This weekend I paid a visit to my ancestral home- Rostherne in Cheshire where the Doomsday book records my ancestors as being the local lords. The family name has had a few evolutions over the last 1000 years, but retains a strong presence in the area in the name of the town, mere (lake) and local pubs.
Of major interest to myself was the local scarecrow festival taking place on the day of our visit (4th June) and also- the ancient carved stone head that is present in the town.
As you see in the picture that follow- the head has been retained (it may have been moved from its original siting in the town) and is now within the small wall that separates the old church from the graveyard. Now, we all realise that the church often built its sites on those that were once ancient pagan worship sites as a way to encourage the locals to adopt the new religion. Similar to the catholic church built on the worship site for Odin in Wednesbury (Odin’s-brough), I suspect this church that sits atop the hill over looking the forest and the huge mere (lake) was also located for this reason and the head retained to appease the locals.
So who is the figure depicted on the head? Cernnuros- hence what looks like horns at the side of the head? To me, it appeared that the face only had one eye- suggesting Odin, with the items at the side of the head being his winged war helmet. All of this is just conjecture. The head could just as easily be Thor. Rostherne is an Old Norse derived name of Rosser- Thorne (Red-Thorne). Now, Thorn is the Rune of Thor and Thor was known as having Red hair! Or, the alternative thesis on the origin of the name for the village is that it was called Cross-therne by the Saxon’s (meaning lake of the holy cross- which I would make to be a Suncross and therefore Odin’s lake…). So my ancestry is derived from a place named after either Odin or Thor and that my family name is of Old-Norse or Saxon origin. Kind of fitting as my religious beliefs are aligned with those of my ancestors in England and beyond then.
The bottom line is- it felt special, felt like home, was in the countryside, has a mere and an ancient god figure on top of the hill overlooking the town. This is my town and one day I shall live there again.