Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday morning

The weather is wet and grey, thunderstorms and lightning yesterday evening, but the rain is needed for parched lawns.  A somewhat reflective mood this morning, I had found an old blog about the Bridestones, prehistoric stones high up on the North Yorkshire moor, someone had described them as a 'megalithic mess' time has thrown down the stones in a jumble, though the High Bridestones is seen as a stone circle/ or maybe a 'fourposter' and Low Bridestones which is seen as a stone row.
The day was cold when we visited and the wind blew you at a right angle, none of which you see in these calm photos. A great expanse of dried heather in the foreground, in the far distance, a moor controlled fire, they leave little square patches of burnt heather everywhere.









The Bridestones, both High and Low are a group of stones up on the moors. We took the turning out of Sleights to Grosmont, and drove along an up and down road by the side of one of the deep combes that is so characteristic of the valleys below the moors. Though I expect there is a proper word for these steep sided small valleys - but in Somerset we call them combes. Cottages cling to the side of the valley their gardens terracing down, until eventually you arrive at the small village of Grosmont with its train station. This of course is a steam train which brings the tourists in to wander around, though there is not much to see except a couple of book shops. 



Turning back out of the village we climbed up the lane to the top of the moors, over the cattle grid, and found the stones amongst the heather and bogs, something you have to be careful about.
I'm not sure what to say about the stones, five in a circle (High Bridestones) but only one standing slightly crooked but square angled, as were the other stones on the ground. Reading other peoples impression of the stones up on the moors and they seem disappointed by the jumble of stones, its hard to make out any sense of the stone row of the Low Bridestones, it may even be a stone wall, such as you find in Wales.
I liked the stones they are narrow and not too tall, graceful and chosen for a specific reason, the land would have been different when they were first erected and the sense of space and the grandeur of the scenery must have been awe-inspiring. The barrow which sits at the turning off the main Whitby to Pickering road can be seen from here. It has a height marker on top, and apparently has been excavated again and again but there have been no finds - perhaps it was an early B/A marker cairn.

8 comments:

  1. A beautifull area, we have driven through it many times, usually when the heather has been in full bloom. We are always intending to go on the train - but have never got round to it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pat, it is quite expensive on the steam train, but a beautiful ride, we took all the children one year, got off at a station for tea, and just managed to jump back on clutching our cakes. Actually when you drive from York past the Hole of Horcum you can often see the steam of the engine puffing through the valley.

      Delete
  2. Hi Thelma, did you happen to notice the approximate age of those coins? I found one other photo: http://tinyurl.com/prsuh38 but I cannot make out the design. It might be an eighteenth or nineteenth century token. Unusual uses of coins interest me from a folk tradition viewpoint, for example most of the "crooked sixpences" (usually with two creases to give the coin a zig-zag shape that were placed by brides in their shoes at their wedding and supposed to ward off the Devil) are mostly sixpences of Elizabeth Ist.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No John, they are almost blank, exposure damage? think they are probably 20th Century pennies, two photos I have pinched from elsewhere are on the blog, so they will disappear soon. Shows one definitely as a penny, but it is unusual to find coins in stones, the 'gifts' are normally different. Your link does not work by the way....

      Delete
  3. Well this might be the answer, an old tradition but unfortunately it is ruining a prehistoric stone....
    "This cross is Young Ralph, where folk-lore has it that a farmer called Ralph found the dead body of a traveller at this spot, who had starved to death and was found to be penniless. Ralph erected the cross with a hollow carved into the top so that more wealthy travellers might place a few coins for the benefit of any less fortunate travellers, or as a thanksgiving for having reached this point on their journey. Subsequent poor travellers were able to take a coin and buy a hot meal at the nearest inn, "
    The cross;http://homepage.ntlworld.com/don.burluraux/crosses_youngralph.htm

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Thelma, that would be circulation wear and about 100 years. If they are bronze pennies (1860 on) they would have been placed there about 1960, but if they are copper halfpennies (about the same size (Charles II - Victoria before 1861) they could have been placed there as early as George III. The one I linked to appeared to have less wear and looked late18th cent, which would be in accord with the cross story. I tested the link and its working -- as the site does not allow live links, you have to highlight and right click and then click on "go to..." (at least in Chrome).

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi John, yes the link worked, and it does look pretty old that coin. Given the siting of the Bridestones, you have to turn off the main Pickering to Whitby road, marked by an old barrow, over the moor and then down to the village of Grosmont. There is a quite a bit of Roman evidence round this area, a supposed Roman road, (the Wheeldale road) and three 'practice' camps situated on a ridge which are unusual. Not sure but probably there is a relationship between York, the Cawthorn Camps and the coast. Need some more books on the subject..

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Thelma, I'm reminded of that saying "you don't miss your water until your well runs dry". I wish that I had seen more of the country before I left at the age of sixteen. It sounds like there yet many discoveries to be made in that area about is history. We don't have a lot of history here and to the east there is a gap of thousands of years where no human being was there at all until the Blackfoot go their hands on horses. But I do like some of those wide open spaces and I felt rather claustrophobic when I visited England in 1999. Too many people, and a rush hour around formerly sleepy villages on the south coast. Perhaps the Yorkshire Dales or the southwestern moors would be better for me if I return again. I like places where there are no signs of people ever having trod, but I like history too. What a dilemma!

    ReplyDelete