Archaeology of Feizor Thwaite

7 June 2009
Leaders - Sheila Gordon, Mary and Mike Slater
 North Craven 
 Heritage Trust 

Twelve members assembled at Buckhaw Brow and headed north across Giggleswick Scar in the face of a chilly breeze. Almost immediately attention was drawn to the improved trackway through the escarpment, and 300 metres further on we found a round smooth-sided cairn to the left of the track, Bronze Age, according to the Historic Environment Records. Another cairn could be seen on the skyline to the north-east. The water source for the large wall-enclosed tank, now empty, was noted in the next field. Further on, the enclosure marked on the OS map to the left of the path was examined, a roughly circular well-defined earthen bank partly quarried away on the south side. It may have been an enclosed cremation cemetery. We speculated upon another prominent mound clearly visible to the west, for which we had no details. Continuing northwards we passed a low lying area of soil with rabbit holes - might this have been an artificial warren in the past? Onwards through the gate with its graffito “B. Lupton, Burnley 1880” on the stone gatepost, and across the Stackhouse-Feizor track, to Feizor Thwaite, shortly afterwards examining two sod or sow kilns (now sadly filled with large stone rubble - some stones bearing plough scratches) nestling under the screes which would have provided the limestone for burning. We heard of other similar local examples of the type, one of which, in Feizor Nick only a kilometre or so away, had been excavated. Then up the track onto the higher ground and off to the left 100 metres westwards to see two cairns which had been excavated by Tot Lord in 1938, which contained human remains. In the distance to the east could be seen the prominent so-called ‘Celtic Wall’, which is in fact in two lengths, and the construction of which is totally dissimilar to that of local dry stone walls, and possibly Iron Age. The literature tells us that a debased but similar wall nearby was found to cover inhumations. Back to the track via a straight depression (intentionally?) leading straight to a well-defined circular feature of about 12 metres diameter with a small mound in the interior. This is thought to be an enclosed cremation cemetery. For most of our walk we saw ahead of us on the skyline one kilometre west of Smearsett the huge cairn which dominates this whole area. Descending to the Feizor-Stainforth track we looked down on the old wall lines around the reedy area which occasionally does become a mere.

Promise of a welcome warming cup of tea hastened our steps to Feizor, after which we took a quick look at Feizor Old Hall and returned via the bridleway to Buckhaw Brow, marvelling that the landscape contains so much more of man’s past activity than is at first apparent, if we but look around.