Pendle is renowned for its witches…
But do you know about the wizard?
If you have a taste for the obscure or just fancy an adventure away from the conventional route of Pendle, then bypass Barley Village and the climb up the hill and instead deviate to Faughs Quarry.
If you head down Wellhead Road from the centre of Newchurch about hundred yards to your right you will stumble upon the Quarry, it’s not the clearest of entrance markers but this only adds to the mystery and enigma which resides inside.
Standing grand at around 30 feet high, the ex-working quarry has embraced nature since its retirement. Thick moss and bull thistle now cover the area that once would have been occupied by Lancashire lads grafting a hard day’s work. None of this is unusual so far, right? Well, adjacent to the site you are greeted with something of rarity. There is a large rock with a man’s carved face in the stone, this man of whom has no identity.
“OVER THE LAST DECADE HE HAS BECOME SLIGHTLY WEATHERED BUT YOU CAN STILL CLEARLY MAKE OUT HIS FEATURES”
Upon trawling the internet for more historic images of the face it is clear that over the last decade he has become slightly weathered but you can still clearly make out his features quite clearly, his moustache and beard are just less prominent than yesteryear. Almost majestic looking, the face in the rock has accumulated many nicknames including ‘the wizard of the stone pit’ and ‘the green wizard on the hill’ or often the locals will refer to him as The Green Man.
It’s oddly peculiar that there has been no artiste to have claimed the carving, no traces of a creator, purpose or even a time span of how long he has been there. After speaking to the residents of Newchurch, it is clear that no two persons’ ideas on the rock’s emergence are alike, its origin is not set in stone-pardon the pun. What proceeds him instead is a repertoire of legends, hearsay and fascinating tales.
Faugh’s Quarry also goes by another name, if you are up to speed on your Pendle witch history then you will know it as ‘Stonepit in Goulshey’. Elizabeth Southerns (alias Old Demdike) supposedly confessed to meeting the devil here in the form of a young boy named Tibb. This created much speculation that the face in the stone is that of an apotropaic guardian, some form of angelic onlooker who brings peace to the site and protects from evil forces.
Further curiosity is sparked amidst another circulating tale that this rock was carried away from the quarry by a local stones mason. The rock was to be crafted into a gargoyle or carving for a nearby abbey (potentially Whalley) but the stonemason discovered something bizarre in connection with the rock he had chosen. Was this just a crack or flaw or something more mystical? Either way he chose to return it to the quarry, incomplete and erected it in the position to which it still stands today.
The final tale is that of a sentimental one where some conquer that the face is a carving created in the aftermath of a tragic accident. An un-named quarryman supposedly fell to his death on a day of abysmal weather conditions and so his colleagues carved him in memory.
Ultimately, we don’t know, and maybe we never will but one thing is for sure, this is truly a hidden gem.
We would love to hear your anecdotes or your verdict on The Green Man. Also, if you happen to locate him, send in a snap, heck go wild and take a selfie with the mysterious guy! We’d love to see.