Hartwith Moor, Summerbridge, North Yorkshire

Standing Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 21233 62737

Also Known as:

  1. Standing Stone Hill


Getting Here

A half-mile south of the superb Brimham Rocks complex, take the straight road south until you hit the second farmhouse (and accompanying caravans).  Go up the public footpath past Highfield Farm and just check with the landowner’s permission to wander his land if you want to see the stone.  They’re OK about it if you ask.  The lady there is very amiable and will tell you what’s what, giving directions right to it, telling us it was off the footpath in the middle of one of his fields.

Archaeology & History

Archaeology texts are, once more, silent about this stone (and other monuments in the region), making you wonder just what the hell some of them are paid for!  The stone appears to have given its name to the land upon which it stands which, as the locals tell, “has always been known as standing stone hill.”  And no wonder — it’s a bloody decent standing stone!  On its northern face we find well-eroded lines running down the stone, similar to the weathering found on the Devil’s Arrows a few miles to the east.

Standing Stone Hill stone
Looking south

Although just over 6-feet tall, this is a solid bulky old fella.  But the spot he presently occupies isn’t his original standing place.  He was found knocked over and lying on the ground in the middle of the 20th century, slightly out of position.  But he was thankfully stood back upright by the local land-owners sometime in the 1960s, where he’s been stood ever since.  It must have been one helluva job!  And making it more difficult was the intriguing geological nature of the Earth right beneath this field.  As the lady who now own the land told us,

“When the fields were tilled we found that all of them were easy to turn over, except the one with the stone in it!  There’s virtually no soil of any depth to write home about,” she said.  “It stands on only a few inches of soil and then you hit solid rock right underneath it.  All the other fields are OK – but this one’s the odd one out.”

And before the fields were farmed, just over a hundred years ago, all this land was covered in moorland heather.  Then the land was enclosed, the Earth’s heathland stripped out of existence and turned over to agriculture.  But thankfully the standing stone was left here.  It makes you wonder what else was destroyed when the moorlands were industrialised…

The stone does get a brief mention in Boughey & Vickerman’s (2003) Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, where they mention there being “three possible cups in (a) line on one side” of the standing stone, but these are little more than Nature’s handiwork and nowt else.  There are a couple of other cup-and-rings nearby which are the real thing – but the ‘cups’ on this stone aint man-made.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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