The Stiperstones

The word Stiperstones comes from “stripped-stone” an effect caused during the last Ice-Age, a geological abnormality that is unique to Britain.” ~ Michael Raven

(Y Carneddau Tuon – The Dark Rocks)

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The Stiperstones is a wild ridge of Quartzite tors surrounded by a sea of heather located south-west of the county town of Shrewsbury and offers panoramic views of the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. But the mystery and fear generated by the serrated skyline led to some sinister associations in the past.

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Shropshire has more than its fair share of giants. There is a Giant’s Chair on Titterstone Clee, but the feature with the same name found on the Stiperstones has become known as the Devil’s Chair.

The story is that the devil came over from Ireland with a leather apron full of stones either to block the Hell Gutter, a ravine on the side of the hill, or to dam the River Severn. He sat down to rest on what became the Devil’s Chair and when he got up his apron strings broke and the great stones were scattered all around.

Whenever he can, the devil flops into the chair so that his weight can help push down the Stiperstones since he believes that if they sink into the earth, England, a country he hates, will perish. If anyone else dares to sit in his chair a thunderstorm will immediately erupt.

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Mary Webb (author 1881-1927) wrote in her book ‘The Golden Arrow’

Nothing ever altered its look. …it remained inviolable, taciturn, evil. It glowered darkly in the dawn, it came through the snow like jagged bones through flesh…

source: The Folklore of Shropshire by Roy Plamer, printed by Logaston Press

stiperstones 154BTW Google spell-check wants to replace Stiperstones with superstitions – how spooky is that?

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I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

49 thoughts on “The Stiperstones”

  1. I really enjoyed your use of light and shade in these Jude. Sometimes I am hesitant to try that but your photos look beautiful!

    1. Photography is all about the light Sue – so give it a go! I love silhouettes, but they don’t always turn out well – just experiment – no-one needs to see the duff ones. And thank you Sue for your lovely comment, it is very much appreciated 🙂

  2. That is such an interesting post! Love your photos too. Thanks for telling the story behind these amazing stones.

    1. We walked up from the opposite side as we were staying in a cottage close by. I must do it from The Bog, apparently there is an easy walk there.

  3. Those stone outcroppings are beautiful and combined with some folklore, they have a mysterious air. Looks like a great place to visit 🙂

  4. This is absolutely fascinating Jude, I have never heard of Stiperstones although I have heard of other Devil stories throughout the UK, such as the one behind the Devil’s Punchbowl in Sussex. But this one I’ve never heard of (and I didn’t know the Devil hated England!). Wonderful folklore and lovely photos as always. Really fires the imagination this, and yes, that is spooky about Google 🙂

        1. Headley Down? We lived in Headley Down when we first moved south – some great walks around there, including the ponds 🙂

        2. Yes, that’s what I meant, Headley Down! Great walks, remember them so well. Small world isn’t it Jude? 🙂 xx

  5. That’s not so much spooky as repulsive. But fairly typical Google. :/
    Lovely stuff, Jude: you had to do a fair bit of research. Well done you !

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