The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian


Kirkdale Hyena Cave

Cave / Rock Shelter

Nearest Town:Pickering (12km E)
OS Ref (GB):   SE678857 / Sheets: 94, 100
Latitude:54° 15' 43.93" N
Longitude:   0° 57' 32.39" W

Added by fitzcoraldo

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The cave is situated half way up a quarry wall in a small limestone quarry about 50 yards from the ford of the Hodge Beck. The muddy path proves the site is visited but this does not detract from the general ambience. The cave is about 18 foot up from the quarry floor but is an easy climb me and my five year old lad, Timmo managed it with ease. Once you have crawled into the cave (torch required) the roof rises gradually and the cave splits in two.
We were reluctant to go past this point, but the there appears to be lots of cave futher in.
The nearby Hodge Beck is worth exploring as is the most excellent St Gregors Minster which is probably the most perfect church I have ever seen and is only a five minute walk from the cave.
Kirkdale is beautiful and will not fail to impress you.
fitzcoraldo Posted by fitzcoraldo
25th March 2002ce


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A poem by Herbert Read

I, Orm the son of Gamel
Found these fractured stones
Starting out of the fragrant thicket.
The river bed was dry.

The rooftreesnaked and bleached,
Nettles in the nave and aisleways,
On the alter an owls cast
And a feather from a wild doves wing.

There was peace in the valley:
Far into the eastern sea
The foe had gone, leaving death and ruin
And a longing for a priest's solace.

Fast the feather lay
Like a sulky jewel in my head
Till I knew it had fallen in a holy place.
Therefore I raised these grey stones up again.
fitzcoraldo Posted by fitzcoraldo
25th March 2002ce

St Gregors Minster was rebuilt by Orm the son of Gamel between 1055 and 1065. This event is commemorated by a beautiful Saxon sundial which is inscribed thus "Orm Gamal's son bought St. Gregory's Minster when it was all broken down and fallen and he let it be made anew from the ground to Christ and St. Gregory, in Edward's days the King and in Tosti's days, the Earl.
This is day's sun marker at every tide. And Haworth , me wrought and Brand priests."
Lovely eh?
The church contains many items of Anglo Scandanavian and Anglo Saxon stonework including Tomb slabs, decorative panels and a beehive quern.
fitzcoraldo Posted by fitzcoraldo
25th March 2002ce

The Kirkdale Hyena Cave was discovered by quarrymen in 1821 when they discovered enormous amounts of bones stashed in the cave. The find was investigated by the mighty Professor William Buckland, Prof of Geology at Oxford University. Buckland identified the bones of Lions, deer, reindeer, rhinoceros, bear, horse and other small animals. There were also the remains of more than 300 hyenas. Buckland studied the caves for more than 2 years and wrote his findings up in the book "Reliquiae Diluvial" or "Observations on the organic remains contained in caves, fissures and diluvial gravel and or other geological phenomena, attesting the action of an universal deluge."
Buckland argued that these remains proved that the biblical narrative of the flood was true.
fitzcoraldo Posted by fitzcoraldo
25th March 2002ce