St. Michael’s Well, Edinburgh, Midlothian

Holy Well (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – NT 2618 7353

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 75958
  2. Silver Well

Archaeology & History

Reproduction 1540 sketch showing the Well

This ‘holy well of the dragon-slayer’ could once be found close to where old Cowgate meets St Mary’s Street.  Highlighted on an old map of the city around 1540, and on Mr Bryce’s sketch of the old inner city at the end of the 19th century, we do not know when the Well acquired its name, but it may have been by an early group of jews, to whom the saint was important.   Hereby in 1779 was listed a small piece of land called the ‘Silverwell Close’ which both Watson (1923) and Harris (1996) thought was a corruption of the St Michael’s Well, somehow.  Watson (1923) explained that St Michael’s

“connection with fountains, or a ‘silver well’, is probably due to the legends of the miraculous spring of Monte Galgano in Apulia and Mont-Saint-Michele in Normandy.”

In Ruth & Frank Morris’ (1981) survey of Scottish holy wells, they report how, in the 16th century, this forgotten site was “a favourite resort” of local people.  They told how,

“in 1543 an act of penance was ordered to be performed at the fountain of St. Michael.”

St Michael was a powerful mythic figure to the Muslims, Christians and Jews.  In the old calendar in Scotland his festival date was September 29th and known as ‘Michaelmas’ (although other dates have been ascribed by the varying sects in other countries).  In truth, this site should be highlighted for tourists, pilgrims, historians and religious followers alike due to the importance this mythic figure once held in the various pantheons.

References:

  1. Bennett, Paul, Ancient and Holy Wells of Edinburgh, TNA 2017.
  2. Harris, Stuart, The Place-Names of Edinburgh: Their Origins and History, Gordon Wright: Edinburgh 1996.
  3. Morris, Ruth & Frank, Scottish Healing Wells, Alethea: Sandy 1982.
  4. Watson, Charles B.B., “Notes on the Names of the Closes and Wynds of Old Edinburgh,”in Book of the Old Edinburgh Club, volume 12, 1923.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

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Gatepost Stone, Ilkley Moor, West Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 09497 46961

Getting Here

Cup-and-rings on gatepost (photo credit, Dave Whittaker)

From Ilkley, follow the same directions as if you’re going up to the superb Swastika Stone.  Keep walking on the footpath, west, for 65 yards (59m), then walk into the heather on your left.  Barely 5 yards in, you’ll see this fallen standing stone or gatepost.

Archaeology & History

First described in one of Stuart Feather’s (1964) old rambles, I first saw this stone in my late-teens and was as puzzled by it then as I am today.  Upon an obviously worked stone that may once have stood upright (or was intended to do), two faint and incomplete cup-and-rings were carved – but when exactly?  If this stone was cut from a larger rock into its present shape, were the petroglyphs already on it, or were they done when the ‘gatepost’ was created?

It was first described in one of Stuart Feather’s (1964) rambles up here and later included in Hedges’ (1986) survey, where he told it to be a, “recumbent gatepost with one cup with almost complete ring and one cup with vestigial ring.”  Boughey & Vickerman’s (2003) survey added little more.  And when a group calling itself Carved Stones Investigation got itself about £250,000 to “investigate” the Ilkley petroglyphs, I was hoping that they could have at least turned this stone over to see if other carvings were on the stone – but they just revisited all those found by others, made a new list, and took the money to be honest (no website and no book – as they should’ve done).  Thankfully, local folk are having a look at this and others and doing the work they should have.  Check it out when you’re next up at the Swastika.

References:

  1. Bennett, Paul, Megalithic Ramblings between Ilkley and Baildon, unpublished: Shipley 1982.
  2. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS: Wakefield 2003.
  3. Feather, Stuart, “Mid-Wharfedale Cup-and-Ring Markings: no.26, 27, 28 – Black Pots, High Moor, Silsden, near Keighley,” in Cartwright Hall Archaeology Group Bulletin, 9:10, 1964.
  4. Hedges, John, The Carved Rocks on Rombalds Moor, WYMCC: Wakefield 1986.

AcknowledgementsHuge thanks to Dave Whittaker for the photo.  Good luck with the plans fellas.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

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St. Patrick’s Well, Portpatrick, Wigtownshire

Holy Well (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – NX 0010 5412

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 60610

Archaeology & History

St Patricks Well on 1849 map

This long-lost  holy well was located on the southeast side of the town.  It was highlighted on the first OS-map in 1849, but its waters were disrupted shortly after this. Daniel Conway (1882) told that,

“It flowed where there was a quarry used for the harbour works. The writer of this notice heard from two men, John Mulholland and Owen Graham, dwelling at Portpatrick in 1860, that they had seen on the rock beside the well what tradition said was the impression of the knees and left hand of St. Patrick.”

When the holy wells writer E.M.H. M’Kerlie (1916) came to visit this site, it was “no longer to be seen.”  He wrote:

“The water which issued from a rock on the south side of the village is now diverted by means of pipes into another course.”

References:

  1. Agnew, Andrew, The Agnews of Lochnaw: The History of the Hereditary Sheriffs of Galloway, A. & C. Black: Edinburgh 1864.
  2. Agnew, Andrew, The Hereditary Sheriffs of Galloway – volume 1, David Douglas: Edinburgh 1893.
  3. Conway, Daniel, “Holy wells in Wigtonshire,” in Archaeological & Historical Collections Relating to Ayr & Wigton, volume 3, 1882.
  4. Harper, Malcolm MacLachan, Rambles in Galloway, Edmonston & Douglas: Edinburgh 1876.
  5. M’Kerlie, E.M.H., Pilgrim Spots in Galloway, Sands: Edinburgh 1916.
  6. MacKinlay, James M., Folklore of Scottish Lochs and Springs, William Hodge: Glasgow 1893.
  7. Morris, Ruth & Frank, Scottish Healing Wells, Alethea: Sandy 1982.
  8. Royal Commission Ancient & Historical Monuments of Scotland, Inventory of Monuments and Constructions in Galloway – County of Wigtown, HMSO: Edinburgh 1912.
  9. Walker, J. Russel, “‘Holy Wells’ in Scotland,” in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, vol.17 (New Series, volume 5), 1883.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

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St. Patrick’s Stone, Portpatrick, Wigtownshire

Cup-Marked Stone (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – NX 0010 5411

Archaeology & History

Very little is known about this long-lost carving, whose primary information comes from the folklore records.  Apparently it was found on a rock a short distance south of the destroyed St. Patrick’s Well and the two sites seem to have had a traditional relationship with each other.  The carving had a foot-shaped motif on the rock, and a number of other cup-markings; but I can find no account as to whether the ‘foot’ carving possessed ‘toes’, as seen on the impressive Cochno Stone, north of Glasgow.  It may have been little more that the petroglyphic ‘feet’ seen on the recently discovered and aptly-named Footprint Stone, or those on the newly rediscovered Witches Stone; but we cannot discount it being larger, like the Footprint Stone of Dunadd.  If we could locate an early sketch of the stone, all would be revealed!   Sadly, as E.M.H. M’Kerlie (1916) told us,

“this rock was blasted at the time when the government essayed to make the harbour one of great importance”,

several years after the nearby holy well had been re-routed. Fucking idiots!  Any further info on this site would be most welcome.

Folklore

The local story that was told about St. Patrick creating these carvings seems to have been described first of all by Andrew Agnew (1864), who wrote:

“Once, when about to revisit his native land, he crossed the Channel at a stride, leaving the mark of his foot distinctly impressed on one of the rocks of the harbour; unfortunately, in making a new jetty, this interesting memento was destroyed.”

(The mention of the jetty would seem to imply that the carving was closer to the sea than the grid-reference cited above.) In another tale, St. Patrick rested his hand onto the same rock and the marks of his hand and fingers were left there.  This folklore motif is found across the world.  It relates to cosmological creation myths of indigenous spirits and deities in the tribes and cultures who narrate it.  In this instance, the myth of St Patrick replaced a much earlier mythic tale of another giant or deity, whose name we have lost.  Unless, of course, such petroglyphs were still being carved in Galloway by local people in the 4th-5th centuries.

A further tale of St Patrick, at Portpatrick, replaced a quite obvious shamanistic tale. When he journeyed back from Ireland to Galloway, Agnew again told us:

“Having preached to an assembly on the borders of Ayrshire, the barbarous people seized him, and, amidst shouts of savage glee, struck his head from his body in Glenapp.  The good man submitted meekly to the operation; but no sooner was it over than he picked up his own head, and, passing through the crowd, walked back to Portpatrick, but finding no boat ready to sail he boldly breasted the waves and swam across to the opposite shore, where he safely arrived (according to the unanimous testimony of Irishmen innumerable), holding his head between his teeth!”

Legends such this are found in shamanistic pantheons worldwide.  Shamans primary renown is their ability to travel and recover from the Lands of the Dead, always journeying into impossible and inhospitable arenas, with tales of being dismembered, beheaded, dying, and returning to life to help the tribe with whatever it was that required such a task (usually a healing function).  This story of St Patrick – and many other saints – are mere glosses onto the earlier animistic stories, then abridged as being better, more spiritually mature, more egocentric. But their roots are essentially animistic.

References:

  1. Agnew, Andrew, The Agnews of Lochnaw: The History of the Hereditary Sheriffs of Galloway, A. & C. Black: Edinburgh 1864.
  2. Agnew, Andrew, The Hereditary Sheriffs of Galloway – volume 1, David Douglas: Edinburgh 1893.
  3. Conway, Daniel, “Holy wells in Wigtonshire,” in Archaeological & Historical Collections Relating to Ayr & Wigton, volume 3, 1882.
  4. Harper, Malcolm MacLachan, Rambles in Galloway, Edmonston & Douglas: Edinburgh 1876.
  5. M’Kerlie, E.M.H., Pilgrim Spots in Galloway, Sands: Edinburgh 1916.
  6. MacKinlay, James M., Folklore of Scottish Lochs and Springs, William Hodge: Glasgow 1893.
  7. Morris, Ruth & Frank, Scottish Healing Wells, Alethea: Sandy 1982.
  8. Royal Commission Ancient & Historical Monuments of Scotland, Inventory of Monuments and Constructions in Galloway – County of Wigtown, HMSO: Edinburgh 1912.
  9. Walker, J. Russel, “‘Holy Wells’ in Scotland,” in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, vol.17 (New Series, volume 5), 1883.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

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Footprint Stone, Dunadd, Kilmichael Glassary, Argyll

Petroglyph:  OS Grid Reference – NR 83668 93579

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 212008

Getting Here

Footprint Stone in context

From Lochgilphead, take the A816 road north for several miles (towards the megalithic paradise of Kilmartin), keeping your eyes peeled for the road-signs saying “Dunadd.”  Turn left and park-up a few hundred yards down. Go through the gate and walk up Dunadd.  Just before the flattened plateau at the top, a length of smooth stone is accompanied to its side by the deep cup-and-ring of the Dunadd Basin.  Three or four yards away, you’ll see the long ‘footprint’.

Archaeology & History

Near the top of Dunadd’s Iron Age ‘fortress’ and overlooking the megalithic paradise of the Kilmartin valley, several man-made carvings are in evidence very close to each other, all with seemingly differing mythic content.  This one—the footprint—stands out; but it’s not alone!  Faint etchings of at least one other ‘foot’ is clearly visible.  The first literary account of it was by Ardrishaig historian R.J. Mapleton (1860), who told,

“There is on the top of Dunadd a mark that strikes me as interesting; it is like a large axe-head, or a rough outline of a foot.  My impression is that it may have been the spot on which the chief would place his foot when succeeding to the headship of his tribe. The footmark was always considered among the people here as a mould for an axe-head, and I was rather laughed at for suggesting an inaugurating stone.”

Dunadd Footprint (after Royal Commission 1988)

F.W.K. Thomas’ 1879 sketch

Be that as it may, a few years later the carving had caught the attention of the Scottish Society of Antiquaries.  In his article exploring the potential for ritual inaugurations at Dunadd, Captain F.W.L. Thomas (1879) explored, not only the footprint, but the mythic functions of this symbol, looking at parallels with petroglyphs elsewhere in the world where the ‘foot’ was known to be a ritual inauguration symbol (amongst other things).  He gave us the first real detailed account of the carving:

“About 10 or 12 feet below, and to the northward of the highest point, the living rock is smooth, flat and bear of sward, and in it is engraved an impression of a footmark, not of a naked foot, but such as would be made when the foot is clothed by a thick stocking or cuaran… The engravure is for the right foot; and it exactly fitted my right boot.  The footmark is sunk half-an-inch deep, with perpendicular sides, the surface is smoothed or polished, and the outline is regular… It has probably been sheltered by the turf until recently.  The footmark is 11 inches long, nearly 4½ inches broad where broadest, and 3½ inches across at the heel.  When a person stands with his foot in the depression, he looks a little easterly of north.”

A century or so later when the Royal Commission (1988) boys got here, they found not one, but two ‘feet’ carved into the rock!  A few feet away, near to the carved boar,

“At the south end of the main rock surface there is the lightly-pecked outline of a shod right foot. 0.24m long and 0.1m in maximum width, with a pronounced taper to the heel.  There are further peck marks within the outline, and a sunken footmark was intended but not completed.  This print is on almost the same alignment as the more prominent footprint some 2m to the north, which measures 0.27m from NNE to SSW, by 0.1m in maximum width and 25mm in depth.  It is somewhat broader at the heel than the incomplete mark, and its sides are straighter.”

Close-up of the carving

They then emphasize how we’re unable to date the footprints, although point out how such carvings are “found in Britain from the Iron Age onwards.”  But footprints have be found on other petroglyphs in Scotland (much less in England) and date between the neolithic and Bronze Age periods—but whether Dunadd’s example goes that far back, we cannot say.  Extensive excavations occurred at Dunadd between 1980-81 and most of the finds were Iron Age and early medieval in nature (this carving and the cup-and-ring barely got a mention in Lane & Campbell’s [2000] extensive summation).  But we may be looking at an evolutionary developmental relationship in symbolism and form, if the traditions of the place have any substance.  This is something I’ll return to when writing of the Boar Carving, just a few feet away…

Folklore

The legends behind this seemingly insignificant mark near the top of Dunadd ostensibly echo and relate to the huge cup-and-ring of Dunadd Basin four yards away.  I can only repeat what I said in that site profile.

R.J. Mapleton (1860) said that Dunadd was known by local people to be a meeting place of witches and the hill of the fairies, whose amblings in this wondrous landscape are legion. Legends and history intermingle upon and around Dunadd.  Separating one from the other can be troublesome as Irish and Scottish Kings, their families and the druids were here.  One such character was the ever-present Ossian.  Mapleton told:

“From these ancient tales we turn to a much later period of romance, when Finn and his companions had developed into extraordinary and magical proportions; a story is current that when Ossian abode at Dunadd, he was on a day hunting by Lochfyneside; a stag, which his dogs had brought to bay, charged him; Ossian turned and fled. On coming to the hill above Kilmichael village, he leapt clean across the valley to the top of Rudal hill, and a second spring brought him to the top of Dunadd.  But on landing on Dunadd he fell on his knee, and stretched out his hands to prevent himself from falling backwards.  ‘The mark of a right foot is still pointed out on Rudal hill, and that of the left is quite visible on Dunadd, with impressions of the knee and fingers.’”

As Mr Thomas (1879) clarified:

“The footmark is that of the right foot, and the adjacent rock-basin is the fabulous impression of a knee.”

References:

  1. Bord, Janet, Footprints in Stone, Heart of Albion Press 2004.
  2. Campbell, Marion, Mid-Argyll: An Archaeological Guide, Dolphin Press: Glenrothes 1984.
  3. Campbell, M. & Sanderman, M., “Mid-Argyll: An Archaeological Survey,”  in Proceedings of the Society Antiquaries, Scotland, volume 95, 1962.
  4. Craw, J.H. “Excavations at Dunadd and other Sites,” in Proceedings of the Society Antiquaries, Scotland, volume 64, 1930.
  5. Lane, Alan & Campbell, Ewan, Dunadd: An Early Dalriadic Capital, Oxbow: Oxford 2000.
  6. Mapleton, R.J., Handbook for Ardrishaig Crinan Loch Awe and Pass of Brandir, n.p. 1860.
  7. Morris, Ronald W.B., The Prehistoric Rock Art of Argyll, Dolphin Press: Poole 1977.
  8. Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments of Scotland, Argyll – Volume 6: Mid-Argyll and Cowal, HMSO: Edinburgh 1988.
  9. Thomas, F.W.K., “Dunadd, Glassary, Argyleshire: The Place of Inauguaration of the Dalriadic Kings,” in Proceedings of the Society Antiquaries, Scotland, volume 13, 1879.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

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Crown Tree, Keillor, Perthshire

Legendary Tree (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – NO 27279 40789

Getting Here

The Crown Tree, shown on the 1865 6″ OS map

The site of the tree may be seen from the north side of the Kettins to Newtyle road, just before the Perthshire-Angus boundary sign. It stood on the south-west side of the dip at the far end of the field, next to the raised causeway.

Archaeology & History

Nothing now remains of the tree.  The Ordnance Survey name book gives the following description, attested by Hugh Watson of Keillor, Thomas Mole of Denside and Charles Wood of High Keillor:

“[Situation] About 32 chains NE of Keillour. A large tree situated on the farm of Keillor. It is traditionally stated that Barons held their court under this tree, also that criminals were executed on it. Whence the name.”

Crown Tree stood left of the dip in front of the causeway

The tree was about 160 feet to the south-west of the boundary between the parishes of Kettins and Newtyle, on the Kettins side, both of which parishes were historically in the county of Angus, so it was likely also to have been an ancient boundary marker. Keillour, with the Parish of Kettins is now in Perthshire.

Based on the evidence of the 25″ OS maps, it seems the tree was felled sometime between 1900 and 1921.

Reference:

  1. Ordnance Survey Name Book, Forfar (Angus) Volume 52, 1857-61

© Paul T. Hornby, The Northern Antiquarian 2017

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Town Cross, Alloa, Clackmannanshire

Cross:  OS Grid Reference – NS 88559 92686

Also Known as:

  1. Burgh Cross
  2. Canmore ID 47169
  3. Market Cross
  4. Mercat Cross

Getting Here

Alloa Cross, Bank Street

Get into the small town of Alloa, where the buses stand at Shillinghill.  From here walk southwest down Mill Street, which runs into Bank Street.  Keep your eyes peeled on your right-hand side, where outside one of the old municipal buildings you’ll see it standing upright.

Archaeology & History

Although now standing against the old buildings halfway down Bank Street, Alloa’s Mercat or Burgh Cross was initially set up at the crossroads 162 yards (148m) away, where Mar Street meets Mill Street and Bank Street.  It was moved to its present position sometime in the 1880s and knowledge of its early history is scant.

John Small’s sketch of Alloa Cross

Standing some 10 feet tall, the monument was described in John Small’s (1900) rare magnum opus, where he details the architectural features of the monument, telling:

“The shaft, which rests on a base and three steps, is of the usual square section, with splayed angles, stoped at top and bottom, the top stop being rather peculiar.  The head of the Cross is composed of an oblong stone set upright, characteristic of the late type seen in Keikleour and Kinrossie.  The oblong is ornamented at the sides with debased volutes and acanthus leaves, the whole crowned by a wreath from which rises a griffin’s head, part of the supporters of the Arms of the Lords of the Manor, Lord Mar and Kellie.”

References:

  1. Anonymous, The Alloa Illustrated Family Almanac, MacGregor & Steedman: Alloa 1887.
  2. Mair, Craig, Mercat Cross and Tolbooth, John Donald: Edinburgh 1988.
  3. Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments, Scotland, Inventory of Monuments and Constructions in the Counties of Fife, Kinross and Clackmannan, HMSO: Edinburgh 1933.
  4. Small, John W., Scottish Market Crosses, Eneas Mackay: Stirling 1900.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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The Grey Lady, Lundie, Angus

Standing Stone (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – NO 3069 3609

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 31894

Getting Here

Grey Lady on 1860 OS-map

The site of the stone is on the top of a ridge due west of Lundie Castle and is best approached from the minor road between Lundie and Denhead, but at the time of my site visit a steel gate had been erected across the field just before the site of the stone together with a large festoon of electric fencing, which I did not cross.

Archaeology & History

The Grey Lady stood on the near grassy horizon

The Ordnance Survey name book describes the stone, the informants being Mr. Pattullo junior and Mr. Bett of Pitermo:

This name is applied to a Standing Stone a little to the west of Lundie Castle. It is about 4 feet high, between two & three broad & rather a Kidney Shape. …Some think of druidical origin, but young Pattullo intends to blast it shortly“.

The rough grass probably marks where she stood.

And indeed it seems the feckless youth did have his wicked way with The Grey Lady, who had been a landmark for millennia, for she sadly no longer exists. In view of the folklore attaching to the stone, it may be worth speculating whether the kidney shape denoted a lunar symbolism for the stone.

Folklore

The OS name book states:

“The ladies of Lundie Castle have romance connected with it – that a white lady is to be seen walking round it on a certain night of every new moon.”

Reference:

  1. Ordnance Survey Name Book; Forfarshire (Angus) volume 66 (1857-61)

© Paul T. Hornby, The Northern Antiquarian 2017

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Barton Cross, Barton, Preston, Lancashire

Wayside Cross: OS Grid Reference – SD 53502 37332

Also Known as:

  1. Historic England Grade II Listed Building No. 1073555

Getting Here

The Barton Cross from the road, showing the original socketed base and the cup marked paving stone to the right.

The cross is at the roadside on the south side of Barton Lane at the cross roads with the minor road between Cross House Farm and Barton House.

Archaeology and History

All that survives is the socketed base of a mediaeval cross on a raised paved platform with low raised square section pillars at each corner. Behind the original cross socket stands a large stone block (Described in the Historic England citation as “probably part of a cheese press“) surmounted by a pyramidal block upon which a modern carved stone cross has been placed.

Henry Taylor (1906) writes in his Ancient Crosses and Holy Wells of Lancashire:

The South face of the Cross

Barton Cross. These words occur on the map in ancient Gothic letters in Barton Lane, one and a half miles in a westerly direction from Goosnargh Church, showing that in the year 1848 a complete cross stood here. The site is at the intersection of country lanes, and the map shows a small recess or lay-bye in which the cross was planted. Mr. Collinson [Reverend S.E. Collinson, Vicar of Broughton] writes that the base was thrown into a neighbouring pit at the time Daniel’s pedestal was buried. The base and part of the shaft of the Barton Cross have lately been restored to the old site. A new cross has been erected just behind by Mr. Myerscough.
Mr. Collinson tells me that in going through some of the old parish registers he found an entry referring to ‘Barton Christ’. He not unnaturally thinks that there must have been a figure on the Cross giving rise to the name. Nothing else would account for it. The neighbourhood of Barton (a pre-Norman settlement) is interesting and deserves a thorough investigation.

The ‘Daniel’s pedestal’ refers to Daniels Cross, near Broughton, of which Taylor writes:

The base was removed about sixty years ago. It is now in a neighbouring pit. The facts were obtained from an old man who helped at the destruction of this landmark.”

The 1895 6″ map showing the Cross, with the nearby marl-pits coloured blue

The pyramidal stone block upon which the modern cross stands is inscribed on the northern face: “Barton Cross re-erected by Councillor R. Myerscough of Preston 1901” while the southern face is inscribed: “Refurbished by Barton Parish council 2000“.

One of the paving stones that surround the cross has pre-historic cup markings on it, and is the subject of a separate site profile.

Bearing in mind what was written about the original cross having been ‘thrown into a neighbouring pit’, it may be worth probing the nearby marl pits to see whether the original could be found.

Reference:

  1. Taylor, Henry, The Ancient Crosses and Holy Wells of Lancashire, Manchester, Sherratt and Hughes, 1906

© Paul T. Hornby, The Northern Antiquarian 2017

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Cow Keeper’s Field (1), Boulby, Easington, North Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NZ 7540 1922

Also Known as:

  1. BOU-5 (Brown & Chappell)

Archaeology & History

Cup-marked stone inside Cow keepers Field tomb

Inside the once prominent prehistoric tomb on the Cow Keeper’s Field, the northern antiquarians William Hornsby and John Laverick (1920) came across two small petroglyphs in association with a cremation burial, several feet south of the central cist: the Cow Keeper’s Field 2 carving, plus this small, triangular-shaped stone, 8in by 6in, consisting of five standard cup-marks, with two of the cups (as the photo shows) connected to each other.  It is akin to the numerous ‘portable’ cup-marked stones which, in other cultures, were deposited onto cairns in remembrance of the ancestral spirits of the tomb.  Such widespread practices may also have occurred here.  Petroglyph researcher and writer Graeme Chappell (2017) informed us that the carving “is in storage in the Dorman museum in Middlesborough.”

References:

  1. Brown, Paul & Chappell, Graeme, Prehistoric Rock Art in the North York Moors, Tempus: Stroud 2005.
  2. Chappell, Graeme, Personal communication, October 4, 2017.
  3. Crawford, G.M., Bronze Age Burial Mounds in Cleveland, Cleveland County Council 1990.
  4. Elgee, Frank, Early Man in North-East Yorkshire, John Bellows: Gloucester 1930.
  5. Hornsby, William & Laverick, John D., “British Barrows round Boulby,” in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, volume 25, 1920.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

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