Guide Stones

A hexagonal guide-stoop near Stocksbridge

One of the most unusual guide-stoops in the county can be found just off the A616 Stocksbridge bypass in South Yorkshire: it is, as far as we know, unique in having six sides.

In the absence of pointing fingers, a traveller was to take the road to the right while facing the destination name on the stone.  But here the road layout is far from clear: in fact there are only five routes leading from the stoop in evidence today.

Going anti-clockwise from the north the destinations read as follows:

a)  Peni / stone / Huthe / rsfield / & / Halli / fax.  This route is shown on the modern OS map only as a right of way heading north-north-west from the stone.

b)  Wood / head / & / Mottra[m].  The present Salter Hill Lane; as its name implies, this route is the old saltway from Cheshire via Longdendale to Yorkshire, preceding but following roughly the same route as the 1732-40 turnpike, now the A628; several old milestones survive on it.

c)  Under / bank / & / Brad / field.  Going roughly southwards: the present Underbank Lane.

d)  Shef / field / & / Rotter / eham.  The main continuation of the saltway into South Yorkshire: the present Tofts Lane.

e)  Barns / ley / & / Ponte / fract / 1734 / Don / caster.  There is no obvious route going in this direction from this point.

f)  Wake / field / & / Leeds.  The present Dyson Cote Lane, heading north-north-east. 

The easiest way to find the stone is from the Stocksbridge bypass (A616): take the turn-off south directing to the Steelworks (West Access), followed shortly by the next left turn, which is Underbank Lane, going under the bypass and uphill to the junction.

Sources: English Heritage; and B Elliott: Discovering South Yorkshire (1998)
RWH / March 2012