The mysteries of Rowtor Rocks

The mysteries of Rowtor Rocks

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Nestled on a hill above the sleepy Derbyshire village of Birchover is an unusual rock outcropping. The rocks contain a number of caves and numerous features which look as though they may have ritualistic origins!

Poke around, and you’ll spot what look like altars, thrones, and arcane symbols carved into the stones. Given the proximity to other Bronze Age sites such as the Nine Ladies Stone Circle, it’s easy to think that the formations at Rowtor Rocks date from the same period and were a site of significance, perhaps for Druid rituals.

The mysterious ruins at Rowtor Rocks. Credit: Tony Nicholls

But as it turns out, this is not the case. In fact, the stones were carved in the late 18th century by a local parson named Thomas Eyre. The rocks were passed off as a Druid stronghold by Eyre, possibly in an attempt to generate some tourist revenue, or maybe just reflecting his own interests.

To be fair to Eyre, he was a member of the Ancient Order of Druids (formed in 1781!) that used to meet locally at the Druid Inn. And so, in some sense, the druid connection is a real one.

Rowtor Rocks is definitely one to explore, particularly in Summer!

At the eastern edge of the eighty yard gritstone ridge was a large rocking stone, weighing an estimated 50 tons, which could be moved by hand until, it is said that on Whit Sunday 1799 a gang of 14 young people pushed the stone off its pivot. The stone was replaced but the original balance could not be restored.

Information for this article was found on Atlas Obscura. You can visit their website by clicking here.

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