The Hare & Hounds (previously known as Hunters Lodge) has an exciting and lurid past. In the 17th Century, due to its isolated position it was a popular haunt for poachers and smugglers. Rumour has it that more than one murder was committed here.
The large stone situated at the front of the main building is part of Devonshire folklore. Legend says that it dances at night when it hears the bells of Sidbury church, also that it rolls down the valley to drink at the River Sid – some say to wash away the bloodstains!
This Story is based on the legend called ‘The Witches Stone‘ or ‘The Rolling Stone of Gittisham Common‘.
It is set on Gittisham Common, which is approx. 2 miles from our school and the stone can be seen outside the Hare and Hounds pub at Putts
One foggy night, during a full moon, werewolves howled to call the witches for their special hour. This meeting was held at midnight, the witching hour. For miles around, up in the open, cloudless sky there were swarms of witches flooding towards the extraordinary, mystical stone that stood in the middle of heathland at a cross roads in East Devon. Tuna, Sweetcorn and Peanut Butter were the three head witches at the meeting. They carried staves each with lights on the end and when these lights touched together the other wacky witches cackled while they brewed the most evil potions and spells on earth.
Once they had finished brewing and chanting, Peanut Butter, Tuna and Sweetcorn poured the evil smelling potion into a hole in the top of the stone. With a loud explosion it instantly broke open and formed a thirty metre tall witch. She was the most powerful witch of all time and immediately ordered the others to kill all those people who stayed out after midnight.The witches cheered, danced and celebrated. Meanwhile, little did they know that nearby a young man was hiding behind a tree.
During the day he had been wandering across the common when it began to rain and he had decided to shelter under the branches of a huge oak tree. He was so tired that eventually he dropped off to sleep. The noise of the exploding stone stirred him from his slumbers. Unfortunately he gave his hiding place away by sneezing loudly. The witches questioned him as to what he had seen. The boy said nothing so they turned him into a witch and he was used as a slave for the head witch.
It was three o’clock and the witches took to the sky and returned to their castle. The powerful witch stayed behind and beheaded the young man and turned him into a smaller stone which was placed beside the “Witches stone.” The enormous witches stone then rolled down the hill to the River Sid where it washed itself clean of all the blood and poison and then made its way back up the hill to its resting place before dawn broke.
If you ever visit Gittisham common at 3 o’clock in the morning perhaps you will see the stone move.
Retold by Year 5 and Year 6 at Farway Primary School.
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Hare and Hounds
Devon EX10 0QQ
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