Ancient Monuments

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Prehistoric rock art and Runic inscription in Lemmington Wood

A Scheduled Monument in Edlingham, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.3908 / 55°23'26"N

Longitude: -1.7974 / 1°47'50"W

OS Eastings: 412930.92

OS Northings: 610779.04

OS Grid: NU129107

Mapcode National: GBR H6W3.NC

Mapcode Global: WHC1J.CRBP

Entry Name: Prehistoric rock art and Runic inscription in Lemmington Wood

Scheduled Date: 7 April 2014

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1418674

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Edlingham

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Whittingham and Edlingham with Bolton Chapel

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


A rock art panel bearing two motifs of Neolithic/early Bronze Age date and an early medieval Runic inscription.

Source: Historic England


Description: the panel (ERA 579) is located on one of the highest parts of the fell sandstone group arc and commands extensive views; the panel measures 1.8m by 1m and is oriented east to west. On the flat part of the outcrop are two carved motifs; the first comprises a cup with a ring which is joined to a second cup which is surrounded by a complete ring and a second eroded ring or pennanular. About 30cm to the south on a sloping face of the same outcrop are three carved linear features which have been interpreted as an extremely rare example of runes in England. Experts in Runic inscriptions have interpreted the text as either ‘to leave or leave behind’, from the Old English verb laefen, or ‘a remnant or relic,’ from laf. An alternative is that they are Old Norse, from the noun lof, meaning ‘praise or permission,’ or laf, meaning ‘bread or sustenance.’ 

Extent of Scheduling: defined as a circle with a diameter of 5m in order to include a sample of the archaeologically sensitive surrounding ground.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The prehistoric rock art and early medieval Runic inscription in Lemmington Wood is scheduled for the following principal reasons:
* Survival: despite susceptibility to natural weathering, the rock art motifs are reasonably well-defined and the Runic inscription is readily legible;
* Documentation: early medieval society is poorly documented and no such evidence is available for prehistoric societies, hence the value of the archaeological remains of these periods to inform our understanding of their belief systems is particularly important;
* Diversity: this panel displays a complex arrangement of two linked motifs, enhanced by the survival of a later runic inscription;
* Potential: the panel will inform our knowledge of prehistoric and early medieval society through individual study of the motifs and runes and through an increased understanding of the circumstances in which they were created and used.

Source: Historic England


England's Rock Art, accessed from
Northumberland County Council HER : 4471,

Source: Historic England

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