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 Post subject: Extwistle Hall - 1895
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:31 am 
Spider Lady
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Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 9:23 pm
Posts: 8135
Location: Staffordshire
Burnley Express

Saturday 02 February 1895

Extwistle Hall
[By Tattersall Wilkinson]

"See how the corroding tooth of time,
Hath rent these massive walls; the stones dissolve,
And lik the feeble sinews of old age,
Relax, and shrink, and tumble to the ground."

This fine old family mansion was built by John Parker, Esq., in the year 1620, on the site of an older building. He married Margaret, the daughter of Lawrence Townley, of Bar?side,
by whom he had issue ten sons and three daughters. He died at an advanced age in 1635. The situation of this ancient homestead is remarkably well chosen, nestling under the brow of Extwistle Hill, with a southern aspect, which protects it from the bitter northern winds. It presents an imposing aspect. The scene from the embattled roof is one of a most sublime character. Eastward, as far as the ridges of the Penine Range, deep ravines, and wild heath crowned mountains and rocks stand forth in a savage grandeur. Nowhere in the United Kingdom is there a more interesting school for the practical geologist. The deep valleys of Thursden, Swinden, Thorndean, and Shedding, present unc?ring evidence of never ceasing agencies, which through countless ages have produced such mighty changes in the physical aspect of the surrounding landscape. Venerable "Old Boldsworth," with his high hummocky summit and huge gritstone sacrificial altars, bound the prospect to the north east, while the "Abbott's Stones," an extemporised pulpit, carries the imagination back to the monks of the middle ages when the venerable fathers of Kirkstall Abbey preached to the shepherds on their way to Monk Hall. The view south ward embraces the wild scenery of Dean Scouts and the range of hills stretching westward to Hambledon in Hapton, while through the centre of the bason in which stands the murky town of Burnley the meandering Calder threads its way onwards by the venerable pile Whalley Abbey to mingle its waters with the Ribble at Mitton de Main.
Musing for a moment over the history of past ages what a mighty change has taken place in the destinies of those ancient families whose homes lie scattered over the scene before us, some of whose names are illustrious in the pages of local history. Townleys, Ormerod, Barcroft, Cunliffe, Halstead, Clayton, and a number of others whom I could name have either become extinct or are lost in the great unmentioned wave of humanity ever rolling on in the great struggle of the survival of the fittest. Mighty changes appear on every hand. Old landmarks are becoming obliterated, whether it be for the weal or the woe of our country and race no human mind can fathom. Referring to the old hall, it may be said that it is shorn of its ancient grandeur. The oak pannelled wainscotting and the splendid dining table in the great dining room on which many a sumptuous banquet has ben served in days gone by are all removed, and have been utilised in decorating the modern house at Cuerden. In the year 1719, owing to an accident which caused the death of Captain Robert Parker, the previous year, the succeeding heir took a dislike to the place, and took up his abode at Cuerden Hall, where the family has resided ever since. A portion of the west wing fell in about the year 1864, but was only partially restored. It is now occupied as a farm house.
The Robert Parker who fell a victim to the explosion of a powder flask was the person named in the fine old hunting song which I have often heard sung by "Old Tom o' Raddler's," an itinerant blacking hawker who lived at the "Pasture" in Cliviger. The "Buck Hunt" was made the occasion of a general meeting of the local gentry to take part in this celebrated affair. The meeting at Extwistle must have been a grand affair, from the names given in the song they composed in a great measure the heads of the principal local families. The following is a copy:-
Come all ye jolly sportsmen, give hear to me all,
And I'll sing you of a hunting at Extwistle Hall;
Such jumping and hunting you never did see,
So come jolly sportsmen, and listen to me.

There were Squire Parker and Holden o' th' Clough,
T'one mounted on Nudger and t'other on "Rough,"
"Tantivy, Tantivy," the bugle did call
To join in the hunting at Extwistle Hall.

There were Starkie fro' T'Huntroyde on th' old bob tail'd mare,
Un' Towneley un' Ormerod and lots more were there;
Such riding and leaping were ne'er seen before,
As they swept helter skelter o'er Extwistle Moor.

O'er Haggate and Shelfield and down they did hie,
And through Trawden Forest they ran him breast high;
They swept across Bouldsworth und o'er bi' th' Deer Stone,
Till Parker on "Nudger" were there all alone.

"Old Nudge" kept leading and let nought come near,
And it neigh'd and it marlock'd when t'hunters did cheer;
So come jolly sportsmen, and join wi me all
In a health to Squire Parker of Extwistle Hall.

They hunted fro' Rogerham to Wycollar Moor,
But t' buck kept ahead and made t'horses to snore;
There were th' old dog and "Pincher," but "Rover" bet all
That started that morning fro' Extwistle Hall.

They hunted to Longridge and then back again,
Till o'er Pendle Water th' old buck it was ta'en;
Some horses did stumbled, some horses did fall,
for they hunted beau't resting fro' Extwistle Hall.

So na mi brave fellies come lift up your glass
To drink to Squire Parker and his sweet bonny lass;
He's of a good sort and long may he live,
And mony a good hunting like this may he give.

A good old story is related of an old poacher who lived at Monk Hall, during the residence of the last of the Parkers at Extwistle. His name was Harry Stanworth, and he had been an inveterate poacher the principal part of his life. The reason of the curious name mentioned above being given him occurred as follows:- Going out one night in pursuit of his favourite calling, he had an unusual run of good luck. Having caught twelve hares his avarice increased with his good fortune. He said to himself, "I'll just catch another and make up thirteen," and having accomplished the object of his wishes, he was busy tying up his bundle when the keeper pounced upon him, seized the hares, and took him before Mr. Parker. He was often heard to say "There's no luck with thirteen to th' dozen." On another occasion he was caught at his old pursuit, and when taken to Extwistle, before Mr. Parker, the latter said, "Well Harry, you're come again." "I am, maister," said Harry. "Now if you agree to the following terms," said Mr. Parker, "I will let you off:- You must attend Burnley Church every Sunday. Mark, I shall stand no nonsense. If I find you breaking your word I shall give you the lash of the law. I will also allow you five shillings per week so long as you give up poaching, and also carry out the other arrangements." A bargain was made on this condition, and old Harry jogg'd home as happy as a king with a hare over his shoulder presented to him by his generous and forgiving patron. Things went on all right for a time, until the old instinct again predominated. He said to himself, "I'll just have another night." He had no sooner got his nets properly arranged than the keepers caught him red-handed. On being again confronted with Mr. Parker he said, "It's no use; I can't help it. It runs i' th' blood. I do like to catch a hare, maister. Yo' mon forgive me, and I'll try to do better." Mr. Parker, no doubt seeing that promises were of no avail, dismissed the old man with a caution to behave better in future.

I well remember when a lad having a little experience in the poaching line myself, for lads are only lads - and I could like to see the youngest who has not had an inkling of a similar kid some time during his early years in the way of robbing, either a bird nest or a rabbit nest. The occasion I refer to was when there was plenty of game and so well watched that you could scarcely look over a fence before old John Leaver was on to you. He was a caution was old John! It was one day in mid-winter when the ground was covered with snow that I took a bag about half filled with hay to give to some sheep we had "fest" at Extwistle. Going round the "Hag" corner I came suddenly on a hare limping along the edge of the wood. She had evidently met with a misfortune that almost incapacitated her from running. Down went my bag, and after the hare I ran. I soon collared the poor puss, and twisting her neck I packed her into my bag without further ceremony. But just as I collared her she set up a piercing scream which rang through the adjoining wood, and just as I had thrown the bag over my shoulder, who should pop round the corner but "Old Leaver." "Tat," said he, "did ta yer that hare scream?" "I did that," said I. "Somebody has kill'd one, I'm sure." At this critical moment poor pussy commenced rustling among the hay in my bag, evidently not having been killed outroght. I thought I'm done this time. Acting under a sudden inspiration I pooped the bag on the ground and sat on it with all my weight. The keeper, intent on catching the poacher, after a few words conversation away he went at a rattling pace to accomplish his object. Didn't I press all my weight on poor puss while the keeper was near! I thought if she whimpers I'm done, but as he went one way I quickly went in an opposite direction, and as the distance between us increased it took a corresponding weight of anxiety from the mind of your humble servant.


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