Robin Hood's Quoit (Monston Edge)
|Interest||Robin Hood name|
By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2014-09-19. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2019-04-05.
'Robin Hood's Quoit' is the name of a boulder in the Whitworth area (Lancashire). It is first noted in 1831.According to a local tradition recounted by John Roby in the Second Series of his Lancashire Traditions published in 1831 (see Allusions below), Robin Hood threw this boulder all the way from his Bed on Blackstone Edge, located c. 8 km to the west. Historically the quoit marked the boundary between Wardle and Whitworth parishes. An alternative and perhaps more common name for it is 'Man Stone' or 'Manstone'. The name 'Robin Hood's Quoit' is no doubt still current. It is noted, for instance, in an undated, probably pre-1960, clipping from the Manchester Guardian. Yet the stone does not appear to be indicated under any of its names on pre-World War II O.S. 6" maps available online.
[Note] * On a bleak moor, called Monstone Edge, in this hamlet, is a huge moor-stone or outlier, which (though part of it was broken off and removed some years ago) still retains the name of Monstone. It is said to have been quoited thither by Robin Hood, from his bed on the top of Blackstone Edge, about six miles off. After striking the mote or mark aimed at, the stone bounced off a few hundred yards, and settled there. These stones, however, in all probability, if not Druidical, were landmarks, the ancient boundary of the hamlet of Healey; and, as was once customary, the marvellous story of this ancient outlaw might be told to the urchins, who accompanied the perambulators, with the addition, probably, of a few kicks and cuffs, to make them remember the spot.
"Be of good cheer," said the lover; "there be troubles enow, believe me, without building them up out of our own silly fears—like boys with their snow hobgoblins, terrible enough in the twilight of fancy, but a gleam of sunshine will melt and disspiate them. Thou art sad to-night without reason. Imaginary fears are the worst to cope [p. 251:] withal; having nor shape nor substance, we cannot combat with them. 'Tis hard, indeed, fighting with shadows."
"I cannot smile to-night, Gervase; there's a mountain here—a foreboding of some deadly sort. I might as soon lift 'Robin Hood's Bed,' yonder, as remove it."
"No more of this, my dearest Grace; at least, not now. Let us enjoy this bright and sunny landscape. How sharply cut are those crags, yonder, on the sky. Blackston-edge looks almost within a stride, or at least a good stone's throw. Thou knowest the old legend of Robin Hood; how that he made yonder rocks his dormitory, and by way of amusement pitched or coited huge stones at a mark on the hill just above us, being some four or five miles from his station. It is still visible along with several stones lying near, and which are evidently from the same rock as that on which it is said he slept."
"I've hard such silly tales often. Nurse had many of these old stories wherewith to beguile us o'winter nights. She used to tell, too, about Eleanor Byron, who loved a fay or elf, and went to meet him at the fairies' chapel away yonder where Spodden gushes through its rocky cleft,—'tis a fearful story—and how she was delivered from the spell. I sometimes think on't till my very flesh creeps, and I could almost fancy that such an invisible thing is about me."
With such converse did they beguile their evening talk, ever and anon making the subject bend to the burden of their own sweet ditty of mutual unchanging love!
The sky was already growing cold and grey above the ridge opposed to the burning brightness of the western horizon, and Grace Ashton pointed out the beautiful but fleeting hues of the landscape around them. Her companion, however, was engrossed by anotehr subject. Before them was an eminence marking the horizon to the north-west, though not more than a good bow-shot from where [p. 253:] they stood. Between this and their present standing was a little grassy hollow, through which the brooke we have described trickled rather than ran, amidst moss and rushes, rendering the ground swampy and unsafe. On this hill, stood "Robin Hood's coit-stones;" and on the largest, called the "marking-stone," a wild-looking and haggard figure was couched. Her garments, worn and tattered, were of a dingy red; and her cap, or coiffure as it was then called, was of the same colour.
- Not included in Dobson, R.B., ed.; Taylor, J., ed. Rymes of Robyn Hood: an Introduction to the English Outlaw (London, 1976), pp. 293-311.
- Farrer, William, ed.; Brownbill, J., ed. The Victoria History of the County of Lancaster (London, 1906), vol. V, p. 206. Volume published 1911.
- Lofthouse, Jessica. North-Country Folklore in Lancashire, Cumbria and the Pennine Dales (London, 1976), p. 158.
- Geograph SD8917: Man Stone, on Wardle-Whitworth boundary, Lancashire, by Dr Neiul Clifton
- Northern Anntiquary: Robin Hood’s Bed, Blackstone Edge, Lancashire
- Northern Anntiquary: Man Stone, Whitworth, Lancashire
- Also see Farrer, William, ed.; Brownbill, J., ed. The Victoria History of the County of Lancaster (London, 1906), vol. V, p. 206; volume publ. 1911.
- Geograph SD8917: Man Stone, on Wardle-Whitworth boundary, Lancashire, by Dr Neil Clifton
- Reproduced at Phineas Parkhurst Quimby Ressource Center. The Manchester Guardian changed its name to just The Guardian in 1959.
- Roby, John. Traditions of Lancashire. Second Series (London, 1831), vol. I, p. 135.
- Roby, John; [Trestrail, Elizabeth Ryland Dent], introd. The Literary and Poetical Remains of John Roby, Author of "Traditions of Lancashire": with a Sketch of His Life and Character (London, 1854), pp. 250-51.
- Roby, John; [Trestrail, Elizabeth Ryland Dent], introd. The Literary and Poetical Remains of John Roby, Author of "Traditions of Lancashire": with a Sketch of His Life and Character (London, 1854), p. 253.