Nature in Her Freaks – Blakey Topping

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Blakey Topping (Black-houe Top.)

Of all the hills in our district, this seems to have attracted most of the attention of the Druids; who it is said were great admirers of nature in her freaks. This singular isolated hill resembles a huge tumulus or barrow of an arch-Druid, or half a Druid’s mundane egg, standing on the plane or base of its longer axis (although this is a natural hillock, detached from the main range of the Coralline-oolite, or outlier hills); and therefore from its shape, was no doubt held the more sacred by the Druids. But besides its shape, the many Druid-stones erected on the moor, both at its foot, and at a little distance off, indicate that this was a sacred mount…

knox map ..Nor will it appear at all surprising that this semi-mundane, or semi-egg-shaped hill, and the excessively dreary and secluded moor on which it stands should have been seized on, and  consecrated by the Druids for the performance of their mysterious, mistaken and cruel rites. Possibly, however, this now wholly heath-clad moor might have been, in their time, partially enlivened by waving groves; especially about this hill, and the rising brow of Cross Cliff.

Descriptions Geological, Topographical and Antiquarian in Eastern Yorkshire. by Robert Knox. 1855

Map © National Library of Australia

Ramsdale, The Grey Horse Stone & The Old Wife’s Neck

..Knox was perhaps the first to recognise the stone triangle. He records one from Ramsdale Hill Top, Two miles west-south-west of Robin Hood’s Bay made of stones 4-6 feet high..another near Stoup Brow forms an acute triangle, the tallest stone known as the Grey Horse Stone being not more than 5 feet high.

Early Man in NE Yorkshire. Frank Elgee. 1930

Cloughton Moor

Cloughton Knox

From Descriptions Geological, Topographical & Antiquarian in Eastern Yorkshire by Robert Knox. 1855

Glaisdale Swang Standing Stone

The North York Moors are not blessed with an abundance of large standing stones. This substantial stone is over two meters tall and seems to have been ignored by antiquarians and archaeologists alike, it has even disappeared from modern maps.

The stone sits in a circular depression and faces north/south. The land around it is quite marshy with a number of small streams running down from Glaisdale Rigg. Weathering on the top of the stone is evidence of its antiquity and there are large cup-like indentations on the stone which may be natural.

The Old Wife’s Neck

OWNiOWN

As many of our ancient sepulchral heaps of heathens have obtained spurious christian names, so have various objects in our district acquired the epithet Old Wife, opprobriously applied to things that were inexplicable to our ancestors; when, to the disgrace of human nature, distressed old women were supposed to be witches, and could turn themselves into any shape. Such superstitious notion has, indeed, extensively prevailed up to our time; and before men, even in England, became humanised enough to enact poor-laws to succour starving people; such belief in the power of old women was entertained by even priests, judges, legislators, and kings. How perverted then was the human mind by false teaching!

DESCRIPTIONS GEOLOGICAL, TOPOGRAPHICAL, AND ANTIQUARIAN, IN EASTERN YORKSHIRE.

ROBERT KNOX 1855

old wife knox