Mythstories Mythstories

The Treasure Of Stokesay

Stokesay Castle

Stokesay Castle isn't actually a castle but a fortified manor house. It was built between 1291 and 1305 by a rich wool trader called Lawrence of Ludlow. He bought the site from a Norman family named de Say who had erected the first house around an old Saxon hall. In Anglo-Saxon stoke means farm, so Stokesay means the de Say family farm.

Stokesay Castle has a dry moat, but that has not always been so. A print of the castle dating back to 1731 shows a moat full of water. It would have been channelled from the pond and stream nearby.

The "Castle" is one of the best preserved houses of its type in Britain and well worth a visit. It is managed by English Heritage who have produced a very interesting audio tape tour which you should take care not to miss.

Don't get the idea this story is true, there is no evidence of any treasure. And if you tried digging in and around the Castle you'd get into a lot of trouble.

photo by Gordon Dickins

Norton Camp

Norbury Hill, the site of the second giant's home, is topped by an Iron Age Hillfort called Norton Camp. This is by no means as spectacular as other hillforts found in Shropshire but the walk up the steep thickly wooded hill is very pleasant.

The Newts

In the painting you can see a female great crested newt (left) and a male palmate newt (right). These are two of the native British species of newt, the third being the common or smooth newt.

Newts spend summer and autumn living on land, winter hibernating and only in spring can they be found in ponds. They go to ponds to pair-up and mate and lay their eggs on pond plants. The young are born in the pond as tadpoles with feathery gills, some change into newts by the middle of August but many over-winter as tadpoles in the pond.


Marestail is a waterweed often seen in ponds and shallow water in Britain. Its tiny pink flowers have no petals and grow at the base of the leaves by the stem. Artistic licence allowed me to put the flowers on the tips of the plants, so my marestails are unique!

The Key

The key is based on a Viking key found at the remains of the Viking capital of Britain, Jorvik, in modern day York.

The Vikings invaded Britain on June 8 793AD and later set up their capital at Jorvik where they were ruled by Eric Bloodaxe. Viking rule (or Danelaw) only lasted for about 90 years before the Saxons recaptured the city.

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