Lea-Sand

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Lea-Sand – A fine sand that is brought from the eastern moorlands, to lay upon the strickle or sharpening tool for the lea

Lea – Scythe

Strickle – The tool with which the scythe is sharpened. A wooden whetstone, which is first greased and then powdered with lea-sand.

Psychogeography – Alan Moore

In its simplest form I understand psychogeography to be a straightforward acknowledgement that we, as human beings, embed aspects of our psyche…memories, associations, myth and folklore…in the landscape that surrounds us. On a deeper level, given that we do not have direct awareness of an objective reality but, rather, only have awareness of our own perceptions, it would seem to me that psychogeography is possibly the only kind of geography that we can actually inhabit.

Alan Moore

May 2013

http://disinfo.com/2013/05/alan-moore-and-psychogeography/

Whinstone

Clock Tower 1

The Redcar Memorial Clock tower was designed by John Dobson and erected in 1913 in memory of King Edward VII. It is built of red engineering brick and concrete. The plinth is made of Whinstone, making it one of the few buildings in the area that utilises this local stone.

Clock Tower

Grey Towers in Nunthorpe, built for William Hopkins, and the former home of Arthur Dorman, is also faced with Whinstone.

Scarth Wood Moor

I took a trip, with my friends Emily and Martyn, to Scarth Wood Moor today to look at the Seven Stones. Unfortunately we all assumed that someone else would bring a map, which none of us did.

I tried and failed to convince Martyn that it is possible to navigate a moor using Rowan trees. Emily demonstrated her pareidolic skills, collected some bones and told us tales about hunting Warthogs.

The Seven Stones were discovered by Frank Elgee in the 1930s,  The stones are the most visible part of a number of orthostat walls. The moor has been a busy place in the past, there are recent stone quarries, small enclosures and burial mounds. Flints have been found on the moor that are characteristic of the late Mesolithic. All of this within sight of a popular tourist spot for Teesside day trippers known locally as Sheepwash.

Gerrick Moor

The rain has stopped, it’s time to get back onto the moors.

Gerrick Moor has a number of significant prehistoric monuments, a couple of good-sized barrows, a couple of hut circles, a late prehistoric enclosure and a cross dyke. All of this sounds very impressive but most of the features are quite subtle and take a little seeking out. There has also been a lot of  later disturbance on the moor, it is riddled with old trackways, drainage ditches and grouse butts. The moor was also used as a tank training site during World War II.

Herd Howe Lidar

 

The most prominent feature on the moor is Herd Howe, a large Bronze Age burial mound. The mound is situated on a ridge, best seen from the A174 heading east.  The barrow is intervisible with a number of prominent prehistoric sites, The Black Howes to the west, Warsett Hill and Street Houses to the North, Skelder Hill (thanks Chris) and Danby Beacon to the East and views into the central moors to the south.

Herd Howe

The mound was partially excavated by Atkinson in 1863. At the core was a pit which had then been covered with a stone cairn, the cairn was finally covered with a stone and earth mound.Herd Howe finds

In the pit Atkinson found the remains of eleven cremation deposits and fragments of seventeen vessels, one of which was accompanied by a stone battle axe.  Other finds included pottery vessels, flint tools, two bone pins and a bone needle.


Herd Howe g earth
On a gently sloping area just below the mound is a banked enclosure. This enclosure has been interpreted as a late prehistoric enclosed settlement similar to the settlement at Box Hall.

Raymond Hayes recorded thirty six examples of these small rectilinear enclosures across the North York Moors.  Once you located it’s not difficult to trace the boundary bank, it is mainly covered in Bilberry and stands out quite well against the background of heather. The bilberries are just coming out at the moment and are sweet and juicy, a welcome snack.

Herd Howe Bilberries

I headed off across the moor to check out the Cross Dyke that runs NW-SE for about three hundred meters. The dyke comprises a  It a pair of banks with a central ditch running from the Tank road to the where the land starts falling off into Gerrick Haw.

Cross dykes are thought to a prehistoric territorial boundary. There are a number of similar dykes across the North York Moors, Blaise Vyner records at least fifteen, many of which are associated with prominent burial mounds. It is not unreasonable to speculate that these monuments had a ritual function.

Gerrick Dykei

The heather has just come into bloom on the south facing bank.

Gerrick Dyke

Looking down to the northern end of the dyke into Gerrick Haw towards Dimmingdale with Moorsholm Moor and the Black Howes in the distance.

Sources

Bronze Age Burial Mounds in Cleveland. G M Crawford 1980

North east Yorkshire Studies: Archaeological Papers. Raymond H Hayes 1988

Moorland Monuments CBA Research Report 101. Blaise Vyner 1995

 

Ripon & the father of British Psychedelia

Ripon Misericord cCharles Dodgson is better known as Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I have previously written about his young life at Croft on Tees and the possible influences the area had on his writings, The Conyers Falchion and the Hells Kettles.

When Dodgson was twenty years old his father became a Canon at Ripon Cathedral. During his many visits to Ripon, he wrote Ye Carpette Knyghte and several pages of Through the Looking-Glass.

There is speculation that Dodgson may have found inspiration for some of his characters from the misericords carved beneath the seats in the cathedral’s choir stalls. The links are tenuous but they give me an excuse to post a bunch of photos of these beautiful 15th century carvings.

 

A few other carvings