Croydon Hill is the scene of a peculiar English Folktale, that may or may not have its root in real events. Whatever the truth of the tale the hill has a reputation of being haunted by unearthly howls, especially on dark and stormy nights, and here is the story to account for this unearthly manifestation:
One day, many years ago, a ploughboy who hailed from Croydon went to the smithy at Rodhuish to have a plough blade repaired. While he was there he was entertained with the story of the Devil of Croydon Hill, a local legend about a devilish creature said to haunt the hillside and frighten people travelling on the lane across the hill.
The butcher’s boy at Rodhuish thought it would be good fun to scare the wits out of the ploughboy, so he donned a bull’s hide equipped with horns, and ran ahead of the ploughboy to lurk in the darkened lane.
When the ploughboy was walking home he was frightened out of his wits by a horned figure that jumped out at him, without thinking he lashed out at it with his plough blades and ran home. The butcher’s boy was never seen again although a bull’s hide with a gash through it was later discovered. It is said that the boy haunts the lane and was taken by the real Devil of Croydon Hill, to be pursued across the hill on stormy nights.
The tradition of a Devilish creature may be ancient, and the story about the ploughboy and the butcher’s boy may have been a later invention, although further research could unlock any truth in the story.
Directions: Footpaths lead up Croyden Hill from Timberscombe, off the A936 to the South of Minehead.