The Labyrinth


Hi Folks

We have had a great weeks break in South Lakeland and on our tour we called in a second hand bookshop in Carnforth

On examining a book on archaeology (I purchased) I found slipped into the back cover a newspaper cutting torn from “The Visitor” dated Sept 13th 1995 a local publication from the Morecambe area

The article referred to the discovery of a Labyrinth carving located on the foreshore below Heysham Head in Lancashire by visitor Clive Dainty

This is a rare find and I have not been aware of this site before

The Labyrinth carving has parallels with the ones at Rocky Valley, Tintagel, Cornwall there origins may date back to the Neolithic or to more recent times?



13 Responses to The Labyrinth

  1. Ashamed to say I lived in Heysham for a couple of years in my youth ie one’s inquiring time, and knew nothing of this.

  2. Hougenai says:

    I was shown the site during summer 1999 by the late Chris Salisbury. He was an archaeologist best known for cave excavations in South Cumbria (Transactions of Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society) but also conducted an excavation on the small ‘plateau’ below the rock cut graves of St Peter’s chapel during the early 1990’s. No structures were identified but many lithics, tools and waste, were recorded-these are, for the most part held in Lancaster Museum although some were displayed in the church’s community centre. The work was published in’In Contrebis’, which i believe are the transactions of a Lancashire and Cheshire based arch society. The rock art was shown to him at the time by an unknown local.

  3. rockartuk says:

    Oeps…… just in case the above mentioned link isn’t working, here’s another one:
    Hope this one works!

  4. rockartuk says:

    Here’s an article by George Nash which he e-mailed to me on the 3th of December 2008:
    Thanks for the nice up-date, George!

  5. rockartuk says:

    I’ve also uploaded some nice photos of the Heysham Labyrinth, taken by Paul Brown last March.
    Here a link to the article “The Rocky valley Labyrinths” by Abegael Saward, published in Caerdroia, The Journal of Mazes & Labyrinths, nr. 32, 2001, p. 21-7:
    A good read about the dating of labyrinths in the UK in general and those in the Rocky Valley in particular.

  6. rockartuk says:

    Hi Folks,
    Going through my (old) e-mails, I found one sent to me by George Nash last May. It was all about the Heysham Labyrinth and a recent photo was attached.
    So sorry that it slipped through…….
    Hope to make it up to you with a link to George’s photo and accompanying text.
    Here it is:

  7. Stoneman says:

    Hi George

    That’s interesting we will visit the area ourselves and take a closer look at the carving!
    Rumour has said the site was visited by St Patrick on route to Ireland with the old chapel named St. Patrick’s Chapel. this may have some truth in it
    I think in the past the headland was a site of pilgrimage so an early date for the carving may be feasible it would be nice to consider a Neolithic origin?

    Best Paul

  8. George Nash says:

    Dear Stoneman and Paul B,

    I have managed to find this labyrinth. It took a bit of doing. The grid reference was a tab out (by 400m). The carving is alas very weathered and has been graffitied over. I visited the site on Boxing Day when the light conditions were at there worst. I intend to revisit the site in late January armed with GPS etc. What I could see of the image suggest to me that it is post-medieval rather than prehistoric (very similar to the Rocky Valley labyrinths in Cornwall). Closer examination may reveal otherwise. Furthermore, I think there may be several more within the vicinity (according to the locals).

    Watch this space

    George Nash

  9. George Nash says:

    Hi Paul,

    Many thanks. On a personal note, I was married there in 2003!


  10. Stoneman says:

    Hello George Nash

    I have not been to see the site as yet!
    Below is the record from my sites database

    11-HHL1-The Headland Heysham Lancashire SD 411 612 Close to the beach and the ruins of St Patricks Chapel is a rare Labyrinth carved on sandstone outcrop It lays just outside our survey area in Lancashire noted in the “The Visitor” dated Sept 13th 1995 a local publication from the Morecambe area Discovered by Clive Dainty 1995 The Labyrinth carving has parallels with the ones at Rocky Valley, Tintagel, Cornwall there origins may date back to the Neolithic or to more recent times?

    regards Paul B

  11. George Nash says:

    Can anyone tell precisely where the Heysham labyrinth is?



  12. geocur says:

    That will an interesting read George , look forward to it . I recently came across the Solovetsky labyrinths which , not rock art in the usual sense they do employ the figure in a structure and have had Neolithic claims made for them .

  13. George Nash says:

    Dear Rock-art Team,

    Just to let you know that I have managed to research both labyrinths at Rocky Valley and I can confirm that the southern labyrinth is constructed in two phases. The latest phase comprises a gouged curvilinear labyrinth which is what we see today. However, underneath this are traces of a pecked one and this may be prehistoric. The full results of this are to appear in a forthcoming book on British rock-art published by myself, Aron Mazel and Clive Waddington (in late 2007).

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