Thursday 24 August 2017

#FolkloreThursday ~ The Wizard of Alderley Edge #Arthurian #Britain

In the time of myths and legends, there is one story that stands head and shoulders above the rest. That story is about King Arthur and his Knights. Arthur is renowned for doing many glorious and noble things, but today on #FolkloreThursday, I want to take a look at one of the most endearing and long-lasting stories of Arthur.

Now the story goes, that Arthur did not die, instead he and his Knights are slumbering, waiting for the time when they would be called to ride again. But where is this resting place that protects the Knights and the Once and Future King?

The Wizard of Alderley Edge

There is a small village in Cheshire, with a population of just over 4,000. Here they tell a tale of a farmer, a white horse, a Sorcerer and a mysterious cave hidden in a hill.

The story goes...

Once there was a farmer from Mobberley. He was on his way to the market at Macclesfield, in the hope of selling his white mare. As he made his way around, what the locals called The Edge, he saw an old man, dressed in flowing grey garments. The old man approached him and offered him a fair price for the horse. The farmer refused, he wanted more than this mystery man was offering him and he thought he would get a better price at the market. The old man wished him luck and told him that he would wait for his return from the market and, if he still had the horse, then maybe the farmer would be willing to sell the animal to him then.

The horse did not sell and, with grave disappointment, the farmer began to make his way home. He hoped that the old man would be waiting for him and still willing to buy the horse at the price he had offered earlier.

Thankfully the old man was there, and the farmer sold the horse to him, which cheered him somewhat after his dismal disappointment at the market. The old man did not have any money on him, but he assured the farmer that his home was not very far away. The farmer was happy to follow the old man back to his house.

As they approached an area, near a place that was known locally as Stormy Point, the old man produced a wand and started to mutter under his breath. The farmer was understandably alarmed and wished now that he had refused the old mans offer, but he had come this far, and he needed the money.

The rocks opened up in front of him. Fearfully he looked inside and saw a pair of majestic iron gates. The old man had started to chant in the language known only to those who practised magic. The gates opened. Terrified, the farmer fell to his knees and begged the old man not to harm him. The sorcerer, which the old man clearly was, smiled reassuringly and promised that he meant him no harm and all he wanted to do was pay him for the horse.

Not knowing what to do for the best — for this sorcerer had great power and he did not want to offend him — the farmer decided to lead the horse into the cave. Up ahead of him he saw countless men and white horse, all fast asleep. He watched with his mouth a gasp as the sorcerer went to an old chest and pulled out a bag of coins, which he gave to the farmer as payment for the horse.

The farmer asked fearfully who these people were. The sorcerer told him that this was a sleeping army who would one day rise again, should England be in peril.

The sorcerer then abruptly told the farmer to leave, which he gratefully did. The iron gates slammed shut behind the farmer, and when he turned around to look at the gates one last time, there was nothing to see. The land in front of him looked as it always had.

Not daring to linger, the farmer walked swiftly away. When he returned home he told everybody he knew about the strange encounter and the next day his friends travelled with him back to the rocks, but they could see no cave, everything looked as it always did.

The view from Stormy Point over to the Pennines

From the description of the men asleep and the Sorcerer's words, we can assume the men asleep was none other than Arthur and his knights. Can you guess who the Sorcerer was?

Alderley Edge in Cheshire is not the only place where it is said that Arthur and his Knights are slumbering. Cadbury Hill in Somerset also has a very similar story.

Is there any truth in this tale?

Who knows….!

If you fancy joining me in the 6th Century, with the next generation of Knights then why not check out
 The Du Lac Chronicles series!

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  1. We have a similar tale in the north east, only Arthur and his knights sleep under Sewingshields Castle!

    1. I shall have to look into Sweingshieds Castle. Thank you! Richmond Castle in York is another site where Arthur and his Knights are said to be sleeping!


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Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx