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son, Master A. W. M. Bosville, the heir to the estates here; Mrs. Royston; Dr. Andrew Allison, of Bridlington; Mr. Thomas Taylor, schoolmaster; Ann Preston, parish clerk and Sextoness; Jonathan Goforth and Albert Prince, who conveyed the ladder by which the ascent was made, when, after plumbing it, I found it to be :—
In the parish register there is a pen and ink sketch of this stone, as also, the following remarks:-—
"This is nearly the form of a stone wch stands at ye East end of Rudston Church, within ye Church yard, which is situated on an high hill. There are no authorities to be depended upon in regard to either the time, manner, or occasion of its erection. It is almost quite grown over with moss from top to bottom. In the year 1773, its top being observed to decay thro' the rains descent upon it, Mrs. Bosville ordered a small cap of lead to be put on in order to preserve it wch was accordingly done. Its
dimensions within ground are as large as those without, as appears from an experiment made by ye late Sr Wm. Strickland, of Boynton."
The question may very naturally be asked how was it possible that a stone of such dimensions could be placed in its present position? Without entering upon the placing of the huge stones in the Temple at Jerusalem, or descanting upon the appliances of former ages, I may say that I cannot see any very great difficulty in its being placed in its present position. Doubtless it would be a great undertaking and occupy some time, but that it would be an impossibility for human skill to perform I cannot believe. The operation in all probability would be this: large trunks of trees would be used as rollers to convey it to the place where it was to be deposited. An immense hole must have been dug to receive it, and when it was at its edge, first one roller, near thereto, would be taken away, and then another, and so on, until it was poised, when by rolling it on a little further it would easily and readily drop into its present position. That it has been placed there, there can be little doubt, as it faces
due North and South; and that it may have been hewn into its present shape is probable; at least, it would not be an insuperable task, as when Canon Greenwell, in the autumn of 1869-70, opened various "burrows" in this parish, several stone hammers, axes, and flint implements, were dug out, by which such an operation could easily be performed. Before we leave this portion of our subject, I may remark that there are those who affirm that this Monolith was placed it its present position by the Romans, to form one angle of a triangle from which they took their observations of the surrounding neighbourhood. This idea I believe was first started in connexion with the Devil's Arrows, at Boroughbridge. As regards such a theory being probable, I may say, that I have thoroughly searched the neighbourhood for such megalithic remains, but, as yet, have been unable to discover them, either on hill or in dale.
The most original and amusing idea, was that which was told me by a noble lady of this county, some short time since. I must ask my readers to supply the East Riding dialect, if I fail to do justice to it, and beg that they will kindly accept "the will for the deed."
The late Archdeacon Wilberforce, who was at the time Rector of Burton Agnes, had come over to make an archidiaconal inspection of the Church, when he met an old parishioner in the Church yard. The Archdeacon said to him, "Well! my good man, can you tell me anything about this wonderful stone."
Nee, I can't say as how I can," was the answer. "Why! you've lived here a great many years, and surely you must know something about it," said the Archdeacon.
Nee, I daint," was the laconic reply. "Well! then if you don't know anything about it, and can't tell me anything about it, perhaps," said the Archdeacon, "you can tell what they say about it ?“
Whoy! yaas. I can tell you what they say about it," was the information derived this time.
“Come then, my friend, let me hear what they do say about it," said the Archdeacon."
"Weel!" replied our Rudstonian friend, "they says it was put up here to com-memrate a great vict'ry 'tween Danes and Roman Cath'licks!"
It has before been stated that this
Rudston pillar is close to the North-east corner of the Church; seeing that Paganism and Christianity have no connection with each other, that their principles are antagonistic, why are Churches and other religious foundations found near them? This can only be accounted for by supposing that, in order to facilitate the introduction of Christianity, the first preachers of Christ accommodated themselves to the prejudices and feelings of the people, by erecting their edifices on the spot where the people had been accustomed to gather together for worship, but not otherwise. The early missionaries from Rome acted upon the spirit of the letter which Pope Gregory sent to the Abbot Melitus, when he was going into Britain : "That the temples of the idols of that nation ought not to be destroyed, but let the idols that are in them be destroyed; let holy water be made and sprinkled in the said temples; let altars be erected and relics placed." (Bede's ECCLES. HIST., Bk. i., c. xxx).
The custom of erecting Churches on the sites of heathen temples, continued in Scotland to the tenth century; for Patrick, Bishop of the Hebrides, desires Orlygus to