Robin Hood's Well (Extwistle)

From International Robin Hood Bibliography
Coordinate 53.808483, -2.12312
Adm. div. Lancashire
Vicinity 4 mk SSE of Trawden; c. 400 m W of Black Clough Head
Type Natural feature
Interest Robin Hood name
Status Extant?
First Record 1848
Loading map...
Robin Hood's Well, Extwistle
The grey structure near the centre is Robin Hood's House. Robin Hood's Well is or was located c. 8 meters NE of it / Google Maps Street View.

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

Robin Hood's Well in Extwistle, c. 400 meters west of Black Clough Head, is or was named after Robin Hood's House or vice versa. The well is located eight or ten meters north-east of the House.

Robin Hood's Well in Extwistle is thus labelled on a 6" O.S. map published 1848 and based on a survey carried out in 1844 (see Maps below). Later 6" O.S. maps include Robin Hood's House, but not the well. The House is at the eastern edge of one 25" O.S. map sheet, the Well at the western edge of a neighbouring one. No edition of the latter is online as of 10 Feb. 2019. John A. Clayton wrote the following excellent account of the site c. 2005:

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.[1]




Also see