Monthly Archives: December 2017

Curse of the Hay-Collar III…

rampant pictish beast


Now, that night at meat was an uncomfortable one for the Lord

of Dyved, for his companions found sport in ribbing him about

the day’s proceedings upon the Fair-Mound of Arbeth.


“So, was it blows and wounds or were wonders seen today?” asked Idig Arm-Strong.

“Why, I saw a great wonder,” said Tyrnonos. “A woman of uncommon looks rode past that

hill today, only to pull away from our chase without varying her pace.”

“And there’s some who’d say, they saw no looks at all either that way or this,” said


 And all the company laughed.

 “And there’s others who’d say, that such a slight was no wonder at all but a blow,” said

Hevydd Broad-Back.

And the company laughed louder.

And so it went…

Until even Talyssinthe-Bard stood up and sang a ribald lay about a lame buck.  …


Excerpt from, Crucible of the Sun, by Stuart France

A visit to Haddon Hall

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

Every time we had driven past Haddon Hall, I had the feeling we needed to go there. The feeling bugged me a bit, as stately homes have not really been part of our research. We tend to be drawn to the landscape and sites things five thousand years old, rather than five hundred, so I could not see why we should need to visit the place.

But, what with the upcoming Silent Eye annual workshop, The Jewel in the Claw, being set in Elizabethan times and the odd connections with the local gentry that our Riddles weekend had highlighted, we finally decided to let curiosity get the better of us and found ourselves walking up the carriage drive, the morning after Riddles of the Night.

There has been a Hall here for a thousand years… that bit of information already made the visit more intriguing, as it ties…

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Curse of the Hay-Collar II…

rampant pictish beast


… So, the Lord of Dyved climbed the Fair-Mound of Arbeth and the seven chieftains of

Dyved climbed with him…

 As they sat in counsel on the top of the Fair-Mound, they saw a woman, wearing gold

brocade, riding by, on a pale white horse.

Of comely bearing, and fair in face and form she was, and a fine, fitting, match for any young man.

She was approaching along the highway which ran past the hill.

“Men,” said Tyrnonos, Thunder-of-Water, “does anyone here recognise that woman?”

“No, indeed, Lord,” they all answered.

“Then let one of you go to find out who she is,” said Tyrnonos.


Caradawg went but by the time he had reached the highway, despite her

steady pace,  the horse-woman had already gone past without so much as

a look to the left or to the right of her. He followed on foot as best he could

but the greater his speed, the farther ahead she drew and when he saw

that his pursuit was in vain he returned to the Fair-Mound and said to

Tyrnonos, “Lord, it is pointless to follow the horse-woman on foot.”

Now, Tyrnonos, who was a prince among princes, was not used to such treatment from

woman kind.

“All right,”  he said, “but there is some meaning in this, let us return to the hall

and see if she rides past this way tomorrow.”

“A wonder indeed, we have seen today,” said Unig-the-Tall to Hevyd Broad-Back,

“a woman who will not stop for the lord and his company!” …


Excerpt from, Crucible of the Sun, by Stuart France

The Seeds of Intent

The Silent Eye

Seeds of Intent rainbow +

An old friend, now sadly departed, but formative in my younger days, used to say that there were two ways to deal with ‘seeds’: one was to bury them so that they could be forgotten; the other was to plant them so that they would catch the ‘tide of happenings’.

He often spoke of the ‘seeds of intent’ and how powerful a small beginning could be, if sown in the right way. Two questions spring to mind: the first is to decide on the precise nature of the seed, itself; the other is to decide where to plant it, and in what season.

Seasons are important. Nature’s outer cycle of seed, apparent dormancy, emergence, and fruition has much to teach us about how this circle of four provides an envelope within which all types of seeds become, in turn: planted, born into a world they hope to inhabit, become children…

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Curse of the Hay-Collar…

rampant pictish beast


Tyrnonos, Lord of Dyved, ruled the seven townships in a dark land.


Tyrnonos was known as the Thunder-of-Water,

for his mother found him in a cavern, behind a water-fall,

and there was no braver man in all the realm.


Tyrnonos had a mare in his household and he regarded her as the best horse in all nine

worlds.  Every May Eve, she foaled, but no one ever knew anything more of the foal,

so that the Lord of Dyved said to his Master of the Horse, “We are fools to lose the foal of

this mare every year.”

                        “But, what can be done about it?” asked the Master of the Horse.

                        “Three days hence it will be May Eve,” said Tyrnonos, “and I intend to find out

what fate the foals have met with.”


 So, Tyrnonos went with the seven chieftains of Dyved to hold counsel upon the

Fair-Mound of Arbeth, and to see what could be seen.


The seven chieftains  of Dyved who were to sit in counsel  with Tyrnonos where these:

                        Caradawg-the-Hound, Hevyd Broad-Back, Unig-the-Tall, Idig Arm-Strong,

Hwlch Bone-Lip, Ynawg-the-Small and Gruddyeu Long-Head.


Said Talyssin-the-Bard to Tyrnonos before he set foot on the Fair-Mound, “Lord, the ancient

lays are clear as a scryed lake and on one point they all agree; it is the property of this hill

that whenever a man of royal blood sits upon it, one of two things occurs: either he

receives blows and wounds, or else, he sees a wonder.”


 “Well, I do not expect to receive blows and wounds in the company of such a host as this,”

said Tyrnonos, Thunder-of-Water, “but I should very much like to see a wonder.” …

Excerpt from, Crucible of the Sun, by Stuart France

Clearing Back the Years

Walking with a Smacked Pentax

The Panorama Stones in Ilkley are an oddity.

Situated next to a church just outside the town centre, and surrounded by a 5 ft high steel fence with a locked gate designed to protect them against vandals, they are 3 large stones covered in feint Bronze Age carvings.

The stones were originally situated on the moors above the town, but in 1890 the stones were moved from their rural home to their new location, as the part of the moor on which they were situated on was due to be quarried. Dr. Little, who bought the stones in order to save them for posterity, was obviously a man possessing great foresight and vision, as normally the stones, like so many others before, would just be destroyed.

The stones now sit next to a small park near St. Margaret’s church with a wooden information board stating their age and origin. Unfortunately…

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Riddles of the Night: Raven’s Nest

The Silent Eye

Our final site was to be a stone circle high on the moors, but first, we had to get there, and the journey can be as interesting as the destination. We walked the ‘long way’ up to the moor, rather than climbing the short, steep slope that would have taken us to the circle in minutes. There were a few reasons for that, but mainly it was so that our companions, who had not visited the site before, could see it within the context of its landscape, because that is the only way it can really be understood.

The longer route takes you around the bottom edge of the moor, following a path whose age is indeterminate. It is what you might call the natural route across the moor, the path of least resistance, especially if you do not know what lies ahead.

We have often found at these ancient…

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That Wily Wotan…


…“I know where the Wild Wood comes from.”

“Go on.”

“Wodin, or Odin, or Wotan…”

“Wild Wodin, is Myrddin Wyllt! …The High One… So, just how wild is Odin?”

“Wild enough to steal back the mead of inspiration from the Jotunn.”

“That’s pretty wild, how did he do that?”

“By assuming a disguise.”

“What kind of disguise?”

“He pretended he was a giant himself.”

“Oh, Lordy.” …


… Odin called himself, ‘The Evil One’.

All the Jotunn have those sort of names… ‘Death by Envy’, ‘Judgements Thrall’, ‘Bluff’ and ‘Bluster’ etc.

Still, as the God of Gods you would want to outdo all that, so, the Evil One, is pretty much the last word in giant names…

He set off in giant form for the farm of the mead-keeper’s brother.

Clever that.

Thor would have just gone straight to the mountain and the mead-keeper himself but Odin, he is all about turning brother against brother.

Wily you see…wild and wily, probably the same word and only a wise god would know that…anyway, the mead-keeper’s brother has nine human thralls working his farm and when the Evil One strolls onto the land and takes a look around he immediately sees his chance.

The thralls are weary with still a good third of the field to harvest and from the time it is taking for the sheaves to fall their scythes look a tad on the blunt side.

The Evil One pulls a whetstone from his pouch, “Need an edge?” he says, all nonchalant like, to the nearest farm-hand and holds out the hone.

“Do I ever,” replies the farm-hand and when the others see what he is about they crowd around the God, disguised as a giant, in the hope of getting an edge too.

The Evil One duly obliges and as every last jack of them is impressed with their new edge they ask if the hone is for sale.

“I might consider selling it to the one man who can feast me tonight in the manner to which I have become accustomed,” says the Evil One.

Oh, they are all up for that, hell yes, falling over themselves they are to feast the Evil One that night.

Odin squints at them through his one eye and smiles grimly, then he tosses the whetstone high in the air.

Up into the summer sky it arches, glinting in the sunlight, like blue-silver.

Up go the heads of all the thralls to watch it, with not a thought for anything or anyone else, all hoping to be the one to catch it, which they all do actually, every last jack of them.

They jostle, and turn, and run backwards, and flail, and they all catch the edge real good.

Slice each others gullets they do…

The whetstone, when it finally falls to earth, lands in a field of nine dead bodies, and the Evil One, he stoops, and bends, and picks it up, places it back in his pouch and traipses off back down the road the same way he came…whistling… a somewhat plaintiff tune… it has to be admitted.

Excerpt from, ‘Giants Dance’ – Stuart France and Sue Vincent


A Hallowed Holiday…


… We are on the vacation, proper, and the Silver-Bullet is heading this way and that along the ‘A’ and ‘B’ roads of North Yorkshire. There are draw-backs to not having a properly conceived plan. I pick up the road map in an attempt to put some direction back into proceedings and that is when we ‘find’ Thornton-Le-Dale…

Wen sees the Congress-Stone first off, and then we skirt past the ‘Churched-Hillock’ which more or less clinches it, although, we are both conscious, I think, that today should be a landscape day. Churches like this… they simply demand exploration…

…The Simeon window stands brazen as you like proclaiming its message to the world in the chancel of All Saints, Thornton-le-Dale.

It is a fine window. It is beautifully realised and the colour scheme is exquisite. The green and the blue of the two figures alternate from high to low between the robes and the halos. Ostensibly the window shows, The Virgin, in the left light as we look at it, with the temple offering of two turtle doves, in a wooden cage. But already I am beginning to get excited, because what the artist has actually depicted are two white doves. A temple offering of two white doves. They are not turtle doves at all. And they are certainly not pigeons, although if the artist responsible wanted a let-out he could possibly argue that they are, in fact, white pigeons. Very clever, Mr Holiday, always cover your back. Now, why do you suppose he would do that? The other exciting thing about the left light is that the Virgin depicted there is, well, shall we say, ‘a lady of a certain age?’ She is certainly not a woman, or young girl of the age that the Virgin is purported to be at this time. It has to be the Virgin though because the right light as we look at it depicts Simeon, the High Priest who received the ‘Christ-Child’ before giving up the Ghost…in perfect peace.

Oh, Mr Holiday…your window is rapidly advancing to the head of the leading group of all time genius windows!

The coup-de-grace of this particular window, though, is the central roundel which spans the two lights. In the central roundel is a floating head with the moniker, ‘JOHN’, beneath it.

My subconscious gets there first and it is all I can do to prevent myself sinking to my knees. I manage to stifle a sob whilst my mind races with the possibilities and enormities of what I am looking at. I glance over my shoulder to where Wen has taken up position at the lectern and is reading the passage from St. Luke which purportedly relates to the Window. I am right then, it is Luke and not John. My knees are about to start buckling again, so I take one last lingering look at the window and head back into the navel, more to collect my thoughts than anything else…

Excerpt from, ‘Heart of Albion’ – Stuart France and Sue Vincent.



The Incomparable Comper…


…The nearest church is St Nicholas’ of Great Kimble so we head off there.

“Why blue specifically do you think?”

“Well, we’re sort of assuming that it’s a healing energy but if we follow the Theosophists then I suppose it could be devotional.”

“And what are we expecting at St Nicholas’s?”

“To be honest I’ll be surprised if there is anything.”

“What, nothing at all?”

“We were given Our Blue Chapel, remember and I just think that it is special.”

“Well it certainly feels special but it will not be the only church built on an old site, I mean it went out as a definitive edict, to ensure the populace kept coming to the old sites they built their churches on top of them.”

“It very much depends on what has happened in the meantime.”

I hasten along the gravel path, and enter the church porch, pause, look back at Wen as mysteriously as I can, and then twist the iron door ring with a yank and lean into the heavy oaken door.

The door yields…

The door is open…

We step inside.

Now it is a curious thing that since experiencing Our Blue Chapel, we tend to judge all other churches by its incredibly exacting standards and if it does not immediately have the same feel, there is a definite sense of disappointment, which is palpable here, yet this is not a disappointing church by any means. It is well kept. It is obviously well attended and it has some wonderful features, a lovely little side chapel and some quite astonishing stained glass windows, Wen even picks up a bit of colour around some of the side aisles although to my eye there looks to be green mixed in with the blue which sets me thinking…

Wen is quite vociferous in her disappointment. She has appropriated the ‘corporate’ word for use in her appraisal of the place. If you know Wen, you know that ‘corporate’, is a bad, bad word…

“What if the colour is linked to the name?”

“Go on…”

“…Blue for All Saints, Green for St. Nicholas…  I don’t know… purple for Our Lady?”

“You are aware that there were tinges of purple in the central isles of Our Chapel and that the blue from the windows is a different blue to the blue on the walls and floors?”

“I was not aware of that no…It did seem though that the more I looked at the photos the more blue there was.”

“That’s probably just you attuning. The blue from the windows is a lapis blue, whereas the earth blue if that is where it comes from is more of a royal blue.”

“This is crazy…crazy… but true…possibly.”

“And how do they name the churches anyway?”

“There’s a special office, they’re called ‘planters’ but I suppose it’s like priests. There are good ones who know what they’re doing and there are those that don’t. Get a good planter, he tunes into the energy vibration of the place, sees the colour, or feels it and gives it the correct name.”

“It’s a stunning idea but I’ll be amazed if it works like that even though it evidently should.”…

Excerpt from ‘The Initiate’ – Sue Vincent and Stuart France