Another view of the Edge. This is the Beacon, it was, as the name suggests, the site of a signal fire. It is on a mound of earth which some people believe to be a Bronze Age tumulus, but the University studies in the 90’s couldn’t find any evidence of this. Placed where it is on the Edge it would have been visible from 360°. When the area was a heath the views must have been fantastic. You would have seen the Pennines, running from North to South, the Welsh Hills and the high points in between such as Beeston and Helsby. It is possible that the site may well have been used as a beacon by the Romans, there is evidence of their signalling towers at Glossop and Mellor and Alderley is the next piece of high ground on the way to Chester, where they had their main military base.
There was certainly a beacon there in the sixteenth century, as it appears on a map dated 1577 and was part of a chain that was lit when the Armada was sighted in 1588. The area was inspected in 1804 as the authorities considered using it as part of the defences against a Napoleonic invasion. Orders were given to collect together gorse for kindling but rescinded later, in case the piles were lit and gave a false alarm.
Originally there was a square open roofed building on the spot, which held an iron pot for holding tar and pitch. Lord Stanley used the materials from this building to erect another in 1779, with a pitched roof, presumably as part of the general landscaping of the area. The building was still there in the early twentieth century but was already decaying and it was finally destroyed by a storm on 24th December 1931.
Stones from the building were used to make a small plinth on the top of the remaining mound, which carries a plaque marking the spot.