The Journal Of Antiquities

Ancient Sites In Great Britain & Southern Ireland


Farnhill Moor Cup-Marked Rocks, Near Skipton, North Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Rock on Farnhill Moor, near Skipton, North Yorks

Cup-Marked Rock on Farnhill Moor with 40 cup-markings.

OS Grid Reference: approx. SE 0064 4710. On Farnhill Moor above the north Yorkshire villages of Farnhill and Kildwick, 3 miles to the southeast of Skipton, there is a little cluster of ancient cup-marked carvings on some gritstone rocks. These carvings or petroglyphs are rather hidden away by the undergrowth at the south side of Jubilee Memorial, a white monument with a stone cross. One of these large rocks has four large cup-marks while the rock above it on the craggy ridge has forty or so quite distinct cup-marks. From Main Street in Farnhill take the narrow Crag Lane uphill for a little while, then when reaching the wooded area on the right take the path going east. After a short distance veer off to the north to meet up with a well-defined footpath heading towards the Jubilee Monument. Just downhill from the monument walk east into the often dense undergrowth towards the craggy ridge. Here amongst these gritstone rocks you will have to search around to find the carvings, but it will be well worth it in the end!

Cup-Marked rock on Farnhill Moor, near Skipton, North Yorks.

Farnhill Moor Cup-Marked Rock showing 4 cups on the side and 2 more cups above.

On the edge of a large gritstone rock, just below the craggy ridge, are four large distinct cup-marks (petroglyphs) and above those possibly a couple of tiny cups. These cup-marks are very easily missed and not that easy to photograph, unless the sunlight is just right and not shining right at you. You will notice the gritstone rock has turned almost white which is due to rain over thousands of years. On the ridge above, another large rock jutting out from the crag has on its face forty or more very well-defined cup-marks, some small cups and some larger ones, which have ‘become larger’ maybe due to erosion over 4,000 thousand of years or more. There are a few small cup-marks away from the main panel. We don’t really know what these cup-marks mean, or why they were carved, and so they must remain something of an enigma. It’s very likely, however, Bronze Age people had their settlements on these very moors at a time when the climate was much milder in winter than it is nowadays. To the northwest on Low Bradley Moor lie the stone-strewn remains of two cairns where the Bronze Age people buried their chieftains.

Jubilee Monument.

The Jubilee Monument also called Jubilee Tower or Pinnacle was erected in 1887 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. This white painted, bottle-shaped monument is 12 foot high and atop the edifice there is a carved stone cross. The monument is covered with Victorian inscriptions, but there is also more recent graffiti. It is thought to have replaced an earlier cairn indeed some think this was a burial cairn, similar perhaps to those that date from the Bronze Age which can still be seen over to the northeast on Low Bradley Moor, although there are now only large piles of stones strewn around in a sort of circular fashion. (See below for further details).

Sources and related websites:-

© Ray Spencer, The Journal of Antiquities, 2017.      

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The Potteries Museum And Art Gallery, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire


The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs.

OS Grid Reference: SJ 88172 47323. The Potteries Museum And Art Gallery is a Local Authority Museum that is situated on Bethesda Street, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. Inside the museum there are displays and collections of artefacts from prehistory including The Leekfrith Torcs, while from the Dark Ages: The Staffordshire Hoard; also Natural History, Geology and Landscape. From more recent times there are displays of local ceramics and decorative arts. But by far the most famous thing on display must be the World War II Spitfire. The museum and art gallery stands just 160 metres to the northwest of Hanley Bus Station and is close to the City Central Library and Police Station; the A5006 (Broad Street) runs a little to the west of the museum. There is free admission. Times of opening are from Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm and on Sundays from 11am to 4pm. There is also an excellent café and shop.                                                                                                                                         

The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent.

The Potteries Museum at Hanley in North Staffordshire houses what are called ‘Designated Collections’. These range from ancient historical artefacts to a much more recent World War II Supermarine Spitfire, designed by Reginald J. Mitchell (1895-1937) from Talke, Stoke-on-Trent. As well as artefacts from the prehistory of Staffordshire, such as the 2,400-year-old ‘Leekfrith Torcs’ – the earliest known Iron-Age gold artefacts, there are more than 80 pieces from the famous ‘Staffordshire Hoard’ which found in 2009 and date back to the Anglo-Saxon Age. Also Local History, Geology and Landscapes of north Staffordshire, especially the Stoke-on-Trent area, with its rich history of industrial manufacturing sites ranging from coal mines to the famous pot-banks and canals that are so well-known to the area.

Apparently there are over 5,000 pieces of ceramic-ware much of which comes from the Potteries including Wedgewood and Minton. And from the 15th century to more recent times there is a fine collection of costumery and textiles. And a fine arts collection as well as Jade and Ivory pieces. Most pleasing must be the reconstructed, life-like street with shops and public house! A recent attraction for youngsters is the Secret (Sensory) Garden. The Art Gallery has paintings by the Classical artists including Picasso and Degas. The Potteries Museum has had a long association with two or three other local museums that also have collections and displays of pottery and industrial heritage. 

Sources and related websites:-

© Ray Spencer, The Journal of Antiquities, 2017.

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Panorama Stones, St Margaret’s Gardens, Ilkley, West Yorkshire

Panorama Rocks Information Board at St Margaret’s Gardens, Ilkley.

   OS Grid Reference: SE 11496 47298. In the woodland of  St Margaret’s Gardens also known as the Park opposite St Margaret’s Church on Queens Road in Ilkley, west Yorkshire, lie (behind iron railings) three large flat stones that were originally situated upon Ilkley Moor, ½ a mile to the southwest. These three stones or rocks were famous for their cup-and-ring carvings, but unfortunately the carvings are now very faint and not easy to make out; and two of the rocks were broken while being transported to their current location. There is a good information board here which gives details and illustrations of the 5,000 year old rock carvings. From the B6382 (The Grove) walk south up the steep Back Parish Ghyll Road and onto Albany Walk, then cross over the road and continue south up the steep lane to Queens Road and St Margaret’s Church. Walk onto Princess Road and there on the right-hand side are St Margaret’s Gardens and the railed off enclosure beneath the trees; the section with the stones in was locked when I last visited. 

Panorama Stone in St Margaret’s Gardens at Ilkley, west Yorkshire.

Panorama Stone and a close-up of the carvings.

   The three stones with their 5,000-year-old carvings are rather hidden behind the iron railings in the woodland at the edge of St Margaret’s Gardens, and the carvings (petroglyphs) are now quite faint and not easy to see, and they often have leaves covering them and moss growing in the cup-markings. The largest rock of the three is the actual Panorama Stone and, with the two smaller stones, was originally located behind the reservoir in Panorama Woods at about SE101470. They were brought to their current location in the late 19th century after ‘being’ found to be in the way of the town’s building extensions onto the edge of Ilkley Moor, also known as Rombald’s Moor; two of the rocks, one being the actual Panorama Stone itself, sadly, cracked as they were being lifted and this was made worse during transit. All three stones have cups with concentric ring carvings, or just cups on their own, but there are other curious designs too including lines or gulleys and ladder-like carvings linking or not linking cups, though most of these carvings are now only visible when the light is right!

    Author Paul Bennett (2001) while discussing ‘Barmishaw Stone’ on Ilkley Moor and its ladder-like carvings, says: “These ladder-like images, also found on the Panorama Stone opposite St Margaret’s Church in Ilkley, are unique in British rock art. While author J. C. Barringer (1982) while discussing the stone circles on Rombalds Moor, says that: “Perhaps better known and more intriguing than the stone circles are the carved ‘cup and ring’ stones which occur all along the north facing edge of Rombalds Moor on the exposed masses of millstone grit. He goes on to mention the clusters of cup-and-ring stones that can also be seen upon Snowdon Moor above Washburn Valley and the Chevin above the town of Otley, west Yorkshire. And Ian Longworth (1969) says that the carvings are: “circular hollows pecked into the rock’s surface sometimes surrounded by concentric rings.”                                                                                                                                                                          

Sources and related websites:-

Barringer, J. C., The Yorkshire Dales, Dalesman Publishing Company Ltd., 1982.                               

Bennett, Paul, The Old Stones of Elmet, Capall Bann Publishing, Milverton, Somerset, 2001.

Longworth, Ian, Regional Archaeologies – Yorkshire, Heineman Educational Books Ltd., London, 1969.

© Ray Spencer, The Journal of Antiquities, 2017.