Monday, 22 March 2010

The Headache Stone

Well with token offering of a baby's shoe

Excellent signage

Here the sufferer lays their head & is cured.

On sunny Sunday it was a genuine relief to step outside and feel the warmth of the sun on one's body. So we took the decision to make a short tour to the Headache Stone, a place which we had passed on an inclement winter's day last year.

The sign on the gate depicts it as St Hugh's which is unfortunate because it is actually St. Aedh's (pronounced as 'aeh')

St Hugh or rather St. Aedh who was one of Ireland's primitive saints (The Royal Society of Antiquaries 1896) and his importance is that he reputedly cured St Bridget of a headache.

I had heard that it is best not to put a pain free head on a headache stone, because it is likely that you will then get one ! This advice I related to Mrs H as she set off to take photo's while Toby (dog) & I kept each other company. Not lazy merely cautious because there were sheep & young lambs close by and I like to obey the Countryside code. Mrs H had only been gone a few minutes when there came a loud bellow from a Bull, it is a very distinctive noise; this again reassured me by not taking Toby was the right decision and as I had not heard any screaming ! I guessed that Mrs H was free from harm and I was right as you can see from the photo's !

What I wanted to know was exactly how did St A manage to go from A to H there being no phonetic similarity. Research via Google has revealed :-

Mo-Lua ba hanamchara do Dabid
Dar muir modh-mall,
Is dom Aedhog, is dom Chaemog,
Is do Chomgall.

'My-Lua was soul-friend (= spiritual director) to David over the slow-rolling sea (i.e., in Wales), and to my-little-Aedh, and to my-little-Caem (Kevin), and to Congal.'

This quatrain refers to the time when there was constant and friendly communication between the schools and churches of Ireland and the Welsh and English coasts, when Welsh students came to study in the Irish colleges, and brought back with them to Wales many Irish traditions that can still be recognised in Welsh literature. This was the time when Alfred, a student in Ireland, laid the foundations of that love for learning which afterwards caused him to solicit the aid of his former Irish professors in founding the first University of Oxford. The quatrain also contains the name of one of our saints, a name disguised more effectually than any other, that of St. Aedh, if we may venture to call him so. Aedh is really his name. It is one of the commonest Irish names, and is now represented in English by Hugh, a name with which it has no connection whatever. Ref


  1. That's interesting, Heron - I walked past a strong spring well, here in Bath a few years ago, and got a powerful headache, which ceased as soon as I had passed by. I was told by a friend that this sometimes happens at these springs.

  2. Now that is something I could use from time to time. Does this stone have a hollow in it? I think it is in some way similar to a bullaun stone. So is it the stone or the water that contains the cure? So many questions, I feel a headache coming on. Well done Mr & Ms H for the wonderful photos and story. T.

  3. Yes Tom that can happen and in similar ways the earth energy lines can cause sensations in the solar plexus.

    SilentOwl: You have had a hard day it is the stone that cures the headaches. Though there is no doubt that dehydration can cause them and so drinking water will sometimes relieve the pain.

  4. Did you catch my post on Guy Underwood (a local dowser and archeologist around here in the 1930's)?

    Blind, spiral springs, animal behaviour and the placement of ancient monoliths and churches...

  5. Very interesting Mel and well signposted to. Funny I have just heard of a 'Tooth ache' tree that is in a townland near me in Beragh, I must get to it. Very good post; thank you.

  6. No doubt it's been getting a lot of use since the 17th.

  7. Oh, I surely could do with that stone right now - have had a blinder for for the past week :-)
    Interesting about Aedh, you certainly did your research. I have Guy Underwood's book somewhere, unless I'm mixing him up with someone else - laylines and churches? But I thought he was round much earlier than 1930!

  8. very interesting Mel. I too could do with a stone like that nearby. Do you do a lot of map searching to find these places?

  9. Several individuals can be named in connection with energy lines and there might be a mix up in dates & names (?) So I have done some research :-

    Alfred Watkins : The concept of ley lines was first proposed by him on 30 June 1921. His book was The Old Straight Track.
    However, in September 1870, William Henry Black gave a talk to the British Archaelogical Association, in Hereford, entitled Boundaries and Landmarks, in which he speculated that "Monuments exist marking grand geometrical lines which cover the whole of Western Europe

    Guy Underwood:excavated
    Jugs Grave at Monkton Farliegh
    Oval bowl barrow excavated in 1946-7 Primary interment of 2 skeletons in cist with Bronze Age finds. Four secondary inhumations. The cairn is 1.4m high. Badly mutilated 1967. Guy publ a book in 1968.

    Tom Graves used a lot of Alfred's & Guy's material in his book Needles of Stone.

    Margaret: No map work, Book work & sometimes just luck :-)

  10. It doesn't actually look like you can rest your head on the headache stone, are the bars blocking the way?

  11. p.s,thanks so much for following my blog. I am one happy lady!

  12. Dear Helsbells there is a small entrance gate at the side which can be used or you can climb over the bars - It is allowed :)

  13. Thanks for the reminder, Heron. I lived 100 yards away from Jugg's Grave - at Conkwell, near BOA. His house at Avoncliffe/Turliegh, has a genuine stone circle in the grounds. It's a nice early house, remodeled in around 1750. I was introduced (metaphorically) to Underwood by John Michell, who lived here in Bath about 20 years ago. Sadly, he (Michell) recently died in Glastonbury.

  14. While I remember, there was (and still is) a sacred spring at the foot of the hill in Conkwell (from where it got it's name - 'Well of the Cranes'), and this was locally known as 'The Green Man'. We still had tourists looking for The Green Man when I was there, and they were surprised to find that it was not a pub in a hamlet of about 20 houses, but a bubbling spring which was home to dozens of small, black leeches which would latch onto you if you kept your hand there long enough.

    During the English Civil War, this was the only spring in the area which Cromwell did not poison, because he and some Parliamentarian troops stayed in the house next to me - the same house which Chris Patten lived in when he was MP for Bath...

  15. Great post as always Mel, you write so well, and Jaynes photographs are lovely. I sure could use the headache stone too some days!

  16. Now there's interesting for you! I love the pieces of history here! Wonderful to think there were such scholars in Wales and Ireland to lay the foundations of our learning and great universities. Why, though, does the stone give you a headache? Surely it's meant to cure it?

    Tom, you are a fount of knowledge too! Must see if you have a blog too.

  17. Did you get a headache doing all that googling about Aedh and Hugh I wonder... Very interesting article, enjoyed it.

  18. Tom : The less we hear about Cromwell the better I think, as he was not the pleasantest of people.

    Morgaine: One way to rid yourself of a headache is to pinch around the tops of your ears two or three times.

    VallyP: Have you heard the phrase that goes similar to this: That the cause is also cure (?) In this case it is the frequency of the energy that passes out of the stone.

    liZZie: I rarely get headaches.I have always enjoyed doing research & used to get paid for doing it too :-)

    Finally my appreciation and thanks to the new followers & I look forward in reading your comments.

  19. A stone and a Saint I did not know before. Luckily I too am not prone to headaches.Facinating stuff, can imagine it is indeed to do with the energy of the stone.