Celtic or stone head shaped gateposts from Wardle near Rochdale.
The stone heads were originally located outside the donors house named ‘Laursiton’ in Lawflats, Wardle.
Both figures were donated to Rochdale Museum in 1970 from the estate of Gertrude Jane Wilkinson of Wardle.
The smaller figure may well be a genuine ‘Celtic’ head and was possibly sited at Low Hill, Wardle. The larger head is more recent, probably 18th century, and is part of a long local tradition of carving simple stone faces on to buildings and gateposts. It was sited at nearby Howarth Farm.
They are in the entrance to Touchstones Rochdale because they are historic objects, works of art and they were found locally. They are there to represent all of the touchstones we use as symbols of what is precious. And perhaps there is something else….
“Where we find such a head, maybe at a spring or on the threshold of a building – it may even do more; it may become a guide and protector for ourselves and our heirs; provide inspiration when needed, or simply be our lucky talisman. All these meanings are allowed for by the history and background of the archaic head, possibly the oldest and most potent symbol in human consciousness”
John Billingsley “Stony Gaze – Investigating Celtic and Other Stone Heads”. 1998