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Devil Placenames

Devil Placenames

There are numerous stories about the Devil’s activities on Dartmoor, some of which are included within the pages of this site. There are also many place-names that show ‘The Evil One’ had been busy on the moor, although that is what it seems?

Devil’s Bridge

This at one time was merely a culvert which ran under the Princetown road. This was not built by the Devil but by a workman whose nickname for some strange reason was the ‘Devil’ hence the name ‘Devil’s Bridge’.

OS grid reference SX 5805 7288

Devil Placenames

Devil’s Bridge

Devil’s Cauldron

The Devil’s Cauldron is a naturally formed pot hole in Lydford Gorge formed by stones being whirled around a small depression which over time expanded deeper and deeper. Today when the river is in spate it is a huge, seething ‘pot’ of water which would be certain death for anybody falling into it.

OS grid reference SX 5085 8457

Devil Placenames

The Devil’s Cauldron

Devil’s Elbow

This was the name given to a rather vicious ‘S’ bend on the Princetown road it ran over Devil’s Bridge and then ascended uphill. In the past there had been numerous accidents at this spot and so in 1964 the road was been modified to take out the worst of the bends. The picture below shows the bend before it was straightened. This is also where the ghost of the ‘Little Drummer Boy‘ is said to drum out a warning of an approaching snowstorm.

OS grid reference SX 5823 7295

Devil Placenames

Devil’s Frying Pan

This is a naturally formed rock basin which is found on Great Mis tor. It measures about 3 feet in diameter and 8 inches in depth, the bottom is flat with a small drainage channel which leads to the edge of the rock. However, this ‘Frying Pan’ was said to have been used by The Devil for frying the souls of those sinners who had been sent down to hell. The early antiquarians were of the opinion that this rock basin was made by the Druids who would hold their sacred rites on the tor.

OS grid reference SX 5630 7687.

Devil’s Gully

This small gulley is where the river Meavy runs down to the Princetown road before flowing through the culvert known as ‘Devil’s Bridge (see above).

OS grid reference SX 582 732

Postcard showing Devil’s Gully

Devil’s Kitchen

This simply is a pool situated on the river Tavy under the granite bastions of Tavy Cleave tors. There is no known legend attached to the pool but at the best of times there is a strong undercurrent flowing through the pool some perhaps this was another place where Satan on the lookout for unwary bathers.

OS grid reference SX 5549 8320

Devil Placenames

Devil’s Point

“The leat will now become the ramblers guide, and he will follow it to the weir, obtaining a grand view of Ger tor as he passes across the clatter that descends from it to the Tavy. From the weir, or Devil’s Point, as it was formerly called…” Crossing, p.173.

OS grid reference SX 5498 8300.

Devil Placenames

Devil’s Punchbowl

“Hartland tor (approx. 1,350 feet), on the north rim of the Central Basin. The summit of this shapely tor consists of a ‘feather bed’, much weathered, and on its east side is a rock cavity known as ‘The Devil’s Punchbowl’.” Hemery, p.497.

OS grid reference SX 6420 7995.

Devil’s Throat

This name first appeared in Eden Phillpott’s book ‘The Half Brother’s’ and was given to a disused mining ‘gert’ in Chaw Gully and thanks to the letterboxers has become a sometimes used place-name.

OS grid reference SX 668 809

Devil Placenames

Devil’s Tor

Although this is called a ‘tor’ in Dartmoor standards it is a pathetic example as it only consists of some large flat boulders. Nearby stands a large Bronze Age menhir or standing stone. There is very little folklore noted for this place except a remark made to William Crossing:

“…the pillar represented the Devil, and that the tor, which can hardly be truely regarded as such, was plenty good enough vur he.” Crossing, p.119.

OS grid reference SX 5969 7962.

Devil Placenames

Devil’s tor – photograph R. Knights.

So as you can see, although there are a few ‘devilish’ places on Dartmoor very few of them have direct connections or folk tales associated with the ‘Prince of Darkness’.

 

About Tim Sandles

Tim Sandles is the founder of Legendary Dartmoor

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