symbol, or logo, that I use is "the hagstone". Hagstones
are holed stones that used to be hung in Hampshire Orchards to
bring good luck and juicy apples, and to frighten away evil spirits.
Sometimes the name is applied to standing stones with holes, such
as the Men-an-Tol in Cornwall (shown left), or the Choone Stone,
also in Cornwall, through which you can see the Merry Maidens
Stone Circle. These stones were often said to have healing properties;
like stories they can be healing - but you must be careful!
The reason I first adopted the logo, though, wasn't
because of something set in beautiful landscape, it was because
of a mystery in Northam, my own not so beautiful inner-city area
map shown on the left dating from around 1560, shows the 'Hagestone
or Blackworth' (see the detail bottom right)
The first Ordnance Survey map of the area, made
in 1868, shows an ancient monument called "The Hegstone". On the
next map, of 1897, it is gone. I've only ever found one mention
of it, in an old book, which suggested that it might have been
a boundary stone; perhaps people stopped there when beating the
boundaries of old Southampton.
I soon found "The Hegstone" appearing
in my stories, and in those stories there were other stories,
seen through the hole in the stone. It seemed especially important
for stories to have the
local touch in areas that are stigmatised; where local pride
is battered from all directions.
wherever you live, in city or country, in suburb, council
estate or rural village, come and look through the eye of the
hagstone - and find a story.
The Holed Stone one of The Gallauns, Cape Clear
Island County Cork is shown left (photo by Chuck Kruger). Cape
Clear is the location of the annual CAPE
CLEAR ISLAND INTERNATIONAL STORYTELLING FESTIVAL
(Should you be interested in the history of
Northam you might be interested in the book "Chapel and Northam;
an oral history" that was compiled and edited by Sheila Jemima
in 1991. Mike wrote the historical introduction. It was published
by the Oral History department of Southampton City Council. ISBN
1 872649 03 3. Sadly it is now out of print but can be viewed
at the City Libraries
[read more here]