A weekly series where I revisit old photographs.

Pendle Hill, in the Forest of Bowland, is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This photograph was taken on a walk from the village of Barley, past a couple of reservoirs and up into Aitken Wood to follow the Pendle Sculpture Trail.

pendle hill

Looking Towards Pendle Hill ©HelenBushe


Pendle Hill has a notorious reputation for being a place where twelve accused witches lived in the 17th century. These twelve supposed witches were accused of murdering ten people. They figured prominently in what is known as the Lancashire witch trials. One of the twelve accused Lancashire witches died during the trials. Ten were found guilty and executed by hanging and only one was found not guilty. The history of the witch trials has given the place an eerie atmosphere, and several terrifying reports.- HauntedRooms.co.uk

Brief History: 

Pendle Hill is also called Penhul. Aside from the witch trials, Pendle Hill is also popular for the visitation of George Fox, the leader of the Quaker Movement, in 1652 and the barometer experiments of Richard Towneley in 1661. A Bronze Age burial site has been discovered at the hill’s summit. Pendle Hill’s history will not be complete without mentioning the alleged witches who lived in the area.

The story of the Pendle witches is a great example of well-documented allegation of witchcraft. Until today, the hill continues to be associated with witchcraft. Every Halloween, a large number of visitors climb up the hill wanting to experience the supernatural.

In the year 1612, there was said to be a family of local peasants which lived in a huge limestone tower. However, the family was no ordinary family. These peasants had enormous powers and they were reported to be in league with the devil. According to reports, the family made clay effigies made of teeth and human hair.

Local people died of various mysterious illnesses at that time. Others were said to have died in great pain. The milk in the area turned sour and cattle died mysteriously too. People were afraid to go up the hill. A local magistrate, Roger Norwell, had the courage to arrest two of the people living in the tower. They were brought to Lancaster for trial and two days later, the rest of the “witches” were arrested and taken to Lancaster for trial. –Haunted rooms.co.uk

Ghosts of the Witches of Pendle Hill

Pendle Hill is notorious for its history in witchcraft and worshipping the devil. There are various tours in the area today which trace the witches from their arrest to their execution. The Pendle Hill witches are said to still haunt the buildings and the villages. Visitors have reported feeling anger when visiting the grounds. Local people even fear discussing the events that went on during the witch trial. –HauntedRooms.co.uk

Over the years, Pendle Hill has been featured in the show “Most Haunted” among several other TV shows and ghost tours. Members of the television crew reported being hurt; some even said that they were strangled by unseen hands. The medium (Derek Acorah) reported being in contact with Elizabeth Device, one of the accused witches. Elizabeth told them that there were nine more spirits in the room and none of the spirits wanted the crew present. –HauntedRooms.co.uk

In his autobiography, George Fox described a vision on Pendle Hill in 1652, during the early years of the Quakers:

As we travelled, we came near a very great hill, called Pendle Hill, and I was moved of the Lord to go up to the top of it; which I did with difficulty, it was so very steep and high. When I was come to the top, I saw the sea bordering upon Lancashire. From the top of this hill the Lord let me see in what places he had a great people to be gathered.

— George Fox: An Autobiography, Chapter 6

Today Pendle remains strongly linked to the Quakers, giving its name to one of their centres for religious and spiritual study and contemplation near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the United States. –Wikipedia


Marsha · 5 May 2016 at 18:50

For a history buff like I am, this is a fascinating post. Great research! Although I live in CA, I have been to PA on several occasions recently visiting a cousin in DE. I’m going to have to put this on my places to see. Thanks for sharing it. Also thanks so much for following my blog. I appreciate it. I invite you to follow my new blog, as I am going to combine the two. The new one is marshajustwrites.com. Look forward to seeing you there. 🙂

    HMB · 5 May 2016 at 19:13

    Thanks Marsha. And thanks for follow. I’ve recently moved to North West England and am enjoying researching some English history ( I am Scottish) . I’ll check out your new site when I’m back from holiday. Off to Malta tonight. Yippee! Lots of history there. From The Knights of St John of the Cross right up to WW2. Happy blogging. Helen

      Marsha · 5 May 2016 at 19:13

      Have fun! I’m jealous! 🙂

Leah · 5 May 2016 at 13:21

I never made it to Pendle Hill, but after hanging around Lancaster for a couple of months, was intrigued by the history of the whole Lancaster/Pendle Witch history. Thanks for taking me there.

    HMB · 5 May 2016 at 17:29

    Thanks Leah. I’ve been fascinated by Pendle Hill ever since spending summers in that part of Lancashire at my grandmother’s house. It always looks imposing whatever the weather or the light.

GeorgieMoon · 5 May 2016 at 07:21

I really enjoyed reading your post. I have somehow heard of Pendle Hill, but did not know the details. I love a bit of witchcraft and sorcery!

    HMB · 5 May 2016 at 07:26

    Don’t we all! Thanks Georgie.

I'm always pleased to read comments.....

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