Fuke Well, Pudsey, West Yorkshire

Healing Well (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – SE 22 33

Archaeology & History

Ths curiously-named site is described just once in very early field-name records as the ‘Fukewell’.  Included in A.H. Smith’s (1961) magnum opus, he passes over the place-name without comment.  But in finding his 12th century literary source, we read that it was located on some land given to the monks of Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds.  Written in early disjointed Latin, we find that the Fukewell was mentioned on a grant that described five acres of land given by one Adam Samson to the monks of the Abbey.  On one of the acres was a site known as the Cold Well, whilst the Fuke Well was found on a piece of land adjacent to a house, but its precise location seems to have been lost.  Nothing is mentioned about it by great Pudsey historan Simeon Raynor, despite him naming a number of other wells in the area – so we must presume that the site had already gone when he came to write his work.

But what does the word fuke actually mean?  There is nothing to explain it in Wright’s Dialect Dictionary, nor other regional dialect or place-name works.  I was wondering if it derived from the old english word ‘fuck’, which was common parlance in earlier centuries.  ‘Fucking’ was a word that didn’t have the debased christian ideology attached to it: of something not to be talked about, or be hidden.  To have a fuck, or go fucking, was always quite normal; and to most people in the real world we use the same term with absolute ease – because we all do it!  But this etymological idea is pure speculation on my part.  Can anyone give clear light to fuke’s real meaning?

References:

  1. Fryer, Peter, Mrs Grundy, Dennis Dobson: London 1963.
  2. Lancaster, W.T. & Baildon, W. Paley (eds.), The Coucher Book of the Cistercian Abbey of Kirkstall, Thoresby Society: Leeds 1904.
  3. Smith, A.H., The Place-Names of the West Riding of Yorkshire – volume 3, Cambridge University Press 1961.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian 

 

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  53.792852, -1.667522 Fuke Well

St. Peter’s Well, Leeds, West Yorkshire

Holy Well (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – SE 308 336

Archaeology & History

St Peters Well locale in 1852

This is one of three wells that were dedicated to St Peter in the Leeds district.  The first of them, near the city centre, was described by the northern antiquarian Ralph Thoresby (1715) as being in St. Peter’s Square—which has now been completely built over, but was situated “at the bottom or west end of High Street,” (Bonser 1974) about 50 yards west of the modern Quarry Hill buildings.  It was well known in the area in early times with a good curative reputation due seemingly to its sulphur content.  Mr Thoresby told that us, it

“is intensely cold and very beneficial for such as are afflicted with rheumatic pains, or weakness, rickets, etc, for which reason it is much frequented by such, who might otherwise have recourse to St. Mungus or Mongah, as it is more truly writ. This Spring, according to St Anselms Canon, which forbad a credulous attributing any reverence, or opinion of holiness to fountains…must either have been of great antiquity, or have had the bishop’s authority.”

Local folk of course, would have long known the goodness of this water supply long before any crude bishop.  The well either possessed a very large stone trough or it had been fashioned and added to by locals, as Thoresby reported “trying the cold bathing of St Peter’s.”  He took his youngest child there, Richard, to help him overcome an osteopathic ailment.  In his diary entry for April 8, 1709, he wrote:

“Was late at church, and fetched out by a messuage from the bone-setter (Smith, of Ardsley), who positively affirms that one part of the kneebone of my dear child Richard, has slipped out of its proper place; he set it right and bound it up; the Lord give a blessing to all endeavours!  We had made use of several before, who all affirmed that no bone was wrong, but that his limp proceeded rather from some weakness, which we were the rather induced to believe, because warm weather, and bathing in St. Peter’s Well, had set him perfectly on his feet without the least halting, only this severe Winter has made him worse than ever.”

It later became at least one of the water supplies for Maude’s Spa close by.  As usual with health-giving waters at this period in the evolving cities, money was to be made from them and local folk had to find their supplies from other sources.  St Peter’s Sulphur Baths (as it was called) were built on top of it in the 19th century and, said Bonser “flourished until the early years of the (20th) century.”

Although I can find no notices of annual celebrations or folklore here, St. Peter’s Day is June 29 — perhaps a late summer solstice site, though perhaps not.

It would be good if Leeds city council would at least put historical plaques in and around the city to inform people of the location of the many healing and holy wells that were once an integral part of the regions early history.  Tourists of various interest groups (from christian to pagan and beyond) would love to know more about their old sacred sites and spend their money in the city.

References:

  1. Atkinson, D.H., Ralph Thoresby, the Topographer – volume 1, Walker & Laycock: Leeds 1885.
  2. Baines, Edward, The Leeds Guide, E.Baines: Leeds 1806.
  3. Bonser, K.J., “Spas, Wells and Springs of Leeds,” in Publications Thoresby Society, 54:1, 1974.
  4. Harte, Jeremy, English Holy Wells – volume 2, Heart of Albion: Wymeswold 2008.
  5. NiBride, Feorag, The Wells and Springs of Leeds, Pagan Pratlle: Leeds 1994.
  6. Robinson, Percy, Relics of Old Leeds, P.Robinson: Leeds 1896.
  7. Smith, Andrea, ‘Holy Wells Around Leeds, Bradford & Pontefract,’ in Wakefield Historical Journal 9, 1982.
  8. Thoresby, Ralph, Ducatus Leodiensis, Maurice Atkins: London 1715.
  9. Whelan, Edna & Taylor, Ian, Yorkshire Holy Wells and Sacred Springs, Northern Lights 1989.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

 

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  53.798411, -1.533119 St Peters Well

Lady Well, Leeds, West Yorkshire

Holy Well (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – SE 3060 3373

Archaeology & History

Lady Lane, where the well was

Lady Lane, where the well was

Deep in the industrial centre of Leeds, not far from the main bus station, could once be found one of Yorkshire’s many ‘Lady Wells’.  The great historian and antiquarian Ralph Thoresby (1715) was the first to write of this great spring, which is now lost beneath the concrete buildings near Quarry Hill.  He described it as,

“a noted spring…to this day called Lady Well and the adjoining way, Lady Lane.”

In 1806 Edward Baines of Leeds described this spring of “soft, pure water,” also telling it to be on Lady Lane, saying that

“At the bottom of this street is a spring of excellent water, called Lady-Well, which affords a copious supply of that necessary article to this populous part of town.”

This Lady Well was also included in Andrea Smith’s (1982) survey, who noted that less than two hundred yards northwest of was The Chantry of Our Lady. This church has medieval foundations and its dedication would be derived from the healing waters here; plus, Smith notes, in West Yorkshire, “the number of churches dedicated to Our Lady is only two and these are both classed as ancient.”

References:

  1. Baines, Edward, The Leeds Guide, E. Baines: Leeds 1806.
  2. Smith, Andrea N., “Holy Wells in and around Bradford, Leeds and Pontefract,” in Wakefield Historical Society Journal, volume 9, 1982.
  3. Thoresby, Ralph, Ducatus Leodiensis, London 1715.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Lady Well

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Lady Well 53.798980, -1.536906 Lady Well

Gray Stone, Burley, Leeds, West Yorkshire

Legendary Rock:  OS Grid Reference – SE 28659 34229

Also Known as:

  1. Giant’s Stone

Getting Here

Originally located at SE 28449 34364, the site is now to be found halfway along Westfield Road, where it meets up with Hollis Place, along the footpath at the back of the school, set back against the walling.  A plaque by the rock kinda gives the game away!

Archaeology & History

Gray Stone on 1852 map

Gray Stone on 1852 map

The large vandalised stone you see here—sprayed-painted quite eloquently it has to be said!—is apparently a replica of the old stone which could once be found about 300 yards northwest of here.  Typifying stones of this name—graygrey and variants thereof—the original Gray Stone was an old boundary marker (Smith 1956), and the last reference to it as an archaeological site was by James Wardell (1853), who even in his day said that it was “almost buried in the ground, on the Burley Road.” It is shown on the first OS-map by the roadside, close to the junction of Woodside View and Burley Road, but was said to have been removed at the beginning of the 20th century and moved to its new and present position.  However, somewhere along the line, the original stone has been destroyed and the thing that we see today has taken its place.

The original Gray Stone may have been a standing stone, but we cannot be certain about this.  The present boulder stands about four feet tall and is a rather fat-looking standing stone. You can just about squeeze round the back of it, around which is an incised line which cuts around the stone – but this obviously quite modern. A plaque stands in front of the stone, telling its brief history.  (if anyone can send us some photos of the site that would be great – I’ve gone and lost mine, somehow!)

Folklore

A creation myth of this site tells it to have been made by a giant, who threw the Gray Stone from the appropriately named Giant’s Hill (a supposed old camp, now destroyed), less than a mile southeast of here: an alignment which corresponds closely to the midsummer sunrise. In throwing it, he was said to have left the indentations of his finger-marks in the rock – thought to have been cup-markings.  Examples of other cup-and-ring stones occur a short distance west, at Kirkstall.

References:

  1. Bennett, Paul, The Old Stones of Elmet, Capall Bann: Milverton 2001.
  2. Smith, A.H., English Place-Name Elements – 2 volumes, Cambridge University Press 1956.
  3. Wardell, James, The Antiquities of the Borough of Leeds, John Russell Smith: London 1853.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Gray Stone

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Gray Stone 53.803575, -1.566328 Gray Stone

Calverley Woods Stone Circle, Leeds, West Yorkshire

Stone Circle:  OS Grid Reference — SE 20 37

Archaeology & History

Having lived close to these woods in the past, I have searched extensively for any remains of the stone circle described by a Miss Alice Wells in the very first issue of the Cartwright Hall Archaeology Group Bulletin, but to no avail.  A meeting to examine this site was supposed to have taken place in September 1953, “but as Miss Wells was unavoidably absent this was not seen.”  And still to this day it remains hidden [or non-existent, whatever the case may be].  There is ample evidence that prehistoric man roamed this region, as finds of cup-and-ring stones and iron age walling indicate.  A possible contender for this stone circle could be the small ring of rocks seen near the bottom of the wooded hill beneath the giant Hanging Stone, close to grid reference SE 2003 3748.  About 10 yards across, this looked like a smaller version of the Roms Law circle several miles west, but is much overgrown and not visible beneath the undergrowth of summer vegetation.

The presence of prehistoric cup-marked stones in this woodland clearly indicates Bronze Age activity here and—as such petroglyphs have a tendency in West Yorkshire to be associated with tombs and death in many cases—may indicate the lost site was indeed a cairn circle and not a true stone circle. Seems likely to me. If anyone has any photos of this site, or can ascertain its exact whereabouts, please let us know and all credits will be given for its rediscovery.

References:

  1. Bennett, Paul, The Old Stones of Elmet, Capall Bann: Milverton 2001.
  2. Jackson, Sidney (ed.), “Calverley Wood,”in Cartwright Hall Archaeology Group Bulletin, 1:1, July 1954.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Calverley Woods circle

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Calverley Woods circle 53.835753, -1.691841 Calverley Woods circle

Calverley Woods 03, Leeds, West Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 20370 37925

Getting Here

Cup-Marked Stone near centre (courtesy Mike Short)
Cup-Marked Stone near centre
(courtesy Mike Short)

Mike Short tells: Walk ENE along Thornhill Drive (no vehicular access) to gate across road at the last house on the Drive and continue on for approx 475m where road starts to narrow slightly, becomes a little steeper and gently turns to E.  Thornhill Drive is now cut into the hillside at this point with an upwards sloping bank on the S side of the path. After approx 25m further on at approx SE 20375 37950 look out on the S side of the path for a pile of boulders sitting on bedrock on top of the bank and a large rectangular tabular rock on the side of the bank.  Ascend the bank and from the boulder pile the panel is approx 22m 200º(T) in the middle of an ephemeral E-W path more defined to W.

Archaeology & History

The profile (and ‘How to Get There’) for this recently discovered cup-marked stone was forwarded to me by fellow rock art explorer, Mike Short.  The carving is another basic design found in Calverley Woods, between Leeds and Bradford, nearly halfway between the missing petroglyphs of West Woods 2 and Sidney Jackson’s Calverley Woods Stone.  Rediscovered by Lisa Volichenko some time ago, Mike described the new carving here as follows:

Looking down on the 3-4 cups (courtesy Mike Short)
Looking down on the 3-4 cups
(courtesy Mike Short)
Sketch of the carving (courtesy Mike Short)
Sketch of the carving
(courtesy Mike Short)

“Panel is carved on W sloping face of a sub-triangular earthfast coarse-grained sandstone boulder 0.81m X 0.50m X 0.38m, the longest axis lying almost exactly N-S. Carving consists of 3 cups, the most N of which is elliptical approx 65mm X 55mm; the central cup is elliptical approx 50mm X 40mm and the most S is circular diameter approx 40mm. On the N edge of the W face is a shallow elliptical depression thought to be of natural origin. There is an area of damage along the ‘crest’ of the boulder close to its S end.

“Carved rock is the most E of five rocks, measuring between 0.70m and 1.15m in length, in very close proximity forming an arc, 3 of which are in the footpath and one of which is resting on a large slab of rock almost completely covered by soil and vegetation.”

And so the small number of cup-marked stones in this woodland slowly grows.  One wonders how many more are hidden beneath the roots of the trees—and are all of the lines and cups atop of the great Hanging Stone, a short distant away, all Nature’s handiwork…?

Acknowledgements:  Huge thanks for Mike Short for the data, photos and sketch of this carving.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Calverley Woods CR-3

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Calverley Woods CR-3 53.837183, -1.691941 Calverley Woods CR-3

West Woods 02, Calverley, Leeds, West Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone (lost):  OS Grid Reference –SE 1956 3734

Getting Here

Old photo of lost carving
Old photo of lost carving

Although now seemingly lost, it’s location is damn close to this: Along the A657 between Greengates and Bradford, where the New Line meets Carr Road, the dirt-track takes you into Calverley Woods, down Eleanor Drive. About 250 yards along (just before you get to the field on the left), take the footpath down the embankment towards the stream where it bends to the left and where the land levels out (don’t cross the stream). It’s somewhere round there!

Archaeology & History

This was one of two previously unrecognised carvings we came across sometime in 1985 (see West Woods 1 stone), when we were seeking out another missing carving in the same woods.  It was clear and well-defined as the faded photo here shows; but having been back to try find it twice in the last two years in the hope of getting better photos, I’ve been unable to locate it.  The carving was described in an article I did in an old earth mysteries magazine.  It comprises simply of a large ring surrounding and enclosing two deep cups, which were linked to each other by a connecting carved line.  Parts of the stone had been chipped in parts—including a section of the large ring— due to some industrial workings that had happened here in the past. Thankfully I managed to find the old photo and hopefully, perhaps, some local explorer could try and seek out where it’s hiding beneath the trees and other vegetation.

References:

  1. Bennett, Paul, “The Undiscovered Old Stones of Calverley Woods,” in Earth no.2, 1986.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

 

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  53.831956, -1.704287 West Woods CR-2

Quarry Hill, Leeds, West Yorkshire

Settlement (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – SE 309 336

Archaeology & History

Absolutely nothing is left of the large series of ancient earthworks that were reported to have existed near the very centre of Leeds by Ralph Thoresby, James Wardell and others in the 18th and 19th centuries.  Although we do not know with certainty the age and nature of the site, it would seem very likely to have had a prehistoric provenance.  However, this wasn’t the opinion of either Thoresby (1715) or Thomas Whitaker (1816).  They both thought the remains were of Roman origin – but we must remind ourselves of the inaccuracies made, particularly by Whitaker, when it came to estimating the dates of early monuments (e.g., Whitaker’s assertions of the huge Counter Hill earthworks above Addingham).  Sometime later, James Wardell (1853) thought the remains on Quarry Hill were distinctly pre-Roman; though reasoned that the invading force may have used the site at a later date.  Wardell wrote:

“Traces of a prior occupation were, until recently, observable on the summit of Quarry-hill, along the western edge of which ran an earthwork of considerable length and magnitude, and of semi-circular form.”

We know little else of the place, sadly, but the shape of the site around the hilltop edges would seem to support the likelihood of an Iron or Bronze Age origin.  Further information would, of course, be more helpful…

References:

  1. Thoresby, Ralph, Ducatus Leodiensis, Maurice Atkins: London 1715.
  2. Wardell, James, The Antiquities of the Borough of Leeds, Moxon & Walker: Leeds 1853.
  3. Whitaker, Thomas D., Loidis and Elmete, T. Davison: Leeds 1816.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

 

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  53.797794, -1.532365 Quarry Hill enclosure

Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire

Tumulus (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – SE 302 337

Archaeology & History

Remains from Briggate’s tomb

We don’t know for sure whether the burial site that once stood near Leeds city centre was a cairn, a tumulus, or just a stone-lined cist (stone grave), but due to the prevalence of similar prehistoric sites in the neighbourhood, it’s most likely to have been a small tumulus that once existed here.  All trace of it has obviously gone.  The most detailed reference we have of this place was the account given by the 19th century Leeds historian, James Wardell (1853), who thankfully gave us the drawing of remains found within the tomb and who wrote:

“In the year 1745, a most interesting discovery occurred, of an urn containing ashes, calcined bones, and a stone axe perforated for a shaft, which were found by a carpenter at a depth of about two feet, on sinking a tenter post, in a field near to the top of Briggate, in Leeds. The urn was of rude formation, imperfectly baked, and ornamented after the usual maimer of the Britons, with encircling rows of indentations; it measured about twelve inches in height, and was placed with its mouth upwards, having a cover, wliieh was broken by the workman. The whole of these artielt^s were taken pos- session of by Mr. Alderman Denison, the owner of the field, who resided near ; their subsequent fate is unknown, and their loss as a local one is to be deplored; but fortunately small sketches of them were made at the time, which has enabled me to give the drawings contained in Plate I. These relics lay claim to an earlier date…and have appertained to some warrior of the prehistoric period, whose simple, yet solemn funeral rites, were here performed, and in memory of whom the cairn, or the barrow was raised.”

There is a remote possibility that the position of St. John’s Church, a short distance north of Briggate, may have had some relationship with this sacred burial site.  St. John was the christian church’s midsummer saint.

References:

  1. Wardell, James, The Antiquities of the Borough of Leeds, John Russell Smith: London 1853.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

Briggate tumulus

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Briggate tumulus 53.798734, -1.542982 Briggate tumulus

West Woods 01, Calverley, Leeds, West Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 1970 3731

Getting Here

On the A657 road, a half-mile past Greengates towards Calverley, just before the road starts going uphill, take the lower dirt-track of Eleanor Drive on your left into Calverley Woods (here known as West Woods).  About 150 yards along the track, note the small footpath on the right which goes up diagonally further into the trees.  Go along here until you reach the remains of a dried-up pond on your left.  The carved stone is about 10 yards before the pond, just above the footpath.

Archaeology & History

Rubbing of the 2 cupmarks

Another stone only for the puritans amongst you!  This (and the West Woods 2 carving) was one we found in 1985 when we were exploring the woods looking for the Calverley Woods cup-marked stone reported by Sid Jackson in the 1950s.  The stone is a small roughly oblong, earthfast rock, about 2ft by 1ft across, and has two distinct but faded cup-marks on its slightly sloping face. That’s it!

Soon after first finding this, we made a couple or rubbings of the stone, one of which I reproduce here and which shows the two cup-marks.  You’ll note the measurement and note of the cups being 2 megalithic inches (MI) in diameter.  The MI was a statistical unit of measure suggested by the late great Alexander Thom, who found regular integers of 2.07cm in many of the cup-and-rings he examined, and so surmised it as a deliberate numeric system.  At the time when we found this cup-marked stone, I was exploring Thom’s idea and was very much taken up with it.  However, after a few years doings numerous rubbings of the many cup-and-ring stones in West Yorkshire, and exploring the simple size of the human hand and how we execute cup-markings on rocks, I found Thom’s idea didn’t seem to be realistic. (though I still love Thom’s works: the man was an outstanding researcher, far exceeding all the archaeologists of his period in terms of his exploratory methods)

References:

  1. Bennett, Paul, “The Undiscovered Old Stones of Calverley Woods,” in Earth 2, 1986.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

 

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  53.831681, -1.702161 West Woods CR-1