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A Discussion of Alderley Edge's Arthurian Connections
By David Nash Ford

A L D E R L E Y
E D G E

Arthur & Merlin in Cheshire

According to the best known legend in Cheshire, the wilds of Alderley were one of the haunts of Merlin the Magician, known locally as the Wizard of the Edge. Merlin's Well (or spring) runs down a rocky outcrop in the woods to be collected in a small stone trough.

"Drink of this and take thy fill
For the water falls by the Wizard's will."

is inscribed on the rock-face above, along with a three dimensional carving of Merlin's Head.

King Arthur and his Knights are believed to sleep in a nearby cave. A fact reported by a local farmer from Mobberley in the late 17th century. On his way to sell a fine white mare at Macclesfield Fair, the farmer had encountered a cloaked old man on the Edge who offered to buy his horse. Preferring to get a good deal in the town, the farmer declined. At which the old man declared that the vendor would not sell his horse at the fair and the two would complete their deal on his return. The farmer proceeded on his way and, to his surprise, found that the old man's prediction came true. Bumping into his mysterious friend once more, he was encouraged to follow him to a shear rock-face. Here the stranger tapped three times to open a magical door to a mysterious cave. Within, the farmer saw the mighty King Arthur and all his Knights of the Round Table sleeping peacefully, ready to rise again as the Wizard Merlin now explained, "When:

Thrice England shall be lost, thrice won,
Twixt dawn of day and setting sun.
Then dabbled wings shall ravens toss
Croaking o'er bloodstained Headless Cross."

But the slumbering Royal Stable was one horse short. Hence the old wizard's need for the farmer's fine mare. The farmer was given gold and jewels from the from that piled high around the cave. He returned home a happy man, but was never after able to find the cave or see the old man again. 

 


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