Legendary Rock (destroyed): OS Grid Reference – SE 076 163
Also Known as:
- Holed Stone
- Holy Stone
- Whole Stone
Archaeology & History
Like many old rocking stones, this was destroyed due to quarrying operations many years ago and sadly, I believe, we have no illustrations of the place to show the site. This legendary site—also known as the ‘Holed’ or ‘Holy Stone’—is preserved in the place-name of Rocking Stone Hill and, unlike many other alleged rocking stones, actually swayed to and fro if the old records are owt to go by. Not far away (and also destroyed some 200 years back) were two stone circles which probably had some mythic relationship to this legendary rock.
The stone was first described by John Watson in his monumental History of Halifax (1775), where he told that is was,
“so situated as to be a boundary mark, dividing the two townships of Golcar and Slaightwait in the Parish of Huddersfield, adjoining to the Parish of Halifax on Wholestone Moor. The stone as measured by the late Thomas Perceval, or Royton…is 10½ feet long, 9ft 4in or 5in broad, and 5ft 3in thick. Its weight…is 18 tons, 190lbs. It rests on so small a centre, that at one particular point, a man may cause it to rock; though some years ago it was damaged a little, in this respect, by some masons, who endeavoured, but in vain, to throw it off its centre, in order to discover the principle on which so large a weight was made to move.”
Mr John Crabtree (1836) included it in his survey, and it was illustrated on the very first Ordnance Survey map in the 1840s where it was described as ‘Supposed Druidical’. But the old stone sadly didn’t last much longer. Once the self-righteous Industrialists got here, round about the year 1886, the Rocking Stone was destroyed by quarrying operations. All that remains of the place today is a small cluster of place-names..
Thought by Watson (1775) and his contemporaries to have had druidic associations (without evidence), when Philip Ahier (1942) came exploring this area in 1936, he came upon “an old resident (who) informed me that he had sat upon the stone when a youth and had caused it to rock.”
- Ahier, Philip, The Legends and Traditions of Huddersfield and District, Advertiser Press: Huddersfield 1942.
- Bennett, Paul, The Old Stones of Elmet, Capall Bann: Milverton 2001.
- Crabtree, John, Concise History of the Parish & Vicarage of Halifax, Hartley & Walker: Halifax 1836.
- Watson, John, The History and Antiquities of the Parish of Halifax, T. Lowndes: London 1775.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian