The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

The Wrekin



Three oblong mounds, one on each side of the broad road, that form a narrow gorge through which we must pass, are the portals of one of the ancient British fortifications raised when the Wrekin was the first mountain on the border-land between Britain and Wales, to which the native tribes could retreat before the Roman armies. The portals still bear the name of Hell Gates; and on either side of them are the remains of a rampart and moat, formed of a double agger or rampart of stones, after the manner of all British encampments.

Nearer to the summit of the hill, where the ascent is almost finished, we can trace an inner line of inclosure, discernable for thirty yards, with a second gorge of entrance similar to Hell Gates, which is still called Heaven Gates.

[...] Upon the south-east of the hill, just within the lower rampart, stands a ragged and storm-beaten rock, rising sheer from the smoothly sloping sides to a giddy and precipitous height. It is now called by a name that has no meaning - the Bladder Stone; but this is probably corrupted from the name Balder's Stone [...] to the Scandinavian god of light, Balder [...]

[in medieval times] the hill was called St. Gilbert's Mountain, and a recluse, renowned for sanctity which even won royal favour, dwelt upon this summit [...]
I think the thin air up there was getting to the author a bit. He also mentions the tale that the "cleft in Balder's Stone, now called the Needle's Eye, [they believed it] to have been rent at the crucifixion of their Lord". There could be other reasons for calling a rock the Bladder stone, but he's not entertaining them.

From 'A Summer Day on the Wrekin' in the magazine 'The Leisure Hour', September 17th 1864.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
31st August 2012ce

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