Roseberry Topping



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Roseberry Topping
Roseberry topping north side.jpg
Roseberry Topping as seen from the north
Elevation320 m (1,050 ft)
Prominence81 m (266 ft)
Location
LocationNorth York Moors, England
OS gridNZ579126
Topo mapOS Landranger 193
Roseberry Topping is a distinctive hill on the border between Ancient Cleveland and the latter named area of North Yorkshire. It is situated near Great Ayton and Newton under Roseberry. Its summit has a distinctive half-cone shape with a jagged cliff, which has led to many comparisons with the much higher Matterhorn in Switzerland.[1] It forms a symbolic image of the area and featured as the logo for the now defunct Cleveland.
At 1,049 feet (320 m), Roseberry Topping is the highest hill on the Cleveland Hills.

The hill is part of the Cleveland hills. It is formed from sandstone laid down in the Middle and Lower Jurassic periods, between 208 and 165 million years ago, which constitutes the youngest sandstone to be found in any of the National Parks in England and Wales. Its distinctive conical shape is the result of the hill's hard sandstone cap protecting the underlying shales and clays from erosion by the effects of ice, wind and rain.
Until 1912, the summit resembled a sugarloaf until a geological fault and possibly nearby alum and ironstone mining caused its collapse.[1] The area immediately below the summit is still extensively pitted and scarred from the former mineworks. The summit has magnificent views across the Cleveland plain as far as the Pennines on a clear day, some 40 to 50 miles (60 to 80 km) away.

[edit] History


Aerial photo of Roseberry Topping

The Bronze Age Roseberry Topping hoard
The Roseberry area has been inhabited for thousands of years and the hill has long attracted attention for its distinctive shape. A Bronze Age hoard was discovered on the slopes of the hill and is now in the Sheffield City Museum. It was occupied during the Iron Age; walled enclosures and the remains of huts dating from the period are still visible in the hill's vicinity.
The hill was perhaps held in special regard by the Vikings who settled in Cleveland during the early medieval period and gave the area many of its place names. They gave Roseberry Topping its present name: first attested in 1119 as Othenesberg, its second element is accepted to derive from Old Norse bjarg ('rock'); the first element must be an Old Norse personal name, Auðunn or Óðinn, giving 'Auðunn's/Óðinn's rock'. If the latter, Roseberry Topping is one of only a handful of known pagan names in England, being named after the Norse god Odin and paralleled by the Old English name Wodnesberg, found for example in Woodnesborough.[3] The name changed successively to Othensberg, Ohenseberg, Ounsberry and Ouesberry before finally settling on Roseberry. "Topping" is a Yorkshire dialect derivation of Old English topp, 'top (of a hill)'.[4] The naming of the hill may thus fit a well-established pattern in Continental Europe of hills and mountains being named after Odin or the Germanic equivalent, Wodan. Ælfric of Eynsham, writing in the 10th century, recorded how "the heathens made him into a celebrated god and made offerings to him at crossroads and brought oblations to high hills for him. This god was honoured among all heathens and he is called ... Oðon in Danish."[5]