The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

The Gypsey Race


Of all the neolithic centres in Britain, one that has always held a special interest to me is the area built up around the Gypsey Race stream. Not least because the last place you expect to see a centre such as this is on my doorstep in the East Yorkshire wolds.

The name of the Gypsey Race also has certain romantic connotations. In the TMA Julian was told by a Bridlington book seller that the name of the river was such because it 'wandered around all over'. Whilst it does indeed meander all through this area, that is not really the reasoning behind the name.

A Gypsey river or stream is simply one which flows overland in certain parts and underground in others. At times of high rainfall the underground water levels from which the Gypsey survives breaks out overland and sometimes within a couple of hours a previously dry riverbed can become a raging torrent.

During the research for my trip to I'd come across lots of references to egends about the Race foretelling doom when in full flow. More references told me that the Race was only actually in full flow every two years or so.

I would suggest that to the Neolthic peoples who built there monuments around this river, this place was made ever more important because of the nature of the Gypsey. How amazing it must have been for the river to be suddenly dry and then because the underground water levels were full suddenly become a torrent. For a people who seemed to place great emphasis on nature and the 'Goddess' this life giving flow must have been a sight truly amazing to them. I don't see this river as being an omen for doom, rather a giver of life to be celebrated and not vilified.
notjamesbond Posted by notjamesbond
10th June 2004ce

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