Legendary Tree: OS Grid Reference — SD 5297 6467
Also Known as:
- Caton Oak
- Fish Stones Oak
Dead easy! Near the western end of Caton village, right on the edge of the main road (A683) running through the village (south-side of the road), enclosed by railings, you’ll see the remains of this ancient tree, just by the side of the stream. Keep your eyes peeled!
Archaeology & History
The small scruffy-looking remnant of an oak standing here by the roadside in Caton village, surrounded by protective railings, is the dying remnants of the old tree, standing upon the sandstone steps which were known as the Fish Stones: a curious monument that has been listed as a protected monument by the Dept of National Heritage. A small plaque on the side tells:
“The three semi-circular sandstone steps, shaded by the oak tree, were used in medieval times by the monks of Cockersand Abbey to display and sell fish caught from the River Lune. The ancient oak tree, reputed to date back to the time of the druids, and the Fish Stones, have become a landmark and Symbol of Caton.”
This was probably the local moot spot for villagers and those living in outlying farms and hills in medieval times. No doubt a market of some sort was also once here; perhaps even an old cross, as the Fish Stones have all the appearance of some village cross steps. I’ve found little else about this old tree, nor any folklore (but aint looked too hard if truth be had!). There’s surely more to be said about this once sacred tree.
More sites related in folklore to druids can be found not too far away at the collapsed cairn near Bordley; the Druid’s Altar and nearby Druid’s Well on the outskirts of Bingley; the Druid’s Stone of Bungay in Suffolk and many more…
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian