|There is a local story of a hermit using Gawton’s Stone as a hermitage after he was cured from the plague by Gawton’s Well.
The story of the Hermit:
Gawton / Gorton was one of the servants of Knypersley Hall when he became ill with the plague. Due to everyone thinking they too would fall ill he was forced to leave. He left and went to live in a cave (Gawton’s Stone) near Knypersley pool.
Nearby was a spring which is known as Gawton’s Well which is where he bathed every day. He also used the spring for his drinking water. The spring was believed to have the power to heal skin diseases by the locals and apparently cured Gawton of the plague.
Even though he was now healed he continued to stay at the cave and lived there till his death.
(The Biddulph Parish Register shows that a Robert Gorton died in 1611. He was buried on the 06th December).
Local legends say that if you crawl underneath the stone that the ‘Devil will be knocked of your back’, in a similar fashion to the nearby Bawd Stone, less than 10 miles away to the east.
Many local people do believe the stone has strange magical powers and gives off healing properties and a kind of magnetic field when touched.
J. D. Sainter in his "Scientific Rambles round Macclesfield" 1878 states:
'About one mile south of Wickenstone, and near the reservoir, Knypersley Park, there may be noticed a fine spring of water flowing into two elongated stone cisterns, along with a smaller one that is circular ; and some years ago this spring was much resorted to by the sick and lame, on account of its reputed medicinal properties. A little up the valley to the right, there comes into view that huge,
singularly shaped and poised block of sandstone, named the " gawton," gorton, or gawstone ; from the German "gau," a spring in a hollow or furrow, and " stan," a stone,
i.e. the spring near to or not far from this celebrated stone. It will weigh about 60 tons, and forms the capstone of a large sepulchral cell or dolmen that has undergone rough and degrading usage. This form of burial is of an early Scandinavian type that had been adopted in this country.'
Information taken from the Biddulph museum website.
Posted by Ravenfeather
8th October 2013ce