I have had a pleasing update following my appeal for help to find out more about King Henry’s Night. I had been contacted about a year ago by Linda Chambers from the Rosedale History Archive asking if could find anything out about it after an elderly gentleman had told her about the custom that centred around young people going out on a particular night and meeting up with likely suitors. Try as I might, I could find no reference to it in my usual trusty sources, such as my dad’s study, his books and the National Newspaper Archive.

However, Linda herself read my piece and got back in touch saying: “I happened to be at Ryedale Folk Museum last week to look at their exhibition ‘Believe It Or Not’ which highlights the folk traditions and witchcraft which were once very much part of moors life. I happened to see a panel which described The Kissing Ring, a charming old tradition where young people gathered outside late on a summer's evening. It is believed this was last performed in Rudland in the 1930s when 40 young men and women held hands and danced in a ring singing the words which I have attached. The circle gradually diminished as couples broke away with a chosen partner and the young man would walk the girl home. I think we have the answer to King Henry’s Night!”

And having read the words to the ditty, I think Linda must be correct. They are as follows:

‘King Henry was King James's son

And all the royal races ran

Upon his heart he wears a star

Right away to the ocean far

So choose to the East

And choose to the West

And choose the one that you love the best

If he's not there to take her part

Choose another with all your heart.’

So it likely those who took part in The Kissing Ring would have referred to the occasion as ‘King Henry’s Night’ thanks to the words of the song they would sing.

Linda adds: “While I was there, I bought the booklet, published by the Esk Valley News, which adds detail to what is seen in the exhibition - an excellent read, and I recommend the exhibition to anyone interested in our local folklore. It is so easy to lose sight of local traditions and stories, many of which must now be forgotten.”

It’s true that if we did not have places like the Ryedale Folk Museum, or indeed columns like this discussing old traditions and folklore, then such things will be lost. We should all support local museums and local newspapers in a world that seems to be being taken over by technology. Nothing can compete with real people telling us about real memories, because once they are gone it will be too late.

On the subject of preserving local history and traditions, I had the pleasure recently of travelling to a house up near Chop Gate for work. It was a beautiful old farmhouse that commanded glorious views south across the valley towards Bilsdale.

It was built in the early 1800s out of large stones in varying shades of sand and gold. But what caught my eye was the distinctive markings. They looked like they had been carved with a repeating arrow pattern, a little bit like the skeleton of a feather or a fish. Every stone carried this pattern, and it was as if they had been painstakingly hand-sculpted to create a beautiful effect, and one I believe is peculiar to this part of the world.

I know the pattern was not created by some frustrated sculptor working as a bricklayer, but that it is more to do with the way the bricks were made, thanks to friend Linda Harman who explained: “They cut the clay brick shape then take excess clay off with a brush which makes that pattern.” And Irene Sykes, who lives on the North York Moors, adds: “I think local quarries were excavating different types of stone and so they dressed the stone they excavated using different methods.”

Do you know any more about how these stones were made, and the local quarries they came from? Perhaps you had a relative who was a stone mason. Do get in touch as I’d love to know more!

Do you have opinions, memories or ideas to share with me? Contact me via my webpage at countrymansdaughter.com, or email gazette@gazetteherald.co.uk