GAWTHORPE HALL (pictured left)
As with Towneley, one cannot omit mention of another of the greater houses of the district - Gawthorpe Hall. The hall itself has been described as "one of the most perfect old mansions in England." According to "Old Halls of Lancashire and Cheshire", Gawthorpe "stands near the banks of the Calder, in a fine park, about halfway between Burnley and Padiham. It is a stone house, chiefly built at the end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, in the stately fashion of the period. Gawthorpe was built 1600-1605 by the Rev. Lawrence Shuttleworth, and probably incorporated walls of an older structure. However, in 1850, Sir James Barry was commissioned to undertake structural alterations and some of the rooms were rearranged. The Shuttleworth family have been connected with the Gawthorpe estate since the 14th century, and their influence and wealth continued to increase during the next two centuries. Richard Shuttleworth was born in 1587, and after attending university became Sheriff of Lancashire in 1618, later entering Parliament as member for Preston in 1641. His eldest son, also named Richard, was elected to the same Parliament as member for Clitheroe. On the outbreak of the civil war they became association with the Parliamentary forces hostile to the King, and the elder Richard was made colonel in the forces of Oliver Cromwell. Five of his sons also served with the Parliamentary side, two of them dying before the struggle was over.
In February 1842, Janet Shuttleworth married James Philips Kay, who assumed the name and arms of Shuttleworth in addition to his own. The family motto of the Shuttleworths was "Prudence and Justice", while the motto of the Kay family was "Kind relations once known keep. In 1850 James was made a baronet, no doubt for his work in the field of education, and education was to remain his prime interest. During the life of Sir James and Lady Kay-Shuttleworth at Gawthorpe, Charlotte Bronte visited the hall on two occasions, and it was shortly after her second visit there that she died. On this occasion, in 1855, she and her husband, the Rev. Arthur Bell Nicholls, had visited the hall for the purpose of being interviewed in connection with the offer of a post at the church at Habergham, which Mr. Nicholls was obliged to decline. The couch on which the couple sat during their interview at Gawthorpe is still there. It was also the Shuttleworths who contrived the meeting of Charlotte and Mrs. Gaskell, another famous author of the day, a friendship that was to last until Charlotte's death. Sir James continued to live at Gawthorpe until the death of his wife in] 872. The estates passed to their eldest son, Ughtred, on the death of Lady Shuttleworth, and James went to live in Kirkby Lonsdale, where he died in 1877 at the age of 72. Ughtred married Blanche Marion Woodbine-Parish in 1871, and they had a family of four girls and two boys born between 1872 and 1894. Ughtred was created a baron in 1902 and thereafter was known simply as Lord Shuttleworth. The advent of World War I brought the family tragic loss in the death of both sons, Lawrence and Edward, and this was followed by the deaths in World War II of two more male members in Richard and Ronald.
Their cousin Charles became the fourth Lord Shuttleworth, and he, too, was badly wounded in the Western Desert, and now lives at Leck Hall, near Kirkby Lonsdale. Life at the end of the 19th century and the early 20th century was a colourful and interesting period, with the Sunday morning drive to church of the Shuttleworths in the family carriage and members of the household staff following in the horse drawn wagonette. Lord Shuttleworth, tall and handsome, always led the family into service to take their places in the family pew at the front of the church, the staff occupying the a adjacent pew across the aisle. His Lordship often read the lesson, his strong, resonant voice reverberating round the church and filling every corner of the building, his faultless diction leaving members of the congregation with little doubt about the urgency and importance of the gospel message. Local Habergham gossip was rife - possibly coloured with a little exaggeration - when it was believed that the son of a local cotton manufacturer sought the favours of one of the attractive Shuttleworth girls, and it is said that the pair often snatched a hasty word in the seclusion of one of the larger gravestones in the churchyard at the conclusion of Sunday morning service. However, it is said that the rumour reached the ears of his lordship, who abruptly terminated what may have been a budding romance. The Shuttleworths were generous entertainers and opened the grounds of Gawthorpe to the public at weekends before the advent of Ightenhill Park. There were two entrances to the estate, one in the Habergham area and the other in Padiham opposite the fountain. Each entrance had handsome iron gates containing the family crest adjoining a lodge house.
Garden fetes were held to celebrate the coming in of age of the Shuttleworth children, and these were great and colourful occasions for the youngsters of the district, when each received a souvenir gift, and when the members of the family mixed easily and readily with the visitors. Sir James continued to live at Gawthorpe until the death of his wife in 1872. The estates passed to their eldest son, Ughtred, on the death of Lady Shuttleworth, and James went to live in Kirkby Lonsdale, where he died in 1877 at the age of 72. Ughtred married Blanche Marion Woodbine-Parish in 1871, and they had a family of four girls and two boys born between 1872 and 1894. Ughtred was created a baron in 1902 and thereafter was known simply as Lord Shuttleworth. The advent of World War I brought the family tragic loss in the death of both sons, Lawrence and Edward, and this was followed by the deaths in World War II of two more male members in Richard and Ronald.
Their cousin Charles became the fourth Lord Shuttleworth, and he, too, was badly wounded in the Western Desert, and now lives at Leck Hall, near Kirkby Lonsdale. Life at the end of the 19th century and the early 20th century was a colourful and interesting period, with the Sunday morning drive to church of the Shuttleworths in the family carriage and members of the household staff following in the horsedrawn wagonette. Lord Shuttleworth, tall and handsome, always led the family into service to take their places in the family pew at the front of the church, the staff occupying the adjacent pew across the aisle. His Lordship often read the lesson, his strong, resonant voice reverberating round the church and filling every corner of the building, his faultless diction leaving members of the congregation with little doubt about the urgency and importance of the gospel message. Local Habergham gossip was rife - possibly coloured with a little exaggeration - when it was believed that the son of a local cotton manufacturer sought the favours of one of the attractive Shuttleworth girls, and it is said that the pair often snatched a hasty word in the seclusion of one of the larger gravestones in the churchyard at the conclusion of Sunday morning service. However, it is said that the rumour reached the ears of his lordship, who abruptly terminated what may have been a budding romance. The Shuttleworths were generous entertainers and opened the grounds of Gawthorpe to the public at weekends before the advent of Ightenhill Park. There were two entrances to the estate, one in the Habergham area and the other in Padiham opposite the fountain. Each entrance had handsome iron gates containing the family crest adjoining a lodge house.
Garden fetes were held to celebrate the coming of age of the Shuttleworth children, and these were great and colourful occasions for the youngsters of the district, when each received a souvenir gift, and when the members of the family mixed easily and readily with the visitors. In December 1939, the first Baron Shuttleworth died at the age of 95. However, the district continued to be served by this eminent family in the person of the Hon. Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth, the third daughter, who herself could paint an extremely interesting picture of the Gawthorpe scene. She remembered her mother looking down from the gallery above the dining hall to ascertain that the girls were "diligent at their tasks", and she remembered as a child sitting on Mr. Gladstone's knee. Whether the grand old man of politics actually visited Gawthorpe is not recorded, although as Sir Ughtred was a very active member of Mr. Gladstone's government it is quite possible that he did so. Another of her recollections was of her father taking his four daughters on to the roof at Gawthorpe and, pointing to Pendle Hill, referring to it as "like a lion prostrate". Most of the basement rooms at the hall were used by the staff, and the butler's room had a large safe for the safekeeping of the household silver. The staff bedrooms were at the very top of the house and it must have been a very lively start to the day when the indoor staff, numbering in the region of a dozen or so, would be scampering down the seven flights of stairs to start the domestic chores. Rachel never married, but many old Habergham residents always maintained that her name was at one time romantically linked with a member of a famous and noble family. She worked enthusiastically for every worthwhile cause, but Gawthorpe was probably her first love, and to be taken round the hall by her was an experience in itself. Her knowledge of her subject, her range of vocabulary and her puckish wit held the interest of all. And these assets - combined with her natural and abundant charm - made any visit a very entertaining experience. But age is no respecter of persons, and Rachel's exuberant energy was not inexhaustible, although her vitality belied her years; in April 1967, she rapidly deteriorated in health and died peacefully at her beloved Gawthorpe. It was her wish that the Lancashire County Council took over the lease after Gawthorpe had been given as a deed of gift.
Leslie Chapple 'Romantic Old Houses and Their Tales'
TOWNELEY HALL 'OUR JEWEL IN OUR CROWN'
No local history can omit mention of Towneley Hall and the family, which gave the house its name. From the year 1200, when Geoffrey married the daughter of Roger de Lacy and was granted some land and permission to maintain a dwelling in the area, the name of Towneley has become synonymous with Burnley and district. As generation succeeded generation, the family grew in importance and the value of the estate became more extensive, and some of the more gallant Towneley male members gained distinction on the field of battle in support of their s6vereign and religious faith. In 1415 Richard Towneley fought at the Battle of Agincourt. Another Richard took part in the Battle of Hutton Field in 1482 and was knighted on the field for his endeavours. John Towneley (1473-1541), who built the Towneley domestic chapel, was also knighted on the battlefield and later became Sheriff of Lancashire. The family were staunch adherents to the Catholic faith, and during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I John Towneley steadfastly refused to attend Protestant services. As it was illegal to take part in Catholic Mass, family worship had to be conducted in secret, and for this unlawful behaviour John was imprisoned for long periods in various parts of the country, until finally at the age of 73, and with his eyesight gone, he was ordered to be confined to within a radius of five miles of Towneley. The family continued to defy the religious laws of the land and rigidly clung to their faith, being inflicted with heavy fines in consequence. On the outbreak of the Civil War in 1642, Charles Towneley readily joined forces with the King. When his military unit was forced to retire he took refuge in a cottage in the vicinity of Dyneley to escape his pursuers. Later he rejoined the forces of Prince Rupert and was killed at the Battle of Marston Moor. An interesting sidelight to his death is the account of Dr. Halley in his "History of Nonconformity in Lancashire" related as follows:
"Mrs. Towneley was with her father at Knaresborough when she heard of her husband's fate and came upon the field next morning in order to search for her husband's body while the attendants of the camp were stripping and burying the dead. Here she was accosted by a general officer, to whom she told her melancholy tale. He heard her with great tenderness, but earnestly desired her to leave a place where, beside the distress of witnessing such a scene, she might probably be insulted. She complied and he called a trooper, who took her on her way to Knaresborough she inquired the name of the officer to whose civility she has been indebted, and learned that it was Lieutenant General Cromwell. The next hundred years found the Towneleys still supporting the cause of the Stuarts, and members of the family were implicated in various upsurges and plots against the government of the day. In 1715 Richard Towneley was captured at Preston in such an adventure and was put on trial for his part in the insurgence. However, public opinion, which had been inflamed by the inhuman, treatment meted out to some of the prisoners, came to his aid and the jury acquitted him much to the disapproval of the judge. Francis, the other brother, fared rather worse for his part in the desperate attempt of Bonnie Prince Charlie to regain the throne for the Stuarts. He was colonel of the Manchester Regiment which undertook the defence of Carlisle during the Prince's retreat into Scotland. The measures taken w ere completely inadequate to repulse the superior forces of the Duke of Cumberland and Francis was taken to London to face trial. His cause was hopeless and he was condemned to be hung, drawn and quartered. It is said that he died courageously and his demeanour at the scaffold gave considerable strength to the subordinates who died with him. For a period after his execution his head was displayed on Temple Bar until a faithful family retainer secured possession of it and brought it back to Burnley, where for many years it was kept in a basket covered with a napkin in the drawing room at Towneley Hall. The head was eventually transferred to a cavity behind the oak panelling in the chapel; subsequently, when it was discovered that the head had become discoloured through being in contact with hot-water pipes it was removed and placed in a box in the sanctuary under the altar. However, in 1947 the head was again removed and buried at St. Peter's Church by Bishop Swain. Following the final defeat of the Stuarts at Culloden, the turbulent side of the Towneley history subsided. Charles Towneley (1737-1805) attained some eminence in the field of art, and it was he who collected the famous marble statues, considered the finest private collection ever to come to this country. In 1813 Peregrine Towneley, whose kindly eccentricities endeared him to the local populace, took over the property. Peregrine had two sons, Charles and John, and on his death in 1846 Charles inherited the estates. The youngest daughter of Charles, Alice Mary, eventually became the last of the Towneleys to reside at Towneley Hall, and it was this lady, who became a local legend in her own lifetime, whose generosity enabled Towneley Hall to pass to the people of Burnley forever. She was Lady O'Hagan, and her public life particularly her work in the field of education, in the welfare of children and among the poor and destitute of the area - made her unique in the history of the town. Inside the hall are many features which have been left behind by members of the Towneley family. Scratched on an upstairs window are the words "Know thyself". This brief message is attributed to Mary Elizabeth, a daughter of Colonel John Towneley and cousin of Lady O'Hagan, who later became a nun at Namur in Belgium and died in 1922 after spending more than 40 years in the service of the Catholic Church. Burnt into the floor in a downstairs room are stubbings from the cigars of Lady O'Hagan, who it is believed may have acquired the smoking habit while living in Ireland, where her husband was Chancellor. The hall also contains priests' hiding holes, and there is accommodation for a considerable garrison of troopers in the extreme upper storey of the hall, which is known as "the barracks", this being quite in accordance with the martial traditions of the family. It was in this attic that, Colonel Francis Towneley concealed some of his men before leading them to take part in the cause of the Young Pretender in 1745.
Stories have often been told in the past of mysterious happenings at the hall, but Lady O'Hagan always refuted any such suggestions. Nevertheless, the stories persisted, and there have been unofficial reports of strange phenomenon. Many years ago two of the attendants stated that when checking the rooms at the end of visiting hours they saw a strange uniformed figure disappear before their eyes. On other occasions footsteps have been heard in upper rooms after the visitors have departed and the hall has been deserted. But there is an old story concerning the "Towneley Boggart", and this narrative however unlikely it may seem is related in the Rev. T. Ormerod's "Calderdale", published in 1906. This tale has its origin through an alleged illegal and cruel act on the part of Sir John Towneley. It is said that he was desirous of adding to his already large estate and acquired some common land on which were some cottages inhabited by tenants who were living on the poverty line. They received notice to quit, but refused to do so, and were forcibly ejected. Sympathy for the victims was soon apparent, and - to quote Mr. Ormerod's version - "The popular indignation vented itself, somewhat ineffectively, it must be confessed, by attributing to the spirit of Sir John that restlessness which is ever the penalty of greed, and convinced that his disconsolate spirit ought to be roaming about in distress, they soon brought themselves to the belief that it actually did so. Reports, numerous and convincing, were not wanting, that a Boggart was nightly heard making the most mournful sounds on a bridge, known to Burnley people as Boggart Bridge, nor were these acute observers at a loss to interpret the sounds they heard, and to form from them a confession of Sir John's guilt and a warning to those who should come after him to avoid his evil ways. So real did this Boggart become in the minds of the local folk that they requested the chaplain at Towneley to "lay it", and "lay it" he did by the method of those days of bell and book. However, there was a condition to the finality of the process. In this case it was that the Boggart should never appear as long as there was a green leaf in Hollin Hey Clough. Consequently, this clough was planted with hollies, or holly trees, and apparently this action was the origin of the name. Leslie Chapple 'Romantic Old Houses and Their Tales'
OTHER HALLS AND PLACES OF INTEREST
The Folds family seems to have figured prominently in the Burnley scene up to the close of the 19th century, and throughout that time Danes House (sometimes referred to as Dancer House) was their home. In fact, there is no record that any other family other than the Folds ever occupied the house. It is believed that Danes House was built in the year 1500 and Baines "History of Lancashire" refers to a William Folds who lived there in 1552. However, Mr. W. Bennett in his "History of Burnley" records that a Richard of the Folds tenanted a farm, Daneshouse, as early as 1440, and states: "This farm, named 'Dansey Erse' in 1440 was situated in Biredenhey, from which is derived the modern name Barden. Richard of the Folds is described as a 'forster', or forester, which implies that he was in charge of the deer in a part of Pendle Forest. He enclosed nearly 50 square yards on the east side of Dansey Erse in 1425, and also farmed a quarter of Reedley Hallows". Members of the Folds family seem to have had domestic difficulties throughout the years, for in 1518 the head of the Woodruffe family of Bank Hall took issue with the Folds concerning a boundary fence between their properties, an issue which did not appear to have been satisfactorily settled, for in 1558 later generations of the two families reopened the controversy, and a jury had to decide that the Folds must retreat to their former boundary. In 1685 John Folds appears to have been concerned in another domestic affray, for the halmot court assigned John Sagar of Coal Clough and Bernard Bancroft of Habergham Eaves to act as trustees to ensure that John "maintain his elder brother William during his natural life", failing which he (John) would surrender a considerable amount of his property at Daneshouse. Whether John eventually fulfilled his obligations is not recorded.
Danes House was located roughly at the top of Brougham Street on the north side of the town. It was a two storeyed building of gritstone, shaped like a letter "F", and had two gables with no central position. Its mullioned windows were low and square headed and the roof was of stone slates. However, in 1886 the local authority decided that Danes House did not measure up to "modern" standards and consequently it was demolished, being replaced by a factory. The Folds family occupied the house until the time it was demolished, and the housekeeper told an interesting story not many years before the house was taken down. This lady was escorting the family children to bed, at the same time carrying some household linen. As she reached the head of the stairs she saw what she believed to be a dark-skinned man move across the corridor in front of her. She raised the alarm, but a search of the upstairs rooms revealed nothing. Nevertheless, the poor woman could not be convinced that her imagination had not played her tricks. Leslie Chapple 'Romantic Old Houses and Their Tales'
Ridgend House has long been demolished, but originally it was a farmstead of substantial structure similar in character to the Elizabethan styles of Hurstwood Hall and Barcroft. It stood on land which is now part of Queen's Park and belonged to the Tattersalls, who were a family of considerable wealth and substance in the 15th century. But family quarrels dissipated their fortunes to a large extent, and in 1719 the property was sold to the Claytons of Carr Hall. Eventually it was acquired by the Thursby's of Ormerod, and in 1888 the land was donated to Burnley Corporation for conversion into a park for use of Burnley townspeople. According to "Memories of Hurstwood", in old times a way led from the high road t6 Ridgend House, and legend had it that along this road a team of invisible horses was often heard galloping, at dead of night, towards the Ridge House. It was the traditional belief of local folk that there was once a wainhouse on the road belonging to Rowley Hall and that the driver of a team was murdered early one morning as he was starting for Halifax and his murderer was never discovered. The invisible horses were, it is presumed, the spirits of the teamster's horses, reminding men that their murdered master was still un-avenged and his assassin was at large. As they have not been heard by living man, perhaps the phenomena ceased with the death of the murderer, now long since gone to his account.
Leslie Chapple 'Romantic Old Houses and Their Tales'
The old house of Ormerod is pleasantly situated on a bank overlooking the Brun behind, and with a gently sloping sweep of meadowland in front. It is not so ancient as some of its neighbours, but in comfort and homeliness and by reason of its beautiful situation and interesting associations it may well rank with the best of the old mansions in the locality." So wrote the Rev. T. Ormerod in his old book, Calderdale. Ormerod House was built by Lawrence Ormerod and his wife Elizabeth (formerly Barcroft) in 1595, although the Ormerod family dates back as far as the year 1270. Some portions of the house remained in existence, although much of the exterior was altered in 1758. However, the interior was modernised, with the exception of a l7thcentury mantelpiece in one of the rooms. The male line of the Ormerods ended in the year 1793 with the death of Lawrence Ormerod, whose daughter married Colonel Hargreaves. They spent most of their married life at Ormerod House, and during that time they made several alterations to the house, adding a western porch in Elizabethan style, and also an arch with a chevron ornament similar to the ancient archway at Barcroft. When Colonel Hargreaves died in 1834 his two daughters became tenants for life, the reversion passing to the Rev. W. Thursby, who had married his elder daughter. They continued to live at Ormerod and so the old house became the home of the Thursby's. The Rev. and Mrs. W. Thursby were generous benefactors and gave the land on which the Victoria Hospital now stands, plus large financial assistance towards the hospital's erection. Born in 1826, their son, John Hardy Thursby, was a pillar of Victorian respectability, a resolute character, a generous benefactor and a gentleman who enjoyed widespread respect and deep affection from all classes of society. He was twice married, and was for many years a magistrate. He was elevated to a baronet in Queen Victoria's Jubilee Year.
Sir John died in Cannes in 1901 after a period of indifferent health, and shortly before his death he wrote to a friend that he missed the bright fires that came from Lancashire coal. Flags were flown at half-mast throughout Burnley as a mark of respect. He was buried at Holme, and was succeeded by his son, John Ormerod Scarlett Thursby. Ormerod House was honoured by a royal visit in October 1886, when Prince Albert Victor made the journey to Burnley for the purpose of opening Victoria Hospital. He arrived in the early evening of October 12th, performed the opening ceremony on the 13th and made his departure on the 14th. While at Ormerod he expressed delight at what he described as its "quaint rooms and she showed great interest in some of the historic relics contained in the house. Unfortunately, his visit to Burnley was to be one of His Royal Highness's last public functions, for he died shortly afterwards. Another interesting treasure contained in the house was a panel bearing the emblem of the Spenser family, which was originally in their home in nearby Hurstwood. Some controversy surrounding this panel has arisen in the past because it is unlikely that the family merited a coat-of-arms, but there is little doubt that the Spensers themselves adopted some family emblem and this eventually found a home at Ormerod. The panel was removed at the sale of the Thursby estate in the early 1920's, possibly by members of the Thursby family. It is believed that the panel was later sold at Christies, and its whereabouts are unknown. There were also many valuable items of furniture in the house. The old house of Ormerod stood at the end of a half-mile long driveway entered from the Burnley-Mereclough road just past Salterford Lane and was surrounded by delightful gardens and attractive woodland. It was unoccupied for many years, but in 1939 Mr. and Mrs. J. G. Coates purchased the property from the Towneley Coal and Fireclay Company. The Coates family occupied the house until 1946, when the enemy of so many of these lovely old houses - mining subsidence - made it necessary to demolish this fine old building. However, the stables and other outbuildings were not affected and were converted into six very attractive dwellings which some members of the Coates family still occupy. Leslie Chapple 'Romantic Old Houses and Their Tales'
In 1902, Mr. James Pollard wrote: "Heasandford - or Pheasantford - belonged to Oliver de Stansfield in 1310 and passed by marriage to the Haydocks in 1532, and was afterwards purchased by Mr. Hargreaves of Ormerod in 1745. Its walls are 4ft. thick. The rooms are low with low rude beams, and part of the staircase remains with massive oak rails. The arms of the Haydocks are in good preservation over the principal entrance. Since that was written many alterations have taken place at Heasandford House, and it now comprises three dwellings, while the farm and former stables provide another two homes. At one time a gallery ran the whole length of the house, and in one of the cellars there is a well that provides a constant supply of water, the source of which is unknown. Some years ago a builder repairing the roof expressed the opinion that the tree4ronk timbers were at least 600 years old. In many old documents Heasandford is referred to as Pheasantford, while others opine that the name is derived from Hey - sand - ford, meaning "field beside the sandy ford". However there is little doubt that the house is one of the oldest in the locality. One wing is composed of deep irregular masonry, which at least dates from the days when the house was used by Oliver de Stansfield. Oliver also held property in Worsthorne and was Member of Parliament as far back as 1311. He is buried at St. Peter's Churchyard. The manor was originally held by "Henry the Clerk of Bronley", who about the year 120 had possession of an estate "between the rivulet flowing through the midst of Bronley and the field called Saxifield". The estate was granted to Oliver de Stansfield in 1311,who was a free tenant, paying only one penny per annum, and in the reign of Henry VII it was in the possession of Geoffrey Stansfield. The last of the Stansfield line, Johanna, married Simon Haydock, who came from a Burnley farming family. The Haydocks of Heasandford seem to have gained in wealth and importance during their time there, and in 1557 Simon Haydock was summoned to the Duchy court to answer charges made by a member of the Towneley family concerning the 0wnershipof some property. In the mid~1 7th century the Haydocks were still an important name in the township, and at the turn of the 18th century John Haydock was a local justice. When the house was divided is not known, but in 1922 on the sale of the Thursby estate, the house was sold as three separate homes. Leslie Chapple 'Romantic Old Houses and Their Tales'
When Canon Arthur Towneley-Parker, Rector of Burnley, died in 1902, an era ended, for Royle Hall, which had been his home for many years, had been the centre of Church life in Burnley for many generations, and the lives of Canon Townley-Parker and his predecessor in office, Archdeacon Master, had spanned three quarters of a century of residence in the hall. According to Dr. Whitaker, the name "Royle" meant ryelands, and the location was designated thus because of the cultivation of rye in the vicinity. Ancient documents give the name as Role, Role, Role and Rowel, and the possibility is that Royle obtained its name from the original owner, Rail, of Nor The earliest mention of Royle was towards the end of the 13th century, when this district was referred to as Rohille. However, in the early 15th century John Parker of Ightenhill took 40 acres of meadowland and wood in Burnley called Roell, the land being eventually sold to a certain Robert Clarke, who had a son, John, and a daughter, Margaret. His son move into Yorkshire, and on Robert's death the land became the property of Margaret, who by this time had become the wife of Richard Towneley, son of Nicholas Towneley of Towneley, and it was in this way that the Royle branch of the Towneley family came into possession of Royle Hall. The hall, built in the 16th century, was somewhat different to the more opulent residences of the day, but it was nonetheless a structure of architectural good taste. The Townleys of Royle were one of the wealthiest families in the district at that time, and at least nine generations of the family lived at Royle over a period of more than 200 years. None of the family appears to have taken any important part in the life of the town, and only the Rev. Edmund Townley, who became the Rector of Slaidburn, reached any position of importance.
When he died at Royle in 1729 he left a large portion of his estate to Burnley Parish Church, where his family had great influence. In the year 1750 Robert Parker of Extwistle married Anne Townley of Royle, and so came into being the name Townley-Parker. It appears that the houses of Royle and Extwistle were vacated by the respective families about the same time, and the only Townley-Parker to occupy the hall subsequently was Canon Arthur Townley-Parker, and this only by virtue of his incumbency at St. Peter's. From the time of the death of Canon Townley-Parker in 1902 until 1915 the hall remained unoccupied, when its owner, Mr. R. A. Tatton, J.P., who was a relation of Canon Townley-Parker by marriage, decided on its demolition. Fortunately, the hall was not completely demolished and part of what were formerly the staff quarters were retained, along with the barn, stables and other outbuildings. Much of the garden is still in existence and there is a preservation order on the adjoining woodlands. Royle is still an attractive and picturesque setting in spite of its proximity to modern commercialised industry. Royle Hall was undoubtedly one of the most attractive buildings in the district, charmingly situated in a most delightful position overlooking the Calder. Many alterations were made throughout its existence, but the house retained its considerable attraction, with large mullioned windows looking over a beautiful terraced garden that sloped down to the river. The building had three gables, the centre one of which contained a clock directly over the porched font door. The approach to the hall before the encroachment of the industrial revolution must have been a delightful drive. Starting at Royle Road, just beyond the meeting of the Calder and the Brun, the route would be a more or less riverside path right through into what is now Victoria Terrace, and so on past Crow Wood to ~ demolition of the old hall, the house was rented by Mr. W. Parker, a local solicitor, following which Mr. Jackson of Crow Wood, bought it from the Tatton estates. Subsequently, Mr. T. 0. Hitchen purchased the property, and it is now a residence of charm and good taste.
Leslie Chapple 'Romantic Old Houses and Their Tales'
Philip Gilbert Hamerton, one of the foremost art and architectural connoisseurs of his day, who once stayed at The Holme, said of the building: 'The house is very beautiful with carved oak, tapestry, mullioned windows, old portraits and stained glass, and just the old-world surroundings that I have always loved, and it nestles quietly in an open space in the bottom of a beautiful valley, between steep hills, with miles of walks in the woods. if ever I have been in danger of coveting my neighbour's house, it has been there..."It is easy to understand this view of Mr. Hamerton when one visits the old house and sees the old-world charm that permeates the whole atmosphere of the building. The flagged floor, the beautiful carvings, the rich panelling, mullioned windows are still there. The ornate window on the stairs, which contains fragments of the Italian painted glass, which originally formed part of the east window at Whalley Abbey, is also there. This glass was rescued some centuries later by the historian Whitaker from the bed of the River Calder where it had been thrown during the dissolution of the monasteries. Like many of the old halls in the district, The Holme was originally a timbered structure, and part of it, notably the West End, remained so until the beginning of the 18th century. However, about the year 1603 the centre and eastern wing were rebuilt of stone, but the West Side, containing the priest's hideout, retained its original form until about 1717. In the mid 19th century many extensions were made by Thomas Hordern Whitaker and these were mostly at the rear of the house. The Holme at one time had its own water supply with a sophisticated piping arrangement, and it was estimated that in the early 20th century one ton of coal per week was necessary to heat 42 rooms in the winter months. The first mention of a Whitaker was about 1337, when a certain Richard Whitaker, who was believed to have come from Padiham, settled in the Holme area.
But The Holme was in the possession of the Whitaker family from 1431 until 1959, when the link was broken and the house bought by Mr. and Mrs. E. Halstead. The Whitakers appear to have been a long line of scholars, and probably the two most illustrious were Dr. William Whitaker, the Cambridge professor of Reformation Days, and Dr. Thomas Dunham Whitaker, who wrote among other things the famous "History of Whalley", besides being a celebrated antiquary. There was also Robert Nowell Whitaker, who was Vicar of Whalley until his death. Dr. William Whitaker was born at The Holme in 1547. It is believed that he was born in the room to the right of the entrance, which was later converted into an entertaining room. He went to school in Burnley and subsequently went to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he took his degree, later obtaining the M.A. and B.D. But his greatest triumph, was when he was appointed Regius Professor of Cambridge. Following this he was given the mastership of St. John's College. His religious views leaned towards Puritanism, and one of his more vigorous adversaries was the Roman Catholic Cardinal Bellarmine, who referred to him as "the most learned heretic I have ever read". Dr. Whitaker's portrait was even hung in the library at the Vatican. He was described as a rigid Calvanist and possessed the rare virtues of charity and humility. He was twice married and on each occasion to a lady with Puritan background. At the age of 46 he contracted a fever and died, leaving a wife and eight children. It is believed that Queen Elizabeth I intended to purchase his library with a view to helping his family, though there is no record that she ever did so. Thomas Dunham Whitaker, the historian, lived more than 200 years later, arid he settled at The Holme in 1782, becoming Vicar of Whalley and Blackburn.
Thomas was very attached to The Holme and it is said that he planted nearly half a million trees on the estate. He even selected the tree in the grounds from which the wood to make his own coffin was used. He provided the funds for the building of the church at Holme and Cliviger. The last member of the Whitaker family to reside at The Holme was Mrs. Eleanor Macnamara, who was great-granddaughter of Thomas Dunham Whitaker and whose granddaughter Patricia inherited the house on Mrs. Macnamara's death. However, Patricia decided to dispose of the property in 1959. This venerable old house projects an atmosphere of timeless gentility that no doubt has been engendered over the past centuries by its background of learning and serenity. Members of distant branches of the Whitaker family have 'visited The Holme frequently in the past, and one such branch that emigrated to America generations ago regularly makes the journey to see the ancestral home. It is claimed that the house is haunted by the ghost of a monk or priest who has been seen by past members of the household staff who encountered this unknown intruder on an upstairs corridor. However, Mr. and Mrs. Halstead are convinced that he is a friendly ghost with no hint of mischief or malice. Leslie Chapple 'Romantic Old Houses and Their Tales'
Although Burnley was never the venue for any decisive or major engagement during the civil war of 1642, there were minor clashes in the area between the forces of King Charles I and Cromwell. Patrols and detachments of both sides were in the town at different times, and although Oliver Cromwell himself is reported to have passed through the area, there is no firm evidence that he ever visited Burnley. John Halstead of Rowley Hall lent support to the Parliamentary side through his allegiance with the Shuttleworth's of Gawthorpe. In this he agreed, along with other local family heads, to supply men and arms. Nevertheless, John, unwittingly and certainly unwillingly, supported the King's cause when, following a skirmish at Haggate in 1644 between the forces of Prince Rupert and the Parliamentarians, when losses were incurred on both sides, the Cavaliers removed "five beasts" from his Swinden field and stole a horse from Rowley.
On another occasion he was also relieved of 10 oxen and two other beasts and "the plunder of my house at their pleasure which I know not how to value. John Halstead built Rowley Hall in 1593 and it took the p lace of an old farmhouse. In the mid-16th century there was an estate of about 17 acres, but a hundred years later there were over 70 acres of farmland. Rowley is situated at the extreme north-west of the town about one and a half miles out of the township. It consisted of a two-storeyed stone built house, with mullioned windows and balled gables. The front faces south and it has a projecting gabled porch. There are some stone shields on which are the initials of John Halsted and his wife Mary (formerly Sellars), with the. date September 27th, 1593. Over the years large additions have been made, and it has been considerably enlarged and modernised, but the south gables still retain their own mullioned windows. Another interesting feature about Rowley is that the roadway from Netherwood to Brownside bridge originally passed in front of the house and this road was in use until about 1800. Leslie Chapple 'Romantic Old Houses and Their Tales'
St. Peter's Vicarage in the mid-l8th century, Bank House formerly stood at the corner of Bankhouse Street and Curzon Street where the County Court and offices now are. Originally it was a timbered 15th-century farmhouse surrounded by considerable tracts of farmland. The property was owned by Ralph Pearson, whose great-granddaughter Elizabeth married George Halstead. Her right to the estate was challenged by Elizabeth's great-uncle in 1504, but the court ruled in her favour because their was no male heir. Hence the name of Halstead became associated with Bank House. The family became an important one in Burnley, and they had the house rebuilt in 1721, only to sell it to the trustees of St. Peter's Church 11 years later for use as a parsonage. The house was demolished in 1906. Leslie Chapple 'Romantic Old Houses and Their Tales'
Of all the historical houses in the locality, few can be more absorbing or full of character than the early-17th century hall of the Barcroft family. Situated in a secluded hollow between Mereclough and Cliviger and about a mile distance (as the crow flies) from Towneley, this romantic hall was on the verge of ruin due to mining subsidence, but has gradually been restored to some of its former charm. When Burnley Corporation acquired Towneley Hall from Lady O'Hagan in 1901 her ladyship as her new home chose Barcroft Hall, but she changed her plans later and moved to The Hollins. Barcroft, which had fallen into disrepair, was put up for sale, and the Rawsthorne's, a farming family from Hurstwood, bought the property and have lived there ever since. The main feature of the house is its fine banqueting hall, with its long mullioned windows, flagged floor and attractive inglenook of immense size in fact, large enough to allow a large family to sit round the blazing log fire, in comfort. At the opposite end of the room is a fine minstrels' gallery running the length of the wall. The size of this elegant example of the Elizabethan era is 36ft. by 24ft. and is 14ft. high. The plan of the house is shaped in the "F" style, supposedly in deference to the Virgin Queen, and an inscription over the doorway States simply: "William Barcroft 1614." However, this porched doorway was formerly a window, and the original doorway is in a corner to the left. It has been recorded that William the Conqueror donated land to an ancestor of the Barcrofts for services rendered to the Conqueror, and the hall, built on the site of an older house, was erected by William and Susan Barcroft in 1614, although part of it is even earlier.
The Barcroft family occupied a high position among the local gentry during the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, but on the death of William in 1620 it seems that the family influence began to wane. He left one daughter and three sons, the second of whom was described as an idiot. With regard to this unfortunate second son, tradition has it that he was imprisoned in the hall by the younger brother, who, by spreading the report that he was insane, endeavoured to obtain possession of the property. He confined his brother in a chamber or cellar beneath the hall, where the unfortunate youth became demented. It is said that his inhumane brother was one night entertaining friends in the banqueting hall when the lunatic burst into the room upon the revellers and pronounced a curse on the estate and family prophesying that the hall should pass into strangers' hands and the race of Barcroft become extinct, which curse, in the neighbourhood at least, was soon fulfilled. On the walls of the cellar below the house were scratched disjointed words and sentences said to have been written by the lunatic, but the cellar has been filled in for many years now. Records show that the names of the three sons were Robert (1598-1647), the eldest; William, the lunatic, died 1641, and Thomas, who died in 1668. Thomas had one son and three daughters, but as the son died in childhood the estate passed to one of the daughters, Elizabeth, who married Henry Bradshaw, of Cheshire. The property passed through various descendants until the last member, Thomas Bradshaw Isherwood, who was unmarried, died in 1791, whereupon his executors, in 1795, sold the hall to Charles Towneley, the celebrated antiquary. Thus the estate be came the property of the Towneleys. An interesting feature of the Barcroft story is that the high table now on exhibition in the main hall at Towneley Hall formerly stood under the window in Barcroft Hall. Dated 1613, the table is inscribed "W.B., S.B."
One tradition of the Barcroft family is that one of their number, William, was a major in Cromwell's army and was offered an estate in Athlone for his services. This he refused because he had in the meantime become a member of the Society of Friends, and he could not accept what had been acquired by the sword. The estate was then offered to and accepted by his second in command, the ancestor of the present Lord Castlemaine. John Barcroft, son of the major, became a well-known Quaker, and made many visits to these parts, and visited the birthplace of his father on at least two occasions. He died in 1723. Since that time other descendants of the family have visited Barcroft, and not many years ago one of the family from Ireland actually spent the night at the hall at his own request. The following story is a very ancient one, and probably dates from a time long before the present Barcroft Hall was built. It is said that the farmer's wife at Barcroft on rising in the morning would often find the house swept clean, the fire lighted and other household matters attended to by unseen hands. One cold winter's night the farmer called out from his bedroom to his son to rise and fetch in the sheep into the barn for shelter, when a small squeaking voice called up the stairs: "I'll do it!" After a short time the small voice was again heard, crying out: "I've done it, but there was a little brown one that gave me more trouble than all the others." On examination the following morning the farmer found that a fine hare had been housed with the sheep. Mortal eyes had as yet never seen the boggart who had proved himself so useful to the household, till the farmer's son, filled with curiosity to see him, bored a hole through the oaken boards of the ceiling above the chamber where the boggart appeared. Peeping through the hole early one morning, he saw a little shrivelled man barefooted, sweeping the floor. Thinking to perform an act of kindness, the boy got a pair of small clogs made for the old man, and placing them by the fireside at night, he rose early in the morning on purpose to look through the hole and see how his well-meant gift was accepted. The elf walked up to the clogs and took them in its hand, and looking at them carefully, it said: "New clogs, new wood, t'hob Thurs will never do any more good." After this everything went wrong in the household. Mischief of every kind was found each morning - pots broken, cows sick, and, to crown all, the bull was found across the ridging of the house when the farmer rose early one morning for his day's work.
His patience gave way at this last signal proof of the boggart's malevolence, and, picking up his goods, he determined to leave the luckless house. Having loaded a cart with furniture, he proceeded on his way across a small bridge at the bottom of the dough, when he heard a small voice from beneath calling out: "Stop while I've tied my clogs and I'll go with you." "Nay", replied the farmer, "if tha'at going with me, I'll go back again." Leslie Chapple 'Romantic Old Houses and Their Tales'
HURSTWOOD VILLAGE AND ITS HOUSES
The tiny village of Hurstwood, nestling cosily by the banks of the Brun, has changed little over the years. This beautiful little haven is situated just a few miles outside Burnley centre. The Towneleys, Spensers and the Tattersalls seem to have figured prominently in the historical background of the hamlet, and it is difficult to visualise a local area more conducive to romanticism, folklore and legend a couple 9f centuries ago. Tattersall's House is the oldest building in the village, but Spenser's House and Hurstwood Hall which are only slightly the younger seem to be more identified in the annals of Hurstwood and arouse more interest to visitors. The principal house in Hurstwood is, of course, Hurstwood Hall, a building in the early Jacobean style, although considerably modernised during the last few years. Originally it was built by Barnard Towneley in the year 1579, as appears from the inscription over the main entrance: "Barnardvs Townley et Agnes Uxor Ejus, 1579". Barnard Towneley was a member of the Towneley family of Towneley Hall, and his wife Agnes was an Ormerod of Ormerod Hall. According to information derived from a pleading in the Duchy of Lancaster's Court, now at the Record Office, it appears that Barnard Towneley was an architect and builder, and therefore there appears to be little doubt that he would build his own house at Hurstwood. The hall stands in a commanding situation, not far from the edge of a steep clough, just at the point where Thorndean water meets the Brun. In the times of Barnard Towneley this venerable house w as doubtless one of the best in the neighbourhood, and, although the fine oak panelling which once covered the walls has long since disappeared along with the inner fabric, the structure of the house is of such strength and solidity that it appears almost indestructible. Nowadays the hall has taken on a more modern look, but it still retains the architectural style and quality of its origin. On the other side of the lane leading to Foxstones, and opposite Spenser's House, is a plain oblong building, now occupied as a cottage, that is believed to have been built at the same time as the hall. It is generally supposed that this building was intended as a chapel, or possibly a school. It is thought that Edmund Spenser visited Hurstwood between the years of 1576 and 1579, after leaving Cambridge, for there is reliable evidence that he was in London in 1579. Tradition has it that Edmund was "deeply enamoured" by a local girl by the name of Rosalinde, who lived in a small cottage known as "The Rock" (or Rock Hall), which was situated at the lower part of the glen where the stream fills into a natural rocky basin, although it was never conclusively proved who this young lady was.
Spenser's House is built in a very substantial manner, almost entirely of millstone grit, with a quaint square porch, which was possibly added after the house had been finished. The first room to the left was originally a small chamber with a massive stone fireplace and an oaken roof. In this chamber was formerly a curious carved panel that later found its way to Ormerod Hall. This panel contained the emblem of Spenser of Hurstwood -"Quarterly, argent and gules, on the second and third quarters a frette or over all a band sable, charged with three fleur de lis, argent. The house is structurally the same today, but modernisation in 'a minor form has been introduced in the interior with several of the original features apparent, including the flag floors. The dining room contains what must be one of the few coffered ceilings in the area and certainly one of the most attractive. In poetry, Spenser makes no direct reference to Lancashire, yet he describes terrain similar to that surrounding Hurstwood, quoting high hills and moorland, with deep vales filled with the music of falling waters. There is proof that the Spenser family lived in Hurstwood from the year 1292 to 1690, when John Spenser sold the old house to Oliver Ormerod of Hurstwood and his son Laurence. After leaving Lancashire, Edmund Spenser went to live in the solitude of Kilcolman Castle, and while he was in residence there he was visited by Sir Walter Raleigh. Spenser is buried at Poets' Corner in Westminster. The Rev. T. Ormerod in his "Calderdale" describes Tattersall's House: "It is a long, low building massively built of huge blocks of millstone grit, and apparently well able to withstand the storms of time as it was when Henry VIII was king. It is one of the oldest buildings in the village, being at least contemporaneous with its neighbour, Spenser's House, which was in existence before Hurstwood Hall. The main entrance is of the sturdy Norman style, and gives immediate access to the chief living room, a commodious kitchen, with low ceiling, massive oaken rafters and yawning fireplace, conveying a sense of warmth, rude comfort and homeliness." The house has altered little in the exterior structure, but is now divided into four cottages. The name of Tattersall appears in the very early records of Hurstwood, and a descendant of the family, a certain Rychard Tattersall, was one of about a dozen local men who were called upon by no less a person than King Henry VIII to subsidise the royal exchequer after a spate of extravagance, among which was the celebrated Field of the Cloth of Gold. Another Richard, grandson of Rychard, married one of the Barcrofts of Barcroft Hall. This member of the Tattersalls was called upon to support Queen Elizabeth, along with several other local yeomen, each having to supply his own weapons. Hence the family must have been considered to he of some importance. A later member of the family, yet another Richard, born in 1724, second son of Edmund and Ann Tattersall, was educated at Burnley Grammar School, and was a sturdy supporter of the Young Pretender, and it is said that he was only prevented at the last moment from joining the insurgents by the intervention of his father. Because of this the lad left home and later joined the household of the Duke of Kingston. He was passionately fond of horses, and later took up the business as auctioneer after renting premises at Hyde Park Corner, London. From this modest beginning, Tattersall's Ring has become the biggest name in the world of horse racing and the turf.
Leslie Chapple 'Romantic Old Houses and Their Tales'
In 1190, Richard Malbisse, a Norman baron, was in possession of Extwistle, but later it became the property of the Kirkstall and Newbo abbeys. It was subsequently leased to John Parker of Monk Hall, and Richard Towneley. On the dissolution of the monasteries in 1537 it was acquired by William Ramsden, and then resold to Robert Parker. Standing high on Extwistle Moor roughly halfway between Haggate and Worsthorne, Extwistle Hall was built in the 16th century in the Tudor style, and another wing was added later. The Parker family gained prominence in local affairs, and two of its members became sheriffs of the county. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I the dubious sport of bullbaiting was at its height and a bullring was situated in the vicinity of the hall. The bullstone, a bulky piece of millstone grit is now built into a nearby wall.
There is little doubt that Edmund Spenser made the journey from nearby Hurstwood to witness the sport, and a verse from "The Faerie Queen" lends credence to this fact.
"Like a wylde bull that, being at a bay,
Is bayted of a mastiffe and a hound,
Any a curre-dog, that doe him sharpe assay
On every side, and beat about him round".
The Parker family lived at the hall for about 200 years, and it was a curious but tragic accident that severed their association with Extwistle. On Thursday, March 17th, 1718, Captain Robert Parker went out shooting on a day that turned out to be wet and stormy. Consequently at the end of the day's sport he returned to the house thoroughly drenched with rain. He removed his greatcoat and laid it in front of the fire to dry. Unfortunately, he had omitted to remove his powder flask that still contained a large quantity of gunpowder and the result was that an explosion took place. Captain Parker, along with two of his daughters ,Mary Townley and Betty Atkinson, and a child, were seriously injured, and there was considerable damage to the dining room in which the accident happened, and two other rooms were set on fire. Unfortunately, Captain Parker succumbed to his injuries and died a month later. After this tragedy the family moved to another residence, Cuerden Hall, and the old house at Extwistle appears to have been abandoned to dilapidation, although part of it was occupied as a farmhouse. A more unlikely tale records that the same Captain Parker, when returning from a Jacobite meeting late one evening, saw a goblin funeral procession pass through the gate at the top of Netherwood Fields.
The ghostly cavalcade passed of on in deep silence, a train of little men bearing the coffin, on top of which, as it passed, he saw his own name inscribed. In 1902, in a lecture to the Burnley Literary and Scientific Club, Mr. Tattersall Wilkinson, the sage of Roggerham, said: "In bygone days it was a generally accepted superstition that the devil could be raised by reciting the Lord's Prayer backwards, and woe betide the raisers who did not manage to give him a task he could not do. It is said that some country people raised his satanic majesty at Lee Green, near Extwistle. In this instance he accomplished every task put before him. Terror and dismay filled the minds of the unlucky bumpkins as the time was fast drawing nigh when he would claim his recompense. At this awful moment they bethought themselves to fetch a priest from Towneley, who arrived just in the nick of time when the devil vanished in a flash of lightning at the sight of his mortal enemy, who duly laid the foe of man with bell and book at the foot of Lee Green Scar, where he rests till this day. Sadly this once fine hall is now in decay, if nothing is done, and done quickly it will be lost forever.
Leslie Chapple 'Romantic Old Houses and Their Tales'
SEE PHOTO PAGE FOR PICTURES OF SOME OF THESE OLD HALLS.