Friday, 20 May 2011

Top O'th' Slate and Laund Hey and Cribden - Historic and Nature Records Etc.

Top O'th Slate "Panopticon" (Click over to enlarge)

TOP O’TH’ SLATE - Title and History as I remember

I was always under the impression for some reason it was called “Top O’th’ Slate”, but recently checking my old 1911 ordnance survey it clearly shows it as “Top Of Slate”. And more recently since the “Slate” Land reclamation and the erection of the panopticon it’s being called “Top O Slate”, on both Information boards and online internet sites etc. So does this mean that there is no definitive title?

I’ll stick with “Top O’th’ Slate” because If I am not mistaken, this was the original name given on the early title deed, and again further exampled in the following historic proposed land sale ( year 1900) and also elsewhere below:
( Valuable Brick Works and Stone Quarry for Sale as a going concern

TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION, by Mr. Ralph Greenwood, F.A.I., at the Commercial Hotel, Haslingden, on Wednesday, November 7th, 1900, at seven o’clock in the evening, subject to the general conditions of the Manchester Incorporated Law Association, and to such Special Conditions as shall be produced at the time of sale.
THE BRICK WORKS AND STONE QUARRY, situate at Top o’ th’ Slate, Haslingden, recently held by the New Haslingden Plastic Brick Co. Ltd., with the fixed and loose Brickmaking and Quarry Plant, comprising:-
ALL THOSE PLOTS OF LAND at Top o’ th’ Slate aforesaid, containing together 14 acres 39 perches, or thereabouts.
There are several hundred yards of valuable rock already bared, and the face of rock and slate combined is some 60 feet in depth.
This property is Copyhold of the Manor of Accrington Old Hold, and is subject to the ordinary copyhold incidents and nominal Lord’s rent. The mineral rights are claimed by the Lords of the said Manor, and are now enjoyed by arrangement with them or their lessees, a small Annual Sum being paid therefore, 2 Large Water Reservoirs, holding capacity 200,000 and 100,000 gallons respectively).

TOP O' TH' SLATES  A interesting snippett taken from the Blackburn Standard 14th April 1852 and kindly sent in here by Douglas Newton (07/03/2015) reads: "In the cases of registration last week, at Bolton, one child appears to have been born "Top O'th' Slates", and another at "Back O'th'Hedge." Of course they are the familiar names of the localities.

It was during the 1950’s when I used to occasionally go and play at the old Top O’th’ Slate Quarry, and at that time it had long ceased to operate has a “quarry” and was derelict to be used at a later date as a commercial/industrial tip, and even later as a tip for highway waste and composting operations for Rossendale Borough Council.

Cave 1 Entrance was just to the left of the writing (Click over to enlarge)

Cave 2 Entrance was just below where the pile of stones are

There were two cave entrance holes to the Northerly side of the quarry. I did on several occasions enter these caves and went into them a few yard or so, but it was too dark and probably unsafe to go far, but was told that they went back for quite a long distance.

Moving on, it was probably about the 1970s, that the Cave entrances were blocked over for safety reasons (in situ photos shown here). Originally the caves had been formed as a result of mining/quarrying operations, where quarrymen/miners would go into the caves and bring out the shale aggregate to make Bricks for the building trade, the quarry being called the “Top O’th’ Slate Quarry and the Company operating was called the Haslingden Plastic Brick and Tile Co 

Varnish that would not dry!
During the period of the late 50s the old Quarry was being used as a industrial/commercial tip. The old quarry bottom being filled with a sort of beige coloured slurry at one time. At other times I would see carpet and underlay remnants and other times there were tins of paint (by their hundreds), this was said to have been dumped there by McPhersons paint manufacturers of Bury. (Johnstones Paints).

Taking about paint, what memories!! I remember has a young boy once taking several tins home when we lived at Hud Hey, the tins which bore the wording “varnish”, and I decided with my parents permission to set to and varnish coat the four dining room chairs. Several days later and the chairs where still as wet as when I initially varnished them. You can imagine this did not go down well with my parents. Obviously the reason the varnish was on the tip in the first place!!.

Shows it as the Council Tip but you can see the cave markers behind with graffiti on the rock (Click over to enlarge)

More recently (probably from the 80s) the Rossendale Borough Council administered the tip which was licensed to the County Planning Officer of the County Council based at County Hall, Preston. And from that date until the reclamation of the site the site was used purely for Rossendale Borough Council’s highways waste eg: old curbstones, broken flags, sets, tarmac and various hardcores, whilst the East side of the old quarry was used for compositing operations (eg old surface water drain contents etc.
The area in the main had been semi-derelict in the greater part and left for nature to reclaim. I did spend a few years in this area observing and listing wildlife and have now compiled the following list of species recorded between the years of the 1980s and up to 2009.

Rare brick regularly found at the Top O'th Slate

Shows Top O'th Slate in the 1890s and you can see brickworks with chimney (Click over to enlarge)

Top o’ th’ Slate

 new brick company for Haslingden - A company has been formed with a capital of £2,000 to acquire, refurnish and work the Slate Brick Works, formerly worked by the owner Mr. John Greenwood. Operations are expected to commence a month hence. Messrs. D. Halstead, E. Schofield, W. H. Blaney, E. Barlow, H. Tattersall, H. Hall, A. Bailey, and James Watt are the princupal shareholders at present.
[Ramsbottom Observer 7th February 1896]

Haslingden Plastic Brick and Tile Co. - The works of this company were opened at The Slate, Haslingden, on Saturday, by the ceremony of christening the engine. In the absence of the chairman, Mr. Albert Warburton, Cllr. Waite, the vice-chairman of the company, called upon Mrs. Edward Schofield to christen the engine. She did so by breaking a bottle of champagne. The works have been acquired by the company from the Bury Banking Co. The shale is extensive and of good quality, and with the new machinery which has been put in the company expect to work on easier terms than their neighbours, the old works having merely needed new machinery and certain adaptations to modern requirements.
[Ramsbottom Observer 8th May 1896]
The Haslingden Plastic Brick and Tile Co. was wound up on 13th October 1898. A new company was formed in the same year called the New Haslingden Plastic Brick Co. This was wound up on 19th September 1900.

Valuable Brick Works and Stone Quarry for Sale as a going concern
TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION, by Mr. Ralph Greenwood, F.A.I., at the Commercial Hotel, Haslingden, on Wednesday, November 7th, 1900, at seven o’clock in the evening, subject to the general conditions of the Manchester Incorporated Law Association, and to such Special Conditions as shall be produced at the time of sale.
THE BRICK WORKS AND STONE QUARRY, situate at Top o’ th’ Slate, Haslingden, recently held by the New Haslingden Plastic Brick Co. Ltd., with the fixed and loose Brickmaking and Quarry Plant, comprising:-
ALL THOSE PLOTS OF LAND at Top o’ th’ Slate aforesaid, containing together 14 acres 39 perches, or thereabouts.
There are several hundred yards of valuable rock already bared, and the face of rock and slate combined is some 60 feet in depth.
This property is Copyhold of the Manor of Accrington Old Hold, and is subject to the ordinary copyhold incidents and nominal Lord’s rent. The mineral rights are claimed by the Lords of the said Manor, and are now enjoyed by arrangement with them or their lessees, a small Annual Sum being paid therefore, 2 Large Water Reservoirs, holding capacity 200,000 and 100,000 gallons respectively.
THE BUILDINGS, consisting of Brickmaking Departments arranged for six machines and screening stage, Boiler House and Round Chimney Stack, 90 ft. high; fixed riveted Iron Cistern, extending over Boiler House, holding capacity 30,000 gallons, Engine House, Mechanics’ Shop, Smith’s Shop, and wood erected offices.
THE KILNS, consisting of Patent continuous 16-Chambered Kiln (holding capacity 128,000), 4 Downdraught Kilns (holding capacity 84,000), and square built brick chimneys.
MOTIVE POWER, ETC., including Steam Boiler 30 ft. by 8 ft., and Mountings by Daniel Adamson, Tangye’s Patent Pump, Horizontal High Pressure Steam Engine, 20 in. cylinder, 18 in. stroke, and patent exhaust Injector with 7 ft. unbreakable Belt Pulley, 16 in. on face; 90 ft. Cotton Driving Belt, 14 in. wide and leather and other Belting, Main Shafting, Gearing, Steam and Water Piping.
THE PLANT AND MACHINERY, consisting of Tramways as laid from face of shale to screening and grinding room, together with Steam Hauling Gear and Waggons, Clay Grinding and Mixing Mills, with 9 foot Pan by Johnson, and ditto. 8 ft. by Alexander, and Elevators in connection therewith, Pug Mill by Johnson, 3 re-press Brickmaking Machines by C. Whittaker & Co. Ltd., recently new; Johnson’s Plastic Brickmaking Machine. Steam or Hand Press by Pullan and Mann, together with a large quantity of Dies and Boxes for all machines.
CONTENTS OF MECHANICS’ SHOP, including Planing Machine and Tools by Louden Bros., Glasgow, Patent Self-acting upright Drilling Machine by The Davis and Egan Machine Co., Vertical Donkey Engine, small horizontal Engine, Grindstone and Frame, Mechanics’ Tools, Stocks, Taps and Dies, Benches, Racks and Tools, Smith’s Hearth, Anvil, Swages, Hammers, Hand drill, etc. EGG END BOILER, 13 ft. 6 in. by 4 ft. 10 in., used as a water reserve; MORTAR MILL, STEAM CRANE by J. Hargreaves, Rawtenstall, and wire rope for same; One HAND-CRANE; Timber-made waggon road, with rails and sleepers for baring purposes; End and side tip waggons; wire hauling rope; wheel plates; buckling chains, bars and picks; 21 brick and box barrows, ladders, planking and timber. A large quantity of blue slates, office furniture and safe by J. Grove, Birmingham, 36 in. by 26 in; general stores and loose effects.
For further particulars, apply to the Auctioneer, 21, Bury-road, Haslingden, and at no. 5 Pillar, Royal Exchange, Manchester; or to Messrs Whittaker & Hibbert, Solicitors, Haslingden.
[Ramsbottom Observer 2nd November 1900]Thanks to John Simpson, for supplying this superb information on the Haslingden Plastic Brick Company.

Another photo of Haslingden Plastic Bricks (click here) as kindly supplied by Mr. Douglas Newton
(Click here to see blog on this company).


THE HASLINGDEN MURDER "Scene of the Tragedy" 22nd Jan 1902 Lancashire Evening Post"

On Tuesday afternoon, writes our Accrington representative, I visited the scene of the Haslingden Murder, which, of course, forms the main subject of conversation in the district just now.  The drizzling rain was spent across the valley and over the hills with a force anything but comfortable for the wayfarer, and the general surroundings of the Slate Reservoir were of a dismal order, in keeping with the tragic associations of the place.  The brick yard, at the far end of which the reservoir is situated, is approached from Haslingden by way of Higher-lane, which is all on the ascent, and runs through the outskirts of the town.  This is the district inhabited by the poorer class of residents, and in part both Kershaw and the unfortunate lad Rostron lived.  The brickworks are not now in use, and the reservoir itself lies in an obsucre corner below the level of the yard.  At the back a disused quarry rises above it, and a sort of embankment of shale, bricks, stones etc., surround the other three sides.  It is not a large sheet of water.  Its length is about 63ft one way and 55ft the other.  A gentleman who was engaged in taking measurements when I arrived told me that the water was 5ft 3" deep in that part of the reservoir tested by him.  The wall is built of brick, concreted over on the inner side, and hence any lad in the water would have no chance of saving himself, as there is nothing on which he could lay hold.  Boys, I was told, have during their play hours floated rafts on the water when it has been lower and made it a bathing place in summer time, borrowing a ladder of their own accord from the brickworks up which to climb out of the water.  The isolation of the place would lend itself to the unauthorized use which the lads made of it as a playground, but very uninviting is the appearance of the reservoir at present, for floating along with some planks in one corner and three dead dogs. There is vehicular traffic along Higher-lane, but a narrow field intervenes, between the road and the wall which encloses the old quarry, and even from the field the bottom of the quarry is totally hidden from view.  A bit of a pathway leading o'er t'top - as Haslingden folk say - to the bleak country Crawshawbooth way, runs along the inner side of this wall, and from this path a good view is obtained of Stonefold, Duckworth Clough, the Accrington road, Blackburn Old-road, and the other side of the valley.  This pathway overlooks the reservoir, but it is little used, especially in the Winter.  The scene of the murder was visited by many people on Sunday, and as I returned to the railway station yesterday I met a large number of residents wending their way to the Parish Churchyard- almost adjoining which Rostron's parents reside - to witness the funeral of the poor lad who had met with such a tragic and untimely end.


A Haslingden mystery was partly solved today at noon. James Edward Rostron, aged 12 has been missing since Wednesday afternoon.  It was ascertained that on that afternoon he was fetched from school by a lad named James Kershaw of Higher-lane, but even this afternoon Kershaw denied having any knowledge of Rostron's movements, and could not be moved from that position.  At the Police Station, however, Rostron's aunt pleaded piteously with Kershaw to enlighten them.  Ultimately Kershaw gave way to her pleas and tears, and said that Rostron, while throwing a sto ne near a pond, fell into the water.  The body was recovered at noon.  The police are still investigating the matter, which has caused a sensation in the town.

Western Times 20th Jaunary 1902

At Haslingden, James Kershaw, 14, was remanded on a charge of murdering James Edward Rostron, 12 Rostron had been missing since Wednesday, and his body was recovered from a pond on Friday.  A watch was missing from the deceased's clothes, and prisoner told the police where he had hidden it.

Haslingden Mystery - A Half-Timer charged with murder - Manchester Courier and lancashire General Advertiser 25th January 1902.

James Kershaw of Higher-lane, aged 14, was remanded at Haslingden on Saturday on the charge of murder of James Edward Rostron, aged 12, the son of James Rostron, of Church-lane, a weaver.  The lad had been missing since Wednesday, and every probable cause of his disappearance was exhausted without any light being thrown upon the matter.  An idea originated that on Wedesday afternoon Rostron. .........


STORMS DEMOLISHING THE BRICKWORKS CHIMNEY  (Taken from the Blackburn Standard 2nd October 1875)  -  HASLINGDEN -- During the storm which took place on Sunday night, a large new brick chimney, situate at Messrs. Duckworth and Heys' brickyard, Top O'th Slate, was blown down and completely demolished.  The chimney was only finished last week, and the damage is estimated at £60.  This is the second time their new chimney has been blown down.  


HOYLE v OVERSEERS OF HASLINGDEN - RATEABLE VALUE DISPUTE  (extracts taken from the Preston Chronicle 26th October 1850)

Mr. Whigham appeared for the appellant, and Messrs Sagar and Blair for the respondents. It was an appeal prosecuted by John Hoyle against the poor's rating of two stone quarries in Haslingden, named respectively the "Top O'th' Slate and the Hutchbank, of which he is lessee, and until the beginning of the present year, the rateable value of the former delf was entered in the overseer's books as £16 7s.6d, and of the latter as £37 17s 6d.
In the month of January last a new rate was made, the overseers suddenly increasing the rateable value of Mr Hoyle's delf, as to "Top O' th' Slate to £198 1s 11d, and as to Hutchbank, to £412 13s 4d.
On the present occasion the question came before the court by way of appeal against the decision of the justices in special sessions at Blackburn in May last.
In support of the rate, Mr. George Gorton estimated that the rateable value of the Hutchbank delf would be £412 13s 4d, and as to Top O'th' Slate, he made the rateable value £198 2s.
Mr. Grundy, by a process similar to that adopted by Mr. Gorton, calculated the rateable value of the Hutch Bank delf at %495 4s 9d, He also rated the Top O'th' Slate delf at £229 16s 2d.
Several other witnesses were called, who by no means confirmed the results detailed by Messrs. Gorton, Grundy etc.
On behalf of the appellant, Mr. William Hutchinson, the mineral agent to the Duke of Buccleugh, proved that in 1844 he examined all his grace's delfs, and reported to Mr. Dixon Robinson, the Duke's steward, as to the proper increase of rent on the renewal of the leases in each case.  Mr. Hoyle's rent had prevously been £93, and he recommended it to be raised to £150 per annum.
Mr. Dixon Robinson confirmed Mr. Hutchinson's statement, and proved that after several interviews and some bargaining, he at last arranged with Mr. Hoye for £130 per annum, the rent now paid, and which he (Mr. Robinson), from a statement shown to him by Mr. Hoyle, believed to be a fair and sufficient rent.
Mr. Jeremiah Dearden proved that he was Mr. Hoyle's agent at Hutchbank delf.  He produced his day book, in which was entered every stone got and sold, and from which it appeared, in complete contradiction of the estimates of the valuers, that in the year 1849, which was an average year, the entire quantity of stone got from Hutchbank was 5,040 cubic yards, which produced only £1,464 10s 4d, and that the wages and other expenses attending the working of the quarry in that year, exclusive of rent, taxes, interest on capital, wear and tear of plant etc, were nearly £900.
James Heap, the agent at Top O'th' Slate, also produced his day-book, which showed that in 1849 the whole quantity of stone got there was only 2,800 cubic yards, which produced £400 11s 11d, and that the cost of working, exclusive of rent etc had been £434 2s 4d, so that in fact this delf was a losing concern.
Mr Thomas Chaffer, of Liverpool, a gentleman of great practical experience as a quarrymaster, made light of the estimates of the valuers, and confirmed Mr. Hoyle's witnesses.
After some deliberation, the court reduced the rateable value of Top O'th' Slate from £198 1s 11d to £57, and of Hutchbank from £412 13s 4d to £170


TOP O’TH’ SLATE – NATURE RECORDS: (records during the period 1980 to 2009 Not in alphabetical order)

Breeding BirdsBlackcap – At least 1 pair during the period 2006 and 2007, but not recorded since 2007.
Grasshopper Warbler – Probably 2 breeding pair during the 1980s and 1990s, they have been absent since the start of the millennium.
Linnet – One breeding pair up to 2008, recent status unknown.
Whitethroat – First recorded 2006 – there was two singing birds present and breeding was suspected during 2006 but not recorded since 2007.
Willow Warbler - usually 4 to 5 breeding pairs,

Other breeding birds on site are: Blackbird (3 to 4 pair), Wren, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin, Dunnock and Chaffinch.

Roe Deer (occasional visitor), Red Deer hind (June 2007 only), Red Fox, Rabbit, Mole, Grey Squirrel, Pipistrelle Bat.

Butterflies: (13 varieties)
Small Heath Butterfly (last week in June – plentiful)
Small Skipper (last week in June – plentiful)
Painted Lady, a couple of specimens recorded late June – August 25th 2003.
Red Admiral Butterfly – common
Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly – Last week in June – Common
Small Copper – July & August – odd specimens
Peacock Butterfly – May
Large White – May
Wall Brown – mid August – several records
Meadow Brown – plentiful
Orange Tip – May
Gatekeeper – Mid Aug – first recorded 2007 – rare at present
Speckled Wood.
Moths (62 varieties) (I am thankful to my friends Charles Payne and Arlene Harris who kindly help with the identifications, photographing and listings of the Moth species over several visits)
Chimney Sweeper Moth,
Cinnabar Moth,
The Snout,
Latticed Heath Moth,
Ghost Moth,
Swallowtailed Moth,
Smoky Wainscot,
Gold Spot,
Clouded Border,
Dark Arches,
Antler Moth,
Purple Bar,
Small Phoenix,
True Lover’s Knot,
Iron Prominent,
Mother Of Pearl,
Twin Spot Carpet,
Lesser Broad Bordered Yellow Underwing
Grey Dagger,
Common Rustic
Small Phoenix,
Marbled Minor,
Large Yellow Underwing,
Lesser Yellow Underwing,
Autumnal Rustic,
Common Marbled Carpet,
Angle Shades,
Flame Carpet,
Rosy Rustic,
Square Spot Rustic,
Grey Pine Carpet,
Willow Beauty,
Rhopobota naevana,
Acleris emargana,
Ingrailed Clay,
Light Emerald,
Beautiful Golden Y
Clouded Border Brindle,
Coxcomb Prominent,
Flame Shoulder,
Peach Blossom,
Small Magpie,
Straw Dot,
Clouded Silver,
Peppered Moth,
Common White Wave,
Plain Golden Y,
Dusky Brocade,
Scoparia ambigualis,
Marbled Minor,
Heart and Dart,
Small Square Spot,
Silver-Ground Carpet,
Burnished Brass,
Dark Spectacle,
Crambus lathoniellus,
Swammerdamia pyrella,
Brown Spot Pinion,

Insects recorded at Top O’th’ SlateYellow Ophion,
St Mark’s Fly (Bibio marci)
St Mark’s Fly (Bibio pomonae)
Netalia testaceus,
Picromerus bidens,
Helophilus pendulus.
Common Leafhopper,
Cantharis Livida,
Dancing Fly (Empis tessalata),
Garden Spider (Araneus diadematus),
Rhagonycha fulva,
7 Spot Ladybird,
Black Bean Aphid,
Cidella Viridis (Turquoise Leafhopper),
Drone Fly,
Turquoise Weevil (Phyllobius pomaceus),
Blue Tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans)

Flora recorded at Top O’th Slate (105 species)Himalayan Balsam (prior to reclamation)
Pineapple Mayweed,
Bluebell (both English & Italian),
Jacob’s Ladder,
Bloody Cranesbill,
Herb Robert,
Lesser Celandine,
Birdsfoot Trefoil,
Common Spotted Orchid,
Lady’s Mantle,
Perennial Cornflower,
Cowslip (prior to reclamation)
Ragged Robin,
Yellow Irish,
Wild Raspberry,
Tufted Vetch,
Woolly Thistle,
Yellow Loostrife,
Water Forget Me Not
Yellow Poppy (Welsh),
Yellow Vetch,
Common Poppy,
Wild Daffodil,
Autumn Gentian,
Black Knapweed
Bridewort (Spiraea salicifolia),
Meadow Cranesbill,
Changing Forgetmenot,
Chicory (Introduced 2007),
Common Comfrey,
Common Nettle,
Common Scurvygrass,
Creeping Buttercup,
Corn Marigold,
Creeping Thistle,
Crocus (escape and since 2007) A Yellow Variety and also a White Variety.
Dotted Loostrife,
Cuckoo Flower,
Field Pansy (Introduced since 2007)
Garlic Mustard,
Greater Burdock,
Hairy Bittercress,
Hedge Bindweed,
Hedge Woundwort,
Herb Robert,
Jacobs Ladder (prior to 2007) not seen since
Japanese Knotweed,
Ladys Mantle,
Large Bittercress,
Large Flowered Evening Primrose (Introduced 2007),
Lesser Trefoil,
Meadowsweet (introduced 2007),
Orange Poppy, (introduced 2007),
Wild Pansy (introduced 2007 with disturbed soils),
Procumbent Pearlwort,
Prickly Sow Thistle,
Privet Bush,
Red Bartsia,
Red Campion,
Ribbed Melilot,
Rosebay Willowherb,
Scented Mayweed,
Self Heal,
Sticky Mouse Ear,
Thyme-leaved Speedwell,
Vipers Bugloss (Introduced 2007),
Weld (Introduced 2007),
White Campion (Introduced 2007),
White Clover,
Wild Turnip,
Woolley Thistle
Columbine (Red) spread with disturbed soil prior 2007
Columbine (Pink) spread with disturbed soil prior 2007
Columbine (Lilac) spread with disturbed soil prior 2007,
Great Willowherb,
Broad Leaved Willowherb,
Meadow Foam,
Teasel (Introduced 2007),
Water Horsetail.

And here below is a poem composed by the late Haslingden's Major David Halstead titled "Billy Suets Song" and does have connections to the Haslingden Top O'th Slate:

Bodle un Mischief un Poncake un me
One Setthurday mornin’ went out for a spree;
Four lasses we met uz were goin’ up th’ Slate-
Thur wur Sarah un Mary un Martha un Kate.

They lived wi’ the’r feyther up on th’ Cribden Side,

He’d work’d up o’ th’ farm whol the’r shuttle they plied,
“They’s all hev the’r looms,” th’ owd feyther said,
“When they leave Cribden Side for to goo un get wed.”

Well, aw needed a loom, un aw needed a wife,

For aw’d getten reifth stauled ov a bachelor’s life;
Un Mischief un Bodle un Poncake all said
They’d bin long enough single – they’d goo un get wed.

“Well, Sarah,” aw sed, “aw’m beawn to ha’ thee”;

“Aw’m too fond o’ Mischief,” sed Sarah to me,
“Un aw’m promis’t a good pair o’ looms when aw wed” –
“By gum, Sal, aw’ll tak’ un un thee,” Mischief sed.

Well, then aw axed Martha if hoo’d cooart wi me –

“When tha hesn’d a Bodle to bless thisel wi!” –
Soa Bodle took this uz a hint to propose;
An’ a foine pair o’ looms un Martha aw lose.

Soa Mary un Kate were soon left by thersel,

One day we see’d Kate fotchin’ wayter fro’ th’ well,
Then Poncake un me booath together did strike:
“Aw ne’er cared for Suet, but Poncake aw like!”

Well, Moll un her looms they wur booath still to let,

Un id worn’d very long afore Mary aw met;
Aw wor twistin’ a warp in th’ owd spinnin’ rooms;
Neaw aw’ve getten th’ feawst lass un th’ wo’st pair o’ looms.

The above poem/song was performed by a late friend of mine from the 60's Harry Boardman of Middleton and he included it on the Compilation album "Owdham Edge"...

If you wish to check out further 
nature information please go to the Top O'Th Slate Nature Site by clicking here



Cridden guards you from the East,
It was that Hill of Stags,
A beacon warns to Hameldon,
Then walk o-er bridge upon a Cloud,
To a point that tips the Crown
Before you came to Play the Deer,
Down and ordered Back – Up again,
No Stags upon them hills away,
No antlers hung by Stags heads 
For riches lie within thy peat,
Hazel shouts whilst birches shine like silver,
Sides with Pinner-ed becks and Cavern’s drip,
Slate-d tunnels of catacombs, and shafts to echo grand,
Breached flatts with peppered pits
Where such lonely wretched moor grass sits
Vibrato cries with Curlew’s mourn,
Gruffs and Roding beats of drumming snipe,
This time when honeydew rushes ripe,
Along this god forsaken place. 
Those becks that sent that gin to bloom,
That helped to power many a loom,
So precious to the marigold,
And sparkles to the stickleback
I can breathe, I can sip, I can swim, I can rejoice,
To a place what’s given this town its voice
18th Feb 2015.

(Just uploaded the above photo to another site, the photo shows Cribden in the background
and inspired me to put pen to paper) If you do prefer explanation to the poem
please click here 

Cribden's “Iron Watter”

Dose them sties with iron watter lad,
It’ll shift them quickly I know!
Those were the words uttered by my father,
All them years ago, in fact sixty two years ago
And off we’d go o’er Sherfin to find that Brown stuff,

A calls it Brown Stuff or iron watter,
But being honest It was something magic,
And it always worked within twenty four,
It took them sties away and before long
I never had to go no more….

(this is purely another nice memory I have of the past and although the iron water did work for me, I am not advocating that anyone else should try it.")

This is a photo of typical "Iron Watter" which I took up near Slate during 2008.
Please click over photo to enlarge

LAUND HEY - HISTORIC:  (Added 17th June 2015)

From Old Newspaper Reports:

The Old Haslingden Races

When a fortnight ago announcing that Haslingden Town Council had decided to make application for powers to borrow £700 for the purchase from Mr.Thomas Heys of 26 1/2 acres of land at Laund Hey for purposes of public recreation ground, and £300 for the probable cost of repairing the boundary walls, we mentioned that Laund Hey and its vicinity have an historic interest in sport, more particularly from the circumstance that from 1751 to 1811 horse races were held there.  In as much as the first now traceable races were held on July 28,29 and 30th, 1761, and the last in July, 1911, we said it would be seen that these were July races.  We have now been able to trace an old reprint of a newspaper advertisement of the races of July, 1761, but we are lacking evidence that these were the first races.  The advertisement, as will be seen, announces that the races were "to be run on Laund Hey, near Haslingden."  In the article of a fortnight ago we inclined to the belief that the race course was actually Cribden Flat, which adjoins Laund Hey.  Our ground for that is that the late Mr. George Brierley, son of Mr. James Brierley, who in 1917 founded the ironmongery business in Market Place, Haslingden, recently vacated by Mr. James Brierley, grandson of the founder, on one occasion pointed out Cribden Flat as the racecourse to a Haslingden man who takes an interest in antiquarian matters and from whom we had the information.  There are two possibilities, Laund Hey, in the advertisement, may be a loose definition, whilst sufficiently specific for the purpose; or Cribden Flat may be a comparatively new place name, or a place name not generally recognised in the days of the races.  If any old inhabitant can throw additional light on the matter, we shall be pleased to hear from him.  When the races were discontinued in 1811 the race course was enclosed and divided into pasture fields.  The last steward of the races was struck out of the will of his uncle, who said none of his hard earned money should be used for such a pastime.  An authority writing nearly thirty years ago said.  "It has been said the Laund Hey stakes are still run for, or at least were run for until recently, at Nottingham, but no proof of this is at present forthcoming. The advertisement of the races of 1751 stipulates that entries were to be made at the Hare and Hounds.  This inn was of almost equal age to the Black Dog, the oldest inn of the town.

The Race Programme of 1761

The appended is the reprint of the advertisement of the 1761 races:-


To be run for on Laund Hey, near Haslingden, on Tuesday, the 28th of July, 1761, a purse of gold by any horse, mare or gelding, that never won above the value of ten pounds at any one time, matches excepted.  Give and take fourteen hands, to carry nine stone, saddle and bridle included.  Higher or lower weight in proportion.  The best of three heats.  To pay six shillings entrance.  The stakes to go to the second best, and to pay two shillings each to the clerks of the races for weighing and measuring.
On Wednesday, the 29th of July, a purse of gold by any horse, mare or gelding, that never won above the value of six pounds at any one time, matches excepted.  Give and take fourteen hands, to carry nine stone, saddle and bridle included, higher or lower weight in proportion.  The best of three heats.  To pay four shillings entrance. The stakes to go to the second best, and to pay a shilling each to the clerk of the races for weighing and measuring.
On Thursday, the 30th July, a purse of gold by any horse, mare or gelding, that never won above the value of £20 at any one time, matches excepted.  Give and take fourteen hands, to carry nine stone, saddle and bridle included.  Higher or lower weight in proportion.  The best of three heats.  To pay ten shillings entrance.
The stakes to go to the second best, and to pay three shillings each to the clerk of the races for weighing and measuring. 
There is to be a clear head each day for the stakes, and three reputed horses to start each day, or no race, unless ordered otherwise by a majority of the subscribers, who have absolute power to determine that or any dispute that shall arise.
No person to seell any liquor but those that subscribe to the above races, and no one will be allowed to have any stall or sell anything whatever on the said course without paying toll to the owner of the ground. No horse to run for any of the above purses unless they Inn at a subscriber's house.  To enter at the Hare and Hounds, Haslingden, on Monday, 27th July, between the hours of two and six of the clock in the afternoon, for all of the above purses, and to be subject to certain articles then to be produced. - N.B. - No winning horse to run for more than one day's purse without the consent of the Clerk of the course.

Laund Hey as Public Recreation Ground

The need of recreation grounds at Haslingden has long been felt.  It is now well on the way to being provided for.  The Town Council have decided to purase from Mr. T. Heys 26 1/2 acres of land at Laund Hey at a cost of £700.  At the suggestion of the Borough Surveyor, Mr. Taylor, £300 is to be provided for the probable cost of repairing the boundary walls.  The Council are making application to the Ministry of Health for powers to borrow the total sum of £300.  Some years ago, Major Halstead, the ex Mayor, freely permitted the use of a field near Hud Hey, where he was then residing, for the purposes of a recreation ground, but that could hold good only for a time.  Agitation has recently taken a definite form consequent upon the purchase of land in Private lane as a recreation ground for the Secondary School students.  This purchase was made not on the initiation of the Haslingden Education Committee or of the Town Council, but  in conformity with requirements of the County Council Education Committee, who provide the money from rates levied by them in the county administrative area.  Several members of the Education Committee voiced the opinion that if there is need for a recreation ground for the students of the Secondary School there is great need for a recreation ground for the children of the elementary schools of the borough.  They appointed a sub-committee to go into the question.  On the recommendation of that sub committee the Town Council were asked to provide public recreation grounds and so deal with the question more adequately than it could be secured by the provision of recreation ground for day school children.  The Town Council appointed a sub-committee to go into the matter, and the present decision has been taken on the recommendation of this sub-committee.  The site stretches from Back Lane (Top O'th'Slate) to the top of Cribden, and it includes the land which for many years was used as a shooting range by the old Volunteers and the Territorials.  The range is not at present being used, the Territorials now practising at Holcombe Hill, though rent is still paid for it.  Naturally the tenancy for shooting purpose will now need to be terminated.

Historic Ground

Laund Hey and the adjoining land, though situated on the border of the moorland, form a long stretch of level land that is almost a novelty in Haslingden, for the town proper is largely composed of hills and it is sentinelled by several hills.
Because of this a piece of land adjoining Laund Hey has an interest quite historic.  This is a piece of land know as Cribden Flat.  Here from 1761 to 1811 horse races were held.  It is not easy today to gather much information about the Laund Hey races, but as they were commenced on July 28th, 1761, and the last races were held in July 1811, they would seem to have been July races, In as much as the population of Haslingden - which in those days was not so big as the present borough - in 1811 was only 4,040, it is evident that the races could not have large support from Haslingden proper, though they would be able to draw upon Accrington (the population of which in 1811 was 3,077), Rawtenstall, and possibly also Burnley.

From Horse Races to Cricket

About 1863 the level land at Laund Hey caused it to be selected as a sports centre in rather a different line.  The present Haslingden Cricket Club was formed in 1853, and from the first it used Bentgate ground.  Afterwards there was a split, and the late Mr. John Duckworth formed what was know as the Laund Hey Cricket Club.  The new organisation was composed of younger persons than the Bentgate Club, but the Bentgate team played them once or twice.  The Laund Hey Club broke up about, if not actually in, 1866.  In more recent years the level land attracted first the Volunteers, then the Secondary School (for recreation purposes) and next the cricket and football clubs of half a dozen Sunday schools.  The Secondary School students have migrated to Private Lane.  The tenancies of the Sunday school clubs continue up to February of next year, but there would appear to be no reason why they should not all be continued.  
The level land remaining when all the Sunday school clubs are at play is quite ample to leave room for the children of the town, though it is doubtful whether there could be found in Haslingden another piece of land so accommodating.  The question of the tenancies of the Sunday school clubs will, however, need to be left over until the borrowing powers have been obtained, although Laund hey is on the hillside leading to Cribden, it is easily accessible from the centre of the town.
That, indeed, is suggested by the fact that it has been so popular with cricket and football clubs, It may be approached by Rakefoot and the old toll bar or from Slate Road.  Already it is not unknown to a good many children, for numbers play on it, and the Sunday school clubs have not interfered with them because there was room for all.

(Thanks to Jackie at Haslingden Roots for kindly supplying the old newspaper cuttings of the above articles)

Mail received 12th December 2015 from Derek HaworthHi Bryan, very interesting article you wrote on Laund Hey and Cribden area. My Grandfather fought in the Boer War and before leaving, the Volunteers used Laund Hey as a firing range,  as Children we used to go up there recovering spent bullets fired into the lower slope of Cribden, they will still be in the shingle part today I assume. Also the Caves you refer to were used as a dump for WW2 Gas Masks and as kids we used to climb in and run around Cribden in the Gas Masks. It was at the time when the Russians launched a Sputnik and we must have been a terrifying sight to the enthusiasts who sat on top of Cribden trying to view the Sputnik. Kindest regards,  Derek Haworth


Some lovely memories from Marie Ives


I was reminded of my younger days when I read about a walk to the Panoptican at Haslingden.
When we were children (my brother, cousin and myself) towards the end or just after the war years, we had the freedom to wander wherever we wanted.  We had no fear of strangers as children have today.  We walked over the paths on the side or over Cribden to Rawtenstall returning home over the Old Road and Whittaker Park.  We had no money and no refreshments, toffees could only be obtained if you had coupons and in most household Mum took charge of these, and crisps could only be bought in public houses.

After the Saturday matinee at the Empire Cinema we usually went up onto laund hey and played cricket or re-enacted the cowboy films we had seen.  One of our favourite things to do in Spring and Summer was flying our kites.  Mum made the kite out of thin cotton and sewed it to a thin dowelling frame in an elongated diamond shape.  We made the tails out of bits of the same cotton tied in knots onto a long thin piece of string about 18 inches long and this was tied to the bottom of the diamond.  A ball of string was wound onto a piece of wood in a 'figure of eight' way, this was then attached to the cross at the top of the kite, and we were then ready for launch.
Off we went up Kirk Hill passing Mrs Pilling's cottage (now derelict) up the field to the left then up the lane to 'Kite Hill' at the entrance to the old quarries at 'Slate'
Sometimes the kite would nose dive and have to be redesigned, but most times it did the proverbial and 'flew like a kite'.  I remember many happy times spent in this quarry, scrambling over the rocks and boulders, and jumping down them into muddy water.  I have passed by this area over the years as I went on walks with family and friends, and stopped to remember the happy times of the past, before continuing our ramble.
Now a Panopticon has been erected at the entrance to the old quarry and the whole area has been altered beyond recognition, even though there's still Cribden as a backdrop.
The hill where we flew our kites has been flattened to accomodate the structure and is very different from my memories.  All the rough lanes there have been tar macadamed and whole area fenced off, looking new and so different from my memories.  Granted in a few years time when nature has overgrown a bit, the viewing areas and walls will blend in with the landscape, but there will be no "Kite Hill" to fly your kite from.

Marie Ives


Fizle has kindly sent in the following mail:

Hi Bryan,

With the anniversary of the Blitz being marked everywhere, I wondered if you would be interested in starting a thread on bomb damage in Haslingden and surrounding areas and if anyone or their relatives remembered the experience. Also the on Laund Hey there used to be two dips which we described as 'bomb holes'. Were there really bombs dropped there at the foot of Cribden or was it just a tale?

Hope you are well and keep up the good work.

Fizle Sagar

I remember the bomb holes (there still there!) and I was probably told the same story as you. They said that they where German bombers who had been instructed to return to Germany and decided to lighten off their horrible payload near Cribden (Laund Hey - playing field, towards the base of Cribden and alongside the footpath at the junction where you would turn right). B.Y.

From Paul Burke.
Hello Bryan,
Whilst searching for information on the bomb holes up on Laund Hey, Haslingden, I came across a similar enquiry on your wonderful Haslingden blog:

To answer your query, the Lancashire Telegraph published a detailed map of every bomb that was dropped on East Lancashire during World War II. It includes the Laund Hey/Cribden bombs, but actually places them in Rawtenstall! They fell at 1:45am on 16th April, 1941:

LT Map in larger size
Google Maps Aerial View

I have just been up there today and can report that 3 of the 4 craters are still easily visible, especially when looked upon from the side of Cribden. The location of the 4th crater, which I always remember (albeit from 30 or so years ago!) as being immediately next to the footpath (which follows the wall on the left of the photo below), was no longer obvious.
hope this information helps.
Paul Burke

20th October 2012 from Jeff Stevens:
I remember in the late 1950's, as a youngster finding some rusted shrapnel in the vicinity of the bomb holes, it was quite a prized possession at the time.

Jeff Stevens