Cup-and-Ring Stone: OS Grid Reference – SE 1226 4636
Walk up from Ilkley to the White Wells and keep following the footpath upwards, up the steps and onto the moor itself. Once you’ve got to the top of the steps above the rocky valley, look straight up the slope in front of you and walk directly up the hill. As you near the top, there’s a large cairn sat on the brow of the hill (known as the Coronation Cairn). This ‘ere carving is just a few yards below it.
Archaeology & History
Very little has been written of this albeit innocuous carving — if indeed it is a carving! Found on the large (though overgrown) flat stone just a few yards below the Victorian cairn, all that we appear to have here is a large cup-marking with a small arc pecked around its southern side and a distinct straight line running outwards from the cup (though the line doesn’t actually touch the cup-mark and does give the distinct impression of being pretty recent). A sort of “cup-and-half-ring” with extended line is perhaps the best description!
It was first reported by some English Heritage archaeologist — which, as is generally acknowledged, aint necessarily a good pointer for authenticity when it comes to identifying prehistoric rock art.* (EH archaeo’s are lazy and have a tendency to avoid responsibility) But it’s certainly got a bit more about it than some “carvings” they’ve reported in the past! Boughey & Vickerman (2003) made the following notes of this stone:
“”Low, flat gritstone rock quarried away on E side, fairly smooth but uneven. One large cup and deep groove slightly curving round edge of cup.”
Which is about right. I don’t really think too many of you will be into this unless you’re a real rock-art fanatic!
Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS: Leeds 2003.
Hedges, John, The Carved Rocks on Rombald’s Moor, WYMCC: Wakefield 1986.
* A number of cup-and-ring stones “identified” by English Heritage archaeo’s have tended to be nowt more than natural erosion — which is very poor considering they’re allegedly professionals. And their record for even assessing authentic sites isn’t summat to be proud of: as we know in the case of the Bradup stone circle (once to be found on the south side of these moors), where some un-named English Heritage idiot (names please!) somehow mistook a pile of natural rocks to be the remains of the Bradup circle and, as a result, gave the local land-owner free rein to destroy the real prehistoric circle that was in the adjacent field! The EH official/s responsible for this debacle have yet to be named.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian