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Giants and their Legacies from around the Isles

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.

Giant's Treasure

Location: Addleborough (Yorkshire) - Barrow in the area
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The giant's treasure slipped from his grasp as he crossed the area, the hoard sinking into the ground and becoming covered in rocks. The giant had to leave the treasure behind, but it was written that a mortal man could recover the wealth if a fairy in the form of a chicken or an ape appeared; the man would have to reach out and grab the treasure without making a sound, and if he failed to do so, the fairy would never appear to him again.

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 dozens of horses galloping, as if an invisible army were 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).

An old sketch of Cader 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.

Thrown Objects

Location: Barrasford (Northumberland) - Stones (no longer standing)
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Last stone removed nineteenth century
Further Comments: Before being removed by farmers, the standing stones which stood around the area were thought to have been thrown by giants engaged in combat.


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 came into being when a giant accidentally dropped an apron full of rocks being used to build a church (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.

Magical Giant

Location: Bosporthennis (Cornwall) - Croft
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Said to have taken place every 01 August (when giant was alive)
Further Comments: A giant who lived nearby was said to use this site once a year for magical rites and was happy for local people to watch.

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 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.


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.


Location: Bundoran (County Donegal) - Close to an unidentified stream in the area
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The local giant fought another giant who wandered into his land. The local giant managed to kill the newcomer, who, it transpired, was his son.

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.

Cardiff Castle, Wales.


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 (occasionally named as Holiburn of the Carn) 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.

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 villagers attempting to move it up the hill to use as a weapon against the giant.

The Rude Man of Cerne, aka Cerne Abbas Giant.

Chalk Giant

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

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's Droppings

Location: Cressage (Shropshire) - The Wrekin
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Still present
Further Comments: Angry at the town of Shrewsbury, a giant gathered 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.

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