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Brimham Rocks

Rocky Outcrop


There are so many strange names for the rocks here: tortoises, frogs, cannons - and they're no doubt constantly changing according to fashion, as the quote below suggests:
On the verge of the precipice which girdles the mass of rocks on this side, stand the Baboon's Head, the Pulpit Rock, the Serpent's Head, and the Yoke of Oxen; (These names are frequently changed by the innovating, garrulous guide, who has changed the Baboon's Head to the Gorilla's, and the Yoke of Oxen to the Bulls of Babylon, which unsettling of nomenclature he calls keeping pace with the times. Unique as the rocks are amongst the freaks of nature, there is nearly as much originality about the guide but infinitely less grandeur.) Near this last is the Idol Rock, one of the most singular masses, and one of the greatest wonders of the place.
From an 1863 pamphlet on line at

Some of the stones are Rocking Stones. It's said they can only be moved by an honest person. Peter Walker ('Folk Stories from the Yorkshire Dales' 1991) says it is a local joke that no Yorkshireman has ever managed to rock them!

He also reports that somewhere among the rocks is a cave where a witch lived: "The Abode of the Great Sybil, who was said to be even more remarkable at fortune telling than the famous Mother Shipton of Knaresborough."

One of the more famous stories is of Edwin and Julia. They were madly in love with each other but Julia's father wasn't having any of it. Especially when Edwin asked for his daughter's hand in marriage. He forbade them to see each other any more. But of course, they couldn't stand to live without each other. They decided to leap off Brimham Rocks and spend eternity together that way. Julia's father got wind of the plan and dashed up there to dissuade them - but they jumped before he could reach them. However, by some miracle, instead of plummeting to their dooms, they floated gently to the ground. "Some said that a fairy who lived among the rocks had witnessed their misery and knew they could be happy if only they were allowed to marry." Perhaps it was the influence of the Druids - or maybe even the magic in the rocks themselves. More boring people put it down to Julia's skirts being so voluminous. But whatever, her Father at last consented to their marriage and naturally they lived happily ever after. And the rock was forever known as 'Lovers' Leap' or 'Lovers' Rock'.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
12th October 2005ce
Edited 12th October 2005ce

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