A couple of months ago, while doing a bit of reading on my local area, I came across a reference to Ashleigh Street, Darwen, and the barrow that had once been here. I thought about walking down to Ashleigh Street, it being a 15 minute walk away from my house, but ended up sidetracked and thinking there would be no point anyway, as I was under the impression that this was now the site of a building. Today (23/1/3) I decided to pay a visit with my camera, on my way to the supermarket, if only to capture the location of this site. On arriving I was pretty surprised to find that the place had a facelift in 1990 (the book I had read was from the mid eighties) and was now partly restored/reconstructed by the Ashleigh Conservation group. Since 1990 the site must have been left a little, as it did look a little bit shabby (could be the time of year though) and slightly vandalised, but it was a pleasant surprise nonetheless.
Many superstitions were attached to the barrow and its destruction in the 1860s, with the country people speaking of the place being haunted by boggarts and children having been known to take off their clogs and walk past barefoot at night.
The following information is taken from a book published in the mid-eighties - things have changed quite a bit since then. Well the barrow's reappeared for a start...
No physical evidence remains of this Darwen barrow. It was destroyed during October 1864 as foundations were dug for Ashleigh House, itself since demolished in 1986.
30 yards in diameter, the barrow sat on a promontory of an undulating plateau overlooking the Darwen Valley. It's height was said to vary from around 12 feet to the E and 2-3 feet on the W, the centre being about 6 feet in diameter and consisting of a slight hollow. Ten internments appear to have been made. Two urns contained 'incense cups' and another a 7 1/2" bronze dagger. An excavation of 1986 found only evidence of the original lie of the land, the naze apparently being levelled during the construction of Ashleigh house.
The Whitehall Urns are on display in Darwen reference library.
From the case containing the Whitehall Urns:
"Three Bronze Age pottery urns from Whitehall, Over Darwen. They were discovered in 1864 in a large mound. Originally there were ten urns in all, but most of these were fragmentary, and nine of these contained cremated human remains.
Ritual burial sites of this type, that is, under a burial mound or barrow, are known from elsewhere in the county, as far afield as Chorley, the Pendle Hill area, Clitheroe and the Burnley moors. They date from the early to mid bronze age, that is from around 2,000 - 800 BC."
Additional note 23/1/3ce
It was with reluctance that I changed the name of this site from my original Ashleigh Street, Darwen to the correct name above...