The Journal Of Antiquities

Ancient Sites In Great Britain & Southern Ireland


1 Comment

Stump Cross, Near Mereclough, Lancashire

Stump Cross as seen from the opposite side of the Long Causeway.

OS Grid Reference: SD 8780 3003. At the side of the Long Causeway, near Mereclough, Lanca-shire, is a standing stone that is locally called ‘Stump Cross’. It is a very weather-beaten stump of a stone which has the name STUMP CROSS carved onto it and also an incised cross. The thinking is that it was originally a Bronze-Age standing stone that had stood on the moors, or it had came from a nearby stone circle? In more recent times, however, it seems to have been chopped down to its current height for it to become a marker stone or guide post, and then brought in to use as a wayside cross; there are other crosses close to the Long Causeway, which is a medieval trackway linking the towns of Burnley, Todmorden and Hebden Bridge. The stone is best reached from the A646 (Todmorden Road). Turn right up to Over Town and Mereclough; then turn right again at the pub and go up hill onto the Long Causeway. Stump Cross is about 1 mile along here at the left side of the road, just before Stone Jug Farm. There is a rough parking place at the opposite side of the road, but the road can be very busy – so please take great care if photographing the stone.

Stump Cross, near Mereclough, Lancashire.

Today ‘Stump Cross’ cuts a lonely figure standing bravely beside The Long Causeway, a wind-swept moorland route between Burnley, Heptonstall and Hebden Bridge, linking Lancashire with west Yorkshire. It is a very worn and weather-beaten stump of a stone but still of local historical interest as a guide post and wayside cross. The words ‘STUMP CROSS’ now quite difficult to make out at the bottom of the stone and the incised cross near the top even more difficult still. It has obviously suffered from being chopped off at the top but this has, in a way, made it into a more shapely little standing stone. And if it was originally a prehistoric standing stone did it come from the moors around here? Did it perhaps stand upon nearby Mosley Height and come from a Bronze Age stone circle there? Or did it come from somewhere else? The Long Causeway was a medieval trackway and, later a packhorse route, though it probably dates from further back into pre-history. There are, or were, several other wayside crosses along, or close to, the Causeway, three such being Robin Cross, Maiden Cross and Mount Cross. Other wayside crosses on or near the Long Causeway have now, sadly, been ‘Lost to Time’.

John Billingsley (2011) tells us that: “In the mediaeval period, the Long Causeway may have also been known, rather literally, as the High Street, and was known as a key conduit in local travel networks. It was then that it picked up its accoutrement of crosses along its length – from west to east, we know of the following named crosses on or near its route: Stump Cross, located on a rise where the road bends……..; Robin Cross (1968 6″, SD8809 2975) which gave its name to Robin Cross Hall and Farm; Maiden Cross, now no more than a scratched inscription on a wall-stone to one side of the wind-farm, 35-40 yards from the site of the original (1968 6″ SD8940 2878) which stood just off the road; Dukes Cross, at a point between Maiden Cross and Stiperden Cross (1968 6″ SD8973 2855), Stiperden Cross, at the junction of the old and new roads, where the new route swings round in a loop to keep to the contours and avoid the muddy direct route with its stream crossing (and Adam’s Well); and Mount Cross (also known as Idol Cross), some yards below the road on Cross Hill, opposite Mount Farm in Shore.”  

Billingsley (2011) refers in his notes to: “Newell, 1911, p174-182. Stump Cross is of course a description, not a name, and may refer to Robin Cross.”

Sources and related websites:-

Billingsley, John, Hood, Head and Hag, Northern Earth, Mytholmroyd, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, 2011.

https://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=4155

https://thejournalofantiquities.com/2012/05/08/mount-cross-cornholme-west-yorkshire/

Toggle down for Long Causeway:  http://www.calderdalecompanion.co.uk/l.html#l75

https://stevemoxon.co.uk/robin_hood_name_origin_myth_etymology/

© Ray Spencer, The Journal of Antiquities, 2019.


Leave a comment

Barton Cross Cup-Marked Stone, Near Preston, Lancashire

Barton Cross, near Preston, Lancashire. North-side.

OS Grid Reference: SD 53500 37332. About 1 mile to the east of Barton village on Barton Lane, near Preston, Lancashire, and at the north-side of a country lane or track running up from Barton House, is the ‘Barton Cross’, which is, sadly, an early 20th century cross that now sits in the middle of some very old stone pavings. One of these flat paving stones has prehistoric cup-marks! There are some strange lumps of stone at the side of, and also at the edges of, the surrounding base stones – which are probably from an older cross that had stood on this site in the 19th century – and which may have been of a Late Medieval date? We must though ask where did the cup-marked stone come from? Did it originate on the moors to the north, or did it come from somewhere else? You can reach the cross from Barton Village, a few miles to the north of Preston. Head east onto Barton Lane, going under the M6 Motorway, in the direction of Little Westfield and Goosenagh; the cross can’t be missed as its at the cross-roads, where the lane from Barton House emerges. 

The south-side of the cross.

The present-day ‘Barton Cross’ dates from 1901 and is a pyramidal-shaped stone on a square stone block – with a plain, chunky stone cross on top, which looks to be more recent probably in 2000. But there was at least one older cross on the site prior to this one, which might have been a late Medieval cross? We can see the original socket hole, a strange and curious lump of stone at one side, and four square stones at the edges of the flat stone-paved surround. Were these four stones, at some point in the past, supports or footings for stone posts which would have had iron chains attached to them – thus acting perhaps as a protective surround for the cross? The north-side of the monument has an inscription recording its erection in 1901 by a Preston councilor, whereas the inscription on the south-side records its refurbishment by Barton Parish Council in 2000. I understand that the large lump of stone at the side of the monument could have been an old cheese press, according to the Historic England website. The Historic England list entry number is: 1073555.

Cup-marks on one of the paving stones.

B/w photo of cup-marks on one of the paving stones.

Of much more interest, though, are the ancient cup-markings on one of the flat paved stones around the base of the Barton Cross. This has obviously been fashioned to fit into this position. There are at least 5 small but well-defined cups-marks and maybe 4 or 5 now quite faint ones.  But where did this cup-marked stone originate? Did it come from the moors to the north or northeast, or did it perhaps come from nearer to home? That we will probably never know unless someone living round here can answer that question. It is with thanks to Paul T. Hornby & TNA (The Northern Antiquarian) for discovering this ancient stone with its carvings in 2017. See TNA websites (below) for their site pages.

Sources and related websites:-

https://megalithix.wordpress.com/2017/10/12/barton-cross-barton-near-preston-lancashire/

https://megalithix.wordpress.com/2017/10/12/barton-cross-barton-near-preston-lancashire/

https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1073555

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barton,_Preston

© Copyright, The Journal of Antiquities, 2019.


Leave a comment

Oakworth Old Lane Cup-And-Ring Stone, Cowling, North Yorkshire.

Oakworth Old Lane, Cowling, and the faint cup-and-ring carving.

OS Grid Reference: SD 97300 42625. Standing beside Oakworth Old Lane, near Cowling, North Yorkshire, is an old gritstone gatepost that has a faint and worn cup-and-ring carving on its top face. This Bronze Age carving (petroglyph) was only recently discovered by a local man from the nearby village of Cowling. Quite obviously this old stone has come from the moors above Cowling where it might have been a standing stone, or it might have been broken off a larger rock? However that’s merely speculation, but its a strong possibility. The gatepost has, at some point, been chopped off at the top edge where the outer carved ring is, but this has not really caused much damage, the carving has not really been affected. To reach the stone from the A6068 Keighley Road, Cowling, head up Oakworth Old Lane (Old Lane) by the cemetery. Go up the lane past the houses until you reach the fields; not far along on the left-hand side is the gatepost and field entrance, while on the opposite side of the lane a driveway can be seen. 

Oakworth Old Lane gatepost, with faint cup-and-ring carving.

Oakworth Old Lane. Close-up of the cup-and-ring carving.

This little carving of a single cup and single ring on the gritstone gatepost is now quite faint and worn, but nice all the same. The two holes lower down are recent additions. It is easily missed; but thanks to Mr Chris Swales of Cowling and The Northern Anti-quarian back in 2016 – it has been brought to everyone’s attention, and also to the farmer’s attention too! I went up there later that summer and got chatting to the farmer from Hallan Hill Farm; he was in the field with his tractor and spreading silage, I think, or transporting it somewhere else? He told me he didn’t realize what the carving was nor did he know how old it was, but he seemed genuinely interested. I informed him that it was “a prehistoric carving”. However, we don’t know where the stone came from – maybe it was brought from the moors above Cowling, where it could have been a standing stone? or did it come from a larger lump of stone and, if so, could it have had more cups-and-rings carved onto it. And how long has the gatepost stood in its present, lonely, position? Only in 2016 did the ancient carving get the attention that it deserves! 

Sources and related websites:

https://megalithix.wordpress.com/2016/07/29/old-lane-cowling/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cowling,_Craven

With thanks to Chris Swales & TNA (The Northern Antiquarian).

© Ray Spencer, The Journal of Antiquities, 2019.


Fish Stone (Pancake Ridge 14), Ilkley Moor, West Yorkshire

Fish Stone, Ilkley Moor, in West Yorkshire.

OS Grid Reference: SE 13468 46176. Fish Stone is a cup-marked rock on Ilkley Moor, in west York-shire, located close to Pancake Stone, and on the footpath that runs along the ridge high above Hangingstone Lane and the Cow & Calf Hotel. For want of a better, proper name, which it might have, but at the moment I can’t find it – I have given it the name: ‘Fish Stone’.  However, I “now” know it to be called ‘Pancake Ridge 14’ because it is to be found on that ridge of high ground and opposite the curiously shaped ‘Pancake Stone’, which also has some cup-markings on its top surface. The stone is, at a certain angle, shaped like a fish though I’m sure there are other rocks on the moor that bear that same similarity. The stone has been recorded by Boughey & Vickerman as (338) and by Era as (Era-2564). For directions to the Fish Stone (Pancake Ridge 14) please see the site page for ‘Haystack Rock’: https://thejournalofantiquities.com/2017/10/27/haystack-rock-ilkley-moor-west-yorkshire/

Fish Stone, Ilkley Moor, from a different angle.

Fish Stone, Ilkley Moor, from yet another angle.

The ‘Fish Stone’ is one of three flat stones here, only the middle one having well-defined pre-historic cup-marks (petroglyphs) on its surface; if there are any on the other two stones they are now faint and worn. There looks to be around 17 cup-markings in the middle and towards the edges of the stone although a some of these may be natural as is the depression at the far side which is due to erosion. Most of the cups are quite small and now fairly worn but they are still visible. There don’t appear to be any rings? But nobody seems to know what these cup-markings are meant to signify – could they be just the idle doodlings of our Bronze Age ancestors, or could they actually be maps showing stars in the night sky, or maybe maps showing burial sites, springs, settlements and other nearby carved rocks; we don’t know with any certainty, so they must therefore remain something of a mystery and ‘an enigma’. If we could travel back in time we could ask the carver of the cups-and-ring markings what he was doing, why he was doing it, and what they were meant to signify. But that’s one for the future!

Sources and related websites:-

https://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=48988&m_distance=0.0

https://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/era/section/panel/overview.jsf?eraId=2564

https://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/era/section/panel/media.jsf?eraId=2564

https://megalithix.wordpress.com/2009/01/25/pancake-stone-ilkley-moor/

© Ray Spencer, The Journal of Antiquities, 2019.

 


1 Comment

Irton High Cross, Eskdale, Cumbria

Irton High Cross, Eskdale, Cumbria.

OS Grid Reference: NY 09156 00471. In Irton churchyard (south-side of St Paul’s Church) in Eskdale, Cumbria, stands the tall, slender Irton High Cross, a Viking monument thought to date from the mid 10th century AD, though a few scholars suggested that it is even earlier than that? The cross has some very intricate decoration – some of which looks to be more Celtic than Danish. Its runic inscription having all but faded away, but other than that it is a very fine ancient monument; the cross-head, in particular, being very pleasing to the eye. St Paul’s church itself dates from the Victorian period. To reach this site from Santon (Santon Bridge) follow the lane for a couple of miles south, then southwest towards Holmrook, but turning off to the right before reaching that village and, just after passing the entrance to Aikbank farm. Follow this track (north) to St Paul’s Church and the Irton Cross. The tiny village of Irton is roughly ½ a mile to the east of St Paul’s Church and 3 miles southeast of Gosforth.

Irton High Cross, Eskdale, Cumbria.

The Irton High Cross is a well-preserved, intact, cross standing at almost 10 foot high (3.4 metres) and is made of red sandstone. It is a slender cross that tapers away slightly towards the top where there is a very fine, carved cross-head with central raised bosses. The age of the cross is uncertain, but most scholars think it to be from 950 AD. However, a few scholars and historians have suggested that it looks to be of an earlier date maybe the 8th or 9th century? And some of the carved decoration on its four-sides looks to be similar to Celtic work, rather than Anglian/Danish; Cumbria obviously being close to the Celtic countries of Ireland and Scotland. There is also a Saxon influence. We can see some very intricate interlacing and circular designs with dots (pellets) in long panels on the shaft, and also on the cross-head; the central bosses also having this pellet-work. Two figures are apparently visible as are beasts. Other carvings include: key-patternwork, diamond shapes, scrollwork, spirals and roll-moulding. Originally there was a Runic inscription in the smaller panel but this has now worn away. The sandstone base is perhaps the same age as the cross or later?

Arthur Mee (1961) tells us that: “Not so old as some flints and spear-heads found here, the remarkable churchyard cross of Irton is old enough, for it was probably carved out of the red sandstone 1000 years ago; and for its beauty and preservation it ranks second only to the wonderful cross at Gosforth. Tapering gracefully to a fine head, it is ten feet high, and is richly ornamented. Beyond the fine timber lychgate it has a new companion on the little green, a graceful cross to the Irton men who died for peace.

“The stolid little church was refashioned last century and has a fine tower with an imposing turret above the battlements. Its eight bells must echo far and wide among these hills and vales. The tower archway is screened by attractive wrought iron gates, and the attractive chancel arch has black and marble shafts.”

Robert Harbison (1993) gives some rather comical information re: “Irton Cross, S of  the church, is a very ruddy orange on the E face, better preserved on W. Carpet patterns like those in manuscripts on E, knots on W, protrusive baubles in the centre of the lively misshapen head. A moving presence in this windswept place; there’s an Art Nouveau imitation lower down to SW, with a stone rail behind.”

Harbison goes on to say that “The church is unattractive outside but lovely within. Its scale is wonderful, like a model, and there are many entertaining fittings — a painted iron screen in tower arch, rustic wooden haunches in chancel roof, lots of Victorian banners on the walls and very amusing narrative windows. These include four good late panels by Burne-Jones, of which the oldest is the Tiburtine Sibyl in a lionskin by an altar.”

Maxwell Fraser (1939) says that: “In Irton churchyard is a cross 10 feet high and richly carved, which probably dates from the ninth century.”

The Historic England List Entry Number is: 1012642.

Sources and related websites:-

Fraser, Maxwell, Companion into Lakeland, Methuen & Co. Ltd., London, 1939.

Harbison, Robert, The Shell Guide to English Parish Churches, André Deutsch Limited, London, 1993.

Mee, Arthur, The King’s England — Arthur Mee’s Lake Counties — Cumberland And Westmorland, Hodder And Stoughton Limited, London, 1961.

The AA, The Illustrated Road Book Of England & Wales, The Automobile Association, London, 1961.

https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1012642

https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryMagazine/DestinationsUK/AngloSaxonSites/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irton_Cross

https://www.visitcumbria.com/crosses/

https://www.photonorth.uk/-/image-library/cumbria/history/anglo-saxon-and-viking-cumbria-photos?preview=795826c7

http://eskdale.info/irton.html

https://www.eskdale.info/history.html

© Ray Spencer, The Journal Of Antiquities, 2019.


The Anvil Stone, Near Nelson, Lancashire

The Anvil Stone with Walton’s Spire in the background.

OS Grid Reference: SD 89391 37498. At the northwestern edge of Shelfield Hill, close to Walton’s Spire, near Nelson, Lancashire, is a large and oddly-shaped stone, which is variously known as ‘The Anvil Stone’, ‘The Altar Stone’, ‘The Druids’ Stone’ and ‘Thor’s Stone’ (Thursden Valley is not far away from here). The stone resembles an anvil or an altar at certain angles, but it also takes on the form of an animal head. It was obviously a sacred stone in the distant past and may have been venerated by our ancient ancestors. It seems to have been moved at some point. I believe this large stone (the so-called Anvil Stone) stands on an alignment with other nearby ancient sites. To reach the stone from Nelson town centre head up Barkerhouse Road (all the way), then turn (left) at the top and go along Southfield Lane as far as Gib Clough farm. Here, turn (right) up Back Lane for ½ a mile to where the land flattens out. Over to the right in the muddy field is the Anvil Stone – with Walton’s Spire in the back-ground at the top of the Shelfield plateau.

The Anvil Stone viewed from a different angle.

The Anvil Stone viewed from a different angle.

This quite large, smooth-shaped lump of sandstone, which has locally been called ‘The Anvil Stone’ because it is shaped like a blacksmith’s anvil, is between 4-5 feet high and double that or more in its girth. It is said to weigh well over a ton. The farmer did, I understand, once try to move it but it proved to be too heavy for his tractor’s lifting equipment, and so he left it where now it stands, but at some point in the past it had been moved a short distance. The stone appears to have been fashioned into the shape that we see today – be that an anvil, an altar or an animal head or, maybe the shape of a seat, according to John A. Clayton (2014). The Norse god Thor could, just as well, have given his name to this stone. His name is to be found in Thursden (Thor’s Valley) a couple of miles to the northwest, where many a thunderstorm forms in the summertime; Thor using his trusty hammer upon the anvil, hopefully not on the Anvil Stone! 

The Anvil Stone viewed from yet another angle.

John A. Clayton (2006) says: “To add another feature to the equation, there is a group of stones some two-hundred metres to the south of the Spire, the largest of which I have named the Anvil Stone for the sake of descriptive simplicity, this is the only one of the group left in its original position, no doubt because its sheer weight would prevent it from being removed. The other stones have been cleared from the field and lie in a large depression in the earth (possibly an abandoned coal pit), these may have been part of a larger arrangement, such as a circle. The Anvil Stone is of particular interest, not only because it has been heavily worked to attain its shape, it also weighs about one and a half tons and is on an exact alignment with other ancient features of Black Hameldon, the tumulus at Ell Clough, Ringstone Hill and the Spire monolith.” 

John A. Clayton (2014) also tells that “The photograph……….. shows why the stone was described as being shaped like a blacksmith’s anvil – from this viewpoint the similarity is clear. However, I now realize that I appear to have ‘missed a trick’ with this stone. Firstly, I think that I was viewing it from the rear and secondly the stone is actually not in situ. As always, local knowledge is an invaluable asset in historical and archaeological research and so it proved in this case.

“The Shelfield Hill farmer informs me that the stone was originally buried in the field about 250 metres to the north-west of where it is now located. Around twenty years ago the field was being re-seeded and the shallow plough persistently hit stones beneath the surface. These were dug up and moved up the hill to be piled on the edge of the soakaway – the largest stone was placed separately to this group and this is the reason why the ‘anvil’ stone is situated where we now see it.”

John goes on to say that: “It further struck me that not only was I possibly viewing the stone from the back, I was also looking from the wrong angle. When the stone is viewed from a ninety-degree angle it strongly resembles a seat or chair. This might sound somewhat far-fetched but, in defence of my sanity, the stone has been heavily worked on all of its faces – the ‘front’ face in particular having been sculpted into the profile………”

John adds: “From what can be seen of the neighbouring boulders there is no evidence of them having been worked; they appear to be typical of the stones utilized in field boundaries and hut foundations. The size and shape of the massive block clearly lent itself to being shaped into its present form; whether it was intended to function as a seat is, of course, pure speculation and, as we shall see later, there could be other possible contexts here.” 

Walton’s Spire or Walton’s Monument, a well-known landmark to the northeast of Anvil Stone, is a Victorian four-armed cross set upon a 10th century menhir or monolith, which became known as ‘the Battle Stone’. This was eventually carved, as we see it today, by workmen employed by Richard Roe Walton of Marsden Hall, Nelson, in 1835. See the link, below.

Sources and related websites:-

Clayton, John A., Valley of the Drawn Sword — The Early History of Burnley, Pendle and West Craven, Barrowford Press, 2006.

Clayton, John A., Burnley And Pendle Archaeology — Part One — Ice Age to Early Bronze Age, Barrowford Press, Spring 2014.

https://thejournalofantiquities.com/2012/05/01/walton-spire-nelson-lancashire/

http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=25255

© Ray Spencer, The Journal of Antiquities, 2018.


Hoarstones Stone Circle, Fence, Near Burnley, Lancashire

Boundary Stone-cum-gatepost, Harpers Lane, Fence, Lancashire.

OS Grid Reference: SD 8263 3764. For a long time now it had been thought that an ancient stone circle stood in the grounds of Hoarstones House at Fence, near Burnley, Lancashire. But it seems there never was ‘such a monument’ there and so it must be regarded as ‘a myth’. Indeed I am told that the whole thing ‘is a myth’. However, there are a number of boundary stones around the edges of that estate – some of which have been made into gateposts! These boundary stones might therefore be the ‘Hoarstones’ that gave the place its name? Originally the name was spelt: Whoarstones or Woarstones, I am reliably informed. Hoarstones has long been associated with the Pendle Witches with Pendle Hill being a reminder of those times a couple of miles to the northwest. The present-day Hoarstones House dates from about 1895 when it was rebuilt out of an earlier 16th century building. More recently an iron cross was discovered in the walls! The boundary stones-cum-gateposts are located beside Harpers Lane and Noggarth road at Fence near Burnley. Hoarstones estate is, of course, on “private land”. 

Large stone in the wall on Harpers Lane at Fence, Lancashire.

I was told by the owner of the house that the whole idea of there being a stone circle in the grounds was nothing short of ‘a myth’. So we can then rule out there ever being a pre-historic stone circle in the grounds of Hoarstones House, but there are, however, a number of former boundary stones that have been adapted as gateposts at the eastern edge of the estate. These stand beside Harpers Lane, with one large stone embedded into a wall, while another possible boundary stone-cum-gatepost is located at the side of Noggarth Road. It’s possible these stones and some of the stonework of the house came from the small quarry at the northwestern side      of the Hoarstones estate? The witches of Pendle did not, therefore, dance around or within the stone circle, but they “might” have visited, or been at, a more probable stone circle a mile or so    to the northwest. This was located in the fields below Faughs (Spen Brook) but it is “now” ‘a destroyed monument’ with very little to see now. There are a couple of ancient sites in Southern England that also have the same name ‘Hoar-stones’.

Boundary stone on Harpers Lane, Fence, Lancashire.

Boundary stone-cum-gatepost on Noggarth Road, Fence, Burnley.

The meaning of the word ‘Hoarstones’ and the place-name at Fence, Lancashire, which was first mentioned in 1547, would seem to be: ‘Stones or (a stone) designating the bounds of an estate, or a local landmark’. And could also be: ‘a stone used anciently to mark boundaries’ or, ‘a stone erected anciently as a memorial’ (as of an event). Whoarstones or Woarstones being Old Norse for ‘Idola-trous Stones’ or maybe even ‘Witches Stones’. This would seem very apt for Whoarstones at Fence being, as it might have been, associated with the Pendle witches, which now seems very tenous. The iron cross found in the walls of the late 19th century historic Hoarstones House may have been used as a defense against witchcraft, and would therefore have come from the original 16th century building, which back in 1633 was occupied by the Robinson family, according to John Dixon (1990). Hoarstones is mentioned in ‘Mist Over Pendle’ by Robert Neill (1951) but not apparently in ‘The Lancashire Witches’ by William Harrison Ainsworth (1884).

Walter Bennett (1957) tells that “Trouble was renewed in 1633 when Edmund Robinson of Wheatley Lane or Fence, a lad aged about twelve, came home late one night and told his father that he had been kidnapped by a witch and taken to a barn at Hoarstones, where he had seen about forty witches pulling on ropes to obtain milk, butter and “smoakeing  flesh,” but making such foul faces that he was glad to escape, only to encounter the Devil as he ran home. This tale was reported to two Justices, who sent the witches, said to have been at Hoarstones, to Lancaster for trial at the Assizes. Meanwhile, the boy and his father went to churches in the district, even as far as Kildwick, and singled out witches in the congregation. As a result it was reported in London in May 1634 that “A huge pact of witches had been discovered in Lancashire whereof it is said 19 are condemned and there are at least 60 already discovered and yet daily more are revealed; they had a hand in raising storms which endangered His Majesty (Charles I) at sea in Scotland.” 

Bennett goes on to say: “As a result of the royal enquiry, all the accused were acquitted. The boy, Edmund Robinson, confessed that his tales were all false and had been told in the first place in order that his father would overlook his action in going to play instead of fetching the cows to the barn as he had been ordered.”

Arthur Douglas (1978) adds to the above, saying: “Then there is the matter of the feasting witches. Over the years the feast at Hoarstones has become confused with the so-called great assembly and feast of witches at Malkin Tower. The one is not the other, but the two are so alike as to consign the whole of Edmund Robinson’s evidence irretrievably into the copy-category.”

John A Clayton (2007) tells that: “Baines confounds Malking-Tower with Hoar-stones, a place rendered famous by the second case of pretended witchcraft in 1633. John also tells of a walled-tree, an ancient holly, existing in the Fence area of Hoarstones. He says there is a similar walled-tree near Malkin Tower (Blacko), a place that was long associated with the Pendle witches, who had gathered there in 1612, at the home of Old Mother Demdike, or so we are told.  

Thomas Sharpe (2012) has a map showing the Hoarstones stone circle and the one at nearby Faughs in relation to other (sacred) Pendle landmarks. 

Just recently a lost standing stone or boundary stone has been re-discovered at Spurn Clough (OS grid reference: SD 8249 3685), just across the Padiham by-pass, and only a few hundred metres from Hoarstones Lodge. This old standing stone used to stand in the field but had been cast down into the stream. The owner of Hoarstones House recently told me that that particular field used to belong to them! See the Link, below. 

Sources and related websites:

Bennett, Walter, The History Of Marsden And Nelson, Nelson Corporation, Nelson, Lancashire, 1957. 

Clayton, John A, The Lancashire Witch Conspiracy — A History of Pendle Forest and the Pendle Witch Trials, Barrowford Press, 2007. 

Dixon, John & Mann, Bob, Historic Walks Around The Pendle Way, Aussteiger Publications, Barnoldswick, 1990.

Douglas, Arthur, The Fate of the Lancashire Witches, Countryside Publications Limited, Brinscall, Chorley, Lancashire, 1978.

Sharpe, Thomas, The Pendle Zodiac, Spirit of Pendle Publishing, 2012.

See also ‘Merriam-Webster’ website and ‘Your Dictionary’ website.

https://megalithix.wordpress.com/2017/09/17/spurn-clough/

http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=17457

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fence,_Lancashire

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheatley_Lane,_Lancashire

© Ray Spencer, The Journal of Antiquities, 2018.