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Mitchell's Fold

Fourteen stones remain of this circle which probably numbered about thirty when it was built around 2000-1400BC. It sits on the ridge of Stapeley Hill, in view of the Stiperstones and the Welsh border. The circle is 27 metres in diameter and is 330 metres above sea level. The remaining stones are fairly small, the tallest being about two metres.

On a sandstone pillar at Middleton-in-Chirbury Church, Rev Brewster carved an acount of the Mitchell's Fold legend in 1879. There are a few versions of the legend but they all follow the same story line. During a time when food was hard to come by, a magical beautiful white cow appeared at Mitchell's Fold. This cow could be milked by anyone who came to her and would fill them a single bucket. The cow had a seemingly endless supply of milk and the local community were saved. Then a witch came along and milked the cow into a sieve, the cow ran dry and then vanished forever.

One version has the cow kicking the witch, then running away when it realised it had been fooled, and the witch was turned into one of the stones. Another version has the cow becoming the rampaging Dun Cow of Dunchurch, which is then killed by Guy of Warwick. It is also associated with the tale of Medgelly's cow, where a giant kept a magic white cow at Medgel's Fold which gave an unending supply of milk to the good folk of the neighbourhood. But it was milked with a sieve by an evil person and the cow disappeared.

A similar story is found attached to the Callanish Stone Circle on the Isle of Lewis. It was a time of famine and a magic white cow came out of the sea and allowed each local to take a single bucket of milk per night when they milked her at Callanish. Then a witch came along and tried to milk her with a sieve. She milked the cow dry and it vanished.

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Alison Topham
Ian Topham

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Ian Topham
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Re: Mitchell's Fold

In Paul Devereux's book 'Places Of Power' the 1.85m pillar on the eastern side of the circle has a strong effect on a compass needle.  He also mentioned that on 17 August 1987 a group of people witnesses a ball of light at an estimated distance of 50m from the circle and later saw light balls emerging from the ground around the stones. 

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Re: Mitchell's Fold

I used to go out to Mitchell's fold quite regularly and then for a pint or two at the Miner's Arms Priestweston nearby. The panaramic view is stunning. There used to be a display about local fairy lore and a druid's well at the pub but it has gone now. I've never seen anything like balls of light there, but over twenty years ago I witnessed just this same phenomenon at Arbor Low henge in Derbyshire with a friend. The display went on all nighn and as it was mid-summer's eve the day dawned early and we could still see them. I saw something similar at Glastonbury Tor which may have been ball lightning, though I could not explain it. There were 200 or so people present too.



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