The Brightwater Archive

Uncovering the secrets of the Brightwater Archive

The Chain

Excavated drag marks from the area known as "Black Meadow"

Excavated drag marks from the area known as “Black Meadow”

Throughout the files there are references to drag marks by a “great chain” that are discovered at various locations during the Brightwater excavations on the North York Moors. There are always two marks close together, almost shoulder width apart. At some points these marks are indistinct, at others they “rent the earth with great scars“. The age of these marks is inconsistent, some were over 500 years old, others much more recent. There were several marks that were discovered on the surface, very similar to those found through excavation. These were thought to have been a year or even months old.

“This is my son!”


One of Lord Brightwater’s team recorded a strange meeting in Sleights (a few miles from the Black Meadow). In the many door-to-door enquiries made and recorded by the team, (the majority a mundane collection of accounts of cups of tea and biscuits or half mumbled conversations in public houses), a few do stand out.

In one account (dated 15th October 1932) an elderly widow led one investigator to her stable where they found a “tired looking stallion, thin and feeble and surrounded by old newspapers.” A wireless was “playing in the corner” and the investigator was not sure if he had ever seen a “sorrier looking creature” in his life. The investigator asked whether it had been put out to stud, but the old woman replied that both “she and the horse found that whole idea distasteful“. The investigator then continued with his usual enquiries, asking the woman whether she knew of anyone who had gone missing, she replied with the usual stories of friends who knew someone who had walked on to the moor and not been seen again. As he left, the investigator thanked the lady for her hospitality and enquired how long she’d had the horse in her possession. She said that she’d had him since he “were a little tyke“. The investigator indicated a lack of understanding:

“”Do you not  mean foal, madam?” I said.

“I mean tyke!” said she. “This is my son.””

Lord Brightwater asked the investigator to return the following spring, but the old lady was reported deceased and the stallion had been destroyed.

The Disappearing Village

The Disappearing Village

This intriguing painting entitled ‘Village on the Moor’ is rumoured to depict the “disappearing village” upon the Black Meadow which is situated off the Whiteway Heads Road (North York Moors).

It is said to have been painted in the mid 19th century and is now in storage at Castle Howard near York. (Brightwater file 789)

N.B. The damage on the painting is due to the nature its original location. It was discovered inside a tin box in an abandoned gamekeeper’s cottage on the grounds (of the site) of Fylingdales House.

The exact location of Fylingdales House is unknown. All of the references and co-ordinates have been censored on the original documents and no maps exist that refer to the house. When questioned about the censorship of these documents by Professor Mullins in 1961 an unnamed Whitehall official stated that “it is a matter of public safety that the location not be revealed”.

There are those that say that RAF Fylingdales itself may have been built on the actual site. This is speculation and there is no proof to suggest that this is the case.

Soil Sample 174


A seemingly mundane soil sample taken on the 4th December 1931.

There are a few anomalies here. In an average soil sample you would expect to find the following nutrients or elements:

But in the sample we find the presence of Cobalt and a large amount of Sulphur which would be sure to raise eyebrows. There is also a tiny but still substantial amount of Palladium.

The key here is the 16% “Unknown” – including some magnetic properties.

This sheet explores soil sample 174. We at the archive have only discovered this and three others (12, 67 and 122). It is unclear how many were taken nor why so many are missing.

Extract from Lord Brightwater’s Resignation speech.

This link takes you to the only surviving recording of Lord Brightwater. It is taken from the broadcast version of his speech which was transmitted in 1933.

Telegram from Member of Brightwater Team Reveals Troubling Information


A recent telegram taken from the archive reveals the strain and possible danger that the Brightwater team faced on a daily basis. It frustratingly opens up further questions rather than answers.

Who are the family to whom this refers?

What are the “spheres”?

Why do they need 15 more workers and spades?

What is the surveying equipment for?

Note the reference to the “mist rising”. Is this code? Surely a mist is so inconsequential as to not need mentioning in a telegram.

And for a member of this scientific team to ask for prayer, a team lead by outspoken atheist Lord Brightwater is strange indeed.

The key question for those searching through the archive is to find the identities of members of Brightwater’s team. Who wrote this? What was happening on the 10th December 1931?


The Lost Investigator – Roger Mullins


Professor R. Mullins went missing on Black Meadow in 1972. He was one of the first to request information from the Brightwater Archive and was the only person given access until it was finally opened earlier this year.

Reply from Brightwater to BM Casualty

bri letter

This letter refers to a petition that was sent to Brightwater in the Autumn of 1931.
Currently there are no other references to such a document, though the archive is quite expansive.
It is very possible that this Mrs Gordon is related to Samantha Gordon who went missing on 17 February 1929.

Punch Magazine Villifies Lord Brightwater


Punch Magazine – December – 1931 (This has been restored from an original print.)


One of the less unpleasant cartoons lampooning Lord Brightwater and his work for the people around Black Meadow.

Published in December 1931 it deliberately uses a print from David Copperfield and casts Brightwater in the role of Mr Peggotty (a Yarmouth Fisherman). This is not a simple lazy use of old prints (Punch often did this) Peggotty is seen as being of pagan descent and Brightwater’s investigations were seen by some as meddling in the old religions.

The text is simplistic and plays on the old prejudice that London had of the North. Using the phrase “going native” when talking about Yorkshire recasts the north as a foreign landscape. Having the returned Brightwater cast as a pauper and speaking in northern dialect also suggests that he has changed “for the worse” and has lost his intellect.

This is a blunt piece of satire and one that caused a lot of upset for the Brightwater estate for some time.

Record of Preliminary Investigation

table There are several pieces of paper just like this throughout the archives that highlight names, dates and positions of individuals last seen.