LAY OF THE LAND

The Fairy Stones – Burdale

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   The Fairy Stones are located in a valley at Burdale, 3 mile to the north of Fridaythorpe in East Yorkshire.

  The Fairy Stones are a group of large rocks sitting high up on the valley side. The valley itself is called Fairy Dale, and the Fairy Stones are the only visible rocks in that part of the valley. The stones are pieces of a weathered outcrop of a Breccia type rock, made up of chalk, limestone, and flint fragments, fused together.

  The fairy name of the stones and the dale point to this location being connected with the fairy folk in the past, however, any folklore about them appears to have been lost. The Fairy Stones name does appear on the first edition OS map (1854), and in his ‘East Yorkshire Folklore‘ John Nicholson notes that …

“The superstitious among men, in order to see their future love, would hie them to the fairy stones, at Burdale, and there, with the full moon brightly shining, at midnight, would see the one who should be all the world to them.” (Nicholson, 1890)

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Nothing new under the sun

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Argentina 35,000 BC                                                 Turkey 2023

  I was struck by the hand prints (above right) on a recent visit to Saklikent Gorge in southern Turkey. Visitors to the gorge have dipped their hands in muddy silt, and pressed them onto the rock face – leaving their mark at this impressive natural feature. Perhaps it was the location, but for some reason i found the hand prints fascinating, and they somehow resonated strongly with the images of ancient hand prints dating back tens of thousands of years. (above left).

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The Nafferton Fairy Stone (site of) – Driffield

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Nafferton Slack (east side)

  The Nafferton Fairy Stone originally stood alongside the road between Nafferton village and Driffield in East Yorkshire.

 In his book ‘East Yorkshire Folklore’, John Nicholson records …

About half way down the hill forming the eastern slope of Nafferton Slack, by the road-side, to prevent waggons leaving the roadway, stood a large stone, which was believed to have wonderful powers. At night, at certain seasons, it glowed like fire, sometimes it seemed but the portal of a well-lighted hall ; and one old stone-breaker declared he had heard wonderful music issuing therefrom, the like of which he had never heard before ; while on one occasion he had seen troops of gaily-dressed elfins repairing thither, some on foot and some in carriages, and they all went into this mysterious hall. The old man is dead, the stone is gone, and the fairies have departed.” (Nicholson, 1890).

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The Ancient City of Myra – Turkey

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  The ruins of the ancient city of Myra are located in Demre, a town 60 miles south west of Antalya in southern Turkey.

  Around 2000 years ago Myra was one of the main cities in the state of Lycia in the Anatolia region of Turkey. The city later came under Greek and then Roman control, and ongoing excavations are revealing a glimpse of Myra as a culturally rich city.

  The city was already well established before 500 BC, when a Necropolis was built on the hillside above Myra. Elaborate tombs were carved into the rock, some in the form of temple facades, while others resemble the wooden fronts of Lycian houses. Carved figures of humans and animals are also present around the tombs entrances.

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The Barghest of Busky Dike Lane – Fewston

Busky-Dyke, the Busky-Dyke,
Ah! tread its path with care,
With silent step haste through its shade,
For “Bargest” wanders there!

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Barghest Black Dog (Artist -Jaime Sidor)

  In his ‘Yorkshire Legends and Traditions‘ (written in the late 1800’s) the Rev Thomas Parkinson mentions the Barghest of Busky Dike Lane – just to the west of Fewston village, 7 miles to the west of Harrogate.

  The Barghest was a supernatural creature capable of assuming different forms, but often appearing as a very large and menacing black dog with glowing eyes. The rev. Parkinson had spent his childhood at Crag Hall near Fewston, so he would have heard tales of local ghosts and spirits, but by the time he came to publish his book in 1888, the tradition of the Fewston Barghest had faded, and the area changed dramatically with the building of a reservoir in the Washburn valley.

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The Lay of the Land

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