Scar Top, Netherton

Scar Top, Netherton.jpg

Scar Top, also known as the "Devil's Rock" and "Lover's Leap", is one of several gritstone buttresses that jut out above Spring Wood, Netherton, which are accessible via Hill Top and Scar Top Road.

Two local legends are attached the Scar Top and the indentation on its surface:[1]

  • A family of giants once dwelled in Magdale, to the east of the rock. One day, the daughter of the family went missing and her father searched the surrounding area for her. Eventually he heard that she'd been seen on Wolfstones Height, a hill 3 miles due south and near to Netherthong. The giant took a run up and jumped off Scar Top with such force that he left his footprint embedded in the surface. Landing on Wolfstones Height, he found his daughter apparently asleep on the hill, but soon discovered that she had lain down and had perished in the night. The daughter then turned to stone and the summit of the hill is said to be formed of her body. The nearby ridge is known by locals as "Child o' th' Edge".
  • A variation of the giant legend has Satan himself jumping from Scar Top to Castle Hill, some 3 miles distant, and the indentation is his hoof mark. Supposedly the Devil still wanders the labyrinthine tunnels under Castle Hill.

Such legends are typical of rocky outcrops and large stones in the landscape — for example, the Cow and Calf rocks on Ilkley Moor were supposedly split when the giant Rombald jumped across the valley from them.[2] Curiously, historian George Redmonds has noted that around 19 acres of land in the valley below Scar Top was once known as Rombalds Moor.

The location of Scar Top, which offered both seclusion and good visibility to see anyone approaching, made it a popular site with local ne'er-do-wells.

On the morning of Sunday 19 January 1890, Police Constable Burns was walking along Scar Top Road when he spotted a group of men gambling at Scar Top. They ran off but left behind playing cards and money. Local millhands Abraham Todd, George Sykes, Frederick Robertshaw and Sutcliffe Robertshaw were found guilty of gambling at the County Police Court and fined a total of 12 shillings each.[3]

In earlier years, the site had also become a popular location for church outings during Whitsuntide and members of the Netherton Wesleyan church walked to Scar Top on the afternoon of Monday 5 June 1865, where they sang hymns together.[4] Newspaper articles from the 1860s onwards similarly record annual Whitsuntide picnics and games at Scar Top, mostly by the local Methodist and Independent churches.[5]

Further Reading


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Notes and References

  1. Both legends are recounted in Kai Roberts' books, Haunted Huddersfield (2012) and Folklore of Yorkshire (2013).
  2. Wikipedia: Ilkley Moor
  3. Huddersfield Chronicle (29/Jan/1890).
  4. "Netherton" in Huddersfield Chronicle (10/Jun/1865).
  5. See, for example, Huddersfield Chronicle Whitsuntide reports on 15 June 1867, 6 June 1868, 10 June 1870, 18 May 1894 and 8 June 1895.