Restored Guide Post at Four Lane Ends, Sutton, May 2016

With thanks to Robin Longbottom.

Readers may be interested to know that Chris Riley and I have restored an historic 18th century guide post to the cross roads at Four Lane Ends above Sutton. The original stone probably stood about 5 feet (1.5m) tall and was removed from the cross roads early in the last century and broken up. The top part was found by the late Richard Mathers, some 25 or so years ago, amongst rubble at Four Lane Ends Cottage. It remained in the garden at the cottage until earlier this year when the owner, Jane Firth, gave us permission to remove it. Village records reveal that it was erected in 1749 along with a second guide post which stands at the junction of Pole Road and Long Gate (the road to Slippery Ford and Oakworth):

22 March 1749 2 gide Posts Breaking Leading Indxin And Seting £0 5s 0d.

The face of the stone is rather crudely inscribed:- 'To Settell (Settle) M (blank) and Kighle(y) M 4' and on the back 'Cown (Colne) M 6'. We were very surprised that it directed travellers to Settle, but further research has revealed that this was once the route of the old highway between Keighley and Settle and that it passed through Laycock, Lane Ends at Cowling, Elslack, East Marton, Swinden (near Hellifield) and Long Preston before reaching Settle. A further five guide posts, marking this ancient route, still survive. The old highway fell out of use towards the end of the 18th century when the Keighley to Kendal Turnpike Road was built taking the route to Settle via Skipton.

We are grateful to Jane Firth for giving us the stone and for the support and assistance that we have received from David Airey of New Bridge Farm, who gave permission for the stone to be built into the field wall, George Dimitrijevic, dry stone waller, and Martin Swift, stone mason of Swift Memorials, who inscribed the new base stone and professionally secured the guide post in position.

Incidentally, at some time in the past, the other guide post has been taken out and put back wrong way around. The inscription is now at the back facing the wall and reads:- 'To Keighley 4 M and Cown - M' (see update below).

Resiting restored Guide Post

1. The restored Guide Post:- To Settell: M (mileage never entered), finger pointing down Hangingstone Lane/Dick Lane and Kighle(y) M 4, finger pointing along Pole Road.

Resiting restored Guide Post

2. Lifting the stone into position.

Resiting restored Guide Post

3. The Guide Post Volunteers - L-R Chris Riley, Martin Swift, Robin Longbottom and George Dimitrijevic.

Resiting restored Guide Post

4. The back of the stone simply states: Cown M 6 - indicating that the route was along Buckstone Lane, referred to in early 19th century documents as Colne Road.

Update to include photos of the guide post at the junction of Long Gate and Pole Road.
Resiting restored Guide Post

5. The guide post at the junction of Long Gate and Pole Road, viewed from Pole Road.

Resiting restored Guide Post

6. The guide post has at some time been taken out and turned around as the directional hands now point the wrong way. The inscription now faces the wall and reads:-
'To Kighle(y - missing) 4 M   Cown (distance missing) M'.