Cliviger Law, Mereclough, Burnley, Lancashire

Cairn (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – SD 872 302

Also Known as:

  1. Law House

Archaeology & History

In days of olde this once proud tomb stood upright on the slopes below the more prominent Cliviger Laithe tumulus above.  But, like many of the ancient ancestral tombs of this region,  its days seem long gone.  Although we’ve found what may be some traces of the outline of the cairn (further analysis required!), when the legendary Lancashire historian Thomas Dunham Whitaker (1872) wrote about the place, he was already writing about it in the past tense.  He said briefly, that “this heap of stones was removed as materials for building a turnpike road” in 1763.  The archaeologist Bernard Barnes (1982) told us that “a cist with an inhumation was found. In 1766 another tumulus was removed and an urn found. An axe-hammer is said to have been associated” here.  The most lengthy description of this site can be found in Mr Booth’s (1899) short work where, in his summary of various prehistoric sites in this region, he told that,

“The first find recorded in this locality took place at Law House, near Mereclough, in the year 1763, when a mound was opened which covered a kistvaen, or stone cist, which, upon being opened, was found to contain a human skeleton.  The information concerning this ancient burial is very meagre, and we have no information as to who were the discoverers of the mound.  It may be noted that nearly 70 years before (in 1695) a number of Roman coins were found close to this barrow.  The mound also contained a rude earthware vase filled with calcined bones.”

It’s unlikely that the earthworks by the walling hereby represent the denuded remnants of the monument in question, although the rise in the field here may be some remnant of the place, but without further excavation we might never know for sure. However, the recent discovery of what may be remnants of the cairn in an adjacent field requires further analysis.  WATCH THIS SPACE – as they say!


  1. Barnes, B., Man and the Changing Landscape, University of Liverpool 1982.
  2. Bennett, Walter, History of Burnley, volume 1, Burnley 1946.
  3. Booth, Thomas, Ancient Grave Mounds on the Slopes of the Pennine Range, R. Chambers: Todmorden 1899.
  4. Whitaker, T.D., History of the Original Parish of Whalley, London 1872.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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