Forgotten Tales of Old Stratford-upon-Avon

Part I. The Fertility Stones of Waterside


                                Fertility stone.

As far as legends go the story behind, The Fertility Stones of Waterside stems from fairly recent times.

Situated about 100 hundred yards from the famous Stratford pub, the Dirty Duck the fertility stones first came to public notice one dark night in the winter of 1953 around closing time.

A group of friends upon leaving the pub were surprised and more than a little shocked to be confronted by the strange sight of 5/6 Japanese nuns gathered around the stones and making strange moaning noises.

Josh Brevitt, (the only surviving member of the group of friends) remembers distinctly his first reaction. ‘My first thought was that they were praying in their own language. There was a strange rhythm to their chanting and they were swaying side to side with noises their voices made. I must admit me, and my friends were a little tipsy so we didn’t make too much of it. I’m ashamed to say we jeered at them…but they took no notice and we stumbled on, thinking no more about it. Until we saw the reports a couple of weeks later in the Stratford-upon-Avon Herald’.

A few weeks later, the Herald reported on the strange case of the Nuns from Hiroshima who came to Stratford-upon-Avon on an educational trip. Unfortunately, it appears that 4 of the party of 10 nuns were found to be pregnant on their return to their homeland.

As the religious party had been seriously chaperoned during their rare trip and there was virtually no chance that anyone could have broken away from the main group even if they had wanted to, the pregnancies remained a complete mystery for a month or two.

That is until a Sister Naragushi admitted to the Mother Superior that there had been one night where some of the nuns had left the hotel to take a look at the river in the moonlight.

Sister Naragushi spoke of passing the stones on Waterside and noticing a strange glow surrounding them. As they approached the stones and out of curiosity began to fondle them, they were all overcome ‘by a feeling we did not recognise’. She then said ‘we all fainted in unison’.

Needless to say, the story spread far and wide very quickly. So much so, that within weeks trips were organised from as far field as Birmingham. Coachloads of women of all ages sought out the stones especially at night with one common aim. To become ‘with child’. Pregnant.

Although the story has slowly dissipated over the years as its roots have become less well known, now and again it is not unusual on a dark evening to spot one or two women, ‘fondling the Stones’ in an erotic manner.

Although these ‘late-night frolics’ are frowned on by the local Constabulary, Inspector Jack Spanner of Stratford-upon-Avon Police Force commented…’Of course, these gatherings are not against the law and we can’t stop them but I would advise any women, young or old who plans to visit these so-called fertility stones late at night, to take the necessary precautions to keep themselves safe’.