The Devil's Arrows

Funny how one thing leads to another...
As the evenings start to draw in, it occurred to us that the chimney would need sweeping in preparation for the autumn. When there's a chill in the air, there's nothing like a glass of wine in front of a blazing log fire to chase away the chills on an evening. So the sweep was duly summoned, and as our attention was firmly focused on the fireplace, the what if  syndrome started to kick in More specifically, the idea of getting a woodburning stove.
Largest stone at 22.5 feet
P and I are rarely on the same wavelength when it comes to home improvements. In fact, when I occasionally feel moved to initiate some DIY, there's often a deep groan from him first of all, followed by a thousand and one reasons why it's not a good idea. However, on this occasion, the more we talked about a stove, the more it seemed to both of us that it was the best idea ever!  Too good to be true, I thought, better strike while the iron's hot and get some movement on this. So we agreed to splash out on the stove, persuading ourselves even more by the fact that it seemed a much more efficient and ecological option.

Well, so far so good. However, as we mulled everything over - the installation, size of the stove etc, it led us on to the subject of the floor. Would we want it covered by the old and worn carpet, or should we bite the bullet and go for a new floor as well? A no-brainer, of course the carpet had to go. This would have been OK had the boards beneath been good enough for sanding, but a few years ago when we were underpinned, half the floor was taken up to replace boards taken out of another room. These were subsequently replaced by cheap new ones which never matched and were a good reason for covering it with carpet. I always intended to do something about the floor eventually, but the time was never right until it seems...NOW! Hallelujah, this was too good to be true, we were in complete agreement that we should lay a solid wood floor!
Next one at 22 feet
So we found ourselves driving off to a timber yard in Boroughbridge this morning to look at the many different options. By now you may be wondering where this is all leading, and I can now tell you it's a preamble to what we saw on the way. As we were approaching the site, we were admiring the pretty rolling countryside surrounding it, when suddenly I saw two enormous standing stones - the biggest I've ever seen. Although I've lived in Yorkshire for many years I'd never before seen or even heard of these stones and couldn't believe my eyes. So out came the camera and pics duly taken so that when we got back I could do some digging to find out more about them.
The two we saw in the lansdcape by the woodyard.
I'll have to go back and find the third!

I discovered there are three stones, 18,  22 and 22.5 feet high respectively, the tallest being higher than any at Stonehenge. They've had many names: The Devil's Bolts, Three Greyhounds and The Three Sisters, to name a few. Nowadays though they're generally known as The Devil's Arrows and there's an interesting story as to how they got the name. At the end of the seventeenth century, Old Nick was said to be annoyed by a perceived slight from the people of Aldborough (a village closeby), so he threw the stones at the village from the top of How Hill, which is south of Fountains Abbey. However, his aim or his strength must have been underpar that day and the so-called arrows fell short by about a mile and they ended up in Boroughbridge. More pics and info on the stones here.

So the moral of this story is think carefully before you get your chimney swept, you never know how much it might cost or where it might lead you!


  1. Great!
    Bronze ages are still very unknown and mysterious.


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