IT’S been on its travels – but now a cherished little piece of Charnock Richard’s past has returned home.
A cast-iron milestone that was stolen from the village 15 years ago has been retrieved and is set to be put back in the ground.
The milestone – dated 1837 – turned up at an auction in Chelford, Cheshire.
John Taylor, chairman of Charnock Richard Parish council, explained: “A very public spirited resident down there went to the private viewing and spotted it there and said this shouldn’t be in an auction for sale.
“He lived in the village somewhere close to this place.
“He knew where Charnock Richard was because his wife’s family lived in Euxton and he regularly passes through Charnock Richard.
“And apparently he’s on a parish council somewhere in Cheshire.
“We got the police to put a stop to it being sold and went down to collect it.”
He added: “The police got the name of the person who put it in the sale.
“He was interviewed, he’s had it for 10 years and thought he might as well try and get a bit of money for it, but they couldn’t trace the trail back.
“Chorley CID were keen to follow the trail back to see how it had been pinched.”
The milestone had been on the A49 near Yew Tree Villas when it disappeared
John said: “It’s a very historic artefact – it goes back to turnpike roads. It was manufactured in 1837.
“Somebody came along with a vehicle and some lifting equipment and pulled it out of the verge and it probably wasn’t concreted in at the time.
“At that time I worked for Lancashire County Council’s highways department, and I remember quite clearly the parish council making contact with me telling me this thing had been stolen. It belonged to the highways department.
“Everybody thought it had gone for good.
“We are spending a bit of money to restore it to its former glory.
“At the moment it is in the process of being refurbished and we are going to reinstate it into the highway verge.”
John said the man in Cheshire who alerted everyone has been thanked in a letter from the parish council.
He added “I would like to thank DC Andy Woodward at Chorley CID for getting involved so quickly and getting this sale stopped. He got the local police in Cheshire to go along on the morning of the sale and make sure it had been withdrawn.”
A ceremony will take place soon to put the milestone in the ground again.
“It wasn’t in a particularly good location. We are now going to put it in a more conspicuous location.”
It is now to go directly opposite the Church Lane junction in the village