Tuesday, 9 April 2013
A number of years ago along with a folk-comrade I visited Roseberry Topping, a hill 1,049 feet high in the North York Moors. The summit has a distinctive half-cone shape with a jagged cliff. This hill was once known as Othenesberg, first attested in written records in 1119. The scarring of the hill is the result of the extraction of minerals. To the Viking settlers who named it it must have been and still is an impressive site on a flat landscape. The Vikings were not the only people to be attracted to this mount as a Bronze Age hoard was discovered on the slopes of the hill and is now located in Sheffield City Museum. This makes me wonder whether the hill was also sacred to the Aryan peoples who lived in the vicinity during the Bronze Age and subsequent Iron Age. I attach an image of the afore-mentioned hoard. Othenesberg-Odin`s Rock or Mount has parallels with Anglo-Saxon examples such as Wodnesberg in East Kent, now called Woodnesborough. Apparently over the years the hill gradually changed name from Othenesberg via Othensberg, Ohenseberg, Ounsberry, Ouseberry to finally Roseberry Topping, `Topping` being a local dialectical term for `hill` or `top`. So the current name bears little resemblance to its original which causes me to question how many other such sacred Anglo-Saxon or Anglo-Scandinavian place names or features are buried by this process of gradual or sudden change of name? In continental Germania and Scandinavia it was common practice for sacred hills and mountains to be named after Odin or Wotan. On arriving at the summit of the hill we carried out some Wodenist rites to rededicate the hill to Woden. We were shocked at the time though to discover some jewish graffiti on part of the rock surface. I hope that the elements have now washed that away.