Pouqelayes or fairy stones

One of the Jersey dolmens known to Ireland was the Pouquelaye de Faldouet, an imposing passage grave standing above the Royal Bay of Grouville that inspired a poem from Victor Hugo. The word ‘pouquelaye’ has a number of different meanings, one originating from Normandy and meaning ‘pocket’. Another meaning is ‘coupled stones’, and a further Jersey suggests that the word derives from the combination of ‘Puck’ and ‘lech’, meaning ‘Puck’s stone’.  There is a further small menhir north of St Helier that, too, bears the name ‘pouqelaye’, lending this name to the road that leads to the isMiscellaneous Stone at La Pouquelayeland’s capital. Together, these pouqelayes are also known as ‘fairy stones’, believed to have been moved through the air by magic. Other of Jersey’s ancient stones  have fairy connections. La Pierre de la Fételle is also known as La Roche à la Fée – both names translated as ‘fairy stone’.

In the 17th century there were still many pouquelayes dotted across the island, described thus by the Lieutenant-Bailiff Jean Poingdestre in his 1682 Discourse of the Island of Jersey:

‘The most ancient are what wee call Poquelayes, which consist for the most part of foure huge stones, whereof three planted on end Triangle-wise and the fourth flatter then ye rest and soe large as being layd on ye top of them three to beare on them all…I take them to have been sett up for Altars upon hills and open places and many times neare the Sea…’.

La Pouquelaye de Faldouet

La Pouquelaye de Faldouet

Source: Sonia Hillsdon (1987). Jersey: Witches, Ghosts & Traditions: Norwich, Jarrold Publications.

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