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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 2:19 pm 
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Burnley Express

Saturday 17 May 1884

Ancient Families In And Around Burnley

This was the title of a most interesting paper recently read before the members of the Oddfellows Central Club, Keighley Green, by the Rev. E. A. Verity, D.D., F.R.H.S., vicar of All Saints, Habergham. The paper is a valuable contribution to the historical records of this district, and therefore it is that we give it in extenso in order that the history of our local past may be kept alive in the memories of those who have to follow us on this "bank and shoal of time." It has been carefully revised, and may be taken as a truthful record of events long past.

The history of Burnley is the history of East Lancashire, and dates back to a very early period. Most of our noble county families are content to carry back the pedigrees of their house to the period of the Norman conquest, A.D.1060, and proud is that family which, in the chronicles of the "Herald Office" or in the pages of the "Doomes-day Book," can lay their fingers on the family name, and take their position and rank among the élite of the county or province. Burnley is not wanting in the services of a learned historian and the researches of erudite antiquaries. The learned Dr. W. Whittaker, of Whalley and Holme, lived in our midst and has shed much light and lore upon ancient sites of battle fields, skirmishes, sieges, and feuds, where the hardy Britons lived in the primaeval forests and mountains, to which they have given names weird and romantic; where the warlike Roman built his encampment or established a causeway; where the Saxon defended his home, or the fierce Dane made his maritime foray; the Norman constructed his castle, or the monk his secret chantrie. Whether is was the beauty of its former sylvan scenery, or the shelter of its hoary mountain fortresses, or the numerous herds of its forest denizens, and its lofty hills stretching along the Pennine Range,or its numerous lakes and rivers infrequently visited by countless home and foreign birds attracted the notice of the greedy adventurer, or arrested the foot of the first weary hunter; or all these inducements conjoined, one cannot now undertake to state, but at an early period this locality of Burnley became the theatre upon which British, Roman, Saxon, Dane, and lastly, the Norman each enacted his political part, and has left a memorial of his visit in the shape of coins, ruins, habitations, and in some instances families, to perpetuate his name or commemorate his actions. Pendle, Calder, Cliviger, Clitheroe, Whalley, Colne, Burnley, Habergham, are names of Celtic, Saxon, Roman, and Danish origin. The first to visit and frequent the hunting grounds and forests of Trawden, Pendle, Hapton, Cliviger, and Rossendale were probably wandering tribes of savage Britons, called "the Brigantes," whose settlements were located at "Maencetre," now modernised into the name of "Manchester," the capital of the cotton trade. Druidical stones exist which have been discovered at various periods, and are well known to local authorities. The next to intrude upon the solitude of these woods and mountains were the hardy Romans, who, in the pursuit of new conquests and of fresh battlefields, made their way to Erigonium or Ribchester, Mancuniensis or Manchester, and Colunium or Colne. To reach the latter place they constructed a military road, which has long disappeared except in certain localities, where it has been found useful as a vicinal way, as at Whalley and other places, including Blackstone Edge. This period extends from A.D.55 to A.D.409. The Saxons succeeded them early in this locality from A.D.455 to 1066 - it was at this time (A.D.677) Paulinus, Bishop of York preached at Whalley, Burnley, Clitheroe, and Colne - occasionally interrupted or rather invaded and conquered by the fierce Norsemen (the Danes), who, after several piratical expeditions during which they attempted to establish themselves in the land, succeeded (A.D.874) in conquering Mercia and Bernicia. This gave them the whole of the country from the Trent to the Forth. One of their chiefs Brennan or Brun, settled at the foot of Bowlesworth Hill and founded the town of Brunanburgh, giving his name to the river Brun, as well as to the battlefield, fought between King Anlaf, the Dane, and Athelstan, the Saxon King, in which was decided the fate of Northumbria, which after the Saxon King's triumph was added to the Saxon kingdom of Wessex. Saxifield, near this town, on the Brunshaw Road, probably marks the site of the Saxon King's encampment; and Danes House, the position of Anlaf and his Scotch ally, King Constantine. This battle was fought A.D.93 1/2 between 150,000 Anglo-Danish and Scotchmen and 90,000 Saxons. In this battle, which was fought on the hill-sides and in every valley and nook by chiefs and warriors of different tribes and races, it appears there fell a great prince under Anlaf, called Habrig, the standard bearer of the Danes, whose body was buried where he fell by his followers ere they retreated to their dark ships at Ribchester, at or near the spot where now is found the remains of the old hall of Habriggan, or Habergham, a descendant of whom came over in the reign of King Canute and founded the first settlement of Brunlay. Ralph, the grandson of Habrig, called this settlement Habrigan, and in "Doomes-day Book" we find the names of Sybil and Werneth, sisters, of the Habergham family, in possession of all the forests and woods in Burnley, together with a cultivated estate comprising "two ox-gangs or hides of land" or about 240 acres of arable soil won from the surrounding wilderness. Their husbands had fallen in the fierce encounter of York between Tostig and Harold, the Danish King Harold Hardreden demanding this service at their hand as their lawful monarch. Left to the tender mercies of the conqueror, William, after the defeat of Harold at Hastings, quickly disposed of England in parcels called "baronies" and "knights fees" to his greedy and cruel soldiery. Lancashire, West and East, from the Ribble to the Mersey, fell to the share of Roger de Poictou, who held his barony under the King in Capite, while Hugh de Alvetham, a knight, included the Habergham family within his Knight's fee, and enlisted the head of the house as his Esquire. We have now in the year A.D.1095 three families in the neighbourhood of Brunleia or Burnley; the house of Brearliffes, predecessors of the Stansfields of Hesandforth, lords of Worsthorn - the house of the Haberghams of Habergham, and the Alvethams of Altham. Around these strong-holds, fortified, like castles, with ditches and ramparts of rude construction, were the ruder and wooden huts of their dependents or villains, thus forming the nucleus of a future village, town, or city. On the attainder of Roger de Poictou, for some treasonable act to the second William, the baron's estate was divided into two portions and given to the barons Gresley of Manchester, and de Lacy of Clitheroe and Pontefract, who afterwards became lords of the manor of Clitheroe, Whalley, Hapton, Ightenhill, and Brunlay. A manor consisted of a church; an overseer, and all his chattels, his smith, carpenter, fisherman, miller, all teir servants, and all their goods and chattels - Husbands were found for widows and spinsters by the lord of the manor. The De Lacy appear to be the highest and most distinguished family in the whole of East Lancashire, and originally came over with Rufus from Normandy as one of his knights. Hugh de Lacy was made vicery of Ireland in the reign of Henry II., A.D.1172. He was son of Robert de Lacy, who gave the advowson of Burnley Church, founded by Baron Hugh de la Val, Earl of Lincoln, Constable of Pontefract, and lord of the manor of Burnley, Colne, and Clitheroe, to the monks of the abey of Stanlaw in Cheshire, the parent of the monastery of Whalley, who thus became at an early period masters of all the chantries and churches of the vast parish of Whalley. In the reign of King John, Roger de Lacy (see Coucher Book," p.1074) A.D.1200, made a grant of "common of pasture in Brunleia as parcel of the Honor of Clitheroe, to Geoffrey de Tunley, dean of Whalley," the progenitor of the Townleys of Townley. This was the origin of the Townley family. Like the Shuttleworths of Gawthorpe, who derived their origin from a priest, so this great and wealthy family began with a small parcel, and have accumulated a vast estate in Burnley and its neighbourhood. The De Lacy family built in the reign of Stephen, who gave them a license, great and strong castles at Clitheroe, Ightenhill, and Lancaster, A.D.1135. All their retainers were compelled to work at their erection without wages. These strongholds were used for tyrannical and oppressive exactions and injustices, and their dungeons became objects of dread and terror to every class around them. Traders and Jews were especially subjected to heavy fines and taxes, and the husbandman who sowed his field with corn was compelled at the spear point to convey it into the baron's grainery, grind at the baron's ill, and eventually carry the flour to the baron's castle. Henry III. compelled the barons to pull down the castles which Stephen had allowed them to build. He also repealed many of the old feudal laws, and the woods around Burnley being disforested, that is, deprived of protection, the game and the wood itself began to disappear, and the farmers and others carted the timber to the neighbouring towns and villages, and the charcoal burner became an important member of the community, preceding by a few generations the coal-miner and chimney-sweep. The last of the De Lacy family was Henry, who lost his only son by a misfortune. The nurse, in one of the towers of the castle on Ighten Hill, was earnestly beholding a stag hunt in Pendle Forest, with the Baron's only son in her arms, when a sudden shout from the hunting party caused her in the excitement of the moment to drop her charge, which tumbled from the giddy height and was dashed to pieces. Other authorities state that the delinquent was the Baron's daughter, Alicia, by a former wife, and that she instigated to the commission of the deed by a gipsy woman, who told her that, if she had no brother, she would be very wealthy, but if her father had a son by his second wife, she would be shut up in a convent and die unmarried. The father, on his return from the hunt together with his wife, for it appears to have been the custom for the Norman nobility to take their wives with them on such occasions, became furious, and his wife became hopelessly insane. He banished his daughter, dismantled the castle, and never more entered its walls. No memorials remain of the Barons, for they generally, with their attendants and esquires, perished in some war, feud or foray, and their graves were never marked or their names commemorated except in some manorial roll or on some municipal charter. Henry de Lacy is chiefly remembered as having obtained from the King Edward I (A.D.1294) a charter for a market as his Manor of Burnley, in Lancashire, to be held every Tuesday. This market was held in the space of ground opposite the present Sparrow Hawk Inn, and the whipping post, stocks, and base of the market cross now remaining recently marked the site where trade was conducted and justice was executed upon offenders in olden times. The charter also contains a license from the King for the holding of a ferioe or fair, to be held annually on the eve of St. Peter and St. Paul, the Apostles to whom the church was dedicated. The castle of the De Lacy stood on the spot where Ighten Hill Farm, the residence of Mr. James Smith, a respectable tenant of the Gawthorpe Estate, now stands. There are no remains existing, but the outlines of the fosse and the castle walls, together with the courtyard, draw-well, and park enclosure can still readily be distinguished, while "many a garden flower grows wild" in solitary places once included in the cultivated pleasaunce or abandoned parterre of its ancient park and manorial grounds. The De Lacy gave the monks of Stanlaw in Cheshire, of whom mention has been made, permission to build (A.D.1235) an abbey at Whalley, on the estate in the Honor of Clitheroe, which abbey the Barons, for the good of their souls and the salvation of their house, from time to time enriched with manors, churches, chantries, and privileges, until it became the mother church of the whole of East Lancashire, including Blackburn, Darwen, Bolton, Bury, Heywood, Middleton, Rochdale, Todmorden, Cliviger, Burnley, and Colne, to each of which places monks were continually sent on horseback or on foot to the various chantries to perform the rites of the church, independent of the secular church of St. Mary, which dates from the days of Paulinus. Whalley Abbey was dissolved by Henry VIII., A.D.1538. The line of De Lacy ended with a female, Alicia, daughter of Henry de Lacy, the most powerful baron in the north. He was Baron of Lincoln, Pontefract, and Lancaster, and Lord of Clitheroe and Blackburnshire. Alicia married Thomas, who succeeded her father in his titles and took all his estates, being uncle to the reigning monarch, Edward II., A.D.1326. This great Earl of Lancaster was beheaded at Pontefract by the king for high-treason, having joined the Barons of the North in rebellion against the king's favourite Le Despenser, who defeated the earl and his forces at Borough Bridge in Yorkshire. His estates were forfeited, and this put an end to the family name and memorial. Two new families now appeared in the neighbourhood of Burnley, who from small beginnings gradually accumulated land and influence. These were the families of the Towneleys of Towneley, and the Stansfields of Hesandforth. We will endeavour to sketch the local history of the Stansfield family first, because after the extinction of the De Lacy, they are found to be the most distinguished family in the neighbourhood of Burnley. Oliver de Stansfield was a lineal descendant of a Norman baron, who came over with the Conqueror and was seized of large estates at one time in the county of Suffolk, including the Manor of Stansfield, from which he derived the family name Wyan Maryons De Stansfield. In the time of Edward I (temp.1267) his descendant, Jordau De Stansfield, followed the fortunes of De Warrenne, the great Earl of Surrey, who acted as the king's deputy in Scotland during the conquest of Scotland by Edward. Oliver, his eldest surviving son, followed the fortunes of the De Lacy after the death of his father, who was slain by Wallace in the battle of Stirling. His intention was to reside with his mother's family, the Townleys of Townley, but De Lacy persuaded him to accept the office of seneschal or steward of his castle, and live in the manor-house of Hesandforth, to which he added the manor of Worsthorn. After the death of Henry de Lacy, and the marriage of his daughter Alicia to the great Earl of Lancaster, Oliver, for distinguished services to the Crown, received the high office of Constable of Pontefract Castle, an office which he retained until his death in A.D.1350 (temp. Edward III.), thus passing through one of the most stirring periods of English history. During this period he built the Stansfield Chapel in Burnley Church, which contains the tombs and graves of himself and his descendants, who survived him for five generations - military captains of an age which witnessed more battles and seiges, storms and forays, than any other period known. Many of these Stansfields followed Edward III. in his French wars, where the celebrated battle of Cressy was fought under the Black Prince, and some left their bones in Spain under the leadership of John of Ghent and others. Oliver lived till he was 83 years old, and lies buried under a huge stone, which doubtless was upheld by a sarcophagus, bearing around its edge an inscription in Latin setting forth his name, degree, rank, and other details connected with his pedigree and family, in the Stansfield Chapel of Burnley Parish Church. The chapel was dedicated to St. Anthony, and became in after years the subject of litigation between the Stansfields and Towneleys, the Haydocks and Haberghams, and others. The old house of Hesandforth was, however, conveyed with the estates and the last of the Stansfields, Johanna by name, to Simon Haydock, in the reign of Elizabeth (temp. 1560). Here the Haydocks lived and squandered in litigation and gambling, which was the curse of the age, the territories of their ample estates, until A.D.1756, when John Haydock died, leaving his scanty farm to his son-in-law Mr. Hargreaves, of Bank Hall, who had previously purchased Ormerod and Hesandforth. We are now called upon to notice the rise of another distinguished county family, the Towneleys of Towneley, who, commencing from the time of King John, A.D.1200, with Geoffrey, Dean of Whalley, have continued down to our own day, when the Gawthorpe and Towneley families alike became extinct, the first with Robert, the son of James Shuttleworth, the second with Charles the son of Peregrine Edward Towneley. This family has ever contributed illustrious members to the Church as well as to the State, and being highly honourable and distinguished for piety and valour, have suffered much for their religion and loyalty. They are one of the old country "Catholic Families," such as the Southworths, Sherburns, Osbaldistons, Ashtons, and NOwells, and others for which the county of Lancaster was once noted, and offered strenuous opposition to the innovations which from time to time threaten to overthrow the ancient order of things. In A.D.1461 (temp. Edw. IV.) Sir Richard Towneley was knighted by Lord Stanley for bravery at the battle of Hutton Field in Scotland, during the war with that country in A.D.1481. Rev. Barnard Towneley was made Doctor of Laws, and presided over the Consistory Court of Prerogatives at York as Dean of Faculties about the same period. Sir John Towneley built important additions of "Towers" to the manor-house of Towneley, and was made (temp. Hen. VIII.) Sheriff of Lancashire, about the time of the dissolution of the great Monastery of Whalley (A.D.1537). Sir Richard Towneley was knighted at the seige of Leith in Scotland by the Earl of Chester, during the reign of Philip and Mary. In Aug., 1644 (temp. Carl. I.) Charles Towneley, colonel of the Manchester Regiment, fought and was slain at Marston Moor, near York, fighting on the side of the Royalists. His widow, when wandering over the battlefield in vain searching for the dead body of her husband, was wisely advised not to continue the fruitless task by no less a personage than Oliver Cromwell himself, who gave orders to his army to inter friend and foe alike on the bloody field. The estates of the Towneley family suffered under the Commonwealth. Richard, his eldest son, and his uncle Christopher cultivated the arts of peace and not of war. Christopher was noted as an astronomer, and has left the fruits of his industry in the shape of MSS., extending over 22 folio volumes. They have been utilised by Dr. Whitaker in his "History of Whalley," who describes them as learned and extremely valuable. The grandson of this Richard, the mathemetician, was no less distinguished in the science of war, than in the walks of polite literature. He was known during the wars in La Vendee as the Chevalier Tunley, knight of St. Louis, an honour conferred upon Sir John Towneley for his long and illustrious career in the French army, as well as the literary translator of Butler's Hudibras into French verse. The celebrated Charles Towneley was an antiquary and connoisseur, and is well known throughout Europe, and its virtuosi in France and Italy, as the collector of the sculptures called the Towneley galleries, now in the British Museum, for which the British Government paid no less a sum than £28,000 in purchase money, a most noble and enduring monument of the taste and industry of a country gentleman, worthily spending his wealth and leisure in the accumulation of those valuable relics of antiquity wich are priceless to future generations. The Towneley family built for themselves many chantries in former times in Whalley, Colne, Clitheroe, and Burnley churches, and are the only family of Catholics, besides the Sherburns of Mitton and Stoneyhurst, who built chapels and left monuments of their dead behind them. Several of these marble monuments exist at this day in Burnley Church. But the families of the Lacys, the Stansfields, the Haberghams, the Shuttleworths, the Parkers, the Halsteads, the Ormerods, Alverthams, have now no memorials of their families, and there is no telling record which may contain the details of their sorrows and joys, their triumphs and disappointments, their losses and gains. Their births, marriages, and deaths are unrecorded, and the recollection of their existence, death, and memories may be summed up in the words of the Old Book "All flesh is grass, and the glory of man is as the flower of the field, the grass withereth and the flower fadeth, but the word of our God endureth for ever."

The following are the principal familiesand the dates at which they settled down in this neighbourhood:-
1060 - The Haberghams of Habergham Hall (Danish) existed as gentry down to 1756
1200 - Roger de Lacy, Baron of Lancaster and Pontefract, and Earl of Lincoln, extinct 326 (Norman).
1200 - Geoffrey, Dean of Whalley, founded the family of the Towneleys of Towneley.
1267 - Oliver de Stansfield, Constable of Pontefract (Norman) founded the Stansfield Family at Worsthorn.
1506 - Lawrence Shuttleworth founded Gawthorpe.
1560 - Simon Haydock, of Heysandforth, married Johannah Stansfield, of Worsthorn, and founded the House of Heysandforth.
1580 - The Barcrofts of Barcroft Tower purchased of the Towneleys, and settled in their mansion.
1588 - The Starkies purchased Huntroyd of the Nowells of Read and Lovely Hall.
1590 - The Parkers bought Extwistle of the Towneley Family.
1604 - The Halsteds of Rowley purchased their estate and Hood House of the Towneleys and Ormerods.
1599 - The Whitakers of the Holme - Thomas Whitaker, 1553 - founded by Wm. Whitacre, 1448.
1598 - Thos. Towneley of Royle. Nicholas Townley.
1609 - Lawrence Ormerod of Ormerod and Rosegrove.
1662 - The Hargreaves of Bank Hall established themselves and bought Heysandforth, Worsthorn, and Ormerod House and estates.
1680 - The Aspdens, Holdens, Tattersalls, Pollards, Inghams, Wilkinsons, and Rileys came in.


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