A return to Jeffrey Hill

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I RETURN today to paths which have been trodden before in this column - namely the derivation of the name of one of our local landmarks.

It is obvious why Longridge Fell is so called, but what about that other feature on this part of the landscape - Jeffrey Hill.

I've asked that question a few times since this column started, and received various answers, so I thought I'd revisit some of the answers today.

I'm cautious of saying which is right and which is off the mark, but one of the most recent contributions to this debate came from George Yates of Knott Farm, Chipping Road, Thornley, who says the hill is named after Jeffrey Walkden, a poet who lived in a cottage in the farmyard at Ramsclough Farm, Thornley.

There is, apparently, a stone over the cottage door dated 1769.

If anyone has any of Jeffrey Walkden's poetry, or knows any books which contain samples of his verse, it would be interesting to see it, and share it on this page with my readers.

Another suggestion for the name Jeffrey Hill came via an email from A Hall who wonders if the name has anything to do with Judge Jeffries who conducted the infamous 'Bloody Assizes' in the latter 17th century?

The notorious judge's mother was from a local family called Ireland. There is an Ireland's farm in Whittingham (Brabiner Lane), and the family are believed to have married the Blundells of Ince Blundell, who latterly owned Lydiate Hall near Southport.

There is of course the Irelands minibus firm in Longridge and a Blundell Brook farm, also in Whittingham.

A year or so ago Mr Jeremy Morgan of Cardwell House, Jeffrey Hill, contacted me to comment on the spelling of Jeffrey - in some sources it is spelled without the final 'e' - Jeffry.

The hill has a fascinating history and was known to the Romans who built a road in the area as this was part of their route from the fort at Ribchester to Hadrian's Wall.

The Roman road ran parallel to, and just to the north of, the modern road.

You can still see the remains of it today - park your car at the car park, walk down the road about 50 yards and cross over the stile on the other side of the road.

The Roman road is the stony ridge running approximately south-west to north-east.

And on a clear day you can see the line of it all the way across the Hodder Valley to Browsholme Heights in the distance.

It is an area where there is plenty of clear Lancashire air, and has been a popular visiting spot for ramblers, tourists and people on a day out, as one of my pictures shows.