Cup and ring marked rock 430m north of Morwick Hall


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014482

Date first listed: 20-Jul-1933

Date of most recent amendment: 01-Jul-1996


Ordnance survey map of Cup and ring marked rock 430m north of Morwick Hall
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Warkworth

National Grid Reference: NU 23307 04412


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

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 England.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


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.

MAP EXTRACT 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.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 24598

Legacy System: RSM


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

End of official listing