Fraggle Rock, Burley Moor, West Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference — SE 15094 43502

Archaeology & History

Early photo of the carving
First photo of the carving

This carving is one in a cluster of at least 17 previously unrecorded petroglyphs, uncovered nearly two years ago on a Northern Antiquarian bimble on the northern edge of Rombald’s Moor.  The carvings were found as a bi-product of uncovering a previously undiscovered cairn circle, close to the Twelve Apostles stone circle.  In assessing and exploring the newly-found circle, it was noticed that a small opening in the near horizon highlighted a rise in the landscape barely a mile away.  This ‘opening’ in the land was not visible if you walked 25 yards either side of the cairn circle – but was very notable at the circle itself.

“We need to have a look at that site,” I said.  “It’s position looks to have been relevant to this circle.” (or words to that effect) And a couple of weeks later we met up and walked to the place in question.

Fraggle Rock carving, looking west
Fraggle Rock carving, looking west
Fraggle Rock carving, looking south
Fraggle Rock carving, looking south

Within five minutes we came across a couple of previously unrecorded cup-marked stones, of simple design, right in line with the cairn circle.  As we walked around this spot, then headed back in the direction of the circle, a cluster of small stones were noticed on the slope.  One had what looked like a single cup-marking near its edge, but the rest of the rock was completely covered in vegetation.  Paul Hornby and Michala Potts had, by now, already found several other previously unrecorded cup-marked stones close by; but as I carefully rolled back the vegetation at the edge of this particular rock, cups-and-rings and carved lines seemed to be covering most of its surface.  It was a good one!

Face on the Fraggle Rock
Face on the Fraggle Rock

We called it the Fraggle Rock after noticing that when you look at the stone from one end, the two main cup-and-rings are likes two large eyes carved above a large natural down-turning ‘mouth’ feature, similar to some of the creatures’ faces on the muppets or the similar kid’s TV show, Fraggle Rock! (sad aren’t we!?)  The photo here shows you what we mean.

The primary design consists of at least 3 cup-and-rings, 2 partial cup-and-rings, 28 cups and several carved lines along which some cup-markings are linked to others.  The most notable of the carved lines is the longest (barely visible in the photos), running from a single cup-mark at the southernmost rounded end of the stone, almost straight and parallel with a natural ridge or dip along the rock, until it meets the largest of the cup-and-rings (one of the eyes on the Fraggle’s face!).  Don’t ask me why, but for some reason this long faint line seemed the most perplexing element of the carving.

Eastern edge, with cups at ground level
Eastern edge, with cups at ground level

Most of the design is carved on the upper face of the stone, but a small part of the rock dips into the ground on its eastern side and a small group of cups and a single carved line, in a very good state of preservation, are etched right at the edge of the stone.  Unusual.  Another faint cup-and-ring is 10 yards south; and a fascinating cup-and-lines stone, with at least four long carved ridges running like hair from the top of the stone into the Earth, is 20 yards west of this.


  1. Jack, Jim, “Old Fraggle Rock is Found on Burley Moor,” in Ilkley Gazette, March 4, 2013.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

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