etching_cica_1785_of_beeston_hillsA Norfolk folktale, a ghost story of sorts from Beeston Regis. The stone pictured above is the slightly unconventional grave of farmer James Reynolds and latterly his wife Anne. The tale goes that two stones stood either side of the path beside the church wall, James would often drive his cart along there of an evening, around the stones an apparition in a grey hood presumably a local monk rather than on of the Beeston Regis hip-hop fashion loving youngsters, would jump out and try and take the horses reigns. James doubtless conjecturally a stout Norfolk yeoman was unperturbed but insisted that on his death one of these stones should become his grave marker, which it is, you can just about see his name on this side in the photograph. James is obviously no longer available to tell us whether this worked or not.

More interesting perhaps, well for me anyway, is this stone and it’s twin over near the wall are glacial erratics, both are volcanic and crystalline probably granite, dumped here during the last glacial retreat probably about ten thousand years ago carried from somewhere else in the ice sheet from the North where it was carried from.

What is interesting about these alien stones is not so much their occurrence in a foreign landscape; they are found across Britain pretty much wherever the ice stopped; its more to do with the type of folklore that quite often springs up around them and the preponderance of it. You can find another one nearby here. As well as the one that lies near the wall. There is a suggestion that these may also have had some ritual significance with local Romano-British tribes, there are certainly signs of depressions within the granite blocks, but this is conjecture, it is pretty much impossible to tell if this was the case.

Just to the right of the church tower you can see Beeston Hill, itself a glacial ‘Kame’, One of at least two recorded, now gnawed away by the waves (see etching on the right from 1785). Kames are formed by the retreating ice dumping it’s cargo of sand and gravel into a hole that has melted through the toe of ice. Beeston Hill or Bump and the Common are nice in themselves and worthy of a post in their own right.

Beeston Regis 2 © Nick Stone