Along the moorland road between Cow & Calf and The Hermit pub, park up at the small wooded bit by the right-angle bend and cross over the Coldstone Beck. Walk up onto the moor itself and stick to the path that runs roughly parallel with the slowly-drying stream, towards Lower Lanshaw Dam. About 100 yards before it, walk left, into the heather, for about 50 yards. You’re damn close!
Archaeology & History
This is another neolithic or Bronze Age carving I first came across during one of my weekly rambles across these hills as a child, and upon revisiting the place a few days ago with James Elkington, found it associated with nearby cairns and what looks to be the remains of prehistoric walling – none of which I noticed when I was a kid. The petroglyph is a simple design, primarily consisting of two rows of three cup-marks: one row of three along the top or spine of the rock, and another one immediately beneath it, an inch or so below. The topmost line of cups runs into a natural crack in the rock, which runs down the northwest edge of the stone. A possible faint cup and partial ring emerges on the southeast side of the topmost row of cups, but this is difficult to make out. On the sloping northwest face of the rock is another single cup-marking.
Bennett, Paul, Of Cups and Rings and Things, unpublished: Shipley 1981.
Acknowledgements: Many thanks to James Elkington for use of his photo to illustrate this petroglyph
Take the same directions as if you’re visiting the Lanshaw Dam 2 petroglyph, then keep walking directly towards the Lanshaw Dam, 130 yards east. Halfway between the two, closer to the footpath, look out for a stone of similar shape and dimensions to Lanshaw 2, just by a prehistoric cairn. You’ll find it!
Archaeology & History
As with a great number of petroglyphs in and around Yorkshire, this large single cup-marked rock is found in close association with a reasonably large prehistoric cairn (several others are close by), some 3 yards in diameter. The cup-marking here is larger than yer average cup-mark on these moors, being four inches across. It can clearly be seen on the southern vertical face of the rock and doesn’t appear to have been recorded before. On the whole, it’s nothing special to look at and is probably just one for the petroglyphic purists amongst you.
Originally called the ‘Manor Lea Well’ because it could be found on the far west of the land belonging to the Manor House, the name later became corrupted to ‘Mannerly’ by local folk. It was one of the four prime water supplies for this part of the old village, but it had other important social and festive rites attached that undoubtedly went back centuries. H.A. Cadman (1930) told that:
“On Palm Sundays it was the custom for boys to take bottles containing Spanish juice, treacle, and any other sweet thing they could, for the purpose of having them filled with the water from the well. The boys then exchanged bottles with each other and each sampled the others. It was said that no better water existed for this purpose.”
This particular ritual was integral to virtually every Spa Well from Wakefield through to the source of the River Calder.
A Mr G.W. Parker said that the well was to be found at the “extreme Western side” of Manor Lea and was “still in existence” when Cadman wrote about it in 1930, “behind Company Mill” not far from the Moravian Burial Ground. Do any local historians know if the well is still there, or has it since been destroyed?
Cadman, H. Ashwell, Gomersal, Past and Present, Hunters Armley: Leeds 1930.
Once found in a cluster of three little wells all very close to each other near the top of the field where the Crossflatts roundabout joins up with the Aire-Valley trunk road, this is an intriguing site if you happen to be a pagan, or have an interest in druidism — and for one main reason: its name. When I first came across a reference to the place about 25 years ago, the only piece of information I could find about it came from the arduous detailed researches of the Victorian industrial historian J. Horsfall Turner who, unfortunately, neglected to record much of the fading folklore in the region at his time. Marked on the 1852 6-inch Ordnance Survey map, ‘Lund’ was a bit of an etymological curiosity, and Mr Turner (1897) thought the well’s name was little other than that of a local mill owner, whose nickname was ‘Lund’ Thompson. He was guessing of course…and I thought little more about it…
Years later when looking through A.H. Smith’s (1961-63) magnum opus on the place-names of West Yorkshire, I found that he didn’t include the Lund Well in his survey. However, an eventual perusal of Kenneth Cameron’s (1996) work told that in Old Norse place-names (and there is a preponderance of such places scattering Yorkshire and Lancashire), lund or lundr was a “‘small wood, grove,’ also had a meaning, ‘sacred grove’.” The word is echoed in old French, launde, meaning ‘forest glade’. In A.H. Smith’s (1954) earlier etymological magnum opus he said that the word derives from a “small wood, grove, also a sacred grove, one offering sanctuary.” However, Margaret Gelling (2000) urged caution on the origin of lund as a sacred grove and erred more to the usual English tendency of depersonalizing everything, taking any animistic attribution away from its root meaning; but we must urge caution upon her caution here! Neither Joseph Wright (English Dialect Dictionary, vol.3 1905) nor William Grant (Scottish National Dictionary, vol.6, 1963) have entries for this word, so we must assume the Scandinavian root word origin to be correct.
One vitally important ingredient with the Lund Well is its geographical position. For across the adjacent River Aire the land climbs uphill—and a few hundred yards above we reach the well-known and legendary Druid’s Altar, with its Druid’s Well just below. This association is what suggests our Lund Well may have had a real association with a “sacred grove of trees”, as—despite us knowing very little about them—we do at least know that druids performed rites in sacred groves. In Greenbank’s (1929) historical analysis of the Druid’s Altar, he was left perplexed as to the origin of its name as all early accounts and popular culture assigned it this title, and so he opted for the probability that the druids did indeed once perform rites here. If this was true, then our seemingly innocuous Lund Well once had a much more sacred history than anyone might have thought. Sadly, through their usual ignorance of such matters, the industrialists destroyed it….
Cameron, Kenneth, English Place-Names, Batsford: London 1996.
Gelling, Margaret, Place-Names in the Landscape, Phoenix: London 2000.
Greenbank, Sydney, The Druid’s Altar, Bingley, R.G. Preston: Bingley 1929.
Smith, A.H., English Place-Name Elements – volume 2, Cambridge University Press 1954.
Smith, A.H., The Place-Names of the West Riding of Yorkshire – 8 volumes, Cambridge University Press 1961-63.
From the B6265 valley road between Bingley and Keighley, just near Riddlesden Hall, take the road up and over the canal into Riddlesden, bearing left up past West Riddlesden Hall and up Banks Lane. As you reach the T-junction at the top, where you hit the Silsden Road that goes round the moors, park up. Cross the road and follow the footpath up the field, go over a stile and continue up the track to the next gate. Once through this gate, go across the field to another gate which leads to a narrow track. The stone is situated on the left hand side about 75 yards from the gate.
Archaeology & History
Not previously recorded, this carving comprises of a large cup on the vertical surface of the stone with a faint surrounding ring mark.
Cup-and-Ring Stone: OS Grid Reference – SE 150 440
Archaeology & History
This is another of the many unrecorded cup-and-ring carvings in the region—and one in a small cluster hereby. It was rediscovered several years ago on a Northern Antiquarian outing and, thankfully, remains in good condition. Encrusted by layers of gorgeous lichens, deep into the rock, it has hence proven difficult to explore the entirity of the exact design without tearing off the old covering—which I’ve no intention of doing.
There are at least a dozen cup-markings etched onto the upper surface of this curved stone, with the majority of them clustering around its eastern side. It seems there is only one single cup-mark on the western side of the rock, with the rest of them starting in the middle and then moving to its east. But the curious features are the interlinking carved lines which you can see have been highlighted on the top and sides of the stone. Some of them typically link-up with other cups, whilst a number of them have been carved along and down the vertical faces of the rock, primarily on the east and northeast edges. At least seven of them have been done and they all reach down to ground-level.
It seemed obvious that a greater design was apparent on the rock, but the stone had been covered in an age of lichen (hence the name) which I didn’t want to disturb; and although no distinct cup-and-ring can be seen here, it seemed as if one such motif was hiding beneath the lichen cover. But let’s leave the rock and lichen to their own quiet life and move on our way…
Follow the directions to reach the Little Skirtful of Stones giant prehistoric cairn. Once here, look for the singular rocks out of the many thousands which make up the giant cairn, mainly from the middle to the northern-half of the cairn, and you’ll find them amidst the mass!
Archaeology & History
Despite the task sounding difficult, it’s not too hard locating the cup-marked rocks within this giant cairn. As I recall there should be five of them, though the Boughey & Vickerman (2003) survey only list four and I only have photos of four of them as well…so I reckon age is probably getting to me at last! There could very well be more of them amidst this massive tomb. But we certainly can’t rely on the Boughey & Vickerman (2003) survey for the carvings at this site as they give the wrong grid references for each of the cup-markings listed, with them all being a kilometre east from the site of the tomb itself! Awesome! God knows what their cartographer was on when he did the profiles for these carvings! (there are plenty of spliff-butts scattered over this moor…..) Not only that, but the position they cite of the relative cup-markings within the cairn are also wrong.
But for those of you who like to know the archaeological data, here’s what was said: Carving 391a is a “small rock towards SW edge of cairn, with single worn cup”; but this stone is actually closer to the northern section of the cairn. Carving 391b was told to be a “small dome-shaped rock at extreme S edge of cairn with single, small clear cup at top of dome.” This again is more on the northern section of the cairn, away from the centre. Carving 391c was described as a “small oval, rounded rock at N edge of cairn, with single, broad, shallow worn cup.” Whilst carving 391d which was told to be a “small rock at SSE edge of cairn, with single small worn cup.” However, we have to take into account that any errors about their position may simply be down to the fact that the small rocks have been moved.
As you’ll see in the photos here, one of them is actually near the very centre of the cairn, with the cup-marking etched into the edge of the small rock itself. I’m not quite sure if this is the additional fifth carving in the cairn, or whether it’s one of those wrongly ascribed as being in another position. It’s hard to tell, as the local Ilkley Archaeology team don’t publish their findings and information on-line as they should do and unless you’re in their little club they’re hard to get info out of. So this will have to do for the time being I’m afraid. Also note how one of the cup-marked stones is of a rock-type different to the local millstone grit.
The creation myth of the Little Skirtful itself tells that the giant Rombald (who gives his name to the moor) was in trouble with his wife and when he stepped over to Almscliffe Crags from here, his giant wife – who is never named – dropped a small bundle of stones she was carrying in her apron. Harry Speight (1900) tells us of a variation of the tale,
“which tradition says was let fall by the aforementioned giant Rumbalds, while hastening to build a bridge over the Wharfe.”
Variations on this story have said it was the devil who made the site, but this is a denigrated christian variant on the earlier, and probably healthier, creation tale. Similar tales are told of the Great Skirtful of Stones, 500 yards south.
The cluster of portable small stones with single cup-marks on them relates to traditions found in other cultures in the world where, usually, women would carry such items in their aprons and deposit them at or on the tomb, in honour of the ancestor or spirit known to be resident at the sacred site. The folklore found at the Little Skirtful (and Great Skirtful too) of Rombald’s wife dropping the rocks here and forming the giant tomb, probably derive from variants of this same honorary practice.
Bennett, Paul, The Old Stones of Elmet, Capall Bann: Chieveley 2001.
Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAA 2003.
Cowling, Eric T., Rombald’s Way, William Walker: Otley 1946.
Take the A6034 road between Addingham and Silsden and, at the very top of the hill between the two towns, at Cringles, take the small road of Cringles Lane north towards Draughton. Less than a mile on, veer to left and go along Bank Lane until you reach the track and footpath on your right that takes you to Moorock Hall. On the other side of the Hall, take the track on your left, along the wallside; and where the track turns left again, look into the field on the other side of the wall. You can see some of the ditch and embankment running across the field.
Archaeology & History
Found within the southwestern segment of the gigantic Counter Hill enclosure, near Woofa Bank, Eric Cowling (1946) described “an almost obliterated fortification” which has certainly seen better days — though you can make out the ditched earthwork pretty easily at ground level. When T.D. Whitaker visited this place sometime before 1812, he described it as a camp that “was found to contain numbers of rude (?!?) fireplaces constructed of stone and filled with ashes.” He also thought the enclosure was Roman in nature.
It’s a large site. Running around the outer edge of the embankment, this enclosure measures roughly 378 yards (345m) in circumference. It has diameters measuring, roughly east-west, 132 yards (121m); and north-south is 95 yards (87m). The ditch that defines the edges of the enclosure averages 6-7 yards across and is give or take a yard deep throughout — but this is not an accurate reflection of the real depth, as centuries of earth have collected and filled the ditch. An excavation is necessary to reveal the true depth of this. There also seems to have been additional features constructed inside the enclosure, but without an excavation we’ll never know what they are. Examples of cup-marked stones can be found nearby.
The Marchup Hill enclosure was described by the early antiquarian James Wardell (1869), who visited this and the other earthworks around Counter Hill. He told that this was,
“of oblong form, but broadest at the west end, and rather larger than the other. When the area of this camp was broken up, there were found some numbers of rude fireplaces constructed of stone and filled with ashes, and also a large perforated bead of jet.”
Modern opinion places the construction of this enclosure within the Iron Age to Romano-British period, between 1000 BC to 300 AD. E.T. Cowling (1946) thought the Iron Age to be most likely, but it may indeed be earlier. His description of the site was as follows:
“At the foot of the southern slope of Counter Hill and close to the head waters of Marchup Beck is an almost obliterated fortification. These remains are roughly rectangular, but one side is bent to meet the other; the enclosure has rounded corners and has a ditch with the upcast at each side. The inner area is naturally above the level of the surrounding ground. In spite of heavy ploughing, the ditch on the western side still has a span of fifteen feet and a depth of five feet between the tops of the banks. Whitaker states that the camp “was found to contain numbers of rude fireplaces constructed of stone and filled with ashes.” These hearths appear to be the remains of cooking-holes such as are often found on Iron Age sites… Cup and ring markings are close at hand, but no flints have been found or trace of Mid-Bronze Age habitation. The enclosure is badly planned, the upcast on the western side would aid an attack rather than the defence.”
…to be continued…
Cowling, Eric T., Rombald’s Way, William Walker: Otley 1946.
Wardell, James, Historical Notes of Ilkley, Rombald’s Moor, Baildon Common, and other Matters of the British and Roman Periods, Joseph Dodgson: Leeds 1869. (2nd edition 1881).
Whitaker, Thomas Dunham, The History and Antiquities of the Deanery of Craven in the County of York, (3rd edition) Joseph Dodgson: Leeds 1878.
Takes a bitta finding this one. From the Twin Towers at the top of the moors (Whetstone Gate), walk east along the footpath, past the towers for about another 100 yards, looking out on the other side of the wall until you meet with some walling running downhill onto Morton Moor. Follow this walling for a few hundred yards till it drops down a small valley; then follow the valley down, keeping to its left-hand side, swerving a little round Black Knoll above you. Cross the dried-up stream and about 100 yards ahead of you (southeast), heading towards the Sweet Well, zigzag about (once the heather’s grown back here, this’ll take some finding!). Good luck!
Archaeology & History
There’s no previous history to this site and archaeological records indicate no prehistoric remains in this region. However, we (that is Dave, Mikki and me) found this and a number of other sites yesterday in a bimbling wander, to and fro, through boggy-heaths and deep heather. It’s a previously unrecorded cup-marked stone, with what seems like an attached burial cairn right by its side (yet again!). The cairn is 3 yards by 2 yards across. Two very distinct cup-marks can clearly be seen near the top of the small stone, with a possible third just below. A curious though natural yoni-like erosion can be seen on the lower side of the stone which may have some significance to people into that sorta thing! Whether it had owt to do with the cup-markings is another thing altogether!
Standing Stone (destroyed?): OS Grid Reference – SE 2501 4119
Also Known as:
Archaeology & History
Sadly gone, this looked to be one helluvan impressive standing stone. Described just once by the christian fruitbat Henry Simpson (1879), who told us:
“In a hedge-row, or rather stone row…is a remarkable, ancient monolith, it is thirteen feet in height; from its slender character, it does not appear to have formed one of a trilithon, but rather to have constituted a memorial of some sort, or as a beacon of some usefulness. I can discover no barrow or earthwork near the spot. There are remnants of a quarry close by, with a mound of earth arising therefrom, but no indications to give a clue to the meaning or use of this single pillar. It is composed, moreover, of millstone grit, which is not to be found in the immediate neighbourhood, so it must have been brought from a distance and placed in its present position.
“Some suppose this to be a Roman stoup or pillar, designed for a landmark; but it bears no mark of Roman worksmanship. It is crude in the extreme.”
There is no available folklore known to the Long Stoop, although a long straight path terminated where the monolith stood. This path was one of many in an intricate geometric lay-out of perfect circular and dead straight tracks in the woodland immediately south of here [now built over], with four-, eight- and twelve-fold lines intersecting each other over a very large area. It may be that this large, seemingly lost standing stone, could have been a part of the ornate grounds that were laid out here in bygone centuries, perhaps erected by the architects behind the project.
It would be damn good if locals in and around Adel could relocate this monolith — which is as likely propping up some old walling somewhere nearby — so we can make a healthy assessment as to its authenticity. Are there any Leeds pagans who might be able to rediscover this lost standing stone?
Bennett, Paul, The Old Stones of Elmet, Capall Bann: Milverton 2001.
Simpson, Henry Trail, Archaeologia Adelensis; or a History of the Parish of Adel, W.H. Allen: London 1879.