Hades Hill, Whitworth, Lancashire

Cairn:  OS Grid Reference – SD 909 202

Getting Here

The Hades hill cairn/barrow is located high on the moors some 3 miles north-east of Whitworth and the smaller village of Facit, near Rochdale. Its exact location is close to a footpath halfway between Hades hill and Rough hill, though it is not mentioned on modern OS maps. It is quite difficult to get to so be ready for a long hard walk.

Archaeology & History

This small, low barrow or cairn — a couple of miles north of the little-known Man Stone — measures 15 metres north to south, 13 metres east to west and is 0.9 metres high (about 3 feet in height). But not a great deal can be seen today.

It was excavated in 1898 when a number of artefacts were discovered near the centre of the barrow. The most famous of these ancient artefacts was a Celtic two-tiered urn (of the Pennine type) which had rope imprints and chevrons; inside this urn were the burnt bones of a female, flints, a scraper and a fine pointed borer. Other stuff that came out of the barrow included animal bones, charcoal, flint implements and an arrow head. The urn was placed in the hands of The March Collection at The Rochdale Free Library (now known as Touchstones). A more recent excavation was carried out in 1982 but nothing was recorded at this time. In Dr Whitaker’s History of Whalley, he described there being “the remains of a large beacon, with the foundations of a large circular enclosure” on Hades Hill.


  1. Abraham, John Harris, Hidden Prehistory around the North West, Kindle 2012.
  2. Barrowclough, David, Prehistoric Lancashire, Oxbow: Oxford 2008.
  3. Whitaker, Thomas Dunham, An History of the Original Parish of Whalley – volume 2, George Routledge: London 1876.

© Ray Spencer, 2011

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4 thoughts on “Hades Hill, Whitworth, Lancashire”

  1. Some notes from the 1982 excavation can be found in Touchstones. I think some samples were taken for analysis.

  2. Hi Stuart –

    < Some notes from the 1982 excavation can be found in Touchstones. I think some samples were taken for analysis. >

    Do you have any specific references in relation to this info? Or more details of the finds perhaps?

    Cheers – Paul

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