I am Rombald Before the wheel The rail, the cut Before the mills Spewed out their soot I roamed the moors Over Aire and Wharfe I am Rombald Before this town The roads and cars Before these shops The pubs and bars I stomped through heather Around the dales As I am Rombald I’ve stood this place Since sixty-eight Suffered stares and slander But this giant will wait To laik again With stones on fells For I am Rombald I’m carved and bronzed My shoulders are heavy But I’ll chuck my boulder Take note, be ready Across Pennine hills I will return Yes, I am Rombald.
Rombald the Statue
Rombald is a twelve-foot-high bronze sculpture created by John Bridgeman (1916-2004). He was originally installed in Rombald Square, an open section of the Keighley Shopping Centre, in 1968. In that year I began travelling from Haworth to Hartington Middle School, Keighley. I would spend many a time in his company waiting for a bus to return home. After a roof was erected in 1987, Rombald was relocated a short distance away where he bides his time, waiting with a boulder above his head.
Rombald the Giant
Rombald the Giant lived a long time ago with his wife between Ilkley and Keighley, on the moors named after him. Local legends passed through the generations tell of the couple rowing, Rombald stomping on rocks and breaking them with his feet. So was born the Cow and Calf Rocks (above). The giantess followed him across the moors throwing stones at him that still lie there in the heather in a place known as Great Skirtful of Stones.
Airedale: Terrier and Terrain
Rombalds Moor, on the hills above the River Aire can be seen in my documentary film Airedale: Terrier and Terrain. This will be screened during the opening of the RATMA Film Festival at The Picture House, Keighley on October 8, 2022.