giant stamp, Royal Mail issued

Sites and Locations of Giant Myths & Legends

Giants are a popular part of UK and Irish folklore. Just like the humans that shared their landscape, giants could be intelligent or stupid, malicious or benevolent. The list below is where we can find some of those locations where giants have left their legacy.

Image (left) courtesy of: www.royalmail.com/creatures

 


Headless Hound

Location: Aberystwyth (Dyfed) - General area of Penparcau
Type: Shuck
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This headless dog was said to have once belonged to a young giant who ran so fast that he decapitated the dog by pulling too sharply on the leash.


 


Sound of an Army

Location: Alton Barnes (Wiltshire) - Adam's Grave, aka Walker Hill, aka Walker's Hill, aka Walkers' Hill
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Summer, 1965 or 1966
Further Comments: Close to the hill, Miss Muriel Cobern heard the sounds of dozens of horses galloping, as if an invisible army was passing. The sound suddenly stopped as she fled the area. The site is also said to be the resting place of a giant, who will awaken if the hill is run around seven times.


 


Thrown Stone

Location: Baltimore (County Cork) - Fastnet Rock
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Rock still present
Further Comments: Ireland's most southerly point, Fastnet Rock was thrown into position by a giant from Mount Gabriel (Schull).


 


Idris

Location: Barmouth (Gwynedd) - Cader Idris (aka Caldair Idris)
Type: Fairy
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Idris was said to be a wise giant, who may have had links with King Arthur. People would avoid the area at night, convinced that fairies would drive them mad. Another legend says that the site was the hunting ground of Gwyn ap Nudd (Ruler of the Otherworld) who searched the area with a pack of Cwn Annwn, looking for souls to take back home. Finally. Strange lights are said to appear around the summit for the first few days of a new year.


 


Blacksmith

Location: Batcombe (Somerset) - Burn Hill
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A giant blacksmith is said to appear if you call out his name while standing on this hill.


 


Fighting Giants

Location: Bennachie (Aberdeenshire) - Standing Stone
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Stone still present
Further Comments: A monolith found here features a larger-than-life handprint and footprint - it is said that the prints belong to two giants who fought over the love of a woman.


 


Church Stones

Location: Binsey Fell (Cumbria) - General area
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Weather Dependent: misty nights
Further Comments: The Fell was created when a giant accidentally dropped an apron full of rocks that he was using to build a church, in order to redeem himself from his life of sin and violence. A large ghostly figure wearing an apron is said to appear when the mist grows thick.


 


Giant's Stone

Location: Birmingham (West Midlands) - Warstones Lane
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Still present?
Further Comments: A giant who lived at Birmingham castle was killed when the Giant of Dudley threw a stone at him (launched from Dudley!). The rock also demolished the castle. The stone was erected as a memento, and the lane named after the War Stone used as a weapon. The rock is now on a plinth within the cemetery.


 


Cursed Giant

Location: Blackgang Chime (Isle of Wight) - Cave in the area (no longer present?)
Type: Curse
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The chime was once a lush area, rich in vegetation and the hunting ground of a giant who feasted upon children. A holy man cursed the giant and the area, ensuring nothing would ever grow there again.


 


Goram and Vincent

Location: Bristol (Somerset) - Avon Gorge
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: To prove themselves worthy of the lady Avona's love, the giant brothers Goram and Vincent raced to dig a ditch in order to drain a lake. Goram started work but fell asleep after digging the Hazel Brook Gorge, while Vincent dug the Avon Gorge that drained the unwanted lake, thus winning Avona's heart.


 


Goram's Remains

Location: Bristol Channel (Somerset) - Flat Holm and Steep Holm
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: After losing a girl and a bet to his brother Vincent, the giant Goram threw himself into the Bristol Channel. There he petrified, his head and shoulders forming Flat Holm and Steep Holm.


 


Thrown

Location: Brockhampton Green (Dorset) - Large stone (no longer present)
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A local legend says a large boulder that could once be found here was thrown into position by a giant. Another story says that twenty men moved the stone and tried to throw it at a giant. The stone has since been removed or broken up.


 


Mysterious Stones

Location: Callanish, Isle of Lewis (Outer Hebrides) - Callanish standing stones
Type: Other
Date / Time: Still present
Further Comments: It is still argued to what extent this stone circle represents the heavenly bodies above, and what its ultimate purpose was. One legend says that the thirteen stones were giants who refused to become Christians - they were petrified for the sin.


 


Coach

Location: Cardiff (South Glamorgan) - Cardiff Castle
Type: Crisis Manifestation
Date / Time: Coach last seen 1868
Further Comments: A coach is reportedly heard when a member of the Hastings family is due to die. At the castle it was heard by John Boyle, the night his cousin the Marquis Hastings died. Other ghosts reported to haunt the castle include the second Marques of Bute (who walks through several walls), a faceless woman in a long skirt who is known as Sarah, and a three metre tall giant who walks around the park.


 


John of Gaunt

Location: Carn Brea (Cornwall) - Stones on nearby hill
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Stones still present
Further Comments: The giant John would often throw boulders at neighbouring giants, who would toss them back at him - hence, the hillside is covered in large rocks. The giant's remains are said to be buried somewhere on the site.


 


Crushed Friend

Location: Carn Galva (Cornwall) - General area
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A giant who once lived here was visited by a human friend. After a few games of quoits, the human had to leave. The giant patted his friend's head in a playful way, unfortunately forgetting his own strength - his fingers pieced the human's head, killing the man instantly. The giant died of a broken heart seven years later.


 


Chalk Giant

Location: Cerne Abbas (Dorset) - Hillside
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Still present
Further Comments: This huge chalk figure is where a Danish giant once fell asleep, exhausted after killing dozens of men. The local villages took the opportunity to sneak up and cut off his head, drawing a chalk outline around the body to ward off other giants. Although this story is unlikely, the figure is considered a fertility symbol, and anyone who sleeps on the figure is believed to be blessed with many children.


 


Giant Stone

Location: Cerne Abbas (Dorset) - Stone on Bockhampton Green
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Still present
Further Comments: Two origin myths surround this stone. One says the rock was thrown into position by an angry giant, while the other states the rock was rolled into position by villages attempting to move it up the hill to use as a weapon against the giant.


 


Giant Grave

Location: Cheselbourne (Dorset) - Round Barrow
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Still present
Further Comments: The mound found here is said to be the grave of a giant who dropped dead after losing a game of 'throw the boulder the furthest'. Two stones nearby are said to mark the place where the giant and his (winning) friend stood; when the cockerel crows, the stones move.


 


Thrown Stone

Location: Clonakilty (County Cork) - Knockatlowig (stone row)
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Still present
Further Comments: The largest stone found here is said to have been thrown into position by a giant standing a couple of kilometres away.


 


Giant Shadow

Location: Cranham (Essex) - Frank's Wood, now known as 'the brickfields', near Moor Lane
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 2002
Further Comments: A black shadowy figure, standing two and a half metres tall with no discernible features, gave chase to a group of friends as they left the wood.


 


Giant's Droppings

Location: Cressage (Shropshire) - The Wrekin
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Still present
Further Comments: Angry at the town of Shrewsbury, a giant gathered together a mound of earth and set off to dam up the River Severn. After the giant became lost, he approached a man heading home towards the town. The local lied and managed to convince the dim-witted villain it would take months to reach the town. The giant sighed and dumped the earth where he stood, forming the Wrekin.


 


Thrown from Currabinny

Location: Crosshaven (County Cork) - Boulder on foreshore
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Still present
Further Comments: The boulder which can be found here has a granite plinth nearby, stating the rock was thrown into position by the giant of Currabinny.


 


One Eye

Location: Dalton (Yorkshire) - The Giant's Grave and mill (no longer standing)
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A one-eyed giant once resided in the mill, using the building to grind his human victims into bread. One of his prisoners, a young lad named Jack, managed to escape by plunging a knife into the Cyclops's eye.


 


Sitting Giant

Location: Dunster (Somerset) - Grabbist Hill, the Giant's Chair
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Earthwork still present?
Further Comments: A giant was said to sit here, using the nearby river to cool his feet and Dunster Castle as a drying rack for his clothing.


Records 1 - 25, of 83

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