HUDDERSFIELD ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND TOPOGRAPHICAL ASSOCIATION.
On Monday last a council meeting of this association was held at the Globe Inn, Outlane, at eleven a.m. The meeting was called thus early in the day in order that the Council might make a personal inspection of the many remains of antiquity in the neighbourhood. This, the special business of the meeting, proved most interesting to all who took part in it, and some account of what was done cannot fail to be attractive to the public, who will doubtless be glad to have the experiment repeated in other parts of the district.
After the transaction of some routine business, the president (Lieut.-Colonel Brooke), the Council, and several friends of archaeology whom the proposed inspection had attracted to the place, set out on their ramble under the able guidance of J.S. Stott, Esq., of Halifax, whose intimate practical knowledge of the district for upwards of 40 years added greatly to the success of the expedition.
The first point visited was Lee Hill, of which Watson, the historian, of Halifax, in the year 1785 wrote as follows :— "On the point of Lee Hill, near Slack, is a circular remain of an ancient encampment, about 80 yards each way, measuring to the outside of the agger. It commands a fair view of Castle Hill, near Almondbury, as well as of the adjoining country." The northern side of this encampment was found to be wholly destroyed by quarries, and only about fifty or sixty yards of the eastern portion of the circumference can now be traced with certainty. The agger has been formed of stones heaped up, and probably covered with earth. In the memory of Mr. Stott this agger was four feet high ; in Watson’s time it would be still higher, and when made would be of sufficient height to repel an attacking force. The ground has been enclosed and planted, and the plantation cut down, but it is not yet thoroughly broken up for agricultural purposes. Large stones are scattered about ; and as the present remain consists chiefly of small stones, it may with reason be inferred that all stones that were available for building or fencing have been removed from it. This camp, which is a little to the north of the line of the Roman road, is, by Dr. Whitaker, the author of "The History of Leeds," considered to be a Roman work. Its character is certainly more British than Roman, and it is hoped that when the land comes to be broken up, some celt or other implement may be found, as was the case at Castleshaw, in Saddleworth, which may fix with some certainty its real origin.
In addition to Castle Hill, at Almondbury, the retrenchment on Moles Head, in Golcar, and Camp End, in Warley, are points of interest distinctly visible from this point. Before the enclosure of Lindley Moor there were many remains, some of them considerable, spread over it. These have now disappeared, and with them the long trench leading from Lee Hill to Watch Hill, which is described both by Mr. Watson and Dr. Whitaker.
The next point visited was Wapping Nick, a ravine between two craggy points that bear the names of the Great Pen End and the Little Pen End, names pointing to a British occupation of the place. Thence the party went to the Haigh Cross, traversing on their way the existing remains of the Roman Road. These are most clearly marked, along the whole length of the enclosure to the north of Haigh Cross, but the practice of gathering the stones off it, which is now being carried on, will, before long, do much to efface the track.
At Haigh Cross, about 140 yards south of the Roman road, the party halted for some time. The original cross, as appears by the inscription on the present one given below, was wilfully pulled down, and according to Mr. Stott, whose relatives resided near at the time, it was so much broken as to be incapable of restoration, and the fragments were buried under the present cross. This is a square stone pillar of considerable height let into a square base and bears the following inscriptions, &c., which tell their own tale.
On the east side facing the Haigh House Hill Road is, "A shield gules, three bars argent, re-erected by T.T., 1808, after being wilfully pulled down. — Haigh Cross."
On the west side — a grouse as crest, and below "Quarmby de Quarmby Crest 1304."
As the new cross would be intended to reproduce the main features of the old one, the connection of the cross with the family of Quarmby of Quarmby is of considerable interest, and an investigation of documents referring to the cross, if there be any, might disclose with accuracy the original purpose for which it was erected.
In the immediate vicinity of the cross are appearances of intrenchments of some magnitude, which extend at intervals round the high ground lying between the cross and the Roman road. It was suggested that this high ground might be the watch hill referred to by Watson, and it certainly offers an admirable site for an intrenched position for specular purposes.
Leaving Haigh Cross the site of Maplin Cross was next visited, another trace of the Roman road, in a small piece of unbroken ground being observed in passing. Maplin Cross is at present represented by a plain square stone, built into a fence between Leeches and Lee-hill, and bearing this inscription — "T.T., 1808. Maplin Cross." The fence is at this point the boundary between the parishes of Halifax and Huddersfield.
In remote periods roads were the only artificial boundaries, and there can be no doubt that the Roman road is the origin of the boundary between the parishes. Maplin Cross may have been a boundary stone, but the Roman road would probably be a road for centuries after the Romans left this island, and Maplin Cross would serve all the purposes of a wayside cross.
The letters T.T. on Haigh Cross and Maplin Cross are the initials of Thomas Thornhill, Esq., of Fixby, the then owner of the estates abutting upon them to whom we are indebted for this careful preservation of their memory ; and it was no small satisfaction to the Council to know that William Capel Clarke Thornhill, Esq., the present successor in estate of the gentleman who placed his initials on the crosses, was a life member and patron of their association.
From Maplin Cross the party returned to luncheon at the Globe Inn, and afterwards continued their inspection in a westerly direction. Passing by Gosportto Forest Hill, where the ancient road known as "The Marsden Gate" was reached, the party proceeded along Crow Edge and over the Vicars Lot, noticing in their way traces of Cairns and Barrows, a careful investigation of which is contemplated, and is likely to yield important results in illustration of the earliest occupation of the district. From Wilson Hill the supposed line of the Roman road across Red Lane Dike and by Camp Hill was carefully noted. Owing to the absence of the farmer of the land, another camp not known to his family but which is known to have existed and given the name of Camp Bed or Camp Stead to some fields, was left unexplored, and the party returned to Slack where they lingered over the Roman hypocausts still uncovered there. The construction of these was explained, and the intrenchments in the immediate neighbourhood examined before the party returned to the Globe Inn, where, after a hearty vote of thanks had been given to Mr. Stott, the Council, and their friends, separated.
It may be added that the question of renewing the explorations at Slack has occupied the serious attention of the Council, and that arrangements are being matured which they hope will lead to their resuming operations in the course of the summer, and continuing them for as long a time as public support may render possible.