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Sunday, 31 October 2010

St. Agnes - Holy Well

Bousening at St Agnes Holy Well - Please attribute this website if you wish to use my drawing.
"At the foot of the holy well in St. Agnes, a place formerly of great repute, Dr. Borlase says he thinks the remains of a similar well to the last [St Nun's, or St Nonna's Well] are still discernible, though the sea has demolished the walls. . The Cornish call this immersion "boussening," from beuzi or budhizzi in the Corno-British and Armoric, signifying to dip or to drown."

Hope 1893

Map - St Agnes

Altarnum - Saint Nun's or Saint Nonna's well

Bousening at Saint Nun's Well, Altarnun - Please attribute this website if you use my drawing
"In the parish of Altarnum or Alternon, there is a well dedicated in honour of St. Nonna, who is said to have been the daughter of an Earl of Cornwall, and mother of St. David, whose waters were supposed to have the power of curing madness; and according to Carew and Borlase the process was as follows: The water running from this sacred well was conducted to a small square enclosure closely walled in on every side, and might be filled at any depth, as the case required. The frantic person was placed on the wall, with his back to the water; without being permitted to know what was going to be done, he was knocked backwards into the water, by a violent blow on the chest, when he was tumbled about in a most unmerciful manner, until fatigue had subdued the rage which unmerited violence had occasioned. Reduced by ill-usage to a degree of weakness which ignorance mistook for returning sanity, the patient was conveyed to church with much solemnity, where certain Masses were said for him. If after this treatment he recovered, St. Nun had all the praise; but in case he remained the same, the experiment was repeated so often as any hope of life or recovery was left. The mystic properties of this well have been transferred by the vulgar to the Pixies, whose goodwill is obtained by an offering of a pin."

Hope - 1893

Map - Altarnun

Pelynt - Saint Nun's Well - part 2

"...Though the superstitious hinds had spared the well, time and storms of winter had been slowly ruining it. The oak which grew upon its roof had, by its roots, dislodged several stones of the arch, and, swaying about in the wind, had shaken down a large mass of masonry in the interior, and the greater part of the front. On its ruinous condition being made known to the Trelawny family (on whose property it is situated), they ordered the restoration, and the walls were replaced after the original plan. 

This well and a small chapel (the site of which is no longer to be traced, though still pointed out by the older tenantry) were dedicated, it is supposed, to St. Ninnie, or St. Nun, a female saint, who, according to William of Worcester, was the mother of St. David. The people of the neighbourhood knew the well by the names St. Ninnie's, St. Nun's, and Piskies' Well. It is probable that the latter is, after all, the older name, and that the guardianship of the spring was usurped at a later period by the saint whose name it occasionally bears. The water was doubtless used for sacramental purposes; yet its mystic properties, if they were ever supposed to be dispensed by the saint, have been again transferred, in the popular belief, to the Piskies.

A piskie and a pin at Penlynt - please attribute this website if you wish to use my drawing
In the basin of the well may be found a great number of pins, thrown in by those who have visited it out of curiosity, or to avail themselves of the virtues of its waters. A writer, anxious to know what meaning the peasantry attach to this strange custom, on asking a man at work near the spot, was told that it was done "to get the goodwill of the Piskies," who after the tribute of a pin not only ceased to mislead them, but rendered fortunate the operations of husbandry."

Hope 1893

 Map - Saint Nonna's Well, Penlynt

[There appear to be no copyleft images of the well now on the internet. If anyone has a photo I would love to be able to use it.]

Pelynt - Saint Nun's Well - part 1



"On the western side of the beautiful valley through which flows the Trelawny River, and near Hobb's Park, in the parish of Pelynt, Cornwall, is St. Nunn's or St. Ninnie's Well. Its position was, until very lately, to be discovered by the oak and bramble which grew upon its roof. It is entered by a doorway with a stone lintel, and overshadowed by an oak. The front of the well is of a pointed form, and has a rude entrance about 4 feet high, and is spanned above by a single flat stone, which leads into a grotto, with an arched roof. The walls on the interior are draped with the luxuriant fronds of spleen-wort, hart's tongue, and a rich undercovering of liverwort. At the farther end of the floor is a round granite basin with a deeply moulded rim, and ornamented with a series of rings, each enclosing a cross or a ball. The water weeps into it from an opening at the back, and escapes again by a hole in the bottom. This interesting piece of antiquity has been protected by a tradition which we could almost wish to attach to some of our cromlechs and circles in danger of spoliation. 

An old farmer (so runs the legend) once set his eyes upon the granite basin and coveted it, for it was no wrong in his eyes to convert the holy font to the base uses of a Pigsty and accordingly he drove his oxen and wain to the gateway above for the purpose of removing it. Taking his beasts to the entrance of the well, he essayed to drag the trough from its ancient bed. For a long time it resisted the efforts of the oxen, but at length they succeeded in starting it, and dragged it slowly up the hillside to where the wain was standing. Here, however, it burst away from the chains which held it, and, rolling back again to the well, made a sharp turn and regained its old positions, where it has remained ever since. Nor will anyone again attempt its removal, seeing that the farmer, who was previously well-to-do in the world, never prospered from that day forward. Some people say, indeed, that retribution overtook him on the spot, the oxen falling dead, and the owner being struck lame and speechless..." [cont.]

Hope 1893

Saint Keynes Well - part 3

"The quality, that man and wife
Whose chance, or choice, attaines
First of this sacred stream to drinke
Thereby the mastery gains."
St Kayne's Well by Richard Carew, 1603 
© Copyright Tony Atkin and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

"...This mystical well is the subject of the following lines by Southey:



A well there is in the west country,
And a clearer one never was seen
There is not a wife in the west country
But has heard of the well of St. Keyne. 

An oak and an elm-tree stand beside,
And behind doth an ash-tree grow,
And a willow from the bank above
Droops to the water below. 
 
A traveller came to the well of St. Keyne,
Joyfully he drew nigh,
For from cock-crow he had been travelling,
And there was not a cloud in the sky. 

He drank of the water so cool and clear,
For thirsty and hot was he,
And he sat down upon the bank
Under the willow-tree. 

There came a man from the house hard by
At the well to fill his pail
On the well-side he rested it,
And he bade the stranger hail. 

"Now, art thou a bachelor, stranger ?" quoth he,
"For an' if thou hast a wife,
The happiest draught thou hast drank this day,
That ever thou didst in thy life. 

Or fast thy good woman, if one thou hast,
Ever here in Cornwall been?
For an' if she have, I'll venture my life
She has drank of the well of St. Keyne." 

"I have left a good woman who never was here,"
The stranger he made reply,
"But that my draught should be the better for that,
I pray you answer me why." 

"St. Keyne," quoth the Cornishman, "many a time
Drank of this crystal well,
And before the angels summon'd her,
She laid on the water a spell.
"If the husband of this gifted well
Shall drink before his wife,
A happy man henceforth is he,
For he shall be master for life. 

But if the wife should drink of it first,
God help the husband then !"
The stranger stoop'd to the well of St. Keyne,
And drank of the water again. 

"You drank of the well I warrant betimes?"
He to the Cornishman said :
But the Cornishman smiled as the stranger spake,
And sheepishly shook his head. 

I hasten'd as soon as the wedding was done,
And left my wife in the porch
But i' faith she had been wiser than me,
For she took a bottle to church.""

Hope 1893

[I have guessed the Keynsham near Bristol (this being closer to Breacknock and Wales), though there does seem to be a possibility there is a Keynsham in Newquay, Cornwall, according to google maps - cant back this up anywhere else though.]

Saint Keyne's Well - part 2

St Keynes Well, 2007 - By Buckstymie [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], from Wikimedia Commons
"...Her nephew, St. Cadock, making a pilgrimage to the same place, in surprise found her, and tried to persuade her to return to Brecknockshire, which eventually she did. Cadock stuck his stick in the earth, and originated the spring, which St. Keyne gave to the people (in return for the church) which they had dedicated in her honour. One of her fancies was to reside in a wood at Keynsham. The chief of the country warned her of the venomous serpents which swarmed the wood. St. Keyne answered that she would by her prayers rid the country of snakes, and they were turned into the ammonites, frequently found in the lias rock in that district. The well is said to share with St. Michael's Chair at the Mount the marvellous property of confirming the ascendancy of either husband or wife who, the first after marriage, can obtain a draught of water from the spring, or be seated in the chair..." [cont.]

Hope 1893

Saint Keyne's Well - part 1



"This well is half a mile east of the interesting Decorated and Perpendicular Church of the same name, 2 ½ miles on the road from West Looe. It is a spring of rare virtues in the belief of the country people. It is covered in by masonry, upon the top of which formerly grew five large trees--a Cornish elm, an oak, and three antique ash-trees--on so narrow a space that it is difficult to imagine how the roots could have been accommodated. There now remain only two of these trees--the elm, which is large and fine, and one of the ash-trees. 

According to the legend, St. Keyne, a holy and beautiful virgin, of British royal blood, daughter of Braganus, Prince of Brecknockshire, said to have been the aunt of St. David of Wales, visited this country about 490. She was sought in marriage by  men of distinction. On a pilgrimage to St. Michael's Mount, and remaining sometime in Cornwall, she so endeared herself to the people, that she was hardly allowed to depart..." [cont.]

Hope 1893

Saint Pirian and the Well

"Beside a path leading to the oratory of St. Pirian's, in the sands, there is a spot where thousands of pins may be found. It was the custom to drop one or two pins at this place when a child was baptized, and this custom was even retained within the recollection of some of the elder inhabitants of the parish. There are other places in this county where pins may be collected by the handful, particularly at the holy wells. The spring rises at the foot of Carn Brea."

Hope 1893

[I can not find the location of this well - St. Pirans Chapel is near Tintagel, where there is no sand near by (Rocky Valley), Carn Brea is the other end of Cornwall and far from the sea. Where is it? Could sand have shifted in the last 100 years?  Is it a different Carn Brea? Help!]

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Dorset Halloween / Samhain Whitchcraft

[Tomorrow will be my wife and I's anniversary of getting together (not marrying, that took place later!). It seems a good omen to find we had got together on the first day (or day before!) the Celtic new year.

To many modern Pagans (and presumably many ancient ones) this is a pretty special time of year. This clip, from the BBC, shows some Dorset Witches preparing for the day.  They look very Wiccan to me (not that I know much about Wicca) and not that much like the less artificial artifact led celebrations I have seen by Pagans around here.  I love diversity in spiritual practice - hence my appreciation of folklore!

I would like to know a bit more about christian All Hallows, and about any folklore for this time of year.. . I shall have to dig into the texts...]

Sancred: Saint Euny's, Saint Eurinus', or Uny's Well - part 2

Well at Sancreed 2007, with Clouties - By Jim Champion [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0], from Wikimedia Commons

"...Dr. Borlase says : "I happened luckily to be at this well upon the last day of the year, on which, according to vulgar opinion, it exerts its principal and most salutary powers. Two women were here, who came from a neighbouring parish, and were busily employed in bathing a child. They both assured me that people who had a mind to receive any benefit from St. Euny's Well must come and wash upon the three first Wednesdays in May." Children suffering from mesenteric disease should be dipped three times in Chapel Uny "widderschynnes," and "widderschynnes" dragged three times round the well."


Hope 1893


Map - Sancreed

Sancred: Sanit Euny's, Saint Eurinus', or Uny's Well - part 1

"St. Euny's Well, in the parish of Sancred, south-west of Madron, occupies a soil similar to the Madern Well. Its waters, and its various virtues, both real and imaginary, are similar. Contiguous are the ruins of an old chapel, among which are many stones curiously carved, which strongly indicate that there was a period when this place was in high estimation. Age and repute are the parents of veneration, and veneration, in process of time, frequently degenerates into superstition. Among the reputed excellencies of this fountain, it is believed to have the property of drying humours, and healing wounds and sores, of various descriptions. But it is only at particular seasons of the year that the tide of its virtues can be caught. The last day in the year is generally supposed to be more fortunate than any other, and at this time many resort thither, to catch the holy impregnation. There is no doubt that many cures have been wrought by this fountain ; but it is only superstition that will attach these effects to any magical efficacy. Not only by the water of this well, but by the water of others unknown to fame, many wounds, sores, disordered eyes, and other complaints, have been removed by their mere coldness and natural salubrity. Cold braces the nerves and muscles, and, by strengthening the glands, promotes secretion and circulation, the two grand ministers of health..." [cont.]

Hope 1893


Linkenhorne


"An engraving of this well with its curious covering is here given."

Hope 1893

Map - Linkinhorne

[Grrr - Hope! Why cant you add some more information!]

Polperro: Saint's Well

"The reputed virtues of this well have survived the entire destruction of the edifice which enclosed the spring, for it is still resorted to by those afflicted with inflamed eyes and other ailments, and if "ceremonies due" are done aright, with great benefit. It must be visited on three mornings before sunrise, fasting, a  relic of a veritable ceremony, as witnesseth Chaucer's Pardoner's Tale, line 33. 

If the goode man that the beest oweth,
Wol every wike er that the cok him croweth,
Fastynge, drinke of this well a draugbt,
As thilke holy Jew oure eldres taught,
His beestes, and his stoor schal multiplier "

Hope 1893

Friday, 29 October 2010

Laneast Well, or Jordan Well

"An illustration of this interesting old well is given below."


Hope 1983
[Hope can be a bit frustrating! This appears to be all he has to offer on this Holy Well! Wikipedia says there is a well called Jordan Well in Laneast.]

Cornish Holy Wells - Part 2

Madron Well and the Clouties around it, 2008 - Some rights reserved here.
"... My informant told me that Thursday was the particular day of the week, though some came on the second and third Thursday. May was the first month after Easter, when the waters had been especially blessed; for then was the great time of baptism. When I visited this well last week, I found in it a polyanthus and some article of an infant's dress, which showed that votaries had been there. After the sixth century, these baptisteries were removed into the church."

Hope 1893

Map - Madern Well

Cornish Holy Wells - Part 1

"A CORRESPONDENT of the Gentleman's Magazine, writing on this interesting subject, says: "In Cornwall there are several wells which bear the name of some patron saint, who appears to have had a chapel consecrated to him or her on the spot. This appears by the name of Chapel Saint-attached by tradition to the spot. These chapels were most probably mere oratories; but in the parish of Maddern there is a well called Maddern Well, which is inclosed in a complete baptistery, the walls, seats, doorway, and altar of which still remain. The socket which received the base of the crucifix or pedestal of the saint's image is perfect. The foundations of the outer walls are apparent. The whole ruin is very picturesque, and I wonder that it is passed in so slight a manner by all Cornish historians, and particularly by Dr. Borlase, who speaks merely of the virtues superstitiously ascribed to the waters. This neglect in Borlase is the more to be wondered at, as the ruin is situated' in his native parish. I was struck with being informed that the superstitious of the neighbourhood attend on the first Thursday in May to consult this oracle by dropping pins, etc. Why on Thursday? May not this be some vestige of the day on which baptisteries were opened after their being kept shut and scaled during Lent, which was on Maundy Thursday ? My informant told me that Thursday was the particular day of the week, though some came on the second and third Thursday..." [to be cont.]

Hope 1893


Madron - Saint Madern or Doom Well - Part 3

"...At the side of Madron well, which lies on the moor, a mile or so from the church, is a stone seat, formerly known as St. Madron's bed (Madron is spelt Madden in some old manuscripts). It was upon this that impotent folk reclined when they came to try the cold-water cure. There was also a chapel, about 200 yards away. The chapel was 25 feet by 16 feet, and contained an altar ; a sketch of the ground-plan is given above. It was partially destroyed by Cromwell; but the ruins remain, and still retain the old stone-altar--a rough slab of granite, with a small square hole in the centre, A. Those who were benefited gave alms to the poor and to the church. This was done down to the middle of the seventeenth century. The well of St. Madderne is still frequented at the parish feast, which takes place in July. On the top of the ruined wall is an old thorn-bush, covered with bits of rag fluttering in the wind, tied there as votive offerings."

Hope 1893
[the exact location of Saint Madron's Bed appears to have been lost]

Madron Well 2006 By Jim Champion [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Madron - Saint Madern or Doom Well - Part 2

"...In the year 1640, John Trelille, who had been an absolute cripple for sixteen years, and was obliged to crawl upon his hands by reason of the close contraction of the sinews of his legs, upon three several admonitions in his dreams, washing in St. Madern's Well and sleeping afterwards in what was called St. Madern's bed, was suddenly and perfectly cured. 

Of all writers, Bishop Hall, sometime Bishop of the diocese of these western parts, bears the most honourable testimony to the efficacy of this well. In his Mystery of Godliness, when speaking of the good office which angels do to God's servants, the Bishop says "Of whiche kind was that noe less than miraculous cure whiche at Madern's Well, in Cornwall, was wrought on a poor cripple, whereof, besides the attestation of many hundreds of the neighhours, I saw him able to walk and get his own maintenance. I took strict and impartial examination in my last triennial visitation. I found neither art nor collusion, the cure done, the author an invisible God."..." [to be cont.]

 Hope 1893

Madron - Saint Madern or Doom Well - Part 1


"To this well, about a mile to the north, in the parish of St. Madron, many extraordinary properties have been ascribed. Dr. Borlase says: "The soil round this well is black, boggy, and light; but the strata through which the spring rises is a gray moorstone gravel. Here people who labour under pains, aches, and stiffness of limbs, come and wash; and many cures are said to have been performed, although the water can only act by its cold and limpid nature, as it has no mineral impregnation."

"Its fame in former ages was greater for the supposed virtue of healinge which St. Madderne had thereinto infused, and manie votaries made anuale pylgrimages unto it, as they doe even at this day, unto the Well of St. Winnifrede beyond Chester in Denbighshire, whereunto thousands doe yearelye make resort: but of late St. Maderne hath denied his (or her I know not whether) pristine ayde; and he is coye of his cures, so now are men coy of comynge to his conjured well, yet soom a daye resort."

Though this writer seems to despise the efficacy of these waters, the tradition of their virtues still remained amongst the Cornish, only a century ago. Borlase said: To this miraculous fountain, the uneasy, the impatient, the fearful, the jealous, and the superstitious, resort to learn their future destiny from the unconscious water. By dropping pins or pebbles into the fountain, by shaking the ground around the spring, or by continuing to raise bubbles from the bottom, on certain lucky days, and [11] when the moon is in a particular stage of increase or decrease, the secrets of the well are presumed to be extorted. This superstition continued to prevail up to the beginning of the present century, and is still spoken of with respect by some, particularly the aged..." [to be continued...]
 
Hope 1893

I am now on Twitter!

You can keep abreast of this blog on Twitter now, where I will post a short precis of each story just after I post it here...

Twitter

I am called - westcountryfolk

I took this picture outside my house of a small pearl-bordered fritillary - feel free to use it, but please put a link to here with it.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Cresswell 1921 finished!

Hooray!  All the folkloricly related text from a second book has been fully transcribed!

Surrounded by torn up bits of paper that where book marks. Phew!

Getting Hunts' Romances of the West of England done is a long term goal, but for the moment I will attempt to tidy up a few lose ends, such as Hope's Holy wells (Cornwall is all I have left to do there - the biggest entry of them all, of course.)

Our baby is not sleeping much at the moment, and I am going alternate with my wife all night, so I may not manage more than a Holy Well a day.

Oh well, at least Cresswell 1921 is now officially finished! My favorite thing she mentioned was the Horse pick-me-up...

Her reference again :-

Dartmoor with its Surroundings
With Map
A Handbook for Visitors
By Beatrix F. Cresswell
First published 1896
This edition (16th)1921
The Homeland Handbooks
London : The Homeland Association Ltd

From paper Book

(Oh and I love the cider drinking maid on the back cover!)


Dunnabriges Pound

Dunnabridge Pound - Image by Herbythyme [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
"Ascending the road from the [West Dart] river, a further walk of two miles will bring us to Dunnabridge Pound, which stands close to the right-hand side of the way. Mr. Page describes this as "an enclosure of uncertain age, and in itself in no wise remarkable." Its frequent mention, however, in documents connected with the forest endow it with considerable interest. It is still used for impounding cattle, especially those left unclaimed after the drifts. Our particular interest will be the the Judges Chair, at the entrance of the pound, surely one of the seats of the mighty. It consists of a roofing slab eight feet long, with supporters six feet high on either side, bellow which some blocks of stone form seats, another large slab serving as a back to the chair. Mr Bray, of course, saw in this the seat of an archdruid or president of some court of judicature. It is popularly supposed to be the Judges Chair of the Miners' Parliament, brought from Crockern Tor together with the Judge's Table, which may be seen in a less complete condition at Dunnabridge Farm, close by. Some antiquaries have judged the chair to be the remains of a cromlech erected in the circle which doubtless was the origin of the pound. One can hardly imagine that at a time when little respect was paid to rude stone monuments the Judge's table and chair, with their huge stones, were taken from Crockern Tor, several miles away, to Dunnabridge for preservation, and Mr. Crossing suggests that in the popular story confusion has arisen between Dunnabridge Farm and Dunnabridge Pound, the stone, which really does seem, from the evidence we posses, to have been taken from Crockern Tor, being at the former place."

Cresswell 1921

Map - Crockern Tor

Judges' Chair - By Richard Knights (From geograph.org.uk) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Jolly Lane Cot, Hexworthy


Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Derek Harper and
licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
I think this is an image of Jolly Lane Cot!
"Just above the bridge is Jolly Lane Cot, built in one day, and the last holding attempted to be taken from the Duchy, an old custom being that if a house could be built and inhabitted between sunrise and sunset the builder could claim it as his.  An account of this will be found in Dartmmor Idylls , and also in A Hundred Years on Dartmoor."

Cresswell 1921


[I have heard of a similler custom in Wales where they are called "Ty Un Nos", or overnight houses.  If you could build the chimney after sunset and get is smoking before sunrise, you could live in the house you built around it.  As far as you could throw an axe from the front door was the size of your garden...]

The Coffin Stone above Dartmeet

"So we may as well turn off the road as we descend, and look on the left-hand side for a grassy track whereon stands the Coffin Stone, used for generations as a resting-place when a funeral is on its way from parts of the forest to Widecombe. A sense of reverence creeps upon us as we look at the block, cut with rude crosses. Around us is scenery the grandest that can be conceived. It should bring consolation with it, for surely those who come here with their dead must have a sense of the nearness of God."

Cresswell 1921

Map - The Coffin Stone

Poundsgate and the Evil One

"It was here [Poundsgate] that the Evil One first came on the Sunday of that Widecombe storm, an occurrence altogether so unusual that perhaps the importance of Poundsgate dates from that hour."

Cresswell 1921

Map - Poundsgate

The Batch Loaves

"We now leave the Drives, with their beautiful woods, behind, and pass out to the commons, with Leigh Tor just above us - a couple of fantastic groups, some of the rocks being locally named the Batch Loaves."

Cresswell 1921

Map - Leigh Tor

Lovers' Leap


"The usual story is told of the Lovers' Leap in Buckland Wood, the crag overhanging the Dart below Awesewell Rock."

Cresswell 1921

Map - Lovers' Leap

At the Sign of the Cavalier


"When leaving the town[of Ashburton] by West Street a house at the turn of the hill may be observed, bearing a date of the seventeenth century, and with a little figure of a man on horseback at the edge of the roof.  There are several such in Devon, and the figure is no child's toy, but in the troublous times of the Civil War this unpretentious little man, noticeable only if you were looking out for him, denoted that here only persons of Royalist sympathies would be welcomed.*

*For notes on these "ridge tiles" see The Western Antiquary  vol. I, page 115 et passim."

Cresswell 1921


Map - Ashburton

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

The Wicked Weaver of Dean Prior

"But first we must find the Hound's Pool, where a vicar of Dean Prior transformed the spirit of a wicked weaver, who had been a trouble to the village, into a black dog, and set him to bale out the pool with a nut-shell.  The story makes us think of Binjie in Cranmere, and Tregeagle, who, over the Cornish border, is emptying Dosmary Pool with a limpet-shell."

Cresswell 1921

Map - Hound's Pool
Map - Dean Prior
Map - Cranmere Pool
Map - Dosmary Pool

Abbots' Way, or Jobbers' Path

"Petre's Cross is near to the Abbots' Way, or Jobbers' Path, as it is sometimes called, the track from Buckfast to Buckland and Tavistock Abbeys, now only a green path. The wool trade, which still prospers at Buckfastleigh, was formerly carried on by the monks of Buckfast, and it has been conjectured that over Jobber's Path bales of their merchandise were conveyed."

Cresswell 1921

Map - Petre's Cross
Map - Buckfast Abbey
Map - Buckland Abbey
Map - Tavistock Abbey ruins

Sir Walter Raleigh, Ogham and Burried Treasure...

"On the left of the road from Ivybridge to Cornwood is Fardel, Once home of Sir Walter Raleigh, now a farm-house having many traces of the old mansion.  A field near by is reputed to be the repository of buried treasure, and near this once stood an ancient stone inscribed in Ogham character now in the British museum."

Cresswell 1921

Ugborough and the Bishop of Worcester

"There are two good brasses of the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries in this church [Harford Church].  The former is a knight in armour, Thomas Williams, Speaker of the house of Commons, the other a coloured brass to the Prideaux family, placed here by John Prideux, Bishop of Worcester, in 1639.

Of him it is told, that as a young man in Harford he competed for the post of parish clerk, in the neighboring parish of Ugborough, but failed to get the appointment. He went to Oxford, and worked in a menial position. Afterwards a patron kindly procured for him admittance to a college, where through his ability he rose from one position to another until he was made bishop of Worcester; and was wont to remark "If I could have been a parish clerk of Ugborough, I had never been the bishop of Worcester."

Cresswell 1921

Monday, 25 October 2010

Roman's Cross and Saint Rumon

"From Shaugh we can walk across the moor towards the east, making for Roman's Cross and passing the so-called Roman camp on our way.

Roman's Cross was so called by the monks of Tavistock, from St. Rumon to whom the abbey was dedicated, and whose name also survives in Romansleigh in North Devon, a manor to the abbey."

Cresswell 1921

Map - Roman's Cross
Map - Tavistock
Map - Romansleigh

Dewerstone and Carrington the poet

"Down in the valley, overhanging the river, is the well known and fantastic crag, the Dewerstone.  It was a favourite haunt of Carrington, the Dartmoor poet. His name with the date of his death is cut on a rock above the crag."

Cresswell 1921

Map - Dewerstone

Meavy Cross and Oak


"Just such another old world village is Meavy, where beneath a shattered tree stands the old village cross, now restored, the children playing on the steps, just as Mrs. Bray describes them playing when the cross was a broken shaft."

Cresswell 1921

Map - Meavy

[I have included this piece solely because old venerated trees on Dartmoor fascinate me, and any mention of them I think deserves noting!]

Marchants Cross

"In a mile and a half from Sheepstor village we may reach the river Mew at Marchants Bridge, near to which is a cross of the same name. Tradition tells how the traveler used to stop and prey for his safe journey at this cross before setting out over the moor, wild enough in these days of cultivation, but how much more so when that slender symbol was erected, when road and hamlet were alike unknown, and the wolf, it may be, still lingered among the mires and mountains."

Cresswell 1921

Map - Marchants Cross

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Childe the Hunter

Childe's Tomb, from Wikipedia thanks to Herbythyme, under a Creative Commons license.
"Down the valley to the east [of Nun's Cross], is White Works, a hamlet from which perhaps the most romantic of all the Dartmoor memorials may be reached: Childe, the Hunter's Tomb. It lies exactly under Fox Tor, the mire of that name occupying the basin between White Works and the tomb, which is visible from between the houses to those who know it. But the impassable bog makes a straight line impossible ; to reach it we must keep close to the wall on the north and cross the stream at the lower end of the mire. Then by skirting the higher ground we can get at the tomb, which consists of several stones, surmounted by a cross, but is not the original structure; and here we stand upon the scene of one of the most picturesque stories of the moor, the legend of Childe the Hunter.

Mr Baring Gould preserves among Songs of the West the Dartmoor ballad that tells the story :-

It so befell, as I've heard tell,
There came the hunter Childe;
All day he chased on heath and waste,
On Dart-a-moor so wild.

Cold blew the blast, the snow fell fast,
And darker grew the night ;
He wandered high, he wandered low,
And nowhere saw a light.

His knife he drew, his horse he slew
As on the ground it lay:
He cut full deep, therein to creep
And tarry till the day.

The wind did blow, fast fell the snow,
And darker grew the night;
Then well he wot, he hope might not 
Again to see the light.

So with his finger dipped in blood.
He scribbled on the stone-

One is grateful to the ballad for telling us on what substance Child wrote that last will and testament, found when teh snow had melted beside his dead body:-

They fyrste that fyndes and brings mee to my grave,
My landes of Plimstoke they shall have.

In due course of time the discovery of the body and the writing was reported, when it occurred to the monks of Tavistock that the very best persons to be the heirs of Childe were themselves, to the advantage of the abbey. So they started for Fox Tor to fetch the body. Meanwhile the men of Plymstock determined to have the honour of burying Childe and inheriting the property themselves.  But they allowed the monks to have the arduous task of getting to Fox Tor and bringing the corpse over the moor. A number of them waited at the bridge over the Tavy, with the intention of stirring up a fight and carrying off the body before it reached Tavistock Abbey. But the monks suspected assault, and tricked them in a truly monkish manner, throwing a light bridge over the river at another point, by which they quietly carried the hunter's body to the abbey, while the Plymstock worthies waited elsewhere. Childe the hunter was buried with due honours, and the abbey inherited the property. The bridge remained, and was called Guile Bridge.

The learned have rejected this legend, but we would rather let it rest, as it adds to the weird picturesqueness of this part of the moor. The vandalism of the farmer has unfortunately destroyed the original monument, which was spoken of in Risdon's time as one of the three remarkable things about the forest. Crossing has given, in his Ancient Crosse, and also in an article dealing with the subject in his series of papers on the Folk-Rhymes of Devon , a full account of its destruction, and of the subsequent discovery by him of its site and various parts.

After crossing the moor to see Childe's Tomb, one is impressed with the feeling that whoever found his body and brought it back for burial merited the reward."

Cresswell 1921

Map - Childe's Tomb
Map - Plymstock
Map - Tavistock
[The location of Guile Bridge appears to have been lost.]

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Pixies Cave above Sheepstor

Sheeps Tor in snow

"Just above the village [of Sheepstor] is a bold massive tor that gives the place its name, a grand rocky hill which makes a landmark for a long distance. On the side, but difficult to find, is Pixies Cave, in which, tradition says, John Elford the Cavalier hid during the Civil War."

Cresswell 1921

Map - Sheepstor

Crazy Well or Classenwell Pool

"Let us also make our way to Crazy Well (or Classenwell) Pool, which is not more than about two miles from Princetown. We take the Plymouth road for a short distance,and strike off across the turf for Harter Tor, passing through the remains of a considerable hut settlement on the way.  Ascending Harter Tor, bellow us on the west is one of Dartmoor's new lakes, Burrator Reservoir, lying in the distant valley like a blue gem in malachite.

The tower of Princetown Church will aid us considerably in our walk to Crazy Well Pool, as a direct line may be made from the church to Harter Tor, thence to Cramber Tor, and strieght to our destination.

Between Cramber Tor and the pool runs the Devonport leat; by keeping a little way to the left a bridge over the leat will be found, then continue the line - and - don't fall into Crazy Well Pool when you get there! It seems to lie at one's feet, at the bottom of a sheer bank which we must skirt to get at the water. It is most indisputably one of those moorland spots that you don't see until you get there. It is said to be bottomless, until a very dry summer dispelled the illusion, and the further fancy that it ebbs and flows is pretty rather than true."

Cresswell 1921

Map - Crazy Well Pool

Friday, 22 October 2010

Princetown Prison

"A very brief acquaintance with Dartmoor Prison and the neighborhood removes all romance that may hang round the prisoner and captive, and when from time to time one escapes nobody is sorry when he is again caught - which invariably happens. He steals from the hamlets, and is discovered with stolen goods in his possession; one got as far as Plymouth, where a dog so alarmed his tender conscience that he began to run, so that the police, surprised to see a man running for nothing, suspected something amiss. Another left his boots in the back kitchen of a house near Chagford; he did not go away barefooted, and the authorities afterwords identified the "borrowed" pair."

Cresswell 1921

[N.B. Not sure weather to include this one - not really folklore yet, but stories of prison escapees are still passed orally today almost like folk tales]

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Stannary Parliament at Crocken Tor

"In his Survey of Devon Risdon describes as one of the remarkable objects of the moor "a high rock called Crockern Tor, where the parliament for Stannary causes is kept, where is a table and seats of moorstone, hewn out of the rocks, lying in the force of all weather, no house or refuge being near it." We shall see a good many newtakes, as the enclosed land is called, when we leave the hotel and prepare to ascend Crockern Tor, which is no great distance behind it.  The parliament on Crockern Tor lasted till very late, it being finally the custom to assemble there, swear in the jurors, and then adjourn to one of the Stannary towns, where debates and business would be less liable to interruptions from the weather. The climb up the rock is not difficult."

Cresswell 1921

Map - Crockern Tor

Beardown Man

"Ascending the steep sides of Beardown on the eastern side of the Cowsic River, we may find on the top of the hill a fine menhir, Beardown Man (= Maen, a stone)."

Cresswell 1921

Map - Beardown Man

Mrs and Mr Bray, and Rev. Samuel Rowe - part two

"...Mr. Bray's father had a summer-house at Beardown, on the Cowsic.  Hither they frequently came to make further excursions on the moor, searching for antiquities, and for what they dearly loved; traces of the Druids. Everything, in their opinion and in Mr. Rowe's was druidical: the stones; the rock basins; the names of the hills. No place was too inaccessible, no rock too hard, for the handling of this marvelous priesthood. And, as the druidical bards had left no written traces, Mr. Bray determined to put inscriptions upon the rocks at Beardown, which he conjectured to signify The Hill Of The Bards, though a moor simple derivation might be suggested.

These inscriptions, some of which were written in bardic characters, were traced by him upon the granite, and picked out by a labourer. Time, weather, and mosses, soon effaced many of the letters and in a few years some of the lines were indecipherable by Mr. Bray himself. From some cause the granite on this side is far more friable than that in the eastern quarter, which partly accounts for the rock basins and other druidical relics discovered by Mr. and Mrs. Bray."

Cresswell 1921

Map - Beardown

Mrs and Mr Bray, and Rev. Samuel Rowe - part one

"Little has been written about Dartmoor until the early part of the nineteenth century. The Rev. Samuel Rowe, incumbent of St George's, Stonehouse, and afterwords vicar of Crediton, was much interested in the Moor, and in 1830 read a paper on it in the Plymouth Institution, afterwords working at the Preambulation of Dartmoor, published in 1848. Mr. Bray, who was a Tavistock man, and vicar of that town in 1811, commenced his investigations about 1801. To his wife's friendship with Southey we owe her delightful book The Borders of the Tamar and the Tavy, containing many extracts from her husband's journals, and addressed as letters to the poet..."[cont.]

Cresswell 1921

Map - Stonehouse
Map - Crediton
Map - Tavistock

Druids and the Devil at Mis Tor

"Pursuing our way upwards [from Fitz's Well], we may climb to the top of Great Mis Tor, though the hill is long. Druidical origin has been claimed for the great rock basin at the top, which is perfect and even appears to have a channel for letting off water. The moormen, however, will tell you that Mis Tor Pan is sometimes called the Devil's Frying-pan."

Cresswell 1921

Fitz's Well near Merrivale and Princetown

"To the left of this [Rundlestone], in the prison ground, bubbles Fitz's Well, the well connected by tradition with the astrologer John Fitz, of Fitzford.

He was riding over this part of the moor with his lady, and a mist overtaking them, they were completely "pixy-led". Now, as every one knows, pixy spells can be broken by turning your clothes inside out, or drinking running water. Either the first charm did not commend itself to the gentlemen and his lady, or failed. So they looked for water, and presently found a spring, of which they drank. The effect was truly magical: the mist lifted, and they found themselves not far out of their way. After his return home John Fitz built a little cover over the well, which bears his initials and the date 1568.

As John Fitz also built a conduit house at Fitzford, Mr. Bray observes that he had a nice fancy for water; the irreverent mind hears the legend and fancies that the knight's potations were of some stronger fluid before he started for his ride home.

The cottagers at Rundle Stone call the place "Vice's Well," and will tell you "'tis properly swampy, sure 'nuff.""

Cresswell 1921

Merrivale Potato Market

"The moorfolk in the vicinity [of Merrivale] call the place the Potato Market. It is said that when the plague raged at Tavistock in 1625, and no one dared to go into town, food was brought to the top of the hill and laid among the hut circles.  Then Tavistock men came and fetched it away, leaving money for payment in the same place."

Cresswell 1921

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Peter Tavy and Mary Tavy at court.

"Before we leave the neighborhood "Let Peter Tavy and Mary Tavy come into court"; as a learned judge once commanded, under the impression that they where the names of witnesses in a lawsuit."

Cresswell 1921

Map - Mary Tavy
Map - Peter Tavy

Mention on Exminsters website

[This website was mentioned on Exminster's website here.]

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Giants at Tavy Cleave?

"We will not quit the neighborhood of Lydford without striking across the downs and visiting Tavy Cleave, a play-place of giants, with rocks in every possible fantastic form."

Cresswell 1921

Brent Tor and the Devil


"Another story relates how the Evil One removed the stones from the foot of the hill, where it was first intended to build a church, to the summit. Readers of Baring Gould's Margery of Quether will remember that that unpleasant relict lived in the tower and descended by the bell-rope on Christmas Eve."

Cresswell 1921

Map - Brent Tor

The Merchant and the church on Brent Tor

"The story runs that a merchant, encountering a heavy storm in the channel, vowed to erect a church on the first land he was.  This proved to be Brent Tor, and landing in safety he fulfilled his vow."

Cresswell 1921

Map - Brent Tor

Lydford Prison, Sir Richard Granville, Judge Jeffreys and the Black Pig

"It is far preferable to be hanged than imprisoned in Lydford Castle, for the Black Hole of Calcutta was not a worse than the dungeon of the Stannary prison, where were incarcerated the luckless tinners who infringed the laws governing them. Sir John Granville was, perhaps, the worst governor; but Judge Jeffreys bears most of the odium of the place, which he is said to haunt in the form of a black pig."

Cresswell 1921

Map - Lydford Castle

Lydford Law

"It [Lydford] is certain that it was formerly a place of importance; had its own mint, and in its castle were confined those who offended against the forest and stannary law - that oft-quoted and most unpleasant Lydford Law, "Hang to-day; try to-morrow."

In the morn they hang and draw,
And sit in judgment after.

"Is this the place?" you will cry shortly after turning down by the Dartmoor Inn, and Lydford comes at once in sight.

The castle keep, a grey ruin, stands on a mound near the church; a few houses cluster round it; the street is empty

For of its great name, I wis,
It only now the shadow is.

So wrote Risdon two centuries ago."

Cresswell 1921

Map - Lydford Castle

Lydford and the Romans

"Mrs. Bray tells us that Lydford was by tradition said to have entertained Julius Caesar and his whole army on his second visit to Britain!"

Cresswell 1921

[Julius Caesar was famous of course for being unable to conquer Britain]

 Map - Lydford

Fitz's Well - Okehampton

"Ascending the hill from the station, and taking the road to the camp, we shall soon see Fitz's Well on the right-hand side. Here on a small mound is an old cross, and close to it the spring to which the spot owes its name.

Later on we shall see near Mis Tor another Fitz's Well, connected with a similar pixy story, which shall be told in that place."

Cresswell 1921

Map - Fitz's Well, Okehampton

Lady Howard - Okehampton Castle



"While the antiquary studies the shattered walls [of Okehampton Castle], the folk-lorist will be rejoicing in the legend of Lady Howard of notorious memory.  She was the daughter of Sir John Fitz, of Fitzford, Tavistock (not the Elizabethan astrologer, whose name we shall presently see, but a later knight of the same name), and has a reputation of having been very wicked, but if we read her history we shall perhaps feel she was more sinned against than sinning. Four husbands had she (but was twice a widow before she was sixteen!).  She always chose to be called by the title of her third husband, Sir Charles Howard, son of the Duke of Suffolk; her fourth was Sir Richard Granville, the most detestable of all the governors of Lydford Castle.

In the Civil War Lady Howard chose to espouse the Parliamentary cause, which doubtless aggravated her crimes in the opinion of loyal west-countrymen. Mrs Bray says that she had heard a vague tradition that Lady Howard died in a state of mental misery and agony in a house near Okehampton, and to this day expiates her wickedness by running nightly to Fitzford, Tavistock, to Okehampton Park, in the form of a black dog, to bring away a blade of grass. When all the grass is plucked the day of judgment will come, and her penance will be ended. Sometimes the dog is described as accompanying the coach of bones, in which tradition says she used to drive towards the moor. Mr. Baring Gould preserves the story among Songs of the West in a ballad, gruesome both in words and tune :-

My Ladye hath a sable coach,
With horses two and four;
My Ladye hath a gaunt bloodhound,
That goeth before:
My Ladye's coach hath nodding plumes,
The driver hath no head,
My Ladye is an ashen white,
As one that long is dead.

It is needless to add that misfortune is sure to follow the luckless individual who meets "My Ladye" in her weird journey across the moor."

Cresswel 1921

Map - Okehampton
Map - Lydford Castle
Map - Fitzeford House Gatehouse, Tavistock


Monday, 18 October 2010

Monks Stone - Okehampton

"At the East end of the church [All Saints, Okehampton] is a coffin-shaped stone, locally known as the Monks' stone, a relic of the former building."

Cresswell 1921

Map - All-Saints, Okehampton

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Binjie Geare or Benjamin Gayer of Okehampton

"The church [one in Okehampton] stands away from the town, approached by a grand avenue of beech-trees. Unfortunately the entire body of the church burnt down in 1842; only the tower, late perpendicular work, remains to represent the earlier structure, which existed from 1241. One monument is preserved: this is in the vestry and commemorates Benjamin Gayer (or Geare), mayor of Okehampton, who died in 1701 - the original "Binjie" who haunts Cranmere Pool."

Cresswell 1921

Map - All Saints Church, Okehampton
Map - Cranmere Pool

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Ladywell, Sticklepath

"As we enter [Sticklepath] we see the Lady Well and inscribed stone on the hillside.  A large cotoneaster drapes the well, on the front of which is inscribed

Lady Well
Drink and be thankful.

The inscribed stone is just above it. It bares a Latin cross on one side, and on another some curious twisted markings, which have been described by Crossing"

Cresswell 1921

Map - Lady Well, Sticklepath

The Nine Stones - Belstone

Nine Stones, Belston
"Belstone Tor is easily climbed, and beyond it, not far from an artillery flag staff, is the stone circle known as the Nine Stones - in reality their are seventeen.  Legend asserts that they - just as the Merry Maidens near Penzance - were individuals turned into stones for dancing on Sunday but they have not yet finished their dance, for they may be seen to move every day at noon.  This may be accounted for by the effect of those

Tremulous vapours of dim noontide

which on hot summer days rise over the moor."

Cresswell 1921

Map - Nine Maidens / Stones, Dartmoor
Map - Merry Maidens, Cornwall

The Cobbledicks and their barrels

Cosdon (or Cawsand) Beacon, from the camp field at South Zeal at the Dartmoor Folk Festival.
"Cawsand [Cosdon] has been the sit of prehistoric dwellings, but it is a wet place either for the living or the dead. We learn, however, from Mr. Baring-Gould's novel John Herring that it was the residence of the Cobbledicks, a remarkable family who lived in barrels, and though they have found their way into fiction, are said to have really existed on, or near, the moor."

Cresswell 1921

Map - Cosdon Beacon

Grey Wethers Circle...

Grey Wethers. From Wikipedia, courtesy of  Herbythyme under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.
"From Fernworthey a further ramble towards Siddaford Tor [Sittaford Tor] will take us to Grey Wethers, two stone circles, placed very near to each other, neither of them quite complete. Those who have seen the Hurlers in Cornwall will recognize a likeness. As you look at them from a distance, you can not fail to be struck with the resemblance to sheep, which has earned them their name.  Often I have fancied I saw sheep in the hollow, and afterward realized I was looking at Grey Wethers. Crossing refers to them as having been the subject of a moorland practical joke.  A stranger was induced to purchase so many sheep, and was directed to find them below Siddaford Tor. On reaching the spot and seeing only stones, he was jocosely informed that these where the Grey Wethers he had bought.
Alas this practical joke has no longer any point! A too generous and gracious patron has kindly "restored" the grey wethers, and now they stand up like two little rings of tombstones, all their former quaintness vanished"

Cresswell 1921

Map - Grey Wethers
Map - The Hurlers

Friday, 15 October 2010

Around Scorhill Circle - the enigmatic Three Boys

"The Circle [Scorhill] is mentioned in a paper written by the Rev. Samuel Rowe, in 1830, who also noticed the remains of a stone row to the south of it.  Other rows were noticed near it by Mr. G. W. Ormerod, in 1858, and pointing towards the site of a dolman, or cromlech, which he says bore the name of the Tree Boys."

Cresswell 1921

Map - Three Boys

[I have contacted English Heritiage and tehy are fairly convinced it was never a Dolman, most probably simply being the terminal for the attached stone row.  Still - makes me wander, could there be a story in their like the three spinsters of Spinsters Rock, who built their Dolman before breakfast?]

Kestor and the spurious Druids again!

 
 
"Leaving Fernworthey for another day, we return to Chagford, past Castor, stepping aside to climb it and to examine the great rock basin on the top: the latter is eight feet across, and two deep, and is so often willed with water that it has a railing round it to prevent the sheep from falling in. It was discovered by the late Mr. G. W. Ormerod, who found it full of turf. What a delight it would have been to Mr. and Mrs. Bray with their Druidical tenets. It is the largest rock basin on the moor, and would have held sufficient water for the lustrations of a whole college of Druids."

Cresswell 1921

Map - Kestor

The Tolman Stone near Scorhill Circle

"Just bellow the confluence and on the left bank of the Teign, is the Tolman - a large water-worn rock with a hole in it, through which the active can squeeze themselves, though the attempt threatens a drop into water.  It is easier for a man than a woman [!] ; but the moor folk say you ought to get through the hole for good luck."

Cresswell 1921

Map - Tolman Stone

Gidleigh Castle Rose Rent

"Near the church is Gidleigh Castle House, with the ruins of the old castle in the garden. A ivy-mantled ruin is all that remains of the stronghold of Prouze and of Gidley; (for which they are said to have paid the rent of "one red rose at Midsummer" - what a delightfully cheap rent!) - a fourteenth century tower, a vaulted chamber, a crumbling stairway and a chamber above, where ash-trees grow out of the wall.  The last Gidley who resided at Gidleigh died in 1776, and is buried in the church."

Cresswell 1921

Puggie, Puckie or Pixie Stone - Chagford

"As we continue the road uphill [from Holy Street Manor, Nr. Chagford] we shall see the Puggie, Puckie, or Pixy Stone, in a field on the right-hand side ; a big granite rock, mossy and overgrown ; on the top is a rock basin, but there is no possibility of getting up to it without a ladder."
Cresswell 1921

Map - Puggie-stone

Salting Down Feyther - Warren House Inn

"Once more we have gained the Moreton and Princetown road. The little house close by is Newhouse, or the Warren House Inn, the second of that name. The first house stood on teh other side of the road, and here Crossing places the scene of the "salting-in" story related by Mrs. Bray, who, howver, gives no locality. If you have ever been near the spot, you will have heard the tale of the traveler who on a wild, wintery night, saught shelter in a rough, lonley house, where the people, though kindly, where not attractive charecters. A large chest in his room roused his curiosity.  He opened it, and found a corpse! Horror-struck, he remained awake all night. Finding himself alive in teh morning, he ventured to inquire who the dead man might be. "Tis only feyther," replied the host. "Twas too cold to take 'un to the buryin', so mother salted 'un down." I have given the story as breifly as may be. Mrs. Bray tells it admirably ; and after reading her narrative one dares not rush in on classic ground."

Cresswell 1921

Map - Warren House Inn

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Whooping Rock on Easdon Tor

"At the top of the hill [out of North Bovey] the road forks for Manaton, but our way is to the right, and if we are on foot we can shorten it by a considerable distance by taking the next turning on the right again, ascending Easdon Tor (i.e. East Down), which has long been discernible in the distance from the golden effect of the furze and bents on its rock-strewn side. The highest stone is the Whooping Rock, on which children with whooping cough are placed, under the impression that a sojourn there among the sheep was good for the complaint."

Cresswell 1921

Map - Easdon Cross

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Spinsters' Rock



"Then we cross the road, find the gate and the cromlech. The story runs that three spinsters raised this one morning before breakfast, pour passer le temps [to pass the time]. Energetic dames they must have been as there are four stones, one of them must have carried two.

It is a small cromlech, but that is hardly surprising under the circumstances. In 1862 it fell down owing to subsidence of the soil, but was carefully re-erected."

Cresswell 1921

Map - Spinsters Rock