The epitaph on the Saxon sundial at the remote St Gregory's Minster translates as:
" Orm the son of Gamal bought St Gregory's Church when it was all utterly broke and fallen, and caused it to be made anew from the ground, to Christ and St Gregory, in the days of King Edward and in the days of Earl Tosti. Haworth wrought me, and Brand the Prior." It was written in the English of the time before the Norman Conquest and firmly dates the rebuilding of this precious church. Tostig, was the brother of King Harold, whom he fought at the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066. Tostig was also responsible for the murder of Gamal.
This is indeed an historic place alongside Hodge beck in Kirkdale.
In 1821 quarry men, working in a quarry alongside the beck, uncovered a cave in which they found a large amount of bones. Dr Buckland, Professor of Geology at Oxford, explored the 100 yards long cave and found the remains of no less than 200 hyenas, as well as the bones from a huge variety of wild animals and tools and weapons of Stone Age man. The animals included woolly and slender nosed rhinoceros, lion, mammoth, hippopotamus, European bison, reindeer, wolves, bears, straight tusked elephants, wild ox and deer. This find rocked the scientific thinking world and put new ideas about what had in fact happened in the far distant past. Dr Buckland concluded that the cave had been a hyena lair and that the other remains were of animals dragged there by the hyena’s for food.
It seems that Kirkdale Cave was originally a river cave which was left well above the river level after the retreat of the ice during the last phase of the ice-age. There were times of warmth between the glaciated periods and it was during the last of these which spanned something like 50,000 years, that the hyena’s came to Kirkdale and left the remains, proving that Britain had once been the home of animals which up to that time had been thought to be far removed from these shores. A truly remarkable discovery.
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Photo taken in Welburn, North Yorkshire YO62, UK
Misplaced? Suggest new location