Meer Stones of Grassington Moor

When lead mining on Grassington Moor became more intensive in the early 18th Century, miners were granted mining rights on areas of land on the mineral veins, called meers, in return for a share of the smelted lead being paid to the owner of the mineral rights. A meer was about 30 yards by 15 yards, and the original finder of the vein was granted two meers. Longer grants were made, and leases were bought and sold so some holdings became considerably larger.

From 1764 to about 1790 stones were set in the ground to help mark out the extremities of the leases. These varied in style, some being merely earth fast rocks, and others being set in the ground; some have lettering and numbering carved into them which identified the holder of the lease, and some are devoid of markings. Those which mark the first meer granted on a vein are often marked with the word "founder". When Dr. Raistrick originally mapped these, he found over 140 spread out over the moor, but many were stolen in the 1970s. Many of the surviving stones appear to relate to the grants made in the 1770s, and a number have been correlated with plans of the moor showing the lease holdings.

This document records 73 stones known to be still on the moor and elsewhere. The grid references were taken with a GPS instrument, and are probably accurate to within about five metres. More details on the individual stones may be found by clicking on the pictures. A Google Map showing the location of a stone may be seen by clicking on its grid reference. Clicking on the main picture will display a larger version.

The locations of the recorded meer stones are available in the following formats: Google Earth format (meerstones.kml); GPS Exchange Format (meerstones.gpx), and the data file upon which they and this website were generated (meerstones.xml).

Note that Grassington Moor is a scheduled monument (Scheduled Monument 31331), and meer stones are specifically mentioned in the description of the monument. They should be respected, and you should be aware that it may be a criminal offence to interfere with them.

This is very much a joint project, and grateful acknowledgement is made to Mike Gill for reading through the web site and making suggestions; to Tom Knapp for pointing out some typographical errors; to Andy Booth, Gordon Booth, Chris Camm, John Crossland, Paul Dollery, Ian Geldard, Matt Geldard, Chas Roberts, Arthur Stockdale, Matt Town, and Robert White for drawing the author's attention to stones he had been unaware of; to Robin Miller and Chris Camm for making some fine drawings available; and to Andy Booth, John Crossland, Paul Dollery, Gordon Booth, and Debbi Allen of the Dales Countryside Museum for use of their photographs. The author also pays homage to Arthur Raistrick and the members of both the Northern Cavern and Mine Research Society and the Northern Mine Research Society on whose works the author has been totally reliant.

Please click on one of the meer stones below to see more details.

Sources of background material and further reading