Dragon Stone, Steeton, West Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 03590 43677

Also Known as:

  1. Hollins Bank Farm Carving

Getting Here

Dragon Stone carving

Go northwest along the country lane running between High Utley (on the outskirts of Keighley) and Steeton known as Hollins Lane, which then becomes Hollins Bank Lane.  You’ll see the fine castle building as you go along, known simply as The Tower arising from the top of the tree-line.  As you get to the driveway leading down to the Tower, a less impressive farm building is on the other side of the road, known as Hollins Bank Farm.  On the right-hand side of this house is an old overgrown road.  Walk along here to the end, going into the field immediately left where a small group of stones can be seen halfway up the field by the tree.  You’re here!

Archaeology & History

First discovered one sunny afternoon on April 7, 2010, in the company of Buddhist scholar Steve Hart, this is a really curious carving, inasmuch as it seems to have been deliberately carved around what may be curious naturally eroded cup-forms.  You’ll have to visit it to see what I mean.  They’re a bit odd.  Almost too perfect as cups to be the ancient eroded ones we’re used to looking at.  But this aside….

…and again
Dragon Stone, looking NW

It’s a lovely flat stone, with curvaceous lines running across the middle and edges and into cup-markings.  Although some of the cups give an impression of being natural, others have the authentic-looking ring to them, with at least one of them possessing a near-complete ring encircling it (as you can faintly see in the close-up photo here).  There are at least 19 cup-markings on this stone, and four main ‘lines’ running roughly in north-south directions, with the cups interspersed between them.  At the top (north) end of the rock, separated by a crack, the lines stop and we just have some cup-markings.  The crack in the stone may have been functional here.

Although graphically different, the carving has a similar feel in design (for me at least) to that of the Wondjina Stone at Rivock Edge, on the other side of the Aire Valley a couple of miles east of here — though this newly found carving is in a better state of preservation.  The small scatter of rocks around it seem to have been unearthed or moved recently by the land-owner (who aint keen on you looking on his land, so be careful) and the good state of preservation may be that they were only unearthed sometime this century.  We must also keep in consideration that the lines that run across the surface of this stone are water-lines and may be more the result of Nature’s hand than humans.  It’s obvious that some human intervention has occurred here, but it may be difficult to ascertain the precise degree of affectation between the two agencies.

Close-up of cups & lines

According to the archaeological record-books there are no carvings here, but another simple cup-marked stone accompanies this more extravagant serpentine design just a few yards away; a simple cup-marked stone may be seen at the top of the hill; and the faint Currer Woods carving can be found 0.68 miles (1.09km) due west of here, on the other side of the small valley.  Other outcrop stones scatter the fields and slopes here, some of which still need checking to see whether or not further carvings exist.

…And for those who may bemoan my seemingly romantic title of the carving: remember! — close by in Steeton township, between the years 1562 and 1797, there was an old field-name known well to local folk, of “one parcel of arable land in town field called Drakesyke, 3 acres”, i.e., the dragon’s stream or dyke. (Gelling 1988; Smith 1956)

References:

  1. Clough, John, History of Steeton, S. Billows: Keighley 1886.
  2. Gelling, Margaret, Signposts to the Past, Phillimore: Chichester 1988.
  3. Smith, A.H., English Place-Names Elements – 2 volumes, Cambridge University Press 1956.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Dragon Stone CR

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Dragon Stone CR 53.889264, -1.946864 Dragon Stone CR

High Carr Rocks, Keighley, West Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stones:  OS Grid Reference – SE 0578 4395

Getting Here

High Carr Cup-Markings (1 & 2)

Loadsa ways to get to this little outcrop, which the Boughey & Vickerman survey (2003) says comprises of five different carvings (CRs 33-37).  I’m not so sure misself.  When Stuart Feather first found these in the 1950s, he only thought three stones were carved, which I think is the more accurate.

Most folk would probably prefer to walk down the slope from Holden Gate down the footpath past Jaytail Farm, then dropping down to the very bottom of the fields (south) where you’ll see a small knoll with a cluster of rocks just in front of the tree-line.  But I wandered up thru the ‘Private’ (ahem!) woodland, wet-thru in the pouring rain, and clambered over the wall right to the very spot (the old dowser’s ‘seek-and-find-rock-art’ nose worked again!).

Archaeology & History

High Carr Cup-Marked Stone
High Carr Cup-Marked Stone – from Hedge’s Carved Rocks on Rombald’s Moor

Listed in John Hedge’s (1986) survey as carvings 1-5, I’d say there’s one “definite” carving here, but the others – comprising simply of cups – are a little dubious.  The main carving has at least six definite cup-markings, found on the rock at the highest point of the knoll at the bottom of the field.  The drawing in Hedge’s survey shows as many as 12 cups on this stone, but I’m not totally convinced.  Another stone right next to the main one has, perhaps, a cup-marking or two on it – but again, these may be natural.

Of the other alleged carvings, it was difficult to work out as they were literally covered in tons of cow-shit. It seems this rock-outcrop is the local bovine toilet!  A lovely secluded place though, with plenty of wildlife to see.  Next stop from here: the great Holden waterfalls!

References:

  1. Boughey, K. & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYMCC: Wakefield 2003.
  2. Feather, S., ‘Three Bronze Age Rock Carvings near Keighley,’ in CHAGB 4:3, 1959.
  3. Hedges, John D., The Carved Rocks on Rombald’s Moor, WYMCC: Wakefield 1986.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

High Carr CRs

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High Carr CRs 53.891698, -1.913538 High Carr CRs

Yoni Stone, Utley, Keighley, West Yorkshire

Standing Stone:  OS grid reference – SE 0390 4333

Also known as:

  1. Cunt Stone

Getting Here

From Keighley town centre, head north towards Cliffe Castle, but turn left beforehand and along Hollins Lane.  Go past Hollins Hall for a few hundred yards and then through the gate on your left, then straight up the steep hill to the small woodland at the top.  On the OS-map it’s shown as ‘Great Snowden.’  You’re here!

Archaeology & History

A standing stone found recently by Lindsay Lockwood to the west of Keighley, albeit on supposedly private—ahem!—land (a number of old locals tell you, quite rightly, to ignore this selfishness; but be careful of the land-owners here, who can be quite miserable).  Tis less than four-feet tall but with a very noticeable female genital carving on its top western face.  This carving however, is perhaps 200 years old at the very most.  It’s in a quite beautiful setting aswell…

The Yoni or Cunt Stone, Utley
Buddhist scholar Steve Hart fondling the stone

What may be the remains of an old hut circle, or an old  drained-out pond (a big difference, I know!), can be found about 100 yards northwest, and one – possibly two – ‘cairns’ can also be found in the scattered trees immediately to the northeast. An old ‘druid’s bowl’ (natural cup-marking into which rain-water collects) can also be seen on an adjacent earthfast boulder.  Some folk might wanna allege a bullaun, but it’d be pushing it a bit I think. More recent walling and what appears to be stonework from more recent centuries (medieval) appears evident close by.  Whilst below the hill we have the recently discovered Dragon Stone cup-and-ring carving just a few hundred yards away.

The setting is not unlike the beautiful little standing stone of Tirai on the slopes of Glen Lochay, where amidst the recently deserted village the short squat standing stone is found. You get the same sorta feeling of more recent going-on with this site aswell.

The carved ‘cunt’ gives an even more intriguing thought as to what the stone was used for, around Beltane perhaps, by folk like misself and other straightforward doods!

I wasn’t sure exactly what to call the stone after Lindsay had found it.  However, due to the carved minge near the top, it seemed right to give the stone a name relative to the carving — and as we have a Devil’s Cunt in the Netherlands, I opted to call it something similar.*  Although ‘cunt’ is an old European word for ladies’ lovely parts, the word ‘Yoni’ is an eastern title, which has become very acceptable in Western parlance.  In recent years there has emerged a distinct aversion to using our own, old word for female genitals (indicating how detached people have become from even their own roots).

* of the name ‘cunt stone’: the word cunt itself, as explored eloquently in the fine study by Peter Fryer, Mrs Grundy: Studies in English Prudery (Corgi: London 1965), was the acceptable term for ladies’ genitals in the days when this carving was evidently done, so thought it a most applicable title.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

 

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  53.886143, -1.942151 Yoni Stone