In yesterdays Silly Photo Challenge I added a little guessing game of my own, challenging my readers to guess the original purpose of two different stones that I had taken photos of. I gave the clue that both stones are found in a museum park and each did serve a special purpose in the past. But what purposes?
I got a few guesses. Most popular were the ideas of the round one being a grinding stone and the flat one perhaps used to cover a well. Neither of these suggestions came close to the real answers:
This is a Lifting Stone from the early 19th century. This was before the days of Gyms and Barbells; but lifting heavy things seems always to have been a popular game or challenge among young men. The original place for this particular lifting stone was where three roads met. Lifting stones were often placed at the side of a road like that. Sometimes big crowds gathered to witness contests who was able to lift the stone the highest. This was also a way of proving your competence when applying for a job! Lifting stones were always rounded in shape on purpose to make it extra hard to get a good grip on the stone.
This is a Bridal Stone. It was placed just outside the wall surrounding the churchyard. After the ceremony in the church, the bride and groom stood on this stone to be looked at by the people of the village, while music was played and preparations made for their horse-and-carriage ride back home. Records show that this particular stone was used for the purpose as late as in 1820, in its original place. The church in the museum park (which has been moved there from somewhere else) is still a poplular wedding church. I'm not sure whether the bridal stone is still used, too. It is still customary for bride and groom to stand for a while outside the church, while people line up to congratulate them (and take photos). I guess that a special stone to stand on was also a good way to avoid getting the wedding shoes all muddy in bad weather! (Although getting "cold feet" about the whole thing might be a little too late to think of after the ceremony was already over...)
View of the old wooden church in the museum park. In front of it you see a midsummer pole (maypole); the leaves and flowers all withered because the pole is decorated for Midsummer and this photo was taken in August. See my Midsummer's Eve post from last year.