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Tuesday, 30 August 2011

A missing Logan Stone on Tregarthen Down

Granite tor from nearby Zennor Hill - image by Cornwall Guide [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
"The following are a few of the interesting remains of old Cornwall which have entirely disappeared from the neighbourhood within a few years--

Between St Ives and Zennor, on the lower road over Tregarthen Down and a Logan rock. An old man, perhaps ninety years of age, told me he had often logged it, and that it would make a noise which could be heard for miles."

Hunt 1903

Popular Romances of the West of England: The drolls, traditions, and superstitions of old Cornwall (Forgotten Books)

[The exact location of the down is unknown to me, but their is a farm called Tregarthen Farm in the correct location, so the down must have been near by.]

Map - Tregarthen Farm

Saying about eating diffrerent food

""I am loth to chainge my mill" - Somerset

i.e. Eat of another dish."

Ray 1768

A compleat collection of English proverbs; also the most celebrated proverbs of the Scotch, Italian, French, Spanish, and other languages. ... By ... ... is added, (written by the same author) ed 4

Proverb from Somerset on a capable person

"Old head and young hands" - Somerset

Ray 1768

A compleat collection of English proverbs; also the most celebrated proverbs of the Scotch, Italian, French, Spanish, and other languages. ... By ... ... is added, (written by the same author) ed 4
 

Monday, 29 August 2011

A Somerton Ending... A proverb

"A Somerton ending." - Somerset

(i.e. when the difference between two is divided.)

Ray 1768

A compleat collection of English proverbs; also the most celebrated proverbs of the Scotch, Italian, French, Spanish, and other languages. ... By ... ... is added, (written by the same author) ed 4

Map - Somerton

Nancledra Logan stone - the 12 o'clock stone

A field near Nancledra. Unfortunately, as Hunt says, the folkloric stones near here where removed. Image by Sheila Russell [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


"NUMBERS of people would formerly visit a remarkable Logan stone, near Nancledrea, which had been, by supernatural power, impressed with some peculiar sense at midnight. Although it was quite impossible to move this stone during daylight, or indeed by human power at any other time, it would rock like a cradle exactly at midnight. Many a child has been cured of rickets by being placed naked at this hour on the twelve-o'clock stone. If, however, the child was "misbegotten," or, if it was the offspring of dissolute parents, the stone would not move, and consequently no cure was effected. On the Cuckoo Hill, eastward of Nancledrea, there stood, but a few years since, two piles of rock about eight feet apart, and these were united by a large flat stone carefully placed upon them,--thus forming a doorway which was, as my informant told me, "large and high enough to drive a horse and cart through." It was formerly the custom to march in procession through this "doorway" in going to the twelve-o'clock stone. 

The stone-mason has, however, been busy hereabout; and every mass of granite, whether rendered notorious by the Giants or holy by the Druids, if found to be of the size required, has been removed."

Hunt 1903
Popular Romances of the West of England: The drolls, traditions, and superstitions of old Cornwall (Forgotten Books)

The Nine Maidens, or Virgin sisters - more info

The Nine Maidens at Boskednan.  Unfortunately I can find no copyright free images of the Nine Maidens near Wendron. Image by Jim Champion [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

"NINE "Moor Stones" are set up near the road in the parish of Gwendnon, or Wendron, to which the above name is given. The perpendicular blocks of granite have evidently been placed with much labour in their present position. Tradition says they indicate the graves of nine sisters. Hals appears to think some nuns were buried here. From one person only I heard the old stony of the stones having been metamorphosed maidens. Other groups of stone might be named, as Rosemedery, Tregaseal, Boskednan, Botallack, Tredinek, and Crowlas, in the west, to which the same story extends, and many others in the eastern parts of the county; but it cannot be necessary."
Hunt 1903

Popular Romances of the West of England, Or, the Drolls, Traditions, and Superstitions of Old Cornwall
Map - Stones at Rosemedery (this is a guess, New Downs stone circle - it is the nearest stone circle to Rosemundy in Cornwall...)
Map - Crowlas (There is no indication of a circle, destroyed or otherwise here, though ther may have been once)

Friday, 26 August 2011

The Hurlers

The Hurlers stone circle - By Olaf Tausch (Own work) [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


"The three circles, which are seen on the moors not far from the Cheesewring, in the parish of St Cleer, are also notable examples of the punishment of Sabbath-breaking. These are called the Hurlers," and they preserve the position in which the several parties stood in the full excitement of the game of hurling, when, for the crime of profaning the Sabbath, they were changed into stone...

... "With respect to the stones called the 'Hurlers' being once men, I will say with Hals, 'Did but the ball which these Hurlers used when flesh and blood appear directly over them, immovably pendant in the air, one might he apt to credit some little of the tale;' but as this is not the case, I must add icy belief of their being erected by the Druids for some purpose or other -- probably a court of justice; bog subsequent to which erection, however, they may have served as a goal for hurl-players."--Topographical and Historical Sketches of the Boroughs of East and West Love, by Thomas Bond.

May we not address Mr Bond, "O ye of little faith!" A very small amount of which would have found the ball, fixed as a boulder of granite, not as it passed through the air, but as it rolled along the ground.

That an ancient priesthood, endeavouring to reach the minds of an ignorant people through their sensations, should endeavour to persuade the old Celtic population that God's vengeance had fallen on the Sabbath-breaker, is not to be wondered at. Up to a very recent period, hurling matches usually came off on the Sunday--See "Hurling," in the chapter on Cornish Customs."

Hunt 1903
Popular Romances of the West of England, Or, the Drolls, Traditions, and Superstitions of Old Cornwall

Three Cornish Stone Circles and their myths

Boscawen Un Stone Circle - Alan Simkins [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
"The celebrated circle of nineteen stones,--which is seen on the road to the Land's End,--known as the "Boscawen un Circle," is another example." [of people turned to stone for dancing] "The "Nine Maids," or the "Virgin Sisters," in Stithians, and other "Nine Maids," or, as called in Cornish, Naw-whoors, in St Colomb-Major parish, should also be seen, in the hope of impressing the moral lesson they convey yet more strongly on the mind...

...The following quotations are front Davies Gilbert. It must not be forgotten that this gentleman was President of the Royal Society, and therefore a sceptic in local tradutionary story:-- -

"On the south-west part of the parish of Stithians, towards Gwendron, are still to be seen nine Stones set perpendicularly erect in the earth, in a direct manner, about ten feet apart, called the Nine Maids, probably set up there in memory of nine religious sisters or nuns in that place before the fifth century; not women turned into stone, as the English name implies, and as the country people thereabout will tell you"

"The Nine Maids--in Cornish, Naw-voz, alias the nine sisters--in Cornish, Nawwhoors--which very name informs us that they were sepulchral stones, erected in memory either of suns natural or spiritual Sisters of some religious house, and not so many maids turned into stones for dancing on the Sabbath-day, as the country people will tell you. Those stones are set in order by a line, as is such another monument, also called the Nine Maids, in Gwendron, by the highway, about twenty-five feet distance Irons each other.""

Hunt 1903
Popular Romances of the West of England, Or, the Drolls, Traditions, and Superstitions of Old Cornwall

The mythical westcountry folklore Bestiary is complete

[The mythical Westcountry folklore Bestiary is now complete!

Here it is -

http://westcountryfolklore.blogspot.com/p/folkloric-bestiary.html ]

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

The Merry Maidens, or Dawns Myin, and the pipers of Burian

The Merry Maidens, or Dance-Maine, 1804 - By W & G Cooke [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

"In the parish of Burian are the "Dawns Myin" or Mên--the dancing stones--commonly called "The Merry Maidens;" and near them are two granite pillars, named the "Pipers." One Sabbath evening some of the thought. less maidens of the neighbouring village, instead of attending vespers, strayed into the fields, and two evil spirits, assuming the guise of pipers, began to play some dance tunes. The young people yielded to the temptation; and, forgetting the holy day, commenced dancing. The excitement increased with the exercise, and soon the music and the dance became extremely wild; when, lo a flash of lightning from the clear sky transfixed them all, the tempters and the tempted, and there in stone they stand."

Hunt 1903

Popular Romances of the West of England: The drolls, traditions, and superstitions of old Cornwall (Forgotten Books)

Stone Circles and the prevelance of the turned to stone myth

The Merry Maidens near St Buryan, Lands End - By waterborough (photo shooting) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
"IN many parts of Cornwall we find, more or less perfect, circles of stones, which the learned ascribe to the Druids. Tradition, and the common people, who have faith in all that their fathers have taught them, tell us another tale. These stones are everlasting marks of the Divine displeasure, being maidens or men, who were changed into stone for some wicked profanation of the Sabbath-day. These monuments of impiety are scattered over the county; they are to be found, indeed, to the extremity of Old Cornwall, many of those circles being upon Dartmoor. It is not necessary to name them all. Every purpose will be served if the tourist is directed to those which lie more directly in the route which is usually prescribed."

Hunt 1903

Popular Romances of the West of England: The drolls, traditions, and superstitions of old Cornwall (Forgotten Books)

Bored of short proverbs? How about some stories?

[I am getting a little bored of the thin diet of old proverbs, so for a while I intend to intersperse them with wonderful stories from the work of Robert Hunt...]

Proverb about the disires of maids

Our marriage - My wife Lunar Hine, I hasten to add, is nothing like the saying!
"Maids want for nothing but husbands, and when they have them they want everything else." - Somerset

Ray 1768

A compleat collection of English proverbs; also the most celebrated proverbs of the Scotch, Italian, French, Spanish, and other languages. ... By ... ... is added, (written by the same author) ed 4

[Ahh ... That ageless sound of sexism, or 'the battle of the sexes' as some would frame it.] 
"Want goes by such an one's door." - Somerset

Ray 1768

A compleat collection of English proverbs; also the most celebrated proverbs of the Scotch, Italian, French, Spanish, and other languages. ... By ... ... is added, (written by the same author) ed 4

[Cant work out if this means Want passes by, or if Want calls by often! Sort of the opposite meanings! And is it Want as in poverty, or as in greed? I think you need to know more about the language of the 1760's to tell, and even that might not help. Oh for some context! (The continual cry of the archaeologist as well as the folklorist!)]

Proverb of new love

"They love like chick" - Somerset

Ray 1768

A compleat collection of English proverbs; also the most celebrated proverbs of the Scotch, Italian, French, Spanish, and other languages. ... By ... ... is added, (written by the same author) ed 4

Proverb about similarity and well fitting relationships

"They two are hand and glove." - Somerset

Ray 1768

A compleat collection of English proverbs; also the most celebrated proverbs of the Scotch, Italian, French, Spanish, and other languages. ... By ... ... is added, (written by the same author) ed 4

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

A Besteiry of fatastic beings from the Westcounty

[It has long been an ambition of mine to put together a bestiary for this blog.  Today I have started it. I have now got from A to M.  I shall keep plugging on at it...

Here is the link - http://westcountryfolklore.blogspot.com/p/folkloric-bestiary.html ]

A pixie door I have made..



Hopefull Somerset proverb

A Kune Kune pig near my home in Devon - not very Somerset in the 18th century, being a 19th century New Zealand breed from Asia, but such a contented pig.... If you wish to use my photos please attribute this blog.

"Look to the cow, the sow, and the wheat-mow, and all will be well enow" - Somerset

Ray 1768

A compleat collection of English proverbs; also the most celebrated proverbs of the Scotch, Italian, French, Spanish, and other languages. ... By ... ... is added, (written by the same author) ed 4

[Like an old version of "look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves"? Not quite! - Maybe it is more "look after the pounds and the pennies will look after themselves" - a sentiment I can respect - keep your rent cheep and eat nice food!]


2 sinister Somerset threats/proverbs...

"I'll make thee know thy driver."

"I'll vease thee." - (i.e. hunt, drive thee) - both Somerset

Ray 1768

A compleat collection of English proverbs; also the most celebrated proverbs of the Scotch, Italian, French, Spanish, and other languages. ... By ... ... is added, (written by the same author) ed 4

Macabre somerset proverb about chickens

A Capon... By Mai-Linh Doan via Wikipedia  This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 1.0 Generic license.

"The chicken crams the capon." - Somerset

Ray 1768


A compleat collection of English proverbs; also the most celebrated proverbs of the Scotch, Italian, French, Spanish, and other languages. ... By ... ... is added, (written by the same author) ed 4









[This is actually very grim - a capon is the carcus of a castrated male chicken.  Thus my reading is that it is saying that a weak will dine on the flesh of another who is weaker... Nice... Bit like the whole mad cow thing as well...]


Somerset Proverb of financial loss

"'Twill not be why for thy." - Somerset

Of a bad bargain or a great loss for little profit.

Ray 1768

A compleat collection of English proverbs; also the most celebrated proverbs of the Scotch, Italian, French, Spanish, and other languages. ... By ... ... is added, (written by the same author) ed 4

Sunday, 21 August 2011

A Pixie Door Blog

[I have created a second blog dedicated to my pixie doors, which can be found here...

This way I can keep this blog dedicated to its original purpose of mapping and sharing the folklore of the West Country.]

Pixie Door

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Some more on the Dartmoor Folk Festival


[As I mentioned before I really love this small and eccentric festival.  It is held in South Zeal,on the edge of Dartmoor

The field before the crowds gathered at Dartmoor Folk Festival 2001.  Some of these photos are by me, some by my wife Lunar Hine - Please accredit one or other of our blogs if you wish to use them.

They help keep alive a number of local traditions. One is the local Step Dancing.  I have come across mentions of this happening in the farmhouses around Dartmoor back into victorian times, and I haeve no dobt there would have been local dance tradition before this.

The winner of the youth section of the step dancing competition 2011
I missed the main competition (I have witnessed it before - preformed on a cart top, with the musician playing a small concertina facing away from the competitor so that he does not favour one person over another. Men and women compete. In the crowd old ladies sit and mutter to each other about how well - or not - a competitor is doing.  It seems they are permitted to bring a bit of their own style in, but if they are seen as going too far into some more mainstream form of tap dancing they frowned on).

video 
This video is on its side - sorry!

All I saw this year was the two winners, the adult and the child's category, preforming their dances. Unfortunately it was at very short notice, so soft shoes where used instead of hard.

video
And this one...  Oh well - the adult winner


The Step Dancing Memorial Cup
The Bob Cann Shield for step dancing.  I am not sure whether this or the cup is for adults...

Talking of shoes - one year I saw a dance off in the Kings Arms for a pair of shoes at this festival - in the corner rumored to be the domain of a Devon gypsy family - it is always full of musicians and dancers anyway!

The winner of the broom dancing took center stage, surrounded by her fellow competitors. This year the fashion for stripy socks added to the display!
Another competition is the children's broom dancing - another local tradition. This year it was almost all girls, and the brooms where decorated. This is a good dance, though it seems to have only one form that is repeated. Personally I would like to see a few adult broom dancers, and maybe an evolving tradition to run alongside the fixed dance - there is a lot you could do with a broom.


The broom dancing shield, 1991-2011 so far, first presented by the Exeter Morris men and Bob Cann - the founder of the festival.
The winner of the Broom dancing championship also wins the years broom - later the girl who won was seen proudly carrying it around the village.  The mini broom has the newish colours of Devon on it (they actually relate to the county sports teams, lord Exmouth and the lush hills and granite of the area, as well as Westcountry saint Petroc.
Morris dancers also abounded, much to the pleasure (and occasional fear) of my litle daughter. She was fine when they danced, even growling and laughing at them when they rushed at us with sticks, but when they milled around unchaperoned by the music she got a little anxious, espesially at the ragged, flower headed, blacked out faced Exmoor Morris Dancers.

Dartmouth?? Morris

Also present where Dartmouth? Morris and Lodestone Morris.  I think there was also one of the genuinely old sides from Oxfordshire that never died out.


Lots of beer was drunk and music played.  Only later was I aware of the irony that while around England young people where drinking heavily and wielding big sticks (baseball bats and truncheons) in the rioting and looting that was happening in the poor areas of our cities here on Dartmoor everyone was actively turning up to watch people hit each other with sticks and drink far, far, far to much...

Sticks and drink - a tamer sort of riot...

Music was everywhere.  This man was from Lodestone morris, and showed me a penny whistle that could be played in only one hand...

Most of the Morris dancing was in the streets and by the pub, but at the end of the day they came on to the main arena. Ths is Lodestone Morris again.

Exmoor Morris dancing again. This group made a big thing about having come sooo very far, from foreign lands... Exmoor...
My daughter learning to walk and dance to the music. She and the other small children saw the dance floor as the place to be, and between dance acts nobody stopped them charging around to the sound of the accordion.


Finally the intimidating Minehead Sailors Horse (a hobby horse) did its wild dance and 'bumbped' its unsuspecting victim...
 The only things I have to add that I can remember was about the stalls - many where stuffed with local crafts - jewelry, prints, bee products...  The one that stuck most in my mind was sett up for one day only. in the street outside the festival, under the bunting, a small boy stood at a workmate with a hammer, chisel and some pots of paint. He has been there a few years that I have been. He had mined some rusty used horseshoes out from behind a barn on his parents farm and did them all up smart. A sign proclaimed "Lucky Devon Horseshoes". Next year I will photograph his wheres.

That reminds me - on the bus through Drewsteinton I noticed three old horseshoes, all toe down, on the same barn door. They had been painted over many times. A very lucky barn I think, considering the folkloric power of three.]






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