Turkey Nab

I parked at Bank Foot, below Turkey Nab, said to derive from the local name for the grouse: wild turkeys. Or else it may come from Thurkilsti, the name of the ancient drovers’ road from Kildale to Kirbymoorside. From Bank Foot the track winds up Ingleby Bank, circling past the nab. The last time I actually climbed to the nab there was no cairn. Since them someone has gone to a lot of effort to re-build it. A rather precarious construction, on a sloping overhanging ledge.

I thought about William Parkinson, hung and gibbeted on this spot in 1729 for the murder of a Scottish drover at Great Broughton. He was tried at York assizes and brought back for the sentence to be carried out. All within fifteen days. Swift justice.

Later on my route I visited various sandstone outcrops and stones on Ingleby Moor and came across some verses on a piece of paper secreted away. These strangely resonated with my earlier thoughts of William Parkinson:

They hauled him to the crossroads
As day was at its close;
They hung him to the gallows
And left him for the crows.

His hands in life were bloody,
His ghost will not be still
He haunts the naked moorlands
About the gibbet hill.

And oft a lonely traveler
Is found upon the fen
Whose dead eyes hold a horror
Beyond the world of men.

The villagers then whisper,
With accents grim and dour:
“This man has met at midnight
The phantom of the moor.”

No title, no author. But back home Google came up trumps. They’re from The Moor Ghost by Robert E. Howard, an American poet who as far as I can tell never visited England yet alone the North York Moors. Still, a weird coincidence. I wonder if whoever left the paper knew about William Parkinson.


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