In a forest near Masham, North Yorkshire, stands a very bizarre collection of giant stones. As you would also find at the real Stonehenge, these monoliths and trilithons stand in a circle. Other stones form huge tables and alters. There is also a large tomb. It has been known for a long time as the 'Druids Temple'. The main part of the temple is oval in shape, roughly 100 feet long by 50 feet wide. Some stones stand ten feet high. Many of these stones weigh several tons, so putting them into place would have been a massive task. Other stones can be seen scattered over the surrounding moors.

The 'Temple' was erected in about 1820 by one William Danby (1752 -1832) of nearby Swinton Hall, the family seat. Did he intend it to become an attraction to druidical interests? I think not. The main reason is believed to be philanthropic, providing work for unemployed local folk, who would have gone hungry otherwise. He paid them one shilling per day. Danby descended from a family who acquired the lordship of Masham during the reign of Henry VIII. He was a man deeply concerned about local affairs. In 1784 he became High Sheriff of Yorkshire.

William Danby is said to have posed a most unusual task - would any man live as a hermit in the tomb at the 'Temple' for a period of seven years in return for an annuity. Apparently, one man stayed there for almost five years before going slightly mad - spooky!

I don't think there's anything sinister about 'Yorkshire's Stonehenge' I certainly don't get any vibes - good or bad -when I visit. The man had a great love of buildings and architecture, perhaps he just wanted to be different, to build something out of the ordinary. One thing is for sure, he won't be forgotten.