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Ancient And Modern History of East Lancashire
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Author:  Mel [ Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Ancient And Modern History of East Lancashire

Burnley Express

Saturday 25 October 1884

Stray Notes On The Ancient And Modern History of East Lancashire

The above was the title of a paper read to the members of the Burnley Literary and Scientific Club, on Tuesday evening week, by Mr. Tattersall Wilkinson, and as it contains much that is interesting to natives of this part of Lancashire, we have determined to give it in extenso, feeling assured that our readers will relish the perusal of the same. We must not omit to mention that we are much indebted to Mr. Wilkinson for his kindness in placing the paper at our disposal.

This pretty, sequestered manorial house stands under the shade of a low hill, effectually sheltered from the north and westerly winds. Situated in the side of a deep clough, which runs up from Catlow Bottoms, with an eastern aspect, it commands delicious views both up and down the Walverden Valley, while the heathery crown of old Boldsworth, forms a charming apex to the eastern horizon. From an inscription over the porch, it appears that this house was built by Jno. Briercliffe, in the year of of grace 1642, exactly two years previous to the battle of Marston Moor, at a time when England was convulsed in the deadly throes of a civil war. It seems that the De Briercliffes held lands in Briercliffe in the 14th century. There can be no doubt whatsoever that this ancient was located here immediately after the conquest, and derived their name from the township. The Briercliffes continued to reside here up to the beginning of the 18th century, when Burwains finally passed into the possession of the Robertshaws, of Coldwater hOuse, who are the present owners. There is a tradition that when Burwains was enclosed from the moor, there was other cultivated land between Haggate Hill and Boldsworth, and also that Hird House was built and the adjacent lands enclosed by the Briercliffes immediately after, the shepherds or herders inhabiting the new house, hence its name. Prior to 1642, when the present structure was erected, there existed an old building, and when the new hall was finished, John Briercliffe had the original inscription of the old house placed over the entrance of the porch. In consequence of some misapprehension on the part of the late Mr. John Robertshaw, he had it taken down and destroyed. In the earlier part of the fourteenth century, owing to a marriage between the Tattersalls of Ridge and Holme, and the Briercliffes of Briercliffe, the Tattersalls became possessed of lands in Briercliffe, and further, in the year 1380, the Receiver of the Honour of Clitheroe was paid the sum of £1 2s. 6d. by the heir of Peter Tattersall, of the Holme. Eight years later, in 1388, occurs an inquisition of the Duchy Escheator, taken at Lancaster, which shews that Peter Tattersall, who lately held lands in the village of Briecliffe from John, Duke of Lancaster, had given those lands to one Robert de Stokke, his heirs in fee simple, for the purpose of furnishing a chaplain to say prayers for the soul of the king of England, and of the heirs of him, the said Peter Tattersall, for ever. During the stormy times of the Reformation, the Briercliffes, along with the Parkers, Towneleys, Halsteads, and others of the old local families, remained firmly attached to the old religion of their forefathers, and devotedly attached, to the ill-started dynasty of the Stuarts. During a visit to the Burwains a short time ago, I found in the north-west angle of the mansion a small room that had formerly been a Catholic chapel; the mouldings on the ceiling, and niches on the walls, with their antique Norman arched pattern, together with the two family crests of the Briercliffes and Parkers on each side of the mantelpiece, are in a remarkable state of preservation. Several founts, hewn from solid blocks of stone, are on the premises; one was carefully placed away on the top of an old oak-cased clock, while another ten or twelve inches in circumference and twelve inches deep, with handles on each side, I found embedded in the soil in the garden, doing duty as a plant pot for the propagation of ferns. These grand old relics are worthy of a better fate. The original fireplace built in the style of the sixteenth century, is walled up, and a modern one supplies its place. The old style of sitting all round the fire, and the smoke escaping through an aperture some six feet square has been abandoned, but the traces are still left behind. At the end of the dining room opposite the fireplace is a large oak frame, well filled with fine specimens of old English pewter plates and dishes, some bearing the date 1709. They are almost as gard and white as silver. On the landing at the top of the stairs there is a fine oak cist, richly carved on the frames and round the panels, and bearing the following inscription:- "M.S., 1666." This cist was the property of Margaret Briercliffe, granddaughter of John Briercliffe, afterwards the wife of William Sagar, the founder of Catlow Hall. The inscription over the door of the latter mansion is, "William Sagar and Margaret his wife, July 24, 1666." The two dates being identical, it is very probable that they were married in the same year, and the cist at Burwains would be a wedding present. It is in a fine state of preservation and likely to exist for centuries to come. It appears from a number of old documents placed at my disposal by Mrs. Robertshaw, that frequent marriages have taken place between the Sagars of Catlow Hall and the Robertshaws. I also found one among the number bearing date 1663, in which Richard Tattersall, of the Ridge and Hurstwood (an ancestor of the Tattersalls of Hyde Park Corner, London), gives a receipt to his brother-in-law, William Sagar, of Catlow, for the sum of £80, being the balance of his wife's dowry, and absolves him from all further responsibility from the beginning of the world up to the above date. It is a remarkable fact that neither of these yeomen could sign their names, their marks appearing at the foot of the document. During the troubles that occurred in the middle ages, when every township supplied its quota of men-at-arms, the weapons were generally stored at a convenient central depot. It appears that Burwains was the repository for Briercliffe, and some of these primitive weapons, in the shape of rusty rapiers and flint firelocks, are to be seen there at present day. In an old building formerly used as a coach-house, with harness-room above, I was informed that the Baptists held their meetings in the latter place over a century ago, prior to the building of the old chapel at the east side of Haggate. A good tale is told of the days of two and three bottle men, when the good old dame of the household rode on horseback seated on a pillion behind the saddle of her lord. The Master of Burwains, attired in his three cornered hat, waistcoat with saddle pockets, and kerseymere breeches ribboned at the knees, was returning home from Colne Fair in the small hours of the morning, accompanied by his buxom dame on the pillion, with
The swats so reamed in both their noddles,
Fair play they cares no deils a bodle.
Crossing the brook at Catlow Bottoms, the old girl slipped into the stream, while her spouse, in happy ignorance of the mishap, rode up the glen to Burwains, never dreaming for a moment on "the lass he'd left behind him" until he arrived at home, when, finding out what had happened, servants were dispatched immediately in search of the missing lady, and she was found laid in the stream with her head resting on a sand bed, the water babbling against the side of her cheek, she at the same time broke forth in the following ejaculations:- "No, no, Mr. Hitchen; not another drop; not another drop will I have." A high wall crosses the clough in the direction of "Ackroyd," or Fold's House, and on the top a number of hollow wooden troughs conveyed the water from a spring to the Manor House; in those days they had no idea of iron pipes and syphons. An unfortunate incident happened to one of the family of Briercliffe at a rush bearing held in the early part of last century at Holmes Chapel. Elevated with drink, he entered into a quarrel with a local farmer, and snatching up a "church curdle" killed him on the spot. Escaping from the hands of justice he enlisted as a sailor, and served on board the fleet commanded by Sir John Norris. On coming ashore he deserted, and making his way to Holmes Chapel he remained hidden in the woods for several weeks, but was afterwards apprehended and expiated his crime at Lancaster on the gallows. Several of this ancient family are still living in the neighbourhood of Burnley, and a John Briercliffe, also a member of the family, resides at Ashton-under-Lyne, and another is Mary Ann Briercliffe, the wife of Mr. Jobling, butcher. One of the descendants also died in America about 12 years ago. Such is the history of one of the oldest and most illustrious families in East Lancashire.

An Old Quaker Burial Ground
Crossing the glen, thickly planted with ok, sycamore, and orchard trees, we arrive at the Quaker burial ground, and the quaint old house, with its rough grit corners and chimney, a model of rural comfort and beauty. A plain low room on the ground floor, "simple and unadorned," is pointed out as the meeting house, a fit retreat for the meek in spirit. Far removed from the busy throng, in this sweet secluded spot, the followers of George Fox worshipped God in spirit and in truth according to the dictates of their consciences. Opposite the old house the limits of "God's acre" is indicated by a low wall on the north and east, while a deep ditch, interspersed with several fine trees, mark the west and southern border. Several gravestones without inscriptions cover the resting places of the silent dead. One near to the wall contains the following inscription:- "Here lyeth the body of Elizabeth, the wife of John Vipont, 1681." Just 203 years ago. The name is not familiar to the district, although I have been informed that several Viponts live in the neigbourhood of Colne. The view from this charmingly sequestered spot is beautiful beyond description. "Catlow Water" meanders prettily down the woody vale toward Pendle Water, while the "Forest" with its smiling farmsteads - a truly English scene - backed by old Pendle, bars the view westward. This is, indeed, a lovely resting place.
The poor man's grave; this is the spot
Where rests his weary clay;
And yet no gravestones lifts its head
To say what gravestones say.
No sculptured emb ems blazon here,
No weeping willows wave,
No faint memorial, e'er so faint,
Points out the poor man's grave.

New House In Briercliffe
From an inscription on a grit slab over the door of this farmhouse, which reads as followd, we learn that "Robert Parker and Jane his wife, Robert and Henry their sons, built this house, May 2nd, 1672." A postscript at the bottom, probably written by Robert, their son says:- "O Thou of mighty most blessed and them that made this cot. R.P., 1672." Over a door in another part of the building is written "Robert Parker and Grace his wife 1677." The Robert Parker first mentioned was the grandson of RobertPArker, of Extwistle, who married Jane Haydock, daughter of Evan Haydock, Heasandford (Pheasantford) who died December, 1597.

The Camp At Thornton-In-Craven
During the civil wars the strong castle at Skipton was held with a powerful garrison for the king, under the command of Sir John Malory, as brave and indaunted a cavalier as ever faced an enemy. It was besieged by the soldiers of the Commonwealth under General Lambert, one of Cromwell's most distinguished officers, who was born at Carleton, and was the son of a private gentleman. The siege commenced on December 1642, and continued until December 1645. During its continuation strong garrisons were formed at Thornton and Fisburne by the Cromwellians, for the purpose of providing forage for the troops at Skipton, and also to keep down the Royalist gentry who were very numerous in East Lancashire, and also in the valleys of the Ribble and Calder. The Roundheads made frequent raids through this neighbourhood for the purpose of levying contributions on the money and property of the Royalists. The following is a list of the different articles taken and plundered from the house of Edward Parker, Esq., at Browsholme, by the soldiers who were laid at Thornton:- "Decimo Nono Nv., 1642. One silver salt, ten silver spoons, one payer of new russet boots and spurs, one new doublet of water'd grogram, one clothe doublet, one cloth jerkin, one linen shirt, one sword and belt, one red silke shagg waiscoat, one sayer of blue knitt stockings, two pounds of bees-wax, &c., £c. Septimo Aprilis, 1643 - One gray mare, a sword and belt, bonds and bills for £13, a double testament, "Crumbs of Comfort," bracelets, one little boy taken prisoner, &c., &c." Mr. Parker, after having been repeatedly plundered by both parties, like a wise man sought and obtained a letter of protection from both parties, of which the following are copies:- "For the Col. and Lieu.-Col. within Craven, these Noble Gentlemen. I could desire to move you in behalfe of Mr. Ed. Parker, of Broosome, that you would be pleased to take notice of his house, and give order to the officiers and soldiers of your regiments that they plunder not, nor violently take away, any of his goods, without your privities; for truly the proneness of souldiers sometimes to commit some insolencies w'out comand from their supiors is the cause of my writing this time; hoping, hereby, through your care, to prevent a further evill, in all thankfulness I shall acknowledge (besides the great obligation you putt on Mr. Parker, myselfe to bee, your much obliged, RIC. SHUTTLEWORTH. Gawthrop, 13 Feb., 1644." The following is a protection from the Royalists:- "These are to intreat all officers and souldieres of the Scottish armie, and to require all officiers and souldieres of the English armie under my command that they forbeare to take or trouble the p'son of Edward Parker, of Bronsholme, Esqr, or to plunder his goods, or anie other or damage to doe unto him in his estate, THO TYLDESLEY. This 8th day of August, 1648." The following letter shows that the Lancashire aristocracy went to foot races:- "Bolton-by-Bowland, July ye 24, 1688. Dear Ned (edward PArker), - I hope this will find thee in good health, which I shall be glad to hear; I intend towards Leeds to-morrow to see the footrace, and should be hearty glad of your comapnie; if you think of going I desire you either to be att Bolton by 12 a clock, or meet me att Gisborne by one. There will be a great many of our acquaintance, viz., Lister Lambert, Parker, Scargenteon, York, Starkey, cum multis alibus; we may go from ye race to York and take ye towne before ye judges; I hope good nature will work with thee upon this account, in which hopes I rest. Your affectionate kinsman and humble servant, A. PUDSEY. My humble service to ye ffather and all at Browsholme. Write two lines per bearer." - Returning to the camp at Thornton, the Roundheads made a raid into Briercliffe and Extwistle, for the purplse of plundering the supporters of the Royal cause. A party sacked High Halstead, near Swindean, taking all they could lay their hands on, and ultimately driving away ten oxen and two other beasts to the value of £45. The noise and tumult made by the marauders was heard across the valley from Extwistle by Mr. Parker, who immediately drove all the cattle within reach into the thickets of Runclehurst Wood, also hiding away most of the valuables in the hall. On finding themselves checkmated, they attempted to fire the place, but having to decamp hastily, very little damage was done. On the 25th day of May, 1644, Prince Rupert entered Lancashire by way of Stockport, with an army of 8,000, destined for the relief of Lathom House. Rigby, who commanded the besiegers, immediately retired to Bolton with a force of 2,000 soldiers. The storming of the latter place soon followed, after which the Royalists poured across the hills into Burnley valley on the way to the King's forces at York, a few days previous to the battle of Marston Moor, where the star of the Royal Stuarts destiny set for ever. Breaking up into small detachments for the purpose of foraging on the line of route, they commenced to plunder indiscriminately both friend and foe. A party of 200 made their appearance in Worsthorne on the eve of a summer's afternoon, where they blackmailed the farmers' larders of all the edibles and drinkables they could lay their hands on, the officers living at free quarters at an old public-house, which was demolished during the early part of the last century. It was calld "Cross House," hence the name of the locality Cross House Green. The house is gone, but a portion of the garden fence exists at the present time. The common soldiers took possession of the barns and shippons, where they slept or caroused during the night. The following morning they seized and drove the cattle out of the fields along the line of march. Passing the farm house at Bottin, one of them enteres the place, took possession of a panful of potatoes, which were boiling on the fire, and carrying them to the door he poured them on the flags to cool, and they were afterwards divided among his comrades. At High Halstead two horses were unyoked and taken out of two carts, and a herd of cattle was taken possession of. The despoiled farmers, incensed by the cruel treatment they had received, collected together, armed themselves with all kinds of rude weapons, and hung on the rear of the invades bent upon rescuing some of their cattle. On arriving at Cockden Water, a few soldiers remained straggling behind, and the pursuers, taking a short cut by Ormroyd Brisge, overtook them in the hollow opposite the barn belinging to Miss Halstead. Here a fierce struggle took place, in which the troops had the advantage, leaving two farmers and several soldiers dead. The names of the farmers were Peter Hitchon, of Worsthorne, and Barnard Smith, of Hurstwood. Their names are recorded in the register of the Parish Church at Burnley.

Windle House
This old house stands on an eminence to the east of Black House Lane, in the township of Briercliffe. The family from whom the name is derived is of ancient date, but none of its members seem to have taken any important part in the history of the district. I find in a copy of the Towneley manuscripts kindly placed at my disposal by Mr. W. Waddington, that John, the son of Wm. Winhall, conveyed to John, son of Gilbert de la Leigh, all the lands he held in Worsthorn for the sum of one penny.This deed is dated 1311. And in another deed bearing the same date, the aforesaid JOhn conveys to his father, Gilbert de la Leigh, the lands mentioned aboce. The descendants of the Winhalls, under the name of Windle, still exist, some of them in humble circumstances, in Burnley and the neighbourhood.

The Spencer Family
It is not my intention to deal fully with the history of this East Lancashire family. I hope to hav a special paper at some future time on that subject. Personally, I may say that I entirely coincide with the opinion of Dr. Grossart with reference to the connections of the great poet with this part of the north. The Spencers seem to have been numerous in Briercliffe, Worsthorne, and Hurstwood. I find in the Towneley manuscripts that there is a brief abstract of a deed of transfer, dated 1459, by Peter, son of Richard Spencer, to John Towneley. There is also a house adjoining the "Fighting Cocks" at Mereclough, built by Peter Spencer, and dated 1752. The Spencers of Black House Lane and Haggate also sprang from the same branch.

The Site Of Monk Hall
This ancient house, together with the land adjoining, amounting to a caracute (100 acres) was in the possession of the Abbot and monks of Newbo, near Lincoln, temp. Henry III., and it was afterwards granted to the monks of St. Mary's, at Kirkstall Abbey, near Leeds, by Henry, Duke of Lancaster (Birch's M.S.S.) from whom the name of "Monk Hall" is derived. In a croft abutting upon the road adjoining the modern Monk Hall, remains of the original foundations may still be traced. The main structure seems to have been in the form of a square, with outbuildings attached. An old building in the immediate vicinity, with antique mullioned windows and capacious fireplace, has in all probability been an appurtenance to the old hall. In those days the land to the west would be an open moor. An old road commences here, passing by Noggarth Cross over Extwistle Hill, and by way of Runclehurst to another cross of a similar description near Hebrew Hall Bar, Burnley Road. It stood built into the fence wall on the spot where a modern shop was erected by Mr. Holt, of Lee Green, and which is now occupied. The plinth was broken, and all traces are now lost.

Reminiscences Of Worsthorne
Cock fighting and bull baiting were carried on here until a very recent date. I have a keen remembrance of the last bull bait that took place. The bull belonged to Jim Anson, and was chained to a stake near the present church gates. The game consisted of tying the bull with a tether of some fifteen yards in length to a strong stake driven into the ground. All being ready, a bull dog was loosed on the infuriated animal. As soon as the dog pinned the bull by the nose, its master had to seize it by one of the forelegs, and if the twain could manage to hold firm for three minutes the dog was declared the victor, if not, vice versa. On this occasion old Nick O' Ellises, with his dog crib, was declared the victor. Old Nick was one of the ugliest men I ever saw, strongly pitted with small pox and a cherry looking nose, it was an open question with me if the dog was not the handsomer of the two. The brutal game of cock fighting generally took place at the bottom of the moor during the middle of the last century. "Mains" were fought on Sundays. This savage practice was much followed by men of the higher circles of society as well as those of the lower degree. Up to 1830, these battles were very frequent, and a number of local gentry attended. The game was often delayed until the arrival of old Jimmy Roberts, cotton manufacturer, of Burnley, who came riding on a bay pony. He was born in 1779, and died in 1830.

The Fighting Cocks At Mereclough
The cockpit was on the Green, facing the old hostelry. A celebrated battle was fought here for a great stake between Ormerod's Butterfly, and Towneley's Caesar. During the fight Caesar knockedButterfly down, and the bystanders thought it was all over with the latter. Ormerod, of Ormerod House, the owner of the bird, thought the same, and hurriedly left the field, but he had not gone far before he heard a great shout, which induced him to return. During his absence Butterfly had risen again and killed Caesar on the spot. In commemoration of this event the inn was named the Fighting Cocks, and that name it bears to this day. On the sign was the following verse:-
For heaps of gold and silver we do fight;
Death comes at every blow if it hits right.
Towneley's great Caesar dith bleeding lie:
Killed by Ormerod's gallant Butterfly.

The Old Wapentake Law
For ages previous to the introduction of Courts of Requests, or County Courts, there existed an old law emanating from the Feudal Court held at Clitheroe Castle. Its jurisdiction extended over the whole of the district of the Honour of Clitheroe, one of the largest in England. The practice was, that if any unlucky debtor became involved in pecuniary difficulties to the extent of £1 19s. 11 1/2 d. the creditor, by applying at the Castle, could issue a wapentake, which was generally served by a bailiff of the Court, who proceeded to the house of the delinquent. After serving the process, he generally seized some article of furniture, a pair of tongs, poker, or maybe a kettle, conveying them back to the castle as proof of delivery. A very good tale is told in Worsthorne in reference to one of these occurrences. In a small cottage called "The Kell," with its knotted door and leaden-framed windows, there lived an old man with his only son, the latter of whom was possessed of a stalwart, herculean frame, but had the misfortune to be deaf and dumb. The pair carried on the lucrative occupation of pig-ringing and mould-warp catching. Having got into debt with his grocer, two bailiffs arrived from Clitheroe with a wapentake. Throwing it upon the table, they proceeded to seize the old kettle in the corner. The young man being the only occupant when the bailiffs arrived could not for a moment understand the meaning of all this. Studying for a moment what to do, a happy inspiration flashed across his mind. Rising from his seat, he quietly locked the pair in the house putting the key in his pocket. Reaching from the wall his father's pig-ringing apparatus, he seized one of the "bums" by the hair, pinning his head between his knees as firm as a vice. The bailiff's comrade, rushing to the help of his mate, was soon settled by a thump on his "conk" by the mute Sampson. After a round of spluttering and snorting from his prisoner, he managed to bore a hole through the bailiff's nose inserting a ring through it, very much to the detriment of the owner. The other bailiff, after being amazed at the ringing process, which he could not prevent, immediately dashed through the window, taking frame and glass with him in his headlong course, no doubt having a serious objeciton to undergoing a similar process.

Halstead Cote
On the eastern verge of the farm at High Halstead, and opposite the bank of the great reservoir in Swindean valley, in a section of a fence wall, are a number of stones whose well developed form show evident signs of the masons handiwork. They extend some 12 or 14 yards in length. They are the only remains of an old one-story cottage which remained standing up to about a century ago. It went by the name of "Halstead's Cot," and the place where it stood still retains the old title of "Halstead Cote Nook." Situated on the borders of a solitary moor, the Jacobite leaders chose this lonely spot for the rendezvous a short time previous to the rebellion of 1745. The rising of 1715, had proved disastrous to many of the old nobility who flocked to the standard of the Royal Stuart. Some had to fly the country, while others expiated their devotion to this unlucky family (who like the Burbon, learnt nothing and forgot nothing) on the scaffold. The Earl of Derwent-water, Lord Kenmure, and a host of others suffered at the hands of the executioner. The gallows at Garstang, Preston, Liverpool, Lancaster and Tyburn, were employed in the execution of men of lower degree. Two men from the neighbourhood of Burnley were among the lot. Stephen Sagar from Dineley was hung at Wigan on the eleventh of February, 1716. The other name I have forgotten. In the beginning of 1745 the hopes of the Stuarts again rose in the ascendant. Great numbers of the old Catholic gentry looked anxiously forward to the landing of their darling prince. Francis Towneley, a brave and chivalrous young gentleman, had a long time a resident in France, and a frequent visitor to the mimic court held at St. Germain's, where the head of the House of Stuart resided. Strongly attached to the religion of his ancestors he entered into the enterprise with all the ardour of youthful enthusiasm, and secretly collecting a number of men, principally tenants on the Towneley andother Catholic gentlemen's estates, they frequently met in the lonely cot at Halstead's Cote Nook for the purpose of drilling and preparing for the coming struggle. Firm and stern must have been the minds of these brave men, who looked upon the House of Hanover as interlopers and adventurers. It was no child's play; confiscation and death stared them in the face in case of failure. At length the time arrived. The news that the Prince had landed spread like wildfire among his confederates in Lancashire. Truly and bravely did Francis Towneley draw the sword and cross the Rubicon. With 200 men he joined the standard of his prince at Manchester, amid the ringing of the church bells and the martial tones of the bagpipes playing, "The king shall have his own again." I shall not dwell upon the disastrous undertaking which ended in the wholesale butchery on Culloden Moor, and the hanging, drawing, and quartering on Kennington Common.
They rally and bleed for their kingdom and Crown,
Woe, woe to the riders that trample them down;
Proud Cumberland prances insulting the slain,
And their hoof-beaten bosoms are trod to the plan
For a merciless sword o'er Culloden shall wave,
Culloden that reeks with the blood of the brave.
Oft when passing the hallowed spot on Worsthorne Moor, when pursuing my avocation as a shepherd, have I uncovered my head in silent respect to the memory of this gallant young man who fell in the defence of his religion, and in the cause of his (to him) righteous king.

The Stocks At Worsthorne
This ancient relic of Saxon times stood in full working order in the centre of Worsthorne up to a recent period, a terror to those incorrigible gamblers and drunkards who chanced to cross the path of the village constable or churchwarden for the time being. I remember three being sat in "doleful dumps" in the stocks at one time for gambling. Their names were Cheetham, Cracker, and Stitch. You must excuse these names being given in the vernacular. I have known the time when, if you asked for a person by his proper name you would probably not have found him. A good story is told in connection with the stocks at this village. One of those admirers of JOhn Barleycorn, named Jack Balding, who had passed the zone of moderation, was caught flagrente delicta by Old Jim o'th Halstead, the village constable who took him before his betters, and he was condemned to sit in the stocks for an hour. Old Jim, having the privilege of selecting the hour of punishment, waited with patience to put an extinguisher on poor Jack, who had often "put him one." Choosing a cold and bitter winter's day he collared him and marched him triumphantly to his doom. Sitting on a cold flag for a cushion, with his legs elevated to an angle of 45 degrees, his hour of punishment seemed anything but cheering. Locking him safely in, the constable marched proudly away, thinking, "Now I've got him," and proceeded to the enjoyment of a good warm dinner, leaving Jack to whistle for his. Scarcely had he gone when one of the culprit's friends slily popped Jack a bottle of good, old rum into his pocket, the proceeds of a subscription among his sympathisers. Jack relished the welcome companion as if it were his mother's milk, and his progress to complete unconsciousness of this world's affairs was so rapid that before the constable had consumed his dinner, Jack rolled away into the arms of Morpheus. A wag standing by was suddenly struck with the idea of making things warm for the man of office. Ruching off with breathless haste, as if something terrible had happened, he ran to Old Jim's - "Be quick; tha's dine it reight at last; poor Jack's starved to deoth; tha'at sure to be hanged for putting him in this cold day." Dropping his knife and fork, the constable answered, "Tha doesn't tell't truth, surely?" "I do that; come and look for thi sel',"was the response. Without more ado, away went the man of office. On arriving, he lifted up Jack's head. It felt as heavy as lead, and down it went with a thwack when he took his hands away. By this time a crowd had gathered around, all enjoying the fun but old Jim, the prospects of Lancaster Castle being before his eyes. "Whatever mon I do?" he cried. "Get him some brandy," cries out one; "be quick," says another, smiling at the fun. "Tak' him to th'lower public and get him what yo think's best, and I'll pay," said the constable. No sooner said than done. Getting him shoulder high, they marched him to the place indicated, and in a very short time the room at the Bay Horse rang with the merry laughter at the expense of Old Jim o'th' Halstead.
Several members of the club took part in the conversation which ensued at the close of the paper, which was deemed on all hands to have been a most enjoyable one. On the motion of Mr. W. L. Grant, seconded by Mr. W. Thompson, a vote of thanks was accorded to Mr. Wilkinson by acclamation.

Author:  Gloria [ Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ancient And Modern History of East Lancashire

"The swats so reamed in both their noddles"--- :lol:
and then he lost his wife off the back of his horse into Catlow Bottoms :lol: :lol: :lol:

Author:  Edmo1981 [ Tue Nov 06, 2012 8:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ancient And Modern History of East Lancashire

Fascinating info on Burwains, thanks for posting it. It describes a 'fine oak cist' with the inscription 'MS 1666' existing in Burwains. Does anyone know what a cist is? We own a large carved oak chest/bedding box which opens at the top. This has an identical inscription and reputedly came from Burwains. (We inherited it from some distant cousin of my grandad's called Muriel. My grandad's mother Priscilla Robertshaw was born at burwains. ) Anyway, it sounds like it may be the exact piece of furniture described, which is amazing!

Author:  Gloria [ Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ancient And Modern History of East Lancashire

Wow, how interesting is that, lucky you.
wikipedia has it as a coffin like box, "but also in modern use , can also mean a chest, a coffer, a box".

Author:  Mel [ Wed Nov 07, 2012 6:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ancient And Modern History of East Lancashire

I don't suppose it would be possible to see a picture of it....please?

Author:  portia [ Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ancient And Modern History of East Lancashire

Ringing the bailiff's nose! Magic :lol:

Ps thanks for posting this Mel - it must've taken you ages to type.

Author:  sylviac [ Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ancient And Modern History of East Lancashire

Hello Edmo,

It seems fair to assume that the chest is indeed the same one mentioned as being at Burwains. I knew your great grandmother, Priscilla, well. I lived at the top of Walverden Road and went down to see her every day when I was a young girl - a lovely lady. I also took your father out in his pram for walks around the Burwains area.

Priscilla (nee Robertshaw) was born at Burwains and married Thomas Edmondson who was related to my mother (also an Edmondson). I recall an 'aunty Muriel' but only vaguely.

It appears that the chest would be made for Mrs. Sagar at Catlow and found its way back to Burwains by the 19th century. The description of the chest being of large size, and the fact that it stood at the top of the stairs at Burwains, strongly suggests that it was made as a bedding/robe box (many of these were lined with cedar wood).

It is brilliant that the heirloom has survived within the family - perhaps it is the earliest surviving household artefact in Briercliffe?


Author:  Edmo1981 [ Wed Nov 07, 2012 2:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ancient And Modern History of East Lancashire

Hi all,

I will get a photo of it and post it here as soon as I can, its at my parents house. Its great to know the provenance of the chest, I had always wondered who MS was. It must have been sold with the farmhouse when the Robertshaw family bought it from the Briercliffes.

Thanks for the information Sylvia, I think you sent me some family history stuff a few years ago which was really useful, however I never seem to have any time to get into the research properly! Its really interesting to know that you knew my great grandmother, and that you have a vague memory of Muriel.

I have now traced my Robertshaw ancestors back to John Robertshaw born in 1732 (with help from Mel posting Robertshaw burial info a few years ago, and more recently from this webpage http://www.pendlewitches.net/page7a.html), but have trouble with the more recent relatives, namely where Muriel fits in, or how she acquired the chest. Also, my next task is to connect John Robertshaw to Ambrose Robertshaw, who bought Burwains in 1752.


Author:  Edmo1981 [ Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ancient And Modern History of East Lancashire

I have attached some photos of the chest.

003.JPG [ 119.98 KiB | Viewed 25717 times ]
002.JPG [ 125.89 KiB | Viewed 25717 times ]
001.JPG [ 87.16 KiB | Viewed 25717 times ]

Author:  Mel [ Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ancient And Modern History of East Lancashire

What a lovely piece of furniture. Beautiful on its own but to know a little of its history adds to the interest. It's things like this, and the recent Catlow find, that encourages me to keep looking for and transcribing the news articles. Sometimes it takes an age and can be a little tedious. I tackle the longer ones in stages, doing a couple of paragraphs here and there but so very worth it when you see pictures like these. Thanks for taking the time to share them with us Louise.

Author:  Gloria [ Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ancient And Modern History of East Lancashire

What can I say----wow----thankyou so much for putting the photos on the site. Wow again, it must be priceless.

Author:  portia [ Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ancient And Modern History of East Lancashire

It's lovely and in such good condition for its age. I'd be taking that to the antiques roadshow if it were mine :D

Author:  suzycue44 [ Fri Nov 09, 2012 5:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ancient And Modern History of East Lancashire

:) such interesting reading...all of it. I wonder if the divine Tat will still be telling stories in the ether regions of Heaven.... or somewhere! I printed off his piece from the Express....needs another read, and another.....
I cannot even imagine the monetary worth of that bedding chest....but I agree about it being on Antiques Roadshow...just to get an idea. Do hope it is insured!!
Great way to start my morning today! Thanks, all!

Author:  BJ [ Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ancient And Modern History of East Lancashire

I agree that the chest is superb. I would be interested to know if the flower species in the panel cartouches can be named - or is it a generic emblem?

Mel, the articles are a valuable resource and lead to some fascinating results - many thanks for posting them.

John Clayton

Author:  Edmo1981 [ Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ancient And Modern History of East Lancashire

Thanks for all your comments, and thanks again Mel for typing the article out. After reading the article I remembered that I'd read years ago about the sagar-briercliffe wedding in 1666 and put two and two together and linked it to the chest, then i forgot all about it. This article is the first description of the chest i've found.

We have a number of large early 20th century water colours of farms in briercliffe by an artist called Charles Simpson. Theres three of Burwains in around 1915-20, two of which show the house and farm yard and one showing the front elevation of the house. Theres also Foulds House, Catlow Bottoms, and a couple of Hurstwood, one of Spenser house I think. Would photos of these be of interest to anyone? Maybe i can email photos of them for inclusion in the photo gallery on the main Briercliffe Society webpage? We also have lots of old black and white photos that i really should scan in at some stage!


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