The Journal Of Antiquities

Ancient Sites In Great Britain & Southern Ireland


Tooter Hill, Sharneyford, Near Bacup, Rossendale, Lancashire

Possible Bronze Age Ring Cairn on Tooter Hill, Sharneyford. Photo Credit: Stephen Oldfield

NGR:  SD 8903 2387. Tooter Hill  at Sharneyford, near Bacup, in Rossendale, Lancashire, was probably first settled in the Neolithic period of prehistory, but also, too, in the Bronze Age. There is evidence of an ancient field system at the western side of the hill and also a “possible” ring cairn type of burial on the summit. There must have been an ancient settlement or enclosure upon the hill because there have been many interesting finds over the past century or so, some of these archaeological finds being found by local people traversing the windswept hill, and quite a few deposited and displayed in the N.A.T.S. museum in the nearby town of Bacup. However, there are many quarry mounds and quarry holes upon the hill’s summit so it is not always easy to say just what-is-what; and there was mining up there in the 19th century, but there are a few other earthwork-type features, too, and these could have ancient origins? There are at least three footpaths running off Limers Gate Lane and one from the A681 (Todmorden Road) at Holden Gate; these foot paths all tend to skirt the periphery of the hill from around the N. E. and S. sides.

Tooter Hill (I have heard it called Toot Hill) is 430 feet (131.64m) in height, and is about 1 mile southeast of Sharneyford village on the A681, near Bacup. There may have been a Neolithic settlement on the summit, but more likely it was inhabited during the Bronze Age. There is a “possible” ring cairn at the northern side of the hill – if that’s what it is because there are many more recent mounds and depressions up there due to quarrying and mining, which took place in the Victorian period.  Many in-teresting ancient artefacts have been dug up from beneath the peat on Tooter Hill over the past century or so. A tanged and barbed arrowhead with serrated edges (probably an archery weapon) dating from the Neolithic period (4,500BC-2,500BC) was excavated along with an arrowhead from the Bronze-Age (2,500BC-700BC), and also a tranchet-shaped arrowhead (its date unknown). These are housed in the N.A.T.S. museum on Yorkshire Street, in Bacup, 1½ miles to the southwest. There is also a collection of small flint implements from the hill including a flint scraper, flint adze and a flint borer; but more recently flints have been found on the hill by local people.

Sources / References & Related Websites:-

(Many thanks to Stephen Oldfield for the use of his photo).

Copyright © Ray Spencer, The Journal of Antiquities, 2020.



Ell Clough Cairn Circle, Boulsworth Hill, Lancashire

Ell Clough Ring Cairn on the lower slope of Boulsworth Hill.

Ell Clough Ring Cairn on the lower slope of Boulsworth Hill.

    OS grid reference: SD 9019 3412. The Ell Clough (Hell Clough) cairn circle, ring cairn and burial mound, is located on the side of Boulsworth Hill, in Lancashire – with commanding panoramic views over Thursden Valley and, in the distance Pendle Hill. It is named after the nearby stream which runs down slope through Ell Clough. At the junction of three lanes in Thursden Valley walk up the signposted footpath right to the very top of the hill and then via right along the trackway to reach the tumulus, which is located just where the track curves around the ancient site. A little further along the track there is a second tumulus, although this one is now hardly recognizable at ground level. The village of Trawden is 3 miles to the west.

    This tumulus is in a reasonably good condition although the small inner mound has suffered from being disturbed by excavations and other things, and the outer circle of stones has long since gone to nearby walls, but the circular earthworks of this ring cairn are still very well-defined despite the ravages of time and the weather conditions upon the bleak, windswept hillside of Boulsworth – some 350 metres above Thursden Valley.

Ell Clough Ring Cairn on Boulsworth Hill.

Ell Clough Ring Cairn on Boulsworth Hill.

    In 1886 Archaeological excavations took place here and these yielded a mid to late Bronze-Age funery urn. It would seem that originally there were seven standing stones in the outer circular bank, but these have long since gone. There are four stones on the banking but these are not the original ones. Sadly the stones were robbed away to build field walls. The monument measures approximately 19m diagonally by 17m across. The outer bank is still quite substantial as is the inner ditch which would originally have been quite deep; while at the SE side there is what could be an entrance or maybe damage. The small ‘denuded mound’ near the centre originally contained the burials as a funery urn was excavated from here back in 1886. This measured 12 inches x 10 inches and had a 4″ base and was carved with various patterns. An adult and a child’s remains were found in the urn and also a few other artefacts including a Bronze pin.

    It is of interest here to note that the monument seems to be aligned with Broadbank Earth Circle, Walton Spire and Pendle Hill, or is this just a coincidence?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA    In the very well respected local antiquarian work ‘The History Of Marsden And Nelson’ by Mr Walter H. Bennett, we are told that: “The existence of Bronze Age burials on Bleara Moor on the old Colne to Skipton road, at Catlow, at Shelfield (possibly) and at Ell Clough above Thursden Valley may point to a pre-historic track connecting the Whalley-Barnoldswick-Leeds route with that between Whalley-Mereclough-Heptonstall.”

    Some 100 metres to the north and close by the trackway (Os grid ref: SD 9027 3412) there is another tumulus that is similar in size, however this is now hardly recognizable “as such” at ground level. There is just a trace of a circular earthwork and possible ditch. And there is a third tumulus some 240m to the north-west at (Os grid ref: SD 9051 3421). This is located on the bank beside a stream but once again it is very faint and hardly recognizable at ground-level.


Bennett, W., The History Of Marsden And Nelson, Nelson Corporation, Nelson, Lancashire, 1946 & 1957. Diagram of Ell Clough by Mr Jack Wilcock.