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The Wrekin


This impressive hill sits in the middle of a rolling landscape and at 1,334 feet is an impressive landmark for miles around. The hill is crowned with the remains of an Iron age Hill fort and it is said that a beacon fire was lit on its summit during the Spanish Armada.

There is no doubt that the hill was spiritually significant to ancient man due to the number of folk tales and legends that are attached to it, and to the surrounding area. According to legend the Wrekin was constructed as an abode by two giants. The giants used earth from the nearby river Severn for the construction and there are several signs that the giants left behind. The giants did not to live in peace for long, due to their quarrelsome nature the giants were always arguing. One day during the heat of a particularly fierce argument one of the giants lunged at the other with his spade. He moved just in time but the spade cut through rock and created the cleft that is now known as the needle. In retaliation for this attempt on his life the other giant released his pet Raven who pecked out his adversaries eyes. His tears filled the Ravens Bowl (which is always said to contain water and may have been a place of worship in the past) and he was imprisoned underneath the Ercall, a nearby hill. It has been said that on dark wild nights when the wind blows around the hills his groans can be heard from underneath the earth.

There is another giant story the theme of which is found throughout the British Isles. According to the story there lived a giant who had a great loathing for Shrewsbury and all of its inhabitants.

One day he set carrying a huge burden of earth intent on burying the town forever. On his way to the town the giant met a cobbler on the road. He asked the cobbler how far Shrewsbury was. The cobbler realising the giants intention explained that the large sack of boots on his back where the shoes that he had worn out travelling from the town. The giant was disheartened at the thought of walking this vast distance and he dropped the sack of earth where he stood creating the Wrekin. The earth that he scraped from his shoes formed Ercall Hill. In yet another version of the tale the giant is from from Wales and has a grievance with the Major of Shrewsbury and his people, he made to dam the Severn to channel the waters to Shrewsbury. He set off to find it carrying a spade full of earth. He came close to Wellington with his spade full of earth and met a cobbler who lived at Wellington and was on his way to Shrewsbury, from here it is the same tale as earlier versions (The devil is supplanted for the giant in some tales). For more, consider the article The Origin of The Wrekin.

At one time the hill was the scene for many local festivities during the month of May. One can surmise that these festivities where the remnants of earlier celebrations by our Pagan ancestors.


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