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

 


Giant Quoit

Location: Mulfra (Cornwall) - Dolmen
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Still present
Further Comments: The pile of rocks are said to be the discarded remains of stones used by giants during a game of quoits.


 


MacCoul Giants

Location: Munlochy (Highland) - Area around the bay
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: These two large warriors once lived in the bay, though now in shadow form only.


 


Robert FitzHamon

Location: Newport (Gwent) - Newport Castle
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The protective structure is haunted by the giant figure of FitzHamon, the castle's builder.


 


Gorm

Location: Norton Malreward (Somerset) - Hillfort
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A giant by the name of Gorm built this camp as his home.


 


Returning Giant

Location: Oare (Wiltshire) - Giant's Grave barrow
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Barrow still present
Further Comments: A local legend states that if you run around the barrow seven times, the giant buried within shall return.


 


Staked Giant

Location: Offley Hay (Staffordshire) - Unidentified sycamore tree in the area
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This sycamore grew from a stake used on the body of a giant. It is unclear whether this implies that if removed, the giant shall return.


 


Giant's Grave

Location: Penrith (Cumbria) - St Andrew's Church
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Still present
Further Comments: Large stones mark the place where a giant is buried - he is thought to be Sir Ewen (or Sir Ewain), a great boar hunter.


 


Swelkie

Location: Pentland Firth (Orkney) - Swelkie Point
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Story date unknown - possibly Viking?
Further Comments: The whirlpool that forms here is thought to be created by the turning of a mill stone to grind salt, ensuring the sea remains salty. Some say the wheel is turned by a sea witch, while others name the grinders as Fenia and Menia, two local giants.


 


Wrath

Location: Portreath (Cornwall) - Sea cave in the area
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Wrath was a giant who lived in a cave with direct access to the sea. He would wait for a ship to wreck before taking the surviving sailors home to eat.


 


Giant's Home

Location: Preston (Borders) - Edin's Fort
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The ruins of this once huge fortress were once home to a giant with three heads, known as Red Ettin. He was killed by a lad who managed to answer the giant's unanswerable riddles.


 


Grave

Location: Redhill (Somerset) - Hurdlestone Wood
Type: Legend - Old Nick
Date / Time: Still present
Further Comments: A giant's grave is said to be within this wooded area. The area is said to take its name from a rock that sits on the edge of a nearby cliff, thrown there by the Devil during a competition.


 


Giant Arthur

Location: Reynoldston (South Glamorgan) - Arthur's Stone
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Walking stone legend said to occur 01 January (reoccurring)
Further Comments: One story associated with this Neolithic tomb has King Arthur finding a stone in his boot. The king picked the pebble out and threw it to one side, thus placing the stone where it now stands. Another legend says the stone walks down to the sea once a year for a quick drink. Finally, another story says the stone was split by a miller who was after a millstone - unable to lift it, the split stone has remained laying there since.


 


Coal Discovery

Location: Rhymney (Gwent) - Valley area
Type: Fairy
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The coal deposits in the valley are said to have been discovered by fairies after they killed a giant which was attacking their homes. The giant was assassinated as he slept and the fairies set fire to his body; they realised that the ground continued to burn after their enemy's body had turned to ash.


 


Local Giant

Location: Sessay (Yorkshire) - General area
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A giant terrorised this area for many years, bullying and killing the locals. The massive man was finally slain when, after a day of abhorrent behaviour, he fell asleep by a watermill - the miller ran outside and hacked him to death with an axe.


 


Onion

Location: Silchester (Hampshire) - Stone on the common, Hampshire / Berkshire Border
Type: Legend - Old Nick
Date / Time: Still present
Further Comments: A local giant named Onion tossed a stone that landed on the common, a mile away, leaving the impressions of his fingers upon it. Others have said that the stone was thrown by the Devil.


 


Giant

Location: Snowdon (Gwynedd) - Mountain Summit
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The summit of Mount Snowdon is rumoured to be the burial place of a giant banished by King Arthur.


 


Giant and Bloody Rain

Location: Somerleyton (Norfolk) - Exact location not known
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Varies: 17 July & 19 November (Reoccurring)
Further Comments: Somerleyton was once the hunting area of a giant, who is said to briefly appear on the evening of 17 July. The giant once stumbled across a plot to murder him, so struck first and killed the would-be assassin. The assassin's blood is said to rain down from the sky on 19 November.


 


Little People

Location: South Barrule (Isle of Man) - South Barrule hill
Type: Fairy
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The south facing side of the hill are said to be where the vast majority of the island's fairies and pixies live. It is also said that a giant sleeps under the hill, cursed by Merlin.


 


Ascapart

Location: Southampton (Hampshire) - Bevis Mound and general area
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Ascapart the giant was beaten in a fight by Bevis of Hampton, after his club (actually a tree) became stuck in the mud. Instead of slaying the giant, Bevis appointed Ascapart his squire. When the giant finally died, he was buried under Bevis Mound.


 


Stones

Location: St Agnes (Cornwall) - St Agnes Beacon
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Stones still present
Further Comments: The stone formation at the top of the hill were carried up by either Saint Agnes or a giant's wife. Another account says that Agnes managed to turn the Devil into stone, where he still remains.


 


Cormoran

Location: St Michael's Mount (Cornwall) - General area
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The mount was once home to this legendary beast (named by some as a seven foot giant), thought to have a single eye. It crossed to the mainland at low tide, helping itself to cattle for its food.


 


Cricket Bat

Location: St Peter Port (Guernsey) - La Longue Rocque (aka Grande Pierre) (standing stone)
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Stone still present
Further Comments: Children would be told that this 350 centimetre tall stone was a giant's cricket bat, thrust into the earth after the another giant refused to fetch the ball.


 


Wedding Party

Location: Stanton Drew (Somerset) - Standing Stones
Type: Legend - Old Nick
Date / Time: Still present
Further Comments: Dressed as a fiddler, the Devil convinced all the guests from a wedding to dance on a Sunday - for the sin, the entire party were turned to stone. Another creation story for the site says a passing giant dropped the contents of his shovel that formed the circle of stones.


 


Giant's Gold

Location: Stokesay (Shropshire) - Stokesay Castle
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Two giants stored their gold in a large locked chest under the castle. One giant managed to drop the key in the castle moat, where it is said to remain to this day. The chest has to be approached with the key in hand, to do so otherwise invites an attack from a large raven.


 


Giant

Location: Tilney All Saints (Norfolk) - Churchyard
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Eleventh Century?
Further Comments: Tom Hickathrift, the Cambridge giant and hero, is said to have been buried here; his grave marked by a stone eight foot long.


Records 51 - 75, of 83

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