Robin Hood's House (Extwistle)

From International Robin Hood Bibliography
Coordinate 53.8083, -2.1235
Adm. div. Lancashire
Vicinity 4 mk SSE of Trawden; c. 400 m W of Black Clough Head
Type Building
Interest Robin Hood name
Status Extant
First Record 1848
A.k.a. Robin Hoods House
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The ruined Robin Hood's House, Extwistle
Robin Hood's House is the grey structure near the centre / Google Maps Street View.

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2019-02-10. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2021-01-07.

The ruined Robin Hood's House in Extwistle, c. 400 meters west of Black Clough Head, is named after the nearby Robin Hood's Well or vice versa. The House is located eight or ten meters south-west of the (site of the) well.

Robin Hood's House is thus labelled on a 6" O.S. map published 1848 and based on a survey carried out in 1844 (see Maps below). It is included in O.S. maps published as late as 1912 and perhaps also in more recent ones. Dobson & Taylor list it as "a ruined farm on the edge of Widdop Moor".[1] On the early map, a sheep fold is shown close to the House. Mesolithic flints have been found in the area, "with a particular concentration around Robin Hood's House", where a few other archaeological objects have also been discovered, including a Bronze Age stone quern which unfortunately was subseqently broken up, the parts being reused and, it seems, subsequently lost.[2]

In 2005, John A. Clayton wrote the following excellent account of the House and the area in which it is situated:

The hamlet of Haggate is on the cross-roads from Nelson to Worsthorn and Burnley to Halifax. The route through the nearby hamlet of Lane Bottom follows the Thursden Valley to the slopes of Boulsworth Hill. At the head of this climb through the valley is an Iron Age earthwork known as Burwains Camp [...] At this point the present road turns sharply left and heads over the moor towards Colne, originally this track headed straight up the slopes of Red Spa Moor from Burwains camp, the ditched way can still be made out. Leaving the modern road the ancient track known locally as the 'Scotch Road' takes a direct route towards the ruins of Robin Hood's House (this took its name from the nearby Robin Hood's Well). The name of Scotch Road puzzled me for quite a while, it certainly does not lead towards Scotland; however the Middle English word 'scartch' or 'scutch' describes a steeply banked feature. This is exactly what this track is, very steeply banked as it runs down the hill to join the metalled road. A mile along this moorland track lies Robin Hood's House [...], a most peculiar place this, the ruins of a cottage placed high in isolation near to the top of the weather-beaten Boulsworth Hill. Local legend has it, perhaps inevitably, that this house was the hideout of a gang of highwaymen. The fact that someone found it necessary to build a homestead in this location speaks volumes for the times (16th / 17th and 18th centuries) when people were desperate to obtain land of any kind. By erecting a squatter's dwelling on the common someone would find here a living of sorts, perhaps herding their own as well as other people's sheep. There is, however, the consideration that these isolated dwellings now appear to be out of their original context - Robin Hood's House was on a trade route between the expanding textile towns of Burnley and Nelson and their main woollen marketplace of Halifax. Having passed Boulsworth Hill this route carried on over the moors to Oakworth and Haworth on the Bronte's Yorkshire moors.[3]





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