Standing Stones & Monolith Folklore

Frozen Maidens

Location: Okehampton (Devon) - Nine Stones, Belstone
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Still present
Further Comments: This set of nine stones are said to be maidens who were caught dancing on the Sabbath. They sometimes come back to life and continue dancing.

Rotating Stone

Location: Orby (Lincolnshire) - Wych Boulder
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Still present?
Further Comments: This pear-shaped rock is said to turn itself over when the clock strikes twelve.


Location: Philpots Camp (Dorset) - The Big-Upon-Little Stone (aka Great-Upon-Little stone)
Type: Shuck
Date / Time: Early twentieth century?
Further Comments: This phantom black hound once kept the local populace away from the area at night.


Location: Porthgwarra (Cornwall) - Madgy Figgy's Chair (rock formation)
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A local witch by the name of Madgy Figgy would fly through the air and land on this rock formation, using a lamp to lure ships towards her and their doom.

Turning Stone

Location: Pyrford (Surrey) - Pyrford Court
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Sunrise (reoccurring)
Further Comments: A large rock near the gateway of the court rotates when the cock crows and dawn breaks.


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: 01 January (reoccurring) (walking stone legend said to occur)
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.

Wedding Guests

Location: Ropley (Hampshire) - Bridestone Lane
Type: legend
Date / Time: Still present?
Further Comments: A wedding party failed to invite any of the local fairies to their big day. Travelling back from church, everyone was transformed into stone; they stood by the roadside as a warning to others.

The Rudston Monolith

Location: Rudston (Yorkshire) - Churchyard
Type: Legend - Old Nick
Date / Time: Still present
Further Comments: The tallest monolith in the UK, one tale states the stone was thrown by the Devil with the intent of knocking down the nearby church. Another tale states that the rock was dropped from the sky, killing one or two people intent of desecrating the graves.

Mrs de Freville, Wearing a Black Dress with a White Face

Location: Saffron Walden (Essex) - Hinxton Churchyard, square stone vault
Type: Post-Mortem Manifestation
Date / Time: Friday 8 May 1885
Further Comments: Shortly after her death, Mrs de Freville was spotted by a gardener standing by her husband's grave. The gardener was unaware of the lady's death at the time of the sighting.

Failed Bridge

Location: Seascale (Cumbria) - Carl Crag
Type: Legend - Old Nick
Date / Time: Evidence still present
Further Comments: The Devil once tried to build a bridge between Seascale and the Isle of Man - his apron split and all but one of the stones were lost at sea. The remaining rock remains, with two white seams showing where the apron strings were once wrapped.

Wishing Stone

Location: Selborne (Hampshire) - Selborne Hangar
Type: Legend - Old Nick
Date / Time: Still present
Further Comments: The Devil is said to be responsible for the creation of this wishing stone.

Don't Upset the Tramp

Location: Semerwater (aka Simmer Water, aka Simmerwater) (Yorkshire) - Lake
Type: Legend - Old Nick
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A tramp (or angel, depending on the source) looking for a place to rest was turned away from every house in the neighbourhood, until he came to a farm on the hillside where the occupants of which gave him food and shelter. He thanked them, and punished the other households by flooding the valley. The lake also once had two large rocks on its banks which were known as the Mermaid Stones, said to have been thrown there by the Devil and a giant.

Turn it Over

Location: Shebbear (Devon) - Devil's Boulder
Type: Legend - Old Nick
Date / Time: 05 November (reoccurring)
Further Comments: Once a year the villagers turn a large stone over that stands by an oak. It is said that if they fail to do so, disaster and ill-fortune will strike the region - one legend says the last time the village forgot to rotate the stone was just before the Second World War began. Some believe the Devil himself is trapped under the stone.

Little Girl

Location: Shebbear (Devon) - Devil's Stone Inn
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1982
Further Comments: Sometimes seen on site with a man thought to be her father, this youngster is also blamed when pictures fall from the walls. The pub is named after a local stone that is turned over once a year (5 November) to protect the village from the Devil.

Treasure Guardian

Location: Shipham (Somerset) - Wimblestone
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Stone still present, said to dance when a full moon falls upon Midsummer Night
Further Comments: This large monolith's treasure could be seen in the hole left as the stone danced around its field.

Kings of Europe

Location: Sleaford (Lincolnshire) - Coffin sized stones on Ewerby Waithe Common
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Stones no longer present
Further Comments: An old folktale said that the coffin-sized stones which once lay upon this common land marked the location where the kings of England, France and Spain all lay down. Another story said the stones had been dropped by a passing witch.

Dragon Death

Location: Sockburn (Yorkshire) - Area marked by the Greystone
Type: Dragon
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Sir John Conyers killed this worm by stabbing it under a wing, marking the spot with a stone and donating the used sword to Durham Cathedral.


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.

Giant's Stone

Location: St Andrews (Fife) - Large stone in the area of Mount Melville
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown if still present
Further Comments: Outraged at having the steeple of a church at St Andrews ruining his view, a giant living at Drumcarrow Craig tried to throw a rock at the structure. He missed and the rock fell short, and was said to have remained on the mount.

Petrified Maidens

Location: St Buryan (Cornwall) - Stone Circle
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Stones still there
Further Comments: This stone circle and the surrounding monoliths were once maidens, two pipers and a fiddler (so the legends say) who were turned into stone.

Nine Maidens

Location: St Columb Major (Cornwall) - Standing Stones
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Still present
Further Comments: These ten stones are said to be nine maidens and a fiddler who were turned to stone for making merry on the Sabbath.

End of the World

Location: St Levan (Cornwall) - St Levan's Stone, in village churchyard
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Still present
Further Comments: St Levan hit the rock with his bare hands, and broke it in two large pieces. He declared that when the gap grew big enough to let a horse through, the world would come to an end. In another part of the graveyard, one can find the tombstone of Captain Wetherel, who can be heard ringing his ship's bell from within his coffin.

Strong Woman

Location: St Pierre du Bois (Guernsey) - Menhir
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A local man hid behind a hedge after spotting a short woman walking up the hill towards him. She was knitting and also carrying something in her apron. She suddenly stopped and removed a five metre tall stone from her garment and planted it in the earth. The Menhir has remained there ever since.

Dancing Stones

Location: Stackpole (Dyfed) - Collection of prehistoric stones
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Stones still present
Further Comments: This collection of rocks is said to jig and jive at certain times of the day.

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