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


Fontburn (b)

Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art

<b>Fontburn (b)</b>Posted by postmanImage © Chris Bickerton
Nearest Town:Morpeth (18km E)
OS Ref (GB):   NZ033934 / Sheet: 81
Latitude:55° 14' 4.67" N
Longitude:   1° 56' 53.17" W

Added by Hob

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<b>Fontburn (b)</b>Posted by postman <b>Fontburn (b)</b>Posted by postman <b>Fontburn (b)</b>Posted by postman <b>Fontburn (b)</b>Posted by postman <b>Fontburn (b)</b>Posted by postman <b>Fontburn (b)</b>Posted by postman <b>Fontburn (b)</b>Posted by postman <b>Fontburn (b)</b>Posted by postman <b>Fontburn (b)</b>Posted by postman <b>Fontburn (b)</b>Posted by rockandy <b>Fontburn (b)</b>Posted by rockandy <b>Fontburn (b)</b>Posted by rockandy <b>Fontburn (b)</b>Posted by rockandy <b>Fontburn (b)</b>Posted by rockandy <b>Fontburn (b)</b>Posted by rockandy <b>Fontburn (b)</b>Posted by Hob <b>Fontburn (b)</b>Posted by Hob <b>Fontburn (b)</b>Posted by Hob <b>Fontburn (b)</b>Posted by Hob <b>Fontburn (b)</b>Posted by Hob


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Park at the reservoir, there's two car parks, use the south one and park as close to the south end of it as possible. Walk into the woods that decorate the south shore of the lake and follow the path. It is very pretty in the woods this summer morning, a fox and two bounding Roe deer surprise and delight me. The path, about half way along the length of the lake goes out of the woods, but the path does follow along on the outside of the woods. Follow the path until you get to the big boulder, and Robert is very much your mothers brother.
I passed by this boulder six months ago but didn't know about the rock art, nor would I have cared as I was in a mad mad rush. I passed it by earlier this morning en route to the four poster, with nothing more than a quick peep just to make sure it was the boulder with the art, it was so I carried on going. But sunrise is over, the circle is done, and now I'm back, and Iv'e got to say I'm fairly gobsmacked.
I tried to locate a couple of the other rock art pieces round here, halfheartedly really, I didn't really have exact information on their whereabouts so I quickly gave up and made do with the big boulder. But making do is not the correct way to describe it, I'd come here just for this one rock, stone circle be damned, this one big rock is sublime.

Perhaps I was a bit drunk on the outdoors by the time I got here, I'd just seen a four poster stone circle, I've a soft spot for four posters, with a fairly successful summer solstice sunrise, some of Britains biggest mammals even put in an appearance, I was beginning to think of this morning as a microcosm of all my stoning trips rolled into one.

There are lots of cup marks with maybe three of them with rings, and gullies, can I call them gullies, grooves, lines. I got on the rock and blew all the pine needles out of the cups, I didn't get on the art, and I stayed on my knees, like the proverbial penitent man. The sun shining through the trees completed the magic upon me, the crystalline qualities of the rock sparkled and twinkled across what is dubbed the paw print in the morning light. A cuckoo cuckooed and a Heron croaked, and a postman fell in love a little bit more.
In the end I really had to tear myself away, when I got back to the car two and a half hours had passed.
You must come here.
The last one to Fontburn stinks.
postman Posted by postman
23rd June 2019ce
Edited 25th June 2019ce

Hob's cup marked boulder (see photos), just W of and in sight of Fontburn b, does not correspond to the other marked rock in the Beckensall archive, Fontburn d. This is located further to the NW of Hob's stone on the opposite side of a small stream just N of the bridle way (NZ 031 935).

The Beckensall archive describes Fontburn d as having four cups, one elongated, on the SSE face and two cups on the E face. The top surface of the boulder also has prominent grooves and these don't look particularly natural. The boulder is said to be located in the centre of a denuded cairn and there is another, more complete cairn further down the ridge towards the reservoir.

There are clearly other marked rocks on the S side of the Fallowlees Burn in and around the old enclosures further W (see, for example, the Fallowlees site post).
Posted by rockandy
18th December 2004ce
Edited 10th January 2005ce

This is the table like rock described in Stan Beckensall's 'Prehistoric rock art in Northumberland'. I think the grid ref given in the book may be a little off, as the stones is maybe 150m to the north east of the ref given which caused minor searching to begin with, but the photo in the book showed it is on the edge of conifer plantation, near a gate.

Approach from the bridlepath linking Newbiggin farm with Greenleighton farm, where the land rises towards the sheep pens marked on the map, turn left, and head towards the sheepfold with the tree in the middle (neat little structure that it is). Here there is a boulder with a single easy to spot cupmark. Look to the left, and the table-slab is visible lurking beneath the conifer branches. It has a strong presence, despite, or maybe because of the way in which it seems to be trying to tuck itself away. Unfortunately, the trees obscure the view, so it's hard to say if it could have a line of sight to the four-poster on the other side of Fallowlees burn.

Big Stan counted over 80 cups, pushed for time, I didn't even try and check, as some are very faint. The rings and arcs were visible, and I found myself in total agreement with the observation that whilst the slab is reminiscent of Old Bewick, the motifs are much simpler. The setting isn't anywhere near as good as Old Bewick either, but I really felt this slab has a presence. Despite effort not to do so, I couldn't help but imagine it slouching into the trees, grumbling in a Gilliamesque kinda way. It's undeniable that this is a good example of several species of small, simple motifs, gathered together on a slab, possibly even grooved together with a pick.
Hob Posted by Hob
13th July 2004ce