Home » Lancashire » Brunanburh » Brunanburh by Jas. T. Marquis



This essay was originally published in 1908, on the esteemed pages of the Transactions of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society, volume 26. Marquis' article appears on pages 35 through to 52.
Formatting and spelling is Marquis' own.

Reading in modern history a line "Battle of Brunanburh, site unknown," I felt that a great advance had been made towards its discovery, considering the number of places claimed as its site. It is time that the matter was disposed of by placing before archæologists, antiquaries, and historians the overwhelming testimony there is in favour of the site on the Lancashire Brun.


In a local history of Northumberland in Grose's Antiquities, reprinted from the Gentleman's Magazine, we find A.D. 938, at Brunanburgh (Bromridge, Brinkburn), in Northumberland, the allied Scotch, Welsh, Irish and Danes (Northumbrian army) under Anlaf totally defeated, when Constantine, King of Scots, and six petty princes of Ireland and Wales, and twelve earles were slain. The source of this description is the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. The reason for claiming this as the site are simply two. An old writer spells Brinkburn-Brincaburh, and there is an artificial mound proving a fight. Camden gives Brunford, near Brumbridge, in Northumberland, as the place where "King Athelstane fought a pitched battle against the Danes." This might easily be, but not the battle we are referring to. There is no reason given except the word "ford."

Gibson suggests that it must have been "somewhere near the Humber," although he finds a difficulty in carrying Constantine and the little King of Cumberland so high into Yorkshire. The other places suggested are Brumborough in Cheshire, Banbury in Oxfordshire, Burnham and Bourne in Lincolnshire, Brunton in Northumberland, but no good reason beyond a name, and an embankment in some cases, but not all. Brownedge in Lancashire has been suggested, with most excellent reasons, which will be stated in their proper place.

Dr. Giles and others suggest that the name should be Brumby instead of Brunanburh. Ingram in his map of Saxon England places the site in Lincolnshire, near the Trent, but without assigning good reasons.

Turner observes that the Villare mentions a Brunton in Northumberland, and Gibson states, what may still be seen in maps of a century old, " that in Cheshire there is a place called Brunburh near the shores of the Mersey." This last would be a serious competitor if there was a river Brun, or tumuli, or ford, or battlefield; but nothing is claimed, only the name suggested.


Let us first establish the site of the burh, which is a hill that shields or protects a camp, a town, or hamlet. The question is where was the tun or village on the Brun? It was in Saxon times usual for the folk to settle near a burh for the protection afforded by the overlord who occupied it. It was also the custom of the early missionaries to establish a feldekirk by setting up a cross near to the hamlet, where they used to preach Christianity and bury their dead.

If in Saxon times the folk lived on the Brun Ley or Lea, could a more ideal spot be found for a feldekirk than where the church and burying-ground is to-day on the Ley? Would not the feldekirk, as indicated by the site of the cross, be put near the ford to be in the village, the dwellings of which would be clustered on each side of the river, probably most on the burh-side, for protection, and also on the lower portion of the burh itself. In later and more peaceful times the church would be built on the Ley, and the new town take its modern name from the ground on which the church stood, i.e., Brun-ley, Bron-ley, and Burnley would be the pronunciation of Bronley, as iron gets to iurn.

We known from tradition that it was originally intended to build the church on the site of the cross, but it was declared that God willed it otherwise, and would not God-ley Lane be the lane that led from the village to God's Ley or God-ley (1) on which was the new church and burying-ground.

But our subject is the burh and ford, not the Ley. The cross stood at the foot of the burh by the Brun, near the Brun-ford, which would probably be the name of the village or town at that early period. We search the Domesday book in vain for Burnley, the records of which bring us no nearer than Rochdale, Huncote, Clitheroe, Rimington, north of Rochdale would be the forests of Boulsworth on the east and the great forest of Pendle on the west, and the valleys would be marshes and swamps. The ancient roads went along the hill sides. There is an ancient road from Clitheroe by Nick of Pendle along the east side of the hill, now almost obliterated, leading to Barrowford and the handsome Lancastrian bridge there. The ancient road on this, the east side of the valley, was on the Boulsworth slopes from Brunford, viâ Haggate and Shelfield, to Castercliffe, Colne, and Trawden (which gives its name to the forest), and Emmott.


Dr. Whitaker states that correctly it is Hesandford. This estate belonged to Stansfield, constable of Pontefract Castle, during the "De Lacy" times, and in Plantagenet times granted to one Haydock, and consisted of land lying between the Brun and the field known as Saxiefield.

Heys and ford: If we say "John o'th' Heys" we should mean "John o'th' Heights," that would be "heights and ford," not only the talk of the village but probably of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Those who lived by the Brun would speak of the heights, the ford, and the ridge, but south countrymen and strangers would speak of Brun Edge, Brunford, Brunridge, and Brunburh; and what is the interpolation in the middle of the word to make it Brunanburh? Does it not mean almost the same, viz., the "river and hill?"


Coming down from the two Saxifield farms - say from the Haggate road, now Thursby Road - to Swinless Street and Swinless Lane (still to be seen though blocked half way down the hill), and leaving the mansion house on the left, you arrive at the modern bridge over the Brun. The old ford is opposite Swinless Lane. On the opposite side of the river, possibly in the near corner of Queen's Park, is the site of the Godley Lane Cross, which the writer saw in situ in 1873. At that time, turning through a gate to the left, an ancient road led up to the ridge; Godley Lane on the right led to the market cross and church at Burnley.

Both roads are improved out of recognition. Keeping on this side of the ford, you see before you a deep shagh or shaw (which, I understand, is a wood on the side of a hill), with the river Brun close at its foot, and this for a mile or so. Following the Brun towards its source a short distance brings you to the meeting of the S'Windon (2), S'Wendun, or S'Windene Water with the Brun, and in another hundred yards or so Thursden (3), or Thursdene Water flows into Swindon Water. The path obliges you to follow Swinden Water rather than the Brun, but the wooded steep of the Brunshaw is visible on your right all the way.

Leaving Netherwood on the left, you bear off to the right, and you find yourself on Rowley, pronounced Roo-ley, and spelt so on the old maps, Ruhlie on old manuscripts, and perhaps meant for Rue-ley. The farm lands on the left are called Heckenhurst (4), once an extensive oak wood. Crossing the bridge and ascending some steps on the left, a footpath leads to Brownside or Brunside. From the bridge you will notice that the "shaye" has been disforested, but unmistakable traces remain of the wood between here and the Hollins or Hollinshaye. At the Hollins the hill begins to round off in the direction of Red Lees, which place is arrived at by ascending to the causeway at Pike Hill. This hill gets its name from the Brun, and is called Brunshaw to-day. On the other side of the hill, a road, leaving the Bacup and Manchester road near the Calder, is called Brunshaw Road. It leads to Brunshaw Bottom and Brunshaw Top, where it is joined by the ancient road from the ford past the ridge, and then continuing along the centre of the hill to Red Lees, becomes known as the "Long Causeway." This ancient causeway, by turning to the right at Stiperden, leads by Crosstone to another Long Causeway over Blackstone Edge to the south-east of England, or continuing to Slack, or by the Lancastrian road to Bradford and the east.

Returning to Red Lees you see at once that this is the weak point of the hill fort or burh, and Dr. Whitaker informs us that in his day "in the fields about Red Lees are many strange inequalities in the ground, something like obscure appearances of foundations, or perhaps of entrenchments, which the levelling operations of agriculture have not been able to efface" (10).

Some of these inequalities are still to be seen on the north side of the causeway trending in the direction of Hollingshaye, but on the south side good farming has almost cleared them away. Turning through a stile, a little further on the Lees, you are presently rewarded by observing that the break in the defence is only about three hundred yards, for a spring on its way to the Calder has worn a cleft in the hill, and on the burh side there are still the remains of an ancient wood. Next to the clough, on the Calder side of the hill, was the Towneley great deer park, and near the Brunshaw road you have trees again. The ancient township was Tunlay-with-Brunshaw, the latter occupying one hundred and nineteen acres, but as the meadows between the Calder and the foot of the hill are not part of the burh, that would mean some twenty or thirty acres less, and then, taking off one-third of the remainder of the wooded sides (7), it would leave about fifty to sixty acres clear on the top for the commander and men of an army of one hundred thousand strong, and also carriers, refugees from Brunford and the other hamlets, horses, mules, &c., of one hundred thousand more. Nothing was safer when attacked by bowmen, than a wood. Such was the Brun-burh. This burh at Red Lees, with mounds and ditches in a half-circle on each side of the causeway, would have the same appearance on being approached from the east and south-east as the eleventh century burh at Laughton-en-le-Morthen, Yorkshire.

The ancient way, referred to in Dr. Whitaker, from Burnley to Towneley would be from the market cross, along Godley Lane to the Brunford Cross, up over the ridge to the top of Brunshaw, along the causeway to Lodge Farm, through the deer park, through the watch gate at the foot of the hill, and up to Castle Hill at Tunlay.


The honour of claiming this neighbourhood as the site of the battle of Brunanburh belongs to the late Mr. Thomas Turner Wilkinson, a master of the Burnley Grammar School, who claimed it for Saxifield in 1856; but he got no help from history. Historians up to that time would appear to have compiled their histories in the British Museum, and taken no accound of the careful work of many a local antiquary or archæologist.

Students used to hope that when they had got past the mysterious office of bretwalda to Egbert, the first king of all England, matters would be much simplified, and were surprised to find that the first duty of each succeeding king of all England was to reconquer his own dominions. After, however, reading in Sharon Turner's history that "Alfred the Great," at the height of his power, signed himself only "Alfred, of the West Saxons, king," we begin to comprehend.

At the peace of Wedmore (date 878) we find from Gardiner's excellent map that Alfred retained England south of the Thames, with West Wales as a dependency, and he claimed the lands between Offa's Dyke (which separates it from Wales) and the Danelaw as English Mercia, including in Mercia the lands north of the Mersey which Offa had conquered from Northumbria and added to his archdiocese of Lichfield, where it remained down to modern times. England was still governed under the three provinces in the time of Henry I., viz., Wessex, Mercia, and Danelagh (14). North of the Tees was the little kingdom of Bernicia under an independent English king. South of the Tees, to the left of the Pennine range, were the British kingdoms of Strathclyde, to the right of the Pennies was Danish Northumbria (Deira). South again, the Danes of the five boroughs, and again south Guthrum's kingdom of East Anglia. The Strathclyde Britons of the north side of the estuary of the Ribble would be in constant communication with the Welsh of Gwynedd on the south. Thus, among the hills immediately north of a line drawn from the north end of Boulsworth, past Offa's Hill to the north end of Pendle, and thence to the bend in the Ribble and the Tees the whole of the hostile nations could meet in security.

It is easy to see, therefore, that Saxon Mercia north of the Mersey, surrounded by alien nations, and having itself been conquered from a country now claimed as the Danelaw, would be the most convenient territory to meet those nations in time of peace, and generally the debatable land in time of war.

On the death of Alfred, when Edward the Elder claimed his overlordship, the Danes rose in revolt in the north, and it is stated that he and his warrior sister, "the Lady of the Mercians," abandoned the older strategy of rapine and raid for that of siege and fortress building, or the making and strengthening of burhs. On his way north Roman strongholds he strengthened with mounds, Chester being one, thence to Thelwall, and afterwards to Manchester, which fort he strengthened with stone. Edward seems to have recovered the land between the Mersey and Ribble, for, soon after leaving Manchester, the Britons of Strathclyde, the King of Scots, Regnold of Bamborough (who had take York at this period), and the Danish Northumbrians take him to father and lord.

The place is not mentioned, but must be somewhere between Manchester and the line between north ends of Boulsworth and Pendle. The very same thing happened when Athelstan claimed his overlordship. If he profited by following his father's plan of travelling from burh to burh, then his route is not difficult to trace, viz., Thelwall, Manchester, Bacup, Broad Dyke, Longdyke, Easden Fort, Copy Nook, Castle Hill, Watch Gate, Brunburh, Broadbank, Castercliffe, Shelfield, Winewall, Emot. I regard Castercliffe as the last important burh in the Saxon king's ancestral dominions.

Emmott is a little burh of itself. If "scrogged" on the side next the moor, it would hold one or two thousand men, and has water from the Hallown Well for one hundred thousand.

In the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle we get the following: "A.D. 926. Sihtric perished, and King Athelstan ruled all the kings in the Island, the Northumbrians, Constantine, King of Scots, Ealdred of Bamborough, and others, which they confirmed by pledge and oaths at a place Eamot on the 4th. of the ides of July, and they renounced idolatry."


Everything points to it; this part of the Saxon king's dominions being the one place where all the hostile nations could meet before the attack. There is no other river Brun in northern Mercia. The Saxon Chronicle says the battle was fought near Brunanburh.

Ethelward says Brunandune (river and dale), Simeon gives Wendune (2) (we have Swindon), Malmesbury and Ingulf name Brunsford or Brunford, Florence of Worcester near Brunanburh, Henry of Huntingdon gives Brunesbury, and Gaimar has Brunswerce (if he means Brunswerceton (5), then we have it in Worsthorne, which is known to be derived from Wrthston, the town of Wrth). In the Annales Cambria it is styled the "Bellum Brun" (the Battles of the Brun). This would explain the many names. William of Malmesbury says the field was "far into England." We have Brownedge and Brownside. In addition to all this we have "Bishop's Leap," S'Winless Lane, Saxifield, Saxifield Dyke (8)). We have also a Ruh-ley, a Red Lees, directly opposite to which we have a traditional battlefield and battlestone, also a High Law hill (9) and Horelaw pastures, a number of cairns of stones, small tumuli, all of which may be said to be near the hill fort - Brunanburh.


With the two "six inch to the mile" Ordnance maps before you, one of Briercliffe and the other of Worsthorne, you will notice that the roads from Slack (near Huddersfield) pass through the Pennine range, one by the long causeway on the south of the position, and on the southern side, near Stiperden, is "Warcock Hill." From here, running north, are a series of ridges, Shedden Edge, Hazel Edge, Hamilton Hill, to the other road from Slack, passing through the hills at Widdop, and immediately on the north side at Thursden is another Warcock Hill. From Warcock Hill to Warcock Hill would stretch the army of Anlaf in their first position. From the north end of the position a road north to Shelfield and Castercliffe, by means of which he could be joined by his Welsh allies from the Ribble, viâ Portfield, and his Strathclyde and Cumbrian allies from the north. From this end of the position there is a road due west to the Broadbank, where there is the site of a small camp at Haggate.

From here Anlaf would send his Welsh allies under Adalis, and his shipmen under Hryngr, for the night attack on the advancing Saxons as they crossed the Brun ford. They fell on them somewhere on the site of Bishop's House Estate, but were afterwards beaten back across the estates known as Saxifield. Two days afterwards both sides prepared for a great struggle near the burh, and Anlaf, taking his cue from his opponent, advanced his left and took possession of the hill near Mereclough, afterwards called High Law (Round Hill), and the pastures behind still known as Battlefield, with a stone called Battle-stone in the centre of it.

Constantine and the Scots were in charge of the hill and the Picts and Orkney-men behind. His centre he pushed forward at Brown Edge to the "Tun of Wrst," while his right touched S'Winden Water under Adalis with the Welsh and shipmen.

Two days before the greater battle Athelstan marched out of Brunburh at the north end, and encamped somewhere on the plain called the Bishop's House Estate, his route by the Brun-ford and probably S'Winless Lane. We are informed that Anlaf entered the camp as a spy, and, ascertaining the position of Athelstan's tent, formed the night attack for the purpose of destroying him. Athelstan, however, leaving for another part of his position on the Brun, gave Wersthan, Bishop of Sherborne, the command. The bishop met his death somewhere on the estate, the pasture being known as "Bishop's Leap" (6), which undoubtedly gave the name to the estate.

Adalis, the Welsh prince, had done this in the night attack, probably coming by way of Walshaw (10) and Dark Wood. Alfgeir took up the command, with Thorolf on his right and Egils in support in front of the wood. Alfgeir was first assaulted by Adalis with the Welsh and driven off the field, afterwards fleeing the country. Thorold (Thorolf) was assaulted by Hryngr the Dane, and soon afterwards by Adalis also, flushed with victory. Thorold directed his colleague Egils to assist him, exhorted his troops to stand close, and if overpowered to retreat to the wood.

Thorold the Viking was the hero of this day, near the Netherwood on Thursden Water. He fought his way to Hryngr's standard and slew him. His success animated his followers, and Adalis, mourning the death of Hryngr, gave way and retreated with his followers back over Saxifield to the Causeway camp at Broadbank. Whatever took place at Saxifield the enemy left it entirely, and the decisive battle took place at the other end of Brunburh. In walking up S'Windene by S'Winden Water the district on your right, between that river and the Brun, is called in old maps Roo-ley and in older manuscripts Ruhlie, marked in Thomas Turner Wilkinson's time with a cairn and tumulus. Some distance further on you have Hecken-hurst. The roads down from the burh are at Rooley and at Brownside and at Red Lees by the Long Causeway leading to Mereclough.

Athelstan placed Thorolf on the left of his army, at Roo-Ley, to oppose the Welsh and irregular Irish under Adalis. In front of Brownside (Brunside) was Egils with the picked troops, and on Egils' right, opposite Worsthorne, Athelstan and his Ango-Saxons. Across the original Long Causeway on the Red Lees, with the burh entrenchments immediately at his back, was the valiant Turketul, the chancellor, with the warriors of Mercia and London, opposite Round Hill and Mereclough. Thorolf began by trying to turn the enemy's right flank, but Adalis darted out from behind the wood (now Heckenhurst) and destroyed Thorolf and his foremost friends on Roo-ley or Ruhlie. Egils came up to assist his brother Viking, and encouraging the retreating troops by a mighty effort destroyed the Welsh prince, Adalis, and drove his troops out of the wood. The memorial of this fight was a cairn and tumulus on Roo-ley. Athelstan and Anlaf were fighting in the centre for the possession of (Bruns)-Wrston, neither making much progress, when the Chancellor Turketul, with picked men, including the Worcester men under the magnanimous Singin, made a flank attack at Mereclough, and breaking through the defence of the Picts and Orkney men, got to the "Back o'th' Hill" (11). He penetrated to the Cumbrians and Scots, under Constantine, King of the Grampians. The fight was all round Constantine's son, who was unhorsed. The chancellor was nearly lost, and the prince released, when Singin, with a mighty effort, terminated the fight by slaying the prince.

On Round Hill, down to one hundred years or so ago, stood a cairn called High-Law (9). When the stones were made use of to mend the roads, a skeleton was found underneath. That, I believe, would be a memorial of that fight.

At "Back o'th' Hill" a blind road leads through what in an old map and in tradition is called "Battlefield," and the first memorial stone is called the "Battlestone." Another similar stone is further on. Following the blind road through Hurstwood, the chancellor would find himself at Brown End, near Brown Edge. At the other end of the position, Egils, having won the wood, would be in the neighbourhood of Hell Clough (12), ready to charge, at the same time as Turketul, on the rear of Anlaf's army.

At this period of the battle, Athelstan, seeing this, made a successful effort, and pushed back the centre. Then began the carnage, the memorials of which are still to be seen on Brown Edge, Hamildon Pasture, Swindene, Twist Hill, Bonfire Hill, and even beyond. Those who could get through the hills at Widdop would do so; others, however, would take their "hoards" from the camps at Warcock Hill and other places, and burying their "treasures" (13) as they went along, pass in front of Boulsworth, and over the moor through Trawden Forest, between Emmott and Wycollar.

If the Saxon description of the battle, in Sharon Turner's History of the Anglo-Saxons, be read and compared with the accompanying map, the reader will see that there is no other place in England which can show the like circumstantial evidence, nor any place, having that evidence, be other than the place sought for.


(1) LEY, LEA. - Ground enclosed, not open.

(2) S'WINDON, S'WINDENE, WENDUNE. - If a Northumbrian said: "That's th' Wendune," or "that's th' Winless," a clerk writing it down for the first time would certainly begin with an "S," and "dene" means the same as the south country "doon" or "dune."

(3) THURSDEN. - As a derivative the "Thursavirgins" is out of the question, but it is an easy transition from Thorolf or Thoroldsdene to Thursden. At this period St. Olave, King of Norway, revived the prohibition against the Vikings, and in the "Knythinga Saga" we find a King Canute (probably the one whose effigy is on the coins in the Cuerdale find), censuring Egils on his return and forbidding it. I suggest that this land on the left of the position, which was occupied by them, situated at the end of Saxifield, so valiantly won by Thorold, was given to Thorold's followers by Athelstan as payment for their services. It is on record that when Egils returned he took with him one hundred men, whereas the combined Vikings were three hundred men.

(4) HECKENHURST. - This is hecking wood. To say Hurstwood is to mean Woodwood. Hecken may mean heckling or hacking. Oaks are not plentiful in this neighbourhood, nor do they grow to anything like the size they do in the Midlands; but on this estate one is struck by the oak trees, "here and there," which have never been planted, and the numbers of oak trees, half withered, which have been left in the hedges. Also evidences of clearance and roots, which appear to have been burnt out. On the map, I have filled in the wood from the outside oaks still standing, there being unmistakable signs of an oak wood.

(5) BRUNS, WRTHS-TON. - Worsthorne, Worston. In the most northerly bit of the Saxon king's dominions there is another Wrths-ton on Pendle side, some ten miles away. Brun may have been added to distinguish it from the other.

(6) BISHOP'S LEAP. - In trying to get the exact site of this tumulus I was astonished to be informed by a local student in archæology that he never knew where it was, but always thought it was on the Cliffe on the other side of the Brun (i.e., part of the Brunburh). If this is persisted in we shall soon be hearing it said that the cross near the Brun-ford commemorated the death of Bishop Wersthan, which Dr. Whitaker does not say, although he saw the cross and knew the site of Bishop's Leap. In Trawden Forest there is a Foster's Leap Farm, and on my asking for the site of the leap he did not know, but suggested the nearest hill.

(7) WOODED SIDES OF BRUNSHAW. - The north side from end to end may be said to be a wooded cliff. The southern side I have filled in with trees, because the little woods "here and there" are not plantations, but appear to have been left there after the others were cleared away to make pasture land. This is especially the case with the old spring woods, where the old trees are rotting away and new ones growing from the seeds. Again, the largest part of that side of the hill was Towneley deer park, where it is known there were trees, as per Dr. Whitaker's plate in the History of Whalley.

(8) SAXIFIELD DYK. - In 1323 Legh of Towneley established his right to hunt wild beasts from Thursden Head towards the east, to Bradley brook on the west, beginning at Saxifielddyk on the north, to Cromble-brook on the south.

(9) HIGH LAW. - I place more faith in this and the two memorial stones than I do on the word "battlefield," although I have tested the latter. I was directed to the right spot on two different occasions by a man and by a boy. I am assured also by a local antiquary who owned a book of the old Ormerod estate, which he has presented to a museum, that it was on the old map "Battlefield" and "Battlestone." In the High Law, however, we have the king's "law." The little hill on which the nobles - Lancaster, Warwick, and others - executed the Earl of Cornwall against the will of the king is called Blacklaw, but the knoll in Yorkshire on which the king executed the Earl of Lancaster would be High Law. We have Lladslaw, and Raleigh administered in Cornwall the Stanlaw. Horelaw is almost certainly a corruption of Higher Law, and, where we have either of the two names, I believe it to be a fair assumption that the king has administered the law in person.

(10) WALSHAW. - Below Walshaw on Widow Green is a dyke stretching across from "Scrogg Wood" to "Dark Wood." I have no authority for connecting this with the battle, but the following is suggestive: The annalist of Metz writes in the ninth century, "The Northmen protected themselves according to custom with wood and a heap of earth," and such we may conclude was their fashion some fifty years later, from the extract from the Saxon Chronicle relating to this battle, "The board-wall they clove, they hewed the war-lindens." A wall-shaw would be a wall of wood.

(11) BACK O'TH' HILL. - Of all the backs of the many hills this is the only one which is so noted as to find a place on the map and also gives its name to a wood.

(12) HELL CLOUGH. - There is no natural feature of any kind about this little ravine, formed by a small tributary of Swinden Water, to support its awful name, but I could see that men hustled and pressed in retreat might hesitate at crossing at the water meetings, and following this little stream, would be crowding on Anlaf's "centre" and be obliged to cross further up in the neighbourhood of Bottin. Of some of Egils' men crossed, and followed Swinden Water so as to keep up the flank attack, the Welsh, Irish, and shipmen would be entangled in the brush-wood of the little clough and, pressed on both sides, a terrible carnage might take place. This is supported by Thomas Turner Wilkinson, who found at the head of this clough human remains in an urn in a circle of stones (evidently a chief), and also other remains not in urns or memorialised by stones.

(13) BURIED TREASURES. - Walking over the hill from Trawden to Emmott between Trawden Water and Wycollar, I was struck with the unmistakable signs of the Danelaw in the Laithes, Jarminy (Germany), and Raven's Rock Farms. I pointed it out to a farmer, who told me that they had two traditions in that neighbourhood which they did not intend to let die out. One was "that Ravensrock was an ancient quarry, which was once worked by wooden wedges;" the other, "that there was a kist of cons buried o'er theer," and further conversation elicited that "them that buried it were Danes who went over t' sea." As the sweep of his arm, in pointing out where it was, took in the whole of Boulsworth, I have not commenced digging yet, but it seems to me that here is an excellent suggestion as to the "Cuerdale find." Mr. Sharon Turner admits, in a footnote, that he has substituted the name of Anlaf, whereas in the "Egili Saga" it states that Athelstan sent his message ("that if he would restore his plunder he might leave the country unmolested, but that he would not restore Northumbria to Anlaf") to Adils (Adalis), and not to Anlaf. This is reasonable enough. For what other purpose would the Welsh prince be in Yorkshire, helping the Dane, except for pay and plunder. Anlaf was fighting for his ancestral rights. I suggest that Adalis' men buried their treasure somewhere in front of Boulsworth, and came for it after the death of Athelstan. They would carry it across to the Ribble, with the intention of either shipping it to Wales or Ireland, and before this could be accomplished they were disturbed by King Edmund, on his way to conquer Cumbria, as per Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Burying it hurriedly in the Ribble, and the carriers being slain, the knowledge of its hiding-place would be lost. I assert that the finding of a few Roman coins "here and there" is no proof of Roman occupation. All the Roman coins found in this neighbourhood have been discovered in ground which has been occupied by Constantine's Picts, Scots, and Cumbrians, or by those who defeated them, whose hoards were made up of the Roman coins their ancestors had robbed from the Roman Britons at Ribchester and other places some hundreds of years before. For instance, some Roman coins were found at Cliviger Laithe, occupied by Turketul's men. Following his flank march you pass through Overtown, a few Roman coins were found there also. On High Law were found a few more. It is only reasonably proved that Twist Castle and Castercliffe are of Roman origin, and certainly used by the Saxons and those in rebellion afterwards.

(14) England is recognised as divided into the three states of Wessex, Mercia, and the province of the Danes in the laws of Henry I.; the latter province, sometimes styled the Danelagh, appears to have comprised the whole tract north and east of Watling Street. - Annals of England.

(15) Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. A.D. 937. Anlaf, son of Sihtric, with an army of Northmen from Ireland, and Constantine III., King of Scots, land at the mouth of the Humber; they are defeated by Athelstan and Edmund the Atheling, at Brunanburh. "Five youthful kings and seven earls were laid in slumber by the sword, and of their army countless shipmen and Scots. The West Saxons onward throughout the day, in bands, pursued the footsteps of the loathed nations. Carnage greater has not been in this island, of people slain by the edge of the sword, since from the east hither came the Angles and Saxons."
Other information from Norwegian and Welsh sources: "Egili Saga," Annales Cambria, Bruty Twysogion, &c.
Consult Gardiner's Map of England at Treaty of Chippenham. Thos. Turner Wilkinson's rough map, though geographically incorrect, gives a correct list of the various cairns and tumuli as they existed in 1850 A.D. From a pamphlet published in 1857. See also the map at page 160 of volume xi. of the Society's Transactions.

Background image: mario.lancashire.gov.uk.

Sir Graham