Ten Years' Digging Appendix

Ten Years' Digging Appendix is in Ten Years' Digging.

Miscellaneous Discoveries.

In April, 1847, men employed in getting stone under an accumulation of loose limestone, at the bottom of a low hill close to the river Lathkill, at Conksbury Bridge [Map], near Youlgrave, found a considerable number of bones, both human and animal* The former comprised skeletons of four young persons and one infant, none having reached maturity; the latter consist chiefly of the skeletons of two horses. Amongst them were found a short piece of the leg bone of some animal, artificially perforated with six holes, and a plain bronze fibula, of the common Roman type, with the acus still remaining. All the articles (except the perforated bone) were added to the collection at Lomberdale, by the kindness of Thomas Masters, Esq., of Bakewell.

In illustration of this discovery, we may mention that a tall and singularly slender skeleton was found under limestone gravel, in a similar situation at the foot of a hill at Dowell, near Sterndale, in November, 1850; but being unaccompanied by any manufactured object, we are unable to fix any approximate date to the time of its interment.

Another skeleton was found under precisely similar circumstances, in October, 1859, by men digging for gravel in Glutton Dale, a very short distance from Sterndale. The bones were much broken by the workmen, but sufficient remains to show that they were those of a tall and muscular young man. A few broken animal bones accompanied the interment, but no manufactured article was found.

In February, 1848 during the formation of the Rowsley and Ambergate Railway, a sepulchral deposit was found in a field by the side of the river Derwent, immediately north of Matlock Bridge, consisting of a large urn, about half fall of calcined bones, enclosing a smaller vessel of the kind usually known as the "incense cup," which was placed,upon the bones. The largest urn was covered by a thin flat limestone, and was further protected from the pressure of the earth by a kind of cist, formed of two stones, each about three feet long by eighteen inches broad, placed on edge, one on each side, with a third laid transversely above. An empty vase was also found close by the other. I am indebted to Mr. Adam, the geologist, for the above information; and to Mr. Campbell, the engineer, for his kindness in placing the incense cup in the collection at Lomberdale. The large urn was broken to pieces by the excavators. The accompanying woodcut (lent by Mr. Pike, of Derby) will render this notice more intelligible.

On the 10th of February, 1849, a person engaged in levelling about an old stone quarry in land near Monyash, called High Low [Map], met with numerous bones, both of men and animals, as usually found in tumuli that have been disturbed; a circumstance here recorded for the purpose of establishing the fact of a barrow having existed at High Low, as the name would indicate.

Barrow At Waterhouses, Staffordshire, Opened By Mr. Hall, Of That Place.

In the autumn of the year 1849, a small batrow was opened by Mr. Hall, in which he discovered a skeleton, which he pronounced to be that of a female, laid in a natural depression in the rock, beneath the centre. No instrument or pottery was found either with it or in any other part of the mound.

Barrow Near Warslow, Opened By Mr. Herbert Manclarke.

On the 18th of April, 1850, a barrow at Brownlow [Brown Low Barrows [Map]], near Warslow, was opened in the presence of numerous spectators, by Mr. Manclarke. It consisted mostly of earth, and was examined by digging a pit down the middle to the depth of five feet, when the undisturbed soil appeared strewed with charcoal, mixed with burnt bones, from among which were taken two pieces of flint, wherewith the discovery terminated.

On the 27th of November, 1851, a barrow near Warslow, called Lid-Low [Lid Low Barrow [Map]], was opened by Sir John Harpur Crewe, Bart., and Sir Gardner Wilkinson, in which they found a skeleton, accompanied by a fine bronze dagger, 7½ inches long, with two rivets attached to it, and two others separate, all lying near the head, besides two well-formed spear-heads of flint, the largest of which measures 2¾ inches in length.


Sometime in 1852, some agricultural labourers engaged in levelling a tumulus composed of earth, at a place called Tinker's Lin, near Ashbourne, discovered a grave, sunk a foot lower than the surface of the land, under the central part of the mound, which was five feet high, in which was a skeleton, accompanied by a small metal article, which, not having seen, we are unable to describe: it was, however, most probably a bronze dagger.


On the 24th of November, 1854, some persons engaged in levelling in front of the cavern near Buxton, called Pool's Hole, found, when about four feet from the surface, a number of human and other bones, comprismg the remains of three individuals, accompanied by stags' horns and numerous pieces of corroded iron, consisting of buckles, staples, clench bolts, 1¾ inches long, nails (one with a globular head, three inches long), and a slender sheath or ferule, four inches long, exhibiting traces of gilding, all of which are preserved at Lomberdale.

In January, 1856, a bronze dagger or skean, 9¾ inches long, was found about two feet beneath the surface, in cutting drains in land in Buxton called "The Rake." There are two holes at the broad end, by which it has most probably been tied to the handle, no rivets being present. It ia very similar to those commonly found in Ireland, but rarely seen in the midland counties of England, and on this account is mentioned^ although unconnected with barrow-digging or human remains.


"In November, 1859, the workmen employed in irrigating the Birchall Meadows, near Leek, into which the sewage of the southern district of the town flows, broke ground on a very slightly elevated barrow, and found therein a cairn of stones, and a cinerary urn, ornamented with the herring-bone pattern, and containing a soft moist matter." — Stafford Papers.

Wilson's MS

The following is extracted from an interesting unpublished manuscript in the autograph of John Wilson, Esq., of Broomhead Hall, near Penistone, Yorkslure, a zealous antiquary of the last century (bom 1719, died 1783), of whom a portrait and notice will be found by referring to *VHunter*s History of Hallamsliire," p. 275. The M.S., on 25 pages 4to, records many curious discoveries of Celtic, Roman, and Medieval Antiquities, in the counties of Derby and York (of which we have selected such as come within the scope of this work); and bears the title of "A Collection of Memorandums Relating to Antiquity".

Upon the East Moor, near Grindleford Bridge (Derbyshire), in some large heaps of stones, called "Robin Hood's Pricks," which were led away to repair the turnpike leading to SheflSeld, was found some urns. Most of them were broken by the carelessness of the workmen; one whole one, in the common shape of Roman urns, however, was preserved. It contains about three gallons of water, and was found with the mouth downwards, and nothing in it. It is now in the possession of Richard Bagshawi Esq., of Wormhill and Oaks.

An urn was found in a large heap of stones, upon Eyam Moor (Derbyshire), called the "Round Hillock," near the road &om Grindleford Bridge to a hill called "Sir William," in the Tideswell Turnpike, which were led away for the said turnpike in June, 1759. It was in this shape — of red earthy and so large it would contain about two pecks of com, Winchester measure. In it was found son^e burnt bones. It was about ten inches and a half over the top, more Uian eighteen inches deep^ and ran teetering to a bottom of about two inches and a half, and a hollow broad ledge hanging over the top. In it was found burnt bones, and a small round earthen vessel, about five inches diameter and two inches high, of a common brown clay colour, which had nine round holes in the sides; and in it were several beads, of about two inches long and half an inch diameter in the middle: they were of a brown, or rather amber colour, and, notwithstanding their antiquity, retained a strong aromatic smelL It was purchased of the workmen for me, by Mr. Jonathan Oxley, of Leam; but the workmen, instead of carrying it to his house, carried the pot and beads to the Rev. Mr. Seward, of Eyam, and the urn was found broken near the place some time after. It is said the pot and beads were sent to the Royal Society. Mr. Longston, of Eyam, says the beads he saw were of an amber colour, of the length of a barley-corn, and about the thickness of a fork at the bottom of the grains. The pot was of a light colour, and quite sound. Mr. Seward showed it him.

In making the turnpike through the hill called "Sir William," was found two small copper pieces — one of Constantine the Great, the other of Maxentius — which I have.

Upon Eyam Moor are many Druidical monuments, or burial places. The first of these is a circle of stones, like an old wall bottom, the inside of which circle, close to it, is about forty yards long, and thirty-five broad from stone to stone on the inside the circle. Close to it stand sixteen stones of the large sort, set on the end, eleven or twelve of which are now standing, and the other lie near where they stood. In the middle appears to have been a small heap of stones, now even with the ground. Exactly in the middle, on one side the circle, is a huge heap of stones (see Figure 2). Figure the 3rd is a small circle on another part of the common, much like that described, but smaller, the inside of which is dished or hollow, and from the hollow rises a heap of stones, exactly on the top of which, in the centre, is a round cavity, about the bigness of a large pot: there are two or three of this kind. Figure 4 — A heap of stones, with a circular row of large stones on the outside: there are many of this sort on the moor.

Some of the above places have been made use of as places of burial, by some urns of coarse earth, badly baked, almost in the shape of flower-pots, found in them, with bones and pieces of skulls, not burnt, but pressed into them; as one, in my possession also, had, besides the bones, part of a small pot therein, in which it is supposed the heart was deposited, of the same kind of earth, in the form of a small gallipot. In searching into the place where the great heap of stones lay, called the " Round Hillock," was found a large pendant drop (in my possession), with a hole in it, in this shape — of a black composition, like jet, but extremely light, with a hole near the top, supposed an ornament of the Druids or Ancient Britons, to hang at the ears, neck, or nose. A large perforated bead was found by John Wadsworth, Mr. Oxley's man, of Leam, in digging into one of the smaller lows or heaps, now in my possession, which is of the same black colour and disposition, and supposed to be worn with others as a necklace.

William Wagstaff, of Tideswell, in the county of Derby, labourer, in July in the year 1749, in getting a stone for a gate to hang or clap to, for Mr. Hardy, of the same town, at the side of the common at the lower end of the town, leading to the river Wye, on the hill-side there near the mill, in removing a stone for that purpose found an earthen pot, and in it the handle of a large cup of pure gold, which he showed to Mr. John Hough, an attorney-at-law, and several other people of the town; but upon Mrs. Stainder demanding it, who rents the waifs and strap, and other tolls and perquisites of Mr. Archer, lord of the manor, he sold it to a jeweller at Manchester for £18; but Mr. Hough aforesaid, and other persons who had seen it, thought it of much more value. Mr, Archer brought an action against him for treasure trove. It is supposed that there was money and other things of value found with it, as it hardly would be put into a pot by itsel£ The pot contained about a gill, and upon taking up fell to pieces. The start or handle of the cup weighed near six ounces. This account I had from Mr. Hough himself.

In the year 1780, upon the 29th day of February, in getting stone out of a large low or heap of stones in Law Field, belonging to the Abbey, in Woodland, two of the Rev, Mr. Hall's sons found a hollow stone, or part of a very small trough, and several bones, like ribs and skulls, supposed to be human, and buried there.

A British celt or axe, of brass, or rather mixed metal such as the Roman coins now in my possession, was found in the Spring of 1778, in improving a brow or hill-side above Parkin Field, in Derbyshire, by John Tellott, a farmer there.

Joseph Piatt, a mason at Edale, in Derbyshire, in riving up a stone at Nether Tor, near Grimesbrook-in-Edale, the latter end of April, 1778, found about forty adder-beads, or Druid's amulets, underneath it. They were of various colours and sizes — green, blue, others striped and variegated; some were so very large that one might have put one's thumb into the hole. They were given to the Rev. Mr. Lingard, Curate of Edale. I got three or four of the smaller sort; the rest were sent to one —, a friend of his and antiquarian. The stone they were found under was near the top of the Tor, very large and flat.

Although the folbwing extract may appear out of place in a volume devoted to primeval antiquities, it is valuable as recording an earlier desecration of the grave of the popular hero, Little John, than any yet published. It will, therefore, be read with interest by all admirers of our old ballad poetry, who

"- of Robin Hood hare heard, and Little John;

Of Scarlock, George á Green, and Much the Miller's son;

Of Tuck the merry Friar, which many a sermon made

In praise of Bobin Hood, his outlaws, and their trade."


Little John's grave, in Hathersedge Churchyard, at the back of the clerk*s house, is distinguished by two small stones set up at each end, and is four yards ten inches long, betwixt stone and stone: he is said to be Robin Hood's man. Dr. Moor, of Wakefield, who frequently came here to attend Mr. Ashton, of Hathersedge Hall, in his illness, about the year 1728, caused it to be dug up. Nothing was found except bones of very great size, much larger than what is now found in graves, and, having satisfied his curiosity, had it filled up again — Ex informatione Jonathani Oxley, de Leam, Gent.

Mr. Allott, Rector of Kirkheaton, says — At a place called Eallam, near Bridlington or Burlington Bay, was a battle fought, and that there are many tumuli or graves; and asking some persons who were stubbing whins or gorse, they told him there was one imder the whins, and several round about him. He says further, that many are sunk level with the ground, but by what remains he supposes there were twenty thousand slain. There are axe-heads, spears'-heads, &c., constantly dug up in opening ihem. A stone is set up on high, as a steeple, which no engines now used could raise. It is supposed to be set up by the DaneSi in a line between the field of battle and Burlington Hill, where their camp is yet to be seen, very perfect. This is not mentioned in any author I have read.