British Folklore
Fairy Lore & Prehistoric Sites in Britain
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Ballowal Barrow

Ballowal Barrow

The Miners that worked at the nearby Ballowal mine claimed to see lights at the bronze age chambered tomb of Ballowal Barrow, and fairies dancing as they came off their shift at night.  The mine itself was haunted.  It was known that it there were dwarf miners that live deep in the mind and called knockers or knackers.  They would lead the human miners to good lodes in the tin mine.

It was considered polite and customary to leave the knockers bits of food as offering.  There is a cautionary tale regarding one such neglectful miner named Tom Trevorrow - he failed in the duty.  He was working on the Ballowal mine one night and he was tired of the noise the knockers were making and so, tossed some pebbles down their way.  He ignored the hail of stones that were hurled at him in return and sat down to eat his supper.  He did hear the knockers calling to him to leave them bits of his leftover meal, he instead ate it to the last crumb.  Angry voices called out;

Tommy Trevorrow! Tommy Trevorrow!
We'll send thee bad luck tomorrow,
Thou old curmudgeon to eat all they fuggan
And leave not a didjan for Bucca.

Being true to their word, bad luck haunted Tommy ever after, forcing him to leave his position at the mine.