One of my favourite types of book is the travel journal, mostly those written by people engaging in long distance walks or bike rides. I don’t know whether it’s because of my very diluted Romany blood, but the thought of taking off with just a bag to my name really appeals!
On my visits to the Dental Hospital I have been able to catch up with a bit of reading and one of the books I managed to finish was a variation of the travel journal – Three Men in a Float – an account of a trip across country from Lowestoft to Land’s End in a 1950s milk float. This route was chosen as it is the furthest distance across the breadth of the country, but unintentionally this also gave the travelers an association with the St Michael ley which they kept crossing and re-crossing on their journey west.
When they arrived at Royston crossroads, by the Royse Stone, they were actually on the ley itself, and not only that, they were at the crossing point of two major Roman Roads, Ermine St and the Icknield Way. Why hadn’t I realised that when I was there! A meeting point of two ancient track ways (probably thousands of years older than the Romans) and a major ley. In later times the crossroads were used to mark the border of the Saxon shires of Cambridge to the North and Hertford in the South, and were also the meeting point of five parishes.
All these different boundaries build layer upon layer of esoteric significance on Royston crossroads. Places like this were regarded as liminal, a threshold between the worlds. But there is more to come because a stone’s throw from the crossroads there is Royston Cave – a man made cavern cut into the rock under the town which is circular in shape. It was rediscovered in the eighteenth century, and the walls are covered in medieval carving associated with the Knight’s Templar who had their headquarters in the next town of Baldock. There is no documentary evidence as to the purpose of the Cave but it is thought to have been used for meetings or for rituals. This combination of crossing points and features makes Royston a pretty significant magical site. I can’t wait to see what I can find out about the energies there the next time I go back!
Signpost photo from Stephen and Lucy’s Website