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The Giants of Stokesay Castle

This legend belongs to the area around Stokesay Castle in Shropshire, and was first recorded in Shropshire Folklore, A Sheaf of Gleanings by Burne and Jackson London 1883. What follows is a short adaptation of the original folklore.

Many many years ago, when the world was a more enchanted place, and the thresholds between fact and fantasy were much thinner, two giants owned much of the countryside around Stokesay in Shropshire. One giant lived on View Edge and the other at Norton Camp. Although no one knows for sure, it is said that they were brothers, for they shared the rich land between them, and also a vast amount of money they had collected. This money was kept in a huge strong oak chest, deep within the dark vaults of Stokesay Castle.

Whenever the giants were in need of money, all they had to do was go down to the vaults and open the chest. There was one complication however, there was only one key to the chest, so whenever one of them wanted some money, he would have to shout to the other, and his brother would throw the key across to him.

This rituel of hurling the key between the hills went on for many years until one of the giants became careless and threw it too short, the key landing with a splash in Stokesay Castle moat.

They searched as hard as they could to find it, wading through the water, feeling around the sticky mud at the bottom of the moat with their huge hands, but the key had disapeared in the depths, where it still lies to this day. The treasure chest waits in the vaults of Stokesay Castle, guarded by a giant raven who will not let anybody break it open. The only way to get to the treasure is to find the key, although many people have heard the story and have searched for the key in vain. Most of those that have an opinion say that the key will never be found, and those who search will be wasting their time.

As for the two giants, some storytellers say that they died alone of great sadness, broken hearted that they could not reach their treasure. Perhaps they still wander the land as tall phantoms, searching for the key to the vast wealth that lies in the secret vaults of the castle.

Image Copyright: 
Alison Topham
Daniel Parkinson
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