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.
Near the top of the hill is a huge stone in the hedge to the right of the road. This is the Buck Stone, and in olden days, when the passengers used to toil up the hill behind the coach, a practical joke was often played on guileless travellers. They used to be told to put their heads near the stone to listen to the tide coming in over the Bay miles away, and if they did so their heads were knocked against the stone. Now the narrow old coach road is private, but Mr. Bainbridge at Greenlands Farm would allow anyone to inspect the stone if desired.
I can't see this marked on a map so I've given it the grid reference for the Dog Holes cave for now.
Not far from the Dog Lots is a large natural seat in the face of a great limestone boulder, which towers to a height of eleven feet. The seat will accommodate three or four people, and is known as the Bride's Chair. It was customary years ago when a marriage took place at Warton Church for the bridal party to repair to this spot and for the bride to sit in this seat and look out over the wide expanse of Morecambe Bay. By doing so happiness in their married life was ensured to the newly wedded couple.
Almost sheer down two hundred feet below is the road to Silverdale, and in the direction of that village can be seen the large stone column at Jenny Brown point.
On the eastern side of Warton Crag is a small fissure cave situated in the face of a cliff immediately below one of the numerous limestone terraces. It is called the Fairy Hole, which trends for twenty-five feet in a north-easterly direction. In this cave also there were fragmentary human remains. According to report the cave extends to Leighton Hall. It certainly does not come to a full stop at the limit of twenty-five feet. If more debris were removed the chamber would open up considerably.
Old people used to tell of the fairies, having been seen by other old people, dancing about heaps of gold or silver or bleaching fine linen or they were frequently heard batting their clothes. There are still some of the old people in the village who believe that the passage from the Fairy Hole extends to Leighton Hall.
From the road you can see to the left of the gate a circular depression in the ground, and there are others in the allotment. These are considered to be pre-historic pit dwellings; also a good many rock cavities all over the Crag could easily have been converted into rude habitations. In a part consisting of waterworn limestone, deeply fissured and scored all over, there is an underground passage known as the Dog Holes Cave. In the fissures are many ferns and small trees and bushes; there isa large ash tree just at the entrance to the cave.
The Dog Holes Cave.
It is only three years since the cave was scientifically explored by Mr. J. W. Jackson, the assistant keeper of Manchester Museu. The entrance is by way of a vertical shaft due to the falling in of the roof; it is boarded up and padlocked for safety, it is is thirteen feet to the bottom of the shaft and the total length of the cave is seventy feet.
At the first exploration animal remains of the dog, sheep, goat, Celtic shorthorn, and, in less abundance, the horse, red deer, roe deer, and fallow deer were found. Also human remains of at least eleven individuals were discovered. The teeth only of the urus, the reindeer, adn the Irish elk were found. There were some metal objects including a small Celtic bronze, and red fragments of early first century pottery pointed to an earlier occupation of the cave than the period of the withdrawal of the Roman army from this country.
The hanging stones are relatively easy to find and get to. A car park is situated near the path and then the path is easy to follow until you have to head right and follow the wall in a southerly direction. Once following the wall the ground is boggy and uneven so take care.
The stones have great views to the west. The stones have carvings on 'Hanging stone' and 'PR88ALSO94'.
The spot is a fairly isolated and lonely spot. Prepare not to encounter anyone else all day. The trip is worth it for the decent views yet I am unsure of the speciality of these stones. It didnt feel like it was a special site nor were they attractive.
Worth visiting if you are in the area but I wont be heading back. Maybe the weather was to blame though. As you can see from the pics it was misty, wet and I was pelted by a strong easterly wind