West Witton Burning Bartle

Where: West Witton in Yorkshire
When: Saturday nearest 24th August
Time: 9pm


An ancient custom of obscure origin and unique to West Witton, a small village in North Yorkshire. A stuffed figure, similar to guys made for Bonfire Night but with a hideous mask and flashing eyes, is paraded through the village with frequent stops for his attendants to imbibe some refreshment. Motorists trying to drive through the village are stopped by the Procession (and some look intimidated as Bartle leers through their windows). At each stop the proclamation telling Bartle’s story is shouted out (even though no one seems sure who he was – saint, thief or giant!) :

On Penhill Crags he tore his rags

Hunters Thorn he blew his horn

Cappelbank Stee happened a misfortune and brak’ his knee

Grassgill Beck he brak’ his neck

Wadhams End he couldn’t fend

Grassgill End we’ll mak’ his end

Shout, lads, shout!

and the crowd respond with a loud “Hurray”. Eventually the route goes up a little road behind the houses and Bartle is stabbed, covered in fuel and  burned next to the wall.

Helpful Hints

Park off road for free by the Playing Fields at the east end of the village (marked by bunting in 2010) and allow a few minutes to walk to the opposite end of the village for the start. It’s road and pavement underfoot but take a torch with you as there isn’t much street lighting at the edges of the village. The local pubs are open so food & drink are available. It’s got a friendly inclusive atmosphere and you’ll enjoy the musician ( I hope he’s forgiven me for nearly blinding him with my flash!)

In 2018 it will take place on Saturday 25th August.

Click here to visit the event website : http://www.burningbartle.org.uk/


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