British Folklore
Fairy Lore & Prehistoric Sites in Britain



At Humberstone there stands a large granite boulder thought to be of glacial origins about five miles away.  In the 18th and 19th centuries it was referred to as the Huston Stone or simply, Hoston. Until the 1750s, the stone stood a good eight to ten feet above ground and at its broadest part was seven and a half feet wide. A correspondent signing himself J.D. wrote to the Gentleman's Magazine in 1813:

Some old persons in the neighborhood, still living, remember when it stood a very considerable height, perhaps eight to ten feet, in an artificial fosse or hollow. About fifty or sixty years ago the upper parts of the stone were broken off, and the fosse levelled, that a plough might pass over it; but according to the then frequent remark of the villagers, the owner of the land who did this deed never prospered afterwards. He certainly was reduced to absolutely poverty, and died about six years ago in the parish workhouse.

The dangers of interfering with numinous sites such as ecclesiastical buildings and places of real or imagined pagan worship are a frequent theme of British Folklore. The same J.D. goes on to muse about the possible reasons for such a supernatural site and covers tales relating to it being an old site of a now destroyed convent to a druid's altar. But the most pervasive local tales about the stone relate that it is a fairy dwelling.  He writes:

Some years ago it was believed that fairies inhabited or at the very least frequented this stone; and various stores were told concerning those beings. This belief was so strongly attached to the Hoston-stone, that some years ago a person visiting it alone, fancied he heard it utter a deep groan; and he immediately ran away to some labourers, about two hundred yards distant, terrified with the apprehension of seeing one of the wonderful fairy inhabitants.