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

Hanging Stones

Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art


Under the famous Hanging Stone, with its mystic "cup and ring" sculptures, the rock is hollowed out forming a deep overhanging cavity, and I am told that this ancient rock-shelter has been known from time immemorial as "Fairies' Kirk," and traditions of its having been tenanted by those tiny sprites, the fairies, still exist among old people in the neighbourhood. When the Saxons established themselves at Ilkley they were going to build a church up here, but the fairies strongly resented. They would have none of it, and so their little temple was erected in the vale below. The fairies distrust any intrusion upon their own sacred places [...] I cannot go into all the details I have heard of the antics of these mysterious little people here and in the neighbouring gills.
From Upper Wharfedale by Harry Speight (1900). He also writes:
Hanging Stones (west of Cow and Calf), cup and ring marked. Some vandal has been imitating the primeval sculptures by chiselling on the same stone, but the freshness of the recent work is at once seen. It is to be regretted that quarrying has been permitted to get so near this exceedingly valuable monument of antiquity, a relic which, as the ages roll on, must gather an ever-deepening interest.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
23rd January 2013ce

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