Alderley Edge-King Arthur
In England no fewer than three saviours lie waiting for our hour of peril; The Duke of Monmouth, King Harold and inevitably King Arthur. Somewhat confusingly King Arthur lies in three different places, in the Eildon hills, in Cornwall and under Alderley Edge in Cheshire. Here in a honeycombe of caves beneath the broodingly dominant hill, he and his knights and horses sleep, watched over by a wizard last seen by conjecture in 1696.
The story goes that a farmer was on his way to Macclesfield market to sell a white horse, when he was approached by a strange old man who offered to buy it. When the farmer refused, the old man said he would be unable to sell it at the market and that they would meet again that night to complete the deal. Much to the farmers suprise for it was a fine horse, he was unable to sell it. On his way home he was again approached by the old man and was told to follow him. The farmer followed him, and patiently and a little nervously, the old man took him past a place called seven firs, unfortunately these days the fir trees no longer exist. The old man then took him past a place called Stormy Point.
The Photograph on the right shows Saddlebole one of the places that the old man and the farmer passed through.
After passing through Saddlebole the farmer and the old man finally stopped against a blank rock face, the old man then struck the rock face with his staff and a vast door appeared in the rock face. The two men then entered the now open door and found themselves in a huge cave, the old man instructed the farmer to take what payment he wanted from the gold lying around in piles within the cave. Before the farmer left he had time to see the bodies of King Arthur and his knights, together with their horses as if they were in some kind of suspended animation.
The photograph on the left is believed to be the rock face that the farmer and the old man entered.
Nor the old man or the door in the rock face were ever seen again. The story was told at least in traceable form, by one Parson Shrigley, who was Curate of Alderley Edge in 1753 and who died in 1776. He dated the appearance of the old man, presumably the Wizard Merlin at about 80 years before his time, which would have put the episode at about 1696.
It is actually possible to retrace the steps of the farmer and the old man. You pass Stormy Point and following the path you turn left at Glaze hill, carry on past Hare hill and then proceed down hill still following the path which will bring you to Saddlebole. If you cross the stream in Saddlebole and start climbing up the hill you will see a rock face on your right, this is the last rock face you come to before exiting the woods at their most northerly point. This according to the legend is the very rock face that Merlin struck to reveal the door and cave where King Arthur and his Knights are said to still remain sleeping, awaiting the time that England is in peril and their services are needed once more!