I took a trip over to Glaisdale to visit one on my favourite North York Moors standing stones. This rarely visited, tall, beautiful stone is one of a pair of upright stones located on Glaisdale Swang
Swang – a boggy stretch of land.
When I arrive at the stone I’m confronted by an anxious pheasant hen who starts running in circles around me, a tactic designed to distract me while her brood of chicks scatter for the shelter of the nearby heather.
I can see another stone on the moor edge in the distance, I know that this will probably be a guide stone but probably isn’t good enough, I head for the higher ground. The ground is marshy, so I zig zag my way up the narrowing valley following the lush green carpet of bilberry, which tends to grow on the better drained ground. Curlews and lapwings rise in alarm and noisily track my progress as I move from one birds territory to another. Towards the top of the swang, a large hare breaks cover.
As I move onto the high moor, guide stones mark the track. Many of these stones date to the 18th century, others may possibly be far older. On October 2nd, 1711, the Justices sitting at Northallerton ordered that guide posts should be erected throughout the North Riding.
A solitary pine tree on the moor top, its branches indicate the direction of the prevailing winds.
Walking across across the high moor towards Glaisdale I encounter a couple of low standing stones, one of which is close to a low mound. These stones are not on the track and are too small to be guide stones. Another group of large stones look as through they were once standing but it is difficult to say much more about them.
This guide stone was carved and erected by Thomas Harwood about 1735. Harwood erected four other similar stones on Glaisdale Rigg. The stone appears to be housed in an old cross base. It is possible to make out the inscriptions on the north and east faces, they read Gisbrogh Road and Whitby Road. The other two faces are illegible, Stanhope White writes that the south face reads Glaisdale Road TH.
Walking over to the edge of Glaisdale I find this beautiful orthostatic wall, a real joy. About a century ago, many of the original field walls, across the moor and dales, were rebuilt by professional wallers, this wall may be a survivor of an earlier age.
In his book, Some Reminiscences & Folk Lore of Danby Parish & District, Joseph Ford writes of Stone-Rearing Days. These were occasions when a farmers neighbours gathered together to build walls around newly-enclosed fields. Ford thinks that this tradition may stretch as far back in time to the original settlers of the moorland dales.
Glaisdale – YN [Glasedale 12 Guisb. Glasedal 1223, Glasdale 1228 FF] ‘The valley of R Glas’
OW gleis, Welsh glais ‘stream’
Glas is a British river-name derived from the Welsh glas ‘blue, green, grey’
Yorkshire Wit, Character, Folklore & Customs. R Blakeborough. W Rapp & Sons Ltd. 1911
The North York Moors. An Introduction by Stanhope White. The Dalesman Publishing Co. 1979
Some Reminiscences & Folk Lore of Danby Parish & District. Joseph Ford. M.T.D. Rigg Publications. 1990
The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Placenames. E Ekwall. 1974
Orthostatic Field Walls on the North York Moors. D.A. Spratt. Yorkshire Archaeological Journal No. 60 1988
A week or so ago I took a walk across the Bran Sands with my friend Graham Vasey. Graham was filming the area and I was trying to capture some field recordings. Unfortunately it was blowing a gale, the wind making it almost impossible to capture the sounds of the sands.
The other day the weather was beautiful and the winds were light so I returned to the Gare to try and make some recordings. The Gare was busy with people coming and going, constant traffic noise replaced wind noise, a conspiracy between the natural and human worlds.
Graham made the film during a recent walk that we took along the path. He filmed it using a 1930’s Ensign Auto Kinecam and expired Ilford FP4 Plus film which he processed himself.
The original soundtrack was created by Greg Marshall, the film was scanned by James Holcombe.
Announcing the Single Series on Linear Obsessional.
Downloads of 7″ single duration, with A and B sides and cover, sold at a classic 7″ price.
Curated by David Little and Richard Sanderson
This wonderful album by Chris Whitehead is my favourite album of 2019 so far. It has been released by TQ Zine.
You can get the download by ordering the latest copy of TQ or you can buy the album directly from the TQ Bandcamp page. Any income is being donated to TQN-aut by the artist to help fund other releases by artists who need financial support to do so
I took myself up to Crabdale today to search for a couple of cup marked stones that are marked on the NYMNP Historic Environment Map.
The valley sides are covered in a thick mat of dead bracken so finding any stones, let alone cup marked stones, was a little problematic.
This was the only stone I could find that bears any resemblance to a cup marked stone. I suspect the origins of the cup marks on this stone are relatively recent, perhaps someone using the stone for target practice.
I failed to find the stones mentioned on the map There are a number of other stones in this area so I will be back again.
As I was heading back a pair of cuckoos flew past me, landed nearby and sang me out of the valley.
Cockfield Fell is described as “one of the most important early industrial landscapes in Britain”. In addition to four Iron Age (or Romano-British) settlement enclosures, there is evidence within the landscape of early coal mines (the Bishop of Durham licensed mining here at least as early as 1303), medieval agricultural field patterns, centuries of quarrying activity, a railway line established in the 1830s and several earlier tramways All together, Cockfield Fell constitutes England’s largest Scheduled Ancient Monument, described as ‘an incomparable association of field monuments relating to the Iron settlement history and industrial evolution of a northern English County’. One reason for its preservation – unusual for a lowland fell – is that it was not subject to enclosure in the 18th or 19th centuries, perhaps due to its highly industrialised past. Source
The fell is ablaze with fragrant golden whin
The Cleveland Dyke outcrops on the fell and was quarried for roadstone.
The remains of the Gaunless Viaduct
Gaunless ME gaghenles ‘useless’ (from ON gagnlauss). The name may refer to scarcity of fish or the like. English Place-Names. Eilert Ekwall. 1959
Coal was mined on the fell from the early medieval period until the late nineteenth century
Beehive coke ovens on the valley floor
A beautiful Cob keeps me company
Map reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland
Many thanks to Graham Vasey for showing me around this wonderful place