- Large boulders and prehistoric standing stones often attracted folklore; there were also widespread beliefs about the protective powers of small holed stones, hagstones, snakestones, thunderstones, and geodes called eaglestones. From antiquity through the Middle Ages and up to the 17th century, much was written on the medicinal and magical powers of precious stones, though naturally only the wealthy could make use of them.The only belief concerning ordinary stones in general was that they grew in the soil and then rose to the surface. This was widely held, as correspondents to N&Q showed on several occasions in the 19th century; many countrymen insisted it was no use having stones picked off one's fields, because the land produced them, and there would soon be as many as ever. This was still being said in Staffordshire in the 1960s. At Blaxhall (Suffolk) a five-ton boulder is a famous local marvel, alleged to have grown from the size of a man's two fists in the course of the 19th century; the Leper Stone outside Newport (Cambridgeshire) and the Hoston Stone at Humberstone (Leicestershire) are said to be rising slowly out of the ground; one tale about the huge Rud-ston standing stone (Humberside) is that it grew up in a single night (FLS News 26 (1997), 13; 27 (1998), 8; 28 (1998), 6-7). Another theory was that 'pudding-stone', a conglomerate of pebbles, was a 'mother-stone' or 'breeding-stone' from which a number of little pebbles would be born and grow larger.
A Dictionary of English folklore. Jacqueline Simpson & Steve Roud. 2014.
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