The best-known landmark in Shropshire is the Wrekin, at only 1,335 feet it has attracted a lot of attention given its modest size. Those of you who have passed Shrewsbury on the M54 heading to mid-Wales will have noticed this volcanic-looking lump by the side of the road and from the Cressage side (south of Shrewsbury) which is my usual approach these days, it looks like a sleeping dragon with the tree-line resembling scales along its backbone. From the top you can supposedly see 15 counties.
Whenever I drove around Shrewsbury when I first came to the county in 2002 I used to say to the OH that I could never get lost if I could see the Wrekin – I just headed straight for it – so I was amused to find this saying “a Shropshire mon is nivver lost if he con see the Wrekin” Apparently I wasn’t the first to think of it though naturally being from Yorkshire I’d never pronounce it like THAT!
I remember my mother referring to a circuitous route as “going all around the houses”, here in Shropshire it is “going all around the Wrekin”.
There, somewhere, nor-nor-east from me
Was Shropshire, where I longed to be
Ercall and Mynd, Severn and Wrekin, you and me
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)
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.
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.
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
BTW Google spell-check wants to replace Stiperstones with superstitions – how spooky is that?