- Alderley Edge
infobox UK place
official_name= Alderley Edge
population = 4,408, [http://www.macclesfield.gov.uk/standardpage.asp?pageid=10283 Borough of Macclesfield electoral ward census details] ] 4,409 [http://neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/LeadTableView.do?a=3&b=792621&c=Alderley+Edge&d=16&e=15&g=428732&i=1001x1003x1004&m=0&enc=1&dsFamilyId=779 2001 Parish census details] ]
civil_parish= Alderley Edge
region= North West England
country = England
Alderley Edge is a village and
civil parishin Cheshire, England. According to the 2001 census the parish had a population of 4,409, whilst the district ward "Alderley Edge" had a population of 4,408. It was an urban districtfrom 1894 to 1974, when it became a civil parish in the Borough of Macclesfield.
Alderley Edge lies some 8 kilometres (5 mi) to the northwest of
Macclesfieldand 20 kilometres (12.4 mi) south of Manchester. It is situated at the base of a dramatically steep and thickly wooded sandstone ridge - the Edge, which is the area's chief topographical feature - overlooking the Cheshire Plain.
This part of north-western Cheshire provides proof of occupation since the
Mesolithicperiod with flint implements being found along the line of the sandstone outcrop. Evidence for copper mining in the Bronze Agehas also been discovered to the south of the area, and in 1995 members of the Derbyshire Caving Clubdiscovered a hoard of 564 Roman coins (now in the Manchester Museum) dating from AD 317 to AD 336. There are to date thirteen recorded sites on the County Sites and Monuments Record(CSMR) in the settled area of Alderley Edge and 28 in Nether Alderley, with a further 44 along the Edge itself.
Early medieval settlements are recorded at Nether Alderley (to the south of Alderley Edge). The first written evidence of Alderley Edge, then it was known as 'Chorlegh' (later spelt as 'Chorley') appeared in the 13th century, with the likely derivation coming from ceorl [ [http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/m/mec/med-idx?type=id&id=MED7461 University of Michigan Electronic Middle English Dictionary] Retrieval date: 17 October, 2007] and leah, [ [http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/m/mec/med-idx?type=id&id=MED24909 University of Michigan Electronic Middle English Dictionary] Retrieval date: 17 October, 2007.] meaning a peasants' clearing. Although it is not mentioned in the
Domesday Book, it is included in a charter of c.1280. The name 'Alderley' first appears in 1086 as 'Aldredelie'. Several versions of the origin are known, one says it originated from 'Aldred 'and 'leah' meaning 'Aldred's Clearing'. Another says it is most likely that the name Alderley came from Anglo-Saxon 'Alðrȳðelēah' meaning "the meadow or woodland clearing of a woman called 'Alðrȳð'.
In the 13th century and during the
Middle Ages, the area comprised estates that had many different owners, since the 15th century, most of them have belonged to the de Trafford family. The principal manors being based on the 14th century Chorley Old Hall, which lies to the south-west of Alderley Edge, and the Old Hall, at Nether Alderley, a 16th century building which was burnt down in 1779. The economies of both Chorley and Nether Alderley were dominated by agriculture with a market charter being granted at Nether Alderley in c.1253. The Nether Alderley corn mill dates back to 1391, although the present timber structure is only 16th century. The millpond was adapted to form the moat, which surrounded the Old Hall, the home of the Stanleyfamily ( Baron Stanley of Alderley). The corn mill continued to be worked until 1939 when Lord Stanleywas forced to sell it, along with the rest of his estate, to meet the cost of death duties. In the 1950s the National Trust bought the site and have since restored the building and opened it to the public.
Cheshire had its own system of taxes in the medieval period, the Mize, and in the records for 1405 Chorley was assessed at 20s 0d and Nether Alderley at 27s 0d.
Lead and copper mining on the Edge is documented in the late 17th and 18th centuries. After the destruction of the Old Hall in the late 18th century, the Stanley family relocated to Park House on the southern edge of
Alderley Park, and both house and park were subsequently much extended. Throughout the 19th century Nether Alderley remained under the control of the Stanley's and the lack of development pressure meant that the dispersed medieval settlement pattern was retained. In 1830 Chorley consisted of only a few cottages, the De Trafford Arms Inn, a toll bar, and a smithy, straggling along the Congletonto Manchester Road.
The coming of the railway in 1842 with the construction of the
Stockportto Crewesection of the main Manchester and Birmingham Railwaychanged all this. The Manchester and Birmingham Railway Company built the line through Chorley, offering free season tickets for 20 years to Manchester businessmen who built houses with a rateable value of more than £50 within a mile of the station. This 'season ticket' was in the form of a small silver oval which could be worn on a watch chain.
The railway also gave Alderley Edge its current name. As the railway network expanded and travel became easier, the railway company did not want its station called Chorley any more because of the possible confusion with
Chorleyin Lancashire. So, in 1880 they renamed it Alderley Edge station against much opposition, taking the old name for the village and the name of the sandstone escarpment already known as The Edge. The name Chorley is retained by the civil parishto the northwest of Alderley Edge.
Following the construction of the railway, the local landowner,
Sir Humphrey de Trafford, of Chorley Hall, laid out an extensive estate of new roads and new houses were incrementally added, filling-in most of the available sites by 1910. Of these, nine are now listed grade II. The area boundary largely reflects de Trafford's original estate boundaries. Also because of the railway, Alderley became a popular place to visit and the railway company popularised day trips and cheap excursions to the village.
This period also saw the appearance of buildings which are now landmarks. St Philip's Church with its 175ft spire was built in 1853 and the village school a year later whilst
Alderley Edge High School(now Alderley Edge School for Girls) opened in 1876. The Mission Hall (later known as The Institute) was built as a temperance hall for the recreation of the 'lower classes' by the wealthier residents in 1878. The Methodist Church in Chapel Road was built ten years after St Philip's.
The area is notable for its heavily wooded streets and substantial Victorian villas set in spacious, well-planted gardens. The first villa was constructed in the early 1840s and by 1850 thirty "handsome residences" had been erected, some of them in what is now the
Alderley Edge Conservation Area. The cotton barons from Manchester built their mansions here and now they are changing hands for several million pounds. The village itself winds up a high street bristling with chic restaurants, designer shops and speciality food shops. Around the village, winding lanes are covered in their original sandstone setts and front boundary walls are usually built from the same local sandstone. The buildings are very varied in style with examples of Tudor, Italian, neo-Georgianand Arts and Crafts Movementdesigns. The wide range of materials used reflects this somewhat eclectic mix of styles, and include stone, brick (several colours) smooth render or roughcast for the walls, and Welsh slate or clay tiles for the roofs.
The growth of Alderley Edge is recorded in the census returns; with the population rising from 561 in 1841 to 2856 in 1902 (the return for Nether Alderley shows a drop from 679 to 522 within the same period). There was no church in Chorley until 1852, when the larger expansion of the town in the demanded enlarged accommodation, but St Mary's Church in Nether Alderley retains some 14th century work including a font.
The First Edition Ordnance Survey map of 1871 therefore shows "Chorley" (as it still was) with the new Queen's Hotel next to the station, new shops and terraced houses along London Road, and a
Post Officeat the town centre, where Macclesfield Road meets Alderley Road. To the north are wooded areas with detached villas, but to the east is a much larger area, roughly approximating with the modern conservation area, where curving roads divide generous wooded plots, usually with its own house, although some plots remained undeveloped until much later. Of interest is the use of the names "Brickfield" and "Brick kiln" on a site to the north-east of Alderley Edge, suggesting a source for the local bricks.
The 1899 map shows a similar footprint but it is much easier to make out the individual villas and their names –
Holybank, Ashfield, The Larchesetc. Also very evident on this map are the remains of the old mines towards and within Windmill Wood, immediately to the southeast. In the 20th century, Alderley Edge continued to expand with much Post-War housing around the northeastern and western edges. Nether Alderley has remained relatively unchanged, apart from the sale of Alderley Park to Astra Zeneca(previously ICI, Imperial Chemical Industries), which now has a large research establishment based on Alderley Hall.
Alderley Edge has formed part of the Tatton Constituency, since 1983 and the formation of the constituency. The current
Member of Parliamentfor the constituency is George Osborneof the Conservative party; at the 2005 General Election, in Tatton the Conservatives won a majority of 11,731 and 51.8% of the vote. Labour won 23.5% of the vote, Liberal Democrats21.8%, the United Kingdom Independence Party2.4% and the independent candidate 0.6%. [cite web | title=Tatton parliamentary constituency |publisher=Guardian.co.uk |url=http://politics.guardian.co.uk/hoc/constituency/0,,-1360,00.html |accessdate=2007-07-03] This is one of only a small number of seats in the north-west held by the Conservative Party.
Alderley Edge has also been the seat of Conservative politician Neil Hamilton (1983-1997) and independent politician
The Alderley Edge electoral ward forms part of Macclesfield Borough in Cheshire. Prior to the local government reforms in 1974, Alderley Edge had been an urban district since 1894. The ward of Alderley Edge has two out of sixty seats on Macclesfield Borough Council, and as of the 2006 local election both seats were held by Conservatives.
The Councillors representing Alderley Edge on Macclesfield Council are:
* Frank Keegan (Conservative) [cite web |url=http://www.macclesfield.gov.uk/standardpage.asp?pageid=11445&CouncillorID=755 |title=Councillor Frank Keegan |author=Anon |publisher=Macclesfield Metropolitan Borough Council |accessdate=2007-07-03]
* John Parkinson (Conservative) [cite web |url=http://www.macclesfield.gov.uk/standardpage.asp?pageid=11445&CouncillorID=807 |title=Councillor John Parkinson |author=Anon |publisher=Macclesfield Metropolitan Borough Council |accessdate=2007-07-03]
The Edge Association
The Edge Association is a local residents' group which campaigns on matters relevant to Alderley Edge.
Alderley Edge is located to the west of
Bollington, east of Knutsfordand just south east of Wilmslow. Alderley Edge railway stationis situated in the centre of the village.
As of the 2001 UK census, the village of Alderley Edge had a total population of 4,808.cite web |url=http://neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/LeadKeyFigures.do?a=3&b=5949021&c=Alderley+Edge&d=14&e=16&g=428732&i=1001x1003x1004&o=1&m=0&enc=1 |author=Anon |title=2001 Census statistics for Alderley Edge |publisher=Neighbourhood Statistics |date=2001 |accessdate=2007-07-03] The population density was 6.4 persons per hectare and for every 100 females, there were 91.3 males.cite web |url=http://neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/LeadTableView.o?a=3&b=5949021&c=Alderley+Edge&d=14&e=16&g=428732&i=1001x1003x1004&o=1&m=0&enc=1&dsFamilyId=789 |author=Anon |title=Population density |publisher=Neighbourhood Statistics |date=2001 |accessdate=2007-07-03] cite web |url=http://neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/LeadTableView.do?a=3&b=5949021&c=Alderley+Edge&d=14&e=16&g=428732&i=1001x1003x1004&o=1&m=0&enc=1&dsFamilyId=171 |author=Anon |title=Household details for Alderley Edge |publisher=Neighbourhood Statistics |date=2001 |accessdate=2007-07-03] Of those aged 16–74 in Alderley Edge, 13.8% had no academic qualifications, lower than the 21.3% all of Macclesfield and 28.9% in England. Of the 2189 households in Alderley Edge, 52.3% were married couples living together, 34.5% were one-person households, 6.0% were co-habiting couples and 5.4% were lone parents.cite web |url=http://neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/LeadTableView.do?a=3&b=5949021&c=Alderley+Edge&d=14&e=16&g=428732&i=1001x1003x1004&o=1&m=0&enc=1&dsFamilyId=171 |author=Anon |title=Household type |publisher=Neighbourhood Statistics |date=2001 |accessdate=2007-07-03]
With 93.4% being born in United Kingdom there is a low proportion of foreign-born residents. There is also a low proportion of non-white people as 97.2% of residents were recorded as white. The largest minority group was recorded as Asian at 1.3% of the population.cite web |url=http://neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/LeadTableView.do?a=3&b=5949021&c=Alderley+Edge&d=14&e=16&g=428732&i=1001x1003x1004&o=1&m=0&enc=1&dsFamilyId=85 |author=Anon |title=Country of birth |publisher=Neighbourhood Statistics |date=2001 |accessdate=2007-07-03] The religious make up of Alderley Edge is 79.7%
Christian, 0.75% Muslim, 0.77% Hindu, 0.60% Jewishand 0.15% Buddhist. 12.15% were recorded as having no religion, 0.10% had an alternative religion and 5.81% did not state their religion.
As of the 2001 UK census, the Alderley Edge ward had a possible workforce of approximately 2157 people. The economic activity of residents in the Alderley Edge electoral ward was 36.9% in full-time employment, 10.2% in part-time employment, 29.3% self-employed, 1.7% unemployed, 1.4% students with jobs, 3.5% students without jobs, 19.3% retired, 7.5% looking after home or family, 2.8% permanently sick or disabled and 2.0% economically inactive for other reasons. Alderley Edge has a very high rate of self employment (29.3%) compared with rest of the Macclesfield borough (22.7%) and England (16.6%). Alderley Edge also has low rates of unemployment (1.7%) compared with the rest of the Macclesfield borough (2.0%) and England (3.3%). [cite web | title = Economic activity in Alderley Edge | publisher = Statistics.gov.uk | url =http://neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/LeadTableView.do?a=3&b=5949021&c=Alderley+Edge&d=14&e=16&g=428732&i=1001x1003x1004&o=1&m=0&enc=1&dsFamilyId=107 | accessdate = 2007-07-03 ] The
Office for National Statisticsestimated that during the period of April 2001 to March 2002 the average gross weekly income of households in Alderley Edge was £720 (£37,440 per year). [cite web | title = Model-Based Estimates of Income for Wards | publisher = Statistics.gov.uk | url =http://neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/LeadTableView.do?a=3&b=5949021&c=Alderley+Edge&d=14&e=4&g=428732&i=1001x1003x1004&o=1&m=0&enc=1&dsFamilyId=266 | accessdate = 2007-07-03 ]
Notable people from Alderley Edge include:
* The Beckham family, who lived in the village for many years, whilst
David Beckhamplayed for Manchester United. David and Victoria Beckhamhad their first child, Brooklyn Beckham, here and were popular members of the local community. The family only left the village when David was transferred to Real Madrid football club, in Spain.
* The novelist
Alan Garner, who spent much of his childhood there and used it as the principal scene of his fantasyclassics " The Weirdstone of Brisingamen" and " The Moon of Gomrath".
The area is the home of a number of affluent people, many of whom are multi-millionaires, such as football players, pop stars and business people, living on roads such as Beechfield Road, Whitebarn Road, Mottram Road and the roads just off Macclesfield Road. These include
Manchester Unitedplayers Rio Ferdinand, Cristiano Ronaldo,Citation|title=New kid on block is now on the Edge|date=29 September 2003|url=http://www.wilmslowexpress.co.uk/news/s/451/451415_new_kid_on_block_is_now_on_the_edge.html|publisher=www.wilmslowexpress.co.uk|accessdate=2007-10-22] Mikaël Silvestreand Michael Carrick, as well as Liverpool (now Portsmouth) star Peter Crouch, musicians Bernard Sumnerand Peter Hook. A number of " Coronation Street" actors, including Denise Welchand Richard Fleeshmanalso live in the village. Other famous members of the community include property entrepreneur Peter Jones (businessman)('Jones Homes' and 'The Emerson Group') and TV presenter and voice-over artist Stuart Hall.Citation|title=United star goes back to school and tells pupils 'sock it to 'em'|date=16 May 2006|url=http://www.wilmslowexpress.co.uk/news/s/527/527865_united_star_goes_back_to_school_and_tells_pupils_sock_it_to_em_.html|accessdate=2007-10-22] Citation|last=Clarke|first=Natalie|title=Welcome to the Cheshire Wives|date=8 October 2006|url=http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/text/print.html?in_article_id=409329&in_page_id=|accessdate=2007-10-22] Citation|title=Everyone's a winner!|date=24 May 2006|url=http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/s/513/513377_everyones_a_winner.html|accessdate=2007-10-22]
The Edge itself sits above the village of Alderley and is a popular destination for day trippers from Manchester and the nearby towns of
Wilmslowand Macclesfield; it is now owned by the National Trust and maintained as a public access wooded area. The whole woodland is riddled with old mine workings and relics of by-gone times. The Edge is an escarpment formed partly by the weathering of resistant sandstone which lies on top of a softer sandstone and partly by faulting of the rocks. The scarp or slope is repeated 8 times by faults of up to 200 metres which has thrown down blocks of sandstone west to Alderley and east to the village of Kirkleyditch(OS Reference SJ8778).
George Ormerodin his book "The History of Cheshire" described Alderley Edge as "an abrupt and elevated ridge, formerly the site of a Beacon, which bears the appearance of having been detached by some great convulsion of nature from the range of the Macclesfield hills, as Helsbyand Beeston seem to have been from those of Delamereand Peckforton. Near the summit, "cobalt ore, lead, and copper have been got in small quantities. The sides are varied with cultivated "land, wood, and rock; and the entire mass presents a striking object to all the surrounding district, over which it commands a most extensive prospect."
The Edge was described as a dreary common till the year 1779, when it was enclosed together with all the other waste lands of Alderley. Some hundreds of
Scotch firs were planted on the highest points by Sir James and Sir Edward Stanley( Baron Stanley of Alderley), between the years 1745 and 1755, before that time, it does not appear that a single tree grew on it. An edge was a name used as a descriptive term for high land in Cheshire and adjacent counties, such as in Wenlock Edgeand Blackstone Edge. Here it describes a ridge of land which separates a narrow and short valley from the higher ground of south east Cheshire and Derbyshire. It rises gradually from the town of Macclesfield, until, at a distance of 7 or 8 kilometres, it terminates abruptly, having reached a height of nearly 215 metres above sea level, and 110 above the Cheshire Plainbelow it. The form assumed by the Edge towards the north, in its steepest descent from the Beacon, is that of an inverted horse-shoe or hough (pronounced huff), as this type of ridge is called in Cheshire.
From the Edge, The Cheshire Plain, can be seen extending from the area of
Macclesfield Foreston the south east side with its with undulating land and woods, towards the extreme easterly point of the Derbyshirepeaks, and northerly to Manchesterand Blackstone Edgein Yorkshire, On its southern side, it extends from a richer and more varied foreground, south to the Wrekinin Shropshire, and west to the mountains of North Wales. To the south west, the Plain is interrupted by similar high ground at The Cloud near Bosleyand Mow Copas it reaches its extremities at Peckforton Hills, Beeston Castle, and the Delamere Forest. These views unite into one when you reach the highest point of the Edge, where before the trees were planted, now concealing part of the view, one could have seen the full 360° panorama of the country around to a great distance. Today the view from the Edge itself is limited to the northerly and easterly directions. The Edge also marks the line of a hamlet of scattered houses called " The Hough" which descend towards Alderley village.
The red sandstone escarpment over the village of Alderley Edge is in the custodianship of the National Trust. Alderley Edge has been designated a
Site of Special Scientific Interestfor its unique geology. [cite web |url=http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-findaplace/w-alderleyedge |author=Anon |title=Alderley Edge and the National Trust |publisher=The National Trust |accessdate=2007-07-06]
The escarpment has long been a site of
copper mining, going back to prehistoric and Roman times. The mines are accessible to the public twice a year, during events organised by the [http://www.derbyscc.org.uk Derbyshire Caving Club] . The property affords views across Cheshire and the Peak Districtand walking paths through the property, as well as one to nearby National Trust property Hare Hill.
Alderley Edge Mines
Copper and lead mining at Alderley Edge is known, from archaeological evidence, to have taken place in Bronze Age and Roman times and, from written records, to have continued from the 1690s to the 1920s.
hammer stones (Boyd Dawkins, 1876). At the same time, a wooden shovel was found and recorded in 1878. Roeder and Graves wrote two papers in the early 1900s (Roeder, 1902 and Roeder and Graves, 1905) about the findings in 1878 and added to the theory of Bronze Age working that there was a possibility of Roman mining. The picture was transformed when in 1993 the wooden shovel was rediscovered by Alan Garner and carbon-dated to around 1780 BC (Garner et al., 1994). Subsequently, the Alderley Edge Landscape Project was set up and excavation around Engine Vein revealed what are believed to be Bronze Age smelting hearths dating to around 2000 BC (Timberlake and Prag, 2005). Roman mining was considered unlikely until the finding in 1995 of a 4th century Roman coin hoard in an abandoned shaft at
Engine Vein. [cite book |author=Anon |date=December 1996 |title=The 'Pot Shaft' Hoard, Alderley Edge, Cheshire. Coins in Context: the controlled micro-excavation of a fourth-century Roman coin hoard. Final Report. |publisher=University of Manchester Archaeological Unit |isbn=] This dated the shaft to the 4th century or earlier and its regularity and depth suggested that the Romans may well have worked it. An archaeological excavation was undertaken by DCC members supervised by the Alderley Edge Landscape Project archaeologists and, at the bottom, timbers were revealed which were carbon-dated to the last century BC. Given that they were heartwood from cut timbers, the dating cannot be precise and the shaft is now believed to be Roman in origin. The passage from the shaft to the Vein was driven from the direction of the shaft and resembles other Roman workings in the United Kingdom, such as at Dolaucothi. Between the Roman working and 1690, there is scant evidence of mining except a reference to "mine holes" (reference in AELPHER archive which is currently inaccessible - May 2007) which cannot be relied on as evidence of mining in progress.
17th and 18th centuries
(Bentley Smith, 2005).
Early 19th century
Apart from Roe, the history of working up to 1857 is patchy. The best recorded period was between about 1805 and 1815 when a company of local men including a Derbyshire miner, James Ashton, tried to exploit the mines for lead. During the course of their work, they identified the presence of
cobaltwhich was in demand during the Napoleonic blockade of supplies (Bakewell, 1811). Evidence in the field points to the working of a series of mines on a north-south fault running from Saddlebole to Findlow Hill Wood. Some parts of Engine Vein and possibly West Mine appear to have been excavated at this time. The work ended when the price of cobalt fell. The leases for the period tell the story for Ashton who sacrificed his salary for his share in the company, but even lost this when the company called for more capital than he could provide — and yet he was the man down the mine doing the work (Anon, 1808).
Late 19th century
In 1857, a Cornish man, James Michell, started work at West Mine and moved on in the 1860s to Wood Mine and Engine Vein. His company lasted 21 years (the length of the lease) although Michell died in an accident in the mines in 1862. During this working period, nearly 200,000 tons of ore were removed yielding 3,500 tons of copper metal. The mines closed in 1877 and the Abandonment Plan of 1878 shows all the workings open at that date. This period saw the mining of West Mine and Wood Mine and the reworking of Engine Vein, Brinlow, Doc Mine and other smaller mines on the Edge (Warrington, 1981 and Carlon, 1979).
There were some small and unsuccessful attempts to re-open the mines in 1911 (Anon, 1911), during the First World War and shortly after but these ended in a sale of equipment in 1926 (Warrington, 1981). From the 1860s onwards, there have been many thousands of visitors to the mines, many - including the earliest - with good lighting and experienced leaders. However, many other visitors, especially between 1940 and 1960, were ill-equipped and unprepared. This led to a series of tragic accidents which gained the mines a notoriety which still haunts them today. The West and Wood Mines were finally blocked in the early 1960s (Jones, 1961). In 1969, the Derbyshire Caving Club obtained permission from the National Trust (the owners) to re-open Wood Mine and since then much has been found by excavation and exploration and thousands of people have visited the mines in supervised groups.
There are many historic buildings including
Chorley Old Hall, which is the oldest surviving manor house in Cheshire.
To the south of the village is the
Alderley Parkestate, former ancestral home of the Stanley(s).
There are several local legends, the most famous being that of the Iron Gates.
The Iron Gates
The location of the Iron Gates is unknown but they are supposed to lie between Stormy Point and the Holy Well. The restaurant on the Edge is called "The Wizard Inn".
Tradition says that a farmer from
Mobberleywas taking a milk white horse to sell at the market in Macclesfield. Whilst walking along the Edge, he reached a spot known locally as "Thieves Hole." Suddenly an old man clad in a grey and flowing garment stopped him. The old man offered the farmer a sum of money for his horse but the farmer refused, saying he could get a better price at the market. The old man told the farmer that he would be at this spot again that evening when the farmer returned, not having found a purchaser for the horse. The farmer failed to sell the horse and, cursing his luck, made the journey back home along the Edge. At the same point, the old man appeared again, offering the farmer the money, which this time was accepted. The old man told the farmer to follow him with the horse. As they approached an area just past Stormy Point, the old man banged on the ground with his stick and, to the farmer’s shock, the rock opened up to reveal a set of Iron Gates. The old man beckoned the farmer to follow him through the gates into a large cavern. In the cavern, the farmer saw countless men and white horses, all asleep. The old man explained that all these sleeping warriors were ready to awake and fight should England fall into danger. The farmer was shown back to the gates and stepped outside back onto the path. Immediately the gates slammed shut and the rock face returned to its previous state.
There are several versions of the same legend from different places. A letter published in the
Manchester Mailin 1805 signed by a gentleman known as "A Perambulator" supposes that this gentleman has knowledge of the location of the Iron Gates near Stormy Point, but no other person has claimed to have found them. [cite web |url=http://www.alderleyedge.manchester.museum/texts/jsa_manchester_mail2.pdf |author=Anon |title=Letter to the Manchester Mail |date=19-05-1805 |accessdate=2007-07-04] Further variations say that the Wizard was Merlinand the sleeping men were King Arthurand his army. Yet another version sees the old man saying to the farmer "There will come a day when these men awake from their enchanted slumber and will descend the plain, decide the fate of a great battle and save their country. This shall happen when George the son of George shall reign."
A tale told by [http://www.alderleyedge.man.ac.uk/texts/jsa_cheshire_enchanter.pdf Parson Shrigley] , former Clerk and Curate of Alderley (who was in the post from 1753 until his death in 1776 and is buried in Alderley Church), is similar to the Iron Gates legend. In this tale, the old man is named as Thomas of Erceldoune and the horses are black. Once in the cave, the old man asks the farmer to choose between a sword and a horn. The farmer chooses the horn, and immediately the horses all jump up and start to stamp their hooves on the ground. The terrified farmer is expelled from the cave by a whirlwind and hears the words "Woe is the coward that ever was born, that did not draw the sword but blew the horn". This tale is actually very similar, including the sword and horn words, to a tale told by
Sir Walter Scottwhere the action takes place not at Alderley but in the Eildon Hillsin Scotland.
An alternative reading of this and other local legends can be found in
Alan Garner's novels " The Weirdstone of Brisingamen" and " The Moon of Gomrath". Garner, born in Congleton, was raised in Alderley Edge.
goldbars have been found at Alderley Edge. The first was found at the side of Artists Lane. Because this bar was obviously old and consisted of gold, it was declared treasure trove. A treasure trove inquest was held in Congletonon 26 February 1993.
John Cherry from
British Museumalong with Adrian Tindall, the Principal Conservation Officer (Archaeology) for Cheshire County Councilmade reports on the bar, and determined the gold bar weighed 97.01 grams and was determined to be 73% gold,
Following this inquest the media interest increased and numerous people descended on the Edge hoping to find their own gold bars. The result of all the searching was that 5 more gold bars were found. These bars were also analysed by the British Museum. The weight and gold content of the bars has been given as:
Bars 1/2/3 found on 23 June 1993 - 101.2 grams bar determined to be 76% gold / 97 grams bar determined to be 76% gold / 100.06 grams bar determined to be 75% gold
Bar 4 found on 9 October 1997 - 81.9 grams bar determined to be 60% gold
Bar 5 was found in the 1960s but not declared to the authorities until 1997 - 100.7 grams bar determined to be 74% gold
In Popular Culture
*The village was the main setting of the
Channel 4show Goldplated
*The village was the main setting of the
MTVshow Living On The Edge (TV show)Citation|title=Teens' edgy debut|date=10 October 2007|url=http://www.wilmslowexpress.co.uk/news/s/1019209_teensedgy_debut|accessdate=2007-10-22]
*The Edge was the setting for
Alan Garner's novel The Weirdstone of Brisingamen
*Anon, 1696. "Concerning Rioting at Copper Mines in Over Alderley". Abstracts of Knutsford Quarter Session Records. pp. 195-197
*Anon, 1808. "Indenture between (1) Ashton, (2) Bury and Dodge and (3) Jarrold". AELP Archive
*Anon, 1911. "Alderley Edge Copper Mines - work commenced". Alderley and Wilmslow Advertiser, 17 February 1911
*Bakewell, R., 1811. "Account of a Cobalt Mine in Cheshire". Monthly Magazine No. 209 Vol. 31. pp. 7-9
*Bentley Smith, D., 2005. "A Georgian Gent & Co. - The Life and Times of Charles Roe". Ashbourne: Landmark Publishing ISBN 1-843-06175-9
*Boyd Dawkins, W., 1876. "On the Stone Mining Tools from Alderley Edge". Jour. Anthro. Inst. GB and Ireland. 5, pp. 3-5
*Broadhurst, F.M. et al, 1970. "The Area Around Manchester: Geologists Association Guide No 7"
*Carlon, Chris J., 1979. "The Alderley Edge Mines", Altrincham: John Sherratt and Son Ltd. ISBN 0-85427-053-1
*Cheshire County Council Records Office
*Garner, A., Prag, J., Housley, R., 1994. "The Alderley Edge Shovel, An Epic in three Acts". Current Archaeology. (137) pp. 172-175
*Jones, W.F., 1961. "The Copper Mines of Alderley Edge". Privately Published (copy in Manchester Central Library)
*Ormerod, G., 1882. "The History of Cheshire", Ludgate Hill, London: Routledge and Sons.
*Rail in Cheshire: Documents in the National Railway Museum York, UK
*Roeder C., 1902. "Prehistoric and Subsequent Mining at Alderley Edge etc.". Trans. Lancs. and Ches. Antiqn. Soc. Vol. 19, pp. 77-136
*Roeder, C. and Graves, F.S., 1905. "Recent Archaeological Discoveries at Alderley Edge". Trans. Lancs. and Ches. Antiqn. Soc. Vol. 23, pp. 17-29
*Stanley, Louisa D., 1843. "Alderley Edge and its Neighbourhood". Originally published by Swinnerton, reprinted by E J Morten, 2nd Ed., 1969. Manchester, UK: E.J. Morten
*Timberlake, S. & Prag, A.J.N.W., 2005. "The Archaeology of Alderley Edge", Oxford: John and Erica Hedges Ltd ISBN 1840580070
*Warrington, G., 1981. "The Copper Mines of Alderley Edge and Mottram St Andrew, Cheshire". Jour. Chester Arch. Soc. 64, pp. 47-73
* [http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-findaplace/w-alderleyedge/ Alderley Edge information at the National Trust]
* [http://www.amlwchdata.co.uk/pugvisits/AlderlyGoldbars.htm Alderley Edge Gold Bars]
* [http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=5548 Archaeological History of Alderley Edge]
* [http://www.derbyscc.org.uk/alderley Information about the Alderley Edge Mines]
* [http://www.pastscape.org/hob.aspx?hob_id=1308786 Location of Roman coin hoard discovered in 1995, on English Heritage PastScape site]
* [http://www.earlybritishkingdoms.com/archaeology/eildon.html Walter Scott and the Eildon Hills Legends]
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