"That's the Devil's bit, Miss, and don't you be buried there," was said to me by a wellwisher.
Offa's Dyke, locally known as the Devil's Track, runs along the Wye Valley; but I have found no tradition to account for the name, though there is one, I believe, in Shropshire (Shropshire Folklore, p. 622).
Miss Wherry has told us much about Jacky Kent o' Grosmont, the famous wizard. Though a Gloucestershire man, his fame seems better preserved in Monmouthshire, at least I have heard more about him over the water. There are people who say they have seen his tomb half in and half out of Grosmont Church, from which the dove flew out to show that Jacky had got the better of the Devil to the end!
"Jacky and the Devil, they was always doing things together. They used to carry stones over the bridge just outside Gloucester to build with. There are a lot of old buildings outside of Cheltenham called the Devil's Town, and they do say it was to build that. But if twelve o'clock struck as they was passing the bridge they had to drop them, and you can see them now, a lot of big stones lying about in the field."
The Picked Stone at Trelleck is also rejected house-material of the Devil's. There is, too, the story of a bridge to be built in one night, on the usual terms, with the usual dog as victim.
Ghosts we have in plenty, and of the most commonplace kind, the ordinary road or lane ghost, taking the form of a black sheep or pig. (I may mention that our pigs are usually of a beautiful pink.) The following is, however, worth repeating. Old Mrs. Pirrett lived in Monmouth whilst her husband was away fifteen years at the Peninsular War, and got her living by brewing, etc. She had
- The "Devil's Chimney" on Leckhampton Hill? or Churchdown Church?
- Cf. ante, p. 64.