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    JEPPE KNAVE GRAVE SD 7600 3782 - NEOLITHIC PASSAGE TOMB ?

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    JEPPE KNAVE GRAVE SD 7600 3782 - NEOLITHIC PASSAGE TOMB ?

    Post  Guest on Mon Jan 04, 2010 4:18 am

    SD 7600 3782

    This landscape feature, known as Jeppe Knave Grave, stands at a place called The Lows high on Wiswell Moor and takes the form of a low grass-covered mound 16M in diameter with a stone filled depression in the centre 5 x 3 M. This feature appears to be a mutilated cairn and has been tentatively ascribed to the Bronze Age. The outer ring of stones can be discerned in the rough pasture at the perimeter – yellow in dry conditions, showing the circular shape. Given the large size of the stones here the cairn may have been of a chambered type/ passage tomb of the Neolithic period, and if this was the case the burial (or burials?) was one of great importance.

    Upon the largest stone are inscribed the words ‘JEPPE KNAVE GRAVE and a cross (inscribed by the Scouting Association in the 1960's). The stone marks the final resting place of Jeppe Curteys (Geoffrey Curtis), a local robber who was decapitated for his crimes in the first year of Edward 111, 1327. The name first occurs in a record of the boundaries between Wiswall and Pendleton dated 1342.

    In Anglo-Saxon times justice was dispensed locally in a rough and ready manner. Under later medieval kings a formal system of justice slowly developed. Minor matters were dealt with in manoral courts. In Lancashire serious crimes were dealt with by the Kings Justice, who sat at the quarter sessions at the Royal Castle at Lancaster. Executions took place on the moor east of Lancaster at a place called Golgotha, which place-name survives even today. Bodies were sometimes crudely preserved and sent back to the locality to be displayed gibbeted as fair warning to others.

    In those times the punishment of decapitation was unusual, being reserved for those of noble birth. So who was this Jeppe Curteys, punished by decapitation and later buried on the high ridge of Wiswell Moor in a pre xtian burial mound on the then boundary of parishes? That intriguing story we may never know. But to be buried in such a manner and place was indeed a great indignity – interment in what might be considered in those times to be a ‘pagan’ or ‘devilish’ spot. It may be that to bury a man in such a place was to literally ‘send him to the devil’. Alternatively one could ask: ‘Was the site thought then to be the burial spot of some noble ancestor, and Jeppe being of possible noble birth interred with great dignity? Again we may never know, yet it is significant that this lonely spot is still identified with a man who was executed 700 years ago.

    In 1608 it was stated that one Robert Lowe had taken a stone from the grave and used it as a cover of his kiln.
    Another possible Bronze Age mound can be discerned by a change in vegetation coloration at Harlow some 300m to the NNW. And a mile NW of the site is Carriers Croft where in 1968 another circular feature was discovered. During excavations between 1968 & 1975, three collared urns along with a gold cylinder and a bone toddle were found. These are now on display in Clitheroe Castle Museum.

    There are many other features of interest on this moor top to be found by curious eyes and feet: What is the significance of two stone cairns linked by a low wall sited at the head of a water-gully above Wymondhouse with smaller cairns nearby? At one point the ridge wall is built over a huge stone that on the map I call a ‘marker stone’ – what purpose did this stone serve before the moor was enclosed by stone walls? These are only two of many questions posed by the near landscape here not to mention the ‘Thorn in the Lane’ – good hunting.

    QUESTIONS: - Where was Robert Lowe's lime kiln situated ?
    Does it still exist today ?

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