Tumulus (destroyed): OS Grid Reference – SD 7242 0899
Archaeology & History
This single-grave burial — described by Barnes (1982) as a kerbed or revetted cairn — close to the very centre of modern-day Bolton, was once an impressive prehistoric tomb. It was described by a local historian, Matthew Dawes, amidst a variety of prehistoric remains in and around Bolton, most of which have long-since been forgotten.
“Near Haulgh, about a quarter of a mile south-east from Bolton Parish Church, on a piece of high flat land, on the east bank of the Croal, and about fifty feet above the river, was a tumulus, about thirty feet in diameter, and four feet deep, consisting of small boulders… It was discovered in September, 1826, in forming a branch of the new road leading from Bolton to Bury. It was probably much depressed in its formation and was covered with a few inches of mound. The cop or fence crossed it in a north and south direction. About the centre of this tumulus was a cist-vaen, about four feet six inches long and one foot deep, formed of four upright stones and a coverer, and its length was nearly north and south. In this cist-vaen was a skeleton, with the legs doubled up, and the head to the north. Near the head, and on the west side, was found an urn, inverted, four and a half inches in the widest diameter, and three and a quarter inches high, and perforated by four small holes in the widest part. On the other side of the head was a bronze spear-head, four and three-eighths inches long, and one and three-eighths inch wide, of which the point was bent back, and a piece of the side chipped away. The urn and spear-head were taken to the Countess of Bradford, the Earl of Bradford being the owner of the land.”
Intriguingly, if you’re from the Bolton region, Mr Dawes also told that, “A man in the employ of the Earl of Bradford, the superintendent of the work, who made the discovery, informs me (1862) that two other tumuli were found shortly after the one just described, a few yards to the south of it, in the same fence.” As yet I have no more information about these other tombs (gimme time though!)
- Barnes, Bernard, Man and the Changing Landscape, Unversity of Liverpool 1982.
- Dawes, M., ‘British Burial Places near Bolton,’ in Trans. Hist. Soc. Lancs & Cheshire, volume 4, 1852.
- Scholes, James C., History of Bolton, Daily Chronicle: Bolton 1892.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian