The Journal Of Antiquities

Ancient Sites In Great Britain & Southern Ireland


Rivington Cup-Marked Stone, Anderton, Lancashire

Rivington Cup-Marked Stone (Photo courtesy of Simon Mortimer)

Rivington Cup-Marked Stone (Photo courtesy of Simon Mortimer)

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.

Rivington Cup-Marked Stone, Lancashire (photo credit Mary Chester-Kadwell)

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).