Standing Stones (lost): OS Grid Reference – SE 07 38
This site hasn’t been located. However, if it hasn’t been destroyed by the quarrying on the SW side of the moor, remains of it should still be found amidst the heather and would be a good discovery for any enthusiast.
Archaeology & History
The first notes I found about this place were those by archaeologist Sydney Jackson in 1956, who wrote:
“It would be interesting to know what Dr Richard Richardson, of Bierley Hall, Bradford meant when, writing about 1709, he said that Mr Benjamin Ferrand show him a ‘skirt of stones’ on Harden Moor, near to a row of stones placed in a line nigh two hundred paces in length some two feet above the heath, others hidden beneath it.” (my italics)
The undoubted man-made nature of this row of stones was emphasized by Dr Richardson when he wrote,
“That these stones were placed here by design, no person can doubt; but for what I end cannot conjecture, having never seen anything of this kind before.”
The great Yorkshire historian Harry Speight (1898) also came across the same antiquarian notes many years before and speculated how,
“it may be inferred from this that it had been a double row of stones, like the avenue of Maiden Castle in Swaledale.”
The ‘skirt of stones’ that were described here may be the well-preserved Harden Moor Circle. However in recently finding the short essay of Peter Craik (1907) of Keighley, this idea may need re-assessing, as Craik clearly shows in his survey of the the nearby Catstones Ring earthwork, what he described as the “remains of a cairn” on the northern edge of that ring, giving us a different location for this lost stone row.
However, another potential position for our lost stone row that needs exploring is the one described by Butler Wood following an exploratory visit here with the Bradford historian, William E. Preston, at the beginning of the 20th century. Mr Wood (1905) told of them both coming across some sort of earth-and-stone line “half-a-mile north of” the Catstones Ring, telling:
“Mr W.E. Preston and myself traced a short time ago on Harden Moor, remains of an entrenchment for a distance of 80 or 90 yards. It faces south, and lies near Spring Head Heights. The wall consisting of boulder and earth rising three feet above the soil, but there is no trace of a ditch.”
This is obviously half the length described by Richardson and Ferrand in 1709, but nearly two centuries separate the two accounts (the position of Mr Woods’ line is roughly SE 072 387; whilst that nearer to the Catstones Ring would be nearer SE 069 383).
I’ve searched the tops of this moorland a number of times hoping to locate this seemingly important megalithic stone row, obviously without success. Further searches on the moor are needed after the heather’s been burnt back.
- Craik, Peter, “Catstones Ring,” in C.F. Forshaw’s Yorkshire Notes & Queries, volume 3 (H.C. Derwent: Bradford 1907).
- Jackson, Sidney, “Harden Circle Found,” in Cartwright Hall Archaeology Group Bulletin, 2:1, July 1956.
- Speight, Harry, Chronicles and Stories of Old Bingley, Elliott Stock: London 1898.
- Wood, Butler, ‘Prehistoric Antiquities of the Bradford District,’ in Bradford Antiquary, volume 2, 1905.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian