Colley Mill & the Doddyman
Where the river Dane flows under the Bosley to Congleton road bridge, close to North Rode in the county of Cheshire, can be found a place known as Colley Mill. The name Colley is thought to have derived from the name Doddy over the years, and this would refer to the Doddyman or Dod-man, a strange figure who would have had a great influence on the landscape in the past.
Ancient travellers used a means of navigating which used a combination of natural and man made markers, the imaginary lines which ran between these markers were known as Ley-lines. These lines were frequented by certain people and due to this various names came into use, i.e white names became associated with Salt Traders, red lines were used by Potters, black was linked to Iron, Knap with Flint chippings etc.
It is thought that names with the word “Tot”, “Dod” or “Toot” would have been acceptable sighting points for the Dod-man. The Dod-man would have been our equivalent of a surveyor, he would have used two sighting sticks, and it is believed that the common snail was also known as the Dod-man or Doddies due to its two antenna which resembled the Dod-man’s measuring or sighting poles.
These photographs show the area around Colley Mill which is thought to have some sort of connection to the Dod-man.
Another term which is in use today and probably derived from the time of the Doddy man, is the word to describe an elderly person walking, we tend to call the slow and laboured way of walking as being doddery. This would be a direct link to the Dod-man, he would have placed one foot directly in front of the other as a form of measuring, and this is thought to be how the word doddery originated.
The Dod-man or Doddyman would probably have been seen as some sort of Shaman, or someone with secret arcane knowledge setting him apart from most people, and his influence can still be seen to this day in the many alignments and place names which can be found throughout the country.