The Journal Of Antiquities

Ancient Sites In Great Britain & Southern Ireland

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Doubler Stones, Addingham High Moor, West Yorkshire

Doubler Stones on Addingham High Moor, west Yorkshire.

Doubler Stones on Addingham High Moor, west Yorkshire.

   OS Grid Reference: SE07230 46525. On the windswept Addingham High Moor, west Yorkshire, there stands the heavily weather-worn rocks known as ‘Doubler Stones’ – part of an outcrop of grit and sandstone rocks; their enigmatic rock-shapes being something of a great curiousity to moorland walkers down the years. These strange, weathered stones lie at the south-western edge of Rombald’s Moor. At least one of the Doubler Stones has cup-and-ring carvings, and a few other rocks here and further up the hill might have “possible” faint cup-marks. To reach the stones from the town of Silsden: take the Bolton Road going north-east, then east along Brown Bank Lane, then take Light Bank Lane over the moor to the south-east. Just after White Crag House: take the concrete track up to the gate, then walk along here to the house on the left. Take one of two footpaths north for a short while to Doubler Stones. 

Ghostly shaped Doubler Stones in west Yorkshire.

Ghostly shaped Doubler Stones in west Yorkshire.

   These strange-shaped rocks are part of an outcrop of gritstone and sandstone rocks that stand like weather-worn sentinels watching over the moorland. They have taken on the shape of giant mushrooms or salt and pepper pots, but here they are locally called ‘Doubler Stones’ but whether this is because there are two of them – is not certain. It’s more likely that the name “Doubler” is derived from saucer or dish-shaped stones and this is indeed what they are; the tops of the stones are gritstone rocks that are now eroded and saucer-shaped, while the lower parts are made of very soft Sandstone, and this is why the middle sections have eroded down quite severly and become, over thousands of years, like ‘thin waistlines’ or bottle-neck shapes. One of the Doubler Stones has what looks to be a cluster of tiny cup-marks and a few other “possible” cups with rings and interlinking channels or grooves. A few other rocks here might have faint cup-marks – although these could be geological features. Another outcrop of rocks just up the moor to the east is also of interest as there are a few more “possible” cup-markings on the larger rocks.

One of the Doubler Stones on Addingham High Moor.

One of the Doubler Stones on Addingham High Moor.

   The author Paul Bennett in his renowned work ‘The Old Stones of Elmet’, gives his account of Doubler Stones: “One of the stones is a giant earth-fast mushroom, eight feet tall, whose upper surface is covered in a number of cup-markings. Ten yards away at the small crag we find the second Doubler Stone, atop of which are two large ‘bowls’ and perhaps some faint cup-markings, but these are debatable.” Bennett goes on to say that: “Nicholas Size (1934) described the stones to be haunted. It is very likely that this site would have possessed the spirits of some ancestral being, hero or other diety in ancient times. Ritual magickians have used the Doubler Stones to great effect. Amidst a decidedly yin landscape, the Doublers intrude with a potent yang quality. A brilliant site and well worth visiting!”

Sources and other related websites:-

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

                                                                          © Ray Spencer, The Journal Of Antiquities, 2016.


Brimham Rocks, Summerbridge, North Yorkshire

Brimham Rocks, near Summerbridge, North Yorkshire.

Os grid reference SE 2085 6458. About 2 miles to the north of Summerbridge in Nidderdale, north Yorkshire, is Brimham Moor on which can be found the millstone grit outcrops known as Brimham Rocks, with many weird and grotesque-shaped rocks that have been eroded by the elements over many thousands of years. The rock outcrops here cover between 50-60 acres of the moorland. These weathered rocks, boulders and tors have, probably since the Victorian Age, been given strange names – many looking like animals – others like the devil, druids and even Mother Shipton. A carpark is provided for visitors near to Brimham House (now The National Trust visitors Centre) with numerous paths weaving in and out around the rocks, which are surrounded and partly hidden by birch trees, bracken and heather. The site is now owned by The National Trust Estate. Brimham Rocks are 3 miles to the east of Pateley Bridge on the B6265 road.

The millstone grit outcrops on Brimham Moor were first laid down in geological terms some 400 million years ago, but the erosion and weathering only actually began in somewhat more recent times – to be precise some 18,000 years ago during one of the Ice-Ages. Glaciation and sedimentation first played its part, then the elements like rain wind and frosts began to slowly weather the rocks into the strange grotesque shapes that we see today, and this has been going on since that time. The huge rocks have gradually formed themselves into pinnacles, buttreses, tors and crags – some of them being 50 feet high and weighing up to 200 tonnes.

English: Idol Rock - Brimham Rocks

Idol Rock – Brimham Rocks (Photo credit: Penny Mayes – Wikipedia)

Here we can see some of the most odd-shaped rock formations in the north of England. The most famous being the 15 foot high Idol Rock, also called ‘The Druids Idol’ or ‘The Druid’s Writing Desk’ which sits or pivots on a lump of rock only 1 foot in circumference, looking like it could fall over at any moment! But it dosen’t. The Turtle Rock or ‘Eagle Rock’ is also quite a distinctive shape as are The Leaning Tower Rock and Elephant Rock, but so too are the so-called ‘Sphinx Rock’ (Dancing Bear), ‘Crown Rock and Kissing Chair’, ‘The Knob’ and ‘Anvil Rock’. There are also rock formations that resemble the devil and Mother Shipton, a 17th century prophetess who lived in a cave beside the river Nidd at Knaresborough. So did she ever visit Brimham Rocks? And one of the rocking stones apparently has some prehistoric cup-marks near its base, which would suggest that Neolithic tribes inhabited the area and probably recognised it has being a sacred place.

Rock climbers used to be able to climb the rocks and tors but I don’t know whether they are still allowed to do that today? But people do still attempt to stand or sit on top of some of the more accessible outcrops and rocks in order to get a good view of Nidderdale and the surrounding areas.


Hammond, Reginald J. W., Ward Lock’s Red Guide — The Yorkshire Dales, Ward Lock & Co. London, 1965.

Poucher, W.A., The Peaks & Pennines, Constable, London, 1973.

Rawson, Jerry., Hidden Gems – Dalesman (Vol 66 No.11), Dalesman Publishing, Skipton, North Yorkshire, 2005.

Copyright © Ray Spencer, The Journal of Antiquities, 2013 (up-dated 2022).