Cottage owners catch a falling star

A PIECE of meteorite that dropped from the sky more than 200 years ago is being returned to where it fell in Yorkshire.

The chunk fell to earth in 1795, near the village of Wold Newton in East Yorkshire, making a loud explosion that "alarmed the surrounding country" as it landed.

The stone – which turned out to be the UK's second largest meteorite – fell near Wolds Cottage owned by Sir Edward Topham, a magistrate, who took statements from witnesses who saw the "dark body" travelling through the air.

Present owners Katrina and Derek Gray, who run the five-bedroomed cottage as country house accommodation, had a guest to stay, Martin Goff, who told them pieces of the meteorite – the bulk is kept at the National History Museum – occasionally came up for sale.

They missed one piece sold in Scotland, but then Mr Goff, a crime scene investigator with Greater Manchester Police, got in touch with a US collector Dave Gheesling, who generously offered to donate them his.

Mr Goff will hand over the rock, a common chondrite L6 with a black "fusion crust", which he has had mounted and framed, to the Grays next Friday.

He said Mr Gheesling agreed it was massive shame that they didn't have a piece of meteorite to display.

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