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.
Just been past both sides of this going up to Cheetham Circle and back. If you look around as you do this and ideally with a local, you'll realise this whole side of the hill was one long quarrying area which didnt completely stop until the 70s or so.
As such I'm pretty much convinced this is a spoil heap especially given its size, shape and location.
In 1935 Yealand archaeologist Colonel Oliver North carried out a survey of the site. He plotted the position of 6 limestone boulders and demonstrated that 4 of them were on the circumference of a circle 460 feet in diameter. He also noted depressions in the ground which might have housed other stones from the circle. Two remaining stones could conceivably have formed part of an outer ring, and were both about 330 feet from the centre of the supposed monument. Colonel North detected what he thought might be a large ditch on the north-western side of the circle. And he speculated that some of the large stones used as foundations for the Rawlinson summerhouse might have been pillaged from the stone circle. Others have suggested that summerhouse was itself built upon a cairn.
There has never been an archaeological dig on the site and some experts are not convinced that the stones are anything other than lime-stone boulders randomly deposited by a retreating glacier. But Summerhouse Hill is an atmospheric place.
Leighton Moss Ice Age To Present Day by Andy Denwood (Published 2014)
There are a few other reasons to suggest that Summerhouse Hill was special to the people who lived around Leighton Moss. A few hundred yards to the south east, down the slope towards the metalled road on Peter Hill, are the remains of a round kerbed cairn.
Set among the trees and difficult to spot at first, the cairn is less than 2 feet high but 40 feet across. It has a noticeable circular dent in its top where it was opened up more than 200m years ago. The celebrated London physician and sometime amateur antiquarian John Coakley Lettsom witness the excavation of the burial site in 1778.
Lettsom was a Quaker and the founder of the Medical Society of London. He was also a regular visitor at the home of Thomas Rawlinson, the Yealand merchant and shipowner. In an address to the Society of Antiquaries of London, Lettsom declared that on opening the cairn he had discovered 'an urn containing between 3 and 4 quarts of human bones' and 'a human skeleton, and a large glass bead of a blue colour above an inch in diameter'.
Sadly no trace remains of the bones or bead. And while the Bronze Age beaker sat for many years on a shelf at nearby Yealand Manor, local gossip has it that it was broken and thrown away by a superstitious house-maid. Interestingly, in his talk to fellow antiquarians Lettsom said that his dig took place on Barrow Hill - an old name for Summerhouse Hill - where there were 'many barrows of earth and stone'. And he added that since his own excavation other barrows had been opened and many human bones found.
Leighton Moss Ice Age To Present Day by Andy Denwood (Published 2014)