THE MYSTERIES OF ST
St. Edith's is a small, isolated 12th century church
situated one mile outside the village of Shocklach.
It stands on its
own in the middle of fields overlooking the river Dee and Wales.
Why was the
church built so far from the village or if it was not, why did the
Records show that
the village was hit by the plague and one rumour
is that the village moved away from
the water of the
Dee which, it was feared, carried the plague (Shocklach means “Stream
Haunted by an
Evil Spirit” or
“Goblin’s Stream”). However, there
is no evidence for this and,
real sign of a village having been near the church.
has a beautiful Norman doorway but the level of the ground outside is
higher than the base of the door.
There is what
appears to be a pagan carving on the north side of the church.
This carving is
extremely weathered and very unusual.
It may have been brought from elsewhere.
many architectural puzzles which are visible both inside and outside and
for such an old building) has clearly seen many changes.
There must be
much more to the building than meets the eye - maybe the original site
The biggest mystery, however, is a carving inside the church on a piece of sandstone about 12 inches square.
The carving is of a man on a horse
with many legs (see photograph below taken by Dr Lou Macchi) .
The stone is very weathered and the
carving is hard to make out but it is reminiscent of Norse crosses,
particularly those of the Isle of
It also bears an uncanny resemblance
to a carving on the base of a stone in the churchyard of St Dochdwys
just outside Cardiff. There are the
remains of a sandstone cross outside Shocklach church.
Could the carving be a
representation of Odin, the Norse god, and his horse, Sleipnir,
who had eight legs?
There may even be a slight hunch
behind the rider.
Could this be one of the ravens who
brought Odin news from around the world?
There are apparently two St Ediths and it is not certain to which one Shocklach
church is dedicated.
One was Edith of Polesworth and
the other, Edith of Tamworth, was the half-sister of the
Saxon King of England, Aethelstan. In AD 926 Athelstan gave his sister,
Edith, in marriage to
Sihtric or Sigtric Caech,
the Danish King of Northumbria (or Sigtryggr Gale, King of Dublin and York?).
So could there be a connection
between Shocklach and the Vikings?
A hoard of Viking silver treasure
dating from around AD850-950 was found in Huxley,
just south-east of Chester in
2004. There were 22 objects, mostly
The bracelets appear to have been
flattened, perhaps to make them easier to bury and hide,
but they still show the distinctive
Irish Sea designs of the 10th century.
There are strong Viking links in our
area. The Viking Great Army camped in Chester during the winter of
and then went on to plunder North
Wales. There were also Viking settlements on the Wirral.
Place names such as Thingwall, Raby, Meols and Bromborough are
derived from the Norse.