You never quite know what is going to pose the next question when excavating down at Mellor Mill. Whilst moving some spoil last weekend I happened on what appears to be a piece of slate flooring tile. It really didn't seem to be any different from much of the other umpteen tons of overburden we have been shifting to get down to the hard archaeology. However, when I turned this piece over there was a mark carved in the underside. It looks like a cross inside a pair of brackets (X). The immediate thought was that it is a mason's mark, such as can be found on a number of the ashlar blocks forming the headrace of the Wellington wheel pit. Later in the evening, at home, I picked up my copy of "The Rise and Fall of King Cotton" (the latest in a long line of tomes, connected with the textile industry, to adorn my bookshelves) and there, leaping out at me from the front of the dust cover, was an almost identical symbol representing the Union Movement. (right) Can they be the same? Why is it carved on the underside of the slate tile? Did the carver want this to be an anonymous message?