Rudstoop Monolith, Cragg Vale, West Yorkshire

Standing Stone/s:  OS Grid Reference – SD 99269 23652

Getting Here

1st edition OS-map showing the stone

From Mytholmroyd, go up the Cragg Vale Road, then 2 miles up take the road steep on your right down and round St. John’s Church, then keep going along the road up to Withens.  About a mile up, a road turns sharply right.  Go up here for a few hundred yards, past the trees, and 100 yards on the road splits in a ‘V’.  Stop here.  Go into the field on your left which slopes downhill and less than 100 yards down you’ll see the large long stone laid in the grass.  That’s it!

Archaeology & History

The fallen stone, with Teddy! (image courtesy ‘QDanT’)

Included in the Addenda of The Old Stones of Elmet (p.222), here is a recumbent monolith more than 8 feet long and 6 feet across which really needs to be resurrected as it would be an impressive sight! Found halfway up Withens Clough, a local land-owner told me it was one in a row of several such stones, though no trace of the others can be found. Found in the appropriately called Standing Stone Fields, it was last shown on the 1850 OS-map, as the attached illustration shows and is positioned just above the “S” of the smaller highlighted “standing stone”, just where the little blob is! The small valley to its immediate west is called Rudstoop, from which I give the stone its name.

A description of the site is given in F.A. Leyland’s scarce commentary on the History of Halifax (c.1867), where he wrote:

“Standing Stone Fields: Not far distant from Hill Top, in this township (Erringden), there is a rough piece of ground known by this name.  It is situated on the slope of the same hill as the remain last described and commands a view of the northern side of Sowerby, with the outlines and rocks of Langfield and the Withens. The locality was anciently the site of a number of upright single stones: most of these have been broken up and used in the construction of the adjoining fences. But one, the last of the series, which the quarrying operations on the spot respected during the whole time they were carried on, was undermined and overthrown a few years ago, by a number of mischievous boys. The rock is a slab of millstone grit, measuring upwards of 9 feet in length, 7 feet 8 inches in width, at the base, and 4 feet 9 inches at the top: at the latter point it is 9 inches thick, and is 1 foot 6 thick at the base. The remain has, originally, been pyramidal in form, but the apex has been either broken off by violence or reduced to its present dimensions by decay.”

An impression of the land here indicates the other, lost monoliths, were in a row which headed east from here, towards the cup-and ring-marked ‘Upper Lumb Stone’.  There is also the possibility that these monoliths were aligned with the enigmatic Two Lads cairns less than a mile SW of here.

Well worth checking out!

References:

  1. Bennett, Paul, The Old Stones of Elmet, Capall Bann: Milveton 2001.
  2. Leyland, F.A., The History and Antiquities of the Parish of Halifax, by the Reverend John Watson, M.A., R.Leyland: Halifax n.d. (c.1867)

Links:

  1. More images of the fallen monolith

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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About megalithix

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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