The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Millstone Hill

Cup Marked Stone


It was a horrible day with rain (sleet on the hills) and mist. However, the trusty hound wanted to go out and see some rock art, so I gave in and we went up to Ros Castle.

Millstone Hill is just over 1km NE of Ros Castle through deep wet heather and along the overgrown ?path on the E side of the substantial wall that makes the boundary of the Chillingham Castle estate and keeps you away from the wild white cattle. Fallen trees with wet branches, bog and heather made this a memorable experience.

We were heading for one of the more obscure panels of rock art in the Beckensall archive. This had not been revisited (probably never since 1990) and the grid reference given (actually very accurate) was based on the OS map, not a GPS. Just like the old days!

I give two pictures but apologise for the quality. Someone will just have to go back there, won't they?

The rock is a gently sloping outcrop surrounded by deep heather which has been carved with cups linked by grooves; as Stan Beckensall says "like strings of beads". This motif, although rare, is found elsewhere in Northumberland and further afield.

There are many cairns in the area - some probably from field clearance, but also a few kerbed cairns used for cremation burials. George Jobey excavated some on Millstone Hill in 1980 before afforestation but I don't know how their position relates to that of the cup marked outcrop which wasn't recorded at the time. Mr Berthele subsequently discovered a large triangular cup marked slab in a plough furrow when the forest was planted close to the excavated cairns. This portable stone is illustrated by Beckensall (1983 p.43) and is now at Chillingham Castle.

I took the way back through Ros Hill Wood to the E down the much easier system of forest rides. Don't attempt this without a GPS. This lets you visit the Ox Eye long cairn on the way back.
Posted by rockandy
11th March 2006ce
Edited 17th March 2006ce

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