Bowling Green Stone, Shipley, West Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 14505 37525

Also Known as:

  1. Carving no.8 (Boughey & Vickerman)

Getting Here

Carved stone beside the path

From Shipley town centre open market, take the Kirkgate road up to Saltaire, past the old town hall. On the other side of the road take the little path into the Bowling Club, in the trees (if you hit the church you’ve gone too far).  Once standing in front of the bowling green itself, you need to walk along the left-side path. Two-thirds of the way down, now laid in the ivy-covered area below the old quarry face, you’ll find what you’ll find what you;re looking for.

Archaeology & History

I remember first seeking out this carving when I was still at school and wondering how the hell it got here – and believed it to be a fallen standing stone at the time!  It seems that the stone was cut and readied for use as a gatepost instead, at some time long ago.

Close-up showing cups & lines

The curious cup-marked stone has travelled about a bit, somehow.  Formerly at the edge of a field in the grounds of Bradford Grammar School 3 miles away (at SE 1523 3583), the fella was then built into the wall of the now-demolished Shipley Old Hall, before reaching its present resting place at the edge of the bowling green.  Consisting of around 16 cup-markings with carved lines seeming to link them here and there, it was first mentioned by the late great Sydney Jackson (1955) in an early edition of the Bradford Archaeology Journal.  The carving was recently included in the Boughey & Vickerman (2003) survey, where they described it as,

“Medium-sized fairly smooth grit rock with coarse line down top, probably natural, evidence of quarrying on edge.  Sixteen or seventeen cups, one with a groove out has a deeper cut within it and twelve of the others are linked in pairs by short grooves.  This has been interpreted as feathering for quarrying, but the grooves are across the line of likely split, rather than along it.”

And for those of you who live nearby: if you check this out, see if you can locate an earthfast boulder near here which I recall having a cluster of distinct cup-marks running on top of the rock along one side. I couldn’t find it when I looked a short while ago, it’s not in the archaeology survey lists, and it remains lost—in the heart of Shipley no less!

References:

Jackson, Sydney, “Cup-Marked Boulder, Shipley Old Hall,” in Bradford Cartwright Hall Archaeology Group Bulletin, 1:10, 1955.
Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS: Wakefield 2003.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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One Response to Bowling Green Stone, Shipley, West Yorkshire

  1. Frazer Irwin says:

    Bowling Green stone is in Crowgill Park. I spent some of my apprenticeship here around fifty years ago. The odd thing is I don’t remember seeing the stone then though have later. The area it is situate wasn’t as overgrown then as now. One has to ask when was it moved there as the Park only became such when the area was landscaped from a council tip. Prior it was a quarry.

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