Ancient Monuments

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Cup and ring marked rock 430m north of Morwick Hall

A Scheduled Monument in Warkworth, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.3332 / 55°19'59"N

Longitude: -1.6341 / 1°38'2"W

OS Eastings: 423307.558256

OS Northings: 604412.250562

OS Grid: NU233044

Mapcode National: GBR K61S.00

Mapcode Global: WHC1Z.W60T

Entry Name: Cup and ring marked rock 430m north of Morwick Hall

Scheduled Date: 20 July 1933

Last Amended: 1 July 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014482

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24598

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Warkworth

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Warkworth St Lawrence

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes an incised rock called Jack Rock situated above the
River Coquet 430m north of Morwick Hall. The rock is one of two sandstone
cliffs, 10m to 15m high, rising from the river within 150m of each other on
opposite banks of the Coquet. Jack Rock is on the south bank and is inscribed
on its north face with spirals and cup marks pecked out of the natural
surface. From the top of the cliff there are views along the river, however,
the incised markings are only visible from river level. The river bank at this
point is narrow and the markings are most easily seen when the river level is
low. They were first discovered in 1876.
The designs occur in two groups separated by a large projecting rock and
have been classified by Beckensall as horned spirals, triple spirals and
running spirals, the outer circle of one is composed of dots or pits. They are
carved into the face of the cliff and only occur on north and east facing
aspects of the rock. The designs are mainly situated between 3m and 6m above
the level of the river although some lie at flood water level; they range in
size from 0.15m to 0.3m in diameter. The eastern group of markings occur along
a 12m stretch of the cliff face and on the east face of the projecting rock.
They lie in six separate clusters no more than 1.5m apart. The markings all
contain spiral motifs except for one which appears to be an arrangement of
concentric sub rectangular shapes. The western group of markings occur along a
15m stretch of the cliff and appear more crudely worked than the eastern
group. There are again six clusters of carvings lying no more than 2.5m apart.
The markings include spirals, dots and concentric rings.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Prehistoric rock art is found on natural rock outcrops in many areas of upland
Britain. It is especially common in the north of England in Northumberland,
Durham and North and West Yorkshire. The most common form of decoration is the
`cup and ring' marking where expanses of small cup-like hollows are pecked
into the surface of the rock. These cups may be surrounded by one or more
`rings'. Single pecked lines extending from the cup through the `rings' may
also exist, providing the design with a `tail'. Other shapes and patterns also
occur, but are less frequent. Carvings may occur singly, in small groups, or
may cover extensive areas of rock surface. They date to the Late Neolithic and
Bronze Age periods (2800-c.500 BC) and provide one of our most important
insights into prehistoric `art'. The exact meaning of the designs remains
unknown, but they may be interpreted as sacred or religious symbols.
Frequently they are found close to contemporary burial monuments and the
symbols are also found on portable stones placed directly next to burials or
incorporated in burial mounds. Around 800 examples of prehistoric rock-art
have been recorded in England. This is unlikely to be a realistic reflection
of the number carved in prehistory. Many will have been overgrown or destroyed
in activities such as quarrying. All positively identified prehistoric rock
art sites exhibiting a significant group of designs will normally be
identified as nationally important.

The cup and ring marked rock north of Morwick Hall is well preserved and
displays a range of motifs including spirals, the rarest symbol found on
incised rocks and only known at one other site in Northumberland, at Lilburn.
The site is also unusual in that the designs are incised on the vertical cliff
face. It will contribute to our understanding of prehistoric rock art in

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Beckensall, S, Prehistoric Rock Motifs of Northumberland Volume 2, (1992), 55-57
Hodgson, J C, 'Warkworth, Shilbottle, Brainshaugh' in A History of Northumberland, , Vol. 5, (1899), 344-345

Source: Historic England

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