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December 2017: A West Country Christmas – Dorset in December

Thomas Hardy’s celebration of Christmas in Dorset in his early novel Under the Greenwood Tree is perhaps second only to A Christmas Carol (a version ...More
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Knights beyond the Iron Gates, Cheshire

One day a farmer from Mobberley was taking a pure white horse to sell in Macclesfield , passing via Alderley Edge . Suddenly a strange old man, clothed all in grey and with a long white beard confronted him and asked to buy the horse. Perhaps worried that he was about to be robbed - the spot was known as Thieves Hole - and thinking he could strike a better bargain at the market, the farmer refused to sell, whereupon the old man said he would be waiting for the farmer on his return, and the farmer would not be able to sell the horse at the market.

Sure enough the animal failed to find a buyer in Macclesfield, and as the farmer led his beast past the same spooky spot as earlier in the day the grey figure appeared. This time the farmer agreed to sell, and the grey figure led him to a place in the rocks there where he tapped with his staff. Suddenly the rocks parted to reveal huge iron gates. Wizard (for such was the old man it seems) and farmer went through the gates and into a vast cave full of sleeping knights, all bar one with a pure white horse. One day this army would save England, claimed the grey wizard.

When money and horse had been exchanged the Mobberley man fled through the gates, which closed behind him, as did the rocks that concealed them once again.
Many have searched for the spot, but now the army has all its horses it would seem the next time the gates open will be when the country is in the gravest peril.

Are these knights Arthur and his men, the wizard Merlin? We shall have to wait and see.

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Brit Quote:
Not content to have the audience in the palm of his hand, he goes one further and clinches his fist. - Kenneth Tynan
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On this day:
Henry VI Crowned as Henri II in Paris - 1431, Oliver Cromwell becomes 'lord protector' - 1653, The 'Bill of Rights' established - 1689, Boston tea party - 1773, Battle of the Bulge Begins - 1944
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