The Hemlock stone is famously said to have been hurled by the devil from Castleton in Derby because the ringing of the local bells infuriated him. More recently it has been the focal point for many a folklorist happening; bonfires, firework shows and more. But resident historian, nonagenarian and rapper Eugene Cobblers thinks he can shed some light on the true origins of this fabled stone. But he could be wrong.
The clue is in the name. Hemlock. Some scientists will tell you that the stone is a result of natural erosion and the movement of tectonics, but that’s just simply not true. The answer is in local folklore. The devil really did hurl it. At least a devil of sorts. That is, in around 399 BC locals of Beeston, or Beos Tun as it was then known, and indeed all of Nottingham, were woken one balmy summer’s night by a great roar.
It was the sound of a violent earthquake which tore across the midlands, but was mistaken by the scientifically illiterate folks of the time as the roar of a devilish beast. People ran screaming for their lives, convinced they were about to be devoured by some angry pagan god or monster, and such as it was Pytheas, on his trip around Britain years later heard a great many tales from the locals of when “…the devil made the land tremble.”
Many great stones were thrown upwards from the force. One such was the hemlock stone, which was thus named after landing in a field in which the poisonous plant proliferated. There, that’s it. Simple.