History & Folklore
Guisecliff Wood – Bronze Age Cup & Ring Rock Carving
South of Pateley Bridge, North Yorkshire
OS Map Ref SE16416356
OS Maps – Landranger 99 (Northallerton & Ripon), Explorer 298 (Nidderdale)
One of the most intriguing legacies left to us by our ancestors are the enigmatic carving of patterns and symbols which has become known as ‘Cup & Ring’ rock art. These designs created by the Neolithic and Bronze Age people that are our forbears could be as simple as a circular hollow known as a cup through to a complicated combination of cups, rings, spirals, chevrons and grooves. They are thousands of years old and no one knows their original purpose or meaning.
The interest in the rock art of the British Isles has grown over the past few years through the work of volunteers, amateur archaeologists and antiquarians and one such project is ‘The England Rock Art (ERA)’ website and database along with other websites such as The British Rock Art Blog, The Megalithic Portal and The Modern Antiquarian website these important sites are being recorded for these carvings for future generations and are now even being brought to the attention of professional archaeologists. Even though the carvings are in stone those that survive today are often much worn from both natural and human damage and will need our protection if they are to be enjoyed and learnt from in years to come. (more…)
Map Ref: SE03118604
Latitude: 54.270006N Longitude: 1.953748W
High on the bleak Burton moors above the small village of West Burton where Bishopsdale meets Wensleydale can be found the remains of an ancient settlement. Though the walls are now nothing more than rubble you can still see the layout of the huts and enclosures which made up this extensive settlement.
There are many such settlements around Wensleydale, 15 in total all situated high on the moors above what would have been the natural tree line of the wooded dales. One of these being on the moorland on ? Hill which rises on the other side of Bishopsdale opposite Pennhill where the Burton Moor settlement is and both would have been visible to each other. The Burton moor settlement is situated at 1500 feet, the open land would have allowed the inhabitants to see any danger approaching whether human or from the wild animals which would have roamed the wooded valleys. There are several springs in and around the immediate area for water and the open land would have provided grazing for livestock.
It was unseasonally warm for the time of year as the three noblemen drew up their men to form ranks next to the banks of the river Ouse, they numbered in the region of 5000. The strip of land they had chosen for the battlefield lay between the river and a beck (the local name given to a stream or watery ditch), though usually a mash the ground was firm under foot, except for the land around and beyond the beck which was still water-logged, and there they waited, though they didn’t have to wait for long.
From the south came the forces of Harold Hardraada, King of Norway who lay claim to England as the direct descendent of King Magnus of Norway who had made a pack with Harthancnut, the former King of England that if ether one of them was to die without a direct heir then the other was to become the king of both lands, but on Harthancnuts’ death the Saxon witan (council) refused to honour this agreement and so elected that Edward the Confessor should return from exile in Normandy to become King Edward I (it is while Edward was in Normandy that the William of Normandy claimed that Edward declared him his rightful heir to succeed him on his death and so the reason behind William of Normandys’ invasion merely days later), Hardraada was here to clime his birthright. Drawn up before his army was the smaller Saxon force led by the inexperienced 24 year old Edwin Earl of Marcie and his brother Morcar Earl of Northumbria aged only 20. The brothers were joined also by Waltheof son of Siward (former earl of Northumbria).
Battle of Fulford Gate in a larger map
OS Maps – Landranger 94 (Whitby & Esk Dale)
Explorer OL27 (North York Moors – Eastern Area)
Just east of the village of Grosmont located on a limestone pavement at the crest of Sleights Moor are the High Bridestones, these are not to be confused with the better known High and Low Bridestones which are a natural rock formation situated not to far away in another part of the North Yorkshire Moors.
At first glance this apparently random collection of stones is a little confusing with many now having fallen over and scattered or missing it makes for a bit of a sad site, adding to this is with what seems to be a tradition (how old a tradition is and for what purpose it have yet to discover) of people jamming coins into the cracks and crevices of the upright stone which is causing additional damage to the stone. (more…)
Surrounded by seven mountains Bergen is recognised as the unofficial capital of south-western Norway and the countries second largest city after the capital Oslo. Bergen is the administrative centre of Hordaland county and was one of the nine European cities given the award European Capital of Culture for the millennium.
Traditionally it was thought that Bergen was founded in 1070AD by king Olav Kyrre son of Harald Hardråde who’s death at the battle of Stamford Bridge (North Yorkshire, England) fighting against Harold Godwinson in 1066AD is seen as the end of the Viking Age. Modern research though has revealed that a trading settlement was already established in the 1020’s. In 1277 Bergen replaced Trondheim as Norway’s capital until Oslo took over as capital in 1299.
It was toward the end of the 13th century that Bergen began establishing itself as a major trade centre especially in dried cod when it became one of the Hanseatic Leagues most important bureau cities. The Henseatic merchants lived in their own separate quarter where their own laws were enforced rather than the local Bergen laws. Many of the old buildings from this Hanseatic quarter can still be seen and make up the old quayside called Bryggen and is on the UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites.
Hawkstone is probably one of the most spectacular and breathtaking parks and follies Britain has to offer and without a doubt one of my personal favourites. I have many a fond memory attending historical re-enactment events here.
Situated off a country road that runs between Weston on the A49 and Hodnet on the A442, the site and it’s surrounding area has such a wealth of history along with a mix of myth, legend and folklore that you could fill a book let alone a blog post. I am considering developing a whole page dedicated to the site. That at least will be a good excuse for some more visits :-). For the moment thou I’ll try and keep it short and sweet (kept a look out for future posts or pages).
The other weekend I proudly attended my brother’s wedding as his best-man, the venue for this happy occasion turned out to be one of the most beautiful old building I’ve ever had the pleasure to stay in.
Hidden within the maze of country lanes in the Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales can be found Plas Llanmihangel a mediaeval mansion sat atop a small hill and overlooking the 13th century church of St Michael and all Angels Church, Lianmihangel is the village that the house is situated and Plas is the welsh word for mansion. The current owner David and Sue Beers have spent the last 24 years lovingly restoring the building and now run it as arguably one of Wale’s if not the UK’s most interesting bed and breakfast establishments.
On the edge of the beautiful North Yorkshire Moors just off the road running between Cropton and Newton-on-Rawcliff and approximately 10min (4miles) drive north of Pickering is probably the most famous Roman site on the moors. Cawthorn Roman military complex dates from around the late 1st century CE and early 2nd century CE.
This site forms part of a network of sites across the moors and coastline such as the forts at Malton (DERVENTIO) and Lease Rigg, two villas and five coastal signal stations of which the best preserved example can be found inside the grounds of Scarborough Castle. Cawthorn is also not far from the well known Wheeldale Roman road. Thought for many years to be a surviving section of the Roman road linking Cawthorn with some of these sites, many historians now believe it to be of later construction built towards the end of the roman period.
Studford Ring is a very accessible site with access from both High Street where there is on road parking and as i did in this occasion from Ampelforth itself where there is plenty of free parking on the main street, where there can be found a rather nice pub, the White Horse. Which makes for a very civilised end to your walk.
The site of Studford Ring is a quadrangle earth work enclosure measuring some 54 yards across with an internal ditch approximately 12feet across and in places still 4 feet deep. The entrance is situated roughly along the south east edge and although threes and bushes now grow on three of the four back side the central area is free from any such vegetation and is grass covered with a number of mole hills. (more…)