What is it?
A map of Cheshire, showing some of her many folktales in micro-builds across the landscape. The traditional outline of the county is clear, with the "teapot" shape shown from the "handle" in the north-east to the "spout" at the Wirral to the west. Wirral (or "the" Wirral) Peninsular is bracketed by the River Dee to the south and River Mersey to the north. The Irish Sea is to the west (but shown as pushed back from the Wirral in this build for reasons which shall be made clear later in this text). Wales is to the south and west, the gateway to England guarded by the ancient & walled city of Chester, at the foot of the Wirral. The Pennines are to the east.
The individual items are as follows:
1. The Headless Horseman of Stockham Lane, Runcorn - The ghost of a Civil War cavalier.
2. The Cheshire Cat - Made famous by Lewis Carroll of Daresbury, near Runcorn, but based upon earlier stories.
3. The Old Man of Helsby (Helsby Hill, rolling into Woodhouse Hill & Frodsham Hill) - The profile of a man's face seen in the huge sandstone outcrop and said to be able to predict the weather... but only when his head is in the clouds!
4. The City of Chester - Reputedly the most haunted city in the UK, she is also alleged to be the true Camelot of King Arthur (many of whose adventures are set in Cheshire and neighbouring Lancashire), who may have used the Roman amphitheatre here as his Round Table, around which sat his knights.
5. The Dragon of Morton - Said to be the last such monster in England, it was slain by Sir Thomas Venables. The Venables family is an old & noble Cheshire family and one that I like to think my clan are connected with, my Grandma's brother-in-law being a George Venables from the same part of the world!
6. Thor's Stone, near Thurstaton - A large, weathered, sandstone rock believed to be Thor's Hammer dropped from the sky to be amongst his people in what was Viking country in the Wirral.
7. King Canute's (or Knut's) Chair - An oft-told tale tells of the king turning back the tide. The most popular version has the location at Meols, on the tip of the Wirral, from whence he stopped the Irish Sea (which is, therefore, shown as being rolled back from the shore, revealing the seabed).
8. The Mermaid of Rostherne Mere - This creature is meant to live in the huge lake and can be heard, from time-to-time, ringing a sunken bell.
9. Robin Hood's Picking Rods - Two stone pillars, known variously by several names besides this, and marking the border with Derbyshire. They are said to be either an ancient Druidic site and memorial to the last stand of local warriors against the Roman Empire, a marker of the boundary of the Royal Forest of Macclesfield, a tool for shaping longbows (either for Robin Hood, who was said to be a regular visitor to this part of Cheshire known as Longdendale, or for the local soldiery), or a route-marking stone, amongst other theories.
10. The Caves of Alderley Edge - Where the Knights of the Round Table sleep, ready to come to England's aid when needed.
11. The Floating Island of Redesmere Lake - Seen, over centuries, to wander across the water in high winds, she now appears rooted by her many trees having taken a hold of the lake bed.
12. The Black Wolf of Barthomley - Described as being as big as a cow, this was the last wolf slain in England.
12A. Will Scarlet - The famous nephew of Robin Hood and member of his Band of Merry Men was supposed to hail from "Maxfield". That being the dialectal pronunciation of Macclesfield in Cheshire, and that county being long renowned as home to the best archers in England, I like to think that Will Scarlet was a Cheshireman. He is shown aiming his bow towards Nottingham and Sherwood Forest.
14. Sir Gawain & the Green Knight - Perhaps the most famous of our tales recounts the adventures of King Arthur's knight, the purest of heart amongst his peers, as he proved his valour across the county.
Why did I build it?
Cheshire is my home county and I was brought-up on myths, legends, and fairy tales. This is unsurprising as Cheshire may well have the largest collection of folk stories of any county of England. I am proud of our history, customs, and traditional lore, and wished to share a sample of it.
Will it make a good LEGO set?
I believe that it will as it is a simple enough build and a concept that could be applied to any town, dale, county, state, or country. It would make a nice display and could be framed in a LEGO border to add to its look (I did not do so in this instance, as I thought it would make it even more tricky to photograph). Similar builds could be made to show local landmarks or tourist attractions and I think this could be a nice new line for LEGO.