Sunday, 20 September 2009

The Devil's Arrows

Since 1957 I have been travelling up and down the A1 which mostly follows the route of the Great Northern Road and links London with York and then Edinburgh. The Romans built the road and long straight stretches of it can still be seen, though it has recently been converted into a motorway along much of its length. When I say 'recently', I really mean that as Boroughbridge, where the Devil's Arrows can be found, was only bypassed in 1963 and now that road is superceded by a stretch of motorway.

So, I passed within yards of the Standing Stones without even knowing they were there!

They are three large stones of millstone grit which were erected somewhere around 2200 BC and so have stood as long as some of the Pyramids and belong to the same era as Stonehenge.

The largest is 22 feet 6 inches tall with about another 6 feet below ground and is over 4 feet on each side. The second is shorter and the third even shorter, though around 8. feet to a side.

As with all the standing stones and stone circles, no one really knows why people would go to the trouble of moving the stones over 6 miles from Knaresborough. The legend is that they were thrown by the Devil and aimed at Aldborough but he missed. More info here.

It's a shame that you can't see them all at once as the tallest one is on one side of a lane and the other two in a field behind high hedges. I forgot to take a reference shot to give a better view of the sizes so I've included one of Alan and Mac beside the tallest stone.

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