Karen and myself walked over the moor to Stang Howe yesterday-a good day for it and curlews in abundance, also some fine healthy hares along the way. There seems to be no definite information about this mound: some say its a barrow, others say it's just a natural formation.
Whatever, it is maked on the maps as an ancient site and, as we live nearby, we went to take a look. It's a fine site with incredible views all around and well worth a visit.
One thing we did notice: it appears to form an alignment with Hinderwell Beacon in one direction and Danby Beacon in the opposite direction. The map, as far as I can see, confirms this. Could the stang have been a pole errected atop the howe to hold a beacon, part of a line of communication?
Just a wild guess.
" A very old custom, but which has now been pretty nigh stamped out by the county policeman, is that of ' Riding the Stang'. It is not dead yet though; I witnessed the stang being ridden as recently as 1891 in Guisborough, and in many of the villages in Wensleydale it i9s to this day resorted to when considered needed.
The Stang is held in wholesome dread by a certain class of evil-doers. Wife-beaters and immoral characters chiefly had and have the benefit of the stang. Whatever their discovered sin might be, was fully set forth in the stang doggeral. One or two points have to be, or at least are, most carefully observed: (1) The real name of the culprit must not be mentioned (2) The stang must be ridden in three seperate parishes each night: and in many places to make the proceedings quite legal, it is considered a sin qua non that the stang master must knock at the door of the man or woman they were holding up to ridicule, and ask for a pocket -piece, i.e. fourpence.
The whole proceeding was carried out as follows:-
An effigy made of straw and old clothes representing the culprit was bound to a pole* and set in an upright position in the centre of either a handcart or a small pony cart, in which was seated the stang master: and folowing behind were gathered all the ragamuffins of the village, armed with pan lids, tin cans, tin whistles, or anything which could be made to produce a discordant sound.
Being ready ,the cart was drawn in front of the culprits house and after a fearful hubbub, the stang master cried out in a sing song voice:-
Ah tinkle, Ah tinkle, Ah tinkle tang,
It's nut foor your part ner mah part
'At Ah rahd the stang,
Bud foor yan Bill Switch whau his wife did bang,
Ah tinkle, Ah tinkle, Ah tinkle tang.
He banged her, he banged her, he banged her indeed,
He banged her, he banged her, afoor sha steead need;
Upstairs aback o' t' bed
He sairly brayed her wharl she bled,
Oot o' t' hoose on ti' t' green
Sikan a seeght ez niver war seen,
Ez neean c'u'd think, ez neean could dream.
Sa ah gat ma few cumarades
Ti traal ma aboot:
Sae it's hip, hip hurrah lads,
Set up a gert shoot,
An' blaw all yer whistles,
Screeam, rattle an' bang
All 'at ivver ya've gitten,
Foor Ah ride the stang.
Then, for a few moments, there arose a tumult of sound, to which the wildest ravings of bedlam would seem insignificant. This performance lasts three nights, and on the third, the effigy is burned in front of the culprits house."
* The Pole was a stang or cow-staff
Yorkshire Wit, Character, Folklore & Customs