Catlow Quarry, Nelson, Lancashire

Tumulus (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – SD 884 367

Archaeology & History

Long since destroyed, we are thankful to the writings of Thomas Booth (1899) that this site was recorded.  In his rare work on the prehistoric burial sites of the region he told us how this tomb was unearthed,

The Catlow urn

“in March 1854, at Catlow quarry, in Marsden (Heights), a few miles across the hills from Todmorden in the direction of Colne, where a number of workmen who were engaged baring the rock came across two or three cinerary urns.  These were very carelessly handled by the men, and as these vases are almost always made of clay only partially baked…they are very easily broken; the result, therefore, of the rude treatment of the quarrymen was that the vessels were broken to pieces.”

The mound from which the urns had been dug was also destroyed, but apparently the last remnants of the urns were presented to the Burnley Literary Institution sometime in the late 1890s — though where they’ve travelled since then, 120 years on, I have no idea!


  1. Bennett, Walter, The History of Burnley – volume 1, Burnley County Council 1946.
  2. Booth, Thomas, Ancient Grave Mounds on the Slopes of the Pennine Range, R. Chambers: Todmorden 1899.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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7 thoughts on “Catlow Quarry, Nelson, Lancashire”

  1. Good work Paul.

    Is there anyone on site from the Burnley area who would like to do a study on the area ?
    I have a great deal of unpblished material I shall never use, plus sole access to the late Clifford Byrne’s unpublished works via his good wife.

    Contact LOWERGATE via this site

  2. Hi Lowergate…I live locally to Catlow and have quite alot of historical knowledge. I and a few likeminded friends would be more than interested to hear about anything historical that you may have. Local author and historian John Clayton and ourselves are just waiting for more pieces of the jigsaw to build on the vast amount that we already have in relation to Castercliffe hillfort, Ringstone hill, Burwains camp and the Bronze Age burial mounds etc.

    I look forward to your reply

    Kind regards Dave Ormerod

    07812 185 681


    Hi Dave,

    Can we meet up in the near future (I am off to work on my fields on the Lizard in early February, but staying in Lancashire for a month or so) ?

    I will text you on the number above with my home telephone – I do not answer my mobile phone, only use it to text. Also, I only answer the phone after it has gone through the answer machine.

    Best regards


  4. I live close to Catlow and have always been interested in that area, especially Castercliff hillfort (Tum Hills), Walton Spire, Burwains Camp and the former stone circle at Ringstone Hill. I have been in contact with John Dixon. I also know a few farmers in those areas. Nice to be on here as a new member.

  5. Yes its a very interesting area which is potentially untapped. Had a very educational day out around this area with John Dixon and Pete last month. Hopefully we can move things on a little when he returns from his many and varied interests.

  6. Local historian Mr H Hindle wrote about the finds at (or close by) Catlow Quarry in his interesting work Pre-History of Colne & Surrounding Areas part of which appeared in the Pennine Magazine during the 1970s. I will endeavor to put some of what he said on the forum. He goes into what was found their in some great depth, as it were.

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