Paintings from the wild places – Len Tabner

We called into The Moors National Park Centre at Danby yesterday to have a look at the Len Tabner exhibition, Paintings from the Wild Places. It’s rather wonderful and well worth a visit.

Paintings from the Wild Places

The Smell of Water Part 3: Danby Rigg

The Smell Of Water Part One: St. Hilda’s Church, Danby, North Yorkshire

Part One of a short series of films made by Bob Fischer and Andrew T Smith for Local History Month.

Each episode also features an original soundtrack written and performed by Oli Heffernan aka Ivan the Tolerable.

Botton Cross


Botton Cross overlooks the head of Danby Dale presumably on an old trackway from Eskdale to Rosedale. In his 1993 booklet, The Crosses of the North York Moors, Lewis Graham  remarks that it may be of interest to lay hunters that Botton, Fat Betty and Old Ralph are in a perfect east-west line though Young Ralph is to the north. 


The original word in Icelandic botn, and it is applied to the head of a bay, lake, dale or the like, the compound word dals-botn being a word of actual occurrence. Moreover, Vigfussen remarks that “Botn” is a local name still in Iceland.

JC Atkinson. Forty Years in a Moorland Parish. 1891


J C Atkinson – The Last of the Giant Killers

JC Atkinson

In almost every instance what may be called the starting-point of the several stories depends upon, or is connected with, local legend, local fact (of whatever kind), or ‘local habitation.’ The Giant-casts, Giant building-works ; the King Arthur legend; the legends of the Loathly Worm ; of the nightly destruction of the day-done work of Church-building, and the ultimate flitting of the materials to another site ; of the Barguest or Church-grim; of the insatiable Hunter with his horses and hounds buried with him, and his doom to hunt for ever, or until the Day of Judgment; of the other presentation of the same idea involved in the Gabble-ratchet notion; of the underground passages from historic buildings; of the guarded treasure reachable by some of them; and the like, are — at least have been — not only as actually localised in this district as in any other in England or the northern Continent of Europe, but have been, nay, are still, more readily accepted and accredited than the great slides and falls of rock and earth from the moor-banks, or the former prevalence and sway of the Wolf in our forest fastnesses. For even the fact that, as late as 1395 the ‘tewing’ or dressing and tanning of fourteen wolfskins, in a lot, is charged for in the accounts of Whitby Abbey, while it is enough to suggest that, in remoter places such as the forest-begrown wilds of Danby and Westerdale, those pleasant neighbours must have had a ‘ royal time of it,’ is still not enough to keep alive in the popular mind the circumstance that the Woodales in those parishes were ‘dales’ named after the ‘wolf ‘ and not after the ‘wood,’ or that the many Wolf-pits, Wolf-hows, and so on, we still hear of about, are but the scanty remains of hosts of like-named places or objects.

Taken from the preface of one of my favourite books, The Last of the Giant Killers or The Exploits of Sir Jack of Danby Dale written by the Rev. J. C. Atkinson and published in 1891