Little Fryup Dale

The Rev. J.C. Atkinson, writing in the late 19th-century, had a fascination for Little Fryup Dale, or rather the folklore associated with the area around the little knoll on the right, Fairy Cross Plain.

It’s might seem odd that a man of the cloth should be so preoccupied with fairies, elves and hobs but belief in the supernatural would still have been within living memory of many of his parishioners. In 1866 he wrote1‘COMPARATIVE DANISH AND NORTHUMBRIAN FOLK LORE’ (1866) The Monthly Packet of Evening Readings for Younger Members of the English Church, 1(1), 29+, available: https://link-gale-com.ezproxy.is.ed.ac.uk/apps/doc/DX1902019464/GDCS?u=ed_itw&sid=bookmark-GDCS&xid=2c4d6aee [accessed 11 Feb 2022].:

There was a singularly fine fairy-ring, at Fairy-cross Plain, in this parish — a place which will be mentioned again before long, in connection with the Elfin race — round which children, in the time of my parish clerk’s childhood, (and he is not fifty yet,) would run any number of times short of nine, himself among the number. Nothing would induce them to run the ninth, for if they did it would ‘raise the fairies,’ who were held to have great power to harm, and a willingness too, if treated neglectingly or despitefully.

Atkinson compares similar lore from Northumberland, Scotland and across the North Sea, from Sweden and Denmark.

Fairy Cross Plain now is just two or three cottages. In Atkinson’s day, one of these was a public house called the “Ship Inn”2Maps.nls.uk. (2022). View map: Yorkshire 44 (includes: Danby; Glaisdale.) – Ordnance Survey Six-inch England and Wales, 1842-1952. [online] Available at: https://maps.nls.uk/view/102344296#zoom=7&lat=8144&lon=10734&layers=BT [Accessed 11 Feb. 2022].. Job Bonas lived in another. He was a farmer, blacksmith and horse breeder, and used to drive to Helmsley by pony and trap to shoe the oxen on Lord Feversham’s estate3Hartley, Marie and Joan Ingilby. “Life and Tradition on The Moorlands of North-East Yorkshire”. Page 114. J.M. Dent & Son ISBN 1 870071 54 9 1972..

  • 1
    ‘COMPARATIVE DANISH AND NORTHUMBRIAN FOLK LORE’ (1866) The Monthly Packet of Evening Readings for Younger Members of the English Church, 1(1), 29+, available: https://link-gale-com.ezproxy.is.ed.ac.uk/apps/doc/DX1902019464/GDCS?u=ed_itw&sid=bookmark-GDCS&xid=2c4d6aee [accessed 11 Feb 2022].
  • 2
    Maps.nls.uk. (2022). View map: Yorkshire 44 (includes: Danby; Glaisdale.) – Ordnance Survey Six-inch England and Wales, 1842-1952. [online] Available at: https://maps.nls.uk/view/102344296#zoom=7&lat=8144&lon=10734&layers=BT [Accessed 11 Feb. 2022].
  • 3
    Hartley, Marie and Joan Ingilby. “Life and Tradition on The Moorlands of North-East Yorkshire”. Page 114. J.M. Dent & Son ISBN 1 870071 54 9 1972.

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