The Wandering Jew.

In the past there has been many claims that a Wandering Jew has roamed the Staffordshire Moorlands, the story has circulated in the Axe Edge area close to Buxton and also between Leek and Ashbourne. Although it has not been long since I visited the Ipstones area in search of the Indefont Well and the Ipstones Sun Temple I had not expected to return so soon. The following folktale concerning the Wandering Jew originated from the village of Ipstones which is surrounded by its wild stone walled countryside, rock outcrops and moorland edges.

The Wandering Jew is claimed to be a character from Medieval legend who has been cursed by God to wander the earth forever as punishment for mocking Christ when he was crucified upon the cross. It is said that this cursed Jew visited the village of Ipstones one Sunday afternoon in the 1650s dressed in a purple shag gown, it is also said that he knocked upon the door of a poor man who was lame and was able to cure him by making him drink beer which had had two or three balm leaves soaked in it for two to three weeks.

The event was documented by John Aubrey (1626-97) in his book titled “Miscellanies” and is as follows: In the Moorlands in Staffordshire, lived a poor old man, who had been a long time lame. One Sunday in the afternoon he being alone, one knocked at his door: he bade him open it and come in. The Stranger desired a cup of beer; the lame man desired him to take a dish and draw some, for he was not able to do it himself. The Stranger asked the poor old man how long he had been ill? The poor man told him. Said the Stranger I can cure you. Take two or three balm leaves steeped in your beer for a fortnight, or three weeks, and you will be restored to health: but constantly and zealously serve God. The poor man did so, and became perfectly well. This Stranger was in a purple shag gown, such as was not seen or known in those parts. And no body in the street (after even song) did see any one in such a coloured habit. Dr Gilbert Sheldon (since Archbishop of Canterbury) was then in the Moorlands and justified the truth of this, to Elias Ashmole Esq; from whom I had this account…….

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