Round Dikes, Addingham, West Yorkshire

Enclosure:  OS Grid Reference – SE 0552 5013

Also Known as:

  1. Round Dykes
  2. The Camp

Getting Here

Round Dikes on 1850 map

First highlighted on the 1850 Ordnance Survey map of western Addingham in the same year William Howson described it, this large oval embankment sits on the eastern side of Counter Hill, amidst its gigantic earthworks, with attending tumuli, cup-and-rings, buried standing stones and other enclosures, like one huge prehistoric family of ancient sites!  The earthworks here are in slightly better condition than the nearby ones at Marchup, as we can still make out the ditch marking the site.

There have been many literary visitors to the Round Dikes and its cluster of sites.  One of the early ones was by the renowned historians and antiquarians, Forrest & Grainge (1868) who, in the second part of their ‘rambles’ exploring the prehistoric sites on and around Rombald’s Moor in the 1860s, told us:

“The Camp—known locally as Round Dykes—is of an irregular oval shape, the longest axis measuring over all 300 feet, and the shorter 250 feet.  The trench outside the vallum is about 15 feet wide, and 4 or 5 feet in depth.  The area is level, showing no indications of buildings or works of any kind.  A feeble spring of water rises at one corner.  The trench is regular and even, and does not appear to have ever been used as a series of pit dwellings.  This work commands a large and splendid view of Wharfedale…”

Although suggested by Thomas Whitaker (1878) in his magnum opus on the history of Craven, to have been constructed by the Romans—who laid a road nearby on top of another earlier trackway—the site is obviously prehistoric.  But when the late great Harry Speight (1900) ventured over for a gander at the end of the 1890s, he too thought it might be Roman.  Finding the place to be “thickly overgrown with ling,” it was still in very good condition he said, telling “how its outline is almost as perfect as when made seventeen or eighteen centuries ago.” He continued:

“The form bespeaks a rather late date, having the characteristic angles, which makes the ordinary streight-sided rectangle into an octogan, giving it the appearance superficially of a round or oval.  Its dimensions are based on the most approved form of castramentation, the length being one-third greater than the breadth, namely sixty yards wide and eighty yards long.  A watch-mound has been thrown up within the southwest angle, and the whole camp defended with a double rampart having an intervening ditch.  There is an old and excellent spring of water on the east sie of the camp; the site having been well chosen, commanding as it does, a splendid view of the valley and Street as it runs towards Olicana.”

By the time Eric Cowling (1946) came and looked at these earthworks, the opinion had truly swayed to seeing Round Dikes as a prehistoric site and not Roman.  Cowling placed it firmly in the Iron Age!  His profile of the site told:

“On the Western slope of Counter Hill and with a wide view of Wharfedale to the east is a second enclosure with five sides.  Three of these form the three sides of a square and the remaining two bend outwards to enclose a spring on the lower eastern side.  This enclosure is one hundred feet across from east to west and in the opposite direction the greatest measurement is seventy-three feet.  The ditch is fifteen feet wide and varies in depth from three to five feet and there appears to have been an entrance in the eastern angle.  There is an unfinished look about the earthwork; the inner and outer banks vary in height and are not continuous.  The position is badly sited for defence, being overlooked from the higher ground to the west.  The site would be very suitable for excavation, for it has been untouched by cultivation and is undisturbed.”

E.T. Cowling’s plan

And as far as I’m aware, no such excavation has yet been done here; and as we all know the local archaeologist is pretty poor when it comes doing such things round here, so god only knows when the real explorers and scientists will ever get their teeth into the place!  However, the writers and archaeology consultants John and Phillip Dixon told that “a limited survey of parts of Round Dykes defined nine hut circles or parts of circles and possible hearth sites” in the 1980s.  And although they ascribe the large earthwork as being Iron Age, the tumulus which sits near the southern edge of the enclosure is ascribed as Bronze Age.

It’s likely that the internal tumulus (a separate profile of it is forthcoming) was of communal and religious importance at Round Dykes.  There was probably ritual function here within the enclosure, though only at certain times, when and where the ancestral spirits in the tomb awoke or were required to help the living.  The spring of water on the eastern side of the enclosure, above the tumulus, was obviously not just the main drinking supply for the people who stayed here, but would also have had ritual importance (water, forget not, is tantamount to blood in ancestral cosmologies, and not a ‘commodity’ as the half-witted retards in modern culture have profaned it in their shallow beliefs).  In the Lands of the Dead, water is vital for gods, spirits and the sustenance of the underworlds. (Eliade 1979)  You might not think that; judæochristians might not think that — but the worlds of experience are much wider and deeper than the failing beliefs of atheists and monotheists…

…to be continued…

References:

  1. Bennett, Paul, The Old Stones of Elmet, Capall Bann: Milverton 2001.
  2. Bennett, Paul, The Prehistoric Sites of Counter Hill, Addingham, forthcoming 2013.
  3. Cowling, Eric T., Rombald’s Way, William Walker: Otley 1946.
  4. Forrest, C. & Grainge, William, A Ramble on Rumbald’s Moor, among the Dwellings, Cairns and Circles of the Ancient Britons in the Spring of 1868: Part 2 – Counterhill and Castleberg, W.T. Lamb: Wakefield 1868.
  5. Dixon, John & Phillip, Journeys through Brigantia – volume 1: Walks in Craven, Airedale and Wharfedale, Aussteiger Publications: Barnoldswick 1990.
  6. Eliade, Mircea, A History of Religious Ideas – volume 1, Collins: London 1979.
  7. Howson, William, An Illustrated Guide to the Curiosities of Craven, Whittaker: Settle 1850.
  8. Speight, Harry, Upper Wharfedale, Elliott Stock: London 1900.
  9. Whitaker, Thomas Dunham, The History and Antiquities of the Deanery of Craven in the County of York, (3rd edition) Joseph Dodgson: Leeds 1878.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

 

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  53.947245, -1.917385 Round Dikes

Rivock Well, Silsden, West Yorkshire

Healing Well:  OS Grid Reference – SE 07782 44863

Getting Here

Rivock Well pool

From the B6265 valley road between Bingley and Keighley, just near Riddlesden Hall, take the road up and over the canal into Riddlesden, bearing left up past West Riddlesden Hall and up Banks Lane. As you reach the T-junction at the top, where you hit the Silsden Road that goes round the moors, park up.Cross the road and follow the footpath diagonally across the bottom of the field, then when you hit the track, follow it up through the closed gates into the woods.  A half-mile along the track, watch out for the dark pool a few yards beneath you on your left.  That’s it!

Archaeology & History

The spirit and feel of this pool is a curious one: still, calming, but with a slight sense of unease at times.  It felt like this before the large forestry plantation was planted around it — so it’s good to know it’s kept its spirit intact.  I’m not quite sure how long it will last though… The small spring of water from just above the edge of the pool which in part feeds it, tastes good and refreshing after a good downpour, but sometimes in recent years the waters have slowed somewhat compared to earlier decades — an unhealthy state of affairs that’s happening all over the world.

A favourite haunt for very colourful dragonflies, deer, pheasant and other animals, very little has been written about this site.  Said by place-name authorities to get its name from an old oak that once stood by its side, the name must be pretty old as no remains of such a tree has been mentioned by any antiquarians in the last 200 years.  But the first element in the place-name “riv-ock” is an intriguing puzzle.  Does it mean simply a split oak?  Or was it a more regal in nature, and derive from the old Gaelic Righ, (proncounced ‘ree’) meaning a King’s Oak?  More probably the name relates to the “well by the twisted oak,” from the dialect word, rive, or ‘twisted’.  However, when we begin exploring dialect variations on this word, a whole host of possible meanings emerge!

Ancient people who lived on these moors obviously used this well — and no doubt had old tales of its medicinal virtues, but sadly these are lost.  All we have to remind us that our ancestors came here are the numerous cup-and-ring stones found at Rivock Edge itself, a short distance southeast of here…

References:

  1. Whelan, Edna & Taylor, Ian, Yorkshire Holy Wells and Sacred Springs, Northern Lights: Dunnington 1989.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

 

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  53.899878, -1.883054 Rivock Well

Rivock Edge (60), Silsden, West Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 07476 44475

Also Known as:

  1. Carving no.22 (Hedges)
  2. Roof Stone

Getting Here

Cup-mark on top of the rock

From the B6265 valley road between Bingley and Keighley, just near Riddlesden Hall, take the road up and over the canal into Riddlesden, bearing left up past West Riddlesden Hall and up Banks Lane. As you reach the T-junction at the top, where you hit the Silsden Road that goes round the moors, park up. Cross the road and follow the footpath up the field, but walk up the side of the field-wall where the woods are, all the way to the top. On the flat, you’ll see a gap in the woods on your left, and the triangulation pillar atop of Rivock Edge 150 yards away.  Head towards it, watching out for one of the natural rocks rising near the middle of the grasses. It’s one of them!

Archaeology & History

Faint cup-and-ring, centre of photo

Exactly halfway between the cup-marked Niplet Stone and the large flat Carving 58 (Boughey & Vickerman survey) is this natural long upright rock, shaped in the form of a house-roof, with its apex running along an axis SE-NW, its sloping sides dropping either side into the deep wet heather.  Upon its crown is what may be a singular cup-marking, almost perfectly formed, though is just as likely to be Nature’s handiwork as much as anything else.  But on its western-face, within the mass of old lichen painting the rock surface, a more distinct man-made cup-mark has been cut.

On its eastern face, close to where the rock meets the boggy Earth, a singular faint cup-and-ring design can be made out, albeit a somewhat mis-shapen one.  It’s easily missed if the lighting isn’t too good as it’s very eroded indeed.  The carving was first described in Mr Hedges (1986) survey, where he told:

“Rough grit rock with ridge, in crowberry and heather with cup and ring on E edge and possible cups and grooves.”

The stone’s certainly worth visiting, as a number of other cup-and-ring stones scatter this region — half of them officially recorded, but nearly as many again that aren’t.  It’s a good area to explore.

References:

  1. Bennett, Paul, “The Prehistoric Rock Art and Megalithic Remains of Rivock & District (parts 1 & 2),” in Earth, 3-4, 1986.
  2. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS 2003.
  3. Hedges, John (ed.), The Carved Rocks on Rombald’s Moor, WYMCC: Wakefield 1986.
  4. Morris, Ronald W.B., “The Prehistoric Rock Art of Great Britain: A Survey of All Sites Bearing Motifs more Complex than Simple Cup-marks,” in Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, volume 55, 1989.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

 

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  53.896396, -1.887720 Rivock Edge CR-60

Rivock Edge (58), Silsden, West Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 07466 44497

Also Known as:

  1. Carving no.21 (Hedges)

Getting Here

Take the same directions as if you’re visiting the Rivock Edge 060 Carving.  It’s 25 yards NNW – you can’t really miss it!

Archaeology & History

Rivock Edge, carving 58

This large flat rock, with a couple of long lines almost splitting the rock into sections, was first mentioned as a prehistoric site in John Hedges (1986) survey, where he described it simply as, “Large rough grit rock with possible four cups, in crowberry.” Boughey & Vickerman (2003) said even less about it!  One of the cups is very distinct, but the others are somewhat faded and perhaps even dubious.  It’s still worth a look at, if only due to the other better carvings nearby.

References:

  1. Bennett, Paul, “The Prehistoric Rock Art and Megalithic Remains of Rivock & District (parts 1 & 2),” in Earth, 3-4, 1986.
  2. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS 2003.
  3. Hedges, John (ed.), The Carved Rocks on Rombald’s Moor, WYMCC: Wakefield 1986.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

 

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  53.896593, -1.887872 Rivock Edge CR-58

Marchup, Addingham, West Yorkshire

Enclosure:  OS Grid Reference – SE 0478 4987

Getting Here

Aerial view of Marchup

Take the A6034 road between Addingham and Silsden and, at the very top of the hill between the two towns, at Cringles, take the small road of Cringles Lane north towards Draughton.  Less than a mile on, veer to left and go along Bank Lane until you reach the track and footpath on your right that takes you to Moorock Hall.  On the other side of the Hall, take the track on your left, along the wallside; and where the track turns left again, look into the field on the other side of the wall.  You can see some of the ditch and embankment running across the field.

Archaeology & History

Found within the southwestern segment of the gigantic Counter Hill enclosure, near Woofa Bank, Eric Cowling (1946) described “an almost obliterated fortification” which has certainly seen better days — though you can make out the ditched earthwork pretty easily at ground level.  When T.D. Whitaker visited this place sometime before 1812, he described it as a camp that “was found to contain numbers of rude (?!?) fireplaces constructed of stone and filled with ashes.”  He also thought the enclosure was Roman in nature.

Western line of embankment

It’s a large site.  Running around the outer edge of the embankment, this enclosure measures roughly 378 yards (345m) in circumference.  It has diameters measuring, roughly east-west, 132 yards (121m); and north-south is 95 yards (87m).  The ditch that defines the edges of the enclosure averages 6-7 yards across and is give or take a yard deep throughout — but this is not an accurate reflection of the real depth, as centuries of earth have collected and filled the ditch.  An excavation is necessary to reveal the true depth of this.  There also seems to have been additional features constructed inside the enclosure, but without an excavation we’ll never know what they are.  Examples of cup-marked stones can be found nearby.

The Marchup Hill enclosure was described by the early antiquarian James Wardell (1869), who visited this and the other earthworks around Counter Hill.  He told that this was,

“of oblong form, but broadest at the west end, and rather larger than the other.  When the area of this camp was broken up, there were found some numbers of rude fireplaces constructed of stone and filled with ashes, and also a large perforated bead of jet.”

E.T. Cowling’s plan

Modern opinion places the construction of this enclosure within the Iron Age to Romano-British period, between 1000 BC to 300 AD.  E.T. Cowling (1946) thought the Iron Age to be most likely, but it may indeed be earlier.  His description of the site was as follows:

“At the foot of the southern slope of Counter Hill and close to the head waters of Marchup Beck is an almost obliterated fortification.  These remains are roughly rectangular, but one side is bent to meet the other; the enclosure has rounded corners and has a ditch with the upcast at each side.  The inner area is naturally above the level of the surrounding ground.  In spite of heavy ploughing, the ditch on the western side still has a span of fifteen feet and a depth of five feet between the tops of the banks.  Whitaker states that the camp “was found to contain numbers of rude fireplaces constructed of stone and filled with ashes.” These hearths appear to be the remains of cooking-holes such as are often found on Iron Age sites… Cup and ring markings are close at hand, but no flints have been found or trace of Mid-Bronze Age habitation.  The enclosure is badly planned, the upcast on the western side would aid an attack rather than the defence.”

…to be continued…

References:

  1. Cowling, Eric T., Rombald’s Way, William Walker: Otley 1946.
  2. Wardell, James, Historical Notes of Ilkley, Rombald’s Moor, Baildon Common, and other Matters of the British and Roman Periods, Joseph Dodgson: Leeds 1869. (2nd edition 1881).
  3. Whitaker, Thomas Dunham, The History and Antiquities of the Deanery of Craven in the County of York, (3rd edition) Joseph Dodgson: Leeds 1878.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Marchup enclosure

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Marchup enclosure 53.944916, -1.928664 Marchup enclosure

Black Pots Stone, Silsden, West Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 0782 4623

Also Known as:

  1. Carving no.36 (Hedges)
  2. Carving no.77 (Boughey & Vickerman)

Getting Here

From Silsden, take the moorland road up to Brunthwaite (ask a local if you’re in doubt).  As you get near the top of the moorland road, take the right turn (east) on the track past the Doubler Stones, until you reach the last cottage before the woodland called Black Pots.  Go onto the moorland behind the cottage, walking north, crossing the stream and you’ll see a large boulder stuck on its own close by.  That’s it!

Archaeology & History

Stuart Feather’s 1964 image

On another wander on these moors t’other day, we ventured to the Doubler Stones and whilst there I had a vague recollection of another decent-looking carving west of them, just above the hidden house at Black Pots, when I was a teenager. When I got home I rummaged through some of my old notebooks and found the drawing I made of it all those years ago.  Tis a decent carving consisting of 3 distinct cups encircled, though not completely, in an elongated arc. A cup-and-ring is just above this, and Boughey & Vickerman (2003) highlight another couple of cups which I didn’t manage to see when I was there as a kid. Nor for that matter did Stuart Feather, who was the first person to write about it in the Cartwright Hall Archaeology Group Bulletin in 1964.  Itis a good carving in a good spot, with excellent views to the south and west.

References:

  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS: Leeds 2003.
  2. Feather, Stuart, “Mid-Wharfedale Cup-and-Ring Markings: no.24 – Black Pots, Silsden, near Keighley,” in Cartwright Hall Archaeology Group Bulletin, 9:7, 1964.
  3. Hedges, John, The Carved Rocks on Rombald’s Moor, WYMCC: Wakefield 1986.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Black Pots Stone

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Black Pots Stone 53.912164, -1.882441 Black Pots Stone

Counter Hill, Addingham, West Yorkshire

Enclosure:  OS Grid Reference – SE 051 501

Getting Here

Counter Hill, looking north

You can come from various angles to approach this site, but I reckon the best is from along the old trackway of Parson’s Lane, between Addingham and Marchup.  From Silsden go up the long hill (A6034) towards Addingham until the hill levels out, then turn left on Cringles Lane (keep your eyes peeled!) for about 500 yards until you reach the Millenium Way or Parson’s Lane track, to your right.  As you walk along this usually boggy old track, the rounded green hill ahead, to the left, if where you’re heading.  Less than 100 yards past the little tumulus of High Marchup there’s a stile on your left that takes you into the field.  You’ll notice the depression that runs across near the top, at an angle.  That’s part of the earthworks!

Archaeology & History

The Counter Hill earthworks just over the far western edge of Rombald’s Moor – thought to be Iron Age – are truly gigantic.   More than ¾-mile across along its longest NW-SE axis, and a half-mile from north-south at its widest point, this huge ellipse-shaped earthwork surrounds the rounded peaked hill that gives the site its name: Counter Hill.  And although Harry Speight (1900) thought the hill got its name from the old Celtic conaltradh, or Irish conaltra, as in the ‘hill of debate or conversation’ — a possibility — the place-name master Mr Smith (1961) reckoned its name comes from little other than ‘cow turd hill’!  We may never know for sure…

Earthworks south of Counter Hill
Cowling’s 1946 plan

The Lancashire historian Thomas Dunham Whitaker (1878) appears to have been one of the first people to describe the Counter Hill remains, though due to the sheer size of the encampment he thought that it was Roman in nature.  Within the huge enclosure we also find two large inner enclosures, known as the Round Dikes and the Marchup earthworks.  Whitaker’s description of Counter Hill told:

“There are two encampments, on different sides of the hill, about half a mile from each other: one in the township of Addingham, the other in the parish of Kildwick; the first commanding a direct view of Wharfedale, the second an oblique one of Airedale; but though invisible to each other, both look down aslant upon Castleburg (Nesfield) and Ilkley.  Within the camp on Addingham Moor are a tumulus and a perennial spring; but by a position very unusual in such encampments, it is commanded on the west by a higher ground, rising immediately from the foss.  The inconvenience, however, is remedied by an expedient altogether new, so far as I have observed, in Roman castramentation, which is a line of circumvallation, enclosing both camps, and surround the whole hill: an area, probably, of 200 acres.  A garrison calculated for the defence of such an outline must have been nothing less than an army.  But it would be of great use in confining the horses and other cattle necessary for the soldiers’ use, which, in the unenclosed state of the country at the time, might otherwise have wandered many miles without interruption.  The outlines of these remains is very irregular; it is well known, however, that in their summer encampments the Romans were far from confining themselves to a quadrangular figure, and when we consider their situation near the Street, and the anxious attention with which they have been placed, so as to be in view of Ilkley or Castleburg, there can be little danger of a mistake in ascribing them to that people.”

Counter Hill earthworks, looking west

And though Whitaker’s sincerity and carefully worded logic for the period is quite erudite (much moreso than the greater majority of historians in modern times), his proclamation of the Counter Hill earthworks as Roman is very probably wrong (soz Tom).  The embankments are much more probably Iron Age in nature and are very probably the result of indigenous tribal-folk than that of the incoming Romans.  Most modern archaeologists and historians tend to see the entrenchments as being from such a period and I have to concur.

Folklore

The old antiquarian Edmund Bogg (1904) wrote that the Counter Hill earthworks were built as a result “of the struggle between the Anglians and the Celt,” long ago.  The great Yorkshire historian Harry Speight (1900) narrated similar lore just a few years earlier, but told that the tradition was  “of how the Romans drove the natives from this commanding site of Counter Hill.”

References:

  1. Bogg, Edmund, Higher Wharfeland: The Dale of Romance, James Miles: Leeds 1904.
  2. Cowling, Eric T., Rombald’s Way, William Walker: Otley 1946.
  3. Fletcher, J.S., A Pictureseque History of Yorkshire – Part IX, J.M. Dent: London 1901.
  4. Smith, A.H., The Place-Names of the West Riding of Yorkshire – volume 6, Cambridge University Press 1961.
  5. Speight, Harry, Upper Wharfedale, Elliott Stock: London 1900.
  6. Whitaker, T.D., The History and Antiquities of the Deanery of Craven, 3rd edition, Joseph Dodgson: Leeds 1878.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Counter Hill

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Counter Hill 53.946980, -1.923785 Counter Hill

High Marchup, Silsden, West Yorkshire

Tumulus:  OS Grid Reference – SE 0501 4949

Also Known as:

  1. Parson’s Lane Tumulus

Getting Here

High Marchup tumulus

From Silsden go up the long hill (A6034) towards Addingham until the hill levels out, then turn left on Cringles Lane (keep your eyes peeled!) for about 500 yards until you reach the Millenium Way footpath, or rather, green lane track, to your right.  Walk along this usually boggy old road for another 400 yards until you’re level with the small copse of trees below the field (about 100 yards away).  The slightly raised ditched mound on the left side of the track ahead of you is what you’re after!

Archaeology & History

Unless this old tomb was pointed out, you probably wouldn’t give the place a second glance.  It’s a seemingly isolated singular round tomb, subsided on top and surrounded by a small ditch, running into the edge of the walling.  Gorse bushes and a few rocks are around the edges of the site.  Harry Speight (1900) described this old tomb as a

“lonely isolated mound, to be seen in Parson Lane about a hundred yards west of the Celtic boundary, Black Beck, where some old dying chief has called his friends around him bidding them, “heap the stones of his renown that they may speak to other years.”  It is a tumulus 80 feet in circumference and does not seem to have been disturbed.”

In Faull and Moorhouse’s (1981) magnum opus they describe the site as “the denuded remains of a ditched round barrow,” but say little else.  It may have had some relationship with the settlement remains in and around the huge Counter Hill complex, immediately north.

References:

  1. Cowling, E.T., Rombald’s Way: A Prehistory of Mid-Wharfedale, William Walker: Otley 1946.
  2. Faull, M.L. & Moorhouse, S.A. (eds.), West Yorkshire: An Archaeological Guide to AD 1500 (4 volumes), WYMCC: Wakefield 1981.
  3. Speight, Harry, Upper Wharfedale, Elliott Stock: London 1900.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Marchup tumulus

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Marchup tumulus 53.941498, -1.925166 Marchup tumulus

Counter Hill Carving, Silsden, West Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 0463 4995

Also Known as:

  1. Carving no.31 (Boughey & Vickerman)

Getting Here

Cowling’s 1946 drawing

From Silsden go up the long hill (A6034) towards Addingham until the hill levels out, then turn left on Cringles Lane (keep your eyes peeled!) for a half-mile where you need to veer right along Banks Lane and go 100 yards past Moorcock Farm Hall where the footpath takes you into the fields on your right.  Walk down the line of the wallings, thru the gate, and keep following down until you reach a cluster of large rocks.  Stop here and look over the wall where you’ll see one of the boulders poking its head out on the other side.  That’s it!

Archaeology & History

First discovered by Eric Cowling in the late 1930s during one of his explorations of the immense Counter Hill earthworks (thought to be Iron Age), whose remains can still be seen encircling the peaked hill close by.  The stone is found in the edge of the walling halfway down the field towards the Marchup enclosure and is just inside the outer edge of the Counter Hill ditched enclosure surrounding the hill above you. (on the other side of the wall from the carving, you can make out the remains of the faint line of the ditch running pretty straight up towards the next wall)

Cluster of cups by walling
Counter Hill carving from above

At the top eastern edge of the stone is a clear cluster of 3 cup-markings, just as the rock meets the walling.  A much more faint group is visible to the left.  Cowling (1946) suggesting that the three-cup-cluster “shows the final form of the fylfot symbol,” i.e., the three-armed swastika.  Boughey & Vickerman (2003) meanwhile suggest that one of the two clusters are “doubtful (possibly recent?).”

When we came to this site yesterday, the day was overcast and cloudy.  But it seemed there may be more to this carving than has previously been recorded.  What may be a faint ring seemed possible near the middle of the stone, with a natural crack running through it (you can just about make it out in the photo on the right).  There also seemed to be other faint lines on the rock, but until we’ve been here again with better lighting conditions, the two groups of 3-cups is the symbolic state of play for this stone!

References:

  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS: Wakefield 2003.
  2. Cowling, E.T., Rombald’s Way: A Prehistory of Mid-Wharfedale, William Walker: Otley 1946.
  3. Hedges, John (ed.), The Carved Rocks on Rombalds Moor, WYMCC: Wakefield 1986.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Counter Hill CR

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Counter Hill CR 53.945636, -1.930948 Counter Hill CR

Abacus Stone, Holden, Silsden, West Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone (lost):  OS Grid Reference – SE 060 440

Getting Here

This carving is somewhere between Rivock’s western woodland edge, into the meadowlands next to it, down towards Robin Hood’s Wood.  Good luck if you find it!

Archaeology & History

The lost Abacus Stone design
The lost Abacus Stone design

I found this carved ‘design’ when I was but a nipper, as they say!  I was up all day, bimbling abaat checking out the stones and stuff, with notepad and pencil and found a number of cup-marked stones that I hadn’t come across in Stuart Feather’s surveys (the Hedge’s [1986] survey hadn’t been published at the time).   I’ve been back up round the Holden and Robin Hood’s Wood district several times in recent months, hoping to re-locate this carving — but without success.  I recall that when I found it all those years ago, how the design itself seemed almost ‘numeric’ in quality to look at (hence its title) and was hoping to come across it again, but the little fella’s hiding away somewhere!

The faded design was etched onto a small, slightly raised natural  stone, no more than 3ft x 3ft and about 2 feet high.  I thought that it might have been Boughey & Vickerman’s carving number 53 (Hedges survey, no.17), but it wasn’t to be. If anyone finds it again, I’d love to know!

References:

  1. Bennett, Paul, Ramblings of Archaeological Remnants in West Yorkshire, unpublished: Shipley 1984.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

 

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  53.898946, -1.896542 Abacus Stone CR