Lonely moors tell many tales as group passes his­toric hall on path to sum­mit

Macclesfield Express - - EAST CHESHIRE RAMBLERS -


HIS­TORIC land­marks, a fam­ily curse and tale of ‘id­iocy’ fea­tured on a re­cent 14-mile moor­land walk byten East Cheshire Ram­blers.

We set out on a day of over­cast skies from Clow­bridge Reser­voir to the south of Burn­ley.

Ini­tially skirt­ing the reser­voir, we joined the Burn­ley Way for the de­scent to Towne­ley Hall, one of sev­eral his­toric land­marks on our walk.

The hall, which sits in at­trac­tive park­land, dates back some 600 years.

It was owned by the Towne­ley fam­ily for 500 years, but now houses an art gallery and mu­seum, owned and man­aged by Burn­ley Bor­ough Coun­cil.

Leav­ing the park­land, we next paused be­side 17th cen­tury Bar­croft Hall famed for the ‘Id­iot’s Curse.’

Wil­liam Bar­croft built the hall and left it to his two sons, but when he died in 1620 a feud de­vel­oped be­tween the brothers.

To claim the Bar­croft Es­tate for him­self, the younger brother chained his older brother in the hall’s cel­lar, pro­claimed that he was mad, and later that he was dead.

How­ever, the el­der brother broke free and burst into a party hosted by the younger brother, be­fore be­ing dragged back to the cel­lar.

He lay a curse on the younger brother say­ing that the Bar­croft line would soon die out and Bar­croft Hall would never be owned by a Bar­croft again.

Early death of the younger brother’s only male heir proved the ‘id­iot’ right.

Higher ground was crossed via the small vil­lage of Mere­clough to reach Holme Chapel, where we stopped for lunch in the shel­tered church­yard.

It was an up­hill pull af­ter­wards to the sum­mit of Thieve­ley Pike. Here, we were re­warded with good views all round de­spite the cloud cover.

We fol­lowed the Rossendale Way for much of the way back, with vis­its to the Weir war me­mo­rial, Comp­ston Cross and re­mains of Gam­ble­side Col­liery which dates from 1612, com­plet­ing our walk.

For more de­tails of East Cheshire Ram­blers’ pro­gramme of week­end and midweek walks go to ram­blerseastcheshire.org. uk.

●● Ram­blers tak­ing a well earned rest on Thieve­ley Pike af­ter the as­cent from Holme Chapel

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