Caspar Stone, Middleton Moor, North Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 10879 51405

Archaeology & History

Caspar Stone drawing © M.Short & R.Stroud
Caspar Stone unearthed © M.Short & R. Stroud

This carving was discovered very recently following an exploration of recognised sites on Middleton Moor by rock art student Mike Short on March 28, 2010.  Found amidst a cluster of other carved rocks, it was located after he noticed a small piece of stone poking out of the peat and — as happens to those folk obsessed by these ‘ere carvings — he decided to dig round the stone and cut the turf back to see if there was anything carved on the rock, as there are other cup-and-rings are close by.  Thankfully, after a bit of effort digging round the stone, Mike found the carving we see in the images here! (courtesy of Mike and Richard Stroud).   With a distinctly ‘facial’ appearance (hence the name), the following notes were written describing the new find:

“Small roughly oval dome-shaped medium grit rock approx. 49cm X 36cm, at and below soil level. Two cups, one of which is conical and deep (55mm deep and 65-75mm diameter) and of similar profile to one of the cups on No. 458; small shallow bowl-like depression with possible peck marks; curving groove on northern edge.”

When Mike finished with their drawings and measurements, the stone was covered back over and left in situ.  Although I aint seen the carving ‘in the flesh’ misself yet (we’re gonna have a look next week) it gives me the impression it had some association with burials.

References:

  1. Short, Mike & Stroud, Richard, “Report of New Carved Rock (‘Caspar’) on Middleton Moor,” April 2010.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Caspar Stone CR

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Caspar Stone CR 53.958621, -1.835691 Caspar Stone CR

Middleton Moor Carving 435, North Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 10771 51488

Getting Here

Follow the same directions to reach the Middleton Moor carvings, numbers 436 and 437, up along the footpath.  This is the easiest to find as it’s right beside the footpath – as Richard Stroud’s photograph clearly shows.

Archaeology & History

Drawing of CR-435
Middleton Moor CR-435

Near a cluster of other cup-and-ring marked rocks, this decent example can be found besides what may be a prehistoric trackway running roughly east-west over the Long Ridge to Foldshaw Ridge.  Amazingly, this stone was never previously catalogued until Boughey & Vickerman’s survey in 2003.  Just goes to show what y’ can find if y’ gerrof yer arses and look for yerselves! Comprising at least thirty cups and several lines, one faint cup-and-ring is discernible on the western edge of the stone.

If you walk westwards, back up to the hilltop from here (only a couple of hundred yards), a single upright stone which some might consider megalithic, stands right before your eyes! An excellent spot!

References:

  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS 2003.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Middleton Moor CR-435

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Middleton Moor CR-435 53.959369, -1.837334 Middleton Moor CR-435

Nixon’s Station, Ilkley Moor, West Yorkshire

Cairn:  OS Grid Reference – SE 11468 45224

Getting Here

The denuded remains of a once giant tomb

This is the highest point of the moors, 1320 feet up. There’s various ways of getting there: I’d favour the wander up to Twelve Apostles then taking the 15 minute walk west to the triangulation point which marks the spot.  If you reach the large rocky outcrop of the Thimble Stones, you’ve gone too far; although you can walk past the Thimbles, if you’ve started your walk from the two radio masts atop of the moor where the old Roman road hits the dirt-track.  Either way, unless you’re damn stupid, this is an easy spot to find!

Archaeology & History

Although today there’s little to be seen, when Collyer & Turner (1885) described the place it was 175 yards in circumference! Bloody huge! When Harry Speight got here in 1900, it had shrunk slightly to 150 yards. Now however, almost all the stones have been robbed.  I first came here when I was just 11 years old and remember it was a decent size even then – at least as large as the Little Skirtful and Great Skirtful of Stones more than a mile to the east.  Today however, unless you knew it was once a giant cairn, you wouldn’t give it a second look.

It’s quite appalling what’s happened to this site thanks to the sheer ignorance and neglect of the local archaeologist in tandem with his paymasters at Bradford Council: 90% of the site has been utterly vandalised and destroyed as a result of these incompetent idiots in the last 20 years.  Nowadays, all you can make out here is the raised earth for about 10 yards surrounding the trig-point.  It seems that most of the stones that comprised this giant cairn have been taken for use in walling, and to prop up the stupid paved footpaths which the local Council and its affiliated halfwits are slowly building o’er these hills.*  Morons!

Aar Dave on top o’ t’ moors

I’m not quite sure why it was called Nixon’s Station.  It was J. Atkinson Busfield (1875) who mentioned this name, quite casually in his fine local history work, as if local folk had known it as such for sometime.  There was also an inference of it being the resting place of some old general, but I’ve found nor heard anything more along such lines — though worra superb place for your spirit to roam free…..

If anyone has any old photos of this once giant prehistoric site, it would be good to see it in its old glory once again.  When I wandered up here as a kid, I never carried things like a camera about (being a Luddite by nature!).

References:

  1. Busfield, J.A., Fragments Relating to the History of Bingley Parish, Bradford 1875.
  2. Collyer, R. & Turner, J.H., Ilkley, Ancient & Modern, Otley 1885.
  3. Speight, Harry, Upper Wharfedale, London 1900.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

* Anyone know exactly which idiots are responsible for the stone footpaths being laid over the moors here? They’re damn stupid and cause even more erosion and damage to the environment and prehistoric heritage up here, as anyone with an ounce of common sense can see. Can someone please get them stopped!?

 

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  53.903055, -1.826942 Nixon\'s Station cairn

Middleton Moor 001, North Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 11545 52017

Photo by Richard Stroud

Getting Here

Go up the long winding Ilkley-Langbar country moorland road.  A coupla miles along there’s a sharp bend in the road, left, with a dirt-track here that takes you onto the moors.  Walk up here to the shooting house just east of Black Hill in the Middleton Moor enclosure and, once there, walk up the steepish slope to the left (west). Once on the level, head to the wall and about halfway along, look around.  If the heather’s long and deep you’ll be lucky to find it.  Good luck!

Archaeology & History

Photo by Richard Stroud
Photo by Richard Stroud
Sketch of the carving
Sketch of the carving

The carving was first discovered by Richard Stroud and I in April, 2005, amidst one of several exploratory outings to records known sites and, aswell, to keep our eyes peeled in the hope that we might find some new ones!  This was the first we came across; but when we found it, just one faint cup seemed noticeable on the southern edge of the small rounded stone; but after fifteen minutes of carefully rolling back the vegetation, this very well-preserved carving was eventually unveiled before us.  It’s in quite excellent condition!  The most notable part of the design are the two deep cup-markings, with the topmost cup looking half-surrounded by smaller cups on its southern edge.

There is also a well-preserved, though overgrown burial cairn (probably for one person) just a few yards west of this stone.  This is just about impossible to see unless the heather’s been burnt back.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Middleton Moor CR-001

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Middleton Moor CR-001 53.964107, -1.825518 Middleton Moor CR-001

Langbar Stone, Langbar Moor, North Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 11180 52052

Also Known as:

  1. Carving no.41 (Feather)
  2. Carving no.459 (Boughey & Vickerman)

Getting Here

Langbar Moor carving - with extra ring
Langbar Moor carving © Richard Stroud

Various ways to get here (being in the middle of the moor n’ all).  I s’ppose the best way is to go from Langbar village, up hill to The Old Pike giant cairn, then follow the footpath on about 100 yards before dropping down the slope to your right, south (NOT the other way!).  You’ll notice some walling and an old path near the bottom of the slope SE from you – head in that direction, but before you get there, a coupla hundred yards before, stop and look around.  Good luck!

Archaeology & History

Found halfway up the southern slope beneath The Old Pike giant cairn, we find this large, flat earthfast stone, on which are the very faded remains of archetypal cup-and-ring motifs. At the top-end of the stone are slightly more pronounced cup-markings – seemingly more than is shown on the drawing, with the multiple-rings halfway along the stone. On the southeastern part of the stone, Richard Stroud found another previously unseen aspect of the carving, consisting of one large ring, with perhaps a line running out to the east. This can be seen in the water-highlighted photo.

Langbar Stone, with small single circle not noticed by archaeologists
Langbar Stone, with extra single ring not previously noted

If you visit this carving, try and get to the Middleton Moor CR-482 stone half-a-mile southwest – where I for one got the distinct impression that whoever carved that stone, also carved this one!  Barmy p’raps — but if we don’t allow subjective interface here and there, we never learn a damn thing!

Listed as stone 459 in Boughey & Vickerman’s (2003) survey, they erroneously ascribe Eric Cowling to have found it in Rombald’s Way (1946), whereas the first mention of it appears to have been by Stuart Feather in 1966 (though Cowling does mention a ‘Langbar Stone’, but illustrates another one nearby).

References:

  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS 2003.
  2. Cowling, Eric T., Rombald’s Way, William Walker: Otley 1946.
  3. Feather, Stuart, ‘Mid-Wharfedale Cup-and-Ring Markings. No.41, Langbar Moor, Ilkley,’ in Bradford Cartwright Hall Archaeology Group Bulletin, 11, 1966.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Langbar CR-459

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Langbar CR-459 53.964430, -1.831080 Langbar CR-459