Bury Archaeological Group

Bury Archaeological Group


If your class or organisation is studying , the , or the in the , we have education packs (aimed at Key Stage 2 and 3) available to borrow and bring history alive!

Developed by , each pack comes with a variety of artefacts as well as information sheets and a ready-made presentation.

If you would like to borrow one of the Education Packs get in touch with us: [email protected]

on our website: https://bit.ly/3yvuXC4

CBA Northwest Archaeology Yorkshire - CBA Yorkshire Group Leeds Young Archaeologists' Club Discover Archaeology Holcombe Moor Heritage Group Pennine Heritage West Yorkshire Historic Environment Record Bury Archaeological Group Bradford Forest Schools Newground Together Get Out More CIC Tinderwood Trust Calderdale Countryside and Woodlands Team Rochdale Borough Council Rossendale Council Bradford District Parks Burnley Council Friends of Towneley Park Woodland Trust - Smithills Estate
Found an old article on early iron working in NW Wales hope it is of interest!
Looking forward to hear more about your current excavation.
Sunny day for surveying ☀️
I stumbled on this piece of work all about the Bealeys legacy with their bleach works off Dumers lane Radcliffe. There is a lot of information, I thought it may be of an interest.
The Lost Roman Fort of Lancashire
Join us between the 1st July and 28th July 2019
in uncovering a new chapter in the history of Roman Britain
An update from last Wednesday's pottery session at Bury Fire Station. The Lowes site has produced a fascinating wide variety of pottery. Some of these examples include Traditional and Industrial Slipware, among other samples there consists; Yellow Ware and Stoneware ceramics. As we continue to process these finds, we enhance our observations from the pottery finds to potentially gain a greater understanding of important past events.

The pottery sessions run every Wednesday from 10am till around 3pm at Bury Fire Station and welcome anyone and everyone who would like to join us for a bit of fun and learn new skills or perhaps something a bit different to your everyday digging.
Bury Archaeological Group

The AGM of the group was held on Weds 7th March in the Community Room of the Fire Station. After Apologies for Absence and the approval of last year's minutes, Chairman Jim Ashton reported on the last year's activities. Membership fees remain at £10 and £15 for families.
Bob Huddart, Site Director and Secretary, reported on the summer’s digging at Lowe's Tenement in Walmersley. It was a late Medieval farmstead that survived until the 19th Century. The excavations were pressing ahead. This year Bob proposed that the Wednesday programme of digs should continue but with some variation. For example with occasional digs on a Monday or a Saturday instead of always Wednesday.
The current committee were re-elected to their positions. A new post of Publicity Officer was created with Peter Corbally filling the role. Bob is looking into the possibility of a geophysical survey of the Lowe's site to bring out its full potential.
Diggers are always welcome. It's fascinating and absorbing work up at Lowe's. The excavation season starts in April. Contact Bob for more details at [email protected]
The website is at http://www.buryarchaeologicalgroup.co.uk and we are also on Facebook.
Salford Archaeology Day.
BAG stall.
i found this lovely dinarius of marcus aurelous 180 A.d on my local bury permission the feild was ploughed bk in 18c and in on the bury to ribchester roman rd alighnment.
Gristlehurst, few years ago.
Mystery pic -:)

Members pursue their individual interests, but come together for fieldwork, excavations and confere Welcome to Bury Archaeological Group.

Our membership is relatively small and informally based. Members pursue their individual interests, but come together for fieldwork, excavations and conferences etc. Aims of the Group include:
•To create a better understanding of the origin and history of communities in Bury District, to bring a clearer perspective of their position and influence in society as a whole.
•To convey results of archae

Operating as usual


Norman Tyson

The death has been announced of Norman Tyson on Tuesday 12th September. Norman was involved in BAG from the earliest days and directed the group's excavations for decades. He was a major presence in the history and archaeology of Bury. He leaves an impressive legacy of excavations, reports, newsletters and publications etc.

Bob writes ...

Hello All,
I now have Norman’s funeral arrangements.

Norman’s funeral will be held on Thursday 28th September at 11.30am at Christ Church, Church Street, Ainsworth.

Donations to go to Bury Archaeological Group.

All enquiries to Bury Co-op Funeralcare, 22 Silver Street, Bury, BL9 0EX.

Norman’s daughter has asked me to pass this on to all members of the group.



Bury Archaeological Group are taking part in Heritage Week this year. On Saturday 16th September at1.00 pm.

A walk around Bury's past with the Archaeological Society.

Setting off from the statue of Sir Robert Peel and proceeding to the Parish Church, the Old Grammar School and the site of the Bronze Age Urn find, then to Bury Castle site and remains, down to the Lancashire Fusiliers Memorial Garden, the Victoria Wood statue, into the basement of the museum to look at the finds from the Castle Dig, them to the plaques about John Kay in Kay Gardens and onto the remains of the Medieval Town Ditch that surrounded Bury.

Event Times
Saturday 16 September: 1300

The Prestwich Hoard 21/08/2023

The Prestwich Hoard : 'When God and his Angels slept'.

When Henry I died in 1135, his nephew Stephen seized the throne. Henry had wanted his daughter, Matilda, to succeed. A civil war ensued between 1139 and 1153 with several armies competing for control including David I of Scotland.

The period is now known as The Anarchy but because of the suffering of ordinary people, the chroniclers of the era called it a time when 'God and his Angels slept'.

Somebody in Prestwich buried their money during the conflict, over 1000 silver pennies. The hoard was discovered in 1972. You can read about it here ….courtesy of Jon Bleasdale, historian of Prestwich …

The Prestwich Hoard Website for Prestwich People & Places


Public Event

Bury Archaeological Group had a stall on The Rock on Friday 21st July courtesy of The Rock company. We had a 'meet and greet' event with the people of Bury to inform them of our work and achievements. And also to invite volunteers to join us in excavating and researching the history of our community. Books, pamphlets and excavation reports were on display. Also we had a variety of pottery sherds for visitors to assess.

Colin, David, Mark, Angie, Alfie and Peter manned the stall at different times throughout the day.

Bury Archaeological Group has been active since 1953 and has excavated many sites including Whitelow Bronze Age Cairn, Bury Castle and Radcliffe Tower. We are a friendly bunch that work to a high standard. New members are always welcome so why not join us.

Our thanks go to Laura and The Rock for their excellent support and assistance in this event. The Rock provided a gazebo, table and chairs. We had an excellent site in the main square.

Email : [email protected]


The Rock.

Bury Archaeological Group are having a stall on the Rock Shopping Centre in Bury on Friday 21st July. We'll be there from 10 to 3 so why not pop along and see us if you're in Bury on Friday.

Thanks to The Rock who have made this possible for us to meet and greet the people of Bury and explain our achievements and work to them.

See you there !

Below : recent Test Pit at a site on an old farm in Radcliffe.

Photos from Bury Archaeological Group's post 25/06/2023


BAG missed its annual meal this year and so a barbeque was proposed instead. Andrew, Molly and Nicole volunteered to organise it.

It was planned for Sunday 25th June at 3.00.
To take place at the Hopwood Miller's House site after the day's dig. But thundery showers were forecast for the afternoon so the barbeque was moved back to 12.00.

The weather held off until we had finished and the barbeque was a big success. Andrew brought his barbeque set and proved an excellent chef. We had sausages, cheeseburgers and corn-on-cob with lashings of salad, nibbles, mustard and ketchup. Washed down with Coors.

It was Bob's birthday as well so he had a sparkling Birthday Boy hat and we sang Happy Birthday.

A passing couple took group photos for us.

A very enjoyable social occasion and there was even time for a bit of trowelling on a mysterious brick feature afterwards. Rain and distant rumbling thunder approached after 3.15 so we called it a day.

Well done and thanks to Andrew, Molly and Nicole.

Pics …
The general scene. Note Bob's pointy hat.
Andrew on top form on the barbeque.

Photos from Bury Archaeological Group's post 10/06/2023

Hopwood Millers House Excavation

The Millers House was formerly a part of the Hopwood estate. Located about 50 metres south-east of the 16th century mill and 150 metres south-east of Hopwood Hall which is currently being restored by Hopwood De Pree, an American descendant of the Hopwood family.
The miller was a tenant of the estate and had land to the north and south of the Trub Brook which would have allowed him to supplement his income from farming.
The earliest reference to the mill is in 1582 but the mill house is not recorded until 1782. Parish records refer to various millers as “of Hopwood” as far back as the early years of the 17th century which might suggest that a mill house existed at this earlier date.
Our excavations have so far revealed the two bay house referred to in the records of 1782. This house was extended in the early 19th century and refurbished following the closure of the mill in about 1880 and used to house gardeners and later other estate workers. It was finally demolished in 1947.
Evidence of an earlier building on the site has recently been found in the form of a possible foundation cut associated with a small quantity of late 17th century pottery.
After a slow start to the season due to bad weather the dig is now in full swing.
We have opened a new trench to the north of the house and close to the Trub Brook.
This has revealed a large brick built structure of late 19th or early 20th century date which may be a repurposing of a stone built drain-like structure dating to the 18th century.
We dig on Tuesdays and Sundays.

Pic 1. The dig

Pic 2. The Sunday diggers.


Our day in the Sun.

Yes we went to Prestwich Clough Day and were pleasantly surprised by the number of people interested in our stall. Lots of takers to measure and evaluate sherds of pottery. And quite a number of Membership Forms taken. A grand day out and a very good report on the Bury Times website which has our stall in the background of several pictures. Thanks to Bob, David, Molly, Andy and Peter for manning our stall. And also to David Stanley and his team for another great Clough Day

Pic ...Bob and David explain a point to an interested party ...

Photos from Bury Archaeological Group's post 17/05/2023

Don't forget Prestwich Clough Day on Sunday 21st May. Join us at our stall there. Pics are previous Clough Days ...a popular event with stalls, music, birds of prey, morris men etc etc


Prestwich Clough Day

Sunday 21st May

BAG are going to have a stall at Prestwich Clough Day on St.Mary's park in Prestwich.
It's a well organised, well attended event every year. If you're a member of BAG and available fir an hour or so you might want to volunteer to help on the stall. Come along anyway, it's a good day out



Exciting new development on BAG website. We now have a Publications page where products from BAG can be bought online by paypal.


Below Bob surveying via Tape and Offset at a site in Radcliffe.

Bury Archaeological Group Members pursue their individual interests, but come together for fieldwork, excavations and conferences.

Photos from Bury Archaeological Group's post 20/02/2023

Documentary Research

Work continues most Wednesdays in a variety of Archives, GMCRO, Bury. Bolton, Radcliffe Library,Chethams etc. We are researching our three possible sites in Radcliffe at the moment. Also the families that occupied the sites we are interested in. Our latest foray was to Radcliffe Parish Church where we did find some leads and the tombs of a family we are interested in. Meanwhile we are waiting for permission to dig our main site in the summer. Pandemic over we nedd a good solid season of digging.

Pictures... bundles of documents in Gmrco (Assheton Deeds about Radcliffe).
A typical 17th century document ( one of our targets, (Edward Radcliffe, gentleman appointed Constable of Radcliffe 1663 ( top line)
Thirdly the Rothwell family tombs in Radcliffe Parish Church, four generations in a row of a family who lived at our site..


In 1765 Sir Ralph Assheton of Middleton.
, Lord of the Manor of Radcliffe died. He left two daughters who shared out his estate between them. Eleanor Assheton got Radcliffe and Ainsworth and she married Sir Thomas Egerton of Heaton Hall ( later Earl of Wilton). A set of thorough maps of the whole Assheton estate was made in order to facilitate an equal carve-up.

The image shown here is the title in the top left corner of the 1767 Radcliffe map. It shows farming implements, rakes, scythes, hoes, spades etc. The drawing is of a farmhouse, trees, church tower and fields. Clearly Radcliffe in 1767 was seen as bucolic, peaceful countryside.

The rural calm is ironic because in 1767 Radcliffe was just about to be clouted by the Industrial Revolution.. Primitive coal mining had already begun ( see the report of our bellpit investigations in north Radcliffe) and also handloom weaving with the weavers employed on looms at home. But over the next 80 years Radcliffe was transformed into a mill town of the Lancashire Cotton Industry. The population soared and the village expanded physically in all directions.

Anyway here's the top corner of the map below. Image courtesy of Manchester Archives.

And the straight line boundary over Radcliffe Moss in the bottom left is of historical significance too ( dating from c1485). More of that in the next post. Suffice it to say its crying out for archaeological investigation.


The latest news on Bury Archaeological Group is now available ....Sherds 2022 ...from ...


Photos from Bury Archaeological Group's post 09/12/2022

On Tuesday 6th December the Group hosted a talk by Norman Redhead about 'The Archaeology of Bury and District'.. The venue was the Function Room of the Old White Lion on Bolton Street.

The talk was well attended and the audience enjoyed it. Norman is the former County Archaeologist for Greater Manchester and very knowledgeable. The talk was well supported by slides He discussed all the major sites from the Bronze Age cairns like Whitelow through to the mills of the Industrial Revolution. The occasion was also the launch of Bob Huddart's book about the four latest digs of the Group which is now available to buy.

The event was a success and may lead to a programme of talks.

Pictures : one of the images Norman showed. It came out of the grave of a young woman at Whitelow. It is thought to be a cloak fastener or even an ear plug ( see second picture ). Norman told us that it featured in the BBC's 'History of the World in 100 objects'. Quite a coup for Bury and for BAG !


A Reminder ...

BAG are hosting a talk by Norman Redhead

“The Archaeology Of Bury District”.

The talk will be held at:

The Old White Lion

6 Bolton Street

Bury BL9 0LQ

Starting at 7pm on Tuesday 6th December 2022

Admission is £1 for paid up members and £3 for non-members.

Norman Redhead was formerly head of the Greater Manchester Archaeological Advisory Service. His extensive knowledge of the archaeology should make this an interesting talk for all of us with an interest in the archaeology of Bury.

Parking is free after 6 in Bury and is available near by on Silver Street.


A talk announcement


Bury Archaeology Group Announcement

'The Archaeology of Bury and District'.

Norman Redhead
Former County Archaeologist for Greater Manchester.

Old White Lion, 6 Bolton Street BL9 0LQ

7.00 - 9.00

Tuesday 6th December.
Upstairs Function Room.

An important talk not to miss about our history and archaeology.

£1.00 for members of BAG. £3.00 for non members



Bury Archaeology Group Announcement

'The Archaeology of Bury and District'.

Norman Redhead
Former County Archaeologist for Greater Manchester.

Old White Lion, 6 Bolton Street BL9 0LQ

7.00 - 9.00

Tuesday 6th December.
Upstairs Function Room.

An important talk not to miss about our history and archaeology.

£1.00 for members of BAG. £3.00 for non members


Greater Manchester Archaeology Day 2022 | University of Salford 28/09/2022

The Greater Manchester Archaeology Day is back ! It's a showcase of local archaeology with a series of talks and stalls snd displays by local groups. Ian Miller writes ....

'It is with great pleasure that I am able to confirm that the Greater Manchester Archaeology Day for 2022 will be held in Peel Hall at the University of Salford on Saturday 26th November. Doors will open for registration at 09:30 ready for a start at 09:55. There will be a packed programme of lectures on a range of topics spanning the prehistoric periods to the 20th century, showcasing some of the remarkable archaeology that has been uncovered during the past 12 months or so. A selection of the latest Greater Manchester’s Past Revealed booklets will also be available. It will undoubtedly be an excellent day.

Tickets will cost £10 (standard) / £5 (student / unwaged) and are now available on line:


I recommend obtaining a ticket in advance to secure a place and avoid any disappointment, although tickets for any remaining seats available can be purchased on the door (cash only).'

Greater Manchester Archaeology Day 2022 | University of Salford The annual archaeology day, hosted by the Greater Manchester Archaeological Advisory Service in conjunction with the Greater Manchester Archaeology Federat

Photos from Bury Archaeological Group's post 23/05/2022

Benchmark Levelling.

A team from BAG was out on Cockey Moor Road on Sunday. We were using the dumpy to get the precise height above sea level of the bell pit sites. We went up the road from Temporary Benchmark 2 at the site to the nearest surviving OS Benchmark on the Black Bull at Starling cross roads. And then back again with the dumpy and the survey staff/pole leap frogging each other. Lucy supervised the readings aided by Kevin, Aaron, Bob and Peter. Bob will work his magic on the recorded figures to calculate the details we need. Benchmarks show a horizontal line with an arrow pointing upwards at it. The official list gives the known height above sea level of the line. It's a 'spot height'. The OS described the Black Bull benchmark we were using as ...'Black Bull. S angle. North side of Ainsworth Road. 145.993'. The latter figure being the height above sea level in metres.
There used to be over 500,000 OS benchmarks in Britain but they are no longer being maintained and are slowly disappearing. Height measurements are now being taken from Space.

Pictures ...

1. The benchmark on the corner of the Black Bull. Lowercroft Road on the left.

2. Starling crossroads on the 1812 Enclosure map. Sideways on !

Photos from Bury Archaeological Group's post 26/04/2022

Five Years Ago 2017
A fine Spring morning in April.
The photos are from April 2017.
The dig at Lowes Tenement below Whitelow Cairn. A late medieval and early modern farmstead set in a property that ran up the hill from the Irwell to the prehistoric monument at the top. It was always windy and a bit chilly up there despite being only a third way up the hillside. The site was often flooded as well and needed bailing out before work could begin. The dig was prematurely ended/suspended before being fully excavated. Perhaps there may be a return one day.
First picture looking across the Irwell valley to Peel Monument on Holcombe Hill.

Photos from Bury Archaeological Group's post 31/03/2022

Bob Huddart has now written up the report on the excavations at Barlow Recreation Ground near Blackford Bridge. Below is a summary of some of the main points. The full Report is excellent with detailed information on contexts, stratigraphy and finds. A perfect illustration of archaeological techniques and representation of the evidence. The digging programme is starting up again at Hopwood Millers House on April 19th. To be followed by excavations back at the bell pit sites in north Radcliffe in May. Other investigative digs are also envisaged as the need arises. Digs will be conducted with Covid awareness in place however.
Volunteers welcome and should contact Bob at [email protected]

Barlow Recreation Ground

‘Documentary evidence has shown that a bridge existed at Blackford (then known as
Blackbroke) in 1551. The hypothesis was that this may have been an ancient crossing point and that there may have been a settlement associated with it.
The purpose of the investigation was to look for evidence of occupation.

From January to March 2020 a series of 7 test pits were excavated at the Barlow Recreation Ground in Bury, 150 metres north of the old crossing point of the River Roch at Old Blackford Bridge.
Excavation provided no evidence of early occupation neither in the form of early structures nor small finds. We cannot however entirely rule out the possibility of early settlement.
Landscaping during the late 19th and early 20th centuries together with the installation of water pipe-line (WestEast Link Main pipeline) in the 21st century may well have destroyed any archaeological evidence that may have existed.

The only structural feature identified was in TP02. A late 20th century gravel pathway which extended along the western side of the recreation ground.

A total of 210 small finds of all types were recovered from the 7 test pits with a total weight of 878g. The largest proportion was pottery with 127 sherds (402 g). With the exception of 3 sherds all were of 19th/20th century date. Two sherds of fine blackware and a single sherd of traditional slipware dated to the 18th century came from contexts which otherwise was consisted of 19th/20th century pottery.

The greatest proportion of the pottery consisted of White Earthenwares with 96 sherds (76%) composed of transfer printed, plain or other forms of decoration.
Industrial Slipwares (11 sherds) was the next most common form of pottery.’

Pictures ....

Test Pit 04 with a sondage in the corner. The stratigraphy was entirely different to the other 6 test pits

The location of the excavation

Some of the pottery. Traditional Slipware 18th century and Industrial Slipware, 'Cat's Eye' 19th c.

600-YEAR-OLD ARCHAEOLOGY DISCOVERIES! - Castle Restoration with Hopwood DePree - Hopwood Hall Estate 16/03/2022

Meeting 14/3/22

BAG held an informal Group meeting at the Oak Room of the White Lion on Monday 14th March. Bob, Secretary and Dig Director, was unable to attend because he had an eye op that day. Eight members were there including new members Aaron and Bethany. We ran through notes on this years programme that Bob had provided. The digs to start soon at Hopwood Millers House, there was work to do at Hopwood Hall as well and we would be back at the Bell pits in Radcliffe in May if the farmer allowed. In addition there other sites to investigate such as Old Hall Farm and the 'pimple' on the hill at Hams.

Meanwhile Bpb has published a report on the 2021 survey and digs at the Bell Pits.

Hopwood Hall, an early 17th building on a medieval predecessor is owned by Rochdale Council but in a derelict state. An American, Hopwood de Pree, has leased it from the Council and has obtained grants to restore it. Archaeological work is going on around it and it is suggested that our members can get involved in that as well. Hopwood de Pree has made a series of short videos on Youtube about this project. The one here has our own Bob and Lucy showing him finds from the digs...

600-YEAR-OLD ARCHAEOLOGY DISCOVERIES! - Castle Restoration with Hopwood DePree - Hopwood Hall Estate Want to see exclusive videos & help support our content? http://www.Patreon.com/HopwoodXIVTo order my book DOWNTON SHABBY: https://www.harpercollins.com/pro...

Photos from Bury Archaeological Group's post 13/02/2022

Withins Hengiform Monument, Radcliffe.

A team from Salford Archaeology have recently re-excavated the Hengiform Monument behind Radcliffe Crem near Withins Reservoir.

Bob Huddart, Secretary of BAG writes …

‘It has been brought to my attention by BAG member Samantha that there is an excavation at the Hengiform monument in Radcliffe. Thanks Samantha.

In January we were contacted by Salford Archaeology requesting information we held on this monument for a proposed excavation in March. I was happy to supply them with the information which we had. Unfortunately Salford have not afforded us the courtesy of an invitation to visit the dig or of even advised us of the new start date.

If this proves to be a henge it is of national importance and only the second found in the north-west.’

This prehistoric feature was first identified from aerial photographs in 1948. Radcliffe Archaeology Society led by Alan Spencer dug two trenches at the site at Easter 1951. They found a low mound surrounded by an 8’ ditch and a 3’ high bank around that. It had a main entrance and a smaller entrance opposite that. The feature was considered to be a ‘Hengiform Monument’ rather than a barrow or a true henge. Hengiform Monuments are smaller than henges, have one or two entrances and often have buried remains. They date from the Late Neolithic era to Early Bronze Age (1500 to 1000 BC ). A deposit of reddle (ochre) was found, which is a red dye or paint. The Radcliffe Times reported on the dig on 30th March 1951.

In 1996 it was proposed to extend Radcliffe Cemetery into the fields. The extension is now Radcliffe Crematorium and grounds. Greater Manchester Archaeological Unit (GMAU) got permission to revisit the site and to do a resistivity survey. Other features were found near the original site - a ring ditch and two small pits. The Hengiform Monument itself fitted into a survey square 20 by 20 metres. Jessica Pearson of Manchester University wrote a report on the new survey in 1997.

Now the field is owned by Peel Holdings and slated for housing and roads in the new housing assault on Bury’s Green Belt.

The images are ..
A photograph of the 1951 dig.
The interpretation of the 1997 survey. The feature marked A is the ring ditch. B is the Hengiform Monument. C are the two small pits.

Photos from Bury Archaeological Group's post 28/01/2022

Roman Roads.

Just came across this map of the Roman Roads of the Empire presented as a Public Transit style chart like the London Tube map. It seems to be pretty sparse in Britain with Carlisle ( Luguvallium) on the wrong side of the country. The second map shows Ivan Margery's map of the Roman Roads in the north of England. A quite dense network. Our road, that passes through Bury, is 7b, the route from Manchester to Ribchester. Bury AG dug across this road in three places at Starling near Pilkington Fold Farm in the late 1960s. A section is shown. A and B are the natural boulder clay, D is a layer of flat sandstone blocks, E is black shale bedding and F is the metalled surface of rammed gravel.


In the bleak midwinter archaeologists are usually fully occupied in their laboratories, storerooms, offices or on the computer doing the important Post-Excavation work. Bury Archaeological Group are to be found in the Community Room of the Fire Station, hard at work recording, weighing and measuring finds etc. Not so this year and last year due to the pandemic. We're missing it, except for a few hardy souls still going to Hopwood dig.

Shown below is the Archaeological Iceberg, one tenth excavation and nine tenths post excavation. Perhaps this unfairly suggests that digging is a necessary chore, less important than what happens afterwards. But as Historians say, facts are empty sacks until they are used in an argument. Hence every generation re-interpreting sites like Stonehenge to suit.

This is reflected in the second diagram (in the Comments section) which shows a pyramid with fieldwork at the top and analysis seemingly the most important element. Perhaps the pyramid should be turned upside down with Fieldwork as the supporting base.

The third picture ( see Comments) shows members of the group four years ago, hard at work on post excavation work in the Fire Station.

Let's hope we can get back to it next winter with plenty of finds to sink our teeth into.


Kersal Mill : A Tudor water mill in Bury excavated.

Margaret Langley inherited the Manor of Prestwich in 1561. Her first husband, John Reddish of Reddish, seems to have built a new water mill in Prestwich in the 1560s. It was at the point where the Singleton Brook tumbles down onto the floodplain, alongside Moor Lane.
The new mill is mentioned several times in the Prestwich Manor Court Book in the1560s (Crutchley Muniments, Rylands Library).

For example in September 1565 'the said Jury doth agree the mylne shall from Sunday after the evening prayer tyll Saturday at ten of the clocke in the morning shall grind at all hours at both day and nyght providing there be water and worke’. Milling 24/7 - almost.

'Barlie’ was the grain most mentioned. All the tenants of the Lord of the Manor (Prestwich) had to grind their corn at his mill. They could take it away if it hadn't been dealt with within 24 hours. The miller was to be paid a shilling by his barlie measure according to the quantity.
The problem was that the Singleton Brook was the border between Prestwich and Kersal. So the border was redesigned ; the mill building itself was in Prestwich but the mill pond was in Kersal. The two manors shared ownership of the mill and its water supply jointly. This is clearly shown on the 1840s OS map when the old mill still existed. The Township boundary between Prestwich and Kersal unnaturally follows the north bank of the millpond, shifted from the course of the brook.

In 1613 the mill was rebuilt by Richard Holland of Denton and Heaton ( second husband of Margaret Langley acting as Lord of Prestwich in her name) and James Chetham (Lord of Kersal). It carried on under joint ownership with the Kersal side owning one third of the venture.
In the early nineteenth century London Vale Print Works (later 'Irwell Vale') was established on the floodplain there and Kersal Mill was subsumed within it. The sixteenth/ seventeenth century mill must have been demolished sometime after the 1840s ( it's on the 1840s OS map - see below) but before 1891 since it is not on that map although the site was unoccupied. The millpond had also been undammed and drained by 1891.

The 1839 Tithe Map of Prestwich shows the land these industrial premises occupied was still ultimately owned by the Lord of the Manor of Prestwich, Thomas Drinkwater of Irwell House. It was leased to the John Lycite and Thomas Coston textile finishers.

In the early twentieth century the whole site became Cussons soapmakers, the home of Imperial Leather. Cussons closed in the 2000s, production moved to central Europe. Cussons factory was demolished and plans for several hundred homes were submitted to Bury Council by a developer. The plans were approved, it was an invaluable brownfield site after all.

Now it seems, with the buildings demolished and housing plans accepted,
Salford Archaeology have nipped in and excavated the site of the mill’s wheelpit.

Picture 1 shows the excavation of the wheel pit.

Picture 2 ( in the first comment) shows the mill on the 1844 OS map. Its the building in the south west corner touching the stream. The mill pond is there also but in Kersal. The mill building was in Prestwich and clearly labelled 'Cornmill'.



The Group has busy surveying and digging on the remains of 18th century bell pits in north Radcliffe for the last year ( when Covid allowed). This year documentary evidence has been looked at. We can get closer to the miners through the accounts and such like. For example they worked in 'couples' of getters and drawers. The getters hacked at the coalface getting the coal, the drawers ( usually boys) hauled the coal to the shaft for uploading. The getters earned 9 shillings a week and there was 4 shillings ' for the boy that draws'.(1778) Confirmation that child labour was employed in these pits. But 9 shillings was not to be sniffed at. In today's values that would be £37,000 a year. But it was a dangerous job and that might have included an element of danger money. There is talk of gunpowder and candles in the Accounts. And also 'damps' explosive, inflammable mixes of gases leaking out of the coal seams.

The image shows an illiterate miner, William Olive, signing for his wages with an X. He has been 'sinking' a mine shaft in John Mather's Cams Acre. (1773). Image courtesy of Manchester Archives.

Home - Bury Archaeological Group 25/09/2021


The BAG website is back up and running having been relaunched. Thank you David.

David says ..'The aim of the web site is to be:

Straightforward and clearly organised
Reliable and informative
Kept regularly updated.'

Sounds good.

Now with a white background and a restful shade of blue as the background. Bob's latest reports on projects are in the News section.

There is also a section on Past Projects and a full run of Newsletters.

Check it out ...

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For all school leavers and unemployed 18-24, who want to stay in a full time football programme and

Bury College Bury College
Market Street
Bury, BL90BG

Bury College is a further education college located within the Borough of Bury, Greater Manchester,

Planetwes Training Planetwes Training

Planetwes Training provides nationally reconised training is First Aid, Pool Lifeguard, Health and S

Bury Adult Learning Service Bury Adult Learning Service
18 Haymarket Street
Bury, BL90AQ

We offer a great range of courses and learning options for adults throughout the borough of Bury

Totally Aesthetics Totally Aesthetics
13 Bolton Street
Bury, BL09HU

Totally Aesthetics offers Aesthetic training to Doctors, Nurses & Dentists. We offer a wide range of

Little Holcombe Nursery & Tower View Private Day Nursery Little Holcombe Nursery & Tower View Private Day Nursery
Brandlesholme Road

Award winning nursery group who have also achieved 7 consecutive 'Outstanding' Ofsted results!

Equality is everyone’s right Equality is everyone’s right
Warwick House, Lowes Road
Bury, BL96PJ

Equality and Diversity UK provides training, development, advice and resources about embedding EDI i

Tao Jia Martial Arts Tao Jia Martial Arts
Warrior Mill
Bury, BL83LR

A martial arts school in Bury maintaining complete Tibetan and Chinese traditions. Taking students f

Wild Souls Wild Souls
Wild Souls
Bury, BL84DE

A natural education for children aged 3 to 16 years...

Compliance Training Ltd Compliance Training Ltd
49 Walmersley Old Road
Bury, BL96SD

We provide training throughout the Northwest. Our training is aligned to relevant guidelines & stan

Mulberry Bush Nursery Group Mulberry Bush Nursery Group
741 Walmersley Road
Bury, BL95JW

Award winning nurseries in Bury, Lancashire. Five fantastic nurseries in Tottington, Walmersley, W