"Where trumpets rang and men marched by, none passes but the dragonfly" - Mary Webb

The Stiperstones

stiperstones With such breathtaking and spooky scenery, it's hardly surprising that the area of the Stiperstones abounds in legends and myths. The best-known of these is that of the Devil's Chair, it is the highest and the most imposing rock outcrop. According to legend, the rocks of the Devil's Chair were brought there by the Devil himself. He was carrying a load of stones in his apron and apparently travelling across Britain from Ireland, when he fancied a bit of a rest.

As the legend goes, the Devil was actually planning to use his load of stones to fill in the valley on the other side of the Stiperstones, which is known as Hell's Gutter. Unfortunately for him, as he got up after his rest on the highest rock of the Stiperstones, his apron strings snapped and the rocks tumbled out. Instead of picking them up, the Devil left the rocks scattered all over the ridge and the legend has it that you can smell the brimstone on them in hot weather.

He is also said to use the Devil's Chair on the longest night of the year, according to legend, he sits on his chair and summons all his local followers, witches and evil spirits and they choose their king for the year. The Stiperstones are actually made up of a unique rock, Stiperstones Quartzite which emerges from the ground to form its distinctive rocky crest. When the ridge was first formed it is thought to have been covered by softer rock, which has weathered away over many thousands of years. The ridge itself has been shaped most recently by the action of ice and frost shattering on the rock during the last ice age. This has created the tors that line the top of the ridge that make this site so recognisable from the surrounding countryside.

Wild Edric

a view of the stiperstones It's said that every man has his day. If this is true, Wild Edric has had more than his fair share, and continues to on a fairly regular basis. Unsuspecting locals still witness his spectral appearance whenever his lands around the Stiperstones are threatened.

Edric wasn't always wild. In the days before the Norman Conquest the Saxon lord led a quiet and uncomplicated life. It was only when William, the Norman Conqueror, sent his men to take Edric's riches and property that Edric let rip. He seems to have been amazingly successful at keeping his hands on his wealth. It's difficult to find any evidence of a single defeat meted out to him by the Norman invaders. In fact William came to some sort of truce with Edric. By 1070 Edric appears to have been aiding the Conqueror in his attempt to defeat the Scots.

But these two great men didn't enter into a long-term relationship of trust. We know that only a few years later William enlisted Ralf de Mortimer to bring Edric under his control. Edric kept all his lands while he was alive as far as we can tell, but they didn't pass into the hands of his kin. No one knows how he died. Some say he passed away in prison, others that he was killed in battle, still more that he lived to a fine old age before dying a natural death. Most romantic is the story that he died mourning the disappearance of his fairy bride, Godda.

During his lifetime he definitely guarded his lands well from any Norman or renegade Welsh marauder that dared attempt a raid. He burnt his foes in heather fires and drowned other enemies in treacherous peat bogs. All the people you meet who know his name will tell you he is still there waiting should anyone dare attack the Stiperstones. The villagers around those windswept hills know they can sleep easy in their beds with Wild Edric always present, ready to protect them.