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The Stiperstones Stories
Take the Stiperstones for instance. Geologists tell us that the highest points of this great jagged quartzite ridge jutted out above the surface of the glaciers during the last Ice Age and their rugged bulk has attracted many folk stories.
Some of these are dark tales about the Devil himself appearing enthroned upon the ancient rocks to receive homage from his witches in the locality. It is also said that when his Satanic Majesty comes to the Devil’s Chair he sits down particularly heavily and sometimes several times. You see, it seems he is always trying to force his stony throne into the ground because old stories tell how, when the Devil’s Chair sinks below the level of the ground then England will fall.
Satan is very anxious that this should happen because he hates England and its people more than anywhere else and anyone else in the whole wide world.
People say that if you go to the Stiperstones on a hot summer day you can still smell the brimstone in the air from Satan’s last visit there, and all those boulders lying around on the hillside have a story to tell too.
One day, the Devil was planning to block Hell Gutter, a ravine in the side of the hill, or some say he wanted to dam the Severn, so he brought stones across from Ireland. When he sat upon his Chair some spilled from his apron and he was too tired to pick them up so today they still lie where they fell.
Oh yes, and be sure never to enthrone yourself in the Devil’s Chair, for when a human being does so it angers the Devil and there is sure to be a great thunderstorm!
Writers like Mary Webb in “Precious Bane” and children’s author Malcolm Saville in his “Lone Pine” series have used the weird rocky landscape of the Stiperstones to good effect in their stories and it is no wonder that Welsh people looking eastwards from their side of the border called the Stiperstones, “Y Carneddau Tuon”- “The Dark Rocks”.
However, his Satanic Majesty does not have a monopoly on Stiperstone tales.. There is another name linked with this spectacular ridge, or to be precise, with the ground beneath which is said to be where Wild Edric lives perpetually imprisoned because of eventually submitting to William the Conqueror after initially rebelling against him.