Wildboarclough or Wildboreclough?

Wildboarclough can be found just over the border in Staffordshire not far from the small village of Allgreave, nestled in an upland valley with the Clough brook running through the village it is a tranquil and peaceful place.

The Clough was once known as a place where a Healer or a Herbalist grew or collected Herbs, roots or plants and it was said that the Clough stream was rather special but only at a certain time, and that was said to be after the ” Wild Bore had run”.

The Clough brook

It has been taken for granted that the name Wildboarclough referred to the wild tusked pigs that had used to roam the area, and it is said that the last wild boar that was shot in England had taken place in the hills around Wildboarclough, perhaps the skin that hangs on the wall of the Wild Boar public house is the very same wild pig in question!

The Wild Boar Public house

The other explanation for the name Wildboarclough could be that the boar part of the name should be spelt bore, as there is a phenomena peculiar to this area, where once in a while (it could be ten years or a century) when certain weather conditions prevailed, then a torrent of water or a wave of water akin to a tidal wave or bore of water flooded down the valley and the Clough brook. Afterwards when everything had returned to normal the water was believed to be special, presumably due to whatever had been washed down in its wake. There have been instances in the past when it is said to have occurred, in the late 1700s Abraham Day built a paper mill on the Tor brook at Allgreave, the Clough brook runs into it, three times during Abraham Day’s his mill was destroyed by flooding and three times he rebuilt it, perhaps this was due to the Wild Bore devastating the valley and the mill?

On the afternoon of the 24th of May 1989 the bore ran wild down the Clough brook once more, a cloud burst up on Shining Tor combined with a long dry spell of weather caused the rain to run into causeways instead of soaking into the ground, all this surplus water had to go somewhere! It turned the brook into an eight foot high wall of water which started making its way down the valley, by the time it had reached the Clough brook it had attained a height of twenty five feet!

This row of cottages were devastated by the flood

This terrifying wall of water killed hundreds of sheep and cattle as well as a motorist. It destroyed bridges, telephone poles as well as doing thousands of pounds worth of damage to properties in its path

The costs in damage was well over a million pounds and it took a year and a half for the scars of that eventful day to heal. Since that time improvements have been made along the brook which includes flood defenses and it has been straightened out in crucial places to try to avoid another disaster. However I think it is just a matter of time before the Bore runs wild once more!

4 Responses to “Wildboarclough or Wildboreclough?”

  1. In 1611, according to Sleigh’s History of Leek, it was called ‘Wild bore clough’. Perhaps it is a place name that could refer to either?

  2. I have read that the area of Wildboarclough with its Shutlingsloe was once originally named ‘Crag’, hence ‘Crag Hall’, ‘Crag Works’ for its mills, and of course ‘Crag Inn’. Does anyone have further information on this?

  3. I think originally Wildboarclough may have referred mainly to the whole valley, with Crag referring to the settlement, but that would have been some time ago. When I first went to school there in 1955 it was always referred to as Wildboarclough School, but some of the old textbooks had been rubber stamped with “Crag School”.

    • Thanks for that information Vaughan. I believe this area was referred to as ‘Crag’ as early as the 14th century in the poem ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’

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