When you are out walking on The Sandstone Ridge, per chance you have glanced at the curiosity known as 'The Elephant and Castle' at Peckforton (to be found on the west side of Stone House Lane, just north of the junction with Peckforton Hall Lane. The elephant is best viewed from the road which runs just north or Laundry Cottage).
This striking piece of Victorian craftsmanship was carved from local sandstone in 1859 by Master Stonemason, John Watson, who at that time was working on Peckforton Castle.
The elephant and its base are carved from a single piece of stone and the three-tier castle from a second piece. The elephant stands on a large flat base and has a saddle with straps and tassels which forms the base for the castle. The castle has a gatehouse, surmounted by a turret with crenellations and arrow slots, which leads to a keep with matching corner turrets. The castle walls are marked with courses and there are arches over the windows (some of which contain glass).
John Watson had previously been foreman mason during the construction of the Grosvenor Bridge at Chester and he is also known to have carved two pairs of stone lions (to be found in Spurstow and Tattenhall) CLICK HERE.
What prompted our local celebrity to create this piece of whimsy is an unknown but be assured that it is worth a visit, if not to speculate on it's intended use.
Some of the windows of the castle contain glass and it is presumed that originally the windows were all glazed. Local rumour considers its intended use was as a beehive but this is not substantiated.
It is more likely that the coat of arms of the Corbett family, previous owners of Peckforton, prompted the inspiration for this curiosity since that coat of arms features an elephant with a castle upon its back.