Legendary Rock: OS Grid Reference – SE 077 163
A place that I thought was no longer visible – though one local tells me that aint the case. This legendary site – also known as the ‘Holed’ or ‘Holy Stone’ – is preserved in the place-name of Rocking Stone Hill and, unlike many other alleged rocking stones, actually swayed to and fro if the old records are owt to go by. When the site was described by John Watson in 1775 it had already been damaged, but not destroyed; though even then he described it as “the finest druidical remain in these parts.”
It stood as an ancient boundary mark dividing the townships of Golcar and Slaithwaite. Prior to Watson’s grand survey the Whole Stone had been measured by a Mr Thomas Percival, who described it as being,
“ten and a half feet long, containing nearly six cubits, druidical measure; nine feet four or five inches broad, containing nearly five cubits; and five feet three inches thick, answering to three cubits . . . Its weight…is eighteen tons, and one hundred and ninety pounds. It rests on so small a centre that at one particular point a man may cause it to rock.”
Mr John Crabtree (1836) included it in his survey, and it was illustrated on the very first Ordnance Survey map in the 1840s where it was described as ‘Supposed Druidical’; but in 1886 most of this region was destroyed by quarrying.
The Huddersfield historian Philip Ahier (1942) told how, when he explored this region for any possible remains of the site, he chanced upon an old local man, “who informed me that he had sat on the stone when a youth and had caused it to rock.”
- Ahier, Philip, Legends and Traditions of Huddersfield & District, Advertiser Press: Huddersfield 1942.
- Bennett, Paul, The Old Stones of Elmet, Capall Bann: Milverton 2001.
- Crabtree, John, Concise History of the Parish & Vicarage of Halifax, Hartley & Walker: Halifax 1836.
- Watson, Rev. John, History & Antiquities of the Parish of Halifax, T.Lowndes: London 1775.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian