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…!

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Sidholme stone, Rochdale

Image

A curiosity, this one, a large stone beside a stream in Sidholme, north of Rochdale. The area is interesting with early enclosures and stone farmsteads nestling below the prominent Hunger Hill. I have posted two pictures, the first picture shows a rectangular recess cut into the south end of the stone. The second picture is taken from the other side of the stream, looking south east towards Hunger Hill.

Image

How old is Rooley Moor Road?

Rochdale’s Rooley Moor is a fairly recent name, from the 18th Century, when a Mr Rowley (corrupted later to Rooley) settled on what was to become the Old Moorcock Inn.  Rooley Moor was originally known as Shore Moor, an area that included minor names such as The Ding(e) and Bagden which dates back to medieval times.

Why go to Whalley Abbey?

The abbey owned  so much land in Spotland it even claimed the manorial rights. Over 100 Spotland charters that define Abbey land boundaries are recorded in the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey. So, for example  if you wanted to travel north from Smallshaw  to the Abbey you would go via the route of Rooley Moor Road. Why go to the Abbey?  to take wool, the most valuable crop and Medieval England’s vital export. The Abbey was a major distribution centre for wool.

Spotland Township

Rooley Moor Road connects The north of Spotland with the Church and the market in the centre of Rochdale. So if you were in Boarsgeave or Cowpe the line of Rooley Moor Road leads to the Church and market at the centre of your parish. If you look at Greenwood’s 1818 map of Rooley Moor (see References) you don’t have much to choose from! unless you want to make a detour via Whitworth.

Catshaw

To the south is an area known as Catshaw and the road that ran north/south through it was Catley Lane, the original name of Rooley Moor Road. Before the 18th Century the area was known as Shore Moor. Catley Lane is mentioned frequently in the 1626 Rochdale Manor survey, there are three mentions of Catley Lane in the page shown here. CatleyLane203 There is also a 1597 reference (18th Jan) in the Manor Court Rolls, the earliest historical reference found so far. 1597MCRCatleyLane

1418 Reference in Fiswick

Catley1418

Route to the local market

With so many medieval sites close to the line of what was Catley Lane it is hard to believe there was no medieval track to connect them to the nearby medieval borough of Rochdale. This medieval borough (burgage plots are mentioned in the Manor Court Rolls) of Rochdale, was a market (1251) town which was important enough to have a castle.

Topography

The local topography would make an obvious southern route to Rochdale on the west of the steep valley of Healey Dell.

Most interesting of all?

Since there are major sites (English Heritage helped survey them) within a few hundred metres of Rooley Moor Road, medieval and earlier, which I discovered in 2010.

Prehistoric Origins?

There is plenty of evidence for prehistoric activity in the area.

Iron Age Defended Sites – Smallshaw and Lower Dunnishbooth

Two defended sites, one with a triple ditch and a medieval reference (which called it ancient 800 years ago!) are just to the east of Rooley Moor at Cutgate. There is plenty more archaeology to be surveyed there.

Bagden Hillocks/Old Moorcock

Look down from the ruins of the Moorcock rowards the west and you can see prehistoric fields and an enclosure.

Rooley Moor from Knowl Hill
Rooley Moor Viewed from Knowl Hill

Turn round and look east and you see a cairn a few meters away, at the north wall of what was the Moorcock.  A second cairn, Bagden Hillocks, lies a little further to the east.

BagdenHillocks
Bagden Hillocks Cairn

Conclusion

With such a large number of farmsteads and Abbey land along the line of Catley Lane, a drove way for sheep and cattle would be a natural medieval route to the nearby market (1251) town of Rochdale and north to Whalley Abbey. The 1418  reference to Catcloghgate (early name for Catley Lane) appears to confirm a medieval date. While prehistoric sites in the area would probably have used a track on or near to the present line of the road.

Reference

See Manor Court records (Chapter XV) and medieval references to places in the area in: The History of the Parish of Rochdale in the County of Lancaster / by Henry Fishwick 1889 Download it here

1818 Map

Greenwood’s 1818 Map includes Rooley Moor Road, download it here.

Fishwick’s History of the Parish of Rochdale,  p91-2

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

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.