Riddles of the Night: The Temple of Hewn Stone

Continuing the story of a Silent Eye workshop in Derbyshire, in December 2017. Parts One, Two, Three, Four and Five can be found by clicking the highlighted links.

Just behind the Druid Inn and across the narrow lane from Thomas Eyre’s church of St Michael, is the strange landscape of Rowtor Rocks. We have visited the place on many occasions, but it needed only one visit to realise that there was more going on here than meets the eye. That the natural, rocky outcrop was a sacred place to our ancestors, five thousand years and more ago, is evidenced by the number of prehistoric rock carvings that have survived. That it was used as a hidden temple by our far more recent ancestors is mere speculation… until you start looking at the evidence.

The Rocks were substantially meddled with by Reverend Thomas Eyre in the 1700s. Odd flights of steps were put in, shelves and seats carved, fonts cut into rocks and a Broken Column erected at the highest point. There are natural caves amid the tumble of boulders and new ones were cut. We do not know if these were completely new, or whether they enlarged natural features.

What was the good vicar up to? You could simply accept the whole thing as a rather elaborate garden feature and think no more about it. There are tales that Eyre sat on the carved seats to write his sermons. There are also reports that he entertained guests on the rocks… but in what manner, no report survives. Tales of hauntings would certainly keep the idly curious away once darkness fell and the pale glow of candles from dark caverns would reinforce the fear.

One could make a case for his masons having created a three-dimensional ‘Stations of the Cross’…and certainly, there are sockets that could have held crosses, either side of the Broken Column on the summit. Had the Bishop questioned the works, that would have been a perfectly good explanation. You could even argue that he was Christianising an erstwhile pagan site. The Broken Column is often used as a grave marker to symbolise a life cut short. In Christian symbolism, it represents the Christ. It does have other meanings though, and particularly within the Masonic tradition.

While a number of Papal edicts have threatened excommunication to Catholics who become Freemasons, the Anglican Church has a more lenient history. Many churchmen have been Freemasons and many others have been members of satellite associations, not officially Masons, but Masonic in origin. Like the landscape of Rowtor itself, it is all rather ambivalent.

One of our early impressions was that it reminded us of the landscape created by Sir Francis Dashwood and the notorious Hellfire Club at around the same time. We were gratified to find that there was at least a tenuous a connection, via John Wilkes, a journalist, politician, member of the Oddfellows and one of the early members of the Hellfire Club. But perhaps it was no more than a folly… though anything to do with The Fool may also point to initiation and the result certainly appears to be an initiatory landscape. We resolved to put it to the test…

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
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10 Responses to Riddles of the Night: The Temple of Hewn Stone

  1. Still would love to go there someday…💚

    Liked by 3 people

  2. jenanita01 says:

    I cannot understand why anyone would want to alter what has been there for so long!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have been doing a lot of transformational thoughts in my mind this past week or so. The result is that I have let go of a lot of things I have held onto for as much time as I can remember. This has to do with beliefs about my: “rights,” the “rights” of others, and why I am here, now, in this lifetime that I have received.

    It was a truly strange experience, but one that was totally mind-freeing. As we came into the town, I noticed that no one at all seemed the least concerned about CV-19. It was as though the world had turned back time and I definitely felt the presence of the ancient peoples there. A young man stood outside the store with his two little girls, and when I pulled the car in where I had stopped to get a better map of the town, they waved to me as if they had known me for a long time, in terms of their young lives. Then they continued to stand there, all licking and thoroughly enjoying their ice cream cones. It was truly surreal.

    And when I was inside the store, I was in a dream place, where what was had never been. As I paid the clerk at the counter, she noticed my soft rubber bracelets on one wrist, bracelets I wear all the time to remind me of things. And she reached out and gave me another one of her own without a word. I put it on as if it was the most natural thing to do, and I thanked her ane left in my dream state.

    Everywhere we went, I continued to feel this strange but somehow “I’ve been here before” feeling. Some of it I described in a post I shared in response to one of your posts before. I thought as I read the post that I understood what Reverend Thomas Eyre might have been doing as he sought to communicate with the ancients or they sought to communicate with him. Perhaps whatever took place in that moment of time, he faced he set out his thoughts onto the surroundings as I have attempted to do on the computer and via notes I have made. But I am not fully sure of what I am trying to communicate as it is all an odd, but very comfortable feeling.

    Strangely, before we left on this journey, I watched some special public TV specials on times past in the world and what the ancients accomplished with so little and how today, we recognize them as miracles for those parts of the world. There was another program which we can only talk about, but even with the anthropologist experts’ research onto the death of the being many people of the world refer to as Jesus, there are at least two schools of belief in the world in terms of Christianity – one that believes this persona called God consists of three beings in one, and one that beliefs in a single creator separate from Jesus But in the end result, we have only what we choose to believe, and for all of us, those are beliefs that we may have created over time to try to understand the forces of the universe.

    Thank you kindly for this post as we all attempt to understand what we believe or what we think we know.

    Liked by 1 person

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