Holy Well (destroyed): OS Grid reference – NZ 01 74
Archaeology & History
We add this site in the hope that a local historian may be able to rediscover its whereabouts. Long since lost, the last account of it was mentioned in notes by the prodigious northern antiquarian John Crawford (1899) in his vast work on Northumbrian history. Its whereabouts is vague as its final writings were scribed in The Black Book of Hexham in 1479 CE, where it was told that “the Haliwell flat (was) lying between the vill of Bingfield and Todridge.” Mr Crawford told us it was somewhere in this area:
“The south-west extension of Grundstone Law is a tract of poor pasture land called Duns Moor; and rising opposite to it on the north-east is the Moot Law, in Stamfordham parish, the valley between being watered by an affluent of the Erring burn.”
The Well was included in Binnall & Dodds’ (1942) fine survey, with no additional notes. To my knowledge, no more is known of the site.
Binnall & Doods, “Holy Wells in Northumberland and Durham – Part 2,” in Proceedings Society of Antiquaries, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, July 1942.
Found inside a prehistoric tomb that was excavated in the late 1920s “by Messrs R.C. and W.P. Hedley at Pike Hill, near Stamfordham,” this fascinating-looking carving was found on a stone that “was overlying the primary burial” cist in the middle of the tumulus, measuring “2 feet 9 inches long by 2 feet wide and 12 inches deep, with an orientation on the longer axis of NE.” As we can see in the old photo that accompanied Mr Hedley’s (1928) short article in Antiquity journal, four single cups are arranged in a rough square and are joined with each other by a single line, running from cup to cup, outlining a clear quadrilateral formation. Two other single cups are outliers on the left and right side of the ‘square.’
A second smaller cist was also found inside the same mound and on the central inner face of this was another, more simplistic carving described as “a very fine cup-mark 1½ inch in diameter and ¾-inch deep.” These carvings are no longer in situ (I think they’re in Newcastle Museum) and apparently this second single cup-marked stone can no longer be located.
Beckensall, Stan, Northumberland’s Prehistoric Rock Carvings, Pendulum: Rothbury 1983.
Beckensall, Stan, Prehistoric Rock Motifs of Northumberland – volume 2: Beanley to the Tyne, Abbey Press: Hexham 1992.
Hedley, R. Cecil, “Ancient British Burials, Northumberland,” in Antiquity Journal, volume 2, December 1928.