History > rough guide > Roman




Evidence of prehistoric man in Gt. Harwood was uncovered in 1967 when a Bronze Age axe was dug up in the Greenhill area of the town so it is probable that the area has been hunted, if not farmed, for thousands of years. At Colne, about 10 miles to the north east, Stone, Bronze and Iron Age remains have been found and only 2-3 miles from Gt. Harwood town centre is the Iron Age, Planes Wood, promontory fort at Portfield where a hoard of gold and bronze was uncovered.

Map of Roman roads and forts around Great Harwood.

Roman roads around Great Harwood
Borrowed from Colne & Pendle in Lancashire. A contact address for the author would be appreciated.

The Roman occupation saw the main lines of communication missing the area as has happened before and since.

There are two possibilities for the origin of the town's name put forward by E. Elkwall:
"har" could mean grey.
"Hara" meaning hare.
The "Magna" then "Great", I presume, was to differentiate between this Harwood, Little Harwood five miles to the west and Harwood fifteen miles to the south (or possibly the inhabitants just thought it was great).

Martholme, the name of Great Harwood's Manor House, is thought to be of Danish origin but nothing in particular is known of the area until after William became King in 1066.


Information on these pages is taken from:-

Old Harwood, Louie Pollard and Harry E. Eaton, Great Harwood Civic Society, 1973.
Great Harwood Gleanings, Louie Pollard, 1978, Lancs County Council.
People and Places in Great Harwood, Louie Pollard.
A Great Harwood Miscellany, Louie Pollard. Pages
1066. Great Harwood from William the Conqueror to the Millennium, Louie Pollard, Great Harwood Civic Society, 1999.
Festival of Britain Programme, "Our Town", 1951.
Industrial Heritage. A Guide to the Industrial Archaeology of Great Harwood. Michael Rothwell. Hyndburn Local History Society, 1980.


History > rough guide > Roman


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