|It's a bit confusing up here - there's a lot going on.
[Kilburn lies] immediately below the precipitous south-west corner of the Hambleton Hills, and not far from the supposedly bottomless lake called Gormire. The hill-end bears the figure of a White Horse, 300 feet long and 200 feet high. It was cut in 1857, and it is said to commemorate a legendary individual mounted on a white horse who fell off the cliff, possibly into Gormire. Since that date, it has been scoured about once in seven years.*This might be true, but the name actually refers to somewhere further along Sutton Bank, above the Gormire lake. There are various 'tumuli' and cairns in the vicinity, and a cave called the 'Fairies Parlour'.
The name White Mare Crag or White Stone Cliff is older than the figure*. There is a racecourse, now used only for training, on the flat hill-top, 800 feet above the plain. A collection of medieval Latin ghost-tales compiled by a monk of the nearby Byland Abbey contains a story about a white horse.
[..] the Village Feast begins on the Saturday after 6 July, and may therefore be associated with Old Midsummer Day [..]
The above is from
Kilburn Feast and Lord Mayor
N. A. Hudleston
Folklore, Vol. 69, No. 4. (Dec., 1958), pp. 263-265.
More horsish stuff. Surely why the creator of the white horse was inspired to create it?
Gormire.-Additions to "Yorkshire Local Rhymes and Sayings"
"When Gormire riggs shall be covered with hay,
The white mare of Whitestone Cliff will bear it away."
This white mare was a beast more or less mythical, which sprang over a cliff with a young lady rider, whose body was never found.
The Folk-Lore Record, Vol. 3, No. 2. (1880), pp. 174-177.
You will notice the 'Devil's Parlour' cave at Roulston Scar - as Paulus mentions, the Devil leapt from here to Hood Hill, carrying a stone.
Posted by Rhiannon
21st September 2007ce
Edited 21st September 2007ce