Alan is a local author who was born in the area in 1934 and has lived within about 10 miles of Alderley Edge for all his life. His significance to the Edge is manifold: for starters, he has written a number of books about the Edge - both true fiction and historical fiction. Two of these in particular (The Stone Book and the Weirdstone of Brisingamen) refer to the mines in some detail, as will be described below. Then, Alan was for many years the custodian (unwittingly) of the oak shovel found in the 1870s, reported by J D Sainter and supposedly lost for ever (you can read more about this HERE). Next, he was an active member of the Alderley Edge Landscape Project, always having something new to add to the knowledge of the area.
|Alan as a 6 year old in 1940.||Expounding theories to members of the Alderley Edge Landscape Project at the closing walk in July 2005.||The stone circle which Alan reckons was built by one of his ancestors.|
Alan was educated at Manchester Grammar School and Magdalen College, Oxford where he read classics. He is currently fascinated in the history of the area where he lives - both near and far from home - and is always looking for ways to extend his knowledge of the Edge. For a much fuller biography of Alan, refer to the "unofficial website" where there are also details of his life's work, articles and reviews, and links to other related sites.
Referring to the unofficial website again (and weeding out foreign and other variant editions), Alan Garner's main publications and their dates are as listed below. As it says in the unofficial website, "... only major published works (novels, collections of short stories, etc) are listed here. There are also numerous uncollected essays and short pieces, plays, and a number of libretti for operas. Further details can be found in A Fine Anger: A Critical Introduction to the Work of Alan Garner by Neil Philip." Click on some of the titles and you will be taken to further areas of this page where we will try to illustrate the stories.
1963 The Moon of Gomrath
1966 Holly from the Bongs: A Nativity Play
1967 The Old Man of Mow
1967 The Owl Service
1969 The Hamish Hamilton Book of Goblins
(aka A Book of Goblins, aka A Cavalcade of Goblins)
1973 Red Shift
1975 The Breadhorse
1975 The Guizer
1976 The Stone Book (Stone Book Quartet)
1977 Granny Reardun (Stone Book Quartet)
1977 Tom Fobble's Day (Stone Book Quartet)
1978 The Aimer Gate (Stone Book Quartet)
1980 The Lad of the Gad
1980 Fairytales of Gold
1984 Alan Garner's Book of British Fairy Tales
1985 Potter Thompson
1986 A Bag of Moonshine
1993 Once Upon a Time
1993 Jack and the Beanstalk
1997 The Little Red Hen
1997 The Voice that Thunders
1998 Grey Wolf, Prince Jack and the Firebird
1998 The Well of the Wind
In the Weirdstone of Brisingamen, Alan Garner gives a very detailed account of the journey of Colin and Susan through West Mine before emerging in Engine Vein. As there are many known locations in the Weirdstone, the pictures have been put on a separate page. However, the two below will give you a taster.
|Susan sat on a ledge around the upper part of this chamber, in darkness in this picture.||Colin and Susan dropped down Chain Shaft to this water-filled tunnel at the bottom.|
There are less references to the underground world at Alderley Edge in the Moon of Gomrath but the book does talk about the entrances to the Wizard's domain at the Holy Well and at the Iron Gates. No one really know where the Iron Gates are but the best guess is that they are on the way down towards Saddlebole from Stormy Point. Maybe, one day ...
|Devil's Grave||Are these the Iron Gates?||The great quarry|
The Stone Book is a quartet of stories but the one with the same title as the quartet concerns the building of Saint Philip's church in Alderley and an exploration of a passage in Engine Vein.
|St Philip's church is the prominent church at the corner of Wilmslow Road and Ryley's Lane.||When Mary and her father visited Engine Vein, you could walk in down the way the miners went||The sloping Blue Shaft has ancient steps cut in it. When Mary and her father went down, they did not have the benefit of a rope.|
|The blue copper deposits that give Blue Shaft its present name.||The passage leading off from half way down Blue Shaft.||Crawling along a narrow passage on the vein in Engine Vein|
My thanks to Robert Mapson for permission to use some material from his website: