Over hundreds of years Pendle Hill has nurtured and sheltered people who have challenged authority and changed society – in some cases the world – for good.

What inspired these people? Is it maybe something in the water?

A group of enthusiastic volunteers, led by Mid Pennine Arts, have helped to bring these extraordinary stories to life:

George Fox had a spiritual vision on top of Pendle in 1652 and went on to set up the Society of Friends, at a time when religious dissent was a criminal offence. The Quakers, as the movement became known, went on to span the globe.

Politically too, the area has spawned many innovative and socialist thinkers. Early Trades Unions and the Independent Labour Party developed here. The Clarion House at Roughlee is the last remaining of its kind: and is still a hot bed of discussion and dissent on a Sunday!

Selina Cooper was influential in the Votes for Women movement at the turn of the 20th century, and as a Suffragist, was one of four women to petition the prime minister for equal rights in 1910. Seven years later she recruited over a thousand women from Nelson to join the Women's Peace Crusade.

Ethel Carnie Holdsworth, a local mill girl, became the first working class woman in Britain to be published: a prolific and very successful novelist who set her poems and stories with a backdrop and characters from early 20th century factory life.

Thomas Arthur Leonard was inspired to set up the Co-operative holiday association for working folk; Tom Stephenson imagined the Pennine Way when he climbed the hill, and he also campaigned for the National Parks movement.