It is said there is a pagan Sun Temple located near to the village of Ipstones in Staffordshire.
The curious cluster of large standing stones are hidden from view by a small enclosed wooded area, a good distance from any major road. This place sits above the ancient village of Ipstones which is around a mile away.
The name Ipstones may derive from a good personal name, ‘Ippa’, and ‘stan’, the old English word for stone, so ‘Ippa’s stone’. An alternative derivation is a descriptive one, again from Old English, but meaning a ‘raised place’ or a ‘look-out platform’. Both fit with a description of this place.
As you approach there is a feeling that this is some form of prehistoric ritual site, my visit taking place a day after the summer solstice. There was an odd atmosphere and I felt uneasy, like someone was watching.
The site slopes down a small include is enclosed by an ancient stone wall. There are quite a few large ancient stones which would perhaps have been places of worship in centuries and millennia gone by.
A few of the stones also resemble a ‘cairn’ which could be an ancient burial site. This place and these stones are so old it is incredibly fascinating to think of the rituals and scenes which have happened here in prehistoric times and throughout the centuries and millennia since. The place almost feels as old as the dawn of time.
It is said that the stones form some sort of sun worship temple with one particular stone aligned with the equinox dawn sunrise. To the South West another stone can be found, this one has a shape like a pyramid and at midsummer the moon is said to rise above it.
A further triangular shaped stone can be found to the West and this one is said to indicate the time of Beltane (the beginning of summer) and Samhain (the beginning of winter) which thought to have been the most important of the four Gaelic festivals.
Strange things have most certainly happened here, with this place being somewhere where inhabitants of these parts would have gathered and performed ceremonies or prayed or even made sacrifices to their gods. A strange magic almost seems to surround the stones, as they sit upon the earth, green with age and wisdom.
If only these stones could talk….