The North is the dark place.
It is not safe to be buried on the north side of the church and the North Door is the way of the Dead.
The north of England is untamed. It can be subdued but it cannot be tamed. Lancashire is the wild part of the untamed.
The Forest of Pendle used to be a hunting ground, but some say that the hill is the hunter – alive in its black-and-green coat cropped like an animal pelt.
The hill itself is low and massy, flat-topped, brooding, disappeared in mists, treacherous with bogs, run through with fast-flowing streams plunging into waterfalls crashing down into unknown pools. Underfoot is the black rock that is the spine of this place.
Sheep graze. Hares stand like question marks.
There are no landmarks for the traveller. Too early or too late the mist closes in. Only a fool or one who has dark business should cross Pendle at night.
Stand on the flat top of Pendle Hill and you can see everything of the county of Lancashire, and some say you can see other things too. This is a haunted place. The living and the dead come together on the hill.
You cannot walk here and feel you are alone.
Those who are born here are branded by Pendle. They share a common mark. There is still a tradition, or a superstition, that a girl-child born in Pendle Forest should be twice baptised; once in church and once in a black pool at the foot of the hill. The hill will know her then. She will be its trophy and its sacrifice. She must make her peace with her birthright, whatever that means.
Extract taken from The Daylight Gate by Jeanette Winterson published by Hammer.