Monday, 18 November 2013


Petrified  stone

The Dropping Well at Knaresborough in North Yorkshire is a unique geological phenomenon.   Situated at the side of the River Nidd close to Mother Shipton’s cave. The cascading water drips from the overhanging edge of the well onto everyday porous objects, which over a period of time are turned to stone.   Items such as gloves, shoes, hats, teddy bears and the like are hung up for tourists to see them being petrified by the limestone content of the water.   Such items are usually on sale at the souvenir shop.

The Dropping Well
This is the Dropping Well adjacent to Old Mother Shipton's cave on the southwestern bank of the River Nidd in Knaresborough. This famous well petrifies (i.e. turns to stone) items that are hung underneath it. The calcite in the water being deposited on the suspended article in a surprisingly (and unusually) short time. The effect is particularly quick for porous objects (such as teddy bears) but considerably slower for such things as firemen's helmets, though even these will succumb eventually. The two hemispherical bumps higher up the fall were two hats left well over a hundred years ago - and never collected ! Various petrified examples are to be found in the little museum at the southern end of the park, mostly things left by famous people. Visitors used to be able to leave their own items to be petrified, but demand was such that this facility has had to be - er - suspended !

Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Rob Farrow and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons
I am grateful to Rob Farrow for the use of his Geograph photograph and text.
© Copyright Chris Gunns and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
I am grateful to Chris Gunns for the use of his Geograph photograph.




A slate quarry

Delabole  slate  quarry  in Cornwall,  11/2 miles in circumference and 500 feet deep, is the largest man made hole in Britain.   Quarrying has been carried out here for some 600 years and once employed 500 men.
Delabole Quarry
The Falling Stone
On a Sunday in December 1795, a stone weighing 56 pounds fell from the atmosphere and hit the earth a few hundred yards from Wold Cottage just on the outskirts of the tiny Wolds village of Wold Newton in East Yorkshire. It caused an indenture about a yard across and 19 inches deep.
The meteorite is now preserved in the Natural History Museum in London.
A stone pillar marks the exact spot and an inscription tells the story:
Here on this spot
December 13th 1795, fell from the atmosphere
An extraordinary stone!
In breadth 28 inches. In length 30 inches.
And the weight of which was fifty-six pounds!
This column erected by
Edward Topham
1799 ’
The Falling Stone pillar
The Stone of Scone
The Stone of Scone, also known as the Stone of Destiny or Coronation Stone, is an oblong block of red sandstone 26” x 16” x 10 1/2” with 2 iron rings on the top face for ease of transportation.  Historically it was kept at Scone Abbey near Perth in  Scotland and used for centuries as the coronation seat for Scottish Monarchs, certainly since the time of Kenneth McAlpin in 847.  Tradition has it that the stone was originally Jacob’s pillow stone and after being transported to Ireland, it was probably used as a travelling altar by St Columba before ending up at Scone.
In 1296, Edward 1 removed the stone to Westminster Abbey where it was fitted to St Edward’s coronation chair and used in coronations since that time.
In 1950, four Scottish students removed the stone and subsequently returned it to Scotland in a damaged condition.  It was repaired and in 1951 was traced the Arbroath Abbey in Scotland and returned to Westminster. 
In 1996, the British Government decided that the stone should be kept in Scotland when not required for coronations and it was transported to Edinburgh Castle where it is now on display with the rest of the Scottish regalia.
A replica of the stone is on display on Moot Hill at Scone Palace.
Proclamation stone

A well worn stone situated outside the Town Hall at Kendal in Cumbria known locally as the Ca Steean has been used to make proclamations for at least three centuries.     It was originally part of the old market cross.




Plague  stone's

In the 17th century fear of spreading the plague was very real and many precautions were taken to stop the spread of this horrific disease.  Quite often trades people would actually refuse to enter a  community where there was any suspicion of the plague being present, and would  leave goods on the outskirts.  Many places had a plaque stone near the boundary, which had a hollow on top containing vinegar.  Local people left money in the vinegar as payment for goods, to prevent any contamination.    A good example of such a stone can be seen on the eastern outskirts of Ackworth near Wakefield in West Yorkshire.

Ackworth plague stone 


Another one is preserved at the south east end of Devil’s Bridge at Kirkby Lonsdale in Cumbria. An inscription thereon reads : ‘Fear God Honor the King 1633.’

 Kirkby Lonsdale

A third stone is preserved in the entrance to Kirkstall Abbey Museum, Abbey Road. Leeds.  In the mid 17th century the Plague swept through Leeds killing a fifth of the population. This Plague Stone was originally sited in Chapeltown Road near to Reginald Terrace on the northern outskirts of the city and remained there until 1910.

The Sanctuary Cross
In the middles ages penalties for crime were very severe and people were executed for relatively minor offences, often without any fair trial. The right to sanctuary in the church was a sure way for fugitives to prove their innocence and many churches were granted sanctity rights. Some sanctuary towns had sanctuary crosses at their boundaries whilst many churches had a sanctuary ring on their door. Once the fugitive reached the sanctity of a particular church they were required to surrender any weapons and to swear an oath to the church. The fugitive could then remain in that sanctity for a set period of time during the church authorities would examine the case in an effort to resolve it. The right to sanctuary was curtailed by Henry V111 and was abolished completely by James 1.

The tiny City of Ripon was granted a charter in 886 by King Alfred the Great and became a sanctuary town known as The Liberty of Ripon. In the 13th century there were five Sanctuary Crosses around the town, each one placed just 1 mile from the cathedral. The last remaining of these crosses, Sharow Cross, can be seen at the junction of Sharow Lane and Dishforth Road in the village of Sharow just one mile from the cathedral, marking the southern limits of the sanctuary. This cross is now in the care of the National Trust. 




The Ell Stone


The Scottish ‘ell’ was a measurement equivelent to 37 inches. It was very important in the Scottish market place that this measurement was strictly adhered to and officials made every endeavour to ensure that it was. The Cathedral graveyard at Dornoch in Northern Scotland, once part of the market place, preserves a curious flat stone just 37” long which was formerly used for measuring cloth on sale in the market.





Boundary Stone


Although this stone is inscribed St Michael’s Well it is not over the well.
The northern boundary of Dornoch in Northern Scotland is at a point called St Michael’s Well but this stone does not mark the true boundary.
The stone was put in this position, a short distance north of the well, in 1832 by one George Gunn who was land factor to the Duke of Sutherland. Gunn had an ulterior motive for his action because a new law declared that only those living within 7 miles of the Burgh boundary could vote in the local elections. Unfortunately George’s home was at Rhives near Golspie just outside the 7 miles limit, so he had the stone hewn, inscribed and erected within the 7 miles and thus he retained his right to vote.  

 Dornoch boundary stone









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