British Folklore
Fairy Lore & Prehistoric Sites in Britain

Kit's Cody House

Kit's Cody House

Around the village of Aylesford there are several groups of standing stones.  Most of them have some rather confused legends attached to them and many stories over the years.  The best preserved is a neolithic burial chamber without it's earth mound known as Kit's Cody House.  From at least the sixteenth century there have been wild tales surrounding it - since most antiquarians of the time had no idea at all of the age of these structures.  The most popular tale was that the place was linked to the crucial battle where the legendary Saxon invaders Hengest and Horsa defeated the British king Vortigern as told by the Venerable Bede in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

Popular beliefs and legends associated with the site were collected by Leslie Grinsell in the 1920s and J.H. Evans in the 1940s.  No convincing suggestions for the reason behind the name were explained.  The most charming was a tale that there was once a young shepherd called Kit (short for Christopher) who used the stones as a shelter in hard weather.

There is a curious tradition that if one places a piece of clothing on the large capstone on a night of the full moon, and then walks three times widdershins around the monument, the article of clothing will disappear.  This legend collected by J.H. Evans in 1946 he adds, "Interested persons have carried out this ritual at intervals right up to this year, when the activities of a local investigator were fully reported in the press."

Evans also collected and journaled the story of how the stones were supposedly built.  Allegedly, there were once three witches living on Blue Bell Hill, which is just above Kit's Cody House; their magic was strong enough to life the massive wall-stones into place, but they could not move the even more massive capstone until they called a fourth witch to help them. Together they then raised it into the air and lowered it.

Further down the same hill is the White Horse Stone - where it is said to mark the exact spot where the Saxons raised their battle standard with it's white horse emblem.

Another lost burial chamber nearby called Little, or Lower, Kit's Cody, lies in a field not far away.  Some said the two were the tombs of rival kinds who had slaim each other -- possibly rumored to be Catigern (Vortigern's son) and Horsa the Saxon. LIttle Kit's Cody was destroyed in 1690 leaving a mess of stones and boulders which inspired it's current name; the Countless Stones.

As typical with neolithic monuments all over Britain, the superstition surrounding these stones is that they cannot be counted.  There is a similar group of stones near the village of Addington as well, both considered to be uncountable and that if anyone ever tries, they are always unsuccessful.

The stories and tales that have been collected by both Grinsell and Evans in the first half of the twentieth century relate a tale of a baker who devised a plan to count the stones.  He brought loaves of bread that he had previously counted and laid one a piece on the top of each stone, thinking that by looking to see how many loaves were left he could work out how many stones there were, but of course he failed. Some versions of the tale say he ended up with more loaves than he started with; others, that he looked up and saw the Devil himself had eaten several of the loads and had perched himself on one of the stones, laughing at him.  And the most ominous - was that he completed his counting, but dropped dead just as he was about to announce the result.