Knotties Stone, Otley Chevin, West Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 20772 44181

Also Known as:

  1. Carving no. 396 (Boughey & Vickerman)

Getting Here

Knotties stone (photo, James Elkington)

From The Royalty hotel, walk along the footpath onto the Chevin itself, turning left then walk about 350 yards east, past the small copse of trees.  Just north of the main path before the land slopes down you’ll find it.  It’s carved on an earthfast rock about 6 feet long.

Archaeology & History

This is an excellent carving if you’re into cup-and-rings!  Eric Cowling (1940) first described the stone* in an article for the Yorkshire Archaeology Society.  Although it’s somewhat faded, when the stone’s wet and the sun’s low on the horizon, you can make out more rings than just the three which Boughey & Vickerman (2003) described in their survey.


Knotties Stone (E.T. Cowling)

Although the Chevin itself has a tradition of ‘supposed’ heathen goings-on in bygone days, the carving has nothing specific said about it.  Although one intriguing bit of info comes from the old Otley historian, Harold Walker (1974), who said that,

“blocks of stone were sent from (the) Chevin to form the foundations of the Houses of Parliament”!

Those lying deviants probably smashed up a few bits of extra rock art when they did this — not that those sorta people give a shit about anything unless it’s about money.


  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS 2003.
  2. Cowling, E.T., ‘A Classification of West Yorkshire “Cup-and-Ring” Stones,’ in Archaeology Journal, 97, 1940.
  3. Cowling, E.T., Rombald’s Way, William Walker: Otley 1946.
  4. Hotham, John Paul, Halos and Horizons, Hotham Publishing: Leeds 2021.
  5. Walker, Harold, This Little Town of Otley, Olicana: Otley 1974.

* Graeme Chappell tells me that this carving was named after Cowling’s nickname, Knotty!

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

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