Dig unearths ancient mine and Roman road
Last posted: Friday 10 October 2003 12:10
ARCHAEOLOGISTS have unearthed evidence of a Roman road and Bronze Age settlement at a multi-million pound business and leisure park development... continues...
Dr. Borlase, in his Antiquities of Cornwall, notices the existence of Druidical Rock Basins, which appear to have been scooped out of the granite rocks and boulders which lie on the tops of the hills in the county. Several such cavities in stones are found on Brimham Rocks, near Knaresborough, and they have also been found at Plumpton and Rigton, in Yorkshire, and on Stanton Moor, in Derbyshire.
The writer first drew attention to the fact of similar Druidical remains existing in Lancashire in a paper read before the Historical Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, in December, 1864. They are found in considerable numbers around Boulsworth, Gorple, Todmorden, and on the hills which separate Lancashire from Yorkshire between these places.
Commencing the enumeration of the groups of boulders, &c., containing rock basins, with the slopes of Boulsworth, about seven miles from Burnley, we have first the Standing Stones, mostly single blocks of millstone grit, at short distances from each other on the north-western side of the hill. one is locally termed the Buttock Stone, and near it is a block which has a circular cavity scooped out on its flat upper surface. Not far from these are the Joiner Stones, the Abbot Stone, the Weather Stones, and the Law Lad Stones (? from llad, British, sacrifices).
Next come the Great and Little Saucer Stones, so named from the cavities scooped out upon them. The Little Chair Stones, the Fox Stones, and the Broad Head Stones lie at no great distance, each group containing numerous like cavities. Several of these groups are locally named from resemblance to animals or other objects, as the Grey Stones and the Steeple Stones on Barn Hill, and one spur of Boulsworth is called Wycoller Ark, as resembling a farmer's chest or ark.
On Warcock Hill several groups of natural rocks and boulders are locally named Dave or Dew Stones. On the surface of one immense Dave Stone boulder is a perfect hemispherical cavity, ten inches in diameter. The surface of a nother contains an oblong basin of larger dimensions, with a long grooved channel leading from its curved contour towards the edge of the stone. On a third there are four circular cavities of varying dimensions, the largest in the centre, and three others surrounding it, but none of these is more than a few inches in diameter. At the Bride Stones, near Todmorden, thirteen cavities were counted on one block, and eleven on another. All the basins here and elsewhere are formed on the flat surfaces of the blocks; their upper surfaces always being parallel to the lamination of the stone.
Along Widdop Moor we find the Grey Stones, the Fold Hole Stones, the Clattering Stones, and the Rigging Stones; the last named from occupying the rig or ridge of the hills in the locality. Amongst the Bride Stones is an immense mass of rock which might almost be classed among the rocking stones. it is about twenty-five feet in height, at least twelve feet across its broadest part, and rests on a base only about two feet in diameter.
The Todmorden group contains the Hawk Stones, on Stansfield Moor, not far from Stiperden Cross, on the line of the Long Causeway (a Roman road); the Bride Stones, near Windy Harbour; the Chisley Stones, near Keelham; and Hoar Law, not far from Ashenhurst Royd and Todmorden. The rock basins on these boulders are very numerous, and of all sizes from a few inches in diameter and depth to upwards of two feet. The elliptical axes of some of these basins did not appear to the writer to have been caused by the action of wind or water, or to follow any regular law.
Lastly, taking for a centre, Gorple, about five miles south-east of Burnley is another extensive group of naked rocks and boulders. Close to the solitary farm-house there are the Gorple Stones; and at a short distance the Hanging Stones form conspicuous objects in the sombre landscape. On Thistleden Dean are the Upper, Middle, and Lower Whinberry Stones, so named from the "whinberry" shrubs, with which this moor abounds. The Higher and Lower Boggart Stones come next, and these are followed by the Wicken Clough, and other minor groups of stones. Above Gorple Bottom is another set of grey stones; and these are followed by the Upper, Middle, and Lower Hanging Stones, on Shuttleworth Moor. The rock basins here are very numerous, and mostly well defined. There are forty-three cavities in these Gorple, Gorple Gate, and Hanging Stones, ranging from four to forty inches in length, from four to twenty-five in breadth, and from two to thirteen inches in depth.
The County Council has done it again !. Unlike MARIO, this site gives access to a lagre collecton of maps covering the county.
From general Lancasire maps such as Speed 1610, Lancashire Town maps c. 1890 to O.S. 1st Edition 6" maps c. 1845. A useful research tool!
A great research tool provided by Lancashire County Council that enables you to overlay and compare the current edition of O.S. map for Lancashire with the 1st edition O.S. map. You can also drop on aerial photograph layer to give you a better feel of the lay of the land.
Although I didn't get to manage to visit the rock feature I did visit the atmospheric ruined church, rock cut graves and superb hogback grave stone.
In the church tea rooms is a small display of Mesolithic flint tools found at the site whilst being excavated. The information sign states that over 14,000 such flint tools were discovered at this site!
I have to say it must have been a pretty bleak and exposed place in the winter months!
Hmm imagine being glowered over by those rocks on the hill above. And they can look after themselves (to a point):
On the edge of Ravenstone precipice, in Greenfield, there formerly stood a large rocking stone (by the rocking of which the Druids tried their criminals for minor offences), but this stone was ruthlessly destroyed by the miners engaged in excavating the Standedge canal tunnel. These worse than Celtic barbarians assembled on this spot, and blew this time-honoured memorial into countless fragments, one of which, however, struck one of the men and killed him on the spot.
From Saddleworth Sketches by Joseph Bradbury, 1871.
There are more curious stones a mere 500 metres away at Alderman's rocks, and the old maps have the "Fairy Hole" at SE01520469 - surely what this must refer to?
On the hill of Alderman, but nearer to Greenfield than is Pots and Pans, is a long fissure in the earth, about 14 yards in length, each end of which terminates in a cavernous hole in the rock. Tradition says that into one of these holes A fox and dog, once on a Whitsun morn,
Entered in chase, but never to return.
Besides the basins already mentioned, there is a long uneven hole on Pots and Pans rock, which Borlase supposes was made to receive the bodies of diseased persons, in order that the god of the rock might heal them.
In confirmation of this opinion, I have often heard it said that the water of the basins on Pots and Pans rock "will cure sore eyes," which superstition has in all probability been transmitted to us from the Druidical period.
Butterworth mentions a stone called Pancake, and on which, he says, was the "long uneven hole" just mentioned, but he has evidently confounded the two stones. At the time the canal locks were being made, Pots and Pans narrowly escaped destruction, and Pancake was destroyed, together with the Giant's Stone - so called from having the impress of a gigantic hand upon it,
- and a "rock idol" (?), thus described by Butterworth and others who had seen it:- "A little west(?) of Pancake (Pots and Pans he means) is a stone about twenty feet in height, but much narrower at the top (than bottom (?), from whence proceed irregular flutings down one side of about two feet in length, by some supposed to be the effect of time, and by others the workmanship of art.
In all probability if you wash your eyes in the water you may then require the use of the long uneven hole. From Saddleworth Sketches by Joseph Bradbury, 1871.