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Almscliffe Crag

Natural Rock Feature


Fairies at Almas, or Orms, Cliff, in Knaresborough Forest.

Almas Cliff is a prominent group of millstone grit rocks, said to have been sacred to the religion of the Druids, and still to retain many traces of the rites and observances of their faith. One rock is named the Altar Rock, and near to this is a natural opening in the cliff, about eighteen inches wide and five feet in height, which is known as the entrance to the 'Fairy parlour.' It is said to have been explored to the distance of one hundred yards, and to end in a beautiful room sacred to the 'little people,' a veritable fairy palace. Other reports say, that it is a subterranceous passage having an exit near Harewood Bridge - some two or three miles distant. This variation in report only shows how imperfect has been the exploration. It is to be doubted if any mortal has ever reached the fairy parlour. Some years ago, the story was related of daring explorers making the attempt, but so loud was the din, raised upon their advance, by rattling of pokers and shovels by the fairy inhabitants within, indignant at this invasion of the sanctity of their abode, that the too daring mortals precipitantly fled, by the way by which they had entered. Since then, no man seems to have dared the task of ascertaining the truth, as to this passage.

Grainge, the historian of Knaresborough Forest, says of the place: 'It has always been associated with the fairy people, who were formerly believed to be all-powerful on this hill, and exhanged their imps for the children of the farmers around. With the exception of the entrance to the fairy parlour, all the openings, in the rocks, are carefully walled up to prevent foxes from earthing in the dens and caverns within; and the fairies, being either walled in, or finding themselves walled out, have left the country, as they have not been seen lately in the neighbourhood.'
From Yorkshire Legends and Traditions by the Rev. Thomas Parkinson (1889).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
22nd July 2012ce

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