Legendary Rock: OS Grid Reference – SE 503 812
From Kilburn village, take the north road up past the church for about 300 yards, bearing up the track on your left and walk up into the wooded hill a mile ahead of you. It’s in there!
In this region there’s a teeming cluster of druid, fairy, devil and spook-lore, along with numerous prehistoric remains. Not sure this site has such an archaic pedigree, though the creation myth told of this rock (marked on the 1st edition OS-map as an antiquity) seems to imply as such. Our old devil disguided himself as a druid many moons ago in an attempt to gain favour with the old priests, but was discovered in his plans and so, in anger, flew out across the hills carrying a great stone with him which he dropped from the skies and it landed where the Hood Hill Stone still remains. Also in anger he jumped down and stood on the great rock, and in doing so left his footprint impressed upon the stone. (There’s the possibility this is an unrecognised cup-marking – having not been here I can’t say misself). Edmund Bogg (1906) also tells us that,
“The monk’s hood-like configuration of the crest is said to have originated its name. The busy tongue of tradition, however, says that the name commemorated Robin Hood who, with his merry men, affected the hill-fastnesses hereabouts; but the hill was named ‘Hode’ long, long before the famous Robin came this way at all.”
The same writer also told how,
“legend, too, has it that the happy valley just north of Hood Hill…was a secluded and sacred retreat of the druids, and at the introduction of christianity into these parts, a great assembly gathered to consider which of the two religions should in future be adopted.”
Yet another legend – and an old one, says Bogg – is “that when the dinner-bell rang at Osgodby Hall the stone rolled down for its repast, and regularly returned to the crest after the meal.”
It’s blatantly obvious that something of antiquity this way hides. The “enclosure” shown on the modern OS-maps here could do with being looked at little closer.
Bogg, Edmund, Richmondshire and the Vale of Mowbray (volume 1), James Miles: Leeds 1906.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian