Haunted Skulls and Standing Stones: The Mysteries of Yorkshire’s Wold Newton Triangle

There are many mysterious and historic places in the expansive and diverse county of Yorkshire, but not many of them can lay claim to being as infamous and strange as the Wold Newton Triangle. Centred around the village of Wold Newton, the triangle lies between the cities of Scarborough and York. The peak of the triangle extends out towards Flamborough Head with the edges passing close by to the towns of Filey and Bridlington.

Ancient Dragons

The town of Filey has a promontory that extends miles out into the sea – local legends holds that it was formed by a dragon melting the sea rock, after it was poisoned by a housewife who fed it too much Yorkshire sticky cake. Dragon sightings continued for hundreds of years. The last widely documented case was in 1934 when local coastguard Wilkinson Herbert reported coming across a sea monster with an 8ft neck. The story was reported as far afield as London and was even published in the Daily Telegraph.

But dragons are far from the strangest rumours in this part of the world…

A Screaming Skull

No paranormally significant region is complete without a few hauntings, and the Wold Newton Triangle has one of the most mysterious in all of Britain. The site of this legendary haunting is Burton Agnes Hall near the market town of Driffield in the southern half of the triangle. Built between 1601 and 1610 by Sir Henry Griffith, the construction was marred by the murder of his youngest of his three daughters Anne Griffith. Allegedly, upon her deathbed she asked to be beheaded and her head buried in the manor house’s walls.

Her family didn’t acquiesce to her wishes but upon burying Anne in the local graveyard the house was plagued by terrible ghostly screams throughout each night. They soon delivered her dying wish, and ever since anyone trying to remove the skull has been cursed with bad luck and ghostly goings on. Today the exact location of the skull is unknown, but it is presumably still buried somewhere in Burton Agnes Hall – which is open to visitors throughout the year.

Standing Stones

Not quite as spooky, but equally as mysterious, is the Rudstone standing stone. At over 20ft tall above the ground, with almost as much buried beneath the churchyard it stands in, the Rudstone Monolith is the single biggest standing stone in the British Isles. Quarried over 10 miles away, near Whitby, it was put up for unknown reasons around 2500 years ago – although no-one can be certain of the exact date. It is estimated to weight at least 40 tonnes, making that 10-mile journey a remarkable feat of prehistoric engineering.

Also nearby are a series of several mile-long ancient man-made ditches, called cursuses, that supposedly converge on the stone and a funeral barrow called Willy Howe that is rumoured to be the dwelling place of faeries and other fantastical creatures. Truly a remarkable part of the world, and just another great reason to visit and explore the county of Yorkshire!