Poetry Yorkshire

I am Rombald

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.
Sculpture of Rombald by John Bridgeman, Keighley, Yorkshire, England, April 25, 2022. © J. Ashley Nixon

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.

Cow and Calf Rocks, Ilkley, Yorkshire, England, July 14, 2016. © J. Ashley Nixon

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

Aspen the Airedale on Rombalds Moor, Airedale, Yorkshire, England. © J. Ashley Nixon

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.

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