Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Triumphant Return of Mr. Sobee: Part Two

In the last exciting episode, our intrepid researchers discovered a secret cache of never before published photographs from the Sobee ‘History of Pilling’ collection that, should they ever come to the attention of the public, might spell the end for the Catholic church and the downfall of the British government. Now read on…
The photograph below shows a section of the Kate’s Pad, an ancient wooden track running higardly pigardly across Pilling moss. (Someone’s going to complain about that. Yes, we know it doesn’t really run ‘higardly pigardly’…we just said that to make it sound a bit more interesting.) There’s an extremely similar version of this photograph in ‘The History of Pilling’, but before you start doubting our word that these are ‘never before published’ slides, if you’ve got a copy of the aforementioned book, try comparing the two. Yes…this one’s been taken from an ever-so-very-slightly-different angle, hasn’t it? See…now apologise for calling us liars and we’ll say no more about it.

Several sections of the Kate’s Pad can still be seen in public, incidentally; one at the Fylde Country Life Museum in Fleetwood, one at the Harris Museum in Preston and one at Lancaster Museum in…well…Lancaster, obviously. One of these day’s we’ll get around to writing a proper article all about it for this board…but not right now.
Moving on…next up we have a palstave from Cumming Carr farm. Actually, if I wanted to be pedantic, strictly speaking this isn’t a palstave. It’s an unsocketted, flanged bronze axe head, which is remarkably similar to a palstave in many respects, but to the trained (and probably annoyingly arrogant eye) is as different as butter is to lard.

Again, we seem to recall seeing this Bronze Age implement being shown to us at the Harris Museum, accompanied by the words: “We’re not sure if this is from the Wyre or not. It was just in a box stuffed under the table.”
And finally, for now at any rate (until we can talk D
avid Thompson into copying the rest of these photographs onto a disc for us), a collection of Neolithic polishers found at Crookabreast Farm in 1938. Polishers, basically, were similar to whetting stones, used with water and sand to grind down the faces of other stone tools. One of the polishers in the photograph below was found stuffed into the roots of an oak tree. The rest were scattered on the ground around it. God knows where they’ve got to now. They’re probably in the Preston Museum Repository, crammed beneath a stuffed owl with one glass eye hanging from its head, and labelled with the words: ‘Fossilised Dinosaur Dung from Warrington.’

We couldn’t leave this particular article, however, without including the following photograph. Yes, it has been seen before, because it appears in ‘The History of Pilling’ book itself. It shows some of the founding members of the Pilling Historic Society, excavating the Kate’s Pad at Iron House Farm, Out Rawcliffe. In fact, to be honest, it was probably the photograph being taken by Mr. Sobee on Rawcliffe Moss in the opening photograph of last week’s posting.
At the front of the group is an extremely young looking Headlie Lawrenson (looking a bit like John Mills there), our old archaeologing friend and one of the first members of Wyre Archaeology, who sadly passed away last year. We’re not sure if we’re infringing copyright by posting this one, but frankly we don’t give a stuff.


Ozfemme said...

Let me be the first...


It's what I do.

Brian Hughes said...


And you do it so well...if not with an air of authoritive condescension reminiscent of a disciplinarian school ma'am. (Now there's an image to keep under lock and key until a rainy day.)

I could of course argue that, being the phrase a 'nonsense' expression, it probably isn't subject to the normal rules of diction, but that would just be me trying to wriggle out of the situation instead of admitting my mistake. I like 'higgardly piggardly' has a much more thorough ring to it than the Australian version (as I'm now stubbornly regardling 'higgledy-piggedly'), so I reckon I ought to do my best to introduce this new variation into the English language and create a schism amongst grammatical scholars.

JahTeh said...

Now you've got him Bella, he just loves school ma'am discipline and his answer is far from niggardly.

Brian Hughes said...


In the great classroom of life I've always been sat at the back having a crafty cigarette, pulling the girls' pigtails and sniggering behind my copy of the Beano. It's beyond doubt the best place to be.

Feral Beast said...

Brian I just looooooooooooove those photos you posted up but "HIGGLEDY-PIGGLEDY" I bet your teacher would make you do 100 lines.
Higly-Pigly was first used in the 15th century as a description of pigs moving about in a group.

Brian Hughes said...

Mr. Beast,

I knew it was higgledy-piggledy really. It's just that I wrote it with a very posh accent.

John said...

Just how old is kate's Pad, and who built it? I think you've answered these questions elsewhere, but I can't recall.

Isn't it remarkable that the pad survived this long, being wood, or was it somehow preserved in peat, or something?

Cheers, JOHN :0)

PS In teh village of Steventon, they have a very old causeway, built perhaps in the 13th century, or older. Considering all the earthworks within your countryside, why was a pad built, instead of a causeway?

Just curious...

Brian Hughes said...


The Kate's Pad is prehistoric, probably Bronze Age, and, yes, the peat beneath which it was discovered, more than likely helped with its preservation. As for why it's a single beamed wooden trackway when most of the other prehistoric roads in this district are cobbled hollow-ways, I honestly couldn't say. Probably the prehistoric version of a 'b' road I suspect.

scott davidson said...

What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee,
The image can be seen at who can supply you with a canvas print of it.