1) A cairn.

As a place-name suffix this derives from Old English hl?w and it referred in literary texts of that period to an artificial mound, one which marked the site of a burial or a place where treasure might be hidden. More generally it is said to have meant a mound or hill, possibly one that resembled a tumulus. It survived as a vocabulary item in the West Riding, certainly into the early seventeenth century, and it is employed there in boundary descriptions, where it referred to a pile of stones, a cairn that is. Such ‘laws’ were probably erected as boundary markers: 1532 and so from that Meer to another Law of stones in Smolden, Kildwick. In 1594, a marker on the boundary between Midgley and Wadsworth was described as one heap of stones now called Sabile’s Law and the Ecclesall name Ringing Low was described in 1574 as a great heape of stones called Ringinglawe. Not all the examples noted are so explicit. A Meltham indenture of 1571 mentions one rode of land … lyinge on the west side the lawe and a Barkisland deed of 1611 has a parcel of land under the Lawe att the Hystondelffe. Nevertheless, these almost certainly referred to heaps of stones that had been erected to serve as markers. As a small plan was drawn on the reverse of the Barkisland document we can clearly see what a ‘law’ looked like to our ancestors: it was a cairn.

dates 1532 1574 1594 1611

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