There are many strange places on and around the unusual shaped hill known as the Cloud which overlooks the town of Congleton. One of these places is known as the Catstones which can be found on the side of the Cloud facing Congleton in an area known as Timbersbrook.
Along the road that runs along the base of the Cloud, also facing Congleton, can be found a large white stately home known as Catstones house, named after the fifty foot high unusual stone which can be found at the rear of this house. It is difficult to get a clear view of the stones from the road, so permission would be needed to view or photograph the stones from the owners of the house. It is believed that the stones were used in a ritual involving human sacrifice to the Goddess Catha or Catta, this cult of cat worshippers would throw their sacrificial victim from the top of the Catstones where they would fall to their death on the rock altar fifty feet below at the base of the rocks.
This ritual was said to have occurred at the spring equinox, the pagan time of rebirth that was taken over by the Christian church and became Easter. It is said that up until recently, at the time of Good Friday, that many thousands of people from Congleton and Macclesfield and the surrounding area, would make their way to the Cloud. It is thought that this ritual was a throwback to the time when the Cloud was used by the cult of the cat and its use involving human sacrifice.
It is said that if you look carefully you will be able to see the outline of a cats face in the stone and this is probably where it has obtained its name from. I have in fact seen two faces in the rock resembling the face of a cat, one however can only be seen when the sun shines at a certain angle which reveals the profile of a cats head. Perhaps this is the origin of what is referred to as grinning like a Cheshire cat, or maybe it is a reference to the carved stone head of a grinning cat which can still be found in a church at Pot Shrigley. Or maybe it is like the Sheela-na-gig which can also be found on some older churches in the area and which is a throwback to Pagan times and the belief in the Old Ways.