Stannary, Halifax, West Yorkshire

Stone Circle (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – SE 088 256

Archaeology & History

The place-name authority A.H. Smith (1961), in searching for the meaning behind the old region in Halifax known as “stannary”, just west of the town centre, was puzzled by its implications and found it wanting, so he took the most likely option as he saw it, writing,  “probably it is a stone circle,” from the archaic verbs stan (stone) and hring (ring).

First recorded in the Halifax Court Rolls of 1575 as “Stannerying”, this implied it to be a place where tin-ware was sold in a field, “though that word belongs rather to Cornwall,” he said, and it appeared out of place at the time it was written.  So he looked elsewhere.  The Halifax Parish Registers of 1578 didn’t help much, describing the place as “Stanerye.”  However, the Halifax Rent Records of 1588 named it as “Standeringe”, which is much closer to Smith’s idea.  With each written instance we certainly find the old English stan, but the suffix in two instances is difficult to assess with firm conviction.

If we could locate additional folklore or other historical data that might throw further light on this, it would be an important find.  The finding of prehistoric burial remains less than a mile south of Stannary on the other side of town shows that ancient man was in Halifax, but it would be good if we could find more…


Smith, A.H., The Place-Names of the West Riding of Yorkshire, Cambridge University Press 1961-63.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

About megalithix

Occultist, prehistorian and independent archaeological researcher, specializing in prehistoric rock art, Neolithic, Bronze Age & Iron Age sites, and the animistic cosmologies of pre-Christian & traditional cultures.
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