Pendle Hill


Gone But Not Forgotten
Mar 16, 2004
This was on MH Live, of which I only watched the first ten minutes, but wondered if any-one had been there and what their impressions of it were?
I'm from very near there... Pendle Hill has a distinct, brooding presence in the landscape... there really is something very sinister about it. You can see it from miles away, looking like an enormous, dark whale. IIRC there aren't even any trees on it... it's too bleak for them. Meant to be a nice walk though!
What has the hill been used for in the past? Have there ever been any man made structures upon it?

The Celts believed that certain mounds and hills in the UK were entry points into the underworld.
All I got from MH was a mish-mash of ' ghosts, witches, strange beasts, UFO's ' in fact almost everything you could imagine, but flicking through my few books on the paranormal, it seems not to have any entries. I know there'll be information on google, but I was more wondering if any-one on this board had experienced anything strange there.
Zygmunt thankyou, by the way. It did look very bleak and eerie, from the shots I saw, but places like the Long Mynd in Shropshire do also, so I was wondering why Pendle was ' different ' .
Can I ask where Pendle Hill is?
I've been. It's great motorbiking country.
If I recall correctly there's a dry ski slope with a mexican restaurant at the top, which is pretty surreal.

It's the birth place of the Quakers and there's the witches of course .....

I can't say anything odd happened when I was there ... I got a bit of a fright from an unexpected cattle-grid but that's about all I remember, but having said that I don't think I actually stopped.

I went through Todmorden on the way, where the Adamski 'abduction' and other weirdness occured and that is a fairly eerie place ... the high cliffs beside the road on the outskirts of town definitely glower.

I did intend to write some tentative 'fortean traveller' type articles on Pennine strangeness hotspots this summer but unfortunately I pranged the bike and haven't been able to get out and about much and it's getting a bit cold now ..... maybe next year.

/edit/ it's in Lancashire, near Clitheroe
It's in the Lancashire Pennines, it said....
I've just been looking over some photos. Yes, very sparse.

Does anybody know more specifically if it has a supernatural past?

Or indeed if there are known to have been any communities others than Quakers, living in the area in the past, Druids, witches, etc...?
There's a huge amount of folklore about the location and the area. This was discussed in one volume of Fortean Studies (Volume 3, IIRC).
There's a huge amount of folklore about the location and the area. This was discussed in one volume of Fortean Studies (Volume 3, IIRC).

Definately! I doubt there's anywhere in 50 square miles without some sort of Fortean history. Ilkley Moor's not far away, and that could be described as a Fortean Theme park! Stone circles... ghosts... UFOs... Black Dogs... Holy Wells... Giants...
zygmunt said:
... looking like an enormous, dark whale.
What a good description!


I've always thought that it looks as though it's alive and preparing to dive
whizzer said:
I've always thought that it looks as though it's alive and preparing to dive

I kind of see what you mean, on reflection...:D
Pendle Hill's great.

It's got such a distinctive shape. And it's the only high ground for miles around.

The Pendle witch thing has given the area a bit of a notoriety. It's stature and significance in the landscape must've lent it some importance though. You just can't travel round them parts without it's prescence being felt.
It's a hill with attitude!

There's a little-known terrestrial zodiac that has the hill and surrounding area as it's major feature.

The hill's a fantastic walk to do on a winter's day, the views are stonkin' :D

Edit: That Mexican restuaraunt's disappeared without trace! :D
You're talking about my old home!!

I lived in Sabden, which is one of the villages that nestles at the foot of Pendle, for many years, and yes, it is a very atmospheric place.

The (true) story of the Pendle witches, -by that I mean the historical facts about the women who were hanged at Lancaster assizes - is very much still a part of the area - the names of the witches - Nutter, Devizes, Chattocks etc., are still very much in evidence - the descendants of those women still live in these beautiful remote villages, and farm the lands thereabouts.

I remember a newspaper photograph which appeared in all the nationals - perhaps during the 70's - I can't now remember exactly when - which had been captured by a local who had been driving along the infamous A59 and which runs alongside Pendle for miles. It was a bright cold winters day. with some residues of snow lying on the hill's sides. He was absolute amazed to see a huge cloud formation in the sky above the 'big end' which is the affectionate local name for the eastern side - which was a perfect representation of - a traditional witch on a brookstick!!

Anyone else from the locality remember that??

Also, Halloween was an absolute nightmare - and not because it was scary either! It became a regular event to the extent that TV crews used to cover it, and thousands of people would journey to the villages around from all over the country. The lanes would become impassable, and idiots would park their vehicles in the most inconvenient places - the narrow lanes would be choked with people on foot, wearing fancy dress, etc...all the usual carry on - but imagine that happening on a cold, foggy winter night with visibility down to nil!

Usually, the police would block the road at the entrances to Sabden village and you had to prove you were a local and only trying to get home from work!!

The aftermath next morning would be horrendous with litter, broken bottles, and abandoned cars left by people too drunk to drive them home - not to mention distressed livestock. I don't know if it's still like that - I heard a rumour a while ago that the police were so fed up with it all that they were going to make it a 'no go' area on that particular night.....

The 'Mexican restaurant' was obviously something that happened after we left the area, but the building you refer to, at the top of the dry ski slope was originally called the Wellsprings Hotel and was a very old building with lots of stories and legends attached to it. We used to go up there to regular disco's and barbeques etc., way back in the 70's .....although a friend of ours, who didn't know anything about the local stories, and who was staying with us for a weekend, reported a very spooky experience in one of the corridors one night.

My husband and sister also reported seeing weird shiny 'cylinder ' type objects in the sky one summer afternoon up there....

Yup - a strange area - I highly recommend a visit to anyone who is curious and hasn't been there.....and I haven't even mentioned the famous Sabden Treacle Mines yet!
There's a little-known terrestrial zodiac that has the hill and surrounding area as it's major feature.

gyrtrash... any Links? sounds intriguing!

Hecate, as kids our parents often used to take us to visit a funny little 'theme park' in Roughlee, which had a 'witchy' theme, as well as a talking Mynah Bird and boating lake... there was also a pub in the village which had witch silhouettes on the outside walls. On a recent visit the 'theme park' was a residential home but the pub still had the witches!
If you look at an overhead view of Glastonbury, yes, you can, with imagination, see shapes corresponding to the various
astrological symbols.

Sadly, the outlines of many of the shapes are made up of modern hedges, fences, roads etc., and so can only be a hundred or so years old at most!
Yes, I've read that somewhere, I did see a picture of the symbols that were outlined to show them, still....interesting.... I thought there was supposed to be one somewhere else, in the UK, but I couldn't remember where.
zygmunt said:
gyrtrash... any Links? sounds intriguing!

I can't find any links to it online, sorry!

I read about it in a book that was bought for me as a pressie!

'Terrestrial zodiacs in Britain, Nuthampstead zodiac and Pendle zodiac', Nigel Pennick & Robert Lord, 1976, Institute of Geomantic Research, Cambridge.
You can very occasionally find a second-hand copy, for around 20 quid.

The Pendle zodiac is said to be the largest in Britain, at 32 miles long, covering a vast tract of land in east Lancs and West Yorks.

The author used the old 1840's maps for to show the zodiac, before some landscape features were lost to the industrial expansion of the nearby towns. Though, some lines can still be traced on more modern maps, 'cos they follow rivers and roads!

Of course, it's only there if you see it! If you know what I mean. Once someone has shown you it, it exists! It's age or purpose can't be 'proven' I guess.
Personally, I'm doubtful as to the reality of these things existing before someone comes along and 'notices' them! But once they do, then the features are there without a doubt, for all to see.

And then an entertaining local legend is born...
My great-great-grandparents lived at Roughlee Hall around 1800. There is a family legend that we are descended from Alice Nutter, but we have no evidence.
The Nutter family were Catholics and some of them became martyrs. I believe a lot of rumours of Witch craft came from secret Catholic masses held out of doors.
On tonight...

The Pendle Witch Child

Today, 21:00 on BBC Four

Simon Armitage presents the extraordinary story of the most disturbing witch trial in British history and the key role played in it by one nine-year-old girl. Jennet Device, a beggar-girl from Pendle in Lancashire, was the star witness in the trial in 1612 of her own mother, her brother, her sister and many of her neighbours and, thanks to her chilling testimony, they were all hanged.

Armitage explores the lethal power and influence of one child's words - a story of fear, magic and demonic pacts retold partly with vivid and innovative hand-drawn animation. He discovers how Jennet's appearance in the witness box cast its shadow way beyond Lancashire, impressing lawyers, politicians, clerics and even King James I himself, and setting a dark precedent for child testimony in witch trials as far away as America. Finally, in a dramatic twist to the tale, he reveals how, twenty two years after the original trial, Jennet's own words were very nearly the death of her - when she herself was put on trial, accused of being a witch by a 10-year-old boy.

With the help of historians Malcolm Gaskill, Diane Purkiss and Ronald Hutton, Armitage attempts to get inside Jennet's head and understand how the illegitimate and illiterate youngest child of a family of beggars could become both pawn and player in a much bigger story of 17th century religion, power, law, science and the monarchy.

What made Jennet speak out so everyone she knew would die? And how did the courts decide to admit her evidence and allow her example to create a precedent for accepting the testimony of other child witnesses who wanted to send their neighbours to the gallows?

Although the events in this film may date back four hundred years, its issues resonate today as much as ever - when to believe our children, how the police and the court system should handle child witnesses and above all how, in times of crisis, fear of evil can easily lead us to behave in ways which may corrode the very values that we most wish to protect.
Looking forward to it! Let's just hope it doesn't suffer from the current fashion in BBC documentaries to favour style over substance ;)
Long article, with side-bars, links etc:

The witch trial that made legal history
By Frances Cronin, BBC News

In recent years children as young as three have given evidence in court cases, but in the past children under 14 were seen as unreliable witnesses. A notorious 17th Century witch trial changed that.

Nine-year-old Jennet Device was an illegitimate beggar and would have been lost to history but for her role in one of the most disturbing trials on record.
Jennet's evidence in the 1612 Pendle witch trial in Lancashire led to the execution of 10 people, including all of her own family.

In England at that time paranoia was endemic. James l was on the throne, living in fear of a Catholic rebellion in the aftermath of Guy Fawkes' gun powder plot. The king had a reputation as an avid witch-hunter and wrote a book called Demonology.
"It was a mandate for the British to fight witches," explains Prof Ronald Hutton from the University of Bristol.

At the time Lancashire had a reputation for being full of trouble-makers and subversives. Jennet lived with her mother Elizabeth, her grandmother Demdike, older sister Alizon and brother James in the village of Pendle. Villagers dubbed Demdike a "cunning woman".

Going back over several points on the whole thread, I have an old book "Mysterious Lancashire" by Philip Rickman and Graham Nown which describes what they claim to be ley lines around Pendle Hill. The book was published by Dalesman Books in 1977. They claim that they emanate from Round Loaf tumulus and Noon Hill. If you look on the Modern Antiquarian website you will find information about these locations.

The whole area is part of what I would call undiscovered Lancashire. Anglezarke moor lies to the west and from Bolton in the south to Darwen in the north, and Chorley in the west it is pretty much undisturbed. The area has a lot of bronze age monuments, which sadly have had very little attention paid to them. The landscape is barren with a haunting atmosphere. It is an area I would like to discover in more detail and I intend to do so in the future.

Other things of Fortean interest in the area is the fact that the A666 runs through the area, it is quite a dangerous road for accidents. Also, the Winter Hill plane crash in 1958 was overshaodwed by the Munich air disaster. 35 people died when a plane from the Isle of Man crashed into Winter Hill.
I quite enjoyed the BBC 4 doc that was on last night. Creatively it reminded me of Scarfe's animations striding across a fake wall in Earl's Court but the style of the rendering had a macabre quality, like Mortimer the Crow and Abigail.

The story itself had a sweet irony as well, not only in the accused words coming back to haunt her in her own trial but also IMO, it seemed to me we watched the story of an outraged establishment punishing harshly a group of lower class citizens for their social status and misguided values.

Thank goodness that will never happen again!

oh...hang on...
I was up by Pendle hill last month or so and it looked lovelly in the sunshine. The first time however was quite a different story, for around half an hour it looked like it might try to rain, then the sun returned and it was quite lovelly again
I'm related to Mother Chattox (or Chaddocks) - as are, presumably, thousands of others. My father and grandfather were very into researching the family tree - so I assume that there really is evidence.
Ooooo i wouldnt go snoopin into the past!! who knows what dark secrets you will uncover, that are best left uncovered!! (i suspect i am the love child of hitler and stalin)