Feet On The Ground

THE MINER‘S ARMS PRIESTWESTON - Midsummer’s eve 1997

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1868 my family came here

Grandad worked that mine up on the hill

Built this cottage with his own hands and passed it on to us

They say I’m local – well I live here still

Go take a look at that old shaft there and imagine

What it was like to work the gravels all your days

When they closed in 1914 he got no compensation

Lived four years more on army pay


I keep my feet upon the ground

My eyes on what’s around

And sometimes things I’ve found sing their own song

I try to do right by my land

And what it puts in my hand

Sometimes tells me where I stand and where I come from


In my younger days round here were just four families

We kept our fireside, sang in chapel, worked our land

I took these fields on in the forties from my father

He was the last of them to drive the four in hand

In the fifities they were giving grants for ploughing

That much an acre made it worth a feller’s while

To turn the peat down in the Black marsh at the bottom

I turned up stones as big as men from some old time


Comes a feller up from London says they’re special

Says they’re ancient stones from old prehistory

Says how the peat has risen and hidden them through the ages

Says I must save them – no more ploughing grant for me

Now people come here from all over England

From all the world sometimes to look at my old stones

I take them down to the marsh and show them the circle

They take my photo, sometimes ask me to their homes


We’ve had folks sleep here, even had a wedding

We’ve had Druids coming down all in a row

It ain’t chapel and I doubt that it’s quite proper

To each his own I suppose – what do I know

I’ve been watching them for years come to this circle

With their dreams of how it was in the old times

I don’t know why they never ask me how it used to be

When this was useless marsh and Grandad worked the mine


Some folk live all their lives like an old story

That they’ve written for themselves about the past

I just know Grandad and my father worked their lives out

And died poor as I will at the last


This song is almost word for word the story told me by Mr Jim Booth in 1997 in The Miners Arms at Priestweston, Shropshire.

Mitchells Fold is the stone circle on Stapeley Hill. Less well known is the stone circle at the foot of the hill which lies on Mr. Booth's land and which was largely lost in the peat marsh until the 1950s.

Mr Booth's house was once the Post Office - no more.

Above it are mine shafts and wheel houses for the lead and barites industry which fed the communities of the hill throughout the 19th century - no more.

Along the road is a house which was once the community's Methodist Chapel - no more.

But people like Jim Booth are still here where they belong.