- Hangman's Stone
- There are over a dozen places in England with a large boulder called the Hangman's Stone, or a gate called Gallows Gate, all explained by the following tale: - a sheep-stealer was carrying a live sheep home with its legs tied together, when he stopped to rest against the boulder (or gate); the sheep slipped and struggled, causing the rope to twist round his neck and throttle him. Thus fate ensured that he would be hanged for his crime.The earliest record is in Thomas Westcote's A View of Devonshire in 1630 (1845), referring to Combe Martin. Other sites include Boxford (Berkshire), Beer (Devon), Hampnett (Gloucestershire), Rottingdean (Sussex), Barnborough (Yorkshire), and Allandale (Northumberland), where the boulder is called the Wedderstone (from 'wether' = 'castrated ram'), and there is a rhyme:When ye lang for a mutton bone Think on the Wedderstone.■ Leslie Grinsell, Folklore 96 (1985), 217-22.
A Dictionary of English folklore. Jacqueline Simpson & Steve Roud. 2014.
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gallows — gibbets A number of beliefs and customs clustered around the gallows, the hangman s rope, and even the body of the executed person. The wood of the gallows itself was prized for its curative properties, as it was believed effective against the … A Dictionary of English folklore
stones — 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 … A Dictionary of English folklore
local legends — The most common folk narratives in England (apart from jokes) are stories about remarkable events in the history of a particular locality, the supposed origins of its landmarks and place names, curious features of its buildings, etc. Their… … A Dictionary of English folklore
migratory legends — A legend which is found repeatedly at different places, having the same plot in every case but with place names and/or topographical details tailored to fit the individual site, is called migratory (e.g. *Devil s Dyke, *Hangman s Stone). Owing … A Dictionary of English folklore