..with Mr Vasey
Piercebridge – Fawcett – Stanwick
..with Mr Vasey
Piercebridge – Fawcett – Stanwick
Good Friday 2021
I hadn’t seen my mate Carl Mole for ages so we decided to go for a wander, following our noses from Coulby Newham to Middlesbrough town centre.
The section of road from Girsby to Over Dinsdale is marked on the OS map as ‘Roman Road’. During the 18th century Gainford Antiquarian, John Cade, studied the Roman Roads of the north and theorised that a Roman road ran from the Humber estuary to the River Tyne. Cade thought that the road may have been an extension of Ryknild or Ickneild Street, a road that ran from Gloucestershire to South Yorkshire. Cade placed the crossing point of the Tees at Sockbridge. The Roman Road became known and is still referred to Cade’s Road.
In the 1920’s Archaeologist OGS Crawford took a look at the area and thought that the crossing point of the was more likely be Middleton One Row at the site of a medieval bridge known as Pountey’s Bridge. A reliable late nineteenth century source reported timber piles and abutments being visible at the site. An earlier report states that a large number of squared Stones being found in the river.
Recent work by the Mid Tees Research Project has discredited Crawford’s theory and moved the search for Cade’s crossing eastwards to a bend in the Tees close to Newsham, where at least three separate river crossings once existed.
The modern road leads to the bridge over the Tees at Low Dinsdale. The bridge was originally built in 1850 by the Surtees family and operated as a toll bridge. In 1955 the bridge was taken over by the North Riding County Council and the original trussed iron beams were replaced with steel beams rolled at the Cargo Fleet Iron Works, a concrete deck was cast then over the beams. The bridge was further upgraded in 1993.
In the churchyard of St John the Baptist at Low Dinsdale is the lower portion of an eleventh century cross shaft. The shaft is carved on all four faces but quite weathered. There are other carved stones within the church but this church is always locked when I visit.
Bridges over the Tees. The Cleveland Industrial Archaeologist. Research report No. 7 C. H. Morris. 2000
I’ve been exploring this moor for many years.
The Kopstone, gatekeeper of the moor. Looking towards Shap with the Howgills in the distance. The low escarpment on the upper left of the picture is Knipe Scar with its limestone stone circle, part of a chain of at least a dozen intervisible prehistoric monuments in the Lowther valley from Oddendale in the south to the Leacet circle in the north.
There is a loose alignment of monuments running across the moor, walking between this large pair of stones leads you towards the cairn circle known as Moor Divock 4
Stan Beckensall believes that the roughly circular area, below the arrow in the picture, is an eroded cup and ring motif. I have stared at this stone many times and in many lights, the eye of faith is required.
Moving west, this embanked alignment of large upright stones has previously been interpreted as the remains of a circle.
Continuing west, an avenue of small, paired stones leads you across the moor towards the White Raise Cairn
Arriving at White Raise the western landscape opens out, the builders of the mound chose well when they selected this spot. The large white limestone block in the centre of the picture is thought to have served as a cover for the cist.
Onwards across the moor following the route of the Roman Road which deviates towards the circle indicating that this route existed long before the Romans arrived on our shores
When the Bronze Age people erected the monuments on the moor, the Cockpit may have already been regarded as an ancient monument.
The Cockpit was probably the first stone circle I ever visited.
Looking west across the moor from the Cockpit to White Raise and the Pennines beyond. Thinking about the journey home.
The Prehistoric Remains on Moordivock near Ullswater by M. Waistell Taylor. TCWAAS 001. 1886
The Stone Circles of Cumbria by John Waterhouse. Phillimore & Co. 1985
Map extract Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland
Excursion – A movement of something along a path or through an angle
This is an amazing collection of monuments, all of them excessive in size. There is a colossal earthwork enclosure with four entrances; the largest stone circle in western Europe surrounding the remains of the fifth and seventh biggest rings; and the remnants of two Coves, a holed stone and two avenues. Aubrey Burl. 1995
Even the most Gothic of poetry could not evoke the impact that this colossus has upon any mind sensitive to the lingerings of prehistory…As long ago as 1289 the earthwork was called Waleditch, Old English weala-dic, ‘the dyke of the Britons’. Aubrey Burl. 2000
The monument we see today was excavated and reconstructed by Alexander Keiller during the late 1930’s. A number of the stones, including the one pictured above, were reassembled using the remaining fragments.
I once took a holiday in Avebury, staying in the Keiller Room at the Red Lion pub allowed me to spend a couple of chilly November evenings and frosty mornings walking alone amongst the stones. I recently returned, sadly the Red Lion no longer takes guests.
The stones and the surrounding landscape have informed the work of Barbara Hepworth, John Piper, Paul Nash and many other artists.
The church, unlike the pub, sits outside of the henge. When siting the original church, it must have seemed futile to try and christianise a pagan monument of such magnitude. The Saxon baptismal font is thought to depict a bishop trampling on a pair of dragons.
Many of the stones were thrown down and buried by christians during the fourteenth century. The stones were once again attacked during the mid-seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, many stones were smashed for buildings.
Herepath, the power of the name compelled me to walk along it to the Ridgeway.
At home, on the North York moors, my eyes are often cast downwards onto the margins of the path looking for flints. Here the track is made of flint, I felt quite overwhelmed.
I had set myself the challenge of finding a single, specific, stone amongst the sarsen drifts (Grey Wethers) of Fyfield Down. Julian Cope calls this area The Mother’s Jam.
Polissoir – A block of coarse stone, sometimes as an earthfast boulder or natural outcrop, used for grinding and polishing stone tools.
The bowl and grooves of the sarsen polissoir are as smooth as marble. A potential polissoir has been found built into the fabric of the nearby West Kennet Long Barrow with another incorporated into the Stone Circle at Avebury.
Singing at Delling’s Door.
The Ridgeway, one notable landscape Archaeologist believes that it may have first been established as a trackway at the end of the last ice age.
Heading south along the Ridgeway, the summit of Silbury Hill reveals itself.
Silbury Hill is the largest man made mound in Europe.
The Barrow Cemetery on Overton Hill is crossed by the remains of a Roman Road.
The Sanctuary is located where the Ridgeway meets the modern A4. The monument consisted of two concentric rings of standing stones, it was destroyed in the 18th century ‘to gain a little dirty profit’ (Wm. Stukeley 1724). Concrete posts mark the locations of the stones
The stones of the West Kennet Avenue led me back to Avebury.
A Guide to the Stone Circles of Britain Ireland & Brittany. Aubrey Burl. 1995
The Stone Circles of Britain Ireland & Brittany. Aubrey Burl. 2000