Did you know that St Patrick isn’t the only early saint who is said to have driven snakes out of the land? Patrick’s driving the snakes from Ireland is well known, but how many know about St Hild’s driving the snakes from the estate of Whitby? Ok, not quite as impressive as driving them from all of Ireland, but Hey! Hild left evidence! Did you ever notice that icons, paints, heraldry of her schools and churches, and sculptures like this one have all these coiled structures around her? They are shown in this picture under her feet and the coil of her staff. These coils represent the snakes that Hild turned to stone and left embedded in the rocks of the Whitby headland. In reality, Hild’s snakes are fossil Ammonties found in the cliffs of Whitby. These fossils are generally known as snakestones in England. According to legend, as if just to make sure they were really dead, St Cuthbert later came along with a beheading curse and so the snakestones have coils but no heads!