This is the story of a guide stoop. Errr, wot’s a stoop? Stay with me and you’ll find out!
How did people find the way before there were satnavs, before there were maps or even roads? Yes, they asked other people, who said ‘turn left at the big tree’ or ‘go straight past the tall stone’ – but trees fall over and stones get used for buildings. People easily got lost, especially on the moors of the Pennines.
In the late 1600s, a lady and her two children set out to walk the twenty miles to Sheffield to spend Christmas with her sister. They lost their way and their bodies were not found till the snow melted in Spring; they were huddled together in a hollow. This caused a public outcry and the Government passed a law in 1697, making the local Justices set up markers on tracks across the moors and at places where these tracks met. These way-markers were made of locally-available materials, and in the Pennines that meant stone. The word ‘stoop’ comes from the Norse word for a stone, so guide stoops are guide stones.
Now let’s look at an example…