British Folklore
Fairy Lore & Prehistoric Sites in Britain
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Shobdon

Shobdon

On the eastern outskirts of this village there is a prehistoric barrow that the locals name the Devil's Shovelful or the Cobbler's Mound.  The story relating to this mound revolves around the local parish church.  Legend tells that the village had built such a grand and beautiful church that it angered the Devil in its beauty.  He planned to show up the night was was first finished and destroy it by taking a shovelful of dirt and destroying it and the village as well.  But as he came along to the village, carrying his shovelful of dirt, he met a cobbler.  The cobbler was so frightened at meeting the devil he dropped an old bag of shoes he was holding.  The devil asked him "Is this Shobdon?"  And the clever fast-thinking Cobbler replied "Oh no, I'm looking for it myself and I have worn out all these shoes on the road, and I cannot find it anywhere around here.  You'd better turn back."  The devil dropped the earth where he was and disappeared.  The villagers were so terrified that he might return, they tore down their lovely church.

The interesting fact regarding this story is that Shobdon did indeed pull down their parish church in 1752.  The lord of the manor ordered it to be demolished and took some of the stonework to be used in Shobdon Park.  Another fascinating detail is that Cobbler's have lived on the opposite side of the street from the barrow from time out of mind.  They must have enjoyed being the heroes of the local tale saving the village from a horrible fate.