Shropshire History

Shropshire

Ley Lines

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Ley lines are defined by Wikipedia as alignments of places of significance in the geography or culture of an area, often including man-made structures. The phrase was first coined in 1921 by the amateur archaeologist Alfred Watkins, referring to supposed alignments of places of geographical or historical interest such as ancient monuments, megaliths, natural ridge tops and fords. He believed that in ancient times, when Britain was far more densely forested, the country was crisscrossed by a network of straight-line travel routes, with prominent features of the landscape being used as navigation points. In his books “Early British Trackways” and “The Old Straight Track” he tried to identify ancient trackways in the British landscape. Watkins later proposed that Neolithic people created these alignments for line-of-sight navigation.

 

In 1969, John Michell published a book called “The View Over Atlantis” and attributed ley lines with spiritual and mystical theories about alignments of land forms, drawing on the Chinese concept of Feng Shui. He believed that a mystical network of ley lines existed across the whole of Britain and his concept has been adopted by several subsequent authors.  Both theories have been criticised on the grounds that there are so many points randomly distributed in Britain that a straight line can be drawn between several of these purely by chance.

 

In the Pulverbatch Parish Website, ley lines are described as “sites of ceremonial and cultural interest aligned along straight lines that stretch for dozens, some say even hundreds, of miles … constructed or formed giving alignments between and across the inhabited landscape of Britain. The sites mentioned include stone circles, standing stones, long barrows, cairns, burial mounds and churches. Whilst accepting that ley lines exist, sceptics argue that if you place enough points on a map then you will be bound to find some straight lines purely at random. In 1936, the idea was put forward that ley lines were lines of power linking prehistoric sites, although what sorts of powers might be involved were not specified. The scene was thus set for the elevation of ancient trackways to something more spiritual.” The article goes on to describe a ley line called the “Christ’s Oak Line” passing through Pulverbatch Church.

 

A website on Earth’s Grid Systems describes several features that may be responsible for the phenomenon known as ley lines :-

 

Hartmann Lines - consist of naturally occurring charged lines, running North-South and East-West to form a grid across the Earth’s surface with a distance of about 2 meters in the north-south direction and 2.5 meters in the east-west direction. Alternate lines are usually positively and negatively charged, so where the lines intersect it is possible to have double positive charges and double negative charges, or one positive and one negative charge. It is the intersections that are seen to be a source of potential problems.

 

Curry Lines – are a mystic force field that covers the Earth at regular intervals and can be detected by dowsing using a divining rod. They are approximately 3 meters apart, diagonally to the poles, east to west.

 

Black Lines - are naturally generated but do not form a network in the same way as Hartmann and Curry lines. This could be similar in nature to the "sha", or deadly energy lines of Chinese Feng-Shui. They can be curved, straight, at ground level or higher, even found in the upper levels of buildings.

 

A description of ley lines in The Megalithic Portal describes how, when a ley line meets another line crossing it, the original line deviates by about 10 degrees. So if it was on a bearing of 180 degrees due south, the line would switch to a bearing of around 170 degrees. Likewise the crossing line, if it was on a bearing of 90 degrees, would switch to 80 degrees. No scientific explanation is given for this but an example is given with a line between Cynynion and Whittington Castle.

 

It is up to the reader to decide on which, if any, of these theories to believe.

 

Gazetteer of Ley Lines

 

Buildwas Abbey – Bitterley Church

Bitterley Church has a cross in its churchyard with a hole in it which is said to be for a Ley Line. It lines up with Much Wenlock Priory and Buildwas Abbey.

(source Ley Lines UK Website)

 

Bitterley Church (SO563774)

Much Wenlock Priory (SJ624001)

Buildwas Abbey (SK642044)

 

Christ's Oak Line

Mrs John Clare first proposed this line in “Ley Hunter's Manual”' by Alfred Watkins, saying that it ran from Lord’s Hill to Buildwas Abbey via Long Mynd, the motte at Pulverbatch, St Edith’s Church in Church Pulverbatch and Upper Moat. John Timpson, in his book “Timpson’s Leylines”, found several of her markers such as the motte were not actually on the line and proposed some new ones, ie Upper Moat, the ford on Cound Brook, the crossroads at Pitchford and Cressage. He named it “The Christ's Oak Line” after the old oak where the original church was in Cressage and through which the line ran. Timson also suggested starting it further west from Leigh Manor in Hopesgate. The line goes nowhere near the Long Mynd so this can be discounted. A further marker close to the line is Stevenshill Fort.

(source Pulverbatch Parish Website)

 

Leigh Manor (SK337022)

Lordshill (SK382024)

Pulverbatch Motte (SK423022)

St Edith’s Church (SK429029)

Upper Moat (SK453032)

Cound Brook Ford (SK475038)

Pitchford Crossroads (SK530036)

Stevenshill Hillfort (SK556035)

Cressage (SK592040)

Buildwas Abbey (SK642044)

 

Cynynion – Whittington Castle

A line runs from west of the standing stone at Cynynion, near the village of Rhydycroesau. It passes right through the stone and is met by a line coming from the north, which intersects it at the stone. From the stone, the line passes east on a new bearing until it crosses another line coming from the south west, intersecting at the entrance of the Oswestry hillfort. The line then follows a new bearing east and eventually passes through Whittington Castle.

(source The Megalithic Portal)

 

Cynynion (SK245305)

Oswestry Hillfort (SK295310)

Whittington Castle (SK327311)

 

Mitchells Fold

It is claimed by some enthusiasts that this stone circle is used by Extra-Terrestrial craft to refuel, by tapping in to its energy. They also use them as a point of navigation and Mitchells Fold is a location of high UFO activity as well as animal mutilation. Over the years there have been sightings of structured disc and triangle shaped craft as well as one farmer in 2012 reporting that he had encountered a strange structured craft hovering over barns near to where he kept his flock of sheep. The suggestion is that there a connection between ancient sites, ley lines and UFOs.

(source Shropshirelive Website)

 

Mitchells Fold (SO306984)

 

Montgomery Line

A line that runs for 5¾ miles SE-NW through Shropshire and Powys. It starts in Powys at a road junction at Lower Cwm, where the road heading south runs parallel to Offa's Dyke. The line, however, heads north-west through a pond and past several tumuli where it runs briefly through Shropshire. It then coincides with the course of the B4385 road for about half a mile and, at this point, the church and castle at Montgomery can be seen in alignment. St. Nicholas' Church is on raised ground in Montgomery and between the church and castle there is a curious set stone in Arthur Street which could well be a markstone. The stone castle on top of the hill must have been a prominent landmark. The line passes through the keep of the castle and goes on to the mound at Hen Domen, which was part of a Norman motte and bailey. The top of the mound is to one side of the line. The line finally passes across the earthwork remains of a Roman camp and there is a large stone in the same field, although not on the line. It is believed to be a glacial erratic but is known by the name “Hoar Stone”, an old term meaning ancient. The line also passes through two sacred wells in Montgomery and at Hen Domen, mentioned by Francis Jones in his “Holy Wells of Wales”.

 

http://www.leyhunters.co.uk/monty%5b1%5d.gif

 

(source Leyhunters Website)

 

Lower Cwm (SO258913)

St. Nicholas' Church, Montgomery (SO224965)

Arthur Street Stone, Montgomery (SO223967)

Montgomery Castle (SO222968)

Hen Domen (SO214980)

Roman Camp (SO208989)

 

Spout Wood, Ellesmere

Shaun Burkey investigated the site with his dowsing rods and found two ley lines crossing each other. It is believed that the site, not far from the lakes at Ellesmere, had a well or spring that is now filled in. In Shropshire there is a long-standing tradition of mystical wells and springs and some are associated with destroyed religious sites. The site is also bordered by the old track from Ellesmere to Penley, which appears to run alongside one of the ley lines. It is possible that the ancient oaks on this site were used as way-markers to help people navigate along the track as one of the lines goes straight through two of the oaks.

(source BBC Website)

 

Spout Wood (SK410376)

 

Sun Line

Ian Pegler has proposed a line that follows a number of pubs and hotels called “The Sun”. To the west of Llangollen there is a near-straight alignment of eight “Suns” stretching from Rhyl to Leintwardine, a distance of some 70 miles. The origin of the name comes from the Wars of the Roses when there was a famous battle at Mortimer’s Cross in 1461. Before the battle a strange meteorological event occurred known as a “parhelion” or “Sun-dog” and three Suns appeared in the sky. The Yorkist troops were unnerved by this and thought it to be an ill-omen but Edward Plantagenet (later Edward IV) rallied his men by convincing them it was a manifestation of the Holy Trinity. This did the trick and Edward won the battle. For this reason, Edward adopted the “Sun in Splendour” as his personal badge and some inns adopted the name of “The Sun” as a mark of allegiance and celebration.

 

In Shropshire, the line passes through the Mitchells Fold stone circle from the NNW side and continues towards Corndon Hill in the distance. It was discovered that two stones on opposite sides of the circle were at the precise angle of the Sun-line. Moreover, these two stones lined up with a third natural boulder on the sky-line of Corndon Hill at exactly this Sun-line angle (159 degrees from True North). If you stand at the centre of Mitchell’s Fold, the peak of Corndon Hill is 172 degrees azimuth from True North.

 

On Corndon Hill there is a huge cairn, although it is not visible from Mitchell’s Fold, and also a smaller one at the summit. This is at a bearing of 159 degrees from the centre of the circle. It seems likely that the primary alignment of this stone circle is the Mid Winter sunrise but the stone is now lying flat and is slightly out of position. It was also obvious that the Sun would never rise at the position of the boulder on Corndon Hill. The Sun does its annual U-turn before it reaches this azimuth (horizon position) and this was true even going back in time to when the circle was constructed. Recently work has suggested that the so-called “Witch-stone” (the tallest stone in the circle) is aligned to Samhain and it is believed that this, rather than Mid-Winter, was the primary astronomical alignment.

(source Ian Pegler)

 

Mitchells Fold (SO306984)

Corndon Hill (SO306969)

 

National Ley Lines

The Sacred Wicca website has a map showing British long distance ley lines, some of which pass through Shropshire. It is too small scale to identify any markers other than the few shown,

 

29 - Wrekin

41- Mitchells Fold

49 - Long Mynd

50 - Brown Clee Hill

 

It also shows a point where two lines cross at right angles and this appears to be Oswestry hillfort.

 

The ones passing through Shropshire are thus :-

Rollrights King Stone, Oxon – Wrekin – Oswestry Hillfort - Moel Fammau, Clwyd

 

Rudston Monolith, Yorks – Mam Tor, Derbys - Wrekin - Esgairnantau, Radnor -

Oxwich Point, Gower

 

Rollrights King Stone, Oxon – Brown Clee Hill – Long Mynd – Mitchells Fold - Snowdon – Anglesey

 

Wardstone Barrow,Dorset – Mitchells Fold - Moel Fammau, Clwyd

 

Rudston Monolith, Yorks - Kinder Waterfall, Derbys – Oswestry Hillfort - Foel Cwmcerwyn, Prescelly

 

(source Sacred Wicca)

 

Brown Clee Hill (SO594866)

Long Mynd (SO426945)

Mitchells Fold (SO306984)

Oswestry Hillfort (SK295310)

Wrekin (SJ629081)