Hag-stones and Thurle stones

Thurlestone_RockHag-stones and Thurle stones

Any stone with a hole through it used to be called a hag-stone or a thurle stone.

Hag-stones were thought to be very special, and to be able to keep witches away from a house, in the days when people believed there were such things as witches. They were hung over the door so that witches could not get in.

Thurle means through-hole, and if you say it very quickly several times, through-hole does sound like thurle, and thurle is certainly easier to say. About eight miles from Chillington, there is a village called Thurlestone. It is a seaside village and out in the bay there is a huge rock arch, and this is what gave the place its name. The hole was made by the waves, which are very strong. They ground smaller stones against the softer parts of the rock until they had worn it right away and left the huge hole in the middle. If that stone was a hag-stone, it would have to be for a giant’s house!

Even when people stopped believing in witches, some still hung up hag-stones, as they were thought to protect a house from being struck by lightning.

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