I recently spotted this stone leaning against the wall at Tocketts Mill. It puzzled me for a while, I had seen a picture of a similar stone but couldn’t remember where. Eventually I remembered, the wonderful Hidden Teesside website
The stone is the base of a Verjuice or Beam Press. Elizabeth Ogilvie writes
..Verjuice or Beam Presses which were used to produce a kind of acid apple vinegar known as verjuice made mostly from crab apples and used in cooking and medicine. The method of crushing the apples was simple. Crab apples were placed on the base stone, a weight was positioned on top and pressed down by means of a wooden beam wedged at one end into a hollow of a tree stump or groove cut into a stone wall.
An Illustrated Guide to Stone Antiquities on the North Yorkshire Moors. E Ogilvie. 1996
The Crab Tree
Another Cleveland usage is, when a mare foals to hang up ‘the cleansings ’ (the placenta) in a tree, preferably in a thorn or failing that a crab tree; the motive assigned being to secure ‘luck with the foal.’ Should the birth take place in the fields, this suspension is most carefully attended to, while as for the requirements of such events at the homestead, in not a few instances there is a certain tree not far from the farm-buildings still specially marked out for the reception of these peculiar pendants. In one instance lately, I heard of a larch tree so devoted, but admittedly in default of the thorn; the old thorn-tree long employed for the purpose having died out.
Again, a lamb that is dropped dead, or that dies while still very young, is customarily hung up in a tree—properly in a thorn, though any fruit or berry-bearing tree will do. In the last case under my notice, the tree was a rowan-tree or mountain-ash. In all these cases the same principle is, I think, beyond question involved. Certainly in the case of the mare the offering would originally have been to Odin; probably in all cases of suspension on a berry-bearing tree the same may be true.
J. C. Atkinson, N. & Q., 4th S., vol ii., pp. 556, 557.
..that of all the unfortunately plain – not to say ugly – structures which do duty for churches in Cleveland this is about the plainest and the most tasteless. One ancient buttress, of Early English character, remains on the north side of the chancel, and that is all which is left to testify to the former existence on this site of a really ecclesiastical building.
History of Cleveland Ancient & Modern Vol.1 Rev J. C. Atkinson. 1874
The lovely Norman font was brought from the ruined church of St Andrew at Upleatham. Rita Wood describes it as square with corner columns and central panels that have bold, well-carved geometric patterns. She tells us that there are similar fonts at Marske and Sneaton that are likely to have been carved by the same person.
There are a number of stone fragments inside the church including Upleatham’s Big Stone.
One of the stone fragments is the remains of a Hogback Grave that has probably been re-used as a building block. it is described as a child’s gable-end grave slab. It is classified as a Type E (dragonesque) Hogback, a type confined to the east coast of Yorkshire. It closely resembles two examples found at Lythe.
The Hogback stone has had a bit of a journey. It was found during an excavation at Upleatham old church, it was then moved into the new church in the village. When the new church was converted into a private home the stone was moved to Kirkleatham museum, where it is currently listed as being located.
History of Cleveland Ancient & Modern Vol.1 Rev. J.C. Atkinson. 1874
Romanesque Yorkshire. Rita Wood. 2012
Yorkshire – A Gazetteer of Anglo-Saxon & Viking Sites. Guy Points. 2007
John Ray (1627-1705) was one of the pioneers of modern botany. A parson naturalist, he was the first to classify plants by species. He undertook a number of tours of Britain and Europe where he collected and described the local flora and topography.
The following passage, describing his visit to North East Yorkshire, is taken from Selected Remains of the Learned John Ray with his life. By William Derham published 1760.
We ascended the top of that noted hill, called Roseberry or Ounsberry Topping, the top whereof is like a sugar loaf and serves for a sea-mark. It may be seen at a great distance, viz. from Stanmore, which is in a right line above 20 Miles off. From hence we had a prospect of that pleasant and fruitful vale, part whereof is called Cleveland a country noted for a good breed of horses.
The ways here in winter time are very bad, and almost impassable, according to that proverbial Rhyme,
Cleveland in the Clay
Bring in two Soles, carry one away.
Near this hill we went to see a well celebrated for the cure of sore or dim eyes, and other diseases. Every one that washes in it, or receives benefit by it, ties a rag of linen or woollen on a shrub or bush near it, as an offering or acknowledgement.
The People of Gisburgh are civil, cleanly, and well-bred, contrary to the temper of the inhabitants of Whitby who, to us, seemed rude in behavior and sluttish.
In the way from Whitby to Gisburgh we passed by Freeburgh Hill which they told us was cast up by the Devil, at the entreaty of an old Witch, who desired it, that from thence she might espy her cow in the moor.
*An ornamental bush of holly and evergreens, with roses made of coloured paper, flowers, apples, oranges, etc, interspersed, hung from the centre of the ceiling, or in some other convenient place: the ‘common law’ in Cleveland being, that every man who can get a woman under the bush, is fairly entitled to a kiss of her then and there…Since the country has been covered by railways, so that the mistletoe (Viscum album) can be purchased at Stockton and Middlesbrough, sprigs of the plant of Venus are often added in the centre of the kissing-bush, for which, in the absence of the mysterious parasite, it has long been the substitute. G.M. Tweddell