Lonely moors tell many tales as group passes historic hall on path to summit
COLIN PARK, WALK LEADER
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