Hirst Woods, Saltaire, West Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone (destroyed?):  OS Grid Reference – SE 129 379

Archaeology & History

Over the years, many of us have looked for this site but without any success.  If it hasn’t actually been destroyed, it could be in someone’s garden wall, probably without them even knowing about it.  Indeed, even the grid reference given here is only an approximation (mine differs from the one cited by Boughey & Vickerman, who put the carving closer to SE 126 381) and the stone could have been a few hundred yards either side of here.  The main description of it comes from a letter written by a Mr T.P. Noble in 1964, which was cited in Sidney Jackson’s article ‘Hirst Wood Cup-and-Ring Boulder,’ in Bradford’s Cartwright Hall archaeology journal, where Mr Noble wrote:

“Mr Cooper, who built these houses (Hirst Wood housing estate) about 1935, once told me that there was a perfect example of a cup-and-ring stone here, but later, when he came to search for it, he couldn’t find it.  It appears it must have been removed and possibly broken-up when the foundations of the houses were excavated.”

Of course, as we don’t know the exact whereabouts of the carving, nor have we been left with an illustration of the stone, it’s difficult to say whether the description given by the great archaeologist Sir Mortimer Wheeler in 1958, is referring to the same carving.  Wheeler told us that one day in his childhood when he was out walking with his father, R.M. Wheeler, they came across a seemingly unknown prehistoric carving, saying,

“On one memorable day in the woods beyond Saltaire, we found an unrecorded cup-marked stone (later, I believe, recorded by my father in a British Association Handbook)” – that work being the Handbook to Bradford and Neighbourhood (1900), edited by R.M. Wheeler.

Naathen…if there are any people from the Hirst Wood area reading this and who might know of an old carved rock stuck in some old garden walls nearby, let us know.  You’ll be credited as the person who re-discovered this long lost carving – and we can get the story in the local newspaper.


  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS: Wakefield 2003.
  2. Jackson, Sidney, ‘Hirst Wood Cup-and-Ring Boulder,’ in the Cartwright Hall Archaeology Group Bulletin, 9:2, February 1964.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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