Camden mentions the stones in his 'Britannia' of 1637:
Hard by, upon a steepe hill, howbeit betweene two others higher than it, toward the Sea, stood by report, the Castle of Wada a Saxon Duke, who in that confused Anarchy of the Northumbers, and massacre of Princes and Nobles, having combined with those that murdred King Ethered, gave battaile unto King Ardulph at Whalley in Lancashire: but with so disasterous successe, that after his owne power was discomfited and put to flight, himselfe was faine to flie: and afterwards by a languishing sicknesse ended his life; and heere within the hill betweene two entire and solid stones about seven foote high lieth entombed: which stones because they stand eleven foote asunder, the people doubt not to affirme, that hee was a mighty Giant.
F Ross's 1892 'Legendary Yorkshire' quotes John Leylande's mention of the stones:
Leland says "Mongrave Castel standeth on a craggy hille, and on eche side of it is a hille far higher than that wheron the castel standeth. The north hille on the topp of it hath certain stones, commonly caul'd Wadda's grave, whom the people there say to have bene a gigant and owner of Mongrave."
"Some say his (Wade) grave is at Goldsborough where there is a standing stone called Wade's Stone: others say it is at East Barnby where there is another Wade's stone. The original two stones which were twelve feet apart have disappeared, and perhaps one of the remaining Wade's stone was, at one time for his huge grave?
The two remaining Wade's stones are a mile apart, but it would be a tremendous giant who was that tall... but if Wade really did build that causeway, if he did dig a handful of earth out of the Hole of Horcum and toss his hammer between Pickering and Mulgrave, then he could have been a mile high! Those two remaining stones might well be the extent of his grave"
Folk Tales From The North York Moors
Peter N. Walker
"Wade's Stones near Lythe and Goldsborough are mentioned by Camden as being 7 feet high. They may have been tampered with for one near Lythe is now about 6 feet high; two near Goldborough about 100 feet apart are 3-4 feet high. Barrows in which food vessels have been found adjoin these stones, which derive their name from that fabulous giant, Wade, who so tradition says, was buried near them. Curiously enough, at the base of the Lythe stone, Mr Hornsby discovered an unburnt Anglian burial, probably that of a warrrior, for there were also remains of an iron spearhead."
Early Man in North-East Yorkshire.
Pub. John Bellows
Wade is supposed to be the local giant, his name crops up all over the North Yorkshire Moors. The Roman road that runs onto Wheeldale is known as Wade's Causeway. This implies that the name of Wade came after the Romans had left our shores and vanished from the folk memory. Many of the sites attributed to Wade are in areas that were settled by the Danish vikings. It does not take a great leap of faith to transform Wade to Wodan.
That's my theory for what it's worth.
We took the little lane from the A171 to the A174 going through to East Barnsby. Beautiful May morning, three fords to cross, Yorkshire at its best down in to deep old dark woods, with bluebells, wind anemones and ransom on the verge, tumbles of old trees and water, what more can you ask after all that cold weather.
We met the kindly farmer's wife and got permission to cross the field by the education centre and into their field of sheep. The stone sits just below the highest point, square and upright, glittering in the sun. The lambs dance around in the field, some posing by the stone, but it stands strong.
Taking one's bearing as you look towards the sea and the Goldsborough Lane that you must take to find the other stone, it has probably been there as a track for hundreds of years.
We drove along the lane and saw the North stone in the distance, it is on the other side of the narrow wood or Carr, strange that they are so similar but had something else to do so another visit one day.
One reason we went out was because this stone is the flagship for the restoring of Ancient Scheduled Monuments under the North York Moors Monument Management Scheme, £200,000 is on the table for various schemes, including a 3,500 year old cairnfield with burial mounds.
Also the footpaths have been repaired at the Bronze Age burial mounds at Lilla Howe, Simon Howe and the Two Howes on Goathland under this scheme, presumably because people are WALKING OVER THE MOUNDS, Wales is obviously not the only place to have this problem.