Staniston Hill, Stainburn, North Yorkshire

Standing Stone (lost):  OS Grid Reference – SE 2522 5010

Archaeology & History

Staniston Hill on 1851 map
Staniston Hill on 1851 map

This long-lost standing stone gave its name to the small hill between the geological giants of Little Almscliffe and Almscliffe Crags, ‘Staniston Hill.’  Described as early as the 13th century in the Cartulary of Fountains Abbey as ‘Standandestan’, its precise whereabouts is unknown—but it’s damn close to the grid-reference cited here.  As the early OS-map shows, a small rounded hill occurs a short distance northwest of the small copse of trees now growing.  The monolith may have been felled by some grumpy christian, or it could be standing in some nearby walling.  Local antiquarians, dowsers or archaeologists may or may not find a search for it worthwhile…

Its position between the two Almscliffe Crags makes it very close to marking the midway point of a natural solstice marker: the Winter sunrise from Little Almscliffe and summer sunset from the greater Almscliffe.

References:

  1. Bennett, Paul, The Old Stones of Elmet, Capall Bann: Milverton 2001.
  2. Smith, A.H., The Place-Names of the West Riding of Yorkshire – volume 5, Cambridge University Press 1961.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Staniston Hill

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Staniston Hill 53.946395, -1.617244 Staniston Hill

Baildon Moor Carving (173), West Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 13844 40347

Also Known as:

  1. Carving no.40 (Hedges)

Getting Here

The lovely ‘Carving 173’, Baildon Moor

From Baildon go up onto the moor, turning left to go round Baildon Hill and onto Eldwick, stopping at the car park at the top of the brow. Cross the road and walk along past carving 184, making sure you keep right sticking to the footpath that runs along the edge of the slope (not onto the flats & up to Baildon Hill itself). There are several carvings along here, but this one’s on the right-side of the widening path, another 300 yards past carving 184. Keep your eyes peeled – y’ can’t really miss it!

Archaeology & History

Carving 173, looking south

In my 1982 notebook I described this as “a very well-preserved cup-and-ring stone, with two cup-and-rings and seven other cup-marks. There seems to be faint remains of other lines carved by some of the cups.”  And the description is as apt today as it was back then – though neither of the surrounding ‘rings’ are complete.  However, as the photos here indicate, adjacent to the main cup-and-ring near the centre of the stone another incomplete cup-and-ring is evident, emerging from the natural crack that runs across it.  In the subsequent surveys of Hedges (1986) and Boughey & Vickerman (2003) they somehow only saw one cup-and-ring on this rock.  Easily done I suppose!  In certain light there’s what may have been an attempted second surrounding ring starting on one of the cups…but I’ll leave that for a later date…

CR-173 (after Hedges)
Slippery when wet!

There may also have been intent to carve another ring around one of the other cups on the northern half of the stone.  This possible fourth ring and its position on the stone potentiates solar symbolism (not summat I’m keen on, tbh), which fits into the position and nature of several other cup-and-rings in this region and which I’ll expand on and highlight a little later on.  It is important to remember that this petroglyph and its nearby relatives were once accompanied by a series of tumuli, or prehistoric burial mounds: a feature that is not uncommon in this part of the world.  Well worth having a look at!

…to be continued…

References:

  1. Bennett, Paul, Megalithic Ramblings between Ilkley and Baildon, unpublished: Shipley 1982.
  2. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS: Wakefield 2003.
  3. Hedges, John (ed.), The Carved Rocks on Rombalds Moor, WYMCC: Wakefield 1986.
  4. Morris, Ronald W.B., “The Prehistoric Rock Art of Great Britain: A Survey of All Sites Bearing Motifs more Complex than Simple Cup-marks,” in Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, volume 55, 1989.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Baildon Moor CR-173

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Baildon Moor CR-173 53.859165, -1.791001 Baildon Moor CR-173

Baildon Moor Carving (184), West Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 14124 40447

Also Known as:

  1. Carving no.46 (Hedges)
Carving 184, Baildon Moor

Getting Here

From Baildon, take the road up onto the moors, turning left to go round Baildon Hill, then park-up at the small car-park on the brow of the hill at the edge of the golf course.  Cross the road and take the well-trod footpath diagonally right, heading onto Baildon Moor.  Walk along here for 300 yards and notice the large stone just to your right. You can’t really miss it!

Archaeology & History

Close-up of cups & faded ring

Listed without real comment in several surveys, this large sloping rock that looks over the north and western landscapes of Rombald’s Moor and beyond, has several simple cup-markings on its surface, one with a faded ring surrounding a cup.  In more recent centuries, someone began to add their own etching onto the stone but, thankfully, stopped before defacing the ancient markings.  I noted this carving in one of my early notebooks, saying only that it “lacked the central design found in others from this region,” being little more than a (seemingly) disorganized array of several marks.

Hedges 1986 drawing

A greater number of other carved stones scatter the grassy flatlands west and south of here, some of which are found in association with prehistoric cairns and lines of walling; but no such immediate relationship is visible here.

References:

  1. Bennett, Paul, Of Cups and Rings and Things, unpublished: Shipley 1981.
  2. Bennett, Paul, Megalithic Ramblings between Ilkley and Baildon, unpublished: Shipley 1982.
  3. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS: Wakefield 2003.
  4. Hedges, John (ed.), The Carved Rocks on Rombalds Moor, WYMCC: Wakefield 1986.
  5. Morris, Ronald W.B., “The Prehistoric Rock Art of Great Britain: A Survey of All Sites Bearing Motifs more Complex than Simple Cup-marks,” in Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, volume 55, 1989.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Baildon Moor CR-184

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Baildon Moor CR-184 53.860056, -1.786739 Baildon Moor CR-184

Crook Farm north, Baildon Moor, West Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 13703 39616

Getting Here

This lovely cup-and-ring stone, Baildon Moor

Take the road up alongside and past Shipley Glen, taking the turn to go to Crook Farm caravan site. Go right to the end of the car-park, then walk up through the trees on your left.  Keep going uphill about 100 yards by the field-wall until it starts to level out – and shortly before the first gate into the field (on your right) keep your eyes peeled for the triangular stone in the ground, barely 10 yards away from the walling. You’re damn close!

Archaeology & History

W.E. Preston’s early photo of the carving

For some reason this has always been one of my favourite cup-and-ring stones on Baildon Moor and it’s well worth checking out if you visit the area! It was rediscovered by the Bradford historian W.E. Preston, who photographed the carving around 1912.  Shortly afterwards he took fellow historians Joseph Rycroft and W. Paley Baildon to see this (and others he’d located) and both a drawing and photo of the site was including in Mr Baildon’s (1913) magnum opus the following year.

As you can see from the relative photos—with literally 100 years between them—erosion hasn’t taken too much toll and this neolithic or Bronze Age carving remains in very good condition.

Joseph Rycroft’s early drawing
Close-up of one section

Covered with upwards of fifty cup-markings, there are also two cup-and-rings and numerous carved lines meandering around and enclosing some of the many cups.  It’s a fascinating design, with another ‘Cassiopeia’ cluster of cups in one section, beloved of archaeoastronomers who explore these stones.  Mr Rycroft’s drawing of the design (left) is perhaps the best one, to date.

Along this same ridge there are remains of other prehistoric sites, more cup-and-rings, remains of prehistoric walling and what may be a small cairn circle (to be described later).

References:

  1. Baildon, W. Paley, Baildon and the Baildons – parts 1-15, Adelphi: London 1913-1926.
  2. Bennett, Paul, Of Cups and Rings and Things, unpublished: Shipley 1981.
  3. Bennett, Paul, Megalithic Ramblings between Ilkley and Baildon, unpublished: Shipley 1982.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Crook Farm north CR

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Crook Farm north CR 53.852598, -1.793177 Crook Farm north CR

Baildon Moor Carving (150), West Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 13724 40096

Also Known as:

  1. Carving no.22 (Hedges)

Getting Here

Carving 150, with Dobrudden Stone to rear

Whether you come via Shipley Glen or Baildon, head for the Dobrudden caravan park on the western edge of Baildon Hill.  As you get to the entrance of the caravan site, turn right and walk along the outer walling of the caravan site, up and around for less than 100 yards.  Keep your eyes peeled for the upright stone against the outer walling (the famous Dobrudden Cup-and-Ring Stone), and just 10 yards away, laid flat in the grasses, you’ll see this small cup-and-ring stone!

Archaeology & History

Found just a few yards from the well-known Dobrudden Carving that stands up against the wall, this small flat level stone, slowly again being encroached by Earth’s skin, is found on the edge of the High Plain, whereon the usual conjunction of prehistoric tombs and cup-and-rings is found once again.  Whether this carving ever had its own cairn or funerary monument is now hard to say for sure; and the excessive erosion of modern humans is slowly eradicating the landscape all round here.

Jackson’s 1956 drawing
Hedges 1986 drawing

Consisting of two cup-and-rings (with very deep cupmarks in the centres), there are also what seem like artificially carved lines or grooves running across the stone.  It was first described in a short article in the Cartwright Hall Archaeology Group Bulletin (Jackson 1956)*, found lying “in the path alongside the north wall of the Dobrudden Farm enclosure.”  It seems like stone may have been covered over until some local work on Dobrudden unearthed it in the latter half of the 20th century.  There’s also an intriguing note told by a local man called Jack Taylor, which Jackson narrated, saying how he,

“always held the opinion that the rings were not contemporary with the cups, and went so far as to suggest that they had been carved within living memory by someone anxious to ‘improve’ the boulder.”

This might be the case, as there is another carving not far away near the top of Baildon Hill that certainly seems to have been done in the 20th century.  And one of the two surrounding rings on this stone does appear to have a more recent look to it than the other.  However, we must consider that the covering soil has kept the carved rings in such good condition. (There are examples of petroglyphs throughout the world where certain carved elements were added at later times by countless aboriginal tribes.)

Close-up of cup-and-rings
Dobrudden carving 150

Like all of these carvings, to get an accurate picture of the true original we must visit them in all weathers all through the year, to see how differing seasons express the petroglyph. For we can see on some images we have of this carving a number of features that aren’t on the drawings of either Jackson (1956) or Hedges (1986): whether the rings surrounding the cups are ancient or not, there is a definite carved line nearly linking them together; and at least one faint line stretches down from one of the rings.  We need to visit the carving again to see if such features show up with greater clarity when lighting conditions are better.

References:

  1. Baildon, W. Paley, Baildon and the Baildons – parts 1-15, Adelphi: London 1913-1926.
  2. Bennett, Paul, Megalithic Ramblings between Ilkley and Baildon, unpublished: Shipley 1982.
  3. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS: Leeds 2003.
  4. Hedges, John, The Carved Rocks on Rombald’s Moor, WYMCC: Wakefield 1986.
  5. Jackson, Sidney, “Another Cup-and-Ring Boulder,” in Bradford Cartwright Hall Archaeology Group Bulletin, 1:13, 1956.

* Boughey & Vickerman (2003) cited W. P. Baildon’s magnum opus (1913) as the first to describe this stone, but this is untrue (there’s certainly no mention nor illustration of it in my editions of the Baildon volumes).

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Baildon Moor CR-150

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Baildon Moor CR-150 53.856912, -1.792836 Baildon Moor CR-150

Hope Farm Field, Baildon Moor, West Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 13856 39599

Getting Here

Cup-marked line of old walling

Whether you come via Shipley Glen or Baildon, head for the Dobrudden caravan park on the western edge of Baildon Hill.  As you get to the entrance of the caravan site, walk down (left) the footpath outside the park itself, looking across the grasslands, left, to the tree-lined wall a coupla hundred yards away.  Head for that.  Then go through the gate into the field where you’ll see a denuded line of walling, with what looks like some standing stones along it.  That’s where you need to be!

Archaeology & History

First noticed on February 12, 2012, this simple cup-marked stone is another one that’s probably only of interest to the purists amongst you.  Found below the southern end of Baildon Hill, due west of the lost Hope Farm cup-and-ring stone, the cup-markings here are on the north-face of an upright stone in an old wall.  It’s obvious that this stone was once earthfast, when the carving faced the zenith or night sky, and has been cut in half and turned 90° making the cups more difficult to notice; and very obviously the rock was originally close to its present position in the walling.

Primary cupmark, right-side of stone
Close-up of cup/s

Found in an area rich in cup-and-ring stones, there’s just one singular cupmark that’s obvious on this stone; but as we looked back and forth, feeling the stone with our fingers, it seemed there may be a couple of others on the rock.  We need to come back here again in better lighting conditions, as opposed to the old grey day She gave us yesterday, and see if the others are real or simple geological marks.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Hope Farm Field CR

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Hope Farm Field CR 53.852441, -1.790852 Hope Farm Field CR

Angel Moon Field, Ferrybridge, West Yorkshire

Tumulus (destroyed):  OS Grif Reference – SE 4734 2449

Also Known as:

  1. Mound 1 (Pacitto)
  2. Roundhill Field

Archaeology & History

Pacitto’s plan of the tomb (after YAJ, 1969)

One of a number of sites that used to exist in this part of West Yorkshire before the coming of the Industrialists and their ecocidal ways.  Found in conjunction with the Round Hill Field tumulus 53 yards to the south, this fallen monument was thankfully looked over several times before its final demise when the power station was built. The first literary account of it seems to be Forrest’s (1871) local history work, soon followed by another dig by the legendary tomb raider, William Greenwell. (1877)  Both of these digs were very good indeed and give us the most detailed account of the remains here.

One of the urns found in the mound (Forrest 1871)

The name of this tumulus and the nearby Round Hill site needs some clarification before continuing to the archaeological account.  In both Forrest and Greenwells’ accounts, they each named this site as the ‘Round hill tumulus’, but since their original fine work, archaeologist A.L. Pacitto (1969) and his team found the other previously unrecorded tumulus and surrounding ring-ditch in the original field called Roundhill field.  Old records showed that a wall or fence once ran between the two sites, and that the tumulus which Forrest and Greenwell previously called the Roundhill site was actually located in the curiously named ‘Angel Moon field’ — hence the change of name in this (and Pacitto’s) account. (if y’ get mi drift) It’s an important point.  So as you read the accounts below, where the authors describe the Roundhill tumulus, they are in fact referring to this, the Angel Moon tumulus.  Gorrit?  OK!

The site was noted for the first time as a tumulus by the local owner of the land here, a Mr Hall, in 1811, who wanted it levelled and attempted,

“to remove it altogether, but so many human bones were then met with, that after removing a considerable portion, it was abandoned, and the exhumed bones removed to the neighbouring churchyard of Ferryfryston.”

Mr Forrest then said:

“We are told by an eye-witness that on this occasion two plates of metal were found, but of what kind of metal pr what became of them we have no certain information.”

Thereafter began Forrest’s lengthy account of the initial excavation of the Angel Moon burial mound, undertaken (I think) by himself and other locals.  Readers will hopefully forgive the lengthy profile I’ve given this place, but I know it will be of interest to local historians in the Pontefract and Ferrybridge area:

“This Tumulus, which is situated in Roundhill Field, on the left of the road leading from Ferrybridge to Castleford was first opened on March 28th, 1863. For the sake of ascertaining its structure, a trench was dug on the side not previously disturbed, to within a few feet of the centre, but without result, except ascertaining that the material gradually changed from sandy gravel to large stones as the middle was approached, and that it had been raised upon a natural swell of the strata, thus offering a dry situation; a condition about which the ancients appear to have been solicitous in choosing the sites of their sepulchral mounds. They then began to dig at the top, and immediately under the sod lay two human skeletons, one upon the other, with no more than six or eight inches of soil upon them. Near them lay portions of two antlers of…red deer, the uppermost skeleton was that of a tall adult male, the teeth nearly entire and in fine preservation, the other was of shorter but stouter proportions, the feet of both were gone, probably by the diggers in 1811, who it is conjectured had previously discovered these remains, and covered them up, with the few inches of soil, under which we found them; they had evidently not been removed, all the bones present being in their natural position, the whole of the bones and horns were much crushed and broken by the superincumbent earth which must once have covered them.

“With them were found several detached pieces of what appeared to have been the tusk of some animal, probably the wild boar, and fragments of half-baked pottery which on comparison were found to be portions of two urns of the early British type, such as are usually found in grave-hills attributed to that period.  The smaller one (of which the principal portions were recovered) was of the size and much of the shape of an ordinary breakfast cup, three inches high, scored all over with vertical indentations as if by a piece of flint. The other was much larger, more elegant in shape, on which considerable taste was displayed in the ornamentation, composed of parallel lines, chevrons, zigzags and punctures, in which a dextrous use of the twisted thong was evident; this was ten inches high.

“About eighteen inches to the left of these, and a few inches deeper, lay the skeleton of another person, who had evidently lived to a great age, the teeth being worn nearly to the roots, tho’ showing no signs of decay. All the three lay east and west as in the present mode of Christian sepulture. No other human or animal remains were found, nothing metallic, or any implements, no appearances of cremation, no ashes, neither did the urns appear to have contained any, no stones to indicate that a cist had enclosed them, they had been buried in the soil, which here only differed from that surrounding it, in its somewhat darker colour.

“Digging downward, immediately under the skeletons first discovered, a large rough slab was reached at the depth of four feet from the surface. Its removal disclosed a stone cist or grave, of which it had formed the cover, composed of four rough stones set on edge, and paved with smaller pieces at the bottom; width at the head 2 feet, at the feet 1 foot 5 inches internal dimensions. It was entirely filled with small gravel, in which was interred the skeleton of an adult male, apparently of large stature, the thigh bones measuring in length 19¾ inches, the leg 16 inches. The knees were bent up in the manner in which such interments are usually found, and the face toward the south.  The skull was accidentally broken, but well developed, and indicating the age about forty. The teeth were all present, and in beautiful preservation, the enamel white and bright as in the living subject.  In front of the breast was an urn, laid on its side, of very coarse make, imperfectly baked, and so fragile, that on the most careful attempt to remove it, the urn crumbled into fragments, the whole was however collected, and sufficed to give a correct idea of its size, shape and ornamentation. It contained nothing but small gravel, like that in which it was laid. Near it was a small chipping of flint with a cutting edge, 2½ by 1¼ inches, this was the only article having any resemblance to a tool or implement hitherto met with.

“The cist being filled with gravel, I suppose to be an unusual circumstance.  It could not have penetrated through any fissures in its sides, neither was the cist likely to have been opened subsequently, as nothing appeared to have been disturbed.

“Proceeding downward, it was seen that this cist was built upon and its sides supported by large rough stones inclined towards it ; the surrounding gravel was mixed with fragments of human bones, small pieces of urns, and occasionally bits of charcoal, and in a cavity a piece of wood was found but so decayed that its original shape or purpose could not be ascertained. Among the bones was a portion of a skull, showing a fracture from which the subject had recovered.

“At about the depth of seven feet, and a little to the east was a flat stone laid horizontally, length 4½ feet, width 3 feet, under this was a layer of dark earth two or three inches thick, totally different from that surrounding it, inodorous, and in which was no perceptible trace of animal remains, but exhibiting hollow casts of something resembling stone fruit about 1 inch long by ½-inch wide. Near this was found a thin stone of a round or oval shape about 6 inches broad, apparently chipped to shape and having a rough cutting edge ; its use can only be conjectured.

“At the depth of nine feet, the native rock was reached in which was a cavity about ten inches deep, but as far as could be ascertained containing nothing but gravel mixed with bones like the surrounding part.

“From observations then made I came to this conclusion: that the mound had been used for interments anterior to the formation of the cist, on which occasion, its upper part was levelled to make a convenient platform for it ; when the bones of former interments were disturbed and scattered about with as little respect for the dead as would a modern gravedigger; in making room for a new occupant.

“The fact of the three skeletons first noticed being interred after the Christian mode, is presumptive evidence that they were Saxons. It is well ascertained that this people had their coming here, frequently buried their dead in British tumuli, even after they had embraced Christianity, which occasioned an edict to be published in the year 987, prohibiting this practice, and providing that no Saxon should be buried in the tumuli of the Pagans, but only in the cemeteries of the churches, neither do urns nor antlers (which are undoubtedly British) militate against this supposition, when it is considered that they were all fragmentary, and as the skeletons with which they were, had evidently been disturbed though not removed, it is very probable that these fragments had been taken from that part of the mound removed in 1811, and thrown among these bones in the random manner in which we found them.

“From all these circumstances, this barrow appears to have had a very early and prolonged existence as a place of sepulture. The cavity in the rock was probably the grave of the first interment. The fragments of bones under and around the cist show that interment had taken place before its formation. The absence of any evidence of cremation either in the cist or elsewhere, shows that these interments were prior to the introduction of that ceremony from the nations with whom the Britons afterwards had intercourse. The absence of any weapon or other instrument save the single chipping of flint, and the roughly fashioned stone and the rudely found urn of clay, all go to prove that this was one of the very earliest of British Barrows. And if my hypothesis as to Saxon burial be admissible it will bring its sepulchral history down to the Christian era.

“At the upper end of the field are some earthworks of considerable depth, but as the whole is under cultivation, their form and purpose can scarcely now be determined.”

A few years later the legendary tomb raider Mr Greenwell and his mates turned up and gave the site their additional attention.

“On this occasion the digging commenced on the east side, where a deposit of burnt bones was found upon a flat stone just above the surface, and ten feet from the outside.  Six feet to the north of this was another similar deposit laid upon the natural surface. Five feet south of the centre, was an unburnt body, doubled up and on its right side, with its head to the south. Immediately beneath, and in close contact with it, was a burnt body, apparently deposited at the same time. These interments in opposite customs present very interesting features in British sepulchral usage, as if the practice of cremation though at one period generally adopted, was not universal, but influenced by the wish of the deceased, or the inclination of surviving friends. With these remains were found an urn, of beautiful type, 4½in high, ornamented outside with twenty-seven thong markings, it would be impossible to decide to which of the bodies this belonged, such urns are found with both modes of burial.

“These deposits of burnt bodies were all found on the south-east side of the tumulus and consequently none were met with during the partial examination in 1863; but as the diggers in 1811 commenced at that point, they must have found and removed several such.

“As the work proceeded, the large flat stone covering the deposit of dark earth, was again met with ; and southward of this was another similar deposit also covered by a stone.  In this earth was found a small seed pod or fruit, with striated markings, about nine lines in length, and black as the soil in which it was found ; its size and shape suggest the idea, that such fruit might have been the occasion of the hollow cists observed in the first discovered deposit.  Close to these deposits was one of very dark sand, inclined to dark red or chocolate colour in some parts, this had evidently been subjected to the action of fire.

“The tumulus was so far removed, as to reveal the nature of the surface on which it had been built, which proved to be a natural outcrop of the limestone rock, and upon it these dark deposits were found. Their origin and purpose, offer an interesting subject of enquiry to the Archeologist. Their situation on the edge of the projecting rock is suggestive of their sacrificial character, or their connection with some of the druidical rites of the ancient Britons. The burnt sand may mark the site of the place where the act of cremation had been performed.

“The next object of interest was the rock grave, the edge of which had been reached in 1863, but reluctantly abandoned. This was found, and proved to be a large circular one, nearly six feet in diameter, and two feet six inches deep. At the west end was a rudely-formed cist, filled with gravel like the first one, in which was found a body, bent up in the usual manner, lying on its right side, and with its head to the south-west.  At its feet was a drinking cup laid on its side, height seven inches, profusely ornamented with thong markings, consisting of three sets of horizontal lines filled up between with vertical lines, below these, and between two more horizontal lines, was a line of zigzags, the lower triangles of which were filled up with horizontal markings. The same pattern occupied the upper and lower halves of the vase. In the hollow of the knees was found a bronzed pin much oxydized, about 1½in. long, this might have been used to fasten some portion of the dress in which the person had been buried. It was the only piece of metal found in the tumulus, with the exception of that found in 1811, which is now supposed to have belonged to an Anglo-Saxon, buried with sword, spear, shield, etc.”

Then in 1962 came the final examination here, shortly before the site’s destruction.  Pacitto (1969) and his team didn’t really find much more than his Victorian predecessors, apart from a couple of flints, some other fragments of bones and some modern bits and bats.  However,

“The mound was surrounded by two concentric ditches, respectively 55ft and 75ft in diameter.  The outer ditch was only a few inches deep, but the other had been cut into the limestone (my italics, PB) to a depth of 2ft 6in”

References:

  1. Forrest, C., The History and Antiquities of Knottingley, W.S. Hepworth: Knottingley 1871.
  2. Greenwell, William, British Barrows, Clarendon Press: Oxford 1877.
  3. Pacitto, A.L., “The Excavation of Two Bronze Age Burial Mounds at Ferry Fryston in the West Riding of Yorkshire,” in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, volume 42, part 167, 1969.
  4. Roberts, I. (ed), Ferrybridge Henge: The Ritual Landscape, WYAS 2006.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Angel Moon tumulus

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Angel Moon tumulus 53.714687, -1.284188 Angel Moon tumulus

Round Hill Field, Ferrybridge, West Yorkshire

Tumulus (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – SE 4733 2444

Also Known as:

  1. Mound 2 (Pacitto)
  2. Roundhill Field

Archaeology & History

Tumulus on the 1852 map

Close to the important ceremonial monument of Ferrybridge Henge could once be seen be this singular grave and ring-ditch, 53 yards north of the curiously-named Angel Moon tumulus. But, thanks to that regular ingredient of self-righteous industrialism, neither of the sites exists anymore.  It had initially been damaged by some agricultural ignorance (they like to the PR-term ‘agricultural improvement’), but was thankfully rediscovered following excavation work on the Angel Moon site by A.L. Pacitto in April 1962, in advance of the construction of the Ferrybridge C power station. (in truth, the exact position of this Round Hill tumulus was in an area that has not been built onto, at the southeastern edge of the modern car-park on the grassy area next to the trees; showing that it could have easily been preserved).

Roundhill tomb skeleton
Roundhill tomb plan

The site was certainly an important one amidst what Ian Roberts (2006) called “the ritual landscape” in this part of prehistoric Airedale.  When the archaeological team came to do their work here, very little of the monument could be seen on the surface—Mr Pacitto described it as “barely perceptible”—but they were both pleased and surprised at what they found.  Detailing their excavation work, Pacitto (1969) wrote:

“Natural rock was found immediately below the ploughsoil, and it had been scored by ploughing.  In view of the complete lack of stratification the first traverse of the (Drott) machine was arranged so that it cut across the mound from side to side, with one edge coinciding with a line drawn through the centre.  This first traverse exposed half an oval grave pit, measuring 3ft 9in by 5ft.  On excavation it proved to be only 5in deep, but in spite of this it contained an undisturbed crouched inhumation.  The body was on its left side, facing south, and a notched flint dagger behind the pelvis was perhaps attached to a belt at the time of burial.  The dagger…is very neatly flaked from a fine flint with a pale blue patina.  It has three notches on each side of the haft and is very similar to one found in Doncaster in 1935.  The filling of the grave also included several fragments of human bone, one of which had been calcined.

“The grave was surrounded at a distance of 11ft to 12ft by the remains of a circular ditch.  Only two segments of this had survived, representing less than half of the total circumference.  Doubtless ploughing had destroyed much of the original rock surface.

“Outside the ditch and 20ft to the southeast of the grave was a small circular pit.  With a flt bottom and vertical sides, it measured 2ft 3in in diameter and was 1ft 2in deep.  The filling was mainly of broken and crushed limestone fragments, and there was no clue to its date or purpose.  This pit was sited on the line of an east-west fault or joint in the rock.”

References:

  1. Forrest, C., The History and Antiquities of Knottingley, W.S. Hepworth: Knottingley 1871.
  2. Pacitto, A.L., “The Excavation of Two Bronze Age Burial Mounds at Ferry Fryston in the West Riding of Yorkshire,” in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, volume 42, part 167, 1969.
  3. Roberts, I. (ed), Ferrybridge Henge: The Ritual Landscape, WYAS 2006.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:  Huge thanks to the Yorkshire Archaeological Society for use of images in this site profile.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

 

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  53.714239, -1.284347 Round Hill Field

St Austin’s Stone, High Hunsley, East Yorkshire

Legendary Rock:  OS Grid Reference – SE 93360 34443

Also known as:

  1. St. Augustine’s Stone
  2. St Austin’s Rock

Folklore

St Austins Stone on 1855 map

The folklorist John Nicholson (1890) wrote about this “block of natural concrete standing at the head of Drewton Dale, near South Cave” — which modern OS-maps call Austin Dale.  Legend told how it “derived its name from St. Augustine, who used to preach from this stone to the heathen, before Britain became christian.”  This obviously supplanted an earlier heathen site, but it’s difficult to work out what that may have been.  It could have been the lost ‘Rud Stone’ immediately west; or perhaps had some traditional relationship with the healing well which emerges a short distance away further down the valley.  Just above here as well, we find an ancient dragon’s lair at Drakes Hole, which could also hold a clue to this place.

A couple of years after Nicholson mentioned the site, John Hall (1892) published his excellent history of the township, in which he described St. Austin’s Stone thus:

“It’s a mass of rock projecting from the side of a hill and in its longest part, extending  from the hillside to the face of the stone, measures about 60 feet.  By some it is supposed to have formed a centre for druidical worship, and that the adjoining township took its name of Drewton (or Druid’s Town) from this fact.  When St. Augustine came to England…he is said to have visited this part of the East Riding; and that this stone took its name from his visit.”

St Austins Stone 1890 map

The site was also surmounted by a cross at some time in its recent history, but this has gone.  The earth mystery writer Philip Heselton (1986) told that the nearby Well was indeed a place connected to St. Austin’s Stone, in an early article in Northern Earth Mysteries, saying:

“St. Austins Stone near South Cave is a rock outcrop where Saint Augustine is said to have made converts, baptizing them in a nearby well. The site is used for church services.  Every seven years, part of the stone falls away, but it always grows again.”

The site should be examined for potential cup-and-ring markings; as well as reports on the status of the Well.  Any photos of the present situation of the site would be most welcome.

References:

  1. Gutch, Mrs E., County Folk-Lore volume VI: Examples of Printed Folk-lore Concerning the East Riding of Yorkshire, David Nutt: London 1912.
  2. Hall, John George, A History of South Cave and other Parishes in the East Riding of Yorkshire, Edwin Ombler: Hull 1892.
  3. Nicholson, John, Folk Lore of East Yorkshire, Simpkin Marshall: London 1890.
  4. Thompson, Thomas, Researches into the History of Welton and its Neighbourhood, privately printed: Kingston-upon-Hull 1869.

Links:

  1. St. Austin’s Stone (and Well) on “Yorkshire’s Holy Wells” website

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

St Austin's Stone

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St Austin\'s Stone 53.797937, -0.584062 St Austin\'s Stone

Adam’s Oak, Brierley, South Yorkshire

Legendary Tree:  OS Grid Reference – SE 4280 1015

Also Known as:

  1. Adam & Eve’s Oak
  2. Wind-gap Oak

Archaeology & History

Highlighted on the 1854 Ordnance Survey map close to the township boundary line as Adam & Eve’s Oak, between Brierley and South Kirkby, I can’t find too much about this once great tree.  However the Wakefield historian W.S. Banks (1871) told us the following:

“Upon the common at Ringston Hill grows the remarkable ‘old Adam’ oak, much decreased in size in late years.  It is an ancient and large tree measuring twenty-seven feet in girth at a yard above the ground.  The trunk is hollow and the north side is broken away.  Most of the branches are also gone.  In 1868 a very large branch was blown off by the wind; but on the southerly side are still some very vigorous limbs.”

The old oak on the 1854 map
The old oak on the 1854 map

Even when Banks wrote this he said how the tree “must be many centuries old.”  In the time of King Charles II there used to be an old inn by Adam’s Oak at the foot of Ringston Hill, where the famous highwayman, Nevison (much-loved by many Yorkshire-folk because of his Robin-Hood-like character), used to stay.  The inn was owned by one Adam Hawksworth, but was ordered “to have his sign taken down for harbouring Nevison.”

Folklore

W.S. Banks also wrote of this once great tree:

“The people at Brierley tell of Nevison the highwayman lodging in it and hiding stolen treasures in it, things which probably did not happen, though Nevison’s name is connected with Ringston Hill.”

The treasure legend may have more to do with the adjacent stone circle, as we find ‘treasure’ a common motif at such places.

References:

  1. Banks, W.S., Walks in Yorkshire: Wakefield and its Neighbourhood, Longmans, Green  Co.: London 1871.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

Adam's Oak

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Adam\'s Oak 53.586119, -1.354851 Adam\'s Oak