British Folklore
Fairy Lore & Prehistoric Sites in Britain
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Cley Hill

Cley Hill

This discernable hill near Warminster has a legend attached to it that it was formed when a plan of the Devil's was thwarted by wit. The Devil, angry with the people of Devizes, had gone over into Somerset to fill a huge sack with earth, meaning to drop it onto the town and bury it. On his way back he paused on the road near Warminster and asked an old man the way. 'That's just what I want to know myself,' answered the old man. 'I set out for Devizes when my beard was black, and now it's grey, and I haven't got there yet.' The Devil, frustrated, dumped the sack of earth by the road, where it still is, as Cley Hill.

On the top of the hill are the remnants of a prehistoric hill fort and two round barrows. In 1924, a local writer by the name of V.S. Manley wrote an account that one of the barrows was the haunt of a benevolent spirit who had made himself the protector of the nearby hamlet of Bugley, and who showed its inhabitants a well whose water would cure sore eyes. This is a bit different than usual fairy lore.  Often fairies are associated with mounds, but very rarely to a healing well.