OS Grid Reference: SD 7272 4368. Pinder Hill at Waddington in the Ribble Valley, 2 miles northwest of Clitheroe, Lancashire, was the site of a Bronze Age burial mound. Sadly the tumulus has been destroyed and there is no sign of it today. The hill is actually a series of hil-locks in the corner of a field to the west of the parish church of St Helen. These grassy hillocks look unassuming and ordinary today, but there used to be a small burial mound or barrow on the higher part of Pinder Hill and, in the late 19th century, a funery urn was excavated here. The artefacts from Pinder Hill were later deposited in Clitheroe Castle Museum. However, the site seems to be on ‘private land’ but it can be approached from the north-side along Belle View Lane via a field gate a bit further along, or from Twitter Lane! at the south-side where a metal gate beside the driveway of the house ‘might’ allow accesss? There is parking on the opposite side of the lane in front of the playground.
Pinder Hill is a series of grassy hillocks at the western side of Waddington village. They were formed from glacial deposits consisting of smooth and rounded pebble-like stones worn-down many thousands of years ago by the movement of ice and water; these stones can clearly be seen where parts of the structure of the mounds have eroded and fallen away. It could be there was a settlement here in the Bronze Age? There was a small burial mound or round barrow on the summit of the hill but this was probably destroyed in the late 19th century when a gravel pit or quarry was being worked. But luckily the mound was seen to be of significant archaeological interest and its funery contents recognized as an ancient burial; the plain collared urn and pigmy vessel were later taken to the local museum for safe-keeping. What makes this site ‘so extra appealing’ is the babbling little brook that flows tranquilly at the very edge of the field, opposite the grassy hillocks of Pinder Hill.
John & Phillip Dixon (1993) say of this site: “To the south-west of the Buck Inn stands a hillock of glacial debris known as Pinder Hill. A small mound on the summit of the rise was excavated in 1887 and yielded a Bronze Age burial urn. Inside the urn, which was inverted, was a mass of broken and partly calcinated bones, more than half filling it.
“Within this mass was found an ‘incense cup/pygmy urn’, two worked flints and a worked bone object. The presence of an ‘incense cup’ is thought by some to mark a female burial, the openwork pattern indicating basketry being particularly the work of women. Yet given the inverted position of the large urn the smaller may have been merely a stopper and may have no other significance.
“The flints are of the type used for the preparation of skins and preparing thongs of hide. The bone object is a toddle used to fasten a coat or other. These finds are now on display in Clitheroe Castle Museum.”
John Dixon goes on to say that: “Bronze Age axes have been found at Up-Brook Farm, Waddington, and the horn of a ‘auroch’, extinct during the Bronze Age, in the Ribble at Low Moor.”
The site entry for Pinder Hill in ‘Lancashire Archaeological Bulletin’ (1984) says:- “Plain collared urn inverted and containing A.V. found 22 June 1887 in, digging gravel pit. Contents included two flints and ? toggle of calcined bone (?).” The primary source is given as Y. A. J. 30;248. In the work ‘Life In Bronze Age Times’ (Thomlinson & O’Donnell) some more information is given. It says that: “Pinder Hill is a burial site dated as Middle Bronze Age, 1600-1500 B.C. On excavation in 1887 it revealed two vessels and many bone fragments. The urn…..was found to contain the cremated remains of a dead man. The use of the smaller vessel or incense cup is unknown.” The site is also mentioned by Ian H. Longworth in his (1984) work ‘Collared Urns: Of The Bronze Age in Great Britain and Ireland’. In this we find that the dimensions of the large urn were 15 inches in height, the small accessory vessel was 3 inches high.
Sources and related websites:-
Dixon, John & Phillip, Journeys Through Brigantia, Volume Nine: The Ribble Valley, Aussteiger Publications, Barnoldswick, 1993.
Lancashire Archaeological Bulletin, Vol. 10 No. 2/3, May & July 1984.
Longworth, Ian H., Collared Urns: Of the Bronze Age in Great Britain and Ireland, CUP Archive, 1984.
Thomlinson, Sarah & O’Donnell, John, Life In Bronze Age Times, (A Resource Book for Teachers), Curriculum Development Centre, Burnley.
© Ray Spencer, The Journal Of Antiquities, 2017.