Brandy Well, Carlton, North Yorkshire

Holy Well (lost):  OS Grid Reference – NZ 52 03?

Archaeology & History

Brandy Well c.1910

Not marked on any map of the area (that I can find), this little-known possible holy well is described just once in one of Mr Blakeborough’s (1912) numerous regional history tomes.  Although he doesn’t explore the origin of the well’s name (which we find repeated at other water sources in northern Britain), the Scottish writers, Ruth & Frank Morris (1982) tell how examples of wells with this name in Scotland owe their names to the curious early christian figure of St. Brendan, whose annual saint’s day is May 16.  Whether this applies here I cannot tell.

We need some help locating the place, as it seems to have fallen off the radar.  The best I can do is give Mr Blakeborough description, who wrote of this Brandy Well:

“Speaking of superstitions reminds me of a tradition that the water in Brandy Well, half way up Carlton Bank, has most wonderful curative properties, and that a wish made here when drinking, is pretty certain to be fulfilled.  The well is by the road side and the water is no doubt just about as pure as it could possibly be, coming as it does, after much filtering through peat, straight from the hills.  There may be something more than mere superstition in the health giving properties of this water, especially in conjunction with the climb up the hill amid pine trees and the inhaling of the invigorating air.”

Its exact location is difficult to pin down.  There is no sign of any Well along the roadside between Carlton village and where the road eventually levels out on the northwest side of the hill.  It certainly isn’t the Mere Beck Spring on the south-side of the hill (is that still there and what is its history?); but there is however a ‘Spring’ shown on the early OS-maps on the east-side of the hill, along an old track at roughly NZ 52233 02357. Could this be it?  Or has the old Brandy Well been destroyed?  In an area littered with prehistoric and mythic sites, it would be good to relocate this one.

References:

  1. Blakeborough, J. Fairfax, Life in a Yorkshire Village, Yorkshire Publishing: Stockton-on-Tees 1912.
  2. Morris, Ruth & Frank, Scottish Healing Wells, Alethea: Sandy 1982.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Brandy Well

loading map - please wait...

Brandy Well 54.419790, -1.200146 Brandy Well

Cow Keeper’s Field (1), Boulby, Easington, North Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NZ 75398 19218

Also Known as:

  1. BOU-5 (Brown & Chappell)

Archaeology & History

Cup-marked stone inside Cow keepers Field tomb

Inside the once prominent prehistoric tomb on the Cow Keeper’s Field, the northern antiquarians William Hornsby and John Laverick (1920) came across two small petroglyphs in association with a cremation burial, several feet south of the central cist: the Cow Keeper’s Field 2 carving, plus this small, triangular-shaped stone, 8in by 6in, consisting of five standard cup-marks, with two of the cups (as the photo shows) connected to each other.  It is akin to the numerous ‘portable’ cup-marked stones which, in other cultures, were deposited onto cairns in remembrance of the ancestral spirits of the tomb.  Such widespread practices may also have occurred here.  Petroglyph researcher and writer Graeme Chappell (2017) informed us that the carving “is in storage in the Dorman museum in Middlesborough.”

References:

  1. Brown, Paul & Chappell, Graeme, Prehistoric Rock Art in the North York Moors, Tempus: Stroud 2005.
  2. Chappell, Graeme, Personal communication, October 4, 2017.
  3. Crawford, G.M., Bronze Age Burial Mounds in Cleveland, Cleveland County Council 1990.
  4. Elgee, Frank, Early Man in North-East Yorkshire, John Bellows: Gloucester 1930.
  5. Hornsby, William & Laverick, John D., “British Barrows round Boulby,” in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, volume 25, 1920.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian 

Cow Keepers Field CR1

loading map - please wait...

Cow Keepers Field CR1 54.562585, -0.835499 Cow Keepers Field CR1

Cow Keeper’s Field (2), Boulby, Easington, North Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NZ 75402 19222

Also Known as:

  1. BOU-5 (Brown & Chappell)

Archaeology & History

Cup-marks and linear forms

Inside the once prominent prehistoric tumulus on the Cow Keeper’s Field (now destroyed), the northern antiquarians William Hornsby and John Laverick (1920) came across two small portable petroglyphs: the Cow Keeper’s Field 1 carving, plus this “peculiarly marked stone” as they put it, some “5ft south of the centre” where a cist, or stone-lined burial existed.  Measuring 18in by 7in, the rock carving consists of at least one large cup-marking which is clearly evident on top of the stone, plus what seems to be another one next to it, half-covered.  Along the side of the stone, a series of twelve roughly parallel lines have been carved out, running down to the bottom of the stone.  Rock art researcher and writer Graeme Chappell (2017) tells us the carving is supposed to be “in storage in the Dorman museum in Middlesborough,” although no one has seen it in years.  It would be worthwhile if fellow research students could visit the said museum to recover this and other portable cup-marked stones that were found in the area.

References:

  1. Brown, Paul & Chappell, Graeme, Prehistoric Rock Art in the North York Moors, Tempus: Stroud 2005.
  2. Chappell, Graeme, Personal communication, October 4, 2017.
  3. Crawford, G.M., Bronze Age Burial Mounds in Cleveland, Cleveland County Council 1990.
  4. Elgee, Frank, Early Man in North-East Yorkshire, John Bellows: Gloucester 1930.
  5. Hornsby, William & Laverick, John D., “British Barrows round Boulby,” in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, volume 25, 1920.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Cow Keepers Field CR2

loading map - please wait...

Cow Keepers Field CR2 54.562620, -0.835436 Cow Keepers Field CR2

Cow Keepers Field, Boulby, Easington, North Yorkshire

Tumulus (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – NZ 75400 19220

Also Known as:

  1. Boulby Barns

Archaeology & History

This prehistoric tomb was one in a cluster of tumuli in the Boulby district, uncovered by the northern antiquarians, William Hornsby and John Laverick in 1918.   Most of them have subsequently been destroyed – this one included.  When they visited the site, they described it as “a barrow…with a diameter of 36 feet.”  Once they began digging into it,

“at the centre we found a cist, the top of which was 2ft 7in below the present surface. The cist lay north 64° west, and south 64° east.  It had no cover and the slab at the north-west end was wanting.  The cist measured: side 3ft 6in, end 3ft 2in.  Its depth was 2ft 2in.  In it we found nothing except sandstone chips.  With these there was no admixture of soil. Above the cist and covering a space of 5 ft by 5 ft there was a layer of burnt earth and black ashes (of furze bushes).  At a distance of 5 ft south of the centre, and 1ft 10in below the present surface, there was a burnt burial, 20in in diameter.  With this we found many flint chips, a shale pendant, and the peculiarly marked stone” we’ve called, simply the Cow Keeper’s Field 2 carving.

A second cup-marked stone was also found inside the tomb, a few feet south of the cist. When G.M. Crawford went to survey the burial mound in the late 1970s, he reported “there is no trace of it” and “has probably been destroyed by ploughing.”

References:

  1. Brown, Paul & Chappell, Graeme, Prehistoric Rock Art in the North York Moors, Tempus: Stroud 2005.
  2. Crawford, G.M., Bronze Age Burial Mounds in Cleveland, Cleveland County Council 1990.
  3. Elgee, Frank, Early Man in North-East Yorkshire, John Bellows: Gloucester 1930.
  4. Hornsby, William & Laverick, John D., “British Barrows round Boulby,” in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, volume 25, 1920.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian 

Cow Keepers Field tumulus

loading map - please wait...

Cow Keepers Field tumulus 54.562603, -0.835468 Cow Keepers Field tumulus

The Falls (1), Boulby, Easington, North Yorkshire

Cairn:  OS Grid Reference – NZ 74954 19429

Also Known as:

  1. Rockcliff Beacon

Archaeology & History

Tumulus on 1920 map

Occupying a prominent position above the ever-closer North Sea, upon which an old beacon was subsequently placed, this denuded prehistoric tomb was first surveyed by the Ordnance Survey lads in 1913, and subsequently in an essay by Messers Hornsby & Laverick (1920) on the ancient sites of Boulby, east of Easington.  This was the first one they explored, calling it ‘Mound No.1.”  They located it,

“due south of the ‘Soldier’s Garth’ in the east corner of the field called The Falls.  It was a cairn with a diameter of 50ft.  Two-and-a-half feet northwest of the centre peg, at a depth of 21 inches below the present surface, there was an unaccompanied burnt burial, which occupied a space of 15in by 18in.  In a centre cut 7ft 6in by 6ft, at a depth of 3ft 6in, we found much burnt bone and many potsherds of the Bronze Age type, scattered over the whole space of the trench, down to a further depth of 3ft 10½in.  In the south corner there were four stones set on edge and running in a direct (straight) line.  The interment had been placed upon the clay, the soil of the original surface having been cleaned off.  With this burial we found a good flint made from a polished celt and worn smooth at the point—possibly through having been used for striking fire on iron pyrites—many chips and several cupstones.”

The “several” cup-marked stones they describe at the end seem to have been lost; perhaps sleeping in some museum cellar somewhere (does anyone know?).

This cairn was one in a complex of eight that Frank Elgee (1930) suggested may have been laid out deliberately in the form of the constellation of Ursa Major, or The Plough, also known as ‘Charles Wain’.

References:

  1. Brown, Paul & Chappell, Graeme, Prehistoric Rock Art in the North York Moors, Tempus: Stroud 2005.
  2. Crawford, G.M., Bronze Age Burial Mounds in Cleveland, Cleveland County Council 1990.
  3. Elgee, Frank, Early Man in North-East Yorkshire, John Bellows: Gloucester 1930.
  4. Hornsby, William & Laverick, John D., “British Barrows round Boulby,” in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, volume 25, 1920.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian 

 

loading map - please wait...

  54.564547, -0.842310 The Falls (1) cairn

Nanny Howe, Kildale, North Yorkshire

Tumulus:  OS Grid Reference – NZ 599 103

Archaeology & History

Plan of Nanny Howe (after R.H. Hayes)

The Nanny Howe burial mound was one of a group of at least three tumuli that could be found on what is now the wooded hilltop of Coate Moor, a mile east of Great Ayton.  Large and conspicuous in previous centuries, the site was described briefly in Elgee’s (1933) archaeological survey as being in association with a prehistoric settlement, which itself appears to have long since succumbed to forestation.  An essay on the state of this apparent Bronze Age burial mound was written by Mr Hayes (1966), who told us:

“The kerb of the barrow was exposed and noticed by J.N Grayson whilst excavations were in progress on Great Ayton Moor.  S.V. Morris, A.N. Pacitto and the writer examined the site.  It was a cairn of about 30ft diameter and 3ft high in the centre, with a strong kerb of stones set on edge of 25ft diameter.  Its construction, of massive stones was similar to the chambered cairn on Great Ayton Moor, one mile to the north, and very like the food vessel-urn tumulus on Danby Rigg which also had a kerb of the same diameter…

“When the heather and turf were removed on the south-east side of Nanny Howe, a mass of cremated bones with part of the rim and side of a typical Iron Age ‘B’ jar were found only 6-9in under the turf.  This was clearly a secondary burial long after the cairn was built.  The sherd may have been a token offering, but more probably the remainder of the pot so near the surface of the mound had been eroded.  No other secondary burial was found, although almost all the cairn was removed.

“Under large boulders in the central area was a shallow pit or depression… Only minute specks of charcoal and some small burnt stones distinguished its filling  from natural sand.  It was about 3ft in diameter and not more than 9in deep… In it were the broken sherds, more than 80 in number, of a beaker… There were no signs of bones or cremation, although presumably a contracted skeleton had accompanied the beaker.  In the acid sand all bones would perish quickly… No other relics were found in the cairn.”

To which Mr Hayes and his team concluded the Nanny Howe tomb  was an example of a typical “beaker burial” as they used to like calling them, set within a ring of stones over which the cairn was piled; and long after this, seemingly the Iron Age, a secondary cremation was inserted.

Folklore

Folklore ascribed the entire settlement here to have heathen origins, with Nanny Howe also standing out with folklore of its own.  As Mr & Mrs Elgee (1933) wrote:

“Half a mile east of Captain Cook’s monument…on Easby Moor is the Devil’s Court, where, according to tradition, witches congregated under the presidency of their lord and master.  We therefore examined the Court and found what we expected, a typical moorland Bronze Age settlement site, with stone-walled enclosures, shallow pits, flint implements and many barrows, one of which is named Nanny Howe, after a famous witch, it is said, who also frequented Nanny Nook, a right-angled bend in a stone wall near Wayworth Farm, Commondale, marking another settlement site.”

Another tale of this legendary witch was narrated by folklorist and historian Richard Blakeborough in one of his many tomes, where he told:

“Again, old people of Great Ayton still aver that on a certain night a once noted witch, Nanny Howe, may be seen riding astride on a broomstick over Howe Wood just at midnight. This witch, so mounted, is said once to have chased the devil for miles — on this occasion the two must have fallen out ; perhaps at that time honest folk got their due. Howe Wood is near Kildale.”

Whatever the source of such stories, the respective archaeologists of Elgee and Hayes wondered if they derived from some pre-christian rites and events.  Hayes asked:

“Was the person interred in Nanny Howe a famous witch?  Or were the witch and the devil legends connected with the site faint echoes of ceremonials and rites held here?”

It would seem likely that the local peasant communities hereby were, thankfully, not inflicted with the empty spirituality of the christian cult when it tried taming the souls of the villagers living in and around here.  The folklore would seem to reflect simple peasant gatherings and celebrations, frowned upon by those weird clergy-folk, no doubt striving to get the local children into their more demonic pastimes…

References:

  1. Blakeborough, Richard, Wit, Character, Folklore and Customs of the North Riding of Yorkshire, W. Rapp: Saltburn 1911.
  2. Elgee, Frank & Harriet, The Archaeology of Yorkshire, 1933.
  3. Gutch, Mrs E., Examples of Printed Folklore Concerning the North Riding of Yorkshire, David Nutt: London 1899.
  4. Hayes, R.H., “Nanny Howe, Coate Moor, Cleveland,” in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, part 164, 1966.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Nanny Howe

loading map - please wait...

Nanny Howe 54.484519, -1.076942 Nanny Howe

Brotton Howe, Brotton, Cleveland, North Yorkshire

Cairn (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – NZ 6950 1886

Archaeology & History

Frank Elgee’s 1930 plan

Another old site that has sadly succumbed to that bollox called ‘progress’! It’s in the North Yorkshire region some halfwits have taken to calling Cleveland — but which a lotta local folk still correctly call Yorkshire.  But that aside…

In an article by local students William Hornsby and Richard Stanton written in 1917, we find that this was just one of at least seven hillocks presumed to be barrows here — but all the others had gone even in their day.  When Crawford (1980) came to survey the site in the late 1970s, he told that,

“this large barrow is now only visible as a low swell in an arable field… (but) the profile of the barrow is retained in the hedgeline that bisects it from north to south, but the whole of its eastern half has been obliteratd by the Brotton-Kilton road.”

Elgee’s 1930 photo of one of the carvings
E.T. Cowling’s drawing of one of the carvings

When Hornsby and Stanton checked the place out it measured 54 feet in diameter and had an extensive covering of small stones, like a large cairn, with a single grave at the centre, aligned north-south; and a tree-trunk coffin on the southwestern side.  Of the stones which filled the central grave, eight of them were found to have cup-markings on them; whilst 16 stones covering the tree-trunk grave also possessed cup-markings. Roughly equidistant between the two burials was another stone found to be resting face-down on the original ground-level, and covered with 20 cups and 5 cup-and-rings!  Awesome stuff!

G.M. Crawford’s (1980) description of the site was as follows:

“Howe Hill was excavated by Hornsby and Stanton in 1914; they discovered that the mound was made up with a clay floor, overlain by ‘a cairn 30 feet long and 3 feet high’ of diorite cobbles, capped by a layer of earth. Cut into the clay floor were two graves: the first was oriented north-south and measured 2m long by 0.9m wide at the old land surface and was 0.7m deep. The grave was filled with ‘medium sized stones’ with a ‘thin dark layer,’ thought to be an inhumation burial, on the floor; 8 of the stones bore cup-marks. The second grave, oriented northeast-southwest, was 2.5m long by 0.9m wide at the old ground surface, reducing to 1.8m long by 0.5m wide at its bottom, 1.3m below. This grave, which was filled with stones, also contained a tree-trunk coffin or oak, measuring 1.5m long… At the head (northeast) were found the unburnt skull fragments of a man laid on its right side. Unaccompanied cremations had been placed at both ends of the coffin. 16 cup-marked stones were among the infill of the grave.”

This was obviously a site of considerable importance and it’s a huge pity (if not a disgrace) that today no trace of the site remains.

References:

  1. Cowling, Eric T., Rombald’s Way, William Walker: Otley 1946.
  2. Crawford, G.M., Bronze Age Burial Mounds in Cleveland, Cleveland County Council 1990.
  3. Elgee, Frank, Early Man in North-east Yorkshire, John Bellows: Gloucester 1930.
  4. Hornsby, William & Stanton, Richard, “British Barrows near Brotton,” in Yorkshire Archaeology Journal, 24, 1917.
  5. Smith, A.H., The Place-Names of the North Riding of Yorkshire, Cambridge University Press 1928.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Brotton Howe

loading map - please wait...

Brotton Howe 54.560211, -0.926777 Brotton Howe