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The Cloud

Sacred Hill


To come then forthwith to the subject in hand, the Natural History of the County of Stafford; the first thing I met with relating to the Heavens, and one of the first too that I heard of after I set to work in earnest, was a pretty rural observation, of late years made by some of the Inhabitants of the Town of Leek in the Moorelands, of the setting of the Sun in the Summer Solstice, near a Hill called the Cloud, about six miles distant, in the confines of Stafford-shire and Cheshire which appearing almost perpendicular on the Northern side, to such persons as are standing in Leek Church-yard, the Sun seems so nicely at that time of year to cut the Edg of it at setting, as in Tab. 1. Fig. 1. that notwithstanding what is taught by Astronomers, that the Sun whilst it occupies that Cardinal point, appears Stationary for some time without giving any sensible increase or decrease to the length of the days; they can plainly perceive by the help of this Hill, that no two days are equal, but that there is a sensible difference every day [...]

For when the Sun comes near the Solstice, the whole disk of it at first sets behind the Hill, after a while the Northern Limb first appears, and so every night gradually more, till at length the whole Diameter comes to set Northward of it, for about three nights; but the middle night of the three, very sensibly more remote, than the former or the following, when beginning its recess from the Tropic, it still continues more and more to be hidden every night, till at length it descends quite behind it again.
From Robert Plot's 'Natural History of Staffordshire' of 1686 (hence all the italics.) More details of this peculiar phenomenon in the link below.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
29th December 2009ce
Edited 29th December 2009ce

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