On Lady Edith's Secret service
'In England the great 16th century landowners cut or planted long rides that stretched from their manors to distant towers and castles often far beyond their own possessions, thus symbolising control over the surrounding countryside. Essentially their function was mystical, to set up a two way flow of spirit between the ruler and the people, with the manor as the control centre and focal point.' -John Michel
The ancient bridleway called 'Lady Edith's Ride' named by Lord Londesborough runs past his manor at Throxenby Hall. It connects with other ancient tracks up and around Seamer and Iron Moor and along with the other two tracks called Lady Grace's Ride and Lady Mildred's Ride they criss cross the deep and ancient holloways around Greengate in Raiacliffe Woods and around Irton moor that are unfathomably old and whose function is still debated. Though the name 'Lady Edith's Ride' is relatively new, the bridleway itself maybe significantly older and connects the earthworks on the moor with the ancient 'earthwork' of the town moat. This and its easterly alignment to the spring and autumn equinox endows this overlooked feature with more significance.
Lady Edith's Drive was named after Lord Londesborough's wife Lady Edith Francis WilhelminaSomerset. Lady Grace's Ride and Lady Mildred's Ride where named after their daughter and daughter in law. Just how old the different sections of Lady Edith's bridleway are is up for debate. This bridleway runs off Seamer Moor down Row Brow becoming Lady Edith's Drive. It continues to Scalby Road and then marked on the old maps as a 'foot path' and continues trotting through Briercliff and Gildercliff up over the brow of Prospect Mount and down towards Manor Road. There is a crossing point that marks the Equinox and May Day sunrise viewed from Seamer Beacon on the brow of Prospect Mount and there may have been a 'notch' (earthwork like a holloway) carved into the brow of the hill or perhaps a standing stone here to mark this area. The bridleway drops down Prospect Mount and crosses what is now Manor Road Cemetery and Peasholm Glen.
Peasholm glen was Scarborough's ancient northern boundary and the bridleway drops down into the glen and up onto 'The Cemetery Road' now called Dean Road. 'Dean' is a corruption of the Old English word 'denu' which means 'narrow wooded valley with a river' that might have referred to Peasholm Glen. This part of the original bridleway is orientated towards the sunrise over the Castle headland on the spring and autumn Equinox and has a splendid vista and could have been the original viewing site for the 1539 map, one of the earliest drawings of Scarborough. The bridleway's alignment to the equinox may suggest an estimate to the tracks age and the intentions of those people who originally laid it down.
The ancient bridleway leads to the crossing point which is now the roundabout on Columbus Ravine. This was and still is a natural crossing place for roads but where, on older maps, a 'culvert' or small tunnel allowed Raincliffe Beck under the bridleway. Temple Moore must have been aware of this when he designed St Columba's church which was to be built on this old crossroads. His designs were renowned for their Gothic and Celtic revival overtones and also sympathetic to the old English Celtic church. St Columba's is
orientated to the bridleway as well as aligned diagonally to the May Day sunrise and Seamer Beacon.
Natural footpaths can deviate depending on terrain. The bridleway now crosses the
crossroads at Dean Road roundabout but doesn't follow Dean Road to the top where it meets
Castle Rd. It cuts across the field that are now Langdale Road, Moorland Road, Tennyson Avenue,
and Trafalgar Road. The bridleway cuts across what is now William Street coach park to
Lower Clark Street then crosses Hope Street until it ends without trace at the back of what was
William Street. The track may have entered the town via 'Greengate' (Northmarine Road) or
St Thomas Street following the 'Kings Highway' (Castle Road) adjacent to the old town moat up
to the Castle through Auborough Gate. In M Andres book, The Story of Old Scarborough he writes,
"The old town had definite limits. On the north from the Castle Gate there was a deep moat with earth
mounds extending to the old Awborough Gate." Lady Edith's Ride runs from earthwork to earthwork.
Our ancestors observed the movements of the sun, moon and stars then developed dates and
times around the time of the year when the sun 'stands still' (the Solstice). They then recognised the
mid points between those dates where the day and night would be equal lengths (the Equinox)
which were the dates for the beginning of spring and the date heralding the onset of autumn. New
Year was originally marked from the Spring Equinox to Spring Equinox but now runs from the 1st
of January which is a day in the Solstice period.
Theses dates are used by all the major religions in the world. In Christianity the ability to calculate
the same day to observe Easter was vital. Many old Cathedrals and Churches have hidden
devices often as simple as using certain stained glass windows and markers on the church floor to
indicate the position of the sun to calculate the day of the Equinox. Traditionally the orientation of a
church facing East is for this reason. Churches in Scarborough that are orientated to the Equinox
include, St Mary's, St Peter's, St Andrew's, Trinity Church, Hackness Church and Dean Road
Mortuary Chapel. Prior to churches, tracks, stones and earthworks were used to indicate the equinox.
Easter takes its name from a variation of Anglo-Saxon words like 'Eostre', 'Eosturmonath',
'Ostern' and 'Osterdag' but they all have the same root word 'East' referring to the Equinox sunrise
being directly East.
I feel it's worth mentioning that AlbertDennison, the first Baron of Londsborough was a great
collector of occult items. One of theseitems was John Dee's 'Obsidian Mirror' which is now kept
in the British Museum. This black glass mirror made form volcanic rock was used by John Dee as
a tool for communicating with the dead and he kept it on him at all times. John Dee was the infamous
alchemist, advisor to Queen Elizabeth I in the 1500's. He was considered a spy for the Queen and his
top secret correspondence marked 'For Her Majesty's Eyes Only' he signed with the esoteric symbol
'007' which originally represented two eyes and the lucky number seven. This inspired Ian Fleming to
give the secret code name 007 to James Bond. Lord Londesborough also owned the famous painting
the 'Monarch of the Glen' by Sir Edwin Landseer. This painting is certainly familiar to most and can be
found on many Scottish biscuit tins and tartan shortbread packets around the country. The stag from
the Monarch of the Glen is also used as the motif on the entrance gate to 'Skyfall' -James Bond's
ancestral home. The stag has twelve points on his antlers, which in fact makes him a 'royal stag' not
a 'monarch stag', for which sixteen points are needed. In the accompanying drawing I have given
Lady Edith's Ride from Row Brow to the Castle Walls, sixteen marker points.
"A Holloway, is a track where centuries of foot fall, hoof hit or wheel roll have harrowed into the
land. They are lanscapes of habit rather than suddenness and result in repeated human actions.
They relate to older paths and tracks in the landscape that connect place to place and people to
people." -Robert MacFarlane
Dav White 007 eArt.com