OS grid reference: SD 6153 1400. The small cup-marked boulder used to stand in a rock garden in the carpark of Anderton Hall Lodge on New Road, just to the east of the village of Anderton, about halfway between the M61 motorway and Rivington reservoir. It had stood forlornly in front of a modern-day standing stone and a collection of non-discript rocks, and could have almost been overlooked. But the little boulder displays prehistoric cups and cup-and-ring markings, dating back thousands of years. Anderton village is a tiny suburb of Adlington, 1 mile to the west, while the town/city of Bolton is 5 miles to the northwest. The stone has recently been taken to the Anderton Leisure Centre further along New Road, close to the shores of Rivington Reservoir, I am now reliably informed.
The small cup-marked boulder was found in the bank of Rivington Lower Reservoir in 1999 when the water level was quite low; it seems that it had been used in the actual building of the reservoir back in 1850, but no one had noticed the significance of it at the time. It is said to date from the Neolithic age 2,000-3,000 BC. There are 14 tiny cup-marks and 1 larger cup-and-ring that forms an almost perfect curve, though now rather worn. The small boulder is roughly 1 foot 7 inches high and 2 foot 7 inches in length.
But one must ask the question, what is it doing in the the Anderton Leisure Centre – why is it not in a museum where it can be properly protected and examined by specialists in the field of rock art. Really this ancient carved stone should be in the Bolton Museum. But, it seems this very fine prehistoric artefact has been forgotten or, perhaps, just ignored. For the time being it looks as if it will have to remain where it is inside the local leisure centre!
[Thanks to my good friend Simon Mortimer for the excellent photo).
Copyright © Ray Spencer, The Journal of Antiquities, 2012 (updated 2023).
February 21, 2023 at 11:12 pm
Paul Lacey writes:
“When I found that one there was a few other fragments that looked like they may have been part of something similar, I only retrieved the one, it isn’t that often the water goes that low, so its possible they are still there. To protect one, to large to move easily I turned it upside down, putting the rings hidden into the sandy reservoir bed, it would be below the normal water line now I think, it may have survived there.”
April 6, 2021 at 5:40 pm
Joolz writes: Looking at a map to see whereabouts the Rivington Cup-Marked Stone was found, I would suggest that the markings depict a map of the water in this area – the rings being where the Yarrow Reservoir is; the main arc being where Anglezarke Reservoir is with the smaller arc above being where High Bullough Reservoir is.
September 22, 2019 at 9:47 pm
Thanks for that info Paul, have you find any more carved rocks since?
September 22, 2019 at 9:46 pm
Paul Lacey writes: You may find this hard to believe but it was me who found that, it was near the shores on the Rivington side and was close to the Castle, I took it home and sent photos to Lancashire University, it was in my garden in Horwich for a year before Great House Barn agreed to take it in, from there it was moved to the Anderton centre.
March 30, 2017 at 10:22 pm
AN KHENA says: Comment: What happened to all the others found with it. The long triangular piece came from Turton circle. Do some investigating. Leverhulme paid a farmer to take them away in his cart for his folly. They were most likely dumped there when a local historian start to ask where the standing stones on standing stone hill had gone to. The stones probably now part of the castle or in reservoir. Last time I saw the 4 stones on the lawn someone had smashed the most important one into 2 pieces and thrown it into a gutter. Maybe they annoyed the gardener. They dated to around 1,800bc or earlier. Where are the rest?
August 10, 2012 at 11:41 pm
It’s not actually there now. It’s inside Anderton Leisure Centre. I contacted them to photograph it last year.
August 11, 2012 at 12:59 pm
Thank you Linda for informing me about the stone being moved. I will up-date the site page for this. Thanks again. Ray.
August 11, 2012 at 1:37 pm
Hi Linda, would you have that photo that you took of the stone, still. I would like to put on this site page if that’s ok with you. Obviously, I would credit you on the photo. Thanks.
August 10, 2012 at 7:27 pm
Ray, could you put this post up on my FACEBOOK ‘LANCASHIRE DIARY’ page ?
Best regards john
August 10, 2012 at 8:37 pm
Okay John, I will put up the link on your Lancashire Diary page. Ray.
August 10, 2012 at 7:26 pm
Ray, could you put this post up on my FACEBOOK ‘LANCASHIRE DIARY’ site
Best regards – john