Way Hagg, West Ayton Moor, North Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stones (lost):  OS Grid Reference – SE 9657 8840

Archaeology & History

In the autumn of 1848, antiquarian John Tissiman (1850) and his associates took to uncovering two burial mounds amidst a large cluster of them on the eastern edge of West Ayton Moor.  This one at Way Hagg was quite a big fella, measuring 36 yards across.  When they cut into its northern edge towards the centre, 8-10 feet in, they came across an upright stone, nearly two feet high, on which five cup-marks had been cut. (see sketch, no.2)  Slightly beyond this were three other stones (in sketch, nos.1, 3 & 4), each with cup-marks on them, beneath which was a tall urn.  Whether or not the carvings had been deliberately positioned to cover the urn, we do not know. Nonetheless, we can be reasonably assured that these petroglyphs had some mythic association with death when they were placed here.

Tissiman gave us the following detailed measurements of the respective carvings:

1: Nearly even surface. Length, from 16 to 18 inches; breadth, 10 to 20 ditto; depth, 8 to 9 ditto; with large oval hole cut in the centre, 7½ inches long, 4 inches broad, and 3½ inches in depth.  On the opposite side are three holes, from 2 to 3 inches in diameter, and from 1 inch to 1½ deep.  2: Uneven surface. Length, 23 inches; breadth, 14 inches; depth, 13 inches; with five holes, from l½ to 3½ inches in diameter, and 1 to 1½ inches in depth.  3: Uneven surface. Length, 33 inches; breadth, 22 inches; depth, 10 inches, with four holes, the largest being 4½ inches in diameter and 3 inches deep; the others, from 1½ inches to 2 inches in diameter, and 1 to 1½ inches deep.  4: Uneven surface. Length, 27 inches; breadth, 23½ inches; depth, 10 inches, with 13 holes, from 1½ inches to 5 inches in diameter, and ¾ of an inch to 3 inches in depth; also three lines at the end of the stone.”

The carvings were included in Brown & Chappell’s (2005) fine survey, but they weren’t able to find out what happened to them after Tissiman’s excavation. They remain lost.  If anyone has any information as to where they might be, please let us know.

References:

  1. Brown, Paul & Chappell, Graeme, Prehistoric Rock Art in the North York Moors, Tempus: Stroud 2005.
  2. Tissiman, John, “Report on Excavations in Barrows, in Yorkshire,” in Journal British Archaeological Association, April 1850.

Acknowledgements:  Huge thanks for use of the Ordnance Survey map in this site profile, reproduced with the kind permission of the National Library of Scotland

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Haw Farm (01), Swartha, Silsden, West Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 05206 46856

Archaeology & History

An intriguing find, made not too long ago by Jeff Wallbank of Silsden.  Simplistic in design, it’s found on a small ridge of rocks adjacent to an old quarry (so there may have been other carvings here in times gone by), rising up immediately south of Haw Farm about 20 yards away, from where you can ask permission of the kind land-owner to have a look at the stone.

It’s pretty basic: consisting of a distinct triangle of three plain cup-marks on one side of a natural crack that runs across a section of the stone. Immediately adjacent and on the other side of this crack, is another singular cup.  This appears to have a carved line running from it and possibly an elongated semi-circular element around the cup itself.  It’s not too special when compared to the much more ornate petroglyphs further east, but is worth checking out if you’re walking in this gorgeous western edge of Rombalds Moor.

Acknowledgements:  HUGE thanks to Sarah Walker, without whose help and permission to use her photos, this site profile could not have been written.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Bucking Hill (03), High Moor, Brunthwaite, West Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 0845 4529

Archaeology & History

Discovered by Stuart Feather in the late 1950s, this was one of two carvings found very close to each other (see Bucking Hill 2) whose exact location are unknown (the grid-reference cited here is a reasonably accurate approximation).  In his short article where he mentions the Bucking Hill 2 carving, he then told of,

Sid Jackson’s vague drawing of the carving

“the discovery a few yards away of a small stone bearing a cup-and-ring mark providing evidence for at least one other symbol from this small hill.  This stone, only 14in long, 8in wide, and 6½in thick, has a cup 1¾in in diameter, ⅞in deep with a shallow channel 1½ long running from it.

“Round the cup, which is very symmetrical and has the pecking clearly defined, is part of a concentric channel which, if it were a complete circle, would have a diameter of 4in.  The channel, which starts near to the small channel that runs from the cup, goes only halfway round the cup and is obviously unfinished.  It is irregular in width and depth and in marked contrast to the workmanship of the cup.”

He then queries as to whether this small carved stone could have come off the larger cup-marked Bucking Hill (02) boulder close by.  We may never know, but when we consider the lack of general erosion on this cup-and-ring (the pecking was still visible), it would obviously have remained upside-down in the peat for a few thousand years!  There was an old cairn a short distance away on the top of Bucking Hill and it may have come from there.  Anyhow, Mr Feather subsequenly took this portable carving home with him and it’s subsequently been donated to the Ilkley Manor House Museum where it should be visible. (can someone send us a photo so we can add it to the site profile?)

References:

  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS 2003.
  2. Feather, Stuart, “Mid-Wharfedale Cup-and-Ring Markings – Nos 21 and 22: Bucking Hill, High Moor, Rombald’s Moor,” in Bradford Cartwright Hall Archaeology Group Bulletin, 9:5, 1964.
  3. Hedges, John (ed.), The Carved Rocks on Rombalds Moor, WYMCC: Wakefield 1986.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Bucking Hill (02), High Moor, Brunthwaite, West Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 0844 4529

Archaeology & History

This was one of two carvings reported by Stuart Feather (1964) that were very close to each other (see Bucking Hill 3), both of which consisted of simplistic designs but which, he thought, may once have been part of the same rock.  Its precise whereabouts are not known (the grid-ref is an approximation).  He wrote:

“On the southern slopes of Bucking Hill, a fine gritstone rock 5ft 6in by 4ft 6in by 1ft 6in high, has a very clear cup-mark 2in in diameter and ½in deep carved 8in from the straight eastern edge of the rock.”

Feather thought that the edge of the rock had been cut and quarried for use in the boundary wall to the east.  He may have been right.

References:

  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS 2003.
  2. Feather, Stuart, “Mid-Wharfedale Cup-and-Ring Markings – Nos 21 and 22: Bucking Hill, High Moor, Rombald’s Moor,” in Bradford Cartwright Hall Archaeology Group Bulletin, 9:5, 1964.
  3. Hedges, John (ed.), The Carved Rocks on Rombalds Moor, WYMCC: Wakefield 1986.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Bucking Hill (01), High Moor, Brunthwaite, West Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone (lost):  OS Grid Reference – SE 0828 4507

Archaeology & History

Described by Boughey & Vickerman (2003) as being located somewhere “below Dirk Hill Sike” in the Rivock woods plantation, this is (or was) a “medium, upstanding rock lying NW-SE (with) one possible heavily weathered large cup-and-ring: cup 75mm diam. and ring 200mm diam.”  However, the authors give no references to this site, nor images, or notes as to who rediscovered this stone.  In their survey they also included one of the Bucking Hill carvings twice, giving the impression that there was more here than had previously been reported.  These errors have subsequently been repeated elsewhere on-line.  In saying this, there are a number of rocks scattered in this area which may have had carvings on them, but it’s been heavily forested and, recently, the trees have been felled and so many of them will have been damaged, turned over, or simply destroyed as a result of the forestry shennanigans.

References:

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

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Ripple Stone, Rivock Edge, Silsden, West Yorkshire

Cup-and-Line Stone OS Grid-Reference – SE 07492 44836

Also Known as:

  1. Carving no.25 (Hedges)
  2. Carving no.64 (Boughey & Vickerman)

Getting Here

Helen inspects the stone

Coming via the Keighley-Bingley (Airedale) B6265 road, go up to Riddlesden and then up the winding Banks Lane until you reach the T-junction.  Turn left here and about 330 yards along, on the right-side of the road is a dirt-track.  Walk up here, sticking to the track (not the footpath) towards the cliffs of Rivock ahead of you, going through the gate and into the Rivock woods area.  450 yards on from the gate, on your right you’ll pass the long straight line of walling running uphill and literally 275 yards further along the track from here, walk straight up into the trees for 20 yards where, just before the slope begins to truly veer into an “uphill” state, you’ll see the stone in question!

Archaeology & History

Cups on east-side of stone

In 1961 when Stuart Feather rediscovered this carving, the “rock was almost completely covered by a six-inch layer of peat and vegetation.”  But, like all good rock art explorers, he slowly and carefully peeled it all back and brought back to light another one of Rivock’s olde stories.  We know not what the story on the rock might tell, but it looks good nonetheless!  Feather counted “several cups carved on it”, but a few more have ben discerned since then.  When Boughey & Vickerman (2003) described it in their typically minimalist way, they told it be a “large square rock with surface in slope of hill.  About nineteen cups.”  Evocative stuff!

Sketch of basic design
Faint line visible, left-side

When I first saw visited this carving as a young lad, the thing which stood out to me more than anything was the long but faint line that ran down one section of the stone.  Added to this was an equally faint arc attached to the side of the line, like a “D” form.  A few months later I did a sketch of it on my second visit, but I’ve looked and looked and seem to have lost it. (not good)  The one I’ve done here is a recent one.  As we can see, a series of cup-marks straddle each side of the D-line and are plainly visible, which implies that the line was carved much earlier than the cups.  Of course, it’s possible that the cups were repeatedly forged over and over many times over a century or more and the D-line, for whatever reason, left untouched.

Another interesting aspect of this D-line is its repetition in the much more ornate petroglyph 35 yards to the east (presently known as Rivock 67 until we devise something more appropriate).  The recently rediscovered Slinger Stone 100 yards south may also have the same feature, but this needs further surveying before we can say for sure.

References:

  1. Bennett, Paul, ‘The Prehistoric Rock Art and Megalithic Remains of Rivock & District (2 parts),’ in Earth, 3-4, 1986.
  2. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS 2003.
  3. Feather, Stuart, ‘Mid-Wharfedale Cup-and-Ring Markings: No. 14, Rivock,’ in Cartwright Hall Archaeology Group Bulletin, 7:1, 1962.
  4. Hedges, John (ed.), The Carved Rocks on Rombald’s Moor, WYMCC: Wakefield 1986.

Acknowledgements:  With thanks to Andy Roberts for giving this stone its modern name.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Stone of Stars, Rivock, Silsden, West Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 07507 44564

Also Known as:

  1. Carving no.26 (Hedges)
  2. Carving no.65 (Boughey & Vickerman)

Getting Here

A Stone of Stars, Rivock

The best/easiest way to approach this and the Rivock carvings as a whole is to reach the Silsden Road that curves round the southern edge of Rombalds Moor (whether it’s via East Morton, Riddlesden, Keighley or Silsden) and keep your eyes peeled for the singular large windmill.  About 200 yards east of this is a small parking spot, big enough for a half-dozen vehicles.  From here walk 450 yards east along the road till you hit the dirt-track/footpath up towards the moor.  Follow the track up for about 400 yards and you’ll see the crags a half-mile ahead of you.  Get up there to the Wondjina Stone and follow the walling east for about 175 yards where you’ll see a track-cum-clearing in the woods. Walk along and the first large stone on your left is what you’re after.

Archaeology & History

I first visited this carving in my teenage years in the 1970s, before the intrusive so-called “private” forest covered this landscape and when its petroglyphic compatriots were easier to find.  Thankfully this one’s still pretty accessible and possesses a damn good clear design.  It was rediscovered in the 1960s by Stuart Feather and his gang, zigzagging their way across the open moors, pulling back the heather to see what they might find.  His description of it told how the stone,

“has two roughly level areas, one 18ins and the other 2 feet above ground level.  Both (levels) have several well-preserved cup-and-ring markings on them.  There are eight single cup-and-rings and 18 cups, two of the latter being joined by a clear channel seven inches long and 1½ inches wide.  Nearly all the markings are unusually well preserved and the pocking marks are very clear.”

Note the line running down

He also had “the impression that all the markings on this stone and possibly one other similar stone in the Rivock area have been carved by the same hand, as all the symbols are nearly identical in in type, size and execution.” (this other carving he’s referring to seems to be one about 170 yards to the north, where occasionally “offerings” have been found)

The design from E-W

When John Hedges (1986) and his team checked the stone out he could only make out “seven cups with single rings, twenty two other cups”; whilst the ever descriptive Boughey & Vickerman (2003) saw “twenty-nine cups, eight with single rings.”  Eight cup-and-rings is what most people see when the light’s right.  There’s also a long, bent carved line on the lower level of the rock, running from near the middle of the stone out to the very edge.  It seems to be man-made (although I may be wrong) – and I draw attention to it as this same feature exists on at least three of the other large and very ornamental cup-and-rings hereby within 300 yards of each other – and on these other carvings the long “line” is definitely artificial.  Tis an intriguing characteristic…

Stuart Feather’s old sketch

When visiting this petroglyph you’ll notice how some of the carved elements on top of the stone are more eroded than those on the lower section.  This is due to the fact that the lower section was only revealed by Feather and his team in the mid-20th century, after it had been covered in soil for countless centuries.  As a result you can still see the peck-marks left by the implements that were used to make the carving, perhaps 5000 years ago!

The name of the stone was inspired by a local lady who saw an astronomical function in the design (I quite like it as well).  Examples of petroglyphs representing myths of heavenly bodies have been described first-hand in some tribal cultures and, nowadays, even a number of archaeologists are making allusions about potential celestial features in some carvings in the British Isles.  That doesn’t mean to say that it’s correct, but the idea’s far from unreasonable…

Anyhow – check this one out when you’re next up here.  You’ll like it!

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. Deacon, Vivien, The Rock Art Landscapes of Rombalds Moor, West Yorkshire, ArchaeoPress: Oxford 2020.
  4. Feather, Stuart, “Mid-Wharfedale Cup-and-Ring Markings – no.16 – Rivock,” in Cartwright Hall Archaeology Group Bulletin, volume 8, no.10, 1963.
  5. Hedges, John (ed.), The Carved Rocks on Rombalds Moor, WYMCC: Wakefield 1986.
  6. 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.

AcknowledgmentsHuge thanks to Collette Walsh for use of her photos.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Table Rock, Rivock, Silsden, West Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid reference – SE 07326 44696

Also Known as:

  1. Carving no.43 (Boughey & Vickerman)

Getting Here

Table Rock cupmarked stone

If you’re coming via the Keighley-Bingley (Airedale) road, go up to Riddlesden and then up the winding Banks Lane until it meets the edge of the moors.  At the T-junction, turn left and about 330 yards along on your right there’s a dirt-track.  Walk up here, sticking to the track (not the footpath) towards the cliffs of Rivock ahead of you, going through the gate and into the Rivock woods area.  About 450 yards on from the gate on your right-hand side you’ll see the long straight length of walling that runs uphill—and about 60 yards up here, on the left-hand side of the wall you’ll see a very large boulder.  Y’ can’t really miss it!

Archaeology & History

2 of the several cups here

This large natural block, embedded into the hillside about 80 yards below the Wondjina Stone and its companions, is nothing much in the petroglyphic visual scale of things, but is worth checking out for a break if you’re checking out the other good designs in the Rivock cluster.  Upon its sloping flat two-tiered surface there are just a small number of randomly spaced cup-marks of varying sizes: six at least, but perhaps as many as nine altogether.  In times gone by (many years ago) we thought one of them might have had a very faint ring around it, but on my last couple of visits here I couldn’t see anything.

References:

  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS: Wakefield 2003.
  2. Hedges, John (ed.), The Carved Rocks on Rombalds Moor, WYMCC: Wakefield 1986.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

 

Rivock Top, Silsden, West Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 0745 4470

Getting Here

Rivock Top stone

Best approached via the Wondjina Stone, then over the wall and follow the geological ridge that bends into the trees.  It’s difficult to find amidst the dense forest and is another one of those carvings that’s probably only for the purists amongst you.

Archaeology & History

If you’re doing the Rivock rock art tour, you might as well give this a go once you’ve checked ou the decent ones nearby.   Here, on a rather large stone we find, on its uppermost ridge, three faint cup-marks next to each other in a very slight curve.  The cup-mark in the middle is slightly larger than its two compatriots and might be natural.  If you were to wet the rock when the sunlight is just right, you’ll probably get a better idea of its real appearance—otherwise we’ll have to let the computer-gadget lads suss it out!

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

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