Yoni Stone, Utley, Keighley, West Yorkshire

Standing Stone:  OS grid reference – SE 0390 4333

Also known as:

  1. Cunt Stone

Getting Here

From Keighley town centre, head north towards Cliffe Castle, but turn left beforehand and along Hollins Lane.  Go past Hollins Hall for a few hundred yards and then through the gate on your left, then straight up the steep hill to the small woodland at the top.  On the OS-map it’s shown as ‘Great Snowden.’  You’re here!

Archaeology & History

A standing stone found recently by Lindsay Lockwood to the west of Keighley, albeit on supposedly private—ahem!—land (a number of old locals tell you, quite rightly, to ignore this selfishness; but be careful of the land-owners here, who can be quite miserable).  Tis less than four-feet tall but with a very noticeable female genital carving on its top western face.  This carving however, is perhaps 200 years old at the very most.  It’s in a quite beautiful setting aswell…

The Yoni or Cunt Stone, Utley
Buddhist scholar Steve Hart fondling the stone

What may be the remains of an old hut circle, or an old  drained-out pond (a big difference, I know!), can be found about 100 yards northwest, and one – possibly two – ‘cairns’ can also be found in the scattered trees immediately to the northeast. An old ‘druid’s bowl’ (natural cup-marking into which rain-water collects) can also be seen on an adjacent earthfast boulder.  Some folk might wanna allege a bullaun, but it’d be pushing it a bit I think. More recent walling and what appears to be stonework from more recent centuries (medieval) appears evident close by.  Whilst below the hill we have the recently discovered Dragon Stone cup-and-ring carving just a few hundred yards away.

The setting is not unlike the beautiful little standing stone of Tirai on the slopes of Glen Lochay, where amidst the recently deserted village the short squat standing stone is found. You get the same sorta feeling of more recent going-on with this site aswell.

The carved ‘cunt’ gives an even more intriguing thought as to what the stone was used for, around Beltane perhaps, by folk like misself and other straightforward doods!

I wasn’t sure exactly what to call the stone after Lindsay had found it.  However, due to the carved minge near the top, it seemed right to give the stone a name relative to the carving — and as we have a Devil’s Cunt in the Netherlands, I opted to call it something similar.*  Although ‘cunt’ is an old European word for ladies’ lovely parts, the word ‘Yoni’ is an eastern title, which has become very acceptable in Western parlance.  In recent years there has emerged a distinct aversion to using our own, old word for female genitals (indicating how detached people have become from even their own roots).

* of the name ‘cunt stone’: the word cunt itself, as explored eloquently in the fine study by Peter Fryer, Mrs Grundy: Studies in English Prudery (Corgi: London 1965), was the acceptable term for ladies’ genitals in the days when this carving was evidently done, so thought it a most applicable title.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

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One thought on “Yoni Stone, Utley, Keighley, West Yorkshire”

  1. The stone that you have recorded is actually a boundary stone, although the line of the boundary was straightened during the Keighley Inclosure of 1780 leaving the stone isolated. The mark cut into it is a fusil, or elongated lozenge. It is one of three that have survived on stones along the Steeton boundary. The fusil was the armorial device used on the coat of arms of the de Stivetons, lords of Steeton until c.1340 and also on the arms of the Plumptons who succeeded them (both mesne lords of the Percys). The manor became divided between female descendants of the Plumptons during the Tudor period and it is likely that the fusils were cut to mark boundary ridings at this time. By 1616 the manorial interests of the Plumpton descendants had been bought out by the Garforths, who subsequently marked boundary stones with the letter G.

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