The old-maps.co.uk web site has suddenly been taken down without prior notice and replaced with a message from Landmark, the owners.
Thousands of amateur historians and historic building researchers who have used the site for over a decade are now left without an online historical map service.
The company blames the move on consultants and other professionals using the maps without paying a proper fee. A fair point, but why punish those who do play by the rules by removing the service altogether?
Account holders who pay a monthly fee have been left high and dry, without even a prior email explaining what was about to happen. It is being badly handled.
The loss of such an important site to heritage research without notice shows the weakness of providing such a public service via a company which can withhold the public good whenever it likes. Historic maps still reside in our public libraries but ten years of austerity means that almost none are online.
Perhaps now is the time to change this and for a public service to be provided, perhaps by a body such as Historic England.
Cribden Hill, Rossendale, lies between Haslingden and Rawtenstall rising up quite steeply to over 400 metres. Most of the moorland fields are enclosed by drystone walls made of small flat pieces of Rossendale Flag, a Carboniferous sandstone. They can be beautifully constructed.
However, there are one or two boundaries on the Haslingden side of the hill made of large cut flags set on end, sometimes called pigstones.
It must have taken considerable effort to cut these large flags and bring them up the slopes of the hill and one wonders why they were sometimes chosen over drystone walls. Perhaps when a Georgian farmer needed to subdivide an existing field very quickly, this was the way to do it.
The walls pre-date the 1840s six inch OS maps but they have iron fittings which suggest they are late 1700s or early 1800s in date.