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)

stiperstones 136

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.

stiperstones 134

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.

stiperstones 121

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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Heyjude

I now live back in the UK, but spent several years travelling the world and then living in South Africa. I 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 saw these in the distance during a holiday to Shropshire in the early 90s. We were based in a hotel in Much Wenlock, and had a good look around the county. Thanks for the memory Jude.
    Regards as always, Pete.

    1. South Shropshire has some lovely landscapes. I’ll try and write about a few of them before I leave here (not that we’re going anywhere soon…)

    1. Lots of folklore hereabouts – maybe the closeness to Wales is one reason. And it must have been very remote in the past (it is pretty remote even now!)

  2. Did not know about this outcropping, Jude. I think the many tales of evil doings and devils are a reflection of how difficult life and survival were in ancient times.

    Your google notation is a giggle, and eerily apropos.

  3. Love the tiny people in that first capture, Jude, and your craggy close ups are great. I love all those sharp shapes. And rounded off with an incredible sunset. 🙂

    1. I loved the people on the edge too – shows the scale of the rocks and we were lucky with the sunset – just got back down onto the lane before it got dark.

  4. Beautiful landscape, fascinating folk lore and crazy words like Titterstone – a place to sit and spin a yarn I assume – what’s not to love 😊 thanks Jude!

    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 🙂

    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.

  5. 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 🙂

  6. 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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