Simonside Hills

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Simonside Hills
Map showing the location of Simonside Hills
Map showing the location of Simonside Hills
Location in Northumberland
LocationNorthumberland, England, UK
OS gridNZ025985
Coordinates55°16′52″N 1°57′43″W / 55.281°N 1.962°W / 55.281; -1.962Coordinates: 55°16′52″N 1°57′43″W / 55.281°N 1.962°W / 55.281; -1.962

The Simonside Hills are a hill range in Northumberland, England near the town of Rothbury. Most of the hills are around 300 metres (984 ft) to 400 metres (1,312 ft) high and are popular spots for hikers in the area. The highest point is Tosson Hill at 440 metres (1,444 ft).

There are several single pitch rock climbing crags dotted along the hillside, notably Simonside North Face and Ravensheugh.

Etymology[edit]

In a document dated to 1279 Simonside was called Simundessete. By 1580 the name had become Simontside. The name may be a corruption of Sigemund's seat or Sigemund's settlement. Sigemund or Sigmund is the name of an old Germanic hero from the Volsunga Saga and the Nibelungenlied who is mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf. WW Tomlinson, in his Comprehensive Guide To Northumberland (1916), stated that "Simon of mythology was, it seems, a domestic brewer to King Arthur, identical with the German Sigmund, and very fond of killing dragons". [1] This points to the possibility that the Simon of Simonside Hill is the Sigemund mentioned in Beowulf and subsequently Norse and Teutonic myths. It is worth noting that in Scandinavia and Germany, Sigmund is not generally associated with dragon-slaying, his son Sigurd or Siegfried is. His killing of a dragon was mentioned in Beowulf, however.

An alternative derivation for the name is a corruption of "seaman's sight", allegedly because the hills are visible from the North Sea. [2]. This is almost certainly false etymology, however, as the word (ge)sete means seat or settlement and not sight. The Old English word for sight is gesiht [3] and the old English for seaman is sæmanna[4] and thus Seaman's Sight (or "Sæmannas(ge)siht") is unlikely to have become Simundessete in Middle English.

Folklore[edit]

In Northumbrian folklore, malicious dwarves, often called duergar, are said to attack walkers in the hills or lead them astray, especially at night.

Geodesy[edit]

Up to 1919 one of the hills of Simonside was the origin (meridian) of the 6 inch and 1:2500 Ordnance Survey maps of Northumberland. After that the maps of Northumberland were drawn according to the meridian of Brandon Down in Durham.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Grice, F, Folk Tales of the North Country (Thomas Nelson & Sons Ltd, London & Edinburgh, 1944) pp130–133

External links[edit]