Yorkshire Dales IV – Burning the Bartle

The village of West Witton has an annual tradition. We stayed in a cottage in Grassgill, where the ‘ceremony’ concludes:

Burning the Bartle

Clouds drift behind Penhill, behind the stone beacon which once burned a warning of the Spanish Armada, behind the squat stone barn, behind the walking path which traverses the hill. Below, the villagers carry a huge straw man with mask face, bulging eyes and raggy clothes, down the main street – a guy, an effigy of Bartle the sheep stealer, Bartle the pig thief, Bartle the giant. They stop at each pub, drink beer, chant “Have you seen the Bartle?”, pass a hat around. They carry him up Penhill Crags, his torn rags fluttering; past Hunters Thorn, blowing their horns. Some kneel before the Bartle at Capplebank Stee. They roll on to Grassgill Beck, where they twist his head, breaking his straw neck; onto Wadhams End and to Grassgill End where a pyre is ready to receive the Bartle. Saint Bartholomew’s church bell rings.

http://www.mysteriousbritain.co.uk/england/north-yorkshire/festivals/august/burning-of-the-bartle-west-witton.html

 

Copyright Mike Hopkins 2015

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2 thoughts on “Yorkshire Dales IV – Burning the Bartle

  1. Hi Mike, it makes me realise that we miss something quite deep in this country. Whilst the Indigenous have their stories which we don’t relate to, we have none of our own. Or is it that the English and Irish have made it more their history. I enjoy your connectedness to the real and not the tourist trail.

    Happy trails.
    Lesley

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