Nafferton Slack, Driffield, East Yorkshire

Standing Stone (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – TA 040 587

Archaeology & History

Information on this stone is sparse and the grid-reference cited is a close approximation of its precise location.  And were it not for the records of Victorian folklorists, its existence may have been completely lost.  The first reference I’ve found of it is in Nicholson’s East Yorkshire (1890) survey, but I am hoping that someone, somewhere, made archaeological notes of the site (am I hoping for too much here…?)  The stone appears to have stood upon, or was very close to, the local boundary line between Nafferton and Driffield—which means there could be a record of it in any perambulation accounts of the region.

Folklore

John Nicholson (1890) told us the following intriguing bitta folklore about this stone, saying:

“About half way down the hill forming the eastern slope of Nafferton Slack, by the roadside, 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 on carriages, and they all went into this mysterious hall.  The old man is dead, the stone is gone, and the fairies have departed.”

Some twenty years later, Mrs Gutch repeated the story, but added no further details.  One wonders whether the information about a fairy hall implied the former existence of a mound or tumulus next to the old stone (a few hundred yards south, just off the same boundary line, we find the remains of the curiously named tumulus of Cheesecake Hill).  Any further info would be most welcome…

References:

  1. Gutch, Mrs E., Examples of Printed Folk-lore Concerning the East Riding of Yorkshire, David Nutt: London 1912.
  2. Nicholson, Folk-lore of East Yorkshire, Simpkin Marshall: London 1890.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Nafferton Slack stone

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Nafferton Slack stone 54.014154, -0.413440 Nafferton Slack stone

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