A huge natural boulder with a simulacrum of a face with a hooked nose and protruding chin, when seen from a certain angle. The upper surface is covered in large natural cups (hence it's name). Nearby is a large War Memorial obelisk with commanding views towards Oldham.
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.
The next example of reputed Druidical remains in this county, which I shall describe, is to be found in Saddleworth. There is a lofty hill, called by the neighbouring people Pots and Pans. Upon its summit are abundance of craggy stones scattered up and down, which, when viewed from the east, look like the foundation or ruins of some stupendous fabric.
One of these stones, or rather two of them, closely joined together, is called the Pancake. It has upon its surface four basins hollowed in the stone, the largest, being nearly in the centre, is capable of holding 8 or 10 gallons; but it is not possible to ascertain whether these hollows are artificial or natural. This stone is about 76 feet in circumference; another long uneven hole upon this stone is called Robin Hood's Bed.
A little westward of this is another stone, about 20 feet in heght, and about 56 feet in circumference at the base, but much narrower at the top, from whence proceed irregular flutings or ridges down one side, of about 2 feet long, by some supposed the effect of time, and by others the workmanship of art.
More westward, and nearer the valley of Greenfield, the ground is called Alderman's, and overlooks that valley, opposite to a large and high rock called Alphian. Upon the level of this ground is a fissure in the earth, about 12 or 14 yards long, each end terminating in a cavernous hole in the rock, one of which is capable of admitting dogs, foxes, or sheep: the other large enough to receive men. Neither of these caverns has been thoroughly explored by anyone within memory.* One person who went into the larger with a light, returned after having gone down a sloping descent of about 60 yards. Tradition says, into the other hole, once went a dog in full chase after a fox, but neither of them ever returned.
*This is an extract from an account of these rocks written fifty years ago. Since that time demolition has been at work, and what time has spared has been wantonly injured. Many of these large and ponderous stones have been removed by crows and levers, for the purpose of trying how far they would tumble. Thus we find the hand of violence uniting with the devouring teeth of time, determined scarcely to leave one stone upon another upon this once sacred ground.
From 'Some Observations on Certain supposed Druidical Remains in the County of York', by JK Walker, in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1839, part 1, pp 133-140.
In the.. township of Saddleworth, near the romantically situated village of Greenfield, there is a wellknown Druidical remain, said to have been an altar-stone, where appeared to a man who died only a few years ago "Raura Peena," the last" fairee " (fairy) seen in the " parish " of Saddleworth. A short distance away are the "Fairy Holes," a couple of subterraneous caves into the inmost recesses of which she tried to allure him.
I imagine this would be the Druidical remain to which the correspondent referred. From Notes and Queries, February 5th, 1870.