The Dancers of Stanton Drew, Somerset
Stanton Drew is one of the great prehistoric sites of Britain, one great circle of standing stones with two smaller circles nearby and a cove of three stones a short walk distant - in the garden of a pub, The Druids Arms .
Little known compared to Stonehenge , Stanton Drew is now being investigated more thoroughly by the scientific community, and recently evidence of a massive wooden temple built within the large circle has been found. Perhaps the archaeologists and scientists will find the reason for the monument's design and siting. Until then the local legend will have to do. And it's a good one.
Centuries and centuries ago a wedding party was celebrating on the spot one Midsummer's Eve that happened to fall on a Saturday. A skilful fiddler played for them as they whirled and laughed. As midnight approached the fiddler told his customers the Sabbath approached, and he would have to stop his music. But the bride never wanted that party to end, and she said if he refused to play they would find another musician even if they had to search as far as hell.
Luckily for the bride she did not even have to move from the spot. As the fiddler packed away his instrument a piper happened upon the party, and agreed to play for them. When the piper began the tiring dancers were filled with energy again, driven to dance ever more wildly, until their limbs ached and they begged the piper to stop - but he would not.
The next morning the fiddler returned to collect his hat, forgotten in the rush to leave the ungrateful party the night before. Where the dancers had been he found the huge stones, equal in numbers to the wedding party. And those who had danced were never seen again, though some say that one day the devil will return and play for them again, as they are just waiting for his frenzied playing to restart and will burst into life when it does.
Interestingly in many parts of Britain it is still traditional to ask pipers to stop playing as soon as they begin.
If you like this, Share it
British Lore and Legend by county: Show All
England: Bath(1) | Bedfordshire(1) | Berkshire(5) | Buckinghamshire(1) | Cambridgeshire(4) | Cheshire(1) | Cornwall(4) | County Durham(2) | Cumbria(1) | Derbyshire(1) | Devon(6) | Dorset(1) | Essex(2) | Gloucestershire(1) | Greater Manchester(1) | Herefordshire(1) | Isle of Wight(1) | Kent(1) | Lancashire(2) | Leicestershire(2) | Lincolnshire(6) | London(8) | Norfolk(6) | North Yorkshire(2) | Northamptonshire(1) | Northumberland(1) | Nottinghamshire(2) | Oxfordshire(1) | Shropshire(3) | Somerset(6) | South Yorkshire(1) | Staffordshire(1) | Suffolk(1) | Sussex(3) | Warwickshire(3) | West Midlands(2) | Wiltshire(2) | Worcestershire(2) | Scotland: Angus and Dundee(2) | Argyll(1) | Ayrshire and Arran(2) | Dumfries and Galloway(1) | Edinburgh and the Lothians(1) | Grampian(1) | Highlands(3) | Isle of Skye(1) | Orkneys(1) | Shetland Isles(1) | Wales: Anglesey(1) | North Wales(1) | South Wales(2) | West Wales(3) | Offshore: Guernsey(2) | Isle of Man(1) | Northern Ireland: County Antrim(1) | County Londonderry(1) |
On this day: