Clach na Sithean, Strathtay, Perthshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NN 895 531

Also Known as:

  1. Balendune
  2. Ballinduin

Folklore

This large cup-marked stone was known by local people as the Clach na Sithean, or the stone of the fairies.  Its smooth surface and well-cut grooves was said to be due to the fairies sharpening their knives upon it, and the straight cuts or grooves were tests of the keenness of their blades.

In addition to the fairies having hold over this stone, a brownie creature also roamed between here and the burn of Allt Mor.  Although a dutiful creature, he commonly used to scare the women when they returned from the ceilidhs by chasing them and screaming a curious noise at them. But as well as this, he would also enter the local houses and farms after nightfall and, when the local folk were asleep, would clean the supper dishes and put them in their rightful places. But if there was no work to be done once he had entered their homes, he would take the dishes out and place them on the floors where they would be found in the morning by perplexed householders.  Then they’d know that the brownie had visited. Sometimes he was a great help to the housewives, other times a nuisance.  He became known to local people as Puddlefoot, or Cas an Lubain, but so offended was he by the name when he heard it, that he let out an almighty scream and vanished, never to be seen again.

References:

  1. Kennedy, James, Folklore and Reminiscences of Strathtay and Grandtully, Munro Press: Perth 1927.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

 

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  56.657058, -3.803241 Clach na Sithean

Clach na Buidseach, Strathtay, Perthshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NN 916 541

Also Known as:

  1. The Witchcraft Stone
  2. Witches Stone

Folklore

In Mr Kennedy’s book (1927) on the folklore of Strathtay, he informed that this Witches Stone was examined and taken to Edinburgh sometime in the 19th Century, but returned to its home by a local man called Mr McNaughton who lived at Bail-an-eas.  The stone was restored close to the walls in which it was first found.  He also told us the following:

“In bygone days the witches of Strathtay amd Grandtully had their great meeting place at Tulliepourie. There the Witches’ Stone…with its round bowl-shaped holes, is still in evidence. Satan attended and assumed the shape of a he-goat; but going to the meeting he is said to have rolled along in the shape of a large cart-wheel – gyrating and describing the figure eight. This must have been an exceedingly interesting site! The orgies that ensued at these meetings were disgustingly wicked!”

The fairy folk, whose main home was the hill of Craig Scriadlain further uphill from here, would also have their revelries here.  Many of the other sites near here were also used by the same little people of Scriadlain.

References:

  1. Kennedy, James, Folklore and Reminiscences of Strathtay and Grandtully, Munro Press: Perth 1927.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

 

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  56.666970, -3.768471 Clach na Buidseach

Fowberry Moor Farm, Wooler, Northumberland

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NU 029 261

Also known as:

  1. Deershed Plantation Stone

Archaeology & History

This is a small but impressive stone, presently housed in the Musuem of Antiquities in Newcastle.  It was first mentioned by Mr H.L. Honeyman (1934) as being donated to Newcastle’s Society of Antiquaries by a Mr J.M. Strother of Fowberry Moor Farm in 1934.  He described the carving as,

“a sculptured ring-marked stone, 1ft 2in by 1ft 2in, bearing a cup with three rings and duct. Found in Island Plantation (camp), Fowberry Moor, Chatton, 22.7.34, by Mr Wake.”

Stan Beckensall (1983:127) described it in passing his early work on Northumberland rock art, then again in his updated edition.

References:

  1. Beckensall, Stan, Northumberland’s Prehistoric Rock Carvings, Pendulum: Rothbury 1983.
  2. Beckensall, Stan, Prehistoric Rock Art in Northumberland, Tempus: Stroud 2001.
  3. Honeyman, Herbert L., ‘The Society’s Meetings: July,’ in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (4th Series), 4:7, October 1934.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Fowberry Moor Farm CR

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Fowberry Moor Farm CR 55.528985, -1.954662 Fowberry Moor Farm CR

Kendall Stone, Whitby, North Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NZ 94 06?

Also Known as:

  1. Kendall Stone

Archaeology & History

In James Simpson’s precursory essay (1866) to his monumental Archaic Sculpturings (1867), he details the former existence of a decent piece of prehistoric rock art, lost to us until very recently by the intrusive diggings of one Thomas Kendall of Pickering.  Simpson wrote:

“A large mass of sandstone in the moor above Robin Hood’s Bay, near Whitby, had some sculpturings upon it, part of which were split off by Mr Kendall of Pickering, in whose garden I have seen the slab of carvings which he thus procured.  Mr Kendall’s slab is about five feet long and two and a-half broad. Upon its surface are three or four isolated cups about an inch and a-half in breadth, and five or six others surrounded by ring-cuttings… Two or three of the ring-cuttings consist of single circles.  One consists of a triple circle and straight radial groove. The ends of the circles, as they reach the traversing groove, turn round and unite together, as in the horse-shoe pattern… The two remaining circles, which are respectively five inches and eight inches in breadth, and consist of cups surrounded by two and by three circles, are conjoined together by a long gutter.  The upper circle shows a single-and the lower a double horse-shoe pattern. In the uppermost or double circle the rounded ends of the rings are united and bestridden by a shallow right-angled line; and the ends of the lowest or triple circle are in part also conjoined by the gutter which runs from the double circle above, and by a cross straight line which runs off from it.  The circles are more imperfectly finished than usual, and at some parts present almost an appearance of being punched out rather than cut out.”

Cup-and-Ring Stone, once near Robin Hood's Bay
Cup-and-Ring Stone, once near Robin Hood’s Bay

In recent years, thanks to the cup-and-ring huntings of Chris Evans and  Graeme Chappell, the carving has re-emerged from its lost position and, it would seem, is located in someone’s garden in Pickering.  The carving is catalogued as Stone REM 1/P1 in Brown & Chappell’s (2005: 257) work on North Yorkshire rock art.  Hopefully, in the months to come, we’ll have a decent photograph and description of its present condition.  Fingers crossed!

References:

  1. Brown, P.M. & Chappell, Graeme, Prehistoric Rock Art in the North York Moors, Tempus: Stroud 2005.
  2. Simpson, J.Y., ‘On Ancient Sculpturings of Cups and Concentric Rings’, in PSAS volume 6, 1866.
  3. Simpson, James Y., Archaic Sculpturings of Cups, Circles, etc., upon Stones and Rocks in Scotland, England and Other Countries, Edmonston and Douglas: Oxford 1867.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Kendall Stone CR

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Kendall Stone CR 54.440725, -0.552119 Kendall Stone CR