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  • Archived Weblog Entry - 03/18/2004: "Lilla Cross"
    later canonised as St Paulinus she prayed that Edwin would be converted but it was an incident in 616 on Fylingdales moor close to the site of the Ballistic Missile Warning Station that changed his mind An assassin was sent by the king of the West Saxons to murder Edwin he was to do so with a poisoned sword Edwin s chief minister a Christian called Lilla was with the King at the time and as the blow was struck Lilla leapt between his King and the sword and died instead of his sovereign Edwin was so impressed by the selfless devotion of his minister that he buried Lilla along with some gold and silver artefacts at the place which now bears his name Lilla Howe It also supports a famous stone memorial cross called Lilla Cross One of our oldest Christian relics it stands literally within the shadows of the 20th century Fylingdales Ballistic Missile Early Warning Station a remarkable contrast between the ancient and the modern That incident led to the foundation of one of Europe s most impressive churches Edwin allowed his baby daughter and eleven members of his household to be baptized into the Church at

    Original URL path: http://www.nicholasrhea.co.uk/author/archives/00000018.html (2016-02-17)
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  • Archived Weblog Entry - 02/17/2004: "Beggar's Bridge"
    he Tom became wealthy Richardson agreed perhaps thinking it would never happen If you visit the bridge which is very close to Glaisdale Railway Station and almost hidden between a road bridge and a rail bridge you ll see a headstone in the parapet A careful examination of that stone will reveal the initials T F and the date 1619 the date he completed the bridge The romance of the story tells how the youthful Tom wary of Richardson s antagonism visited Agnes in secret walking from Egton to Glaisdale for their trysts This meant crossing the River Esk near the bottom of Limber Hill and the story says that when Tom received his orders to join the English fleet he went to inform Agnes but could not get across the river because it was in flood Thus he departed without even a goodbye kiss She waited and so the story goes he returned as a rich man whereupon he decided to build a bridge so that future lovers could cross in safety This enduring tale is a wonderful mixture of fact and fiction Tom Ferris did exist probably being born at Lastingham and his name is spelt in other ways eg Ferries Ferres or Firris Agnes existed too as did her father Aged 14 Tom was apprenticed to a Hull shipowner and spent some off duty time with relations at Egton meeting Agnes at a fair perhaps at Whitby Tom sailed from Whitby on May 8 1588 after which he served with Sir Francis Drake as he beat the Spanish Armada only ten days later then sailing to the West Indies where he engaged in piracy On a captured vessel he returned to London in 1592 still aged only 24 sold the ship and went to Glaisdale as a wealthy man to claim the hand of Agnes Richardson The couple then went to Hull where Ferris established a thriving shipping business becoming sheriff in 1614 lord mayor in 1620 and three times warden of Trinity House He died in 1630 aged 62 and Holy Trinity Church in Hull contains a memorial to him He gave money to Lastingham church for a re roofing project and built a school there then in his will he bequeathed money to Glaisdale church at the time a chapel of Danby parish together with an annual payment to the vicar Agnes died in 1618 it was a year later that Ferris decided to build his bridge at Glaisdale and so instead of being a romantic gesture to enable lovers to cross the flooded Esk the bridge may have been a memorial to her It was completed in 1619 but in fact Ferris remarried in 1620 There is just a possibility however that this was not the first bridge to cross the Esk at that point There is a very similar bridge higher up the river spanning the Esk below Danby Castle This is now known as Duck s Bridge in honour of George Duck

    Original URL path: http://www.nicholasrhea.co.uk/author/archives/00000017.html (2016-02-17)
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  • Archived Weblog Entry - 01/06/2004: "Twelfth Night"
    can recall it being conducted for some years after the end of the second World War I refer to the ancient practice of bowing to the new moon and turning over any silver coins in one s pocket This was considered a probable means of doubling one s money or at the least substantially increasing one s wealth It was long thought that the custom of bowing to the new moon would double the money in one s pocket provided any silver coins were turned over during the bowing operation People would therefore make sure they completed both elements but one condition was that the new moon should not be viewed through glass To see it through a window or any other glass object was regarded as unfortunate while the most effective way was to catch sight of the new moon over one s right shoulder whilst out of doors This occasion was also thought ideal to begin any new enterprise or venture and a further bonus was that any child born on the day of a new moon was likely to have a long happy and prosperous life It was not considered a good day to become ill however the belief being that the illness would persist for a long period with a lot of discomfort The new moon continues to produce a good deal of weather lore One is that if the new moon is in the far north we shall suffer cold weather for two weeks but if it is in the south then milder weather can be expected In some areas a new moon in the south indicates dry weather which can survive for a long as a month The points of a new moon are said to tell us a lot If the tips of

    Original URL path: http://www.nicholasrhea.co.uk/author/archives/00000016.html (2016-02-17)
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  • Archived Weblog Entry - 11/27/2003: "Curfew bells"
    rapidly In resurrecting this law William also ruled that no lights should show within a household after the curfew bell but this was relaxed in 1103 by Henry I who said that lights eg candles could show even though the household fire had to be extinguished As time passed the ringing of the curfew bell each night at 8pm was utilised for other purposes Both Edward I and Edward III made laws which said no one carrying arms should be on the streets after the curfew bell this may have been the first time the curfew bell was utilised in an attempt to maintain public order and reduce crime There is no doubt it became widely used as a means of keeping the peace with the result that the word curfew came to have another meaning Today we associate the term not necessarily accompanied by the sound of a bell as a period during which someone must remain indoors for a specified period as a mean of ensuring they do not break the law The period of the curfew is often during the night say between 8pm and 6am but not necessarily so It can even extend to several days or relate to particular dates and the system was often used in wartime Today the curfew bell continues to be sounded in several towns and villages across England but it demands no particular action from us It is merely symbolic being the continuation of a long established custom Nonetheless the curfew system not necessarily aided by the sound of a bell has been utilised for some interesting purposes In 1918 for example the British Board of Trade was anxious to ensure the people economised on fuel such as electricity and coal and so it introduced a Curfew Order This said

    Original URL path: http://www.nicholasrhea.co.uk/author/archives/00000015.html (2016-02-17)
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  • Archived Weblog Entry - 10/29/2003: "Hallowe'en"
    the nineteenth century but these have now been transferred to November 5 with Yorkshire born Guy Fawkes being the modern reason for lighting them When Christianity came to Britain the day was utilised as the time for remembering our own dead the term all hallows meaning all saints It is the eve of All Hallows which in turn means the following day is All Hallows Day or All Saints Day In this case the term saint does not necessarily refer to one who has been canonised by the Pope but it means the deceased relatives of everyone and the occasion was usually a day for celebration rather than gloom Games were played both in the houses and around the villages one of the most popular being dipping for apples In Cornwall this was known as Allantide In all cases whether in Cornwall or elsewhere apples were floated in a barrel of water and they had to be lifted out by the teeth of the players with the players hands behind their backs Nuts were also used by rural girls to divine the name of their future husband the nuts were marked with the names of possible couples and placed near a fire If the nuts spat away due to the heat they were examined to see whose names they bore Those people were rejected on the grounds they would be incompatible the names of anyone left close to the fire were considered much a much better prospect on the grounds they would be peaceful and tranquil in marriage A snail was also used to divine one s future spouse it was placed in a closed dish overnight and the marks it made were supposed to be the initials of one s future spouse In Whitby however love sick youngsters climbed

    Original URL path: http://www.nicholasrhea.co.uk/author/archives/00000014.html (2016-02-17)
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  • Archived Weblog Entry - 10/09/2003: "A Walk fromStaithes to Skinningrove"
    s alum works was very similar to those near his home He realised the clay of both regions was similar too and this led him to examine the possibility that the Cleveland Hills might be a source of this valuable chemical And so it proved In opening his mine at Belman Bank Sir Thomas effectively set himself up in competition with the Pope who was exporting alum to England at 52 for a ton while Sir Thomas could produce it for a mere 11 per ton Not only that one of the enduring tales of his early endeavours was that Sir Thomas desperately needed skilled workers to both mine the alum and teach others their skills and so he bribed some of the Pope s workers to come to England smuggling them secretly out of Italy in large casks Needless to say he was not very popular with the pontiff This discovery led to a boom as workers flocked to the area and more alum was discovered both in the moors and along the cliffs with two of the largest mines being established in 1615 on the cliffs both at Boulby and to the north of Loftus The industry continued until technological advances in the 1870 s made it uneconomic and the industry collapsed As I passed these long deserted sites on my walk I paused to look down at the curious smooth covering many feet below and the sad remnants of industrial buildings It is difficult to imagine how men managed to work on such a site and in undoubtedly dreadful conditions The area is remote and in winter the weather can be bitterly cold and wet there would be little shelter from the North Sea gales And how did they get all their equipment down the steep cliffs

    Original URL path: http://www.nicholasrhea.co.uk/author/archives/00000013.html (2016-02-17)
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  • Archived Weblog Entry - 09/16/2003: "Michaelmas"
    an old beacon turret where so the legend says newly married couples should sit and the first to actually sit down will then gain supremacy in the home There is also a rock here which is known as St Michael s Chair In England before the Reformation as in churches throughout the world mass was said on this day in honour of St Michael hence the name Michaelmas Day but in rural England there were other events and celebrations Some of these were in the form of fairs or livestock sales often with the hiring of workers occurring at the same time In most cases though hiring fairs were held later in the year at Martinmas the feast of St Martin of Tours on November 11 with the Michaelmas fairs being more of a holiday One of these was the famous Nottingham Goose Fair which is now held on October 3 nonetheless in some areas Michaelmas Day continues to be known as Goose Day and for a long time goose fairs and sheep sales were held on this day in various parts of England The association with geese arises because Queen Elizabeth I was eating goose on this day when she received news of the defeat of the Spanish Armada at the celebratory meal which followed the victory goose was eaten and thus it became customary to eat goose on Michaelmas Day This goose feast continued for centuries afterwards even if the original reason had been forgotten Indeed lots of landlords used to hold goose feasts for their tenants on this day because Michaelmas Day was one of the quarter days when rents were due Among the other curious customs of Michaelmas Day three were associated with wild fruit Rose hips were picked in some parts of Yorkshire and made

    Original URL path: http://www.nicholasrhea.co.uk/author/archives/00000012.html (2016-02-17)
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  • Archived Weblog Entry - 06/19/2003: "Summer"
    official English summer is of very short duration It s an old joke that the English summer is a mere six days long Tuesday mid summer day is also the feast of St John the Baptist and across the continent there are lots of weather sayings which relate to his special day One is that if it rains on the eve of St John s Day we should not expect a good crop of hazel nuts while a German saying advises us that we should not pay too much attention to the crops before St John s Day Even if they look good before June 24 they might not mature into anything worthwhile What the old piece of wisdom is saying is that a lot can happen between now and the maturity of the crops Some ancient forecasters always said we should pray for rain before the feast of St John whereas after his feast day we got it anyway Rain on June 24 however heralds a wet harvest and also means the hazelnut crop and the corn will not be particularly good although apples pears and plums should not be too adversely affected In the north east of England

    Original URL path: http://www.nicholasrhea.co.uk/author/archives/00000010.html (2016-02-17)
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web-archive-uk.com, 2016-10-28