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Sacred Places: Prehistory and popular imagination
by Bob Trubshaw

This book looks back at the days of At the Edge and other 'Earth Mysteries' 'zines and provides detailed discussions of many of the topics outlined here.

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Beyond Reality

At the Edge / Bob Trubshaw /

What was Mercian Mysteries?

What was Mercian Mysteries?

In 1986 I returned to the county of my birth, Leicestershire, after living elsewhere for about twenty years. I had an active interest in 'earth mysteries' but knew of few local people with common interests. Slowly such contacts were made and, in June 1989, Chris Fletcher, Rob Midwinter, Paul Nix, Clive Potter, Alison Skinner and myself gathered together at a pub in Frisby on the Wreake. I had got to know all these people individually but this was the first time they had met each other.

Map of England showing Mercia (20k)

Map of Anglo-Saxon England
showing approximate extent of Mercia

Copyright 1995 David Taylor

Within a few minutes the name 'Mercian Mysteries' was coined. 'Mercian' is taken from the name for the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia, which originated in the East Midlands and, at its heyday under King Offa, spread to control much of England. The 'Mysteries' was derived from 'earth mysteries' but, intentionally, was left vague.

Two objectives were agreed:

  • Firstly, to arrange regular field trips (about 43 such outings took place between then and the end of 1995).
  • Secondly, to produce a quarterly magazine, called Mercian Mysteries, to disseminate 'earth mysteries' and related information on the Midlands - including reports on the field trips. Paul Nix took on the role of editor and produced the first five issues after which, for reasons which made good sense at the time, I took over.
Paul continued to provide much 'behind the scenes' support, especially enabling Mercian Mysteries to take full advantage of early developments in desk-top publishing (these were the days before Windows, folks - anyone else out there remember a GUI called 'GEM'?).

Mercian Mysteries evolved from a modest photocopied A5 'zine to a more substantial 40+ page A4 journal. The contents also changed steadily and became less-and-less involved specifically with the Midlands.

Archive of articles from Mercian Mysteries

At the same time, the scope and approaches of 'earth mysteries' were also evolving. Above all, a good number of academics were picking up on the best of the ideas which had emerged within 'earth mysteries'. The real interesting things seemed to be falling into the cracks between academics and 'non-professionals'. So, it was time to relaunch under a new title which matched the contents. At the Edge was the outcome.

More about At the Edge

This page has kindly been translated into French by Kate Bondareva – see

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Copyright 1996, 2001. No unauthorised copying or reproduction except if all following conditions apply:
a: Copy is complete (including this copyright statement).
b: No changes are made.
c: No charge is made.

At the Edge / Bob Trubshaw /
Created April 1996; updated November 2008