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  • Writer's picturemysteriesofmercia

The Holed Longstone

This is the Longstone of Minchinhampton which I visited a few months back in sunnier times. This Gloucestershire megalith, made of oolite limestone typical of Cotswolds stones, may have once been part of a Neolithic long barrow as there are a good half-dozen destroyed chambers around the area. We don't know for sure.

Folklore tells us that local parents used to pass sickly children through the holes in the Longstone to cure their ailments, typical of the traditions around holed stones, but they must have been very small children - the holes aren't much bigger than my foot!

During the 1800s a rash of encounters with a transparent giant dog scared carriage drivers so much that they would pull their hats down over their eyes as they travelled past. The road itself is called, believe it or bot, Woefuldanes Bottom. It is said that a band of vikings were trounced here by defending Saxons who fired arrows through the holes in the Longstone, giving rise to the name. An unlikely story, as the name derives from an Old English name meaning "mound of the wolf" - maybe the carriage drivers saw that?

An old tale tells of a cunning woman who lived in Minchinhampton named Molly the Dreamer, as she was said to tell fortunes through her dreams. She was told in one vision that a treasure trove was buried under the Longstone and so she set to work digging for it by moonlight. As she hit the top of a chest, a great lightning flash struck it too, sending Molly home "very different" to become a recluse.

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