Hound’s Pool, Deancombe
A Black Dog story is attached to a pool near Deancombe, and James Mackinley in his ‘Folklore of Scottish Lochs and Springs’ (1893) referred to the hound as its guardian, doomed to haunt there until the pool could be emptied by a nutshell with a hole in it. The following earlier and fuller account of the tale appeared in Notes and Queries, Number 61 (28 December 1850):
In the parish of Dean Prior is a narrow wooded valley, watered by a streamlet, that in two or three places falls into cascades of considerable beauty. At the foot of one of these is a deep hollow called the Hound’s Pool. Its story is as follows.
There once lived in the hamlet of Dean Combe a weaver of great fame and skill. After long prosperity he died, and was buried. But the next day he appeared sitting at the loom in his chamber, working diligently as when he was alive. His sons applied to the parson, who went accordingly to the foot of the stairs, and heard the noise of the weaver’s shuttle in the room above. “Knowles!” he said, “come down; this is no place for thee.” “I will,” said the weaver, “as soon as I have worked out my quill,” (the “quill” is the shuttle full of wool). “Nay,” said the vicar, “thou hast been long enough at thy work; come down at once!”–So when the spirit came down, the vicar took a handful of earth from the churchyard, and threw it in its face. And in a moment it became a black hound. “Follow me,” said the vicar; and it followed him to the gate of the wood. And when they came there, it seemed as if all the trees in the wood were “coming together,” so great was the wind. Then the vicar took a nutshell with a hole in it, and led the hound to the pool below the waterfall. “Take this shell,” he said; “and when thou shalt have dipped out the pool with it, thou mayst rest–not before.” And at mid-day, or at midnight, the hound may still be seen at its work.