Isn’t it curious that people ask us where we’re from? We’re all outsiders it seems, far from where we originated. We were born elsewhere, or our parents were, or our grandparents. We’re not from round here. And what does that mean? Does it mean we lack a connection to the place we now live? The place we now exist? If people ask me where I come from, I tell them I’m a Yorkshire man. I was born just outside of Rotherham, after all, I lived there till I was nine. I’m a Yorkshire man. But what does that mean? It’s been nearly forty years since I lived there, but I’m still passionate about being a Yorkshire man. I’ve lived in Wales for most of my life, nearly half of it in North East Wales. Still a Yorkshire man.
I feel we’re drifting apart. I feel we’re losing our connection to where we live. This website is in some part an effort to address that.
Many books have been written about myths, and what they are, why they’re important, and I’ve read many of them. Hundreds of pages, tracing the ancestry of a specific myth, or the urge to mythologise. When it comes down to it, it really seems to be that myths were created to make sense of the world, to explain why something happens. We are a problem-solving species, as well as a problem creating species, and a mystery is something not to be borne, a problem which must be solved.
The origin of any myth, I think indicates the level of understanding of the people who created it, and relates to their environment. Hundreds of thousands of years ago, a family leaves a cave one morning and sees that, once again, the sun has risen. Why does it do that? Why does it always do that? Will it always do that? Its rather important that it does. Questions, that demand answers. And so an explanation is attempted, a myth is formed, nurtured and cared for. Perhaps a religion is moulded around it, and lasts for as long as needed…or wanted.
Legends are just cracking stories for a people that used to spend much of their free time telling and listening to stories, to their children, their families, their friends. While we are most certainly a problem-solving species, we love our stories to. There have always been distractions, perhaps less so then, but as communities we spend less time together now than we used to, and we feel that isolation even if we fail to admit it or do anything about it. Strangers scare us.
This website is an attempt to give people an understanding as to what is still out there, connecting the past to the present. Whether it be a castle, an ancient tree or field, an ugly stub of rock long forgotten and obscured by nettles. They all have stories. Other people looked on them, and they meant something. This website has been created, I suppose in an effort to afford you better eyes, to see differently or more.
This website will never be complete. Never. How could it be? Do you think myth has died? It will change, hopefully improve, but it will be different. Keep an eye on the blog for updates, whether new articles or more pictures, you’ll find out first by checking there. Let me know what you think of the site, but be gentle, it’s a work in progress. Tell me when you find a mistake, let me know about stories and myths I haven’t heard of, talk to me about your experiences of visiting the places within these pages. I’ll read them all, and respond when I can.
Thank you for visiting, and I hope you’ll keep coming back for more.
And as for what makes me a Yorkshire man…it’s Roche Abbey, just outside of Maltby. As a child I used to walk amongst the ruins, before English Heritage (bless ‘em) got hold of it, dressed it up and charged for admission. I’d look up at the snap toothed ruins of the walls and remember feeling a sense of wonder. Roche Abbey is what connects me to my home county. Perhaps in these pages you’ll find something that connects you to North East Wales…I rather fancy you will.
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'a society with a belief in something beyond itself, a narrative that goes beyond the immediate and beyond the self, seems better equipped to confront threats to its existence, to survive and flourish.'
Neil MacGregor 'Living with the Gods' 2018