Rushbearing dates back to the middle ages and is a festival where rushes were collected to be strewn out over the floors of churches, back when the floors were just earthen. The tradition died off when church floors started to be flagged by the 19th century, though in some villages and towns it was revived as a folk custom.
Thurston Clough is a hamlet near Scouthead, roughly 1.5 miles from the village of Dobcross, Saddleworth and Janette Quinlan in Mystical Oldham (2010) refers to a letter received by the Oldham Evening Chronicle in 1973 concerning Roman soldiers haunting Thurston Clough.
According to Haunted Sites of Oldham by Janette Quinland and Shaun McGrath the 18th century La Pergola Hotel (now the Clough Manor Hotel) was haunted by the veiled apparition of a woman wearing a Victorian crinoline style dress.
On April 2nd 1832 a landlord and his gamekeeper son were violently murdered at a remote pub on the edge of the bleak moorland above Greenfield near Saddleworth. Reported at the time as “one of the most diabolical murders ever committed” (1), the murders were never solved and have become a fascinating, if dark, part of the local lore of Saddleworth.
Haunted by an amorphous shape, thought to be a woman called Eliza Jane MacKay who committed suicide by drowning herself in the well of New Inn Farm, which is situated nearby. She is said to have been an alcoholic who drank at the inn and was buried in the orchard at New Inn Farm.
The original fort dates to the Flavian period, and was probably erected during the governship of Agricola (AD77 to AD83), when new Roman roads were being constructed in the Pennines as an aid to Roman expansion in the North. The larger fort became a smaller fortlet in the Trajanic era.
Pots and Pans above Greenfield, was once thought to have been a Druid place of worship, and old maps mark the site of a ‘Druid’s Altar’. Just where the Druid’s Altar was is unclear, but it is generaly believed to be the rounded depressions found on top of the giant boulders of Millstone grit (the actual pots and pans) on the crest of the hill.
In legend the rolling boulder-strewn hills of Alphin Pike and Alderman Hill were the abodes of the giants Alphin and Alderman, after whom the peaks were named. Alphin and Alderman were at first on friendly terms, until they both became enamoured with a beautiful water nymph called Rimmon, who lived in the valley below them in the bubbling waters of Chew Brook.
Saddleworth church – dedicated to St Chad – has a legend associated with its location. It is said that the original site for the church was on nearby Brown Hill, but every night the stones were mysteriously moved to their present position. Eventually the builders gave up moving the stones back to Brown Hill, and built it where the stones were placed each night.