Legend of Alderley Edge
The legend of Alderley Edge is reported to have originated from an article published in the Manchester Mail in 1805 by a writer assuming the psuedonym 'The Perambulator'. Subsequently the Legend of Alderley Edge has often been repeated and varied in content. The story told below is our favourite version.
Once upon a Time
One day long ago a farmer from Mobberley decided to sell his horse, a white mare, at market in Macclesfield. Whien making his way to market he crossed Alderley Edge where he met an old man in a flowing robe who asked if he could buy the horse. The farmer refused to sell the horse believing he would sell the horse at Macclesfield market for a good sum of money. The old man, however, foretold that the farmer would fail to sell his horse at market and would then be grateful to sell it to him on his way home to Mobberley. The farmer duly continued on his way still convinced that he would succeed in selling the horse at market.
When the farmer offered his white horse for sale at Macclesfield market it was greatly admired but no one offered to buy it. The farmer, surprised and disappointed, then made his way back to Mobberley. Again, while crossing Alderley Edge, he met the old man in the flowing robe. Again the old man offered to buy the horse and this time the farmer was more interested. The old man instructed the farmer to follow him until they arrived at a large rock on The Edge. The old man struck the rock with his staff whereopon the rock split to reveal mighty gates at the entrance to a large cave.
By now it was clear to the farmer that he was not dealing with an ordinary old man. He was clearly some kind of Wizard with extraordinary powers. The farmer was now fearful and begged the Wizard not to harm him. The Wizard assured the farmer that he wouuld not be harmed. He unlocked the gates and instructed the farmer to enter the cave with him. Inside the cave there was a huge chamber in which an army of armoured knights were asleep under a spell. Nearby were a similar number of white horses also in an enchantted sleep. The Wizard explained to the farmer that one soldier was short of a horse which was why he wished to buy one. The farmer handed over his white horse to the Wizard who payed for it from treasure stored in the cave,
The farmer, now in awe of the Wizard, asked what was the meaning of what he had seen that day. The Wizard explained that the sleeping army would one day rise to fight a mighty battle on the plain below the Edge. This battle would save England.
The farmer later told his family and friends what had happened and took them to find the rock with the gates. Nothing could be seen and nothing has ever been found.
Who was the Wizard in The Legend of Alderley Edge?
We like to believe the Wizard was Merlin and that inside the cave is King Arthur and his knights waiting to enter battle to save England. When Merlin next appears he will be welcome to stay at Wizard's Thatch.
Reputedly near to the spot is the Wizards Well on which are inscribed these words ’Drink of this and take thy fill - for this water falls by the wizard’s will.’ It never runs dry!