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Filey Brigg


Filey Brigg is a long ridge of rocks jutting into the North Sea, associated with folklore concerning the Devil and a dragon.

The Devil dropped his hammer into the sea whilst making the ridge, and thus he plunged his hand into the water to retrieve it. When he pulled his hand out, he had not grabbed his hammer but a fish. Shouting out "Ha, Dick" the Haddock got its name. This story is supposed to explain the distinctive markings on all haddocks, as the location where the Devil held the fish.

Another story concerns a dragon, which had been tricked into eating a large quantity of parkin: the sticky cake got stuck to its teeth so it went to the sea to wash them. At this point the locals ambushed the dragon and drowned it. Therefore it was also thought that Filey Brigg was the fossilised bones of this local dragon.

On a stranger note there have been reports of a sea monster off the Brigg. The most notable was by coastguard Wilkinson Herbert on February 28th 1934. He witnessed a thirty foot creature just off shore: "...Suddenly I heard a growling like a dozen dogs ahead. Walking nearer I switched on my torch, and was confronted by a huge neck, six yards ahead of me, rearing up three feet high! The head was a startling sight, - huge tortoise eyes glaring at me like saucers. The creature's mouth would be a foot wide and the creature's neck would be a yard around." Perhaps a relative of the local dragon.

Directions: Reached via a footpath from Filey. Filey is off the A165 to the South of Scarborough.


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Ian Topham's picture
Ian Topham
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Re: Filey Brigg

Rev. Parkinson in Yorkshire Legends and Traditions (1888) describes the legend of the Devil marking the Haddock at Filey Brigg and mentions other legends associated with how the fish got it’s distinctive pattern.

'The two dark marks on the shoulders of the haddock are by the legends of many lands, attributed to the Evil One; though by another legend the fish is said to have been the one caught by St Peter, at his Divine Master's command, in the Sea of Galilee, and the marks to have been those of the apostle's finger and thumb made in holding the fish while he extracted the piece of money for the tribute from its mouth. The Yorkshire legend, however, brings the origin of the marks nearer home. According to it, the Devil was the builder of the well-known dangerous ridge of rocks known as Filey Brigg. As he was proceeding with this work, he, by chance, dropped his hammer into the water. Diving, in haste to recover it, he by mistake seized a haddock instead of the hammer. Since then the whole species has borne upon its sides the marks of the infernal hand, and shall so bear them to the end of time. '

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Simon Topham
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Re: Filey Brigg

There is tradition th Filey Brigg was constructed by the Devil, with the express purpose of killing mariners. 
Another tradition says that the Devil was trying to build a bridge across the North Sea, but the length of the reef, was the measure of his energies.



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