Sunday, 24 October 2010

Rudston - a big rock and a connection to Scottish Clan Chiefs!

Rudston Monolith
For many years I've passed through Rudston and seen the sign directing you towards the ancient monument of Rudston Monolith but I've never stopped to have a look. So when my son asked me some questions about the monolith after seeing the sign to it we decided to go and investigate. 

The monolith stands in the village churchyard, the church having being built in this place it would appear for the same reason as the stone was placed - the commanding position. They sit on a small hill overlooking the village.

A small plaque at the base of the monolith gives some information on the monolith stating that it's nearly 26ft tall, possibly been there for over 3000 years and was at the very minimum dragged to Rudston from somewhere near Whitby. It's near 26ft height makes it the tallest standing stone in Great Britain. The plaque didn't explain why the top has been capped in lead.

However sophisticated we are as a society and despite the knowledge we have garnered we can still only ponder what the purpose of this place was and how this great lump of stone was moved. All I know is that it must have been a place of great significance to make the effort worth the while. Maybe it's connected somehow to Stonehenge as they both sit as part of a rolling chalkland landscape!

MacDonald Memorial Stone
After looking at the monolith we walked around the outside of the church and my attention was drawn to a collection of headstones in the graveyard that revealed a connection to the Scottish Islands and Clan Life. A large stone with a heraldic crest and bearing the inscription "Burying Place of MacDonald of the Isles" stood behind four headstones. Some further research on  - Wikipedia - revealed that the nearby Thorpe Hall is the seat of the Chief of the Clan Macdonald of Sleat.  It was strange to find a connection in this small Yorkshire Wolds village to a very traditional element of Scottish history. 

It was only a short visit as the rain threatened to give us a soaking but once again it reminded me that this often overlooked part of Yorkshire has many interesting corners.

MacDonald of the Isles Headstone Inscription

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