Peace Stone, Port of Menteith, Stirlingshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NS 56413 99540

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 44622
  2. Gartrenich
  3. Milling
  4. Menteith 1

Getting Here

Peace Stone cup-and-ring

The quickest way here is bedevilled with troublesome parking (and an unhelpful local at Malling Cottage).  That aside, roughly halfway along the A81 between the Braeval roundabout (near Aberfolye) and Port of Meneith, turn down the track at Malling, following it round for 300 yards through the farm, then another 500 yards or so until you reach a junction with a gate on your left. Walk down the track to your right, roughly alongside the Lake of Menteith, for nearly 700 yards until you reach the gate into the forestry commission land. Go thru the gate and turn immediate right, following the fence for about 200 yards where a clump of stones lives. You’re there!

Archaeology & History

The Peace Stone in 1899

This seemingly isolated petroglyph, known about by local people in the middle of the 19th century and earlier, was said to have been “held in great reverence.”  It was first mentioned in literary accounts in 1866, when the oral traditions about it were more important than any archaeocentricism.  But things change with the times: local people were kicked off their lands, old stories and knowledge of sites were lost, and the ‘discipline’ of archaeology was beginning to look at these curious carved rocks with puzzled minds.

The Peace Stone was described at some length and with considerable accuracy in Mr A.F. Hutchison’s (1893) gazetteer on the ancient stones of Stirlingshire.  It was one of the regions only known petroglyphs at that time and thankfully he gave us a good account of it, saying:

“On the west ride of the Lake of Menteith, about half a mile south from the farm-house of Malling, this stone is to be found, lying at the boundary of the arable land. The ground at the place rises into a slight eminence, on the top of which the stone lay till some seven or eight years ago, when a labourer took it into his head that a stone on which so much labour had evidently been spent must have been intended to cover something valuable. He proceeded to excavate the earth at the side with the intention of getting at the buried treasure, with the result that the stone slipped down into the hole which he had made, where it now lies.  It is quite possible, however, that an interment, if no treasure, might be found beside it on further research. The stone is roughly circular on the surface, measuring about 4 feet in diameter. It is entirely covered with cup and ring marks—22 cups in all—varying in size from an inch to two inches in diameter.  The cups and rings are very symmetrically formed. Nearly in the centre is a fine one surrounded by four circular grooves.  Others have incomplete triple and quadruple circles, with radial duct dividing them. There are other curious curves that sometimes interlace, and near the lower side of the stone are five or six cups with straight channels running out from them over the edge. This is an extremely interesting stone. It is unique in our neighbourhood, so far as I know, in showing these symmetrical carvings. They are now, however, much weather-worn.”

Ron Morris’ sketch & photo

When Alison Young (1938) came to write about the carving, she echoed Hutchison’s thought that the stone might originally have covered a tomb—but we simply don’t know and it should be treated as guesswork, as there are no known prehistoric tombs anywhere hereby.

Close-up of faded cups

Years passed before the next archaeological visit – by which time the stone had been uprooted and moved, apparently “ploughed up by the Forestry Commission”, and when Ron Morris (1981) last sought it out found that “the stone was un-traceable”.  On a previous visit, before being moved, he found it to be,

“a cup-and-three-rings, 3 cups surrounded by two rings…and 6 cup-and-one-ring.  One of these and 2 cups form part of the design of the cup-and-three-rings.  There were also at least 7 other cups, and a number of grooves, some forming lines from a central cup, or a cup-mark, downhill.  Greatest diameter visible in 1977 30cm (12in) and depth of carving 3cm (1 in)… Many of the carvings are so weathered as to be visible only when wet in early morning or late evening.”

And when we visited the site a few days ago, the stunning sunlight that had followed us all day, sadly faded and disallowed us better photographs of the site.  Huge apologies…. But it’s worth visiting when the daylight’s good, perhaps when you’re exploring the huge number of brilliant petroglyphs at Ballochraggan and Nether Glenny on the hillside 1½ miles immediately north of this “outlier”, as Brouwer & van Veen (2009) called it.


In a landscape bedevilled with stunning petroglyphs, traditions and folklore of them is all but gone; but the story of the Peace Stone was thankfully captured in words by Mr Dun (1866), who told us:

There is a curious prophecy connected with a stone situated near the ruins of the chapel of Arnchly, and which is worth recording.  From time immemorial this stone went under the name of the Peace Stone, and it was held in great reverence by the natives.  One Pharic McPharic, a noted Gaelic prophet, foretold that, in the course of time, this stone would be buried underground by two brothers, who, for their indiscretion, were to die childless. By-and-by the stone would rise to the surface, and by the time it was fairly above ground, a battle was to be fought on “Auchveity,” that is, “Betty’s Field.”  The battle was to be long and fierce, until “Gramoch-Cam” of Glenny, that is, “Graham of the one eye,” would sweep from the “Bay-wood” with his clan and decide the contest. After the battle, a large raven was to alight on the stone and drink the blood of the fallen. So much for the prophecy then; now for the fulfilment. About fifty years ago, two brothers (tenants of the farm of Arnchly), finding that the stone interfered with their agricultural labours, made a large trench, and had it put several feet below the surface. Very singular, indeed, both these men, although married, died without leaving any issue. With the labouring of the field for a number of years, the stone has actually made its appearance above ground, and there is at present living a descendant of the Grahams of Glenny who is blind of one eye, and the ravens are daily hovering over the devoted field. Tremble ye natives! and rivals of the “Hero Grahams,” keep an eye on Gramoch-Cam!

The name of Betty’s Field came from an earlier piece of folklore: where a prince out hunting a stag was caught in one of the deep bogs hereby, only to be rescued by a local lass.  In return for her help, she was given a large piece of land which was to bear her name.


  1. Armit, Ian, “The Peace Stone (Port of Menteith parish),” in Discovery & Excavation Scotland, 1998.
  2. Brouwer, Jan & van Veen, Gus, Rock Art in the Menteith Hills, BRAC 2009.
  3. Dun, P., Summer at the Lake of Monteith, James Hedderwick: Glasgow 1866.
  4. Hutchison, A.F., “The Standing Stones and other Rude Monuments of Stirling District,” in Transactions Stirling Natural History & Antiquarian Society, volume 15, 1893.
  5. Hutchison, A.F., The Lake of Menteith: Its Islands and Vicinity with Historical Accounts of the Priory of Inchmahome and the Earldom of Menteith, Stirling 1899.
  6. Mallery, Garrick, “Pictographs of the North American Indians,” in Bureau of Ethnology of the Smithsonian Institution, volume 4, 1886.
  7. Morris, Ronald W.B., The Prehistoric Rock Art of Southern Scotland, BAR: Oxford 1981.
  8. van Hoek, Maarten, “Menteith (Port of Menteith parish) Rock Art Sites,” in Discovery Excavation Scotland, 1989.
  9. Young, Alison, “Cup-and ring Markings on Craig Ruenshin, with some Comparative Notes”, in Proceedings Society Antiquaries Scotland, vol. 72, 1938.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Montalt, Dunning, Perthshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NO 06 13

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 26675
  2. Mount Alt Farm

Archaeology & History

Montalt’s curious cup-marked stone

This is a curious stone and may not be the type of ‘cup-marked’ rock we’re used to.  Maybe… It is presently housed in Stirling’s Smith Art Gallery & Museum, where a small note tells that is was originally found “on the top of the Ochils, near Mount Alt Farm, Path of Condie in 1893.”  The stone was found at the same time, and adjacent to, a prehistoric collared urn—which implies it had an association with a cairn or cist, or burial site of some sort (which isn’t uncommon).  However, the exact location of its original whereabouts has been forgotten.

Broken off from a larger piece of stone, the remaining piece of rock has six cup-markings cut into it, between one and three inches across.  The smallest cup is what we might call a ‘normal’ size, but the rest of them get increasingly large and may have been more functional than purely mythic in nature.  In a small note attached to the stone in the Museum, they add the interesting note that,

“There are…indications that in some places they may be related to transhumance: the practice of moving sheep, cattle and goats to higher pastures in the summer, where they may have been used to mark routes or sources of water.”

They may indeed – amongst a variety of other things too.  But the suggested relationship with cattle occurs in stones found near Haworth, West Yorkshire, where large man-affected carved ‘cups’ such as the ones here, were known to be filled with milk at specific times of Nature’s calendrical rhythms, for the spirits of the place to give good fortune to the farmer and local people.  We know of one instance where this practice still occurs and goes back generations in the same family.  Examples of this animistic practice have also been found in the Scottish Highlands.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Gawk Hall Stone, Middleton Moor, North Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 13004 53097

Getting Here

Gawk Hall Stone

Probably the easiest route to find this is via the Roman Road from Blubberhouses. Go up Cooper Lane a few hundred yards, turning right (west) on the footpath past the Manor House and onto the moor. Walk along the footpath until you hit the dead straight Roman Road and walk 1⅓ miles (past the cup-marked Eagle Stone) until you meet another footpath on your right veering over the haunted Sug Marsh away from the straight road. This takes you to Gawk Hill Gate ½-mile away. Go over the wall here and walk for 350 yards where several stones are just yards to the left of the path. You’re there!

Archaeology & History

…and again!

Depending on the age of the old path by which this carving lies, it may have represented a marker of the ancient route.  It lives in relative isolation from other petroglyphs a mile or so further down the moorland slopes and is probably one only for the purists amongst you.  A smoothed (female) medium-sized rock, about 2 yards by 1 yard across, possesses at least two simple cup-marks on its upper western surface. A third cup seems evident between the main two cups, with a carved line running some 10 inches towards the eastern side of the stone.  What may be several other cup-marks can be seen on the stone, but the day was overcast when we came here and so we’re unsure as to whether they’re natural or man-made.

Acknowledgements:  Many thanks to James Elkington and his little compatriot Mackenzie, who accompanied us to this and other sites nearby.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Langside House, Cathcart, Glasgow, Lanarkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone (removed):  OS Grid Reference – NS 5726 6128

Also Known as:

  1. Bluebell Woods
  2. Canmore ID 44291
  3. Langside Stone

Archaeology & History

The Langside House, or Bluebell Woods carving

Amidst where now the busy city spreads on the south-side of Glasgow, there was once an excellent multi-ringed prehistoric petroglyph to be seen.  According to the official records, it was all alone – but I don’t buy that for one minute! (petroglyphs rarely occur in isolation)  However, it looks as if this might have been the last of its kind in the area, betwixt where now large houses grow in the landscape of Langside and Battlefield, a few hundred yards south of the hillfort-topped Queen’s Park.

Before being noticed by archaeologists, the stone was apparently being used as a stone seat in the woods for people to sit on!  It was probably a part of a larger monument, perhaps a cairn of some sort.  Certainly from the sketches we have of it, it was part of a larger piece of stone and was likely to have had companions, but records seem to be silent on the matter. The most detailed description of it comes from the pen of northern antiquarian Fred Coles (1906), who gave us the following literary portrait:

“The first notice of the Stone incised with the design shown below was due to Mr W. A. Donnelly, who contributed a description and a sketch to The Glasgow Evening Times of 25th June 1902.  Later, Mr Ludovic Mann, at my request, sent me certain notes he had taken of the cup-and-ring-marks.  But prior to this, the Stone itself had, on the instigation of Mr Donnelly, I think, been removed from its site in the wood, and placed near one of the entrances to the new Kelvinside Museum.  There I saw it and made measurements in July 1903.

“The Bluebell Wood lies in a curving line to the west and south of Langside House, and the cup-marked Stone was at a point in the southern extremity of the wood, above and north of the river Cart.  It is interesting to be able also to record that the longer axis of the Stone lay almost precisely north and South, and the opposite axis east and west.*  The Stone is of a hard, whitish sandstone, a good deal weathered and rounded at the edges. It measures 4 feet 9 inches in length and 3 feet 2 inches in breadth, and varies in thickness from 2 feet 6 inches to 1 foot 7 inches.  The striation of the Stone has helped to efface the cuttings which, though perfectly clear and measurable, are shallow in proportion to their width.  And this feature I have endeavoured to portray in the accompanying illustration (above).  Beginning at the north end of the Stone, there is one cup placed just where the outermost ring of that group touches the edge of the Stone.  The ring has a groove leading towards but not into a central cup, and four other cups are placed on the two outermost rings, there being four rings in this group.  The middle group consists of a central cup and three rings, flanked on the west by a row of three cups (one of which is the largest of all), and on the east by a double row of six cups, three of which are almost obliterated.  This middle group is imperfectly concentric, two of its arcs running into the fourth ring of the group on the south, which has a fine deeply picked central cup.  All the better-preserved rings are very nearly 1½ inches in width of cutting.

“The diameters of the outermost rings in each group are: of the north group, 1 foot 9 inches; of the middle group 1 foot 5 inches; and of the south group 1 foot 7 inches.  The cups vary in diameter from 3 inches to 1½.

“Considering the extremely easily weathered nature of this Stone, and the fact that its sculptured surface has already suffered much ill-usage, its present position, near the entrance of the Art Galleries, entirely unprotected by a railing and exposed to all sorts of abuse by casual passers-by as well as the weather, is not a fit and proper place for a Stone of such interest.”

A few years after this, the local historian Ludovic MacLellan Mann (1930) wrote a piece for the Glasgow Herald, in which he thought that both this and another carving in the area,

“commemorate chiefly…an eclipse of the sun seen in Glasgow district in the year 2983 BC, at three o’ clock in the afternoon of the sixth day after the Spring Equinox.”

A fascinating idea…  Mann was intrigued by the theory that petroglyphs represented astronomical events or maps of the skies – and we know from cultures elsewhere in the world that some carvings had such a function; but it’s not integral to all carvings by any means.

The stone was included in Ron Morris’ (1981) survey, merely echoing the description of Fred Coles, adding nothing more.  And so it seems that the carving is still in the museum somewhere.  Canmore has it listed as “Accession no: 02-78”.  Does anyone know of its present situation?  Can anyone get a photo so we can give it a more fitting site profile?  It looked a damn good carving!  And, if anyone lives nearby, I note that there are small patches of the old woodland still visible on GoogleEarth: therein, perhaps, a diligent explorer may just find another carving….


  1. Coles, Fred, “Notices of Standing Stones, Cists and Hitherto Unrecorded Cup-and-Ring Marks in Various Localities,” in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries, Scotland, volume 40, Edinburgh 1906.
  2. Donnelly, W.A., “Letter”, Glasgow Evening Times, 25 June, 1902.
  3. Mann, Ludovic MacLellan, “The Eclipse in 2983 B.C. – Discovery near Glasgow,” in Glasgow Herald, 17.09.1930.
  4. Morris, Ronald W.B., “The Cup-and-Ring Marks and Similar Sculptures of South-West Scotland,” in Transactions of the Ancient Monuments Society, volume 14, 1967.
  5. Morris, Ronald W.B., The Prehistoric Rock Art of Southern Scotland, BAR: Oxford 1981.
  6. Morris, Ronald W.B. & Bailey, Douglas C., “The Cup-and-Ring Marks and Similar Sculptures of Southwestern Scotland: A Survey,” in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries, Scotland, volume 98, 1966.
  7. Small, Sam, Greater Glasgow: An Illustrated Architectural Guide, RIAS: Edinburgh 2008.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:  Huge thanks to beautiful Aisha for putting me up.

* Although Coles did note how its earlier use as a stone seat probably negates his axial measurements.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Coilsfield, Tarbolton, Ayrshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone (lost):  OS Grid Reference – NS 4469 2624

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 42713
  2. King Coil’s Grave Stone
  3. Old King Cole’s Stone (Morris 1981)

Archaeology & History

Daniel Wilson's 1851 sketch of the carving

Daniel Wilson’s 1851 sketch of the carving

This fascinating and very ornate prehistoric carving was found on the underside of a grave-slab beneath Old King Coil’s Grave, or an adjacent prehistoric burial feature (we don’t know for sure).  In Daniel Wilson’s (1851) superb early work on prehistoric Scotland is a detailed drawing of this ornate petroglyph—similar in design and form to those found across the waters in Ireland—copied “from a drawing presented to the Royal Society of Edinburgh by Colonel Hugh Montgomery of Shielmorly, in 1785.”  Mr Wilson informed us that,

“It formed the cover of a cist, discovered in digging a gravel-pit at Coilsfield, in Ayrshire, and underneath it was found an urn filled with incinerated bones. The dimensions of the stone were about five feet in length by two and a half feet in breadth”

James Simpson's 1866 sketch

James Simpson’s 1866 sketch

A few years later Sir James Simpson (1866; 1867) wrote and published the earliest (and still one of the finest) books on aboriginal rock carvings in the British Isles, and all but echoed what Wilson had described.  He added a further description of the designs that were carved onto the stone, telling us that,

“it had cut upon it a series of concentric circles, consisting of six rings placed around a central cup, the rings traversed by a straight radial groove.  On the drawing are marks of other cups and rings, or rather volutes, and a number of angular lines… This sculptured stone covered an urn…”

Following the descriptions of our early authors, many archaeologists and antiquarians explored the site but could find little else about the carving.  In Ron Morris’ (1981) most recent survey, he told us that it was,

“a gritstone slab, 1½m by ¾m (5ft x 2½ft), possibly broken after carving, had on one side (not now known if this was the inner of outer face); a cup-and-six-complete-rings with radial groove from the cup – diameter 50cm (20in) – 5 other cups-and-rings, mostly partly broken off or incomplete, an irregular ‘reversed-S-shaped’ single spiral with 3 convolutions at each end, other irregular grooved figures, 4 cups and about 7 ‘dots’ (6 of these are in the cup-and-six-rings).”

The Royal Commission at Canmore tell us that “the present location of the food vessel and cist cover is unknown”; yet the rock art researcher Ronald W.B. Morris (1981) reported the petroglyph was “said to have been given to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland but (is) now missing”; whilst the local writer E.H. Letham (1900) told us “the urns were conveyed to Eglintoun Castle.”  This aint good.  Has anyone subsequently found out what became of it?


The tumulus of King Coil’s Grave was the legendary resting place of the “Old King Cole” of popular rhymes.  There were two such northern kings in ancient times and, as William Robertson (1889) said, “the only difficulty is to say which of the King Coils he was, whether the Coilu who lived three hundred and thirty years before Christ; or Coel, King of the Roman districts, who must have lived in the third century.”


  1. Letham, E.H., Burns and Tarbolton, D.Brown: Kilmarnock 1900.
  2. Morris, Ronald W.B., The Prehistoric Rock Art of Southern Scotland, BAR: Oxford 1981.
  3. Morris, Ronald W.B. & Bailey, Douglas C., “The Cup-and-Ring Marks and Similar Sculptures of Southwestern Scotland: A Survey,” in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries, Scotland, volume 98, 1966.
  4. Morrison, Alex, The Bronze Age in Ayrshire, Ayrshire Natural History & Archaeology Society 1978.
  5. Robertson, William, Historical Tales and Legends of Ayrshire, Thomas D. Morrison: Glasgow 1889.
  6. Paterson, James, History of the County of Ayr – volume 2, Thomas Stevenson: Edinburgh 1852.
  7. Simpson, J.Y., “On Ancient Sculpturings of Cups and Concentric Rings,” in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries, Scotland, volume 6, 1866.
  8. Simpson, James, Archaic Sculpturings of Cups, Circles, etc., Upon Stones and Rocks in Scotland, England and other Countries, Edmonston & Douglas: Edinburgh 1867.
  9. Smith, John, Prehistoric Man in Ayrshire, Elliot Stock: London 1895.
  10. Wilson, Daniel, The Archaeology and Prehistoric Annals of Scotland, Sutherland & Knox: Edinburgh 1851.
  11. Young, Alison, “Cup-and-Ring Markings on Creag Ruenshin, with Some Comparative Notes,” in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries, Scotland, volume 72, 1937.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian 

St. Patrick’s Well, Portpatrick, Wigtownshire

Holy Well (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – NX 0010 5412

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 60610

Archaeology & History

St Patricks Well on 1849 map

This long-lost  holy well was located on the southeast side of the town.  It was highlighted on the first OS-map in 1849, but its waters were disrupted shortly after this. Daniel Conway (1882) told that,

“It flowed where there was a quarry used for the harbour works. The writer of this notice heard from two men, John Mulholland and Owen Graham, dwelling at Portpatrick in 1860, that they had seen on the rock beside the well what tradition said was the impression of the knees and left hand of St. Patrick.”

When the holy wells writer E.M.H. M’Kerlie (1916) came to visit this site, it was “no longer to be seen.”  He wrote:

“The water which issued from a rock on the south side of the village is now diverted by means of pipes into another course.”


  1. Agnew, Andrew, The Agnews of Lochnaw: The History of the Hereditary Sheriffs of Galloway, A. & C. Black: Edinburgh 1864.
  2. Agnew, Andrew, The Hereditary Sheriffs of Galloway – volume 1, David Douglas: Edinburgh 1893.
  3. Conway, Daniel, “Holy wells in Wigtonshire,” in Archaeological & Historical Collections Relating to Ayr & Wigton, volume 3, 1882.
  4. Harper, Malcolm MacLachan, Rambles in Galloway, Edmonston & Douglas: Edinburgh 1876.
  5. M’Kerlie, E.M.H., Pilgrim Spots in Galloway, Sands: Edinburgh 1916.
  6. MacKinlay, James M., Folklore of Scottish Lochs and Springs, William Hodge: Glasgow 1893.
  7. Morris, Ruth & Frank, Scottish Healing Wells, Alethea: Sandy 1982.
  8. Royal Commission Ancient & Historical Monuments of Scotland, Inventory of Monuments and Constructions in Galloway – County of Wigtown, HMSO: Edinburgh 1912.
  9. Walker, J. Russel, “‘Holy Wells’ in Scotland,” in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, vol.17 (New Series, volume 5), 1883.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

Cow Keeper’s Field (1), Boulby, Easington, North Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NZ 75398 19218

Also Known as:

  1. BOU-5 (Brown & Chappell)

Archaeology & History

Cup-marked stone inside Cow keepers Field tomb

Inside the once prominent prehistoric tomb on the Cow Keeper’s Field, the northern antiquarians William Hornsby and John Laverick (1920) came across two small petroglyphs in association with a cremation burial, several feet south of the central cist: the Cow Keeper’s Field 2 carving, plus this small, triangular-shaped stone, 8in by 6in, consisting of five standard cup-marks, with two of the cups (as the photo shows) connected to each other.  It is akin to the numerous ‘portable’ cup-marked stones which, in other cultures, were deposited onto cairns in remembrance of the ancestral spirits of the tomb.  Such widespread practices may also have occurred here.  Petroglyph researcher and writer Graeme Chappell (2017) informed us that the carving “is in storage in the Dorman museum in Middlesborough.”


  1. Brown, Paul & Chappell, Graeme, Prehistoric Rock Art in the North York Moors, Tempus: Stroud 2005.
  2. Chappell, Graeme, Personal communication, October 4, 2017.
  3. Crawford, G.M., Bronze Age Burial Mounds in Cleveland, Cleveland County Council 1990.
  4. Elgee, Frank, Early Man in North-East Yorkshire, John Bellows: Gloucester 1930.
  5. Hornsby, William & Laverick, John D., “British Barrows round Boulby,” in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, volume 25, 1920.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian 

Cow Keeper’s Field (2), Boulby, Easington, North Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NZ 75402 19222

Also Known as:

  1. BOU-5 (Brown & Chappell)

Archaeology & History

Cup-marks and linear forms

Inside the once prominent prehistoric tumulus on the Cow Keeper’s Field (now destroyed), the northern antiquarians William Hornsby and John Laverick (1920) came across two small portable petroglyphs: the Cow Keeper’s Field 1 carving, plus this “peculiarly marked stone” as they put it, some “5ft south of the centre” where a cist, or stone-lined burial existed.  Measuring 18in by 7in, the rock carving consists of at least one large cup-marking which is clearly evident on top of the stone, plus what seems to be another one next to it, half-covered.  Along the side of the stone, a series of twelve roughly parallel lines have been carved out, running down to the bottom of the stone.  Rock art researcher and writer Graeme Chappell (2017) tells us the carving is supposed to be “in storage in the Dorman museum in Middlesborough,” although no one has seen it in years.  It would be worthwhile if fellow research students could visit the said museum to recover this and other portable cup-marked stones that were found in the area.


  1. Brown, Paul & Chappell, Graeme, Prehistoric Rock Art in the North York Moors, Tempus: Stroud 2005.
  2. Chappell, Graeme, Personal communication, October 4, 2017.
  3. Crawford, G.M., Bronze Age Burial Mounds in Cleveland, Cleveland County Council 1990.
  4. Elgee, Frank, Early Man in North-East Yorkshire, John Bellows: Gloucester 1930.
  5. Hornsby, William & Laverick, John D., “British Barrows round Boulby,” in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, volume 25, 1920.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Cow Keepers Field, Boulby, Easington, North Yorkshire

Tumulus (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – NZ 75400 19220

Also Known as:

  1. Boulby Barns

Archaeology & History

This prehistoric tomb was one in a cluster of tumuli in the Boulby district, uncovered by the northern antiquarians, William Hornsby and John Laverick in 1918.   Most of them have subsequently been destroyed – this one included.  When they visited the site, they described it as “a barrow…with a diameter of 36 feet.”  Once they began digging into it,

“at the centre we found a cist, the top of which was 2ft 7in below the present surface. The cist lay north 64° west, and south 64° east.  It had no cover and the slab at the north-west end was wanting.  The cist measured: side 3ft 6in, end 3ft 2in.  Its depth was 2ft 2in.  In it we found nothing except sandstone chips.  With these there was no admixture of soil. Above the cist and covering a space of 5 ft by 5 ft there was a layer of burnt earth and black ashes (of furze bushes).  At a distance of 5 ft south of the centre, and 1ft 10in below the present surface, there was a burnt burial, 20in in diameter.  With this we found many flint chips, a shale pendant, and the peculiarly marked stone” we’ve called, simply the Cow Keeper’s Field 2 carving.

A second cup-marked stone was also found inside the tomb, a few feet south of the cist. When G.M. Crawford went to survey the burial mound in the late 1970s, he reported “there is no trace of it” and “has probably been destroyed by ploughing.”


  1. Brown, Paul & Chappell, Graeme, Prehistoric Rock Art in the North York Moors, Tempus: Stroud 2005.
  2. Crawford, G.M., Bronze Age Burial Mounds in Cleveland, Cleveland County Council 1990.
  3. Elgee, Frank, Early Man in North-East Yorkshire, John Bellows: Gloucester 1930.
  4. Hornsby, William & Laverick, John D., “British Barrows round Boulby,” in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, volume 25, 1920.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian 

Snowden Carr carving (610), Askwith, North Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 18105 51210

Getting Here

Snowden Carr carving 610

From Otley, take the road north across the River Wharfe up and up, heading towards Askwith Moor.  As the moorland opens up ahead of you, at the crossroads turn right along Snowden Carr Road and literally ¾-mile along (1.25km) where a track on your right goes to Carr Farm, on the left-side of the road is a gate.  Go through here to the Naked Jogger Stone and walk up the rocky ridge ahead of you, alongside the walling (as if you’re going to the Sunrise Stone), and about 20-30 yards up you’ll reach this carving.

Archaeology & History

Best visited on a clear day, this is one carving amidst a small cluster of cup-marked petroglyphs found along the small geological ridge between the Sunrise Stone and Naked Jogger carving (none of which are as impressive as those two!).  This particular design consists of a number of faint cup-marks— between 17 and 25 of them—reaching along the horizontal surface, with no distinct formal pattern, as usual.  The carving continues beneath the encroaching soil.

Looking down at the carving

It seems to have been described for the first time by Stuart Feather (1973); then subsequently in Boughey & Vickerman’s (2003) survey, in which they attach a single cup-marking on an adjacent rock into the matrix of this design—but the two rock surfaces are distinctly separate.  This apart, their description tells, briefly as always: “Large long rock which may be outcrop, with hill falling away steeply below. Seventeen worn cups.”


  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS: Leeds 2003.
  2. Feather, Stuart, “Askwith, W.Yorkshire,” in ‘Yorkshire Archaeological Register’, Yorkshire Archaeology Journal, volume 45, 1973.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian