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The Sacred Oak

A venerated tree.

Photo by Gary Tacagni

The photograph above is of a sacred oak tree which is growing on top of a Tumuli or burial mound. It is thought that in the past thousands of people would have walked up this hill from Fools Nook ( a small village on the Macclesfield to Leek road) and in doing so they have worn a depression in the ground, this has become known as “The Old Great Track” and can still be clearly seen.

It is thought that the reason so many people walked up this hill was to venerate the tree, as certain oaks were said to have special qualities, especially the Lightning Oaks. The Oak was thought to be sentient, and it used to be the custom when an oak was felled that the person cutting down the tree would make a promise that an acorn would be planted in its place. One of the beneficial powers attributed to the oak was protection against getting struck by lightning, and it is said that sufferers of toothache could relieve it by hammering a coin into its trunk. Also carrying an acorn was said to slow down the aging process!

Photo by Gary Tacagni

The photograph above is said to be a plague stone, but was probably erected as a boundary stone. If you look carefully you will be able to see that a cross has been added at sometime to Christianise the stone to offset any evil thought to exist in it. The reason that these stones became known as plague stones was that when a person wished to make a trade with another person when the plague was prevalent and money neede to change hands, to stop the spread of the plague the person would leave money on top of the stone in a depression which would have contained urine. It is thought that the urine would have acted as a primitive type of disinfectant, which would have stopped the plague being transferred to the person recieving the money. This stone is situated close to the Hanging Gate pub at Little Sutton in the county of Cheshire, U.K.

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