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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2013 8:52 pm 
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Ruth, it's me that's sad, Mel is not old enough yet, she is still in charge of all her faculties :wink: :lol:

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:47 pm 

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Hi Gloria

My apologies. It seems that I am both sad and confused (and definitely older than Mel!). Good result on the church, however, which definitely looks to be worth a visit. Another church I plan to go to is St Mary le Ghyll in Barnoldswick, where one set of grandparents I never met were married.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:41 pm 
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Ghyll church is well worth a visit - especially if it's open. It's very unusual inside. My son was married there.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2013 11:46 am 

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Thanks Maureen for the recommendation to check that Ghyll church will be open when we visit.

Back to St Mary's, Newchurch in Pendle. It occurred to me this morning that the link between the paintings and church is more likely to relate to Louise's family (given that the paintings of the houses had family links).

This made me think it would be worth having a look at the records for this church posted on Lancashire online parish clerks (http://www.lan-opc.org.uk/Newchurch-in-Pendle). On that site there is another good photo of the church (from a different angle) and an interesting history of the parish (including mention of 11 vaccaries within Pendle Forest, of which I previously only knew about from the 'vaccary stones' at Wycoller).

Louise, if you are not used to looking at this site, you can quickly find people by looking at the indexes for the different periods given for each section (baptisms, marriages, burials). The baptism index for the St Mary's, Newchurch runs from 1831 to 1903, with 1906 also available. The marriages only from 1814-45. I'll leave you the joy of hunting further - I found one Edmondson baptism and three Edmondson marriages in the early 19th century. You may also recognise some other names from your family history.

Lancashire online parish clerks is a wonderful free resource for those of us with Lancashire ancestors. My only frustration is that most other parts of the country are currently less well covered. Thank you here to all the Lancashire volunteers who were early family history pioneers!

Although I have now lived in North London for over 40 years, my roots in North East Lancashire remain as important to me as ever!

Ruth


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 6:39 pm 

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A few weeks ago I had a great time finding a photo of the church of St Mary's, Newchurch and matching it to the then unidentified painting belonging to Louise. Now I have had my reward!

Delving very deep into my Holt ancestors, I have found this afternoon that my probable 5 x great grandfather, John Holt of Barrowford (b. 1736/7), was a witness at his brother Jabez's wedding there on 26 December 1772.

Ruth


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 6:18 am 
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I recently took my Barrowford line back another generation with thanks in part to the Lancashire Online Parish Clerk and thanks also to the staff at the Lancashire Record Office. The finding of a will there proved the marriage on the Lancs OPC to be the correct one, always difficult to clarify records pre-1837.

Like you Ruth, I cherish my Lancashire roots although I have never lived there. Whenever I visit the area I feel like I am going home, something I find strange. Other lines I have take me to South Staffordshire and Ireland. I've not visited Ireland but I don't get the homely feeling when I visit the Dudley region.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 1:18 pm 

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When my husband tried to get me interested in genealogy over 20 years ago, I said I knew exactly where I came from – Colne, Trawden and Nelson – which is still pretty much the case.

I subsequently added Briercliffe (Whitakers and Stanworths) and Scotland (Nichol) but then sadly had to delete them (with help from Martin Whittaker, a Briercliffe Forum member). However, this wasn't a disaster, as I replaced them with yet more ancestors from Trawden and Colne.

I have suspected for many years that my Holt line went back a long way in Colne, and my recent research has proved this to be the case – if I can also count Barrowford. (As a child, I lived in Barrowford Road, Colne, so I really feel I have come home with this line.)

Other, more distant, trails have taken me to Lincolnshire (with a solder Midgley who served in India from 1813 to 1819) and Nottinghamshire (with Halls who moved to Lancashire after framework knitting collapsed as an occupation). I also have ancestors from Wensleydale on both my mother's and father's lines - other examples of the pull of the expanding Lancashire cotton towns in the 19th century.

What a great hobby this is! Thank you again to Mel and other Forum members, and also to all the people who over the years have transcribed and digitised such a wealth of local records.

Ruth


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 8:37 pm 

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Ruth

Quite a few coincidences here with my family history, or maybe really with that of my father. He (and I !) also have Lincs, Notts and Wensleydale ancestors !

Rex


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:34 am 

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Rex

I love coincidences!

In case we can push the link even further, my key places and family names outside Lancashire are:

Lincolnshire: Alford and environs: Midgley, Turner, Spring and Lill

Nottinghamshire: Caythorpe and Lowdham: Bailey and Smith (not Hall – a memory failure in my previous post)

Wensleydale and Semerwater: Capstick, Metcalfe and Hebdon

Of all my lines, Spring in Lincolnshire is the one I have taken back furthest (with the help of Poor Law records from the Lincoln Archives)

My research into my Nottinghamshire and Wensleydale ancestors was done 20 years ago, so with luck there should be some new finds for me when I revisit them using new resources.

Best wishes,
Ruth


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2013 6:30 pm 

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No overlap I'm afraid, Ruth !

I go back to 1543 in Lincs (or rather, my ancestors do...)

Rex


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:16 pm 

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Rex,

Shame there is no overlap. It's always worth asking.

Well done for getting so far back with your line. My earliest find in Lincolnshire is a probable baptism in 1641.

Ruth


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2015 9:24 am 
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March 14, 1914

Literary & Antiquarian Corner
Notes and Comments

Burwains, Briercliffe

A correspondent writes to ask if I can give any particulars concerning this ancient homestead. I regret that the information at my command is very incomplete, and I suffer from the further disability that I have never seen the house. It is an old yeoman's house, and presumably of the same type and built about the same time as so many of the old yeomanry houses which have dotted the hills in this neighbourhood, viz., in the close of the 16th or beginning of the 17th centuries. It was occupied at that time by a family of the name of Briercliffe or Brearcliffe, nad it is probable was built by one of the family. Dr. Whitaker conjectures that the name Burwains is a corruption of "Burghwains," and he hints that it might have some relationship to the Roman camps which were scattered on the hills. I hardly care to hazard a conjecture as to the derivation of the name. "Bur" or burh meant, among other things, a farmhouse, and a "wain" meant a wagon, but that does not seem to help one. I may say, however, that I find the same word, or one very like it, both at Colne and at Foulridge. One thing needs to be said, and that is that the word locally is pronounced "Burrons," and that that is so spelt in the old records, and in some cases as "Burrows," and also as "Burwins."

The Briercliffes
The surname of Briercliffe, no doubt so called from the township, appears in old charters relating to Briercliffe, so far back as any deeds exist. In 1258 a Michael de Briercliffe held three ox gangs and twelve acres and paid twenty-one shillings a year, and at the same time Peter de Briercliffe held five acres, so that so far back the family appear to have been substantial yeomen. In 1311 Robert de Briercliffe held 58 acres in the township, and from that time onward for some centuries there were in the township yeomen of the name who held land. When they settled at Burwains I do not know, but in 1559 "Robert Brereclyff of Burwyns" is mentioned in the Court Rolls, so it is certain they were there at that time. In 1527 Robert Brereclyf held lands of the yearly copyhold rent of 9s. 10d., and was, save two, the largest copyholder in the township. In 1589 Robert Brerecliffe held 23.5 acres of freehold, and 17 acres of copyhold in Briercliffe. In 1617 Lawrence Briercliffe held the same 17 acres of copyhold land, of which ten acres were arable, one acre meadow, and six acres pasture. This gentleman was pretty certainly of Burwains, for in 1631 there is in the St. Peter's registers the entry of the baptism of JOhn, son of Lawrence Briercliffe of Burwins; in 1639 another entry of the interment of his daughter, and in 1644 the record of the interment of his wife. Prior to that Burwains was held by his father, Robert, who died in 1617, eaving his son Lwarence, being then eleven years of age, to inherit his estate. In the allocation of seats in St. Peter's Church in the year 1634 Lawrence Briercliffe was given half a pew in the ninth seat on the north side of the middle alley, a position which indicates that, without being one of the principal landowners of the district, he was a 'man of some standing. He was a churchwarden the following year. It seems not improbable that it was this Lawrence Briercliffe who built Burwains, though of that I have no record.

An Old Cliviger Tragedy
In the year 1741 there was living in Cliviger a young farmer named Lawrence Britcliffe, or Briercliffe. He was a staunch Baptist, like his fathers before him, and he used to weekly cross the hills to Bacup to attend the services held by Mr. David Crossley, one of the Baptist pioneer preachers of Rossendale. Lawrence Britcliffe was married to a respectable young woman, who was a strong adherent of the Church. constant disputes rose between them on the subject, and the end was the husband took to drinking, and became a quarrelsome drunkard of the worst type. In the year 1741 he attended Holme Wakes, and while drunk quarrelled with a man in very similar condition. Britcliffe, mad with drink, seized a churn staff and struck his adversary dead. He was promptly seized, but managed to escape, and fled. He made his way to Plymouth, where he entered as a sailor on board the Victory, afterwards Nelson's famous flagship. It was then the flagship of Sir John norris. The fleet in due course put to sea, but was driven back by a storm. A second attempt to sail was followed by a like result, and Britcliffe, imaging himself a second Jonah, left the vessel and returned to his native place. At Holme he lay for a considerable time hidden in a cave. not far from the present railway station, and there he was supplied by one of his old servants. Finally, thinking he might be acquitted, he gave himself up, and in 1742 was tried at Lancaster, found guilty, and executed. While awaiting his execution he was attended by his old pastor, Mr. Crossley, who walked from Bacup to Lancaster for that purpose. Mr. Crossley preached the funeral sermon at Bacup on May 23rd, 1742, in the open air to an audience of 4,000 people, the title of the sermon being, "The triumph of sovereign grace, or a brand plucked from the fire," etc. I do not know that this Lawrence Briercliffe was a member of the family from Burwains, but it seems no improbable. Under any circumstances, he was undoubtedly a member of the family of Briercliffe which had lived in the neighbouhood for some centuries. Referring to the execution of this Lawrence Briercliffe, Mr. James Crossley, in his preface to the Chetham Society's reprint of Potts' "Discovery of Witchcraft," remarks that the Briercliffes "would appear tp have been one of those gloomy and fated races, dogged by some unassuageable nemesis, in which crime and horror are transmitted from generation to generation."
How far this can be taken as characterising the family, or on what grounds the accusation is levelled against the race, I have no means of judging.

The Robertshaws
When or under what circumstances the possession of Burwains passed from the Briercliffes I do not know. I have an idea that at some time and somewhere I have gathered that the last Briercliffe of Burwains was named Robert, and that he left the farm towards the close of the 18th century, but I have no certain information of the fact. We next come to the association of the farmhouse with religious activity in its connection with the Scotch Baptists. That religious body was introduced into Briercliffe about the year 1760, and at first they held services at Burwains, continuing until Haggate Baptist Chapel was built in 1767. Having mind the statement previously made, that the Holmes Chapel murderer, Lawrence Briercliffe, was connected with the Baptists, it seems not improbable, first, that he was a scion of the Burwains family, and, secondly, that the Briercliffes still held the farm at the time, and were among the earliest supporters of the Calvinistic Baptists. Later the farm passed to the family of Robertshaw, to whom, I understand, it still belongs. When or how they came into possession I do not know. Mr. Alfred Strange, in a paper read before the Literary and Scientific Club in 1894, on an old account book of the Rev. Benjamin Robertshaw, headmaster of the Burnley Grammar School from 1698 to 1728, suggests that the family occupied the farm before 1637. That cannot possibly be correct, as the extracts from the Court Rolls given above clearly show that the Briercliffes held it long after that. I have one or two further notes, but for want of space, they must be held over for another week. In the meantime, if any reader can give additional information I shall be glad to receive it.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2015 10:20 am 
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March 21, 1914

Literary & Antiquarian Corner
Notes and Comments

Burwains

My notes of last week have brought me a mass of matter from a gentleman at Bolton, a descendant of the family of Briercliffe, of Burwains. They are sufficient to fill several columns, and they contain most interesting details concerning both the house and the family. Let me first thank my courteous and kindly correspondent for his notes and for his appreciative references to my last week's article. Before using the notes let me quote here a note from my friend, that noted pedestrian and valued contributor to the "Express," "J.A." He says: "There was, up to a year or so ago, a unique collection of old armour at Burwains. It was arranged about the better room at the end of the house and gave a distinctive mark of gentility to the house. Then, as perhaps now, a heavy old oak door, nail-studded and massive, closed upon a weather beaten stone porch. Behind this a rude kind of ancient wooden bar, about four feet long and four inches thick, shot into the wall along the back of the door and formed a safe fastening for the entrance. Through the thick wall of the passage inside the door was a tiny window or "peep hole," said by the country people to be the hole through which the owner in olden times could shoot unwelcome visitors. The larger room, whose long mullion window looks out upon the garden at the back os the house is said to have been a chapel at one time. Several rude frescoes or ornamental plaster casts upon the walls give credence to this surmise."

The House And Chapel
The notes alluded to above from my Bolton correspondent enable me to very materially supplement my very meagre account last week, and serve to throw much light on the particulars mentioned by "J.S." As I surmised last week, the present house was built by Lawrence Briercliffe, and bears on the porch an inscribed stone, "L.B. 1642." The same initials appear over the door leading into what is supposed to have beenthe chapel, and the same date, 1642, in the kitchen. I shall have more to say of Lawrence Briercliffe presently. But it appears that there was a house here before that time, and Lawrence Briercliffe only rebuilt the house. I have many times in these columns explained that the later years on the 16th century and the earlier years of the 17th formed the period when in this locality the ancient houses were being taken down and substantial stone houses erected in their place. The old houses were, without doubt, more or less of timber, and in all probability Burwains was no exception. Lawrence Briercliffe was baptised in 1605, and came into the estate at the age of eleven and held it till his death in 1701, aged 95 years. Concerning the chapel, Mr. T. Wilkinson, in a lecture in 1884, says there was "a small room that had formerly been a Catholic Chapel, the mouldings on the ceiling and niches in the wall, with the antique Norman arched pattern, together with the two coats of arms on either side of the chimney, are in a remarkable state of preservation. A font, hewn from a solid block of stone, with pedestal, also a holy-water basin, lend colour to the statement. These together with a large sundial, through the kindness of Mr. Robertshaw, are now in possession of a direct descendant of the Briercliffes. The sundial is three feet six inches in diameter, and the numerals have been cut on both sides of it and also round the rim. It is supposed that the least weather-worn side of the sundial was cut when the house was re-built in 1642, and the others long before. Mr. Wilkinson remarks that during the stormy times of the Reformation, the Briercliffes, along with the Parkers, Towneleys, Halsteds, and others of the old local families, remained firmly attached to the old religion of their forefathers and devoted to the ill-starred dynasty of the Stuarts.

The Ancient Chapel
I am just a little credulous concerning some parts of this story, more of its inferences that its actual statements. I have looked in vain for any mention of the Briercliffes among the persecuted adherents to the Roman Catholic faith at the time of the Reformation, the troubled times of persecution. Father Smith's "Chronicles of Blackburnshire" makes no mention either of the Briercliffes of of Burwains, and though it has been alleged that the Briercliffes were fined as recusants, my correspondent says he has failed to find any record of it. The house was not re-built and the chapel, presumably, not erected until 1642, and by that time the Reformation, was an accomplished fact. In 1633 Lawrence Briercliffe was allotted a seat in Burnley Parish Church, and in 1634-5 he was churchwarden there, so that it is fair to assume that when he built the old house he was adherant of the Established Church and, therefore, not at all likely to make a Roman Catholic chapel in his house. That it may have been a chapel is likely enough. There is no reason to dispute the fact or to doubt the correctness of the tradition. I would throw out this suggestion concerning it, with the reminder that it is only a supposition. The chapelry of Burnley was at that time a wide and scattered district, including all the moors to the east of the town, and taking in Worsthorne, Holme, Extwistle, Briercliffe, etc. Many of these districts were remote and often largely isolated by storms and bad roads. It would be no easy task for the dwellers on the edge of the moors to reach the parish church for the ministrations of religion. It is, for that matter, not so many years ago that a gentleman, now dead, told me of a touching little incident, of which I understood he had been an eye-witness, viz., a little funeral procession from an outlying farm on the hills, when the family laid quietly to rest on the hillside, within sight and reach of the home, a tiny member of the flock, rather than carry it to the nearest grave-yard. If that were so towards the close of the 19th century, what was likely to happen in the 17th? What more natural than that the occupant of Burwains should, for his own use and the convenience of his scattered neighbours, set up in his house a little chapel, or that the incumbent of Burnley should find such a place a great convenience in serving this distant portion of his flock? What house so well fitted as that of one of the chief yeomen, a man of substance, a freeholder owning his own estate. It is all the more probable when we remember that at the time Lawrence Briercliffe was buildingthe house, efforts were in progress to abolish Church services and the Book of Common Prayer, and within three years of its erection such use was a penal offence, and the Prayer Book had been superseded by the directory at the Parish Church. It seems to me that such is likely to be the history of the chapel at Burwains. With regard to the armour mentioned by "J.A.," Mr. T. Wilkinson says: "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 depot. It appears that Burwains was the repository for Briercliffe district. Some of the primitive weapons, in the shape of rusty rapiers, are to be seen there at the present day" (1884). Here again, it seems to me, there is room for doubt, for the second part of the quotation rather contradicts the first. Rapiers and flintlocks are not mediaeval weapons, fire arms were unknown in this country till the close of the 15th century, and gunpowder was notmade in England till the latter end of the 16th (reign of Elizabeth) and even at the time when Burwains was built the bow had not entirely gone out. In the middle ages it is true that certain arms had to be provided, but they were not firearms, but mostly bows and pikes. It seems to me much more probable that these at Burwains were collected at the troubled times of the Civil War, when the house was new and when the tide of war actually did invade the quiet solitudes of our moorland districts. An examination of the weapons at Burwains by an expert is needed to settle their age.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2015 11:07 am 
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March 28, 1914

Literary & Antiquarian Corner
Notes and Comments

The Briercliffe of Burwains

In my last set of notes I dealt with the house at Burwains, and placed on record concerning it the various items of information supplied to me by correspondents, especially by the Bolton descendant of the Briercliffe family. To-day I wish to deal with the family whose home was at Burwains. The family of Briercliffe held lands in the township before the 13th century, for Robert de Briercliffe held the land about the year 1200, and his son, Michael de Briercliffe, "held his fathers lands" after him. It may be fairly assumed that the land held by the family so far off was that which is still attached to the Burwains estate, for it consists of the same quantity which was granted to the freeman, Robert de Briercliffe over seven centuries ago. It is said that the earliest Briercliffe came from Normandy in the train of William the Conqueror, or more correctly in the service of Roger de Poictou, the first Norman holder of the lordship of Clitheroe. Doomsday book records that in the Manor of Clitheroe there were twenty-eight freemen holding five hides and a half and forty carucates of land (an uncertain quantity but probably about 1,000 acres), which are supposed to have been granted out by Roger de Poictou, and the first Briercliffe is supposed by some to have been a Norman soldier, one of the 28 who received grants. It must not be forgotten that whoever was this Norman adventurer, he took the name of the township in which he settled, and the family were known as de or del Briercliffe for a good many generations. As already recorded, the earliest of which there is definite mention was Robert de Briercliffe, who held the land about the year 1200. From that time there is a more or less comeplte record of the family down to the present time. They retained the prepostion "de" for several centuries, the last to use it being Lawrence de Briercliffe, who died about 1480.

Lawrence Briercliffe
As has already been stated, the present house at burwains was re-built in 1642 by Lawrence Briercliffe or Brearcliffe. He was born in 1605, and was only eleven years of age when Robert Brearcliffe, his father, died in 1617. His wife was Grace Foulds, of Colne, and they were married there in 1627. She died in 1644 two years after Burwains was re-built. Lawrence Briercliffe held the Burwains estate over eighty years, dying in 1701, and thus he lived through the whole of the troubled times of the great Civil War and the Restoration period. He was only a child when the first batch of Pendle witches were tried and executed at Lancaster. He lived to see one King executed at Whitehall, and must have looked from his moors on all the grim tragedy of civil war and the Commonwealth. He was not an old man when Charles II. came back in 1660, and was still lingering when William of Orange landed at Torquay. What a story the old man must have looked back on in those last years, all the stirring incidents of the tempestuous 17th century! He was apparently a man of some importance and wealth. As I stated in the first notes, he was granted part of a pew in St. Peter's Church at the allocation of seats in 1634, and served as churchwarden in 1635. He contributed to the subsidy rolls in 1666, and in 1681 paid hearth tax for five hearths. In the survey of 1617 he held 17 acres of copyhold in addition to his freehold, and in 1621, at the allotment of commons, he was granted 55 acres 1 rood 34 poles, a very considerable area, which shows his standing in the district. In 1624 he received another acre in Thursden. At that time, 15 acres were divided, and Lawrence Briercliffe received the largest grant, another evidence of his importance.

The Holme Tragedy of 1739
I told this story a fortnight ago, and I then hazarded the opinion that the Lawrence Briercliffe who expiated his crime at Lancaster in 1742 was of the same family as the Briercliffes at Burwains. Lawrence Briercliffe, some account of whom has just been given, had a son, Robert, who died before hisfather, in 1691. Robert had two sones, Lawrence and John. John Briercliffe married Mary Jackson, and their son was the Lawrence who was hanged in 1742 for the Holme murder, and he was thus great-grandson to the Lawrence Briercliffe whose life lasted nearly the whole of the 17th century, and who built the present house at Burwains. Mary Jackson, the mother of the Holme murderer, is described as of hicklehurst, and it is suggested that Hicklehurst was what is now known as Hecknest. The statement in Dr. Whitaker's handwriting runs: "LAwrence Briercliffe, the unhappy subject of this discourse, was son of John Briercliffe, a substantial yeoman and farmer at Hicklehurst." JOhn Briercliffe and Mary Jackson, described as of Worsthorn, were married at Burnley in February, 1701. John Briercliffe gave his son, the ill-fated Lawrence the farm at Oaen Eaves. The unfortunate man was born, presumably, at Hicklehurst in 1701 and his wife was named Mary Whitaker. There were two or three children of the ill-sorted match. The murdered man was named John Hind. It was said - evil tongues are always ready to wag - that the evidence of some of the farm servants of Lawrence Briercliffe would have cleared him, but that they mysteriously died before the trial, and Mrs. Mary Briercliffe was rightly or wrongly suspected of having them removed out of the way. She herself died a few years later in 1751.

The Robertshaws
The last Briercliffe at Burwains was Robert, who was born in 1728, half-cousin to Lawrence Briercliffe who was executed in 1742. The family had by that time been much reduced, for according to one account Robert Briercliffe, father of the Robert just mentioned, died a debtor in Lancaster Castle in 1741. Hi son Robert sold the estate to William Edward Robertshaw in the year 1751, and with him the family appears virtually to have disappeared from the district. It is conjectured that Mr. Robertshaw married one of the Briercliffe family. The Robertshaws were living at Burwains before they bought the estate. My correspondent, to whom I am indebted for the major portion of this information, says he has found records showing they were at Burwains in 1725. He thinks it possible that Robertshaw married Grace Briercliffe, the aunt to the Lawrence Briercliffe of the Holme tragedy, and grand-daughter to old Lawrence who built the house, and that it was their son who bought the old home in 1751. One of the Robertshaws, the Rev. Benjamin, was headmaster of the Burnley Grammar School from 1698 to 1728, dying in the latter year at Fulledge House. The Rev. Benjamin Robertshaw added to his other activities that of money-lender, and it is interesting to find among the records of his financial transactions: "June 18th, 1727 - I lent Burwain's wife £5." That apparently would be the wife of Robert Briercliffe. Robert Briercliffe, who sold the estate, is said to have died about December 1st, 1764. This is, in brief, the record of one of the oldest families in the district. From 1200, certainly, and probably from a century firther back, until 1751, they occupied Burwains. The descendants still live at Bolton, Blackburn, and Burnley, and the estate is still held by descendants - assuming that the first of the Robertshaws of Burwains married a Briercliffe, a continuous owenrship by one family of probably over 800 years.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 7:40 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 25, 2008 2:31 pm
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Great information, thanks for posting it Mel. I am always looking out for information on the Robertshaws of Burwains.
Louise


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