Archaeology in Antiquity at Mellor

Brown Low and Ludworth Intakes
Click to enlarge image of Brownlow Click to enlarge image of Reverend Marriot Plan of Ludworth Barrow Click to enlarge illustration of position of Mellor
In around 1810, the Reverend Marriott, Vicar of Disley and local Antiquarian, excavated two Bronze Age barrows at Brown Low and Ludworth Intakes on the hill across the valley to the north.
Unfortunately, as he acknowledged at the time, his excavations were poorly managed and did considerable damage to the site:

"A mass of people rise up at once, procure an assent from the tenant and break into the sepulchre. All the dissolute and idle of the neighbourhood hover around the spot. When, lo! an admonition from the manorial court scatters the marauders."

Marriott wrote a book called The Antiquities of Lyme in which he also mentioned a ditch found previously in the Churchyard:

"Some years ago, in sinking deep into the soil of the church yard for the construction of a vault, the progress of a cavern was discovered:It no longer, indeed remained hollow; but the line of it was as distinct as ever from the vein of factitious soil, which had been introduced, in opposition to the native stratum at that depth, for the reparation of the cavity. The same vein was brought to light, many years before, in sinking the foundation of the adjacent dwelling house, now occupied as the residence of the clergyman of the place (The Old Vicarage) A deep fosse was constructed originally, for the inclosure of the position. In subsequent ages it had the fate to be filled up, and the name and place of it passed into oblivion."

Shaw Cairn on Cobden Edge Click to enlarge image of Shaw Cairn Click to enlarge image of Cobden Edge
Much more recently, in the 1970's and 1980's amateur archaeologists partially excavated a Bronze Age Burial Site named Shaw Cairn on Cobden Edge, the hill to the south of Mellor Church. led by John BuLock, they identified a possible cairn. For the next several years, Ruth Collier, Kath Lowe and John Clarke (R-L-C) excavated the site with help from students of Marple Hall School.
Read the Report on the Shaw Cairn investigations 1976-1988

The archive came to the Greater Manchester Archaeology Unit where a Bradford University student on placement, Victoria Mellor, produced a report. As part of the Mellor Heritage Project, the Trust set itself the task of recording the nature of the cairn more thoroughly and establishing the extent of the earlier excavations, examining the cairn's immediate unexcavated and attempting to understand the setting and nature of the prehistoric activity.

Click to enlarge image of rough reconstruction of funerery food vessel
The early excavations had found more than a dozen cremation burials, some within stone cists, which were given names like Willie, Pericles, Cecil and Hector. Finds included around 500 flints, may of which dated from the Early Mesolithic Period, 10,000 years ago. Those associated with burials were consistent with the building of the cairn in the Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age and included a fine plano-convex flint knife. Another notable find was a pottery vessel, which the group had crudely stuck together. It has now been re-conserved and, with the other finds, is in Stockport Story Museum.

Click to enlarge image of Amber Bead Necklace
During the Mellor Heritage Project the team had the opportunity to revisit this site. They were able to confirm the presence of a Bronze Age flat ring barrow covered in stone, with large stones forming two circular kerbs and radials and finding not only another fine plano-convex knife but also an incredible necklace of Amber Beads

Read more about the excavations at Shaw Cairn