The History Anorak

The History Anorak

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Who threw those stones?

Bits of Boroughbridge
They are called the Devil's Arrows and there are three of them. No-one is quite sure how many there were originally, or even what shape they were laid out in. Were they supposed to be part of a huge henge circle, or an alignment?

Devil arrow
The third stone
They are in Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire, and easy to find on the edge of town. They are quite large, coming in at 18, 22 and 22 and a half feet tall. (5.5 and around 7 metres) That last one, according to the town's website, is taller than anything you'll find at Stonehenge.

There's a lovely tale associated with them. Apparently Old Nick (you know, the fallen angel) fell out with the neighbouring manor of Aldborough for some reason and decided to hurl huge stones at the residents as a punishment. He stood on How Hill, near Fountains Abbey, to get a better reach, but his throw wasn't up to it and the stones fell short.

Current archaeological thinking is that they were probably a single row. According to 16th century reports there were once at least four stones 'set in a straight and direct line'. (William Camden, 1560).  The fourth stone is believed to have been incorporated into a bridge in the grounds of Aldborough Manor.

For more information see the Boroughbridge website.

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