Douglas Terrace, Cambusbarron, Stirlingshire

Cairn (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – NS 782 929

Archaeology & History

At the bottom of the ridge from the (supposedly) singular King’s Park cup-and-ring stone,” in a sand-pit adjoining Douglas Terrace,” we could once find the remains of a now lost prehistoric tomb.  First described in the Stirling Natural History Society’s Transactions in 1907, the Scottish Royal Commission lads (1963) told us that, “an urn from this cist was taken to the Smith Institue, Stirling, in a broken condition.” Anymore information about this site, or images of the fragmented urn, would be hugely appreciated.

It does seem very probable that the King’s Park cup-and-ring stone at the top of the ridge from here did relate to local neolithic or Bronze Age burial sites, as I suspected.  It’s highly likely that other carvings were (are?) hidden beneath, or round the edges of this Douglas Terrace and Kings Park region, as I suggested a few months ago.  It’s imperative that archaeologists in the district pay attention to this area before giving the go-ahead of any further landscape destruction.  (Huge thanx to Paddybhoy for prodding my attention here.)

References:

Royal Commission on Ancient & Historical Monuments, Scotland, Stirlingshire – volume 1, HMSO: Edinburgh 1963.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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Birkhill House, Cambusbarron, Stirlingshire

Cairns (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – NS 780 926

Archaeology & History

In times past, there were at least two prehistoric tombs in land either side of old Birkhill House, now covered by the M9 motorway.  The Scottish Royal Commission lads described the first as being “in the garden of Birkhill House,” continuing:

“This cist contained bones and an urn which measured 5in in height and 6in in diameter, and was ornamented with zigzag lines.”

They think, from its description, that “it may have been a food vessel.”  There were also the remains of another tomb to be found in “rising ground to the west side of” Birkhill House.  Both of these finds were first described in the local Transactions of the Stirling Natural History and Antiquarian Society in 1880.  It seems that little else is known about them. (Thanx again to Paddybhoy for prodding my attention here.)

References:

Royal Commission on Ancient & Historical Monuments, Scotland, Stirlingshire – volume 1, HMSO: Edinburgh 1963.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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Coneypark Nursery, Cambusbarron, Stirlingshire

Cairns (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – NS 783 926

Archaeology & History

At least two old tombs that could once be seen here are long-gone by all accounts.  They could be found 200 yards south of the remaining King’s Park cup-and-ring stone.  The first was described by the Royal Commission lads (1963) as a well-defined cist, “situated within a gravel mound and (it) contained a skeleton.” (Thanx to Paddybhoy for prodding my attention here.)  Another tomb site was described a few years later:

“A second short cist was found just within the cairn material 3m SE x E from cist no.1.  It consisted of a capstone set on built-up side walls, the bottom courses being five slabs on edge.  The internal measurements were 64cm long and 48cm wide and 60cm deep.  This second cist was orientied NE-SW with its floor made of small pebbles on which lay a late incised beaker and a small piece of human skull.”

References:

Royal Commission on Ancient & Historical Monuments, Scotland, Stirlingshire – volume 1, HMSO: Edinburgh 1963.
Thompson, J.K., “Coneypark: Bronze Age Cairn,” in Discovery & Excavation in Scotland, 1972.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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Cunninghar, Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire

Stone Circle (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – NS 9240 9712

Also Known as:

  1. Druidical Temple

Archaeology & History

Remaining stone at the destroyed circle

Remaining stone at the destroyed circle

A stone circle was once to be found on the elevated piece of ground above the north-side of the main road between Tillicoultry and Dollar, but it was sadly destroyed sometime in the 19th century.  Listed in Burl’s (2000) magnum opus, we have very little information about the place; though an account of the site was described in the Scottish Royal Commission report (1933) which told that a —

“Stone circle, measuring about 60 feet in diameter, once stood here but was completely removed many years ago, when the stones, which are said to have been 5½ feet in average height, were taken to cover a built drain at Tillicoultry House”!

Stone circle site shown on the 1866 OS-map

Unbelievable!  Any decent local folk nearby wanna find out where this drain is, see if the stones are visible (though I doubt they are), so we can plan to uproot it and move the stones back somewhere nearby. There are a few decent spots on the slopes above where it would look good!

When visited by researchers in the 1890s, parts of an embankment which surrounded the destroyed circle were still visible.  Also, indicating there was some ritual funerary nature to the site, a local teacher called Mr Christie found the remains of an ornamented urn protruding through the ground next to where one of the monoliths had stood.  Unfortunately in his attempts to remove the urn, much of it crumbled away.

Further examinations thereafter found that a burial was (seemingly) beneath the centre of the circle; and excavations here found that a covering stone of the tomb was covered in intricate cup-and-ring designs (see the Tillicoultry House Carving for further details).  Other prehistoric remains were found a little further up the hill from here.

References:

Burl, Aubrey, The Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany, Yale University Press 2000.
Morris, Ronald W.B., The Prehistoric Rock Art of Southern Scotland, BAR 86: Oxford 1981.
Robertson, R., ‘Notice of the Discovery of a Stone Cist and Urns at the Cuninghar, Tillicoultry…’, in PSAS 29, 1895.
Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments of Scotland, Fife, Kinross and Clackmannan, HMSO: Edinburgh 1933.

© Paul Bennett,The Northern Antiquarian

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Robin Hood’s Stone, Riddlesden, West Yorkshire

Legendary Rock:  OS Grid Reference – SE 06228 44470

Getting Here

Marked on the 1853 OS-map

Marked on the 1853 OS-map

Dead easy!  If you come from Silsden, take the Holden Road up onto the moor edge, all the way up the wooded hill.  As you reach the top, keep your eyes peeled for the stone in the slope to your left.  Otherwise, coming from Riddlesden, take the moor road upwards (to Silsden Road) as if you’re gonna visit Peggy Mawson’s Well, the Baldwin Stone or some of the Rivock carvings.  Keep on the road to where you see the microwave tower on Pinfold Hill to your right.  It’s just below it!

Archaeology & History

Robin Hood’s Stone from above

Flints have been found on the slopes above here, but records of this stone only go back — as far as I’ve found — to 1850 (this seems to typify records around the Keighley district, which only seems to record anything post-1500 AD).  In mid-Victorian times, plans were afoot to use the rock for building material, but local people objected and so the stone kept its position overlooking the valley.  There are a number of very defined ‘cups’ on the sloping face of the stone, but several (though not all) of these have all the likeness of the holes dug into the rock by climbers — though why climbers would even think to cut foot-holes into this easy rock beggars belief!

Folklore

One of several sharp well-defined 'cups' on the rock

One of several sharp well-defined ‘cups’ on the rock

Not too surprisingly, folklore tells that this stone was one of the places where our old hero Robin Hood sheltered, when being chased by god-knows-who in one of his many exploits.  We’ve no way of proving this of course, but the sparse woodland remains above here also bear the hero’s name.  What seems to be a more modern piece of industrial folklore alleges that this stone was actually put here by workers in the Victorian times!  The boulder allegedly lived near Barden, Bolton Abbey, but was blocking construction work, so was uprooted and moved all the way to where it now sits!  In bygone times the rock was a local meeting place – perhaps around Beltane, in line with Robin Hood festivities.

References:

  1. Gray, Johnnie, Through Airedale from Goole to Malham, Elliot Stock: London 1891.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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Peggy Well, Silsden, West Yorkshire

Healing Well:  OS Grid Reference – SE 0655 4413

Also Known as:

  • Peggy Mawson’s Well
  • Peggy’s Well

Getting Here

From Riddlesden, take the road up to the moorland and Rivock Edge.  When you reach the top (Silsden Road), turn left.  Go on for about 600 yards till you reach the lovely tree-hidden old cottages of Holden Gate, on your right.  Stop — and walk down the footpath opposite from here.  As the wall goes down, you’ll notice a stream in the next field to your left, emerging from a clump of large rocks.  That’s it! (there’s a footpath in the next field from the roadside)

Archaeology & History

Peggy Mawson's Well - now drained-off through pipes

Peggy Mawson’s Well – now drained-off through pipes

Shown on the first OS-map as ‘Peggy Mawson’s Well,’ little else seems to known of this place; though it obviously got its name after the local lady, Peggy Mawson.  I can find no further information about this lady, nor why the site was named after her.  Any help here would be hugely appreciated!

Sadly the waters from beneath the rocks have been channeled into a couple of pipes and the well no longer runs.  All that’s left is a small boggy region just in front of the boulders.  You have to walk about 100 yards further down the field where the water emerges from a modern pipe.  It doesn’t taste as nice as it originally did when coming straight from the ground, but it’s still quite drinkable (certainly beats any of the chlorinated stuff* that customers are forced to pay for, whether we want it or not – and most people don’t want it).

Folklore

This site has acquired modern folklore, but sadly no early traditions have been found.  Whelan & Taylor (1989) thought that Peggy Well’s “dedication suggests a connection with St. Margaret,” which unfortunately isn’t the case.  Several years later another writer, Val Shepherd (1994), spun the speculation even further, not checking the historical background to the site, and thought that “the well’s name may be derived from the water spirit, ‘Peg,’ who gave her name to other wells.”  Sadly neither idea holds any sway.

References:

Shepherd, Val, Historic Wells in and Around Bradford, HOAP: Loughborough 1994.
Whelan, Edna & Taylor, Ian, Yorkshire Holy Wells and Sacred Springs, Northern Lights: Pocklington 1989.

* Anyone know about this: surely because the water companies chlorinate and add other undesirable toxins into our tap water, what we’re actually drinking is a very weak solution and not actually water.  Isn’t that a trading standards violation?

© The Northern Antiquarian

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Holden Cup Stone, Silsden, West Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 0664 4882

Getting Here

Follow the same directions to reach the Robin Hood’s Wood Stone, but head from there to the dirt-track about 30 yards away.  This stone is just 10-15 yards on the south-side near the bend in the track.  Look around!

Archaeology & History

The Holden Cup-Marked Rock

The Holden Cup-Marked Rock

If you can find this stone, the 2-cupped Robin Hood’s Wood Stone carving is only about 15 yards SW.  But this poor example is a mere single cup-mark sitting near the centre of a large flat rock, half-covered in vegetation like its nearby compatriot.  There’s a faint possibility of a second cup-mark on the rock, but it’s pushing it a bit!  Thanks to the vegetation cover on the majority of the rock, the cup’s in a good state of preservation.  Nowt much to shout about unless you’re a real cup-and-ring nut!

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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Robin Hood’s Wood Stone, Silsden, West Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 0651 4490 –  NEW DISCOVERY

Getting Here

Follow the same directions for reaching the Baldwin Stone.  From here, with your back to the wall, face the small remnants of Robin Hood’s Wood and walk straight to where the game-keeper’s stuff is in the trees 100 yards straight in front.  Go through the small copse and out the other side, in a straight line for another 70 yards.  This stone’s mainly covered over with vegetation (and we covered most of it back over again) so you might have trouble finding it.  But with patience and a good nose, you’ll find it hereabouts!

Archaeology & History

Robin Hood's Wood Cup-Marks

Robin Hood’s Wood Cup-Marks

Another previously undiscovered carving, found yesterday (12.6.09) by Michala Potts after rummaging for sometime amidst the mass of Juncus grasses which cover the plain immediately north of Robin Hood’s Wood.  Not much to see unless you’re a real rock-art freak, as we only have two definite cup-markings on the stone.  A possible third cup can be seen closer to the NW edge, where the rock becomes more crystalline.

I was rather intrigued by Mikki’s find, as when she shouted me over, found that she’d rolled much of the vegetation back that had been covering the stone.  Without rolling the grasses back from the surface, she wouldn’t have found the cup-marks; and considering the number of stones that scatter this plain, I asked why she’d chosen to uncover this one and not the others.

“It told me to!” she said in that blunt Yorkshire way.

“Aaahhh,” I thought…

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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Rough Holden Stone, Silsden, West Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 0702 4486

Getting Here

Rough Holden Cup-and-Ring Stone

Another carving that might take a bitta finding.  Follow the same directions for reaching the Holden Buttock Stone, going past it towards the fence 100 yards away.  Go through the gate and walk along the path for a couple of hundred yards.  As you walk down, you’ll eventually see the cluster of rocks amidst which lives the Dump Stone carving.  This, the Rough Holden cup-and-ring, is off the path (right) before you get to them in the grasses.  Look around.

Archaeology & History

Discovered for the first time yesterday (12.6.09) by Michala Potts and I, this little stone at first only appeared to possess a few cup-markings, but the more we looked at it, the more obvious it became that one of the cups had a nice ring surrounding it.  Unfortunately this didn’t come out at all well in any of the photos we took, so we need to another visit here whe the sunlight’s right to get a decent image.  Aswell as that, the drawing we did of the basic design appears to be missing what looks another blatant cup-marking near the centre of the rock, which did not seem at all obvious to the naked eye when we found it. (such are the delights of assessing cup&rings!)

Rough Holden cup-marks

Rough Holden cup-marks

First sketch of the stone

Basic sketch of the stone

The main cluster of cups occurs on the northern-edge of the stone, where a couple of them seem linked by linear features.  There are also what may be a cup or three on the vertical edge of the rock, below these cups – but this needs looking at again the better lighting.   The cup-and-ring is very faint, but once noticed it become increasingly obvious that it’s there, and most of the ring can be traced with ease by running one’s finger along the groove.  Mikki reckons the ring runs all the way round the cup (she’s probably right), where as I could only work it out running 75% of the way round.  The line which runs off above the ring seems to link up with what looks like another obvious cup-marking on the photo.  We’ll have to check it out properly next time we’re up there!

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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Holden Buttock Stone, Silsden, West Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 0695 4464

Getting Here

Holden Buttock Stone and its faint cups

A bit troublesome this one – and the 8-figure grid-ref might be slightly astray (though only by a little).  Get to the TV-mast below Rivock Edge and notice the small path going along the top of the adjacent field, over the fence, heading north-ish into the meadows — not the path into the forest.  Walk on the meadow path, over the wall and notice a rise in the ground ahead of you.  Go past this mound for about 75 yards and keep your eyes peeled!

Archaeology & History

Close-up of cup-markings

Named by virtue of the shape of the stone, the hardworking Keighley volunteer, Michala Potts of Bracken Bank found this carving on an exploratory amble yesterday (Friday, June 12, 2009).  Previously undiscovered, this carving consists merely of cup-markings — three, possibly four of them — on the northeasterly edge of the rock.  The cups have been pretty well-eroded by the elements and there are few distinguishing features which will make this of any real interest, unless you’re a real rock-art freak!

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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