Mythstories Mythstories

Lost In The Flood

Bomere Pool

Photograph by Gordon Dickins

Bomere Pool is one of those places that can be quite unsettling. It has an atmosphere which seems to cry out that it has many mysteries brooding in its depths. Local people will tell you that the pool is bottomless.

Nowadays the pool is a place of changing aspects. As mentioned in the story it is used by powerboats towing along water skiers and can be very noisy and tiresome. A few years ago a public house stood to the South of the Pool, which allowed drinkers to watch the water based antics for entertainment. Alas business does not seem to have been brisk enough and now the premises have been turned into flats.

The people living immediately around the pool seem to value their seclusion more than the public rights of way. The Pool can be quite an unwelcoming place to walkers and ramblers. So keep to the paths and always take a map to make sure you keep to the official routes.

Bomere Muse

Bomere Pool was almost certainly the model for Mary Webb's Sam Mere from her novel Precious Bane. Mary Webb lived close by on Lyth Hill and must have spent many hours staring into the Pool's depths when it was a much quieter place than today.

Created from the Ice

This area of Shropshire was covered with a sheet of ice in the last Ice Age about 18,000 years ago. When the ice began to retreat large blocks of ice were left isolated, often surrounded and covered by the sands, gravels and clays left behind by the main glacier. When the ice finally melted the sediments would collapse into large holes or depressions called 'Kettle Holes'. The holes had no means of drainage. They would either turn into steep sided lakes (called Meres in Shropshire) or, if the lake completely filled with clay and peat, become a bog or moss. Bomere Pool is a fine example of a kettle hole mere.

Past Inhabitants

Only 800m west of the Pool there is another kettle hole, but this one was not turned into a Mere but filled with gravel, peat and clay. This pit was quarried for gravel. One September evening in 1986, Eve Roberts was out walking her dogs when she saw large bones protruding from some clay. She had discovered the famous Shropshire woolly mammoths, not just the bones of one animal but a female and three young mammoths (two four year olds and a six year old).

Probably the animals had been roaming the area looking for food and had been attracted by the lush vegetation in the boggy kettle hole. Once in the hole the steep sides would have prevented their escape. Their bones would have been covered with late glacial silts and peats preserving them to this day.

Later Inhabitants

As the South East end of the Pool there is a mound which is probably the remains of an Iron Age settlement.

Silver Birches

Growing around the pool and pictured in the painting are many silver birches. (Betula pendula). At Whitsuntide it was a Shropshire custom to decorate churches with silver birch twigs, many were probably gathered from around Bomere Pool to bedeck local churches. The twigs would have been fixed to the back of the pews and their leaves would rustle in the slightest of breezes in the church. It is thought that this might have been to represent the 'rushing, mighty wind' when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles.

The Roman Soldier

The roman soldier in the story would almost certainly have been stationed at nearby Viroconium, a Roman city at Wroxeter. You can find out more about Viroconium on 'The Disappearing City' pages.

Caer Caradoc

Caer Caradoc is a large hill to the South by Church Stretton. It is topped by a 2.5-hectare hill fort. It must have been a very bleak, but very secure place to live. It is one possible location for the last stand of the Celtic leader, Caratacus, against the invading Romans. There is a cave known as Caratacus' Hole where Caratacus is supposed to have hidden from his foes after he lost the battle.

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