Sunday, 28 July 2013

Linton has it's roots in Folklore and the far, distant, Prehistoric past

Linton is linked to it's prehistoric and so called pagan past by folklore and tales of dark deeds and traditions.
It is noted for black dogs, fairies, conjuring up the Devil , ceremonies , Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age remains remains .
Harry Speight writing around 1900 tells us that not far from the church 'In a field-wall bedside the road may be seen some huge glacial boulders and there is one very large one one standing alone in the adjoining field, which from one point of view bears a striking resemblance to a human visage; and a notion prevails amongst the young folk of the neighbourhood that this stone will fall on it's face when it hears the cock crow ' To read more about the folklore of the area follow the link  Northern Antiquarian to an excellent site where these stories and traditions are described in detail

Linton Parish Church - all here is not quite what it seems according to Local Folklore

The Parish Church at Linton is not all that it seems . Local folklore tells that is built on a pagan site and indeed this could be true .Saint Michaels and All Angels church dates back to the Twelfth century - one part dates from 1150.

However it is folklore that dominates the local memory around the site . In his work Upper Wharfedale , published in 1900 Harry Speight  records a more ancient practices 
'The practice at Linton was to walk seven times round the church when the doomed one would appear '
This of course being the Devil himself .

Our Ladies Well Threshfield, near Linton in Craven

The Lady Well 

The well is still known locally as a healing well with powers to strengthen weak eyes and scare off evil spirits. 

It attracted pilgrims from a wide area and still continues to draw visitors and pilgrims for a variety of reason, not least because it is a peaceful, beautiful spot hidden from the road on the path down to the river. 
It is mentioned in Holy Wells of Yorkshire Part II - Edna Whelan 
This is one of several wells situated beside the River Wharfe on its long journey from Beckermonds in Langstrothdale to its meeting with the Ouse, North of Cawood. Threshfield is near Linton-in-Craven, on the upper stretches of the Wharfe and the Well of Our Lady emerges as a clear spring of water near to Grassington Bridge. The well was looked on as a sure and certain place of safety and refuge from all supernatural visitants, as shown by a certain legend; Pam the Fiddler was a teacher at Threshfield school many years ago and as he played his fiddle to entertain his pupils a ghost would appear and stand listening to the music. After Pam's death a local man returning home late one night saw Pam on the roof of the school fighting with the local vicar and accompanied by imps. The witness sneezed, and the imps and Pam's ghost chased him; he took refuge in the shelter of the well where he stayed till cock-crow, safe from attack. This story was told to me by Robert Greenwood, a farmer's son who was born and still lives in the area, and attended the school in the 1970s. In the early 1900's the local youth made good use of the properties of the waters of the well. Those who were 'held by Cupids Chain' drank from the well to find ' fresh inspirations from the copious drafts of the cooling waters'  (Arthur Millar Yorkshire Notes and Queries )

The well formerly attracted pilgrims from far and near, its waters being famed for their healing properties for many ailments. Now it is still in good condition and attracts visitors out of curiosity. In the early 1900s it was used by the youth of the district who 'being held by Cupid's Chain seemed to gain fresh inspirations from copious draughts of the cooling waters' [Arthur Millar, Yorkshire Notes & Queries]. Could 'Pam' derive from Pan?

Os Reference   SD 998638
Last week we visited Linton near Grassington. As we turned off the main road near here

we spotted Ladywell Cottage a small house which may date back as far as the early seventeenth century . One of the many interesting features of the Grade II Listed building is the roof which was constructed using  Welsh slate  .

The house stands near a well which is said to be a healing well dedicated to The Virgin Mary . The path to the well is to the right of the house and is situated near the river .
                           Path to the Lady Well
Details of this lovely listed building can be found here at the British Listed Buildings page

Why North Yorkshire is a Land of Enchantment

Some time ago we decided to begin a Facebook page  dedicated to the archaeology, history , landscape and folklore of North Yorkshire,   . We called it North Yorkshire Land of Enchantment for a very good reason - simply because it is a beautiful land and is much under-represented in terms of what it has to offer the tourist, historian , archaeologist and traveler .
We, Geoff and Gill  had shared many interests and begun to explore before this idea began to grow in our minds .
The logical way forward was to record, photograph and write about what we saw , people we met on the way  and our feelings on our experiences as we continue to discover the land that is North Yorkshire .
We hope the  Facebook page and especially this blog will attract many people and that they will accompany us on the journey around North Yorkshire , it's archaeology, history, hidden history, landscape'folklore and people past and present . Come and join us at