Broomridge (1), Ford, Northumberland

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NT 97298 37110

Archaeology & History

In 1863, a bunch of reputable Victorian authors and antiquarians met with the Duke of Northumberland in Alnwick Castle to discuss the matter of making decent images of the petroglyphs which, at the time, had only just been rediscovered in the area.  At one of their meetings, the floor in one of the Castle rooms was covered with rubbings of carvings that they’d made—this one included.  I’d loved to have been there!  Subsequently, from this meeting, sketches of this carving were done and included in the works by George Tate (1864; 1865) and then a few years later in J. Collingwood Bruce’s (1869) rare tome that had been published with the help of dosh from the Duke.

Found along a raised geological ridge running roughly east-west, a number of other carvings are close by and well worth looking at when you visit here.  The basic (and first) description of the site by Tate told that here,

Tate’s 1864 sketch
Collingwood’s 1869 image

“on a high ridge on Hunter’s Moor, a large surface of rock, some forty yards by twenty, having a gentle slope to the northward, is partially uncovered.  In one part, which has been entirely cleared of turf, fourteen figures are scattered over an area of 15 feet by about from 5 to 7 feet.  Some of the figures are of the common type, one of which is 28 inches in diameter; but others present new features; and several are curiously united by straight and curved grooves.  Across the entire diameter of a group of four concentric circles, runs a groove connecting them with other combined figures.  An irregularly shaped, rounded, angular figure, encloses two hollows or cups; and united to this is a broad oval figure.  One figure around four cups approaches to the reniform.”

When the modern rock art expert Stan Beckensall wrote about this site, he mentioned how his own picture of the carving consisted of a number of elements that weren’t included by the 19th century pioneers—which isn’t unusual.


  1. Beckensall, Stan, Northumberland’s Prehistoric Rock Carvings – A Mystery Explained, Pendulum: Rothbury 1983.
  2. Beckensall, Stan, Prehistoric Rock Motifs of Northumberland – volume 1, Abbey Press: Hexham 1991.
  3. Bruce, John Collingwood, Incised Markings on Stone; found in the County of Northumberland, Argylshire, and other Places, privately printed: London 1869.
  4. Tate, George, “The Ancient British Sculptured Rocks of Northumberland and the Eastern Borders,” in Proceedings of the Berwickshire Naturalists Club, volume 5, 1864.
  5. Tate, George, The Ancient British Sculptured Rocks of Northumberland and the Eastern Borders, Henry Hunter Blair 1865.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Holy Well, Bingfield, Northumberland

Holy Well (destroyed):  OS Grid reference – NZ 01 74

Archaeology & History

We add this site in the hope that a local historian may be able to rediscover its whereabouts.  Long since lost, the last account of it was mentioned in notes by the prodigious northern antiquarian John Crawford (1899) in his vast work on Northumbrian history.  Its whereabouts is vague as its final writings were scribed in The Black Book of Hexham in 1479 CE, where it was told that “the Haliwell flat (was) lying between the vill of Bingfield and Todridge.”  Mr Crawford told us it was somewhere in this area:

“The south-west extension of Grundstone Law is a tract of poor pasture land called Duns Moor; and rising opposite to it on the north-east is the Moot Law, in Stamfordham parish, the valley between being watered by an affluent of the Erring burn.”

The Well was included in Binnall & Dodds’ (1942) fine survey, with no additional notes.  To my knowledge, no more is known of the site.


  1. Binnall & Doods, “Holy Wells in Northumberland and Durham – Part 2,” in Proceedings Society of Antiquaries, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, July 1942.
  2. Hodgson, John Crawford, The History of Northumberland – volume 4, Andrew Reid: Newcastle-upon-Tyne 1899.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Hawklemass Well, Whittingham, Northumberland

Healing Well:  OS Grid Reference – NU 0683 1228

Archaeology & History

Hawklemass Well on 1866 map

Hawklemass Well on 1866 map

References to this site seem very scarce.  A well is highlighted on the 1866 OS-map of the region close to the spot which D.D. Dixon (1895) said it was found, “near to the Howbalk Lane end, where is also the Hawklemass Stile and Hawklemass Well.”  A stone trough could once be seen here, but its presence today needs to be confirmed by local researchers.  The site is listed in Binnall & Dodds (1943) survey, but with no additional comments to those made by Mr Dixon.


The historian D.D. Dixon (1895) told that the village of Whittingham only had one ghost, but it was known as the “Hawklemass Ghost” and was occasionally encountered at the Hawklemass Well:

“This was a place never passed after nightfall by the youth of the village without feeling an eerie, creepy sensation, and with many a furtive glance on either side.  This unearthly visitant, in its gambols and uncanny pranks, was said to rattle the chain by which it was supposed to be bound in a fearsome manner.  It was usually seen or heard by persons who, having lingered long at the village inn, could say with Tam o’ Shanter,

“While we sit bousing at the nappy,
An gettin’ fou and unco happy,
We think na on the lang Scots miles,
The mosses, waters, slaps and styles,
That lie between us and our hame.”

One Saturday night many years ago—perhaps fifty—a poor fellow on his way from Whittingham to Glanton fel into the roadside at Hawklemass, where he was found, quite dead, the next morning by some persons on their way to Glanton meeting.  This sad affair may have given rise to the tradition of the Hawklemass Ghost.”

The name of the old lane at whose junction the Hawklemass Well once flowed, ‘Howbalk Lane’, may derive from a lost tumulus, as the word how (and its variants) regularly relate to prehistoric mounds in our more northern climes.  Such an ancient tomb, close to the well, may be the origin of the ghost story.


  1. Binnall, P.B.G. & Dodds, M.H., “Holy Wells in Northumberland and Durham – part 2”, in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 10:2, 1943.
  2. Dixon, David Dippie, Whittingham Vale, Northumberland, Robert Redpath: Newcastle 1895.

Acknowledgements:  With thanks to Gill Rutherford for prompting me to finish this; and to Claire Heron for the OS-map reference.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Pike Hill, Stamfordham, Northumbria

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NZ 0774 7048

Archaeology & History

1928 photo of carving

Found inside a prehistoric tomb that was excavated in the late 1920s “by Messrs R.C. and W.P. Hedley at Pike Hill, near Stamfordham,” this fascinating-looking carving was found on a stone that “was overlying the primary burial” cist in the middle of the tumulus, measuring “2 feet 9 inches long by 2 feet wide and 12 inches deep, with an orientation on the longer axis of NE.”  As we can see in the old photo that accompanied Mr Hedley’s (1928) short article in Antiquity journal, four single cups are arranged in a rough square and are joined with each other by a single line, running from cup to cup, outlining a clear quadrilateral formation.  Two other single cups are outliers on the left and right side of the ‘square.’

A second smaller cist was also found inside the same mound and on the central inner face of this was another, more simplistic carving described as “a very fine cup-mark 1½ inch in diameter and ¾-inch deep.”  These carvings are no longer in situ (I think they’re in Newcastle Museum) and apparently this second single cup-marked stone can no longer be located.


  1. Beckensall, Stan, Northumberland’s Prehistoric Rock Carvings, Pendulum: Rothbury 1983.
  2. Beckensall, Stan, Prehistoric Rock Motifs of Northumberland – volume 2: Beanley to the Tyne, Abbey Press: Hexham 1992.
  3. Hedley, R. Cecil, “Ancient British Burials, Northumberland,” in Antiquity Journal, volume 2, December 1928.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Fowberry Moor Farm, Wooler, Northumberland

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NU 029 261

Also known as:

  1. Deershed Plantation Stone

Archaeology & History

This is a small but impressive stone, presently housed in the Musuem of Antiquities in Newcastle.  It was first mentioned by Mr H.L. Honeyman (1934) as being donated to Newcastle’s Society of Antiquaries by a Mr J.M. Strother of Fowberry Moor Farm in 1934.  He described the carving as,

“a sculptured ring-marked stone, 1ft 2in by 1ft 2in, bearing a cup with three rings and duct. Found in Island Plantation (camp), Fowberry Moor, Chatton, 22.7.34, by Mr Wake.”

Stan Beckensall (1983:127) described it in passing his early work on Northumberland rock art, then again in his updated edition.


  1. Beckensall, Stan, Northumberland’s Prehistoric Rock Carvings, Pendulum: Rothbury 1983.
  2. Beckensall, Stan, Prehistoric Rock Art in Northumberland, Tempus: Stroud 2001.
  3. Honeyman, Herbert L., ‘The Society’s Meetings: July,’ in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (4th Series), 4:7, October 1934.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian