Hunters' Stone, The
The Hunter's Stone
Writing in 1892 John Lloyd Warden Page (JLWP) describes an excursion beside the River Avon and upon reaching Brent Moor House (which is nowadays a ruin) under Black Tor, the passage reads 'Between it and Shipley Bridge we shall be drawn to a large rectangular boulder by the roadside - for we have reached a road now - and upon approaching observe that it is inscribed. But not to any British chief 'Romanized' or otherwise but to certain West Country worthies whose names the eccentricity of a former owner of Brent Moor House has caused to be carved upon the rock.'
The author then explains that in large characters we read 'TRELAWNY', 'BULTEEL', 'CAREW' and 'PAUL TREBY' together with the initials 'M.H.-D.D.'. This it seems is one of the first references to what we now know as The Hunters' Stone, that name appearing in William Crossing's 1909 version of Guide to Dartmoor, where he too recounts the same four surnames but rather strangely omits the 'Paul' and the two sets of initials. We learn from Crossing that the stone was set up by C.A. (Christopher Arthur) Mohun Harris, and commemorates to this day several distinguished members of the South Devon Hunt. However, writing many decades later Eric Hemery (1983) inexplicably gives the date for cutting the stone as 1948 and this error has since been disappointingly replicated on to various websites about Dartmoor.
Over the years other names have been added to the boulder's surface and as at the time of writing (2019) the current arrangement of names and letters when looking at the stone from the road/path is as follows:
Commander C.H. Davey RN
M.F. Douglas Pennant
W.L. Goodman 1983-91
Endnote: For those that look closely there is what appears to be a rogue 'C.K.' cut along the top left hand side of the upper surface. There is also what appears to be a small arrow below and to the right of the D.D. on the side. Hemery also states that the date of 1948 is engraved on the stone but this has not been found in recent times.
Interest and awareness of the erroneous date of 1948 arose when Max Piper discovered an earlier reference to the stone in Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor from 1912, which led to further investigation that revealed that JLWP had referred to the memorial even earlier in 1892. But despite all of this, the error still made its way into Josephine Collingwood's 'Dartmoor Tors Compendium' as recently as 2017. Tim Jenkinson put the record straight in Dartmoor Magazine in 2020 in the hope that it will prevent the error from being repeated in the literature again.