Donkeys do have quite dainty feet, but even so, this first snippet perhaps supports the idea the holes are a bit big for human-created rock art. But that they require supernatural explanation is interesting in itself.
Here in Northumberland [pot holes] are the hoof-marks of a devil as at Birtley, or basins formed by Queen Mab and her train for bathing in, as tradition pleasingly narrates, at Rothley. The soul has almost gone out of such legends now, but time was when they were of earnest import to mankind.
The Rev. G. R. Hall, F.S.A., has told the Birtley legend in a former Volume of these Transactions. A wandering demon, once upon a time, was unwary enough to drink at the Holy Well. But the sacred water disagreed with him like molten lead, and dashing his hoofs upon the stone he leaped a full mile from the spot. He alighted upon the rock beside the Leap Crag Pool in the North Tyne; in which deep black hole "tradition averreth he was drowned." At the Holy Well the tracks are about the size of a small donkey's, if I dare use the comparison, and consist of several pairs as if the miserable being had waxed fidgetty; beside the pool they swell to the size of an elephant's.
But if the marks are natural, the stone doesn't sound near the water? It's all rather unclear. Oh to nip up in the Van to check, it being a fine Sunday in (almost) summer.
The Birtley Halywell, or Holy Well, a chalybeate spring, issuing from the face of the sandstone cliff, amidst the ferns, harebells, heather, and other flowers that adorn its interstices, close to the romantic waterfall of the Holywell Burn, and to the curious so-called Devil's Stone, or Rock, in the near neighbourhood also of two ancient British camps, or oppida, is worthy of special mention among the medicinal wells of North Tynedale.
Though I cannot learn that any particular reverence was formerly shown to this well, which now merely trickles down the ochreous sides of the cliff, at Midsummer, yet I find that people "from far and near" used until recently to visit it on fine Sunday afternoons in summer, and itinerant vendors of refreshments from the village, which is about a mile distant, were wont to be present on the spot. Here, in close proximity, still exists the great upright, weather-worn monolith-- apparently a detached fragment split from the adjacent rock by some natural convulsion --already spoken of as the Devil's Stone. Tradition asserts this to have been, "once upon a time," the scene of a Satanic leap, the very "hoof-marks" being yet visible on its altar-like summit in the shape of what geologists would call "pot holes" -- a leap intended to result in the demon's descent at Lee Hall, on the opposite bank of the river, about half a mile distant; but the interval not having been carefully estimated, the consequence was a fall into the deepest abyss of North Tyne, just below the Countess Park Clints -- thence called the "Leap-Crag Pool," where the Satanic personage is said to have been drowned!
From Archaeologia Aeliana volume 8 (1880), in an article called 'Notes on Modern Survivals of Ancient Well-Worship in North Tynedale.." by the Rev. G. Rome Hall.
A tradition, which I first heard during the progress of our excavations, was known to a former shepherd's wife, an aged dame, who had often spoken to her family of her desire to dig into the great mound in search of "the treasure of silver" said to be secreted in this great fairy knoll, so like the Gaelic "shian" associated with the hero Ossian. Children of the cottage have since told me they had often danced upon it and heard something "rattle and jingle" beneath their feet. Strange it is that the old dame's wish had not long ago been gratified; but, deterred by superstitious feeling, the mystery of the cairn remained unrevealed.
From the 1887 Archaeologia Aeliana article "Recent explorations in ancient British barrows, containing cup-marked stones, near Birtley, North Tynedale", by the Rev. G. Rome Hall.
Another and seemingly older interpretation of the name:
Oaks of a great size, firm and sound, have been taken out of a large moss on Bewick-Moor, called King's Moss, by the road from Chillingham to Alnwick, near a noted aperture in a freestone-rock, called Catherine's cave.
Penshaw Hill is mentioned in the Mackem dialect song "The Lambton Worm" (as "Pensher Hill"), which tells the tale of the dragon:
"One Sunday morn young Lambton went
A-fishing' in the Wear;
An' catched a fish upon he's heuk,
He thowt leuk't varry queer.
But whatt'n a kind of fish it was
Young Lambton cuddent tell.
He waddn't fash te carry'd hyem,
So he hoyed it doon a well.
cho: Whisht! Lads, haad yor gobs,
An Aa'll tell ye's aall an aaful story
Whisht! Lads, haad yor gobs,
An' Aa'll tell ye 'boot the worm.
Noo Lambton felt inclined te gan
An' fight i' foreign wars.
he joined a troop o' Knights that cared
For nowther woonds nor scars,
An' off he went te Palestine
Where queer things him befel,
An' varry seun forgat aboot
The queer worm i' the well.
But the worm got fat an' growed and' growed
An' growed an aaful size;
He'd greet big teeth, a greet big gob,
An' greet big goggle eyes.
An' when at neets he craaled aboot
Te pick up bits o' news,
If he felt dry upon the road,
He milked a dozen coos.
This feorful worm wad often feed
On caalves an' lambs an' sheep,
An' swally little barins alive
When they laid doon te sleep.
An' when he'd eaten aall he cud
An' he had had he's fill,
He craaled away an' lapped he's tail
Seven times roond Pensher Hill.
The news of this myest aaful worm
An' his queer gannins on
Seun crossed the seas, gat te the ears
Ov brave and' bowld Sor John.
So hyem he cam an' catched the beast
An' cut 'im in twe haalves,
An' that seun stopped he's eatin' bairns,
An' sheep an' lambs and caalves.
So noo ye knaa hoo aall the foaks
On byeth sides ov the Wear
Lost lots o' sheep an' lots o' sleep
An' leeved i' mortal feor.
So let's hev one te brave Sor John
That kept the bairns frae harm,
Saved coos an' caalves by myekin' haalves
O' the famis Lambton Worm.
Noo lads, Aa'll haad me gob,
That's aall Aa knaa aboot the story
Ov Sor John's clivvor job
Wi' the aaful Lambton Worm."
Fitzcoraldo's story appears pretty much word for word in 'The Monthly Chronicle of North-Country Lore and Legend' for December 1889 (p 548-550). It's followed immediately by this:
We may observe that what is commonly known as Fairy Butter is a certain fungous excrescence sometimes found about the roots of old trees. After great rains, and in a particular state of putrifaction, it is reduced to a consistency which, together with its colour, makes it not unlike butter; hence its name. When met with inside houses it is reckoned lucky. Why so, we cannot tell.
The remains of a round cairn cemetery of Bronze Age date are visible on Carleigh Moor. Seven of the round cairns lie immediately north east of the nearby hillfort (NZ 09 NE 2) on sloping ground. These cairns measure 7 metres to 8 metres in diameter and stand between 0.3 metres and 1 metre high. Two of the cairns have the remains of a retaining circle. Two of the other cairns were excavated during the 19th century; a cist and its cover slab lie at the centre of one of the cairns and the second is visible as a scatter of stones with a second cist at its centre. The cemetery extends onto the lower lying ground east of the hillfort where four round cairns are visible.
Three of these form a compact group known as the 'Warrior Graves'. The three cairns are between 5 metres and 6 metres in diameter and range from 0.4 metres to 1 metre high. The fourth cairn lies 120 metres south east of this group and is 5 metres in diameter and 0.3 metres high. Scheduled.
On the north-east side of the hill, on which the camp is (NZ 09 NE 2) are some grave-mounds. Two of the largest have been excavated. The first was 32 feet in diameter and 5 feet high. A cist was found in the centre lying east-west and measuring 3' 8" by 1' 10" by 2' 3" deep. There was no trace of a burial. This cist can yet been seen with its covering slab lying nearby, on the lower ridge of the hill on the way to the camp, after the last stile on the footpath from Rothbury to Lordenshaws.
The second, 20 yards away, was 26 feet in diameter, 4 feet high, and a cist found in the centre completely filled with sand with no trace of bone, measured 2' 8" by 1' 8" by 1' 6" deep. There was a little charcoal together with two small pieces of pottery. A line of small stones may be traced from these burials leading up to the ridge towards the camp. (1)
(NZ 05749958) Cist (TI) (2)
Excavation report: Source of information in authority (1). (3)
Two small pieces of pottery in a barrow.(Present location not given.
Listed under "Urns known from literature only").
At Lordenshaws a burial mound approx 300 yards NE of the camp has on its margin a carefully packed standing stone 2' 6" high by 2' 0" by 1'6", deeply weathered. (4)
NZ 056993. Six cairns were definitely located on the NE slopes of the hill. Other vague mounds in the region appear to be heather-covered outcrop.
'A' NZ 05749958. The remains of a cairn with an apparent diameter of 7.5m and maximum height of 0.3m. In the centre is the cist mentioned by authorities 1 and 2. It measures 1.3m x 0.65m x 0.5m deep. The N, S and E sides are constructed of a single stone slab but the west end is of small stones packed together. The cover slab of the cist lies to the immediate south.
'B' NZ 05739959. About 15.0m NW of 'A' a scatter of stones on a slight natural rise is probably the remains of the second cairn referred to by authority 1. Insufficient remains for dimensions to be given. On the south side of this scatter is a three-sided cavity in the rocks measuring 0.8m x 0.5m x 0.5m deep. This may be the second cist described by authority 1, the dimensions being approximately the same. The present location of the two pieces of pottery mentioned as being found therein was not ascertained.
'C' NZ 05589942. The cairn refered to by authority 4 is 7.0m in diameter and 0.5m high with a hollow in centre. At least three stones of a retaining circle are still in situ. The standing stone
is in the SW quadrant and appears to be merely an extension of a line of stones, 20.0m to the south, evidently the remains of an old field boundary.
This boundary has similarities of construction with an enclosure approx 900.0m to the NNE which is mentioned in the 13th century.
'D' NZ 05639940. A cairn 8.0m in diameter and 0.5m high with a hollow in centre. At least five stones of a retaining circle are still in situ.
'E' NZ 05689929. An oval cairn measuring 7.0m x 5.0m x 1.0m high and oriented E-W. It appears to be intact.
'F' NZ 05889935. Cairn 5.0m diameter and 0.4m high. None of the cairns have any traces of a ditch and only 'C' and 'D' the remains of a retaining circle.
NZ 05739955 to NZ 05609939. The line of stones referred to by authority 1 can be traced for 200.0m. The stones are small (max ht above ground level 0.4m) and irregularly spaced and appear to demarcate the east side of an old trackway which appears in places as a slight hollow way. No evidence for dating. (5)
Cairns 'C' and 'D' by virtue of their proportions (see photographs), and the evidence of eristaliths must be classed with 'A' and 'B' as sepulchral, although all four fall in an area that shows signs of having been cleared for cultivation (see NZ 09 NE 9).
Similarly 'E' is a substantial and isolated cairn in a modern enclosure. 'F' is smaller than the other five, and its position on the fringe of stone clearance is suspect, but again it is a single
cairn in an area otherwise devoid of stone heaps. Surveyed at 1/2500. (For 1/2500 illust see NZ 09 NE 2). (6)
NZ 058 992 etc. Cup and ring marked rocks, stone rows, tumuli, cairns and Garleigh Hill stone circles and Lordenshaws camp, Hesleyhurst. Scheduled No ND/86. (7)
Authority 5's cairn C lies within the area surveyed by RCHME in December 1990 and is briefly described in the published account, where it is noted that it is in a conspicuous position when seen
from the lower ground to the east. (8)
Bronze Age cup marked standing stone (in situ). One face of the stone is marked with seven clear cup marks and three small pecked marks. The stone is visible on air photographs.
(NZ 04347465) The Warrior Stone (TI). Standing Stone (LB). (1)
In a field south of Sandywayhead farmhouse, Ingoe, is a standing stone about 6 ft high, known locally as 'The Warrior Stone'. Marked as "Stone" on OS 6" (sited NZ 0434 7465). (2)
A much weathered standing stone 2.0m high and 0.5m square at the base, with four distinct cup marks on its east face. See photograph. (3)
NZ 043 746. Sandyway Heads standing stone. Scheduled No ND/133. (4)
The Warrior Stone H00756 NZ 044 747
Close to Sandyway Heads in a field sloping to the south, this standing stone has seven clear cup marks on one face and three small pecked cups. (5)
A Bronze Age standing stone is visible as a structure on air photographs at NZ 0434 7465. (6)
[The previous poem's description] of the Duergar corresponds exactly with the following Northumbrian legend, with which i was lately favoured by my learned and kind friend, Mr. Surtees of Mainsforth, who has bestowed indefatigable labour upon the antiquities of the English Border counties. The subject is in itself so curious, that the length of the note will, I hope, be pardoned.
"I have only one record to offer of the appearance of our Northumbrian Duergar. My narratrix is Elizabeth Cockburn, an old wife of Offerton, in this county, whose credit, in a case of this kind, will not, I hope, be much impeached, when I add, that she is, by her dull neighbours, supposed to be occasionally insane, but, by herself, to be at those times endowed with a faculty of seeing visions, and spectral appearances, which shun the common ken.
"In the year before the great rebellion, two young men from Newcastle were sporting on the high moors above Elsdon, and after pursuing their game several hours, sat down to dine in a green glen, near one of the mountain streams. After their repast, the younger lad ran to the brook for water, and after stooping to drink, was surprised, on lifting his head again, by the appearance of a brown dwarf, who stood on a crag covered with brackens, across the burn.
This extraordinary personage did not appear to be above half the stature of a common man, but was uncommonly stout and broad-built, having the appearance of vast strength. His dress was entirely brown, the colour of the brackens, and his head covered with frizzled red hair. His countenance was expressive of the most savage ferocity, and his eyes glared like a bull.
It seems he addressed the young man first, threatening him with his vengeance, for having trespassed on his demesnes, and asking him if he knew in whose presence he stood? The youth replied, that he now supposed him to be the lord of the moors; that he offended through ignorance; and offered to bring him the game he had killed. The dwarf was a little mollified by this submission, but remarked, that nothing could be more offensive to him than such an offer, as he considered the wild animals as his subjects, and never failed to avenge their destruction. He condescended further to inform him, that he was, like himself, mortal, though of years far exceeding the lot of common humanity; and (what I should not have had an idea of) that he hoped for salvation. He never, he added, fed on anything that had life, but lived, in the summer, on whortle-berries, and in winter, on nuts and apples, of which he had great store in the woods.
Finally, he invited his new acquaintance to accompany him home, and partake his hospitality; an offer which the youth was on the point of accepting, and was just going to spring across the brook, (Which if he had done, says Elizabeth, the dwarf would certainly have torn him in pieces,) when his foot was arrested by the voice of his companion, who thought he had tarried long: and on looking round again, 'the wee brown man was fled.' The story adds, that he was imprudent enough to slight the admonition, and to sport over the moors on his way homewards: but soon after his return, he fell into a lingering disorder, and died within the year."