Standing Stone (lost): OS Grid Reference – SE 2522 5010
Archaeology & History
This long-lost standing stone gave its name to the small hill between the geological giants of Little Almscliffe and Almscliffe Crags, ‘Staniston Hill.’ Described as early as the 13th century in the Cartulary of Fountains Abbey as ‘Standandestan’, its precise whereabouts is unknown—but it’s damn close to the grid-reference cited here. As the early OS-map shows, a small rounded hill occurs a short distance northwest of the small copse of trees now growing. E.T. Cowling (1946) thought that the various mesolithic and neolithic blades and cutting tools that have been found here indicated a small prehistoric settlement once existed at this spot. It seems a sensible suggestion, but we have no direct evidence to confirm this.
As for the monolith: well, it may have been felled by some grumpy christian, or it could be standing in some nearby walling. Local antiquarians, dowsers or archaeologists may or may not find a search for it worthwhile…
Its position between the two Almscliffe Crags makes it very close to marking the midway point of a natural solstice marker: the Winter sunrise from Little Almscliffe and summer sunset from the greater Almscliffe.
- Bennett, Paul, The Old Stones of Elmet, Capall Bann: Milverton 2001.
- Cowling, Eric T., Rombald’s Way, William Walker: Otley 1946.
- Smith, A.H., The Place-Names of the West Riding of Yorkshire – volume 5, Cambridge University Press 1961.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian