The mystery of Bramley’s Cot remains

A LONG-SERVING member of Oldham Mountain Rescue Team hopes to embark on a moorland mission of a different kind.

A rescue of sorts is on the cards but there will be no risk to life involved with Denzil Broadhurst’s intriguing project.

High above Dovestone Reservoir stands the derelict remains from the Victorian age of a building whose origins continue to puzzle local historians.Denzil has seen the sturdy but forlorn one-storey remnants many times in more than three decades of service with the Greenfield-based Rescue Team.

Now he’s keen for the hill side structure – known as Bramley’s Cot – to receive some long overdue TLC.

The coronavirus pandemic has slowed progress on Denzil’s proposals for the rocky outpost, estimated to be around 160 years old and two sides of which are carved into the gritstone boulders.

But he has produced a preservation report for Peak Park in the hope permission will be eventually granted to proceed with some renovation.

Suggestions to the building’s former uses include a shepherd’s hut, explosive store or even a lodge or shelter for Victorian shooting parties.

It is believed to have been built between 1857 and 1889 possibly by workers from Greenfield Mill (now Fletchers) for one-time owner Bramley Bottomley. Bramley and wife Sarah are buried at St Chad’s Church, Uppermill.

Alternatively, it has been suggested tragic MP James Platt, who was killed in a shooting accident at Ashway Gap in 1857, or cotton manufacturer Abel Buckley MP JP, who bought the estate and moor around 1880, had the hut built.

“A group of guys from the Rescue Team mentioned last summer it would be good to do some repair work on it because it continues to deteriorate,” explained Denzil, who is also a volunteer for the RSPB.“They mentioned it to me because the RSPB look after the area for United Utilities. But for any work to be done we would need permission from Peak Park.

“What I suggested to them was to build up the walls facing the downhill side to about four foot high.

“People would still be able to see over the top but there would be enough height to provide some wind and rain protection.

“There are a few stones on the gable end where the door was which could be replaced and patched up, helping it to survive a little bit longer.

“And a lot of the dressed stones are still there so you would be able to work out where they came from to rebuild and bring it back to a sensible state.”

It is thought the original roof was made of metal but Uppermill based Denzil has no plans to embark on a full-scale renovation.

“There are a number of the Mountain Rescue team who would be happy to provide manpower to do this work (including professional builders),” he added. “And the RSPB are happy to provide whatever support is appropriate.”

3 Replies to “The mystery of Bramley’s Cot remains”

  1. The wall and I think window space were much higher in the fifties and sixties and suffered vandalism on the front wall since then though all the dressed stone is still there. We used to bivvy in it sometimes when climbing round there. I wondered if it was built by the quarrymen from doveys quarry or charnel stones. I first saw it when I was eleven and still like to stop there now at seventy seven years old. It’s a grand seat on a warm summers evening. It would be great to see it reinstated again.

  2. That site was used by Ian Brady and we found items buried in the area and one of them being a black glove worn by Myra Hindley the name etched along the wall Jack we believe was him also .. May I add that anything found unusual up there please can you keep and get in touch as we are still piecing together much we have found so police can have for the search of missing .

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