Exmoor is one of Englands most stunning national parks, it bridges the border between West Somerset and North Devon in the South West of the country. It is known not only for its beauty and abundant wild life but also for many myths and legends. Readers may recall stories of the Exmoor beast that hit the news headlines in the 80’s. But it is one particular legend that I want to tell you about today and that is of the Caratacus Stone.
The Caratacus Stone is said to have been in place since around the 6th century and sits atop Winsford hill and has two near by bronze aged burial mounds for neighbors. It has on its face a Latin carving that reads Caratacus Nepus which translates to something like, relative of Caratacus who, was a first century chieftain known for his resistance of the Romans. So its not hard for one to work out that the stone was placed there and carved by someone who claimed kinship to the freedom fighting chief. Or was it….. I have to wonder if maybe the stone was carved much later but was placed there long before even Caratacus himself was around. With its close proximity to the bronze age mounds one has to wonder if it might be very ancient indeed, even neolithic.
But supposition on the age of the stone isn’t what I have intend to write about, what I’d like to do is tell you of a certain legend that surrounds the stone. It seems that a couple of hundreds year ago a local carter had heard an age old rumours that under the stone was contained a vast horde of treasure. So one night taking his team of horse with him he set off up Winsford Hill to try and uproot the stone with his equine assistants. And that dear reader was the very last thing the poor carter did for he was found the next day crushed to death under the stone. The local people upon finding him, hurried to re-erect the monolith lest they too become victim of what ever curse they thought had befallen the carter. It is said on dark and foggy nights that the ghost of the carter can still be seen hanging around the stone.