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The Stones of Wolverhampton

Wolverhampton city centre may not be the kind of place you might find two historic stones with folklore surrounding them, but nonetheless, here they are, quietly standing near to St Peter's Collegiate Church.

The Bargain Stone is a curiously dished upright slab that has a hole straight through it. During the Medieval era merchants and buyers would conduct business in front of the church and when a deal was struck the two parties would shake on it by placing their hands through the hole in the stone. This was thought to add extra good will and gravitas.

Just a few meters away stands the Wolverhampton Pillar, or Wulfrun's Stone as it is often called. This was erected at some point during the 800s on the instruction of Lady Wulfrun, an Anglo-Saxon noblewoman who basically founded Wolverhampton and gave the city its name. Rather than the traditional and more common “insular” style of Anglo-Saxon carving with its complex knots, this is an extremely rare example of “baroque” carving for the time. Animals and swirling floral designs curl around the pillar, and it has even been suggested that it may have once been a late Roman column repurposed with additional carvings.

Wulfrun's Stone was once crowned with a cross but this is long gone with no record of when the monument was decapitated. The column has stood here in its original position for millennia but time and the elements have taken their toll with much of the sculpted details losing their definition.

Among the modern city centre, amid branches of Greggs and Betfred, these two ancient stones are still quietly holding their space.

If you liked this article you'll like my new book The Mystery Of Mercia, available to order in the Mysteries of Mercia shop.

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