Photography by John Mason
Britain and Ireland abound with both legendary and spiritual sites of interest. Many of these are well known (Stonehenge and St Alban’s cathedral, for example). Others, like the Temple of Mithras in London or the Wayland’s Smithy in Oxfordshire are more obscure. In writing this book Richard Jones covered the whole of Britain and Ireland seeking out places of mystery and magic. The real challenge was to pare the list down to 100 to include in the book, and, at the same time, balance the input of pre-Christian and Christian sites. The final selection is an intriguing mix of well-known to lesser-known places. All those listed in the book are accessible to the public, and maps of each region guide the reader to the general location of the sites.
Each entry is described in details that include the well-researched historical background and the legends surrounding it. The reader ends up with a fascinating tale that motivates a move from armchair reading to actual visitation. A journey is easy to plan as the book is laid out according to the counties of England with Ireland and Scotland being separate chapters. In Cornwall you can visit a stone with a hole in it (Men-an-tor) whose purpose is still up for grabs. Journey to Somerset to find the Stanton Drew stone circle, well off the beaten track, standing as the author says, “sullen and solitary, their secrets safe…”
Dorset is home to a deserted church (Knowlton) set within a pagan earth circle, while Oxfordshire plays host to the Rollright stones with their curious legend involving a witch and a king. Did you know that right in the centre of Royston, Hertfordshire lies a mysterious cave with Christian and pagan symbols? Atmospheric Crowland Abbey is at home in Lincolnshire, while a visit to Derbyshire could include Thor’s cave as well as the plague village of Eyam. Whitby abbey and Fountains abbey are two well known ruins in Yorkshire whose locations themselves produce a certain spell on the visitor. There are, of course, many more than we can mention here, but all are special places, and author Richard Jones has fascinating tales and historical information to share with the reader about them all.
He is well qualified to write about his subject. He has investigated and written about ghosts and hauntings for more than 20 years. Since 1982 he has operated a series of tours of legendary and mystical Britain. He pioneered the London Ghost Walk, and in 1997 he wrote and presented the acclaimed Ironhill Pictures documentary drama ‘In Search of Jack the Ripper’. He is the author of a number of books covering all things haunted and spooky including Walking Haunted London and Haunted Britain and Ireland. He has appeared on many TV programs with Most Haunted Live being a popular one also shown in North America. He has also produced a DVD, Unmasking Jack the Ripper. Photographer John Mason’s duotone photography lends a special atmosphere of drama to the sites.
Mystical Britain and Ireland
ISBN: 1 84330 969 6
First published 2005
160 pages; 150 duotone and colour illustrations; 10 maps
New Holland Publishers
86-88 Edgware Road
London W2 2EA
Tel. 020 7724 7773
Fax. 020 7724 6184
Website: New Holland Publishers
Or order from any bookseller.
Jack the Ripper DVD available from Richard Jones’s website: Jack the Ripper Tour
Richard Jones other website: Haunted Britain
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