Hawksnest, Langshaw, Melrose, Roxburghshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NT 499 403

Archaeology & History

The Scottish Royal Commission reported how, “in 1936 a cup-marked boulder measuring 3ft 10in in length, 3ft 8in width and 1ft 8in in thickness, was found in a cultivated field half a mile southeast of Hawksnest and 75 yards north of the road from Hawksnest to Ladhopemoor.”  The carved stone had been scarred a little by the plough, but had “23 shallow cup-marks on its upper surface varying from 1in to 1.75in diameter.”  This carving is curiously omitted from Ronald Morris’ Prehistoric Rock Art of  Southern Scotland (1981), so perhaps the carving has been lost.  Anyone know owt more about it?

References:

Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments of Scotland, Roxburghshire – volume 2, HMSO: Edinburgh 1956.

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Hawk Stone, Shipley, West Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 1792 4099

Getting Here

Take the road from Shipley to Guiseley, the A6038, past the turn-off to Esholt, until you get to the top of what’s locally known as Hollins Hill.  There’s a small farm-track to your leftand in the woodland here you’ll find the rocky outcrop.

Archaeology & History

Nothing has been written about this spot, but in this large wind-and-water worn rock outcrop, with its small cave, on the top part of the rock are several faint cup-markings.

Folklore

Legend tells that a man on horseback jumped from the top of here and landed safely at Low Hall, Yeadon, 2500 yards away to the east. (probably some sort of solar lore)

References:

Gray, Johnnie, Through Airedale, from Goole to Malham, 1891.

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Hare Hill Stone, Oakworth, West Yorkshire

Standing Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 014 381

Archaeology & History

Hare Hill Stone, Oldfield, Oakworth

About a metre tall and found standing near the bottom of one of the fields diagonally across from the old farmhouse of Laverock Hall, here’s another old stone which may not have a prehistoric provenance.  It is seemingly unknown by all but local people and would seem to be an old rubbing post for cattle — albeit a small one!  There seems to be no written accounts of this stone; though until all of the local field-name maps have been checked, we can’t discount the possibility that this is the “standing stone” described in early place-name records that was mentioned by A.H. Smith in 1963.

References:

Bennett, Paul, The Old Stones of Elmet, Capall Bann: Milverton 2001.
Smith, A.H., The Place-Names of the West Riding of Yorkshire – volume 6, Cambridge University Press 1963.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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Harden Moor Circle, Bingley, West Yorkshire

Ring Cairn:  OS Grid Reference – SE 07496 38675

Getting Here

Harden Moor circle01

Harden Moor Circle, looking SE

From Harden, go up Moor Edge High Side (terraced row) till you reach the top. Follow the path thru’ the woods on the left side of the stream till you bend back on yourself and go uphill till you reach the moor edge. Keep walking for about 500 yards and keep an eye out to your immediate left.  The other route is from the Guide Inn pub: cross the road and go up the dirt-track on the moor-edge till you reach a crossing of the tracks where a footpath takes you straight onto the moor (south). Walk on here, heading to the highest point where the path eventually drops down the slope, SE. As you drop down, watch out for the birch tree, cos the circle’s to be found shortly after that, on your right, hidden in the heather!

Archaeology & History

This aint a bad little site hidden away on the small remains of Harden Moor, but is more of a ‘ring cairn’ than an authentic stone circle (a designation given it by previous archaeologists).  An early description of it was by Bradford historian Butler Wood (1905), who also mentioned there being the remains of around 20 small burials nearby.  When the great Sidney Jackson (1956; 1959) and his team of devoted Bradford amateurs got round to excavating here, he found “four or five Bronze Age urns” associated with the circle.  His measurements of the site found it to be 24 feet across, and although the stones are buried into the peat with none of them reaching higher than 3 feet tall, it’s a quietly impressive little monument this one.  About 20 upright stones make up the main part of the ring.

I’ve visited the place often over the last year or so since a section of the heather has been burnt away on the southern edges of the circle.  This has made visible a very distinct surrounding raised embankment of packing stones about a yard wide and nearly two-feet high, particularly on the southern and eastern sides of the circle, giving the site a notable similarity in appearance and structure to the Roms Law circle (or Grubstones Ring) on Ilkley Moor a few miles to the north.

There is also the possibility that this ring of stones was the site described by local historian William Keighley (1858) in his brief outline of the antiquities of the region, where he wrote:

“On Harden Moor, about two miles south of Keighley, we meet with an interesting plot of ground where was to be seen in the early days of many aged persons yet living, a cairn or ‘skirt of stones,’* which appears to have given name to the place, now designated Cat or Scat-stones. This was no doubt the grave of some noted but long-forgotten warrior.

* The Cairn was called Skirtstones by the country people in allusion to the custom of carrying a stone in the skirt to add to the Cairn.”

However, a site called the ‘Cat stones’ is to be found on the nearby hill about 500 yards southeast – and this mention of a cairn could be the same one which a Mr Peter Craik (1907) of Keighley mentioned in his brief survey of the said Catstones Ring at the turn of the 20th century.  We just can’t be sure at the moment.  There are still a number of lost sites, inaccuracies and questions relating to the prehistoric archaeology of Harden Moor (as the case of the megalithic Harden Moor Stone Row illustrates).

Section of the inner ring

Section of the inner ring

The general lack of an accurate archaeological survey of this region is best exemplified by the archaeologist J.J. Keighley’s (1981) remark relating specifically to the Harden Moor Circle, when he erroneously told that, “there are now no remains of the stone circle on this site” — oh wot an indicator that he spent too much time with paperwork!  For, as we can see, albeit hidden somewhat by an excessive growth of heather, the ring is in quite good condition.

It would be good to have a more up-to-date set of excavations and investigations here.  In the event that much of the heather covering this small moorland is burnt back, more accurate evaluations could be forthcoming. But until then…..

References:

  1. Bennett, Paul, The Old Stones of Elmet, Capall Bann: Milverton 2001.
  2. Craik, Peter, “Catstones Ring,” in C.F. Forshaw’s Yorkshire Notes & Queries, volume 3 (H.C. Derwent: Bradford 1907).
  3. Faull, M.L & Moorhouse, S.A. (eds.), West Yorkshire: An Archaeological Survey to AD 1500 – volume 1, WYMCC: Wakefield 1981.
  4. Jackson, Sidney, “Harden Moor Circle,” in Cartwright Hall Archaeology Group Bulletin, 1:18, June 1956.
  5. Jackson, Sidney, “Harden Circle Found,” in Cartwright Hall Archaeology Group Bulletin, 2:1, July 1956.
  6. Jackson, Sidney, “Bronze Age Urn found on Harden Moor,” in Cartwright Hall Archaeology Group Bulletin, no.7, 1959.
  7. Keighley, J.J., “The Prehistoric Period,” in Faull & Moorhouse, WYMCC: Wakefield 1981.
  8. Keighley, William, Keighley Past and Present, Arthur Hall: London 1858.
  9. Wood, Butler, ‘Prehistoric Antiquities of the Bradford District,’ in Bradford Antiquary, volume 2, 1905.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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Water Sheddles Cross, Oakworth Moor, West Yorkshire

Standing Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SD 971 383

Also known as:

  1. Hanging Stone
  2. Standing Stone
  3. Waterscheddles Cross

Getting Here

The old stone, lost amidst the colour of hills

The old stone, lost amidst the colour of hills

Pretty easy to find.  Go along the Oakworth-Wycoller road, between Keighley and Colne, high up on the moors.  When you get to the Water Sheddles Reservoir right by the roadside (y’ can’t miss it), stop!  On the other side of the road walk onto the moor, heading for the walling a coupla hundred yards to your east (right).  Where the corner edge of the walling ends, your standing stone is right in front of you!  If for some reason you can’t see it, wander about – though beware the very boggy ground all round here.

Archaeology & History

This seven-foot tall monolith, leaning to one side thanks to the regularly water-logged peath beneath its feet, stands on the Yorkshire-Lancashire.  It is locally known as the Hanging Stone and the Standing Stone, but the name ‘Water Sheddles’ is a bittova puzzle.  The place-names authority, A.H. Smith (1961) thinks it may derive from the middle-english word, shadel, being a ‘parting of the waters’ – which is pretty good in terms of it’s position in the landscape and the boggy situation around it.  But ‘sheddle’ was also a well-used local dialect word, though it had several meanings and it’s difficult to say whether any of them would apply to this old stone.  Invariably relating to pedlars, swindling or dodgy dealings, it was also used to mean a singer, or someone who rang bells, or a schedule, aswell as to shuffle when walking.  Perhaps one or more of these meanings tells of events that might have secretly have been done here by local people, but no records say as such — so for the time being I’ll stick with Mr Smith’s interpretation of the word!  Up until the year 1618 it was known simply as just a ‘standing stone’, when it seems that the words “Hanging Stone or Water Sheddles Cross” were thereafter carved on its west-face, as the photo below shows.

Cross carved on the head of the stone

Cross carved on top of the stone

The old stone, with its names carved for all to see

Whether or not this stone is prehistoric has been open to conjecture from various quarter over the years.  Is it not just an old boundary stone, erected in early medieval times?  Or perhaps a primitive christian relic?  Certainly the stone was referred to as “le Waterschedles crosse”, as well as “crucem”, in an early record describing the boundaries of the parish of Whalley, dating from around the 15th century.  This has led some historians to think that the monolith we see today is simply a primitive cross.  However, sticking crosses on moortops or along old boundaries tended to be a policy which the Church adopted as a means to ‘convert’ or christianize the more ancient heathen sites.  It seems probable in this case that an old wooden cross represented the ‘crucem‘ which the monks described in the early Whalley parish records.

This monolith likely predates any christian relic that might once have stood nearby; although the carving of a ‘cross’ on the head of the stone may have supplemented the loss of the earlier wooden one.  But it seems likely that this carved ‘cross’ was done at a later date than the description of the ‘crucem‘ in the parish records — probably a couple of centuries later, when a boundary dispute was opened, in 1614, about a query on the precise whereabouts of the Yorkshire-Lancashire boundary.  After several years, as John Thornhill (1989) wrote,

“the matter was resolved on the grounds that the vast Lancastrian parish of Whalley had claimed territorial jurisdiction as far east as the Hanging Stone, thus the county boundary was fixed on the Watersheddles Cross.”

Water Sheddles stone looking SW

Water Sheddles stone looking SW

Certainly the stone hasn’t changed in the last hundred years, as we can tell from a description of it by Henry Taylor (1906), who said:

“The remains consist of a rough block of stone, leaning at an angle of about forty-five degrees against a projecting rock. The top end has been shaped into the form of an octagon, on the face of which a raised cross is to be seen. The stone is about six feet long and two feet wide, tapering to eleven inches square at the upper end, and appears once to have stood upright. Some local authorities have cut on it the words, ‘Hanging Stone or Waterscheddles Cross.'”

So is it an authentic prehistoric standing stone?  Tis hard to say for certain I’m afraid.  It seems probable – but perhaps no more probable than the smaller Great Moss Standing Stone found just a couple of hundred yards away in the heather to the west, on the Lancashire side of the boundary.  Tis a lovely bitta moorland though, with a host of lost folktales and forgotten archaeologies…

References:

  1. Bennett, Paul, The Old Stones of Elmet, Capall Bann: Milverton 2001.
  2. Brigg, J.J., ‘A Disputed County Boundary”, in Bradford Antiquary, 2nd Series, no.8, 1933.
  3. Smith, A.H., The Place-Names of the West Riding of Yorkshire – volume 6, Cambridge University Press 1961.
  4. Taylor, Henry,The Ancient Crosses and Holy Wells of Lancashire, Sherratt & Hughes: Manchester 1906.
  5. Thornhill, John, ‘On the Bradford District’s Western Boundary,’ in Bradford Antiquary, 3rd Series, vol.4, 1989.
  6. Wright, Joseph, English Dialect Dictionary – volume 5, Henry Frowde: Oxford 1905.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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Hameldon Pasture, Worsthorne, Lancashire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SD 891 326

Archaeology & History

Hameldon Pasture cup-marked stone

In the vicinity of the denuded ring-cairn and old tumulus of Worsthorne Hill, the Calderdale historian Mr J.A. Heginbottom described finding this simple cup-marked rock, a hundred yards or so northwest of the old circle. In my ambles here I was unable to locate it. The stone may have been reburied or destroyed.  Are there any locals out there who know anything more about this site?

References:

Heginbottom, J.A., The Prehistoric Rock Art of Upper Calderdale and the Surrounding Area, YAS: Leeds 1979.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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Hamblethorpe, Low Bradley, Skipton, North Yorkshire

Standing Stones:  OS Grid Reference – SE 00303 47622

Getting Here

Hamblethorpe Stones, Low Bradley

Hamblethorpe Stones, Low Bradley

Take the single-track country lane between Farnhill and Low Bradley until you reach Hamblethorpe farmhouse.  Where the birch woodland is on the slope going uphill, the field on the other side of the road, protected by walling, is where the stones are, just south of the farmhouse.  There’s nowhere to park any car hereabouts, so it’s best walking here.

Archaeology & History

It seems that nothing previously has been written of this place.  Hidden away at the top of the field we find two curious-looking standing stones: one nearly six-feet tall, and its companion about four-feet.  They’re near the bottom of the slope from the giant Round Cairn and Long Cairn tombs of Low Bradley Moor — and were it not for the fact that they have a distinctive Castlerigg-like appearence about them, perhaps I wouldn’t have given them a second chance.  Curious earthworks are in the same field, to which written records also appear silent.  Tis a lovely little spot…

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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Haer Stanes, Llanbryde, Banffshire

Stone Circle (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – NJ 267 600

Also Known as:

  • Haerstanes
  • Harestones

Archaeology & History

Fred Coles (PSAS 40, 1906:204-5) described this site in his essay on the megaliths of Banffshire, where once could be found perhaps five stone circles close to each other – but all are now gone!  Bloody disgraceful really.  When Coles explored here, although the site was still shown on maps, little could be found of the place.

“On the farm,” he wrote, “we heard long-handed-down tradition of the Circle, and the site was, rather vaguely, pointed out.” But there was nothing there. He described one reference to the place written by a Mr James Morrison, who said, “We have remains of two so-called Druid Circles, and during the last half-century three others have been swept away. One of these was in horse-shoe form and was called the Haer Stanes.” The same writer later says, “These stones were unfortunately found to lie in the line of a road then formed (1830) and were ignominiously tumbled down the slope on which for ages they had rested, and buried in a gravel pit by the side of the road.”

References:

Cole, Fred, ‘Report on Stone Circles Surveyed in the North-East of Scotland…’, in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries, Scotland, volume 40, Edinburgh 1906.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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Gull Stones, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk

Stone Circle (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – TG 524 035

Archaeology & History

Several local history records describe there being a circle of ten standing stones in a field called ‘Stone-field’ or ‘Stone-piece’ – now covered by a housing estate at Gorleston-on-Sea, south of Yarmouth.  In 1875, C. J. Palmer said that,

“there is a tradition that the Druids had a temple at Gorleston, some remains of which existed down to a comparatively recent period. It is supposed to have stood on a field next to the road to Lowestoft, upon what is called Great Stone Close; and it has been asserted that some huge stones remained standing until 1768, when they were destroyed by digging round their base and dragging them down by ropes. There are also two fields called Further Stone Close and Middle Stone Close, so that it is possible the Druidical circle, if it ever existed, may have had a wide extent”.

A painting of the site was reported to have been viewed by members of the Norfolk & Norwich Archaeological Society in 1888, but I’ve been unable to find out where this has gone.  Anyone out there got a copy?  Or know where it hangs?  An image of this lost stone circle would be hugely welcome!

References:

Burgess, Michael W., The Standing Stones of Norfolk and Suffolk, ESNA 1: Lowestoft 1978.
Palmer, C.J., The Perlustration of Great Yarmouth – volume 3, George Nall: Gt Yarmouth 1875.

Links:

  1. Hidden East Anglia: Ancient Sites & Legends

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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Greystone Allotment, Weston, North Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 18433 49648

Also Known as:

  • Carving no.541 (Boughey & Vickerman)
  • Greystone Rock

Greystone Rock carving

Getting Here

Although cited as being on Weston Moor, it is closer to Askwith village. From the village, take the north road and shortly before reaching the T-junction, park-up (somewhere!). There’s a small copse of trees on your right and fields above them – that’s where you’re heading. You might have to bimble about a bit before the rock catches your attention, but it’s worth the wandering.  Look around!

Archaeology & History

Sketch of the design c.1985

This is an excellent, archetypal cup-and-ring stone that’ll be loved by any real rock art student!  Cups-and-multiple rings are the main visual feature to this stone, along with another 20 single cups and another primary cup-and-ring, all on a medium-sized sloping rock face.  The carving was first described by Cowling & Hartley (1937).  Since their initial discovery, several other writers have mentioned it with little further comment.  The smaller but impressive double cup-and-ring carving 543 can be seen at the bottom left of the woodland in front of you – well worth seeing if you’re visiting here!

References:

Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, West Yorkshire Archaeology Service 2003.
Cowling, Eric T., Rombald’s Way, William Walker: Otley 1946.
Cowling, E.T. & Hartley, ‘Cup-and-Ring Markings to the North of Otley,’ in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, 33, 1937.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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