Cammon Stone

Good views of Bransdale from the Cammon Stone. I haven’t been into the National Trust valley since lockdown. All volunteering for the Trust has stopped.

The Cammon Stone is considered to be one of the oldest standing stones on the moors. Probably dating from before the end of the Bronze Age1“Cammon Stone Standing Stone on Rudland Rigg 1030m NNE of Cockan Cross, Farndale West – 1019520 | Historic England.” Historicengland.org.uk, 2012, historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1019520. Accessed 31 Mar. 2021.; microliths, small worked pieces of flint have been found here2“Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology of North-East Yorkshire” Edited by D. A. Spratt. The Council for British Archaeology/North York Moors National Park. 1993. ISBN 1 872414 28 1. We can only guess if the stone was erected to mark the territories of the ancient peoples of Farndale and Bransdale, or as a way marker along the ancient route along Rudland Rigg.

There are two sets of inscriptions plus an Ordnance Survey bench mark. Post-medieval letters, now indecipherable but probably pronouncing land ownership3“Cammon Stone Standing Stone on Rudland Rigg 1030m NNE of Cockan Cross, Farndale West – 1019520 | Historic England.” Historicengland.org.uk, 2012, historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1019520. Accessed 31 Mar. 2021.. And then there’s some Hebrew characters spelling the word ‘Halleluiah’. These are thought to have been carved by William Strickland who took over the family’s Bransdale Mill in 18114“The Mill at the World’s End”. Bransdale Mill. ‌Information for Volunteers. The National Trust.. There is another Hebrew inscription in the porch of the mill. Strickland seemed to have a penchant for classical inscriptions. There are Latin and Greek ones elsewhere in the mill and on two sundials in the surrounding fields. Tom Scott Burns suggests the culprit was Emmanuel Strickland, William’s son, who was the Vicar of Ingleby in 18375Burns, Tom Scott. “The Walker’s Guide to the Cleveland Hills”. ISBN 1-85825-009-9 1993.6“The Mill at the World’s End”. Bransdale Mill. ‌Information for Volunteers. The National Trust..

Burns also gives a clue to the origin of the name ‘Cammon’, suggesting it is  derived from the Celtic ‘cam’ denoting a bank stone although I’m not sure what one of those is7Burns, Tom Scott. “The Walker’s Guide to the Cleveland Hills”. ISBN 1-85825-009-9 1993.. Incidentally the Online Etymology Dictionary gives ‘cam’ as a Celtic river name, meaning “crooked”8“Cambridge | Origin and Meaning of the Name Cambridge by Online Etymology Dictionary.” Etymonline.com, 2021, www.etymonline.com/word/Cambridge#etymonline_v_628. Accessed 31 Mar. 2021.

Another meaning of the word Cammon is an 18th-century game like hockey, and the stick that was used9“English dialect dictionary” in six volumes edited by Joseph Wright 1898. In the Scots language too, a ‘cammon’ was a crooked stick10Jamieson, John. “An Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language”. Archibald Constable and Company. 1818. Several possible roots hinting of a link yet somehow not quite.

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