Sore Eye Well, Eldwick, West Yorkshire

Healing Well (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – SE 1286 4007

Also Known as:

  1. Loadpit Well

Archaeology & History

Sore Eye Well on 1852 map

Descriptions of this site are few and far between, despite it having a meaningful name.  First recorded on the 1852 OS-map, in the folklore of our ancestors this was a well that local people frequented to wash their face and it was said that the waters would take away the ills of those suffering poor eyesight or other ocular problems.  Rags were left hanging over an old rowan tree as offerings to the spirit of the water, in return for curing the afflicted eyes.

When I first came looking for this as a boy, I was frustrated to encounter the water authority’s metal cover ruining the site completely, leaving nothing of the old well as it once was.  Around the metal-cover was evidence of a small rock enclave that would have defined the spring as it emerged from the earth—although it was barely noticeable.  The remnants of a small path just to the right of the main footpath that reaches up the hillside is apparent, leading to the well.  Below it were the remains of a large, water-worn flat rock, with other stones set to its sides, where the water used to flow and be collected, but today everything’s dried up and there’s little evidence of it ever being here.

References:

  1. Shepherd, V., Historic Wells in and Around Bradford, Heart of Albion: Wymeswold 1994.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Wood Well, Shipley Glen, Gilstead, West Yorkshire

Healing Well:  OS Grid Reference – SE 12797 39277

Getting Here

Wood Well on 1852 map

Best reached by going up Shipley Glen, to the Brackenhall Circle enclosure; keep going for a couple of hundred yards and then drop down into the trees, taking the directions directly to the Cloven Hoof Well.  Just past the well, a small footpath leads you downhill towards the large stream at the bottom, where there’s a rocky crossing (an old ford).  Go over here and, barely 50 yards upstream to your right, a large singular moss-covered boulder is set back, just a few yards above the stream with a small pool in front of it.  That’s it!

Archaeology & History

The ‘directions’ to find this might seem a little confusing to locals at first.  This is because the whereabouts of the Wood Well is on the eastern boundary edge of Gilstead – which is down at the bottom of Shipley Glen.  The steep muddy hill above it is almost always slippy and wet through, so it’s easiest to approach from the Baildon side.

The shallow muddy waters in a hot summer

The site is shown on the 1852 map of the area, but I can find written material telling of its qualities.  If it ever had any medicinal virtues, they have long since been forgotten.  Whilst the water here is fresh and drinkable, in times of drought and low rainfall the water subsides and leaves only a muddy pool – just as it was when I last visited, making it quite undrinkable.  But to me, the main aspect of this site is its natural spirit, its locale, as it’s surrounded by unerring hues of rich greens, cast out by the landscape of mosses prevalent in a region almost bereft of such voices.  If you like y’ wells – check it out!

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Heygate Stone, Baildon, West Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 15942 40187

Archaeology & History

Heygate Stone

This excellent cup-and-ring marked petroglyph was found fortuitously in September 2001 by the land-owner at Near Hey Gate field to the northeast of Baildon village.  He was clearing out remains of some old walling in the field and, adjacent, a rock that was protruding out of the ground got turned over.  Underneath it he noticed a series of very well-preserved cups and rings in a cluster near one part of the rock.  It was a bittova beauty to be honest!

Thankfully due to the subsequent efforts of local rock art students Mike Short and Keith Boughey, it was later re-housed in the Brackenhall Centre at the edge of Shipley Glen.

Enhanced rendition of Keith Boughey’s Heygate Stone rubbing
Computer-enhanced image of the carving

The stone itself was once larger than it now is and may have had additional carved elements on it, but the other portion that had broken off wasn’t located when it was first dug out of the ground.  This may mean that it was moved here from another location, which would have been somewhere close by.  Many other petroglyphs exist in and around the Baildon district.As we can see in the images here, two very well-defined double cup-and rings have clusters of smaller singular cup-and-rings around their edges.  A single cup-mark was etched below the largest of the double-ring carving, and what seems like a carved straight line emerges from the largest of the single cup-and-ring.

References:

  1. Griffiths, Kathie, “Historic Stone Back Home on Moors,” in Telegraph & Argus, 11 November, 2006.
  2. Short, Mike, “The Heygate Stone,” on Megalithic Portal, 21 November, 2006.

Acknowledgements:  Big thanks to Mike Short for his info and to Keith Boughey whose rubbing I’ve touched-up and used in the site profile.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian


Cloven Hoof Well, Shipley Glen, West Yorkshire

Sacred Well:  OS Grid Reference – SE 12839 39331

Also Known as:

  1. Raygate Well

Getting Here

Cloven Hoof Well, Shipley Glen

On the roadside at Shipley Glen, from Brackenhall Circle walk up for about 250 yards, where you’ll notice the land dips as it drops into the woods below. Follow this dried stream down until you reach the mossy Loadpit Beck in the valley.  By the waterside is a footpath: follow this upstream for a short distance, keeping your eyes peeled on the Earth below where a smaller stream crosses the path you’re walking on.  Follow this uphill to its source!

Archaeology & History

Halfway up (or down) the moss-covered waters of Shipley Glen the all-but-forgotten waters of the Cloven Hoof Well still flows nice and freely, and is still good to drink. It was shown on the first OS-map of the area in 1852, where it was called the Raygate Well, whose derivation neither the great Baildon historian W. Paley Baildon nor the place-name giant A.H. Smith could account for.  It sounds just like it was someone’s surname, but local genealogy cannot affirm this.  One possibility—and which reflects in the local lore of the site—is that it’s a compound word from the old northern dialect word Rea, “an evil spirit or demon”, and gate, “a hole, an opening or gap.”  The terms are used in a prayer given in Mr Sinclair’s Satan’s Invisible World Displayed (1814),

“as recited in the time of Popery by persons when going to bed, as a means of them being preserved from danger:

“Keep this house from the weir…
And from an ill Rea,
That be the gate can gae.””

But this purely speculative….

Cloven Hoof Well on 1852 map

A photograph and brief description of the Cloven Hoof Well was given in an early edition of the Bradford Scientific Journal after a geological excursion to Shipley, though nothing was said of its curious name. However on a rock below the spring, a hoof-print mark is clearly seen.  It appears to be part-natural and partly enhanced.  This is an area rich in prehistoric petroglyphs, or cup and rings stones.

Mosses thankfully still cover the rocks from whence the waters flow; and bilberry, blackberry, male fern and bracken also grow around it.  Psychoactive plants also abound nearby. The water is healthy and never seems to dry up, even during long warm summers.  And below here, on the other side of the stream at the bottom, you can visit the little-known Wood Well

Folklore

Local lore told that the devil stepped here and left his hoof-mark in the rock, making the waters rise from the Earth.  Possibly a venerated site in earlier days, one finds numerous ancient remains nearby (cup and rings, stone circle, walling, cairn fields).  Pagans amongst you should love this place!

References:

  1. Armitage, Paul, The Holy Wells and Healing Springs of West Yorkshire, forthcoming
  2. Baildon, W. Paley, Baildon and the Baildons (parts 1-15), St. Catherines: Adelphi 1913-26.
  3. la Page, John, The Story of Baildon, William Byles: London 1951.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian


Toad Stones, Baildon Moor, West Yorkshire

Ring Cairn:  OS Grid Reference – SE 1305 4004

Getting Here

Much overgrown Toad Stones ring

Much overgrown Toad Stones ring

From the double-ring that is the Brackenhall Circle at Shipley Glen, go up the road towards the hills and seek out the cup-marked Glovershaw Quarry Stone.  Shortly before this, notice the small trees close the quarry edge.  From here, walk straight east, as if you’re going toward Baildon Hill.  Barely 10 yards into the bracken you’ll notice this small ring of stones (best looked for in winter before the bracken grows back – otherwise you’ve no chance!).

Archaeology & History

This site was explored when James Elkington, Paul Hornby and I came across it on Wednesday, 11 March 2015, after returning from a short excursion to look at some of the petroglyphs on Baildon Hill.

Ostensibly it is a small ring of stones comprising of at least 7 large rocks that are set deeply into the peat and bracken-mass, with a small eighth movable stone on the northern side.  It seemed likely that another, larger rock was beneath this small portable rock, but we didn’t dig into the vegetative mound to explore this.  The most curious thing about the ring of stones was that it measured barely 4 yards in diameter.  My initial thought was that this was a previously unrecorded cairn, but there seemed to be no internal mass of rocks in the centre that characterize such monuments and which you’d expect in a ring of this size – meaning that it may be, perhaps, the smallest stone circle in Britain.  It’s a pretty good contender at least! (the stone circle known as “Circle 275” at Penmaenmawr in Wales is of similar size to this one, but with less stones in that ring)

Close-up of the stones

Close-up of the stones

It would be good if the regional archaeologists could give this site their attention and clean it up to see exactly what lays beneath the boscage.  Close by are several cup-marked stones and a couple of other larger cairn circles.

The name of the site came after I almost stood on a hibernating toad, found beneath the bracken-mass right at the edge of one of the stones.  I carefully picked him up and reburied him in another spot close by, leaving him (perhaps) to ponder his venture into the bright daylight of consciousness!  Mr Hornby promptly declared – “these are the Toad Stones!” – and it stuck.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian


Baildon Moor Carving (130), West Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 13077 40097

Also Known as:

  1. Carving no.11 (Hedges)
  2. Central Design Stone

Getting Here

Baildon Moor carving

Baildon Moor carving

Take the directions to find the Glovershaw Quarry carving,or the Baildon Moor 126 carving and the newly-found Toad Stones circle, and zigzag about in the bracken when it’s down at the end of Winter (forget it from summertime onwards!).  You’re damn close.

Archaeology & History

A carving that I first visited when I was a child – but one which, curiously, caught my attention.  The small arc of four cup-marks that you can see on the stone was an integral feature of other carvings in this particular region—though not all, of course.  It seemed to me at the time that it had symbolic significance, as the arc occurred in a number of other Baildon petroglyphs.  Astronomy was my fetish at that time and so I saw the arc as solar or stellar movements across the sky, represented by the cup-markings.  It was one of many fascinating Rorschach’s that I encountered, just as rock art students across the world do when looking at these ancient carvings. However, the simple symbolism of this and similar nearby carvings has stuck and plays under my skin somewhat: one of those curious non-egoic tickles, constantly nudging away, as if there’s something in it, but being looked at from the wrong angle…

CR130dr

John Hedges 1986 sketch

Looking down at the cups

Looking down at the cups

Anyway… All we have here is a primary design of four cup-marks reaching across a small earthfast stone.  Other simple carvings are found close by and there are the remains of several prehistoric cairns circles within a few hundred yards.  Beneath the deep bracken-mass, it is highly probable that other ancient remains remain hidden.

The carving was first recognised in one of Sidney Jackson’s (1958) archaeology bimbles in the 1950s with his bunch of northern antiquarians from Cartwright Hall, Bradford. It later found its way into the survey of John Hedges (1986) where he described it, simply:

“Small, lozenge-shaped, smooth grit rock, sloping NW-SE into grass and bracken, four symmetrical cups in slight curve.”

References:

  1. Baildon, W. Paley, Baildon and the Baildons – parts 1-15, Adelphi: London 1913-1926.
  2. Bennett, Paul, Of Cups and Rings and Things, unpublished: Shipley 1981.
  3. Bennett, Paul, Megalithic Ramblings between Ilkley and Baildon, unpublished: Shipley 1982.
  4. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS: Leeds 2003.
  5. Cowling, Eric T., Rombald’s Way, William Walker: Otley 1946.
  6. Hedges, John, The Carved Rocks on Rombald’s Moor, WYMCC: Wakefield 1986.
  7. Jackson, Sidney, “Cup-Marked Boulders, Baildon Moor,” in Cartwright Hall Archaeology Group Bulletin, 3:2, 1958.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian


Baildon Moor Carving (169), West Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 13838 40138

Getting Here

From Shipley Glen, walk up to the Dobrudden caravan park on the western side pof Baildon Hill and then in the long grasses immediately north of here, on the Low Plain, this old carving could once be found.  I’m told it’s been moved in recent years (but have a mooch round anyway – there’s a number of other old cup-and-rings in the locale).

Archaeology & History

This small carving is not in its original position, having been moved to where it now sits a short distance northeast of the Dobrudden caravan park.  It was first described briefly in Mr Baildon’s magnum opus here, seemingly omitted from the Hedges (1986) and reclassified as ‘stone 169’ by Boughey & Vickerman (2003).  I’m not 100% certain that the illustration here by Joseph Rycroft and carving no.169 are one and the same – but they seem incredibly alike.  If anyone knows for sure, one way or the other, please lemme know and I’ll amend as necessary!

References:

  1. Baildon, W. Paley, Baildon and the Baildons – part 7, Adelphi Press: London 1913.
  2. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS 2003.
  3. Hedges, John (ed.), The Carved Rocks on Rombalds Moor, WYMCC: Wakefield 1986.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian


Glovershaw Quarry Stone, Baildon Moor, West Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 13044 40093

Also Known as:

  1. Carving BM5 (Hedges)
  2. Carving no.122 (Boughey & Vickerman)

Getting Here

Follow the same directions as those to reach the small Central Design Stone up past the top-end of Shipley Glen.  You’ll notice the small disused quarry just a few yards away, and this partly-covered flat stone lies right at the very edge of the quarry itself.

Archaeology & History

Faint cups on CR-122
Plan of CR-122 (after Hedges)

Unless you catch this stone in good light, many of the cups on this design are difficult to make out; but defocus for a bit and they’ll come to you.  Around 13 cups have been counted on this stone, with a couple of grooves: one of which descends just by the small arc (a common local feature on Baildon’s carvings), near the eastern side of the stone.  A larger basin below this, covered by earth, may or may not be natural.  Two of the cups here may have been carved sometime in the late 19th or early 20th century, probably around the time the quarrying was being done.

As is common in some parts of Britain, this carving (and others nearby) was found in association with a small cairn-field, much of which has long since gone.

It’s very probable that there were other petroglyphs close to this one, but which have subsequently been destroyed as a result of the quarrying operations here.

References:

  1. Baildon, W. Paley, Baildon and the Baildons – parts 1-15, Adelphi: London 1913-1926.
  2. Bennett, Paul, Megalithic Ramblings between Ilkley and Baildon, private manuscript: Shipley 1982.
  3. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS: Leeds 2003.
  4. Jackson, Sidney, “Cup-Marked Boulder near the Glovershaw Footpath,” in Cartwright Hall Archaeology Group Bulletin, 2:17, 1957.
  5. Hedges, John, The Carved Rocks on Rombald’s Moor, WYMCC: Wakefield 1986.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian


Baildon Moor (126), West Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 13066 40095

Also Known as:

  1. Carving no.9 (Hedges)
  2. Central Design Stone

Getting Here

Arc of deep cups

From the old Glen House pub, walk up the road onto ‘Shipley Glen’ as all locals call the place.  Go up the Glen Road for about half a mile, watching out for the small dirt-track turning going the slope on your left-hand side just near where the road starting swerving uphill to the right.  At this point where the track heads down and into the trees, there’s a footpath going into the bracken along to the right, heading onto level ground.  Walk up and along here.  After 100 yards or so you’ll notice the disused quarry on your left.  Keep walking along the footpath (two end up running parallel to each other) and you’ll see this carving right beneath your feet!

Archaeology & History

Baildon Moor carving no.126, near Glovershaw Quarry

This was one of the very first examples of “cup and ring stones” that I ever saw, when I was a mere 10 or 11 years old!  I’m not quite sure what I expected to find, but something about this stone with its deeply set cup-markings obviously had an effect on me – as I’m still foraging about looking at them more than 35 years later!  About 20 yards away from the Glovershaw quarry carving (Baildon Moor 122), this central design stone — as I used to call it — was first recorded in W. Paley Baildon’s (1913) magnum opus and was then all-but-forgotten until the Bradford Archaeology Group mentioned it again more than forty years later.  Although you can only see three distinct cups on this small rock, another 2 or 3 seem in evidence under better lighting conditions, and a small line runs below the cups in the photo here, which you can just make out above the central cup.

This carving and others close by give the distinct impression that they were once part of some seemingly lost cairn-field, awaiting rediscovery…

References:

  1. Baildon, W. Paley, Baildon and the Baildons – parts 1-15, Adelphi: London 1913-1926.
  2. Bennett, Paul, Of Cups and Rings and Things, unpublished: Shipley 1981.
  3. Bennett, Paul, Megalithic Ramblings between Ilkley and Baildon, unpublished: Shipley 1982.
  4. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS: Leeds 2003.
  5. Cowling, Eric T., Rombald’s Way, William Walker: Otley 1946.
  6. Hedges, John, The Carved Rocks on Rombald’s Moor, WYMCC: Wakefield 1986.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian


Baildon Moor carving 160, West Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 13787 40274

Also Known as:

  1. Carving no.33 (Hedges)

Getting Here

Best way to find this is to get up to the Dobrudden caravan site on the edge of Baildon Hill, near the cinder-dump, then follow the same directions as for the Baildon Moor carving no.171.  It’s on the same plain amidst the grasses – but you’re gonna have to zigzag about for a while before you find it!

Archaeology & History

W. Paley Baildon’s drawing

A simple plain cup-marked stone which Boughey & Vickerman (2003) reckoned to have 14 of the little babies etched on its surface.  Ninety years earlier, the reliable Mr W.P. Baildon (1913) — who seems to have been the first person to describe this carving — showed there to be 15 cups when he came here.

This was one of the many carved rocks that astronomer Gordon Holmes (1997) looked at in his attempt to give a celestial explanation for the designs.  Not too sure misself…

References:

  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS 2003.
  2. Hedges, John (ed.), The Carved Rocks on Rombalds Moor, WYMCC: Wakefield 1986.
  3. Holmes, Gordon T., 2000 BC – A Neolithic Solstice Odyssey, SASRG Press 1997.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian