Mark’s History: West Leeds connections scratched into Cow and Calf Rocks

cow and calf rocks ilkley
West Leeds connections in Ilkley. Photo: Mark Stevenson

Sometimes West Leeds connections can pop up in the most unlikely places, writes Mark Stevenson.

If you have ever been up to Ilkley Moor and the Cow and Calf Rocks you cannot fail to notice all of the graffiti scratched into the rocks by people from all over the world.

The graffiti is mainly people’s names and dates, with the odd wedding proposal thrown in.

One piece of graffiti grabbed my attention more so than the rest because it said ‘Kitson Hargreaves, Bramley 1869’. 

Around the Cow and Calf Rocks are various disused Quarries and it just so happens that a Kitson Hargreaves is mentioned on the census whose occupation was a Quarryman.

In 1871 there was a John K Hargreaves living at 18 Back Lane, Horsforth, with his wife and two daughters but it makes no mention of his son who appears on the next census in 1881 aged 16.

In 1881 the name John K was not used but Kitson was. The family and occupation mentioned for both names is the same so I am guessing it was the same man. Kitson is now living at Chapel House in Bagley in 1881.

I think Chapel House is a bit misleading and could well be a street or a ‘block of flats’ because various people lived there with various occupations that had nothing to do with a Chapel.

Another stone has Bramley carved on it but I was not sure if it meant the place or someone’s name


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