Old Man of Snowden, Askwith, North Yorkshire

Standing Stone (destroyed?):  OS Grid Reference – SE 1765 5032

Archaeology & History

Eric Cowling (1946) described this lost or destroyed stone as “a squat standing stone at junction of the Askwith bridge-path with the Otley-Timble highway, saying how it gave its name to Stoop Hill, “which it surmounts.” But in several ambles here in search of this old stone, we’ve yet to locate it; though we did find the Stoup Hill cup-marking and possible neighbour on the southern edge of the hilltop.


In days of olde, the ‘Old Man’ was the fabled companion of the legendary ‘Old Woman,’ or great cailleach (the christian cult stupidly, somehow, turned this mythic figure into their ‘devil’ – to which it has no relationship whatsoever).  Although no specific folktale remains here, the name of this lost stone tells that it had some mythic tale underscoring it; perhaps simply that it marked the burial of some forgotten chief or elder.


  1. Bennett, Paul, The Old Stones of Elmet, Capall Bann: Chieveley 2001.
  2. Cowling, E.T., Rombald’s Way: A Prehistory of Mid-Wharfedale, William Walker: Otley 1946.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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