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Devil's Rock

Renews-Cappahayden, Newfoundland and Labrador, A0A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2005/12/06

Photo of Devil's Rock, Renews, Southern Shore, NL, taken summer of 2004.; HFNL/Dale Jarvis 2005
Devil's Rock, Renews, NL
Photo of Devil's Rock, Renews, Southern Shore, NL, taken summer of 2004.; HFNL/Dale Jarvis 2005
Devil's Rock, Renews, NL
Photo of the road approaching Devil's Rock, Renews, Southern Shore, NL, taken autumn, 2005.; HFNL/Andrea O'Brien 2005
Devil's Rock, Renews, NL

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/01/26

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Devil’s Rock is the site of many legendary tales in the community of Renews, NL. It is located at the crossroads of two access roads leading into the community. The designation is confined to the rock itself.

Heritage Value

Devil’s Rock has been designated a municipal heritage site by the Town of Renews/Cappahayden because of its cultural value.

Devil’s Rock has cultural value as it is a component of the legendary cycle in the community of Renews. As the legend goes, a priest walking past this site encountered the Devil. He condemned the Devil into the rock for a period of time. As the Devil was transported to his place of imprisonment, he left his hoof prints in the rock. Legend also maintains that a crack in the rock grows infinitesimally wider year after year, and that when the crack eventually splits the rock asunder, the Devil will spring forth once more.

The linking of a devilish tale to a specific rock outcrop is similar to many stories of landscape features in Newfoundland, one notable example in the same region being the Devil’s Staircase in Cape Broyle, about thirty kilometres north of Renews. There are also similarities to the Newfoundland folk legend of Mr. Kinchler and the Devil, in which the Devil was defeated at a game of cards, and was so enraged that he slammed his losing hand down, forever emblazoned a demonic hand print into a rock, said variously to be in Fortune Harbour in Notre Dame Bay, or near St. Lawrence on the Burin Peninsula.

The naming of Devil’s Rock speaks to the importance of oral tradition in Newfoundland, and is tied to the rich intangible cultural heritage of the province. The importance of the rock lies not in whether or not the Devil himself is truly trapped within, nor in the dire consequences that should unfold if he ever breaks free, but in that the rock serves as a reminder of the persistence of oral tradition in a modern world.

Devil’s Rock has further cultural value to the community of Renews as it was a traditional place where courting couples would meet. Many older residents of the community apparently had no connotations of fear connected with Devil’s Rock, as it was a popular rendevous site and witness to the initiation of some romantic relationships in the community.

Source: Town of Renews/Cappahayden Regular Council Meeting December 6, 2005

Character-Defining Elements

All those elements which represent the cultural significance of Devil’s Rock, including:
-unobstructed view of Devil’s Rock from access roads;
-location, orientation and dimensions of the rock.

All those physical elements which define the rock, including:
-the natural and untouched appearance.



Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Authority

NL Municipality

Recognition Statute

Municipalities Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

2005/01/01 to 2005/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Philosophy and Spirituality

Function - Category and Type



Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Legend Site

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, 1 Springdale Street, PO Box 5171, St. John's, NL, A1C 5V5

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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