In 1863, a bunch of reputable Victorian authors and antiquarians met with the Duke of Northumberland in Alnwick Castle to discuss the matter of making decent images of the petroglyphs which, at the time, had only just been rediscovered in the area. At one of their meetings, the floor in one of the Castle rooms was covered with rubbings of carvings that they’d made—this one included. I’d loved to have been there! Subsequently, from this meeting, sketches of this carving were done and included in the works by George Tate (1864; 1865) and then a few years later in J. Collingwood Bruce’s (1869) rare tome that had been published with the help of dosh from the Duke.
Found along a raised geological ridge running roughly east-west, a number of other carvings are close by and well worth looking at when you visit here. The basic (and first) description of the site by Tate told that here,
“on a high ridge on Hunter’s Moor, a large surface of rock, some forty yards by twenty, having a gentle slope to the northward, is partially uncovered. In one part, which has been entirely cleared of turf, fourteen figures are scattered over an area of 15 feet by about from 5 to 7 feet. Some of the figures are of the common type, one of which is 28 inches in diameter; but others present new features; and several are curiously united by straight and curved grooves. Across the entire diameter of a group of four concentric circles, runs a groove connecting them with other combined figures. An irregularly shaped, rounded, angular figure, encloses two hollows or cups; and united to this is a broad oval figure. One figure around four cups approaches to the reniform.”
When the modern rock art expert Stan Beckensall wrote about this site, he mentioned how his own picture of the carving consisted of a number of elements that weren’t included by the 19th century pioneers—which isn’t unusual.
Beckensall, Stan, Northumberland’s Prehistoric Rock Carvings – A Mystery Explained, Pendulum: Rothbury 1983.
Beckensall, Stan, Prehistoric Rock Motifs of Northumberland – volume 1, Abbey Press: Hexham 1991.
Bruce, John Collingwood, Incised Markings on Stone; found in the County of Northumberland, Argylshire, and other Places, privately printed: London 1869.
Tate, George, “The Ancient British Sculptured Rocks of Northumberland and the Eastern Borders,” in Proceedings of the Berwickshire Naturalists Club, volume 5, 1864.
Tate, George, The Ancient British Sculptured Rocks of Northumberland and the Eastern Borders, Henry Hunter Blair 1865.
Cup-and-Ring Stone: OS Grid Reference – NU 021 278
Also known as:
North Plantation 3
Fowberry Moor Stone 3
Archaeology & History
This is an excellent-looking carving which, it would seem, remains buried in the Earth nice n’ sleepy! Located “in the inner rampart on the south side of an unrecorded camp in North Plantation, Fowberry Moor, Chatton,” the carving was unexpectedly found during some basic excavation work on the camp itself. Described and illustrated by W.B. Davison (1934), this was one of two cup-and-ring stones hereby. He reckoned it wasn’t in its original position and seems – from the illustration here – to have been etched onto a fallen monolith. Davison’s detailed description told:
“The…stone was completely excavated and was found to be built into the inner rampart across its track. This stone measures 7’6″ north to south, is 1’2″ wide at its north end, 1’11” at its widest part, and 1’3″ at its foot. The average depth is 2’6″. The base is rough-surfaced and is prow-shaped at the northern end.
“Incised markings occur on the top only, and are as follows, reading from north to south. 1 cup surrounded by a ring and a half-ring lying east to west by south. 1 small cup. 1 cup. 1 cup surrounded by four rings, the largest of which has a diameter of 13½”. On the top of the outer ring occurs an abutting semicircle enclosing a cup. On the accompanying (image) will be observed what appears to be another cup on the innermost ring. 1 cup. 1 cup surrounded by a ring and a half-ring lying north to south by west. This marking rests on a two-inch deep slot possibly made for quarrying purposes. No other markings occur between this slot and the foot of the stone. Tool marks are very distinct on some of the above markings.”
Rock art researchers Jan Brouwer (2007) and Stan Beckensall have searched unsuccessfully for the stone in recent years.
Cup-and-Ring Stone: OS Grid Reference – NU 029 261
Also known as:
Deershed Plantation Stone
Archaeology & History
This is a small but impressive stone, presently housed in the Musuem of Antiquities in Newcastle. It was first mentioned by Mr H.L. Honeyman (1934) as being donated to Newcastle’s Society of Antiquaries by a Mr J.M. Strother of Fowberry Moor Farm in 1934. He described the carving as,
“a sculptured ring-marked stone, 1ft 2in by 1ft 2in, bearing a cup with three rings and duct. Found in Island Plantation (camp), Fowberry Moor, Chatton, 22.7.34, by Mr Wake.”
Stan Beckensall (1983:127) described it in passing his early work on Northumberland rock art, then again in his updated edition.