Boundaries, Pits & Zeppelins

I’ve been interested in the notion of boundaries recently so decided to combine this with a wander over Easington High Moor following the route of an eighteenth century perambulation that I found posted online a few years ago.

route

Manorial perambulations are an ancient practice, the boundaries of the district are walked to confirm ownership and ensure that no territorial infringements have taken place. What is interesting about this route is that it continues to be used as a formal boundary to define at least 13 different regional, county, unitary authority, parliamentary, and parish territories.

The route starts on the little-walked western section of the moor beside the Danby Road at a stone called Harlow Bush, the perambulation states that it is also called Harlot-Busk,  Harlot-Thorn, otherwise Harlow-Thorn, otherwise High- Thorn.

The early OS map shows Harlow Bush and High Thorn as two separate stones. I was unable to find the latter stone but there has been much road widening since the map was drawn so the stone has either been removed or is lost in a mass of gorse and brambles at the junction between the Danby and Moors road. it doesn’t take the moor long to swallow-up the fallen.

A number of the stones have dates carved into them, mainly from the early 1800s and post-date the enclosure of the moor in 1817. The names of the perambulation sites imply that prominent stones and trees were used as boundary markers, this was formalised during the 19th century by the erection of many of the boundary stones that we see across the northern moors today. Some of them, especially the earth-fast stones, probably pre-date this period.

Others stand beside older stones and bear their names.

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I cross a marshy section and come across a long section of cast iron pipe. The 40″ diameter pipe is a remnant from an attempt to build a railway across the moor. The railway, known locally as Paddy Waddell’s Railway, was supposed to be built to carry iron ore from the mines at Skelton and Brotton to the ironworks of Grosmont. The project was halted due to lack of funds and a recession in the iron trade

The Great Dinnod stone has fallen, beside it is a concrete post marked GT on one face and DT on the other. Further along the low ridge is the Little Dinnod, still standing.

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Beneath the Great Dinnod ridge is a beautiful low grassy valley, it’s a marked contrast to the heather moorland that surrounds it. The valley terminates at the Mellowdale Slack. As I walk along the slack, dozens of tiny birds fly out around me and land in the trees. It’s a magical place. I stop and sit in the shade of a beautiful Rowan listening to the chirruping birds and watch dragonflies busying themselves along the valley.

Refreshed, I climb up onto Middle Rigg to have a look at a form of Prehistoric boundary marker, a Segmented Pit Alignment or SEPA. Double pit alignments have been found in other parts of our islands but this particular class of monument is unique to the North York Moors. This definition is taken from the excellent official blog for the North York Moors National Park

A SEPA earthwork however is made up of two or three pairs of pits inside two parallel enclosing banks largely made from the spoil from the pits, these are generally in what appear to be conjoined segments. The segmentation suggests development over time rather than a linear structure created in one go as a land boundary.

In each case the SEPAs appear to be aligned with nearby Bronze Age barrows (burial mounds), which suggest the SEPA are Bronze Age too and could have had a related ritual purpose. The alignment of all the SEPAs is north-west to south-east. This alignment seems to have taken precedence to any alignment with the barrows. The parallel banks were oddly low, which means the earthworks were not prominent in the landscape when they were constructed, unlike the barrows.

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Most of the pits are filled with grasses and sedges, the low enclosing banks are visible where the heather has been burned-off.

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One of the pits has an excavation trench running across the pit and bank. This may have been left from Canon Atkinson’s 1848 excavation where he interpreted the pits as the remains of an ancient British pit village.

lidar

There is another line of pits close to the SEPA, this has a much more recent history and has nothing to do with boundaries. The LIDAR image above shows the pit alignments and barrows of Middle Rigg. It also shows a curving line of four pits, these are bomb craters caused by the dropping of bombs during a Zeppelin raid on the North Eastern coast in May 1916. A full account of the raid can be read here

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I walk over the rigg to the Long Stone. This beautiful monolith with it’s strange disc is probably one of the tallest stones of the Northern Moors and is one of my favourites. Is it prehistoric? I don’t know but would like to think so. It is also a fitting end point for my wander across this section of this lovely moor.

Sources

Maps and Lidar image reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

The Official Blog of the North York Moors National Park

Zeppelin Raids Gothas and ‘Giants’, Britain’s first blitz by Ian Castle

The Sheep Fold by Bryan Hoggarth

Maggra

Walking from Boosbeck to Margrove Park, known locally as Maggra, the path follows the route of the old Guisborough to Brotton branch line. The line was opened in 1865 servicing the East Cleveland ironstone mining communities.

Hidden in the woods beside the path is one of the kilns from Carrs Tilery which operated from 1867 until 1879 and produced land drains, pipes and tiles for the Skelton Estate and the local ironstone mines.

Pipes produced in the the kiln can found in the undergrowth. The buttresses supporting the walls appear to be later additions.

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I’ve been unable to find out if there is any level of official protection on this building.

Remnants from the past and present

The ponds are now a nature reserve managed by the Tees Valley Wildlife Trust, beautiful orchids line the footpath.

This area was once home to a thriving mining community with an ironstone mine located at each end of the small valley. The few structures that remain of this industry and being allowed to decay, which is a shame when so little is left.

Boosbeck

Bosbek 1375 Barbour’s Bruce

‘Stream near the cowshed’ from OE bos(ig) and bekkr.

Margrove Park / Maggra Park

Magerbrigge 1230-50 Guis

Maugrepark 1407 YI Maugrey 1575 FF

v. pearroc. The form Maugre– possibly indicates that the first element is the OE pers. name Maepalgar; cf. Meagre

Sources

Hidden Teesside

Tees Valley Wildlife Trust

East Cleveland Image Archive

The Place Names of the North Riding of Yorkshire by A H Smith. 1928

Thanks to Chris Wynn

Kilton

A remnant from the age of iron

Kilton Ironstone Mine

1870 – 1876 Kilton Ironstone Mine Company

1894 – 1916 Walker, Maynard & Company

1916 – 1963 Dorman Long & Company

Source – Catalogue of Cleveland Ironstone Mines. Peter Tuffs. Industrial Archaeology of Cleveland. 1996

Teesside Steel – The Final Years

Teesside Steel

Teesside’s steel industry was born in the 1850’s and died in October 2015. Steelworker Mike Guess took it upon himself to record the final few years of iron and steel making on Teesside.  ..the mothball, restart and eventual closing of iron and steelmaking on Teesside was something that I was not going to fail to record. It was almost an obligation to future generations..

As well as Mike’s beautiful book there is currently a new exhibition, Steel Stories at the Kirkleatham Museum.

Saltburn Chalybeate

Ruddle

Chalybes – The Chalybes or Chaldoi were a people mentioned by Classical authors as living in Pontus and Cappadocia in northern Anatolia during Classical Antiquity. Their territory was known as Chaldia, extending from the Halys to Pharnakeia and Trabzon in the east, the Chaldoi/Chalybes, Mossynoikoi, and Tubal/Tabal/Tibareni, are counted among the first ironsmith nations by classical authors.

Source

Urban Megaliths – Middle Beck Stone Circle

Lat: 54°.3  NZ 522 184

A modern circle (2000CE) located on the east bank of the Middle Beck on the Town Farm Estate, Middlesbrough.

The circle contains examples of the three major rock types. There appears to be no obvious grading of the stones according to size. There is evidence of the re-use of stones, particularly three Shap granite boulders. There is some evidence of burning within the circle. A number of the stones have been decorated.

A potential alignment to the Winter Solstice sunrise over Godfaltar Hill.

Burl classification (1)

Thanks to Barry Jobson

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Markse Road, Ox Close, Wilton Bank, Pithills, Hob Hill, Four Lanes End, Village Wood, Beacon Moor, Errington Wood, Marske Quarry, Falkland Walk, Quarry Lane, Plummer’s Bank,

The edgelands are slowly dissolving

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A dream job

map

Were the Hobs driven out by the ironstone miners or do they survive in the abandoned galleries beneath the Anglian burial ground?

When it snows, the children of Saltburn invade the golf course to sledge the banks. The greenkeepers don’t like the snow.

The path ends at the road, the road has no pavement, we are forced to walk in the gutters.

An aerial ropeway once spanned the low valley.

The rain arrives

 I collect a few flint fragments from the field margin including a small worked tool.

The terrier and I explore the woods and sandstone quarry. We disturb some deer, the terrier’s eyesight is not so good, he decides not to give chase. A pair of charcoal kilns lie in the quarry bottom waiting for spring to arrive

The quarry is much older than the ironstone workings futher down the slope. Sandstone from the quarry was used in local buildings and walls. The weathered quarry walls contain a number of niches.

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Wet through and cold we head home along Quarry Lane.

Upleatham [Upelider DB, Uplithum c1150 Whitby, 1272 Ipm]. ‘Upper slopes.’ Cf. KIRKLEATHAM. U- is higher than Kirkleatham. Uplider DB seems to be a Scandanavianized form, ON Upphlioir.  The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names. Eilert Ekwall 1974

soundtrack 

 

Fe2O3

Ochre

Blood-red. Was it blood?
Was it red-ochre, for warming the dead?
Haematite to make immortal
The precious heirloom bones, the family bones.

From Red by Ted Hughes