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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 7:42 pm 
Spider Lady
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Location: Staffordshire
Burnley Express

Wednesday 28 November 1894

Mr. Tattersall Wilkinson's History of Briercliffe And Extwistle

Interesting Lecture Last Night

At the weekly meeting of the Burnley Literary and Scientific Club last night Mr. Tattersall Wilkinson read a paper on: "The history of Briercliffe And Extwistle, their geological and neolithic periods, evidences of pre-glacial man, Celtic, Roman, and Saxon periods, modern history, and folk-lore." There was a fairly numerous audience, who listened attentively throughout - The President (Mr. F. J. Grant, J.P.), prior to introducing Mr. Wilkinson, proposed, in appropriate terms, that Dr. Brumwell be an honorary member of the club. -This was seconded by Mr. Joshua Rawlinson, J.P., and the voting will take place at the next meeting.
Mr. Wilkinson described the natural situation of the township, which, he said, was one of the most interesting we had in ancient Lancashire. Little was known of it during the ten centuries of Celtic, Roman, Saxon, and Danish occupation. A reference to Monk Hall and the monks who lived there preceded a recitation of bye-laws passed by landowners in May, 1561, on account of certain irregularities which had taken place in connection with the pasturage of sheep on Extwistle moor. In Extwistle, he continued, they had two ancient crosses. The first was Naggarth, situated on the north side of the road leading from the top of Roggerham-lane to Monk Hall. The cross was gone, but there remained the plinth, with the socket for the pillar. It was displaced and broken for the repair of the road within the last half century. In ancient days the place where it stood was the border of the wild moorland which stretched all the way to the Yorkshire border, and it was said that travellers knelt at the shrine praying for a safe journey, which was often doubtful owing to the sparseness of the population and the extremely wild nature of the country. He believed it was ordered to be put there by Mr. Jobling. The other cross was the one at Widdup, which had long ago been destroyed. It stood on the north side of Widdup Head, on the old Roman road, and on the highest point leading over the Penine range, about 1,500 feet above sea level. He remembered having seen it in a perpendicular position, but the ruthless hand of a vandal had broken in to pieces for the purpose of repairing the roads. Even at so late a period as the construction of Widdup reservoir a large number of blocks of stone were broken up by the workmen - blocks which composed the ancient Roman pavement, which in his (Mr. Wilkinson's) time was a sperfect and compact as when constructed by the Romans. (Applause.) He protested against it with all his might, but they took no notice whatever of him. Only three patches of the roadway were left. Passing on to a brief consideration of the neolithic age, the lecturer assured his hearers that there was no more interesting district in Lancashire than this. Roman times were as yesterday compared to the antiquity of the neolithic remains where two persons - an old one and a young one - were discovered buried together, the only conclusion being that the younger was sacrificed to accompany the elder. On the question of the geoligical period, Mr. Wilkinson maintained that man existed in this neighbourhood far before the last glacial epoch, the glacial drift coming from the north west, and read a letter he had received from Professor Kendal, of the Yorkshire College, in proof of his contention that not a single limestone boulder had ever been found on the Yorkshire side. Coming down to the modern history of Extwistle, the lecturer gave some very interesting information about the early Sunday schools in the locality. Robert Townley Parker, of Cuerden, not only gave the land for the site of the school in Extwistle, but was also at the cost of erecting the building. It was opened in 1803, and Henry Todd, a woold ocomber by trade, was the first schoolmaster. Twelve years later the first school was begin in Worsthorne by the Wesleyans, that in Briercliffe in 1834, that at Holmes Chapel in 1788, and the Church of England Sunday school at St. Peter's in 1787. For nearly 70 years Robert Townley Parker continued his subscription of five guineas, and it was afterwards paid by his representatives. All honour to them. (Applause.) The next on the subscription list was Col. Hargreaves with three guineas, and after his death it was continued by Miss Hargreaves (subsequently Lady Scarlett) and Mrs. Thursby. There was also the names of Peregrine Townley, a Mr. Ratcliffe (whom he did not know), and that grand old clergyman at St. Peter's, the Rev. Mr. Raws. This subscription book, indeed, threw a considerable light upon the beginning of schools in this locality. Dealing with the Parker family, Mr. Wilkinson quoted extensively from a pedigree which he had recently compiled, the earliest known record being of the time of Edward I., and the first reliable record of a Parker living in the district being in the reign of Henry IV., from 1400 to 1413. It was in 1718, owing to a fatal accident to a Robert Townley Parker, that the family removed from the ancestral home to Cuerden. Amongst other things elluded to was the old mill in Extwistle and the legend associated with it and the Bay Horse, after which Mr. wilkinson devoted himself to a consideration of the folk lore of the district, which lingered longer here than in most districts in England, and which he illustrated by several quaint incidents. Incidentally, he exhibited a perfect Roman fibula which he had recently discovered in the neighburhood of Widdup, than which he declared there was no more perfect specimen in the British Museum, to which he had sent it.
A cordial vote of thanks was passed to the lecturer, on the motion of Mr. Rawlinson, seconded by Mr. James Grant.


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