Fertility Stone, Dacre, North Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 18552 62228

Also Known as:

  1. Carving no.638 (Boughey & Vickerman)

Getting Here

Fertility Stone carving
Fertility Stone carving

Take the same directions as if you’re visiting the Eastwoods Cross base and cup-marked stone, but at Eastwoods Farm itself, walk downhill following the field-wall, past the large house, then through the first gate you come to. (it’s got a ‘private’ sign on it and has some handy bulls in the field – but ask at the house and the folks there are friendly)  Following the footpath along the top of the field, cross the small stream, then head across the next field to the gap in the wall.  You’re here!

Archaeology & History

Boughey & Vickerman’s 2003 sketch

One of a cluster of cup-and-ring stones around the Bryan’s Wood and Eastwoods area, this carving is well worth a visit, but can be covered in shit and muck as the bulls pass through the gap here on their daily amble.  If the daylight isn’t good here, it can be difficult to see the carving – and when we visited the place the other day, the cloud was low and the heavens were ready to open, so our luck was out for a change!  There are a number of cup-and-rings plus a double-ring, fading their ways around the more defined cup-markings.  The stone appears to have been found in the 1990s, but records of it are scant.  Boughey & Vickerman (2003) fail to tell the origin of the name, nor when or who rediscovered the site.  Their description of the carving tells simply:

“Large flat smooth rock sloping slightly to E.  Thirteen possible cups, one with partial double ring and four with partial single-rings; three ringed cups have grooves leading from them.”

Several other excellent cup-and-ring carvings can be found around here.  The hugely impressive Morphing Stone and a prehistoric lightning-carving can be found three fields away to the south, past the trees on the other side of the stream.

Folklore

Close-up of the stone

The title of ‘fertility stone’ seems a modern one, although word has it that it relates to Beltane fertility rites.  However, I can find no documentary information relating to this, and the people at Eastwoods Farm and adjacent house know nothing to account for it.

References:

  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS 2003.

Links:

  1. Graeme Chappell on the Fertility Stone
  2. Guidecliff Woods & Fertility Stone images

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

 

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  54.055677, -1.718099 Fertility Stone

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