We parked in the main carpark to the east ( there is another one to the south eastish)and took a gentle stroll up the hill in warm spring sunshine, the top of the path comes out half way along the ridge.The path along the top is really rocky and there's been many a sprained ankle up here I bet.almost immediatly we come across two cairns which to me looked less like cairns than an effort to make the path less arduous. passing these on our way northish we come across a standing rock and large outcrop then we crest a hill and we can see the highest peak the manstone rock with its trig point, we resolved to climb it and stand above the rest but even this proved difficult not just the climb but we had to queue proving on a sunny weekend this is a popular place , from up here we can see the whole shebang up and down all the stiperstones, to the east the Long Mynnd with Caer Caradoc peeping over the top and to the west Corndon hill and just out of view Mitchels Fold but in view we could see the Hoar stones circle or at least it's field.
Moving on we come to the big cairn with a raised scooped out bit bearing the bedrock underneath ,and further still three outcrops close together it wasn't obvious which was the devils chair so we climbed them all, and settled on the highest part with the fallen stone making an arch, I climbed up but forbade the kids from coming up it was too scary (they wouldv'e though, fearless) knees a shaking I sat down the world didn't end so I climbed down and we slowly started to pick our way back along the path to the car.
[The legend] which clings to the 'Devil's Chair,' the highest rock on the Stiperstones, [has been] told me by the country people somewhat in this fashion:--
'Once upon a time the Devil was coming from Ireland with an apronful of stones. Where he was going to I cannot say; some say it was the Wrekin he was carrying in his leather apron, some say he was going to fill up Hell Gutter, on the side of the Stiperstones Hill. But any way he had to cross the Stiperstones, and it was a very hot day, and he was very tired, so he sat down to rest on the highest rock. And as he got up again to go on his way, his apron-string broke, and down went the stones, and very badly he cursed them too, so I've heard. There they lie to this day, scattered on the ground all round the Devil's Chair, and if you go up there in hot weather you may smell the brimstone still, as strong as possible!'
But 'old Netherley,' a lame old man who used to 'lug coal' with a cart and two donkeys about the Condover country twenty or thirty years ago, told a different story, as he had learnt it from the miners employed at the lead-mines in the hill-side.
According to him, of all the countries in the world the Devil hates England the most, because we are good Protestants and read the Bible. Now if ever the Stiperstones sink into the earth, England will be ruined. The devil knows this very well, so he goes whenever he can, and sits in his chair on the top of the hill, in hopes that his weight will flatten it down and thrust it back into the earth, but he hasn't managed it yet, and it is to be hoped he never will!
From 'Shropshire Folk-lore: a sheaf of gleanings' by Charlotte Sophia Burne (1883).
there is another Needle's Eye, a long narrow channel accidentally formed among the huge fragments of rock which lie heaped up round the Devil's Chair. Through this passage visitors must crawl, but I have been unable to learn particulars of person, occasion or consequences. [..] It is said that if any one ventures to sit in the Devil's Chair, a thunderstorm immediately arises.
I don't remember any sulphuryness, but if you climb up into the chair you'll see it's indeed shaped for a giant devil's bottom. I once told the story to a captive audience seated around the dip. I could spin the Wild Edric story out as well - you can almost imagine him and his fairy wife Godda might gallop past. But if the mist comes down you're best off out of there before the devil turns up. Listen out for the red grouse telling you to go back go back gobackgobackgoback. (It's excellent up there, thanks for reminding me TSC.)
It is, I understand, still believed in the neighbourhood that, every year on the longest night, all the ghosts (including, I suppose, spiritual beings of all kinds, and perhaps witches) of Shropshire "and the counties beyond," assemble round the highest of the Stiperstones to choose their king.
The Devils chair .
Of all the countries of the world the devil hates England the most ,and when the Stiperstones sinks England will perish. Whenever he's nearby he sits in his chair as heavily as he can in the hope that the hill will sink .
When the weather is stormy the Devil is said to be in his chair.
An Anglo saxon character called wild Edric, ( a long distance path over nearby hills is named after him) it is said of him that if he is seen galloping furiously over the hills it is a portent of war.
The Stiperstones is a very impressive ridge running NNE/SSW, along the ridge are a number of Quartzite outcrops, the Devils chair and cranberry rocks and the highest peak Manstone rocks is 1750 ft high.
Dotted along the ridge are a handful of cairns some easy to spot others not so easy the biggest is about 6ft tall