We needed a photograph or two… and for once, we had very specific needs, in a particular place… we just needed to find where the stone would have originally been located…And if that all sounds a tad mysterious, so be it. All will doubtless be revealed in due course. Some of it, indeed, already has been in Scions of Albion… but that is ‘Don’ and ‘Wen’s’ story. We, of course, have nothing to do with that at all… But I digress…
We had decided to drive over to Beeley in search of the shot we needed. By this time the sun was bright, the day warm and the skies clearing to blue. We parked by the church and almost immediately found what we were looking for. Perfect. Then being a quiet sort of Sunday, with no-one around, we went to greet the yew tree that stands guard over the entrance to the church.
With a girth of over 22 feet, this yew has a definite presence. The trunk is hollow in places, supported by heavy chains and ivy climbs across its bark like the veins of aged hands. The actual age of the tree is not known, but it is classified as a ‘veteran’, which puts it between 500 and 1200 years old. It is entirely possible it guarded the first wooden church built here long ago… even more possible that it saw the foundations laid for the new stone-built church of the Norman lords that replaced it around 1150AD.
We sat for a while on a bench in its shade, watching the small birds in the churchyard and the pair of buzzards gliding over the hills that shelter Chatsworth House. The sun glinted through the needles of the old tree. From here we could see all the gates. I remember reading of a tradition, or superstition here, where a bride and groom must not approach the church on their wedding day through the west gate and must pay in coins to leave through the little east gate, not the wide one used for funerals. It is a custom that may date back to 1785 when a bride died on her way to her wedding. It may, however, date back much further… we know that the road that runs through the grounds of Chatsworth house is a corpse road and many traditions require payment for the passage of the dead…
This links the little churchyard with our very own ‘Devil’s Drop’, the huge outcrop of rock in Cressbrook Dale where it is said a gibbet held the corpse of a murderer for many years until the locals complained of the rattling of his bones. The man was the same whose body had been carried along the corpse road through Chatsworth and, according to the legend, had made the private road a public right of way.
…And of course, this was odd, as it was at ‘Devil’s Drop’ that the Doomsday series had begun with The Ætheling Thing… and we had, that weekend, published the third of this, our second series of books together. It seemed quite appropriate to be sitting beneath that yew tree in the sun. Just another of those seemingly small coincidences that had set us off in the first place…
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Don and Wen, following the breadcrumb trail of arcane lore and ancient knowledge, scattered across the landscape of time, turn their attention to the myths and legends of Old Albion. They delve into the tales of King Arthur, asking some very strange questions about biblical family trees and exploring the many stories that abound in the very landscape of Avalon. Meanwhile, in Derbyshire, the voices of the past still whisper from the stones, opening a passage through time, place and memory to another world…
Doomsday: The Ætheling Thing
How is it possible to hide such a story… the hidden history of Christianity in Britain? Oh, there are legends of course… old tales… Yet what if there was truth in them? What was it that gave these blessed isles such a special place in the minds of our forefathers? There are some things you are not taught in Sunday School. From the stone circles of the north to the Isle of Avalon, Don and Wen follow the breadcrumbs of history and forgotten lore to uncover a secret veiled in plain sight.
Doomsday: Dark Sage
…. something was spawned up on the moor… something black that flew on dark wings. It heeds not time or place… but it seems to have developed a penchant for the travels of Don and Wen….
“Are those two still at it?”
Doomsday: Scions of Albion
Things are getting serious…
Exactly what is Wen doing with that crowbar and why is she wearing a balaclava?
All will be revealed…or will it?
as Don and Wen explore the ancient land.