Townships
Mellor

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Victoria County History

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William Farrer & J. Brownbill (editors)

Year published

1911

Pages

260-263

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'Townships: Mellor', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6 (1911), pp. 260-263. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=53112 Date accessed: 25 October 2014.


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MELLOR

Meluer, Meluir, Meleire, xii-xv cent.

Mellor and Eccleshill were rated as a joint township until the end of the 17th century. A speculatory fort of the Roman period stands upon the summit of Mellor Moor, a hill from which the place derives its name, and from whence the Welsh hills and the Isle of Man are visible in clear weather. From this elevation, which forms the western spur of Ramsgreave Heights and rises 732 ft. above the ordnance datum, the land slopes steeply down to Tottering Brook and Showley Brook on the north, where the elevation is less than 300 ft., to Mellor Brook on the west and to Arley Brook on the south. Ramsgreave lies to the east and Blackburn to the south-east. Around the hamlet of Mellor and on the south-eastern slopes the subsoil consists of the Millstone Grit; on the summit of Mellor Moor and over the northern and western part of the township, of the Yoredale rocks. The soil is heavy and of a clayey nature, the land mostly meadow and pasture, the returns showing only 10½ acres of arable land, with 1,565 acres of permanent grass and 15 of woods and plantations. (fn. 1)

The modern high road from Preston to Blackburn traverses the township, and the road from Preston to Clitheroe touches the north-eastern corner. From the village of Mellor Brook a road runs through the village of Mellor leading over the Ramsgreave Heights to Whalley. The nearest railway station is at Blackburn, 4 miles distant. The area is 1,743 acres, and in 1901 the population numbered 1,111 persons. (fn. 2)

As in other places around Blackburn there has been during the last seventy years a gradual drift of the textile population from the country districts into the town of Blackburn. In 1831 the population of this township was almost double that in 1901. At the present time agriculture is the principal employment. There is a large cotton mill in the village of Mellor and another at Mellor Brook, and stone quarries at Abbott's Delf. A mineral spring at Elswick possesses medicinal properties.

There is a parish council.

Manors

MELLOR formed a constituent part of the knight's fee of which Robert Banastre was enfeoffed by Henry de Lacy about the year 1165, Walton-le-Dale being the principal member, and was held of the lords of that manor, who in turn held of the honor of Clitheroe. The proportionate service for Mellor was the sixteenth part of a knight's fee and 8d. yearly rent, presumably for ward of Lancaster Castle. (fn. 3) Probably before this infeudation the Marseys, lords of Bolton-le-Moors, had acquired rights here and in Lower Darwen and Eccleshill, in respect of which rents were afterwards paid yearly to the bailiff of the hundred of Salford, that from Mellor being 4s. In 1230 Roger son of Ranulf de Marsey sold his rights in these manors and elsewhere in the county to Ranulf Earl of Chester and Lincoln, from whom they passed to William de Ferrers, lord between Ribble and Mersey. (fn. 4) This explains the collection of these rents by the Salfordshire bailiff.

The Cheshire family of Honford held the manor during the 13th century by subinfeudation by the Banastres. Richard de Honford occurs about 1220 and Henry in 1246. (fn. 5) The latter enfeoffed Henry son of Adam de Blackburn of land here adjoining to Showley, as will be seen below. William son of Henry de Honford also gave lands here to Adam son of Adam de Blackburn. (fn. 6) Henry de Boseden son of William de Boseden, or de Honford, alienated the manor before 1292 to John Deuyas, (fn. 7) from whom it descended to the Southworths of Samlesbury, who held it for many generations. (fn. 8) In 1445–6 Richard Southworth held it by the sixteenth part of a knight's fee, and in the time of Edward IV gave puture to the sheriff in respect of his mansion here. (fn. 9)

In 1610, shortly before his death, John Southworth purchased the manor from his sister Ellen and her husband William Dewhurst, to whom it appears to have been given or demised at their marriage. In 1664 John Southworth, grandson of the last named, who had succeeded to the Samlesbury estates on the death of his cousin Thomas Southworth in 1641, joined with his cousins Elizabeth and Jane in conveying this manor to trustees for sale. (fn. 10) There is some uncertainty as to the immediate purchaser, but very shortly after this date the manor was held by William Yates of Blackburn, who died in 1684. In 1746 and 1748 Mr. Maghull (or 'Maile') Yates was in possession, (fn. 6) in 1779 Elizabeth his widow; but towards the end of the year Mr. William Higginbotham answered to the bailiff of Salford Hundred for the manorial rent of 4s. (fn. 12)

Towards the end of the 18th century Mr. Henry Sudell of Blackburn purchased the manor and several estates, and imparked a portion of them with contiguous lands in Pleasington and Samlesbury to form Woodfold Park, in the midst of which stands Woodfold Hall, the modern manor-house of Mellor. (fn. 13) The park is inclosed by a stone wall 4 miles in circuit and 9 ft. in height. Mr. Sudell held a court leet for the manor until 1827, when commercial difficulties necessitated the sale of portions of the estate. The manor and that part of the park lying in Mellor had been settled upon Mr. Sudell's children, and were sold in 1831 to Mr. John Fowden Hindle, a few months before the latter's death. His son John Fowden Hindle was Sheriff of Lancaster in 1844 and died in 1849. His brother and successor Mr. William Fowden Hindle died four years later, leaving as heir his daughter Mary Jane, married in 1839 to Mr. George Frederick Gregory. The manor and the Woodfold Park estates were sold about 1878 to Mr. Robert Daniel Thwaites of Blackburn, at whose death in 1888 they descended to his only daughter Elma Amy, now lady of the manor, who in 1888 married Mr. Robert Armstrong Yerburgh, M. P. for Chester 1886–1906 and 1910.

STANLEY HOUSE appears to have been for a long period the reputed manor-house of Mellor; it was in the 16th century the property of a family from whom it took its name, (fn. 14) and having come into the possession of the Yates family was made their seat. The building stands on high ground on the south side of the high road between Blackburn and Preston, about 2½ miles from the former town, to the north of Woodfold Park. It is a rather picturesque late 16th or early 17thcentury three-story stone building, now a farmhouse, with a frontage of about 60 ft. facing south. The elevation is broken towards the east end by a square projecting porch forming a kind of tower, being taken some feet higher than the stone cornice of the roof. The walling is of coursed rough stones with angle quoins, and the windows are all low mullioned openings of five and six lights to the ground and first floors and three lights at the top. The upper window in the tower has its middle light raised, and all the windows have hood moulds. The roof is covered with stone slates, and has a wide gable at each end with a projecting chimney at the west, and there is a modern addition at the back under a lean-to roof. The porch projects 6 ft., and is an open one, with a four-centred arch under a square hood mould, above which is a panel space, the panel —which probably bore an inscription and date— having disappeared. In the west wall of the porch is a round opening, the house having been approached from that side, but the floor above has gone and the whole of the east part of the building is in a state of dilapidation.

The family of Blackburn of Showley, in the adjoining township of Clayton-le-Dale, were enfeoffed of lands here by the Honfords, as already stated. William son of Henry de Honford gave to Adam son of Adam de Blakeburn (fn. 15) land lying on the eastern side of the road leading between Blackburn and Showley. His son, variously called Henry de Honford and Henry son of William de Boseden, enfeoffed Henry son of Adam de Blakeburn of land called Le Konywe and other contiguous lands on the western side of the forest of Ramsgreave. (fn. 16) These lands descended in the families of Blakeburn, Radcliffe and Walmsley of Showley, as described in the account of that mesne manor.

A family bearing the local name held half the manor from the Honfords. William de Mellor occurs at the beginning of the reign of Henry III, and Richard in 1246 and 1252. Hugh de Mellor gave to Henry son of Adam de Blakeburn the service of Richard de Mellor for land called Hauekechae (Hawkshaw), and was father of Robert living in the time of Edward I. (fn. 17) On 13 September 1282 he resigned his manorial rights to Sir John Deuyas by deed made at 'Hendouyr' in Wales, and attested by William le Botiler, William de Lamare, Henry le Botiler, William son of Richard le Botiler, John de Sothul, Robert de Lathum and Thomas de Autrey, knights, Gilbert de Sothworth, Nicholas de Lee, Richard de Mulyneus, Warine de Clayton, Robert de Bold, Roger Banastre, William de Linton, Adam de Hindley, William de Singilton, Daykin de Hulton and Thomas the clerk, then serving in the Welsh campaign. (fn. 18) Robert had issue John and Henry. The former was party with John Deuyas, as chief lords of Mellor, to many suits and cross-suits at Lancaster assizes in 1292 with Henry de Blakeburn of Mellor, touching the inclosure of woodlands and waste, felling of trees and roads made. (fn. 19) Robert eldest son of John, living in 1304, was the father of William, living in 1336; William son of William de Mellor, who sold Smithicroft to John Southworth, kt., in 1401, appears to have been the last local representative of the elder line of this family. (fn. 20) In 1336 the free tenants of the manor were William de Huntingdon, Dame Matilda de Holand, John de Coppedhurst, William de Shorrock, Henry de Haukeshagh, Robert and Adam de Blakeburn. (fn. 21)

SHORROCK GREEN. The family of Shorrock appear here at an early date. William and Henry, sons of Roger de Shorok, occur about 1300. Richard de Shorrok was one of the largest contributors to the subsidy of 1332. (fn. 22) William his son was a freeholder here in 1336. John de Shorrok contributed to the poll tax of 1379; and his son and heir William was in possession of 'Old Shorock' in Mellor in 1411. (fn. 23) Geoffrey Shorock made his will before witnesses in 1459. For a long period the descent of the estate cannot be traced, but ultimately it passed to the family of Clayton of Blackburn. (fn. 24)

Other freehold estates are: Arley, the property of the Aspden family in the 16th and 17th centuries. (fn. 25) ; Abbot House, held by the Abbot family for nearly 200 years, and sold by the last possessor, owing to reduced circumstances, to Mr. Sudell of Woodfold Park towards the end of the 18th century. The house had clay floors both below and above, large open fireplaces, soot-lofts and open chimneys, inner walls with vertical and cross-posts filled in with 'raddle and daub,' and a newel staircase. (fn. 26) For more than two centuries the family of Ward (fn. 27) were freeholders here, the last possessor, George Ward, conveying his estate in 1747 to the governors of Blackburn Grammar School. These and other freeholding families are noticed by Mr. Abram. (fn. 28)

Many place-names now lost are recorded in the Southworth deeds. One of some interest is the Hermitage, commemorating a plat of land once held by a hermit. (fn. 29) The road from Blackburn to Mellor village was named Staingate; the land between it and the road to 'Scholfley' (Showley) was called Haukeschaw; from the brook between Blackburn and Mellor, called 'Hauekesshae' Brook, ran the ditch 'del Hackinbothe.' Showley Brook seems to have been named 'Blakebroc'; Eissilache formed the boundary against the 'forest' of Ramsgreave, and was connected with Blakebroc by 'le sike de Bereschahe.'Tottering Brook was named the' sike of Stonilode.' Between Staingate and the road to Showley, and beneath Mellor Moor, lay 'Haukeshae ruding.' On the road near Lower Abbot House there was a 'lidyate' to prevent cattle straying into Balderston; to the east of this road was a large inclosure called 'Le Heye.' Near-adjoining were 'Le Armetriding,' inclosures in 'Brendehurst,' whilst 'Boseburn' was, as now, the boundary against Balderston.

In 1626 Richard Abbot, described as a convicted recusant, paid double to the subsidy; his wife, William Ireland, John Elswick, Thomas Crosse and their wives, and Hugh Welchmond were noncommunicants. (fn. 30) In 1666 there were seventy-nine hearths taxed in Mellor; Leonard Clayton, clerk, of Shorrock Green, had seven, Thomas Abbot, clerk, of Abbot House, had five. (fn. 31)

The church of St. Mary was built in 1829, by Parliamentary grant, on a site given by Henry Sudell of Woodfold Park. (fn. 32) The tower contains a clock and eight bells, the gift of Daniel Thwaites; the east window of stained glass was erected in 1871 by Henry Hargreaves of Mellor House as a memorial to relatives. There are other memorial windows and fittings given in memory of various local personages. The registers date from the year 1830. The living is a vicarage in the gift of the vicar of Blackburn.

The followers of Wesley first held services during the latter part of the 18th century in a room at Abbot House, and later in the disused windmill on Mellor Moor. In 1790 the Society belonged to the Blackburn Circuit. A small chapel built in 1802 was twice rebuilt before a new building was erected in 1893; it was enlarged in 1900. A second Methodist society was founded here in 1847, services being held in a room at Mellor Brook Mill until 1852, when the present Mellor Brook Wesleyan Chapel was erected. (fn. 33)

Footnotes

1 Statistics from Bd. of Agric. (1905).
2 There are 2 acres of inland water; Census Rep. 1901.
3 Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 12.
4 Duchy of Lanc. Gt. Couch, i, 79 n.
5 Birch Chapel (Chet. Soc), 231–2; Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 162.
6 Southworth D., Towneley MS. GG, 1087a, 1133; Kuerden fol. MS. (Chet. Lib.), 188, no. 207.
7 Assize R. 408, m. 70.
8 In a demise of tenements in Mellor made in 1336 to Nicholas de Bispham and Alice his wife by Gilbert de Southworth and Alice (Deuyas) his wife proviso was made that if any iron ore or lead should be found within the demised lands Gilbert should allot other lands in exchange; Kuerden fol. MS. (Chet. Lib.), 387, no. 76.
9 Duchy of Lanc. Knights' Fees, bdle. 2, no. 20; MS. at Huntroyde. Thomas Southworth, kt., who died in 1546, held his lands in Mellor in socage (sic) by the yearly rent of 16d.; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. vii, 23. In 1521 he and Hugh Southworth were indicted of a rescue of distress taken at Mellor by the king's bailiff of Salford Hundred in respect of arrears of rent of the manors of Mellor, Eccleshill and Nether Darwen; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 132, m. 18d.
10 Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 78, m. 1; 173, m. 67. Edward Rigby, Elizabeth Nowell, widow, and Jane Jackson were associated with Mr. Southworth in the sale. Mrs. Nowell was the elder sister of Thomas Southworth, who died 1641, and was at this time widow of John Nowell of Little Mearley. Jane the younger daughter married (1) Timothy Sumpner of Chorley and (2) John Jackson. The estate was described as consisting of the manor, 30 messuages, 440 acres land, meadow and pasture and 30s. of rent.
In 1651 John and Elizabeth Nowell of Mearley, Timothy and Jane Sompner of Chorley begged allowance of their title to the manor of Mellor, in right of their wives, daughters of Thomas Southworth, their brothers Thomas and John, whose co-heirs they were, being dead. They had been dispossessed by their uncle John Southworth, but regained possession after application made to the court of wards, but afterwards he procured the lands to be sequestrated for his delinquency, so as to receive one-fifth; Cal. Com. for Comp. 1621.
11 Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 565, m. 3; 570, m. 2.
12 Duchy of Lanc. Rentals, 14–25 m. Mr. Abram gives the descent of the family of Yates of Blackburn and Stanley House, Mellor, in Blackburn, 408–9. Possibly Mr. Higginbotham married the elder daughter and co-heiress of Mr. Maile Yates. In 1787 the heirs of Mr. Higginbotham and Edward Boulton held between them nearly one-third of the township; Land tax returns.
13 Abram, op. cit. 589; 397–8.
14 a Peter Stanley occurs from 1532 to 1549; ibid. 593. In 1567 William Stanley passed this estate by fine to Peter Stanley; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 29, m. 9. Thomas Stanley of Mellor, gent., was a freeholder temp. James I.
15 William, another son of Adam de Blakeburn, sen., had a grant in 1318 from Robert de Holand of all the lands in Mellor which his brother William de Holand had formerly held and the reversion of the tenements which John de Belewe and Joan his wife held as Joan's dower; Dods. MSS. liii, fol. 25b.
In 1325 William de Multon and Joan his wife (apparently widow of William de Holand and John de Belewe) demanded from Nicholas Deuyas the third part of a messuage, 80 acres of land, 10 acres meadow, 100 acres pasture, 40 acres wood in Mellor; De Banco R. 257, m. 252.
16 Kuerden fol. MS. (Chet. Lib.), 188; Towneley MS. GG, no. 1087a. In a third grant by Henry de Honford to Henry de Blakeburn the boundary began at Blakebroc, ascended Deereshawe to its head, followed the division of the forest of Ramsgreave to the highway upon the Edge, so westward to the cross standing on the Edge on the road leading from Showley to Blackburn, thence northward towards Showley to the syke at the lower head of Stainlaw, and so into Blakebroc; GG, no. 1133; Kuerden fol. MS. 74. He also released to Henry the service of land called Hawkecha in Mellor; Towneley MS. GG, no. 1062.
17 Kuerden MSS. (Coll. of Arms), iii, C 8; Assize R. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 19; Mamecestre, 266; Assize R. 408, m. 31. In 1292 John Deuyas called Henry son of William de Bosedon to warrant to him a messuage, an oxgang of land and 7s. 3d. rent which Robert son of Hugh de Mellor claimed.
18 Towneley MS. HH, no. 1845. Hendwr lies half-way between Corwen and Bala; here within a moat formerly stood the stronghold of the barons of Hendwr; Gossiping Guide to Wales. 74.
In 1292 Robert son and heir of Hugh de Mellor released his rights in Mellor to Sir John Deuyas, lord of Mellor, who had those lands, &c., by gift of Henry son of William de Boseden; Towneley MS. HH, no. 1820.
In 1285 John Deuyas granted to John son of Robert de 'Meluir in Blakeburneshire' the free state of pensioner, and assured him in all actions which touch a pensioner, for his homage and service which the latter made for the half part of the town of Mellor; Dods. MSS. liii, fol. 25. Robert son and heir of Hugh de Mellor gave all his lands in Mellor to Sir John Deuyas, and John son of Robert gave him half the mill of Mellor with the suit of his tenants; Kuerden MS. fol. 258–9. John son of Robert also gave to Stanlaw Abbey the site for a tithe barn in Thornecroft; Robert son of William de Mellor also gave land for the site of a barn in Linbottiscroft; Whalley Couch. 109–10.
19 The two lords of Mellor in 1292 sued Alice de Shorrok, Adam de Hunteleye and Henry de Sholley for felling 300 oak trees price 40s. in their wood since 1284. Deuyas afterwards withdrew; Assize R. 408, m. 53 d.
20 Southworth D., Towneley MS. HH. Robert son of John de Mellor alienated to John Deuyas (1) the service of Henry son of Roger de Shorrock, viz. 12d. for Okenheued; (2) a plat called Blakemelnecroft; (3) the service of William son of Henry de Scholley, viz. 19d. for a plat called Bacunfeld; whilst John Deuyas gave him the Hermit's ridding and lands adjoining Boseburn and the boundary of Balderston; ibid. The same Robert alienated to Nicholas Deuyas in 1298 in Richicroft 4 acres, in Blakemelnecroft 3 acres, the service of Henry de Mellor, 1d., the service of Alice de Shorrock, 1d., and of Henry son of Henry de Scholley of 5d.; ibid.
21 Ibid. no. 1741.
22 Kuerden fol. MS. (Chet. Lib.), 388; Exch. Lay Subs. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 83.
23 Subs. R. Lancs. bdle. 130, no. 28; Kuerden fol. MS. 246.
A settlement was made on William Shorrok in 1395 upon his marriage to Margaret daughter and co-heir of Thomas de Werden, subject to the life estate of William son of Adam de Huntingdon. Thomas de Werden appears to have married the heiress of the Huntingdon family, who held lands here from the time of Edward II, by feoffment of Robert de Holand, John son of Robert de Mellor and Gilbert de Southworth; Towneley MSS. (Chet. Lib.), C 8, 13, T 235.
In 1411 John son of Thomas Layland released to William son and heir of John Shorrock his title to lands and tenements called 'Olde Shorrok' which John Shorrock had by his feoffment after the death of Thomas Molyneux, and he himself had by feoffment of Margaret daughter and heir of John Shorrock; Towneley MS. (Chet. Lib.), C 8, 13, p. 843.
24 Kuerden fol. MS. 379; Abram, Blackburn, 591–2 n. In 1515 Ann daughter of William Cotom married Edward son of William Clayton and had her jointure in lands here and in Oswaldtwistle; Kuerden fol. MS. 75.
25 John son of Robert de Mellor gave to Roger son of Henry land bounded by Elisburn at the lower side of Ereley, by Elisburn sike, by land of Richard de Untley on the north, by the long ridding of Richard de Ereley, by Ereley spen and Ereley mersht to the head of Ereley, and so by a circuit to the bank of Elisburn; Towneley MS. HH, no. 1848.
26 Note by Mr. T. T. Wilkinson in Hist. of Whalley (ed. 1876), ii, 399.
27 In 1508 Charles son and heir of John Bonk sold to John Southworth, kt., his tenement bounded north by William Balderston's tenement, east by Sir John's lands, south by Richard Stanley's lands, south and west by the lands of James Ward; Towneley MS. HH, no. 1592.
28 Abbot of Abbot House, Aspden of Arley, Astley, Clayton of Shorrock Green, Haydock, Hoghton, Osbaldeston, Stanley, Walmsley, Ward and Whithalgh; Blackburn, 589–95. Charles Brereworth held a tenement here of Thomas West lord of Manchester in 1473, which descended to John son and heir of Evan Brereworth in 1503; Mamecestre (Chet. Soc. lviii), 495; Add. MS. 32106, fol. 281b.
In 1505 William Harrington held a tenement of John Southworth, kt. In 1573 John Southworth of the city of London, son of Christopher Southworth, late of Mellor, deceased, released to John Southworth, kt., his interest in the messuage called Harrington House in Mellor, then in the occupation of Adam and Thomas Southworth; Towneley MS. HH, no. 2022–3.
29 John Deuyas gave to Robert son of John de Mellor a plat of land which the hermit formerly held lying between Boseburn and le Lidyate upon the king's highway, and between Balderston and the Hey; Towneley MS. HH, no. 1762. The grantee afterwards resigned the land to Nicholas Deuyas, who gave it, with the appurtenances within the hedge called 'le Ryngherd,' except the culture called 'le Hermitage,' to Alice daughter of Henry de Hoghton; HH, 1780.
30 Lay Subs. Lancs. bdle. 131, no. 317. John Crosse, younger son of John Crosse of Mellor, petitioned in 1652 for the discharge of his estate in Mellor and Showley left to him by his father and sequestrated when he was ten years old on pretence that he was educated in popery. He took the oath and his petition was allowed; Cal. Com. for Comp. 3041.
31 Lay Subs. Lancs. bdle. 250, no. 9. James Walmesley and William Warde each had three.
32 A district was assigned to it in 1842; Lond. Gaz. 20 Sept.
33 Abram, Blackburn, 595.