Tuesday 19 October 2021

The Devils Arrows


We stay with pre historic sites but move from features in the earth to standing stones. Keeping the North Yorkshire theme we travel to a site near Boroughbridge in the Harrogate district. We move forward in time to about 2,000 BCE to discover the Devils Arrows a line of three huge stones sometimes called ‘the three sisters’ there are suggestions that originally there were four stones.

The stones which are made from millstone grit which is believed to have been quarried at Knaresborough which is around seven miles away and then dragged to their present positions. The stones each weigh around 25 tons so moving them using the technology available 4,000 years ago was no mean feat.

The stones that are still standing are aligned southeast to northwest and they form a line 374 metres long. The stones are between five to six metres high and are sunk into the ground to a depth of about 1.5 metres. The Devils Arrows today are actually less than 200 metres from the A1M motorway.

The name the Devils Arrows only dates back to the 1700s when according to legend the devil threw the stones at the next town which is Aldborough however much to the annoyance of the devil the stones fell short of their intended target and landed near Boroughbridge instead! I am not sure what a town in Yorkshire did to get the devil so annoyed?

As with many of these standing stones across the country there almost certainly was an astronomical connection. I am not sure if anybody is certain just what the connection might be. It certainly is not as clear cut as with the Thornborough Henges and the link with Orion. The fact that they align southeast to northwest suggests a possible link with the Sun and Moon. If as astro-archaeologists believe that there were originally four stones at this site it could suggest a connection with the position of the Sun and Moon during the four seasons during the course of the year. I am afraid that as with many of the stone circles and standing stones we will probably never know for certain.

The Devils Arrows like Thornborogh Henges are also listed as Scheduled Ancient Monuments.

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