Work needed to find Hapton’s ‘lost village’

HIDDEN HISTORY: The old map of Hapton Tower and Birtwistle village
HIDDEN HISTORY: The old map of Hapton Tower and Birtwistle village

History buffs are calling for further investigations into a “lost village” and even potential remnants of a Bronze Age settlement near Hapton.

Archeologists uncovered possible remains of the medieval hamlet of Birtwistle while carrying out a survey of the site of the former Hapton Tower built in 1510 by Sir John Towneley.

The survey of land on Hameldon Hill also found possible Bronze Age burial mounds and evidence of agriculture. The discoveries have got local heritage champions excited and calls have been made for further archeological work to be carried out to unearth Hapton’s hidden history.

Joan Lakeland, of the Hapton Heritage Group, said: “It could point to something quite interesting up there but we cannot tell for sure. It is looking very interesting around Hapton Tower – there seems to be more there than just a tower. I think there is a lot more that needs to be looked into. We would not be able to prove for sure without digging down.”

Some believe it could be the site of the forgotten village, originally called “Bridtwisell” which means a clearing between two streams where birds gather, located in the area the Towneley family built the tower which has since disappeared off the map.

Mrs Lakeland said: “Birtwistle is a lost settlement from around the 15th or 16th Century. But there is a suggestion there could be a settlement before the village of Birtwistle. It could be very well preserved. We don’t want to lose this history. I would like to see another project up there.”

Burnley Council also conducted an archeological survey of the area when plans for new wind turbines were made for the Hameldon Wind Farm, and noted evidence of Bronze Age, Neolithic and Mesolithic activity.