ERECTION OF PILGRIMS' CROSS



Cutting from a paper of May 31st 1902

The two large stones for the Pilgrims' Cross memorial were brought from the quarry at Fletcher Bank on Thursday week, and remained in the Ramsbottom railway station yard till early on Saturday morning, when their transport began to the site of the ancient Cross on Holcombe Moor. The route lay via Holcombe Brook to Holcombe village, and thence over the Moor, past Chatterton Close and Buckden iron-stone quarry, along the old Holcombe highway. A little before reaching the gate at Robin Hood's Well the procession left the highway and breasted the rising ground on the left by what may be called Robert Pilkington's-road. Soon it struck

THE ANCIENT TRACK

on the north-easterly side of Bull Hill, passing near the cairn of "Ellen Strange". Just here the real difficulties began, for though, hitherto, the roads had been steep and rough they were hard at the bottom. But now, when well out upon the moor on Bull Hill's north-east slopes, a different state of things had to be negotiated, for the track passed over soft black peat and rugged surfaces which required all the skill of the director, Mr. John Whittaker, and good management of his horses by their drivers to traverse with safety. Indeed at one time the larger block - a trifle under four tons in weight - was without doubt, most perilously aslant, and its heavy lurry, on the near side, axle-deep in the peat. But the director and his drivers maintained a philosophic calm, while not a few of the spectators held their breath in dread suspense till the critical moment had gone by. The horses were urged quickly on; and with a magnificent rush, the danger was soon over. It was really a stirring spectacle to see the splendid horses bear over the rough moor attended by their skilful drivers. Fourteen horses were harnessed to the two lurries - nine to one, and five to the other. One lorry carried the foundation stone; the other the huge memorial block. There were seven drivers, and several hearty helpers, quarrymen and others. The scene was

PICTURESQUE IN THE EXTREME

and it will not be forgotten by those who witnessed it. The wide, wild, stretch of lonely moor , the whinberry just now showing the characteristic spring beauty of its colour; the varied shades of green that carpet its broad expanse, showing to advantage on the slopes and undulations; the crowd of pleased and highly interested spectators (some say two hundred were there); the magnificent horses harnessed to the lurries; the shouts and encouraging cries of the drivers as they tore along, often at a fast trot, and at times when necessity compelled it, almost breaking into a canter; the inevitable barking, joyous, dogs; the amazed, yet inquisitive, though wonder-stricken sheep; the excited, enthusiastic, holiday folk dotting the green with attire of variegated colour - all this combined to make a scene such as perhaps old Holcombe Moor had never known before, and probably may never know again.

The journey from Holcombe village to the site of the Pilgrims' Cross took three hours and a half; and a most creditable achievement it was. Many difficulties were met, but they were overcome in a skilful way. The huge stones will very shortly be placed in their proper position, probably before this notice leaves the press, and the upright one will have a suitable inscription. As is usual in gatherings such as these, photographic devotees were following their pursuit with industry, as striking incidents were presented to their artistic skill. When the journey's end was reached, and the lurries had left their heavy burdens on the soft green moss, some one among the crowd said that that was hardly the time to listen to what came from the mouth of man - that is in the way of speechifying - for it was far more likely that the thoughts of these assembled were dwelling fondly upon what was ready to enter into the hungry mouths when home was reached; for the NW breeze was fresh, and Bull Hill air is always bracing, and the hunger-bitten pilgrims looked as though a good substantial meal would do them good - so there would be no speeches just then. Then another from the crowd led off with

GOD SAVE THE KING

which was sung heartily, and then came cheers. Next, cheers were raised for the good drivers and their director, who had done their work so well; and, in the enthusiasm of the moment even the horses, too, came in for a cheer. It was a fine study in equine life to see the pricked-up ears of these splendid animals and note their evident appreciation of this tribute of human admiration. One could almost imagine that fine, powerful, prize winning chestnut to be whispering to its mate "And did they say anything about standing us a few extra feeds of oats as well?" But we are well assured that these fine animals had generous feeds of corn; for their splendid condition testifies to the great care Messrs John and James Whittaker take of them. . . . . . . . . . . [the last part is torn and unreadable]


Although I have the original cutting I am afraid I do not know the name of the paper from which it comes.



Last update 17/03/2001