Mitchell's Fold Stone Circle
Stone circles attract more fascination than any other ancient monument. Shropshire’s best example is at Mitchell’s Fold, near Chirbury.
It sits high in the Shropshire hills, on the long ridge of Stapeley Hill, 1000 feet above sea level and close to the Welsh border. Its exposed position gives fine views of the Stiperstones to the east and the Welsh hills to the west.
In approximately 2000-1400BC local Bronze Age communities erected Mitchell’s Fold to be 27 metres in diameter and consisting of thirty stones. Today only fourteen survive, most standing under a metre tall, the tallest nearly two metres.
Alongside the Circle and running through it, are thin ridges. Their relationship to the circle, (if any) remains unknown.
There is even a story that one of the stones is a petrified evil witch who was punished for milking a magic cow through a sieve. The good people of Shropshire then set a circle of other stone's around her to prevent her from escaping.
This legend has even been carved into a sandstone pillar in Middleton Church, near Stapeley Hill.
Local folklore also suggests that King Arthur drew Excalibur from one of the stones here to become king of the Britain’s.
Like most stone circles, Mitchell's Fold was probably used for some Bronze Age ritual or ceremonial purpose.
Hoarstone Stone Circle
Nearby, the remains of the Hoarstone Stone circle can still be found. This circle sometimes called the Marsh Pool or Blackmarsh Circle is only two and a half kilometres north east of Mitchell’s Fold.
Its name ‘Hoarstone’ may have derived from its position at the junction of three parish boundaries, ‘Hoarstone’ meaning ‘boundary stone’.
The Hoarstone circle is made up of thirty-seven undressed sarson (stones). Most are less than knee height and there is a single stone in the centre.
There used to be a third circle called ‘Whetstones’ which was lost in the nineteenth century.