Standing Stone: OS Grid Reference – SE 30335 49907
Along the A61 Harrogate-to-Harewood road, just below the roundabout where the A658 links up, is a small country road that turns towards the lovely village of Kirkby Overblow. If you’re in a car, park up wherever you can hereabouts (being careful of the locals!). Cross over onto the western-side of the A61 and walk along the small tree-lined field-edge until you find a spot to get over, where this stone stands.
Archaeology & History
It’s hard to suss out how many monoliths first stood here, but when William Grainge (1871) and Harry Speight (1903) described them, it was believed they had been uprooted in the 17th or 18th century. Although one of them has gone, thankfully the scarred remnant of one is still here.
Site number 168 in Old Stones of Elmet, one of the two standing stones that were described in parish boundary records of 1577 as “two stones standing in Walton Head Layne” can be found northeast of the village, along the ancient church way between Rigton and Kirkby. However, it is not as it once was! The boundary perambulation was redefined in 1767, when it was thought that a new monolith had been erected to replace the site of the old ones; but it turns out that some masons simply smoothed off the old stone and carved ‘K.F. 1767’ onto one of the original two. If you look at the base of the stone (which is more than 4 feet tall, leaning slightly to one side), it’s obvious that it’s been in the ground for one helluva long time. Much much longer than any old 1767 – or 1577 for that matter! What we appear to have here is simply a worked remnant of a true prehistoric standing stone.
- Grainge, William, The History and Topography of Harrogate and the Forest of Knaresborough, John Russell Smith: London 1871.
- Speight, Harry, Kirkby Overblow and District, Elliott Stock: London 1903.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian