Inspiring Places  

The Black Dog of Barthomley

This was inspired by a local legend of a Black Dog which patrols the graveyard and lanes around St Bertoline's Church and the White Lion Inn at Barthomley. 

Like Black Shuck he brings death to those who are unlucky enough to see him.

The Wizard of Alderley Edge

This place is full of inspiration for me, a magical and mysterious landscape, full of history and legend. The Edge is also the setting for some novels of one of my favourite author's, namely Cheshire writer Alan Garner.

The Legend of the Wizard is well known, and thought to be based on Merlin and the sleeping knights of King Arthur.

As well as the artwork of the Wizard, this place also inspired a poem.

Please See my Video Poem, entitled 

Ancient Oak

This piece was inspired by 'The Newland Oak', an ancient oak tree which stood in the Forest of Dean.

The Nemesis Shrine

The Nemesis Shrine or Nemeseum is a Roman Temple situated in Cheshire's Chester Roman Amphitheatre.

Gladiators would pray to the God Nemesis before combat.

The Mermaid

The Mermaid of Black Mere is a ghostly entity which entices single men to the depths of a mere near Congleton in the Peak District.

A local pub is situated near the mere, named after this unusual land locked Mermaid.


This artwork was inspired by Puzzlewood in the Forest of Dean, my most favourite place, as it formed Tolkien's Inspiration for Middle Earth in the trilogy 'The Lord of the Rings', one of my most favourite books of all time. 

Fantasy Novels are the best! 

See my Video Poem based upon Puzzlewood, entitled 

Sandbach Crosses

Near where I live, in the Cheshire town of Sandbach, are two stone Anglo-Saxon Crosses as well as two modern timber crosses in a similar style, erected for the Millenium.

The Dove of Saint David

This piece was inspired by a stained glass window depicting the 'Dove of Heaven' at St David's Church in Llanthony in the Brecon Beacons' Black Mountains.

The Memento Mori of St John's

At Chester an old Abbey Church and Ruins is situated next to the Roman Amphitheatre, dedicated to St John.

Here may be found depictions of 'Memento Mori' - Remember that you will die, a medieval term to entice the viewer to think on death and prepare for it.

The most unusual 'Memento Mori' at St John's is a coffin set into a wall in the ruins, within which is inscribed 'Dust to Dust'!

The Druids Last Stand

According to legend, the Druids held out their penultimate last stand in the Forest of Dean, at Welshbury Hillfort.

They finally fell to the Romans on the Isle of Anglesey in North Wales.

The Nine Ladies

The Nine Ladies Stone Circle in Stanton Drew in Derbyshire, inspired this picture.

I based it upon the legend that the Devil played his music to nine witches who were then turned to stone, to form the nine stones in the circle.

This place also inspired me to write a poem entitled 'The Nine Ladies'.

The Nine Ladies
by Michael 'Jarl' Oakes

What is this circle of stone 
Was it made in pre history 
To most the truth is not known 
Let me now unravel this mystery 

For here is the answer to their riddle 
Nine witches were dancing on a sabbath day 
To the devil playing his fiddle 
They were cursed and there they will stay 

For the devils music encircled the ring 
Of the ladies of flesh and bone 
That was the end of their dancing 
For they were all turned to stone 

Come here in the day and you will see 
Nine sisters and their stone king 
With symbols hanging from a tree 
And a stone with spiral carving 

Come here at night and you will see 
Around the circle a dark figure lurks 
The devil with his face full of glee 
Come to admire his evil works

Goodrich Castle

This artwork was inspired by a stained glass window in Goodrich Church, nearby to a historic castle, in Herefordshire.

The Astbury Yew

At Astbury in Cheshire, an ancient yew tree stands inside St Mary's Churchyard.

The Yew tree is thought to be over 2000 years old, and predates the church.

Some of the graves here depict intricate artistic forms, some of which are known as 'Memento Mori'.

Kissed by Le Fay

This artwork was inspired by Nine Stones Stone Circle in Derbyshire.

This site also inspired me to write a poem entitled 'Kissed by Le Fay'.

Kissed by Le Fay
by Michael 'Jarl' Oakes

Nine stones stood in all 
Only four still stand 
One used in a nearby wall 
Four now lost in this land 

Overlooked by the two pillared tor 
That they call Robin Hoods stride 
There can be found a secret door 
Amongst the stones it does hide 

On the sacred night come on your own 
For the doorway only once per year 
Sit and pray within the circle of stone 
And beneath you it will appear 

At the last stroke of midnight 
The ground turns to glass 
Peer down into a world of twilight 
Through this doorway you may pass 

To a land that is never day 
Nor is it ever night 
This is the realm of the Fay 
With their other worldly delights 

That was how I met her 
With her forever youthful face 
Her voice seemed to purr 
As I entered her embrace 

Now her lad has returned to the mist 
And until my dying day 
I will only ever be kissed 
By she who is of le Fay

Tintern Derelict Church

Old Tintern Church is now derelict after a fire, and is situated high above the Monmouthshire village to the north-west of the famous Abbey.

It has been the site of modern witchcraft rituals and other strange happenings.