Alderley Edge

A forest in Cheshire containing a stone wishing well. On the stone is carved a face that local legend holds is Merlin’s. An inscription on the well, carved in modern times, reads “Drink of this and take thy fill, for the water falls by the wizard’s will.”

According to a folktale, a local farmer encountered Merlin at the well at the close of the seventeenth century. Merlin offered to buy the farmer’s horse, saying that one of Arthur’s knights needed it. The rock parted, revealing a gate which led into a cavern. Merlin told the farmer that Arthur and his knights were sleeping in the cave. The scared farmer sold the horse to Merlin and ran away. The rock closed behind him, and the cavern has remained hidden ever since.

The story was told by Parson Shrigley (died 1776) who maintained the events had occured about eighty years before his time. In a rhyming version by J. Roscoe the king is identified as Arthur. Alan Garner used the story in his novel The Weirdstone of Brisingamen (1960).