British Folklore
Fairy Lore & Prehistoric Sites in Britain

Deil's Cauldron

Deil's Cauldron

Late 19th century antiquarian James Hewison, minister of Rothesay took a great interest in the 'mysterious stone circus, adjacent to St. Blaan's Church in the southern extremity of Bute.' This stone circle is popularly known as the Deil's Cauldron.

He describes the structure as a massive circular wall of unhewn blocks of stone with a narrow entrance, and he makes a guess that the true purpose was a robber-proof safe. The legend which is mostly likely connected with the name Deil's Cauldron he never explains, but he offers another name and tradition associated with the stone circle:

The natives of Bute, in continuing to call it "The Dreamin' Tree Ruin,' preserve both its celtic name and the memory of an ancient superstition. The 'Dreamin' Tree' is no other than the celtic words Druim-en-tre [Druimean-tré], the little ridge-dwelling; while the custom itself is clearly a survival of tree-worship.

Within living memory, he says, there grew within the circle an ash or fir tree which pairs of lovers would climb together. They would then pick the leaves and eat them, believing that this would give them prophetic dreams revealing their future spouses.