 1545-1563, Roman Catholic marriage laws were changed in order for any marriage to require the presence of a priest.
This change did not extend to the regions affected by the Protestant Reformation, and in Scotland, marriage by consent remained in effect.
By the 18th century, the Kirk of Scotland no longer recognized marriages formed by mutual consent and subsequent sexual intercourse, even though the Scottish civil authorities did. This situation persisted until 1940, when Scottish marriage laws were reformed.

In the 18th century, well after the term handfasting had passed out of usage, there arose a popular myth that it referred to a sort of "trial marriage". A.E. Anton, in Handfasting' in Scotland (1958) finds that the first reference to such a "trial marriage" is by Thomas Pennant in his 1790 Tour in Scotland. This report had been taken at face value throughout the 19th century, and was perpetuated.
In 1820, Sir Walter Scott used the term to refer to a fictional sacred ritual that bound the couple in a form of temporary marriage for a year and a day. He wrote of it in his book "The Monastery:"
"When we are handfasted, as we term it, we are man and wife for a year and a day; that space gone by, each may choose another mate, or, at their pleasure, may call the priest to marry them for life; and this we call handfasting."

During the 1995 movie, Braveheart, Mel Gibson, in the role of William Wallace, was handfasted with his girlfriend Murron. Handfasting has since grown in popularity among Cowans (non-Pagans), particularly those whose distant ancestors lived in ancient Celtic lands.

Modern usage, A Neopagan handfasting

In the present day, some Neopagans practice this ritual. The marriage vows taken may be for "a year and a day", a lifetime, "for all of eternity" or "for as long as love shall last", sometimes called "till the end of love". Whether the ceremony is legal, or a private spiritual commitment, is up to the couple. Depending on the state where the handfasting is performed, and whether or not the officiate is a legally recognized minister, the ceremony itself may be legally binding, or couples may choose to make it legal by also having a civil ceremony.

Modern handfastings are performed for heterosexual or homosexual couples, as well as for larger groups in the case of polyamorous relationships. Currently, handfasting is a legal Pagan wedding ceremony in Scotland, but not in England, Wales or Ireland.
In 2000, William Mackie, a bishop of Celtic Church in Scotland, a small faith group that has attempted to recreate Celtic Christianity and promote the legalization of handfasting ceremonies said: "I plan to lobby MSPs to get it reinstated in its entirety: a lot of people make a mistake and, as long as there are no children involved, the one year opt-out would save a lot of hassle."

As with many Neopagan rituals, some groups may use historically attested forms of the ceremony, striving to be as traditional as possible, while others may use only the basic idea of handfasting and largely create a new ceremony.

As many different traditions of Neopaganism use some variation on the handfasting ceremony, there is no universal ritual form that is followed, and the elements included are generally up to the couple being handfasted. In cases where the couple belong to a specific religious or cultural tradition, there may be a specific form of the ritual used by all or most members of that particular tradition. The couple may conduct the ceremony themselves or may have an officiant perform the ceremony. In some traditions, the couple may jump over a broom at the end of the ceremony. Some may instead leap over a small fire together. Today, some couples opt for a handfasting ceremony in place of, or incorporated into, their public wedding. As summer is the traditional time for handfastings, they are often held outdoors.

A corresponding divorce ceremony called a handparting is sometimes practiced, though this is also a modern innovation. In a wiccan handparting, the couple may jump backwards over the broom before parting hands.

As with more conventional marriage ceremonies, couples often exchange rings during a handfasting, symbolizing their commitment to each other. Many couples choose rings that reflect their spiritual and cultural traditions, while others choose plainer, more conventional wedding rings. These are sometimes referred to as a Claddagh ring. In Oliver Stone's movie, The Doors, Jim Morrison and one of his girl friends, Patricia Kennealy-Morrison, are seen exchanging marriage vows and rings at a Celtic Pagan handfasting ceremony in June 1970.

I feel this covers the basics of Handfasting, with the principles, beliefs and symbolism.

If approved by the TMA eds, I shall post up some pictures of an actual Handfasting, as carried out on the Ring-Stone.

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Hail and Welcome

Chance was born in Ratae in the year of the Rat, and grew up in the territory of the Corieltauvi.

Now living days walk west of Wale-dich (Avebury), on the border between the Atrebates, the Durotriges and the Dobunni.

Practical experience of excavation on Neolithic, Bronze-age, Roman sites.

Interested in the various tribes, how they divided their land, their agricultural calendar, common beliefs and ritual systems.

Often attends the tribal meetings held at Avebury and Stonehenge.

Contact - Chippychance on UTube

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