Love and Standing Stones

hadden hall poster


Love and Standing Stones

Posted by Michael Lewis on July 13, 2010 at 7:22am


Her father was Sir George Vernon, King of the Peak. This meant much more to others, than to Dorothy, the youngest daughter of the king. Dorothy Vernon ran down the terrace steps of her English castle home, and jumping upon her pure white horse quickly left Haddon Hall behind. Holding tightly with legs and arms, Dorothy’s long golden hair lifted back and up by the wind as she rode. Wildflowers were starting to appear among the green and the sun was warm on her face. The magnificent mare was feeling her oats, almost seeming to fly, on this the first day of May in 1563. Dorothy felt truly alive and almost ecstatic as she rode over the moors. Pulling back as she neared a small clearing, she brought her mount to a stop and slid off, leaving the animal free to graze among the small silver birch trees. Walking through purple heather and gorse and over tiny golden violets, Dorothy approached a circle of nine standing stones*; said to be the hardened remains of nine young ladies who were turned to stone for daring to dance on the sabbath. This story was known far and wide in Derbyshire, the stones placed there at least, 2 to 3 thousand years earlier. Dorothy’s brazenness was also well known. She was alone and it was spring and she leaped and twirled around the stones. She even thought about disrobing and letting the sun kiss all of her skin, when she was startled by the sound of a horse closing in on her. Dorothy stopped her movements and waited…


A large black stallion was trotting towards her and perched on its back was a man she knew. She remembered her first time, seeing John Manners, at one of her father’s hunting celebrations. Dorothy was too young then to be allowed to mingle with the guests at night, but remembered looking out from her special hiding place in the Long Gallery at a small group of huntsmen standing near the fireplace. One of these men caught her attention as he told a story, the light from the fire playing on his face. She found out later, that he was the second son of the Duke of Rutland, and not high enough bred to warrant her attentions, or so Sir George her father stated, whenever she brought up his name. Now seeing him here, and alone at Stanton Moor, and she almost 18, Dorothy felt perfectly at liberty to flirt, if she chose. She lowered her head and bowed slightly giving him a greater view, as he gazed down from his catbird seat. Appreciating the beauty displayed, he hoped for him, he slowly dismounted and came down to her level. Her body, her face, her voice, all of her, agitated the seat of his passion.


“Hello my lady, a good day to make ten on the moor.” he cleverly remarked.


“ If you think anything can turn me to stone Sir John, you don’t know my heart. This place brings me to life and who knows, maybe even to love.” and with a little smile, she spun ’round and raced off. Watching her dance away with such freedom, and abandon, he eagerly ran and jumped after her. The bright sun was bathing everything in a golden glow. Catching up with her, Dorothy turned to face him. She looked straight into his eyes as if searching for something.


Without thinking he spoke softly, “You are a golden butterfly.” Dorothy heard John’s words, but her face showed no sign of what she might be feeling. Without speaking, she ran out of the circle, John following close behind. She stopped at a single standing stone some 40 meters away to the south west.


“You know what they call this one?” she said, her eyes transfixed on the stone. Without waiting for an answer she added, “This is the king’s stone, and I am not his lady.” She then lowered herself to the ground facing him. He wanted her with every part of his being…. Time seemed to stop…… as he waited for her to make the next move.


Returning alone Dorothy ran up the terrace steps and in to the Long Hall. Seeing no one she leaped up stairs, up and around, finally ending at the top of Eagle Tower, the highest spot at Haddon. There stood her father the King of the Peak, surveying his lands. Out of breath, face flushed, she bowed quickly and immediately started talking about John Manners. Interrupting her he spoke loudly with authority and disdain, “That second son of a mushroom earl, he never will…”


“Oh father,” Stopping him with her words, Dorothy composed herself, and said forcefully, “John Manners is a good man. We can talk, he listens, he cares about so many things, and we love each other.”


“I forbid it.” the King of the Peak pronounced. “My daughter, I love you, but this is folly. You will wait, until after your elder sister marries, and then when it is your time, it will be to a Catholic, not a Protestant and to a man with more power than this Manners will ever have.”


“I hear you father, and we will see.” turning quickly she removed herself from the King’s vision and any influence he once held over her heart and mind.


June 23, 1905

“There is a poetic, a psychic quality about a butterfly, especially a golden butterfly, that should arrest attention, if not inspire the honeyed muse, and make even materialistic turtles crane their necks. It would serve an excellent purpose, if some one should strike right through our banter and reserve of sentiment and hold aloft this symbol of spiritual beauty.” …… Edwin Manners





“The site has been the focus of a long-running environmental protest.

In 1999 Stancliffe Stone Ltd submitted a planning application to re-open two dormant quarries (Endcliffe and Lees Cross) on the wooded hillside beside Stanton Moor. The proposed quarry was only 200 metres (660 ft) from Nine Ladies, on land owned by Haddon Hall estate and leased to Stancliffe Stone.”

… from wiki


“Since 2000 we have been occupying Stanton Moor hillside to block the destruction of the hill which goes too close to the Nine ladies stone circle. We are happily living there with our woodland community. We survived an eviction threat in 2004 and plan to continue to live here until their destructive plans are totally dropped.”

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