Dymond Stone, Burley Moor, West Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 12629 45206

Also known as:

  1. Carving no.118
  2. Carving no. 275

Getting Here

Dymond Stone, Ilkley Moor

It’s not too far from the main footpath from Ilkley to the Twelve Apostles stone circle.  As its discoverer C.W. Dymond (1880) said, “It lies alone, on and near the foot of a steep slope, about a furlong, or less than five minutes’ walk, north from the ruins of a small stone-circle (Twelve Apostles) which crowns the crest of the pass leading south-south-east from Ilkley to Eldwick, and just one mile and three-quarters from the former place.  If approached therefrom, it will be easily found about two hundred yards to the east of the point where the road surmounts the steep, to enter upon the upper plain.”  Otherwise, walk through the Twelve Apostles from the main footpath and out the other side, following the land where it slopes down and, near the bottom, you’ll see this large stone sitting quietly on its own…

1880 image of Dymond's carving
Dymond’s 1880 sketch

Archaeology & History

Not too sure about the veracity of this one to be honest.  It was first described by archaeologist C.W. Dymond (1880) as “a stone marked with a striking group of cups” – but these are small and untypical of the usual markings.  “The stone is 9 ft. 6 ins. in length, 6 ft. 3 ins. in breadth, and about 2 ft. in thickness; its upper surface dipping a little, with the ground, toward the north. Upon it may be seen a group of small cups, for the most part about half an inch in diameter,” he said.

Dymond thought that the design on the rock may have represented parts of the night sky, saying, “here we may have a rude attempt to portray the starry heavens spanned by the galaxy ; and that the outlying groups may have been intended to represent two of the constellations perhaps Orion, and another not so easily identified.”  But I think we can take this with a pinch of salt.

Included in Hedge’s (1986) survey without comment, Boughey and Vickerman (2003) correctly thought that the “small peck marks which are not typical cup-marks” might be “doubtful”.


  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, West Yorks Archaeology Service 2003.
  2. Dymond, C.W., ‘Cup Marks on Burley Moor,’ in Journal of the British Archaeological Association, volume 36, 1880.
  3. Hedges, John, The Carved Rocks of Rombalds Moor, WYMCC: Wakefield 1986.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian