Its Christmas ….

These old Christmas cards by the Swedish artist Jenny Nyström feature the Tomten and Julbocken (Yule Goat) of Nordic folklore. The little chaps are likely the origins of the Hobs and Brownies in Britain – so kindrid spirits of sorts.  The Swedish scholar, Viktor Rydberg wrote a poem called ‘Tomten’ in 1881. Here it is […]

The Brimham Noon Stone – Pillar of the Sun

“The noon-day stone, oldest of dials stands,On a sweet grassy knoll where Druid priestsMight see the varying shadow, and proclaimThe time of day.”(James Holme, 1835)   The Noon Stone is a 4 metre high rectangular block of stone standing on a low hill 1/4 of a mile to the south of Brimham Rocks, and 8 […]

Freda of Wensleydale, and the Fairy Well

  The Fairy Well is located in a field on the west side of Harmby village, 1 mile to the south-east of Leyburn in Wensleydale.   A strong spring emerges on a grassy hillside in the field, with the water flowing into an old metal trough. Tumbled dry-stone walling partly surrounds the trough, while an […]

Roseberry Topping – Odin vs Saint Oswald

  A previous post noted that the impressive peak of Roseberry Topping seems to have been regarded as a holy hill in the past.   Anciently known as Othenesberg or Odin’s Hill, this dedication, along with the possible lost shrine altars at Airy Holme, and a nearby placename suggesting a Danelaw Thing gathering location, could […]

Return to Elbolton Hill – The burial cave

  A previous post highlighted the Faerie folklore connected with Elbolton Hill, near Grassington in the Yorkshire Dales. The hill is also significant in archaeological terms as it is the location of a Neolithic burial cave. The modern OS maps mark it as Elbolton Cave, but in the past it was called the Knave Knoll […]

The Barden Fell Rocking Stone

  Barden Fell is an area of high moorland 2 miles to the north of Bolton Abbey, and 14 miles to the west of Harrogate.   After the disappointment of finding the Thornthwaite Rocking Stone had been destroyed by Victorian quarrymen, a visit to Barden Fell also failed to identify the rocking stone marked there on […]

Somewhere a little different – the Lycian Way

  The royal tombs in the hill top necropolis at Simena in southern Turkey date to around 500 bc. From these raised up sarcophagi, winged spirits carried souls to the afterlife. The archaeological remains in this region really are a wonder to behold.

Return to Hood Hill – another Hill of Odin?

  A previous post described the Altar Stone which used to stand on the top of Hood Hill near Sutton Bank, 5 miles to the east of Thirsk.   Local folklore records that the large block of stone was originally a Druid altar, which was dropped on the hill by the Devil, but unfortunately the […]

Roseberry Topping – the high altar of Odin ?

Beneath the shade the Northmen came,Fix’d on each vale a Runic name,Rear’d high their altar’s rugged stone,And gave their Gods the land they won.   The mountain like peak of Roseberry Topping is located 5 miles to the south east of Middlesborough, and forms part of the Cleveland Hills range running along the northern edge […]

Airyholme – the Hovingham Horg?

  Airyholme is located on the Howardian Hills, 1.5 miles to the south of Hovingham, and 6 miles west of Malton.   “Airyholme with Howthorpe and Baxton Howe” is the rather long winded name of a township in the Hovingham parish. The township consists of just 4 farms, and its name appears to be derived […]