Man Road Ditch

Man_Road_Ditch_David_Mercer
Looking south towards Man Road Ditch and Knowl Hill, Photo by David Mercer.

Even the name is mystery, “Man Road Ditch”. The ditch is of unknown date and unknown purpose and runs from the foot of Knowl Hill in a NNW direction.

The earliest reference found so far, is in the first series 6″ OS map (1851) of the area.

See the aerial view of the ditch hereNote select “satellite” to see an aerial photograph of the ditch.

Here is a Lidar view

ManRdLidar

Man Road Ditch

The feature that crosses it at the bottom of the image is the turbine access road!

 

 

Under construction…

The Third Castle!

There were three castle place-names mentioned in the 1626 Rochdale Manor  Survey, but I found the site before I knew of the reference to it.

Survey
We commissioned a geophysical survey and Al Oswald of English Heritage identified a strip lynchet  on one of the site’s steep slopes (west facing).

Location

It was not actually in Rochdale, it is in what was the old parish of….Middleton, in Ashworth township.

Copped Hill
lookingnorth

Copped Hill (facing North)

Aerial View

See the map/aerial view
Note
Select “Satellite” to see an aerial view instead of the map.

Geological summary

“Have looked at data we have on Copped Hill. I’m vaguely remember the
location. I’m pretty sure I never went to the top of the hill. Maps I
did at the time show it has melt water channels on western and southern
sides. The hill is capped by sand and gravel which would have provided
a better drained/dryer site if it was chosen as settlement location.”

Dick Crofts – British Geological Survey 2008/12/03

Copped1

Scout Moor Archaeology

Introduction – Under Construction…

This post will briefly cover the historical background to the area, (including the Forest of Rossendale) to better understand the context of the many archaeological sites in and around Scout Moor.

Exciting Discoveries

There are some exciting newly discovered sites to reveal. As in the case of the adjacent Rooley Moor, the area has never had a thorough archaeological survey, perhaps that is an understatement.

See for Yourself (from the comfort of your browser)

Select one of the links below to see sites of Farmsteads Fecit Lane and Coal Road: (centered on SD 81852 17717).

http://www.aardvarkmap.net/map/7F5LDXBI

To the North of these on Higher Hill (This site is not on any OS maps as far as I know).

http://www.aardvarkmap.net/map/BWM90AKQ

The feature is best viewed with Microsoft Bing Maps birds eye view.

See the sites in Fecit Lane and Coal Rd. as they were in 1851 (surveyed 1844 to 1848) on and old OS map of Lancashire LXXX.

http://maps.nls.uk/view/102344003

Ouch
Wind farm road cuts ancient ditch called Man Road Ditch,  of unknown date or purpose.

 

Before the wind farm
http://www.aardvarkmap.net/mape/7B8ZE88Y

Medieval and other documentation for this area

The extensive body of medieval documentation for the area has been largely ignored by archaeological surveys of the area. This has been covered here.

Missed Sites

Some of the sites archaeological surveys of the adjacent areas have missed include:

  • A ruined medieval manor house (Naden Head) complete with earthworks and early wall
  • Several prehistoric burial sites, including a prominent site on Hunger Hill (see the picture at the beginning of this blog.)
  • Prehistoric Fields on Rooley Moor
  • Several early farmsteads, such as Birchen Holts

Cowpe

There was a vaccary (medieval cattle ranch) somewhere in Cowpe, location not yet verified.

Scout Moor lies mostly in what was the NW of Spotland, a township in the parish of Rochdale, and in what was Bury Parish.

Note
These are the historical areas (which were all in Lancashire), modern boundaries are very different; with the area now divided between Greater Manchester and Lancashire (Rossendale district).

References

Lancashire Forests and the Forest of Rossendale

Newbiggin – History of the Forrest of Rossendale

Medieval Forests – The Lancashire Antiquarian

Springhill website

Aerial Photographs

Google Maps

Lancashire’s Mario map site

Microsoft Bing maps

HER (Historic Environment Record)

Greater Manchester HER

Terminology

Forum on Information Standards in Heritage (FISH) Thesauri

Under Construction…!

Game of Drones – Archaeological Aerial Photography by Quadcopter

A ‘game changer’, we are going to use a quadcopter to photograph existing, and reveal new medieval and earlier archaeological sites!

Jeff will be our pilot! He has already delivered outstanding views that show sites in a whole new light!

Where to start?

  • Get a base map of 1st series OS maps, National Library of Scotland have a fine site for this purpose.
  • Check the drift geology of the area (Geological Suvey)
  • See existing aerial photographs of areas of interest
  • Check for any old sites that are recorded but never photographed.
  • Use previously published criteria to locate special areas of interest.
  • Lidar photos may be available, check them is possible (English Heritage have some available)

Suitable Drones

Often called “quadcopters” if they have four motors, the most common format for affordable flying.

I will add to this list from time to time:

  • TBS Discovery used by guess who?!
  • DJI Phatom – a popular quadcopter for taking aerial photos
  • Quadcopters shop in UK – I have no connection with them, so for information only!

Take Off

Wow

Thanks to Jeff we have made significant discoveries, more soon!

Further Reading

Aerial Survey – English Heritage

Aerial Archaeology – BBC

 

Under construction…

An Aid For Your Own Discoveries

OldOSmapkey
Part of key to Ordnance Survey Maps 1st Series

National Library of Scotland

Great site for old OS(Ordnance Survey)  maps of the UK, including detailed maps of Lancashire, here.

Note

The most useful for archaeological work, which contain sites omitted from current maps are:

  • County Series 25 inch / 1:2,500 – 1841-1952
  • County Series 6 inch / 1:10,560 – 1842-1952.

…………………………………………………………………………………….

Farmsteads and Farming around Rooley Moor

Plenty of Evidence

There are plenty of early farming sites on and around Rooley Moor. Medieval records are also plentiful (from the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey)  too and when combined with manorial records and other sources a detailed study of farming in the area will be possible.

But It’s moorland! How could you farm it?

If the soil, climate and farming techniques are right you can farm! Rooley Moor has been farmed since prehistoric times! poorer land was used for pasture.

Want to see the early fields?

RooleyMoorenclosurefieldsBng
Early enclosure/fields on Rooley Moor

Retrieved from Microsoft Bing, Copyright Microsoft You can see the stone walls of the recent fields overlaying the early fields (dark brown grass).There appear to be severaly early field systems overlaying each other at SD 855177. These fields are overlooked by the Bronze Age  cairns on Bagden Hillocks, on the higher ground to the east of the fields, above Rooley Moor Road.

You can see the ploughmarks here

Rooley Moor from Knowl Hill
Rooley Moor Viewed from Knowl Hill SD855177

In a visit to Rooley  Moor in 2010, Al Oswald of English Heritage thought these fields were likely to be the site of prehistoric settlement. The Fields are overlooked  by the Bagden Hillocks cairns to the north east. Early Fields on Rooley Moor

Old wall next to Ding Quarry

North of these early fields (an area called Clegg Ding) and nearer Ding Quarry there is a covering of peat but still the area was in use because a wall was built along the eastern edge Ding Clough, perhaps to stop sheep from going over the edge. There may be other features visible in the foreground of the picture too.

Old Wall parallel to Ding Clough
Wall running North South Next to Ding Clough

Birchen Holts (ruin) – Farmstead next to Rooley Moor OS grid reference: SD 847 173

Birchen Holts was reclaimed from waste and included five closes, in the 1626 Rochdale Manor Survey it was recorded as being 73 acres one rood and 20 perches in total. The annual rent was £7 and 6 shillings Note the sheltered site and the fields south of the Ding in the background. BirchenHoltsStuartDavies Birchen Holts by Stuart Davies SD 847173

Birchen Holts
Birchen Holts

Higher and Lower Bagden

BagdenruinSmall LateCoucherWhitworth

Background to the Discoveries

Three sites were partially surveyed in 2010, with the help of Groundwork volunteers trained by Al Oswald of English Heritage.

One site, Naden Head has already been mentioned in earlier posts, the two other sites, were discovered.in 2010. A fourth site discovered in 2007 was the subject of an inconclusive geophysical survey in 2010, a possible barrow lies to the west of this, naturally defensive site.

The Hill Fort

Hill forts are extremely rare in Lancashire and this appears to be in a better state of preservation than the scheduled hill fort north of Bury, known as Castlesteads. Castlesteads had a single ditch, Portfield Camp near Whalley, Lancashire is perhaps closer in construction and has similar dimensions to the site near Rochdale.

I found the Medieval reference to the hill fort in November 2012, the site was discovered in 2010 using aerial photography and field work.

A Barrow?

Barrow

How could anyone miss this?  this area has never been archaeologically surveyed!

I have blanked out the background to hide the exact location, it has been reported to English Heritage, but not visited by them yet.

To be continued….

Salford Hundred Heritage Society Press Release 18th December 2012

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

Surprising Archaeological Discoveries North of Manchester

During 2009/2010 major archaeological sites were discovered, including a fortified site and burial sites, as old as four thousand years old. This information is made public today. The two thousand year old fortified site (hill fort), with triple ditches (about 75 Metres in length), was described as “ancient” in a Latin manuscript from 800 years ago.

Hill Fort discovered in 2010
Hill Fort discovered in 2010

A nearby site has a bank (clearly visible) cutting off a peninsula of land. There are also extensive early cultivation sites and field boundaries as well as many ruined farmsteads. One expanse of moorland is punctured by dozens of small pits, of unknown origin, some big enough to fall into, but never recorded on any maps of the area. Many more sites remain undiscovered, even though they are above ground.

Whitworth, to the north of Rochdale, has around one hundred medieval charters referring to smallholders land transfers in the area, which firmly secures it’s place as one of the best documented medieval villages in the country. However a 2007 archaeological survey just west of Whitworth found no medieval evidence for the area, and ignored the ruins of the nearby medieval manor house.

It is imperative that this information is made public whilst there is still time to save this rich historical landscape.

 

 Salford Hundred Heritage Society

 

Discoveries

Since 2007 I have made discoveries that should have been registered long ago, however in 2010 I made a major discoveries to add to the cairns and barrows I found. They have been visited by English Heritage and there can be no question of the importance of the sites, one was even referred to as “ancient” 800 years ago (I found this reference a few weeks ago!).

I hope to post more soon, these discoveries show clearly that the area in question has never been surveyed, quite incredible for a country like England. I also believe there are more sites to be found….above ground like these.

Where and how did I find them? more soon….

Unruly moors – it’s amazing what you find when you look

There is no substitute for walking areas, even soggy moor land, if you want to find something.

Here are some of the sites I have found in areas that were supposed to have been surveyed by archaeologists. They also said there was “a hiatus in Medieval times”, did they read there own references? I have reproduced some early names from Fishwick’s History of the Parish of Rochdale, many are on Rooley Moor! The name Ding was written Dinge in medieval times. A survey of the area found no medieval records for the area! but mentioned a ‘hiatus’ in medieval times, how many charter are there for the area?

Apart from Dinge we have Bikeden (Bagden), Naden and Prickshaw, for example. There are many medieval charters that relate to the the Ding area, as well as mentions in the Manor Surveys of Rochdale in the 17th. century.

Enclosure and Early Fields at SD 855177

Enclosure on Rooley Moor
Enclosure on Rooley Moor

The yellow arrows mark the line of the earlier enclosure, which has been “overlayed” with the larger and later fields marked by the stone wall running diagonally to the left of the arrows  and one wall running horizontally in the picture above. Grid reference SD 855177.

Pits SD 859183

This area of small “quarry pits” covers several acres and is easily visible on aerial photographs. Mysteriously they are invisible on maps and on an archaeological survey that was supposed to have walked the are. If they had walked the area they would have stumbled into the pits! This is the clearest indication that the survey failed to find even the most obvious and large archaeological features. They have not just appeared, they can be seen on 1940s black and white photographs and all subsequent aerial photographs.

Would you miss these?

They appear to be like pits, see this link.

Can’t miss these at SD 859183!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

see this at http://binged.it/1s4xFUC

Would you miss this barrow?

 

Good News
You will be glad to know that the ruins of the Old Moorcock were recorded in the survey.