Sunset over Dingledow

The fourth damp and misty morning in a row. So when the skies clear …

Dingledow is the name given on the Ordnance Survey 1856 map to these fields to the north of Great Ayton. Keeping alive a lost name.

Francis Grose wrote in 1773 :

BETWEEN the towns of Aten and Newton, near the foot of Rosberrye Toppinge, there is a well dedicated to St. Oswald. The neighbours have an opinion, that a shirt, or shift, taken off a sick person, and thrown into that well, will shew whether the person will recover, or die: for if it floated, it denoted the recovery of the party; if it sunk, there remained no hope of their life: and, to reward the Saint for his intelligence, they tear off a rag of the shirt, and leave it hanging on the briars thereabouts; ‘where,’ says the writer, ‘I have seen such numbers, as might have ‘made a fayre rheme in a paper myll.’

Grose, and later Rev. George Young in his “History of Whitby” (1817), are describing a custom that is still seen in Scotland where they are known as “Clootie Wells“.

From the description I reckon St. Oswald’s well to be in the wood on the bottom left of the photo. Chapel Well is shown on the 1856 map. Today there is no hint of any water, just a depression. Of course in the intervening centuries the wood has been bisected by the railway and extensive whinstone quarrying had taken place on Cliff Rigg. These would have affected the hydrology.

Sunset over Dingledow map

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