British Folklore
Fairy Lore & Prehistoric Sites in Britain
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Rillaton Barrow

Rillaton Barrow

This chambered round barrow at Rillaton has a magnificent story to tell, associated with a fantastic piece of loot acquired from it's excavation in 1837. 

On Bodmin Moor there was a rock where a druid would sit, it came to be known as the Druid's Chair but back then, it was just a rock.  Whenever any Hunter would approach him, the Druid would offer him a drink from a golden goblet.  The goblet, however, was unable to be emptied, no matter how many Hunters tried to drink the last drop.  One Hunter who failed blew off in a rage and stole the cup, galloping off.  His horse presently fell on the rocks and the man catapulted off the horse, fell, and broke his neck.  He was buried on the spot, the golden cup still in his hand.

His grave of course was Rillaton Barrow and when they excavated they did indeed find a man buried with a golden cup in his hand.   Unfortunately there is zero evidence that this legend was connection with Rillaton prior to the excavations and so it is probably a tale told after.  The tale itself though is a common theme, thieving from the fairies with dire results and it looks like a reworking of a tale told by Gervase of Tilbury in the 13th century of a jewelled drinking horn that was carried off by a hunter in very similar circumstances.