A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 5. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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This township, which takes its name from a castle formerly situated on the south bank of the Roch, a little distance west of the church, (fn. 1) has an area of 3,812 acres, lying on the south side of the river just named. The town of Rochdale now occupies a large portion of the area. The ancient hamlets were: Castleton Glebe, 237½ acres; Marland (including two detached portions), 1,837½ Buersill (with a detached portion), 1,141; Lower Lane, 285; Newbold, 310. The surface is comparatively level, sloping somewhat towards the north.
The principal roads are those from Rochdale southwest and west through Marland to Bury, with a branch south through Castleton village, formerly called Blue Pits, to Middleton and Manchester; south through Buersill and Balderstone to Oldham; and east to Milnrow. The Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway from Manchester to Halifax passes through the township, having stations at Castleton and Rochdale; near the former is a junction with the line from Bury, and to the east of the latter branches go off south-east to Oldham and north-west to Bacup. An electric tramway extends to Middleton. The Rochdale and Manchester Canal, formed about 1802–4, starts at Rochdale and goes through Castleton village; on the south side of Rochdale it is joined by the rather earlier Todmorden Canal, which provides conveyance into Yorkshire.
On the north side of Marland, by the Roch, is a wooded clough known as Tyrone's Bed, a story invented by Roby and William Nuttall (d. 1840) gaining currency that the Earl of Tyrone, outlawed by Elizabeth, took refuge there. (fn. 2) Kill Danes, 'by the Castle Hill, has, of course, the explanation that Danish invaders were slain there at some remote time. (fn. 3)
Part of Castleton was taken into the borough of Rochdale on its formation in 1856. A local board for the remainder was created in 1875, (fn. 4) but the boundaries were afterwards altered. (fn. 5) The district became a township in 1894, (fn. 6) but was taken into the borough of Rochdale in 1900. (fn. 7) The former township of Castleton is now chiefly within Rochdale borough; but small parts lie within the borough of Heywood and the new township of Milnrow.
A 'mine' in Castleton, perhaps a stone quarry, is mentioned in 1365. (fn. 8)
The manor of MARLAND and 9 oxgangs of land in CASTLETON were given to Stanlaw Abbey by Roger and Henry de Lacy and others. (fn. 9) The abbots probably regarded all their lands in Rochdale as forming one manor; but afterwards each of the purchasers appears to have regarded his share as a separate 'manor.' At the confiscation James Gartside was the monks' bailiff, and it was recorded that once a year a court had been kept at 'Overland,' all their tenants attending. (fn. 10)
The Castleton estate was in 1542 sold by Henry VIII to Robert Holt of Stubley, (fn. 11) and the family afterwards made Castleton their chief residence. (fn. 12) Like Stubley it descended to the Chethams and Winstanleys. (fn. 13) The hall was by Clement Winstanley in 1772 sold or mortgaged to persons (fn. 14) who eleven years later sold it to James Walmsley of Goose Lane; and he sold it to Thomas Smith of Sparth. Ellen, one of his daughters and co-heirs, carried it in marriage to the Entwisles of Foxholes.
CASTLETON HALL is an irregularly-shaped twostoried stone-built house, its principal front facing east (fn. 15) towards the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, which passes close by it. The building is said to have been built in the reign of Elizabeth, and is described in 1626 as 'a fair mansion house, being built with freestone,' to which were attached 'stables, oxhouse, and dovehouse, also gardens, orchards, and courts.' (fn. 16) Part of this late 16th or early 17th-century house yet stands, retaining most of its ancient features, including the hall with its bay window and kitchen wing at the north end, and the mullioned windows and stone gables. The south wing seems to have been pulled down in 1719, when the rectangular pile of building, which now forms the larger part of the house, was built by Samuel Chetham. It is in a simple classic style with high sash windows, overhanging cornice, and hipped roof, has a frontage of 62 ft. 9 in., and stands 26 ft. in front of the older portion of the house at its south end. At this point is a good lead rain-water head dated 1719. The back of the building has an irregular outline made up by additions and rebuildings of later dates, of no particular interest.
The great hall now forms the principal entrance to the house, the door being at its north-east corner. It is 30 ft. in length and 21 ft. in width, with a paved stone floor, and has a bay window 10 ft. wide and 5 ft. 6 in. deep at the south-east. In addition to the bay window it is lit on the east side by a seven-light mullioned and transomed window. The walls are panelled in oak to the height of the top of the doorways, leaving a plain plaster frieze above, and the ceiling is of plaster, probably of the 18th century, with moulded ribs. In the upper lights of one of the windows is a series of shields representing the arms of the Holts and their alliancess: (fn. 17) Radcliffe of Todmorden, Radcliffe of Ordsall, Talbot of Salesbury, Stanley, Towneley of Towneley, Legh of Adlington, and Byron of Clayton.
In the upper part of another window are the arms of Seyvell of Tankersley, (fn. 18) Holt of Gristlehurst, Atherton of Atherton, Robert Holt of Castleton, Assheton of Middleton, and Trafford of Trafford. In the lower lights are Entwisle of Foxholes, and Smith of Castleton.
There are also fragments of heraldic and German glass inserted, dated 1616 and 1630, but they have no connexion with the house. The kitchen is on the north side of the hall, and is 26 ft. long and 17 ft. 3 in. in width, with a fireplace opening 12 ft. wide and 3 ft. 6 in. deep on its north side, now filled with a modern range. It is lit by a six-light mullioned and transomed window at the east end, and the ceiling is crossed by three beams.
At the south-east corner of the hall, near to the bay window, a door opens into the main corridor of the 18th-century wing, which contains two lofty rooms on the ground floor with elaborate plaster ceilings. Both rooms are panelled and have good fireplaces, and are excellent examples of the style of the period. The staircase, which leads from the corridor close to the door from the older part of the building, is a fine example of early 18th-century Renaissance detail, with large open twisted balusters and massive square carved newels.
Marland was in 1540 sold by the Crown to Thurstan Tyldesley, together with the Whalley lands in Swinton. (fn. 19) In the time of Elizabeth it was purchased by the Radcliffes of Langley, (fn. 20) and by them sold in 1630 to the Holts of Stubley. (fn. 21) A local family took its surname from the place. (fn. 22)
BUERSILL (fn. 23) was an estate anciently held by the Hospitallers. (fn. 24) About 1540 the tenant was John Stafford, who paid a quit-rent of 13d. (fn. 25) It was afterwards sold to the Byrons, (fn. 26) who sold it to a large number of occupying holders. (fn. 27) In 1626 the quitrent was payable to the Earl of Derby. At the same time James Halliwell of Pike House had land there. (fn. 28) BALDERSTONE gave its name to a local family, (fn. 29) who were succeeded by the Holts, (fn. 30) Gartsides, (fn. 31) and Heywoods; (fn. 32) but there had been much subdivision, and Robert Heywood in 1626 had but a few acres. The chief holders were Robert Holt, (fn. 33) and Charles son of John Holt, (fn. 34) the latter having the hall. The Chethams of Nuthurst long held the Slack in Balderstone, (fn. 35) and as heirs of the Buckleys had a rent-charge in Balderstone. (fn. 36) The moor of Buersill appears to have been long in dispute between the owners of Balderstone and Butterworth. (fn. 37) LOWER PLACE was in 1626 held by Robert Holt, in virtue of a gift by his great-grandfather Thomas Holt. (fn. 38)
NEIVBOLD anciently gave a surname to the owners, (fn. 39) and in 1626 James Newbold held 74 acres there by knight's service, and John Newbold held 10 acres. (fn. 40) The other tenants were Richard Schofield, who held 72 acres which had formerly belonged to the Buckley family; (fn. 41) and Edward Butterworth, who held 32 acres for which a rent of 6d. was due to Richard Schofield.
Newbold Hall is a small two-storied stone building occupying three sides of a quadrangle. It stands on high ground facing north-east, about a quarter of a mile south-west of Belfield Hall, and separated from it by the valley of the Stanney Brook. The situation must originally have been a fine one, but the house now fronts on to a narrow street, and is in the midst of mean surroundings. The building appears to date from the 16th century, with later work in parts, and the north wing, which was until recently used as a public-house, has been almost entirely modernized and rebuilt. The central and south wings of the original building remain, but are in a sadly dilapidated condition. The house has been divided into tenements, but only two portions are at present (1908) occupied, and the rest of the building is rapidly going to decay. The walls are constructed of rough stones in narrow courses, and the quoins, which are of a hard gritstone, are of great size, some being 4 ft. long. The roofs are covered with grey stone slates, and the windows have all been originally long mullioned openings without transoms. Some of the old windows remain, but others are built up or modernized. The south wing of the house is almost detached from the centre portion, and may possibly have been added subsequently to the original building. What is now the central wing has a projection at its south end, both back and front, of about 6 ft., forming on the front a kind of bay in the angle of the courtyard; but the plan of the original house is not quite clear. The courtyard was about 40 ft. across, but nearly one-half of it has been built upon in recent times, and a modern cottage now occupies its north side, abutting on to the north wing, and effectually destroying the original appearance of the house on this side. The wings project each about 30 ft., but the east gable of the south wing is some distance in front of that of the north owing to the broken line of the central portion of the house. The east side of the courtyard to the street is inclosed by a high stone wall with entrance gateway and welldesigned 17th-century gate piers, the caps of which are placed diagonally and have ball finials. The gateway was formerly in the centre of the court, between the two wings, but when the north end of the courtyard was built upon was removed to its present position in the centre of the east wall of the now reduced quadrangle. The principal entrance to the house was under a four-centred arched doorway in the northwest corner of the courtyard, but this is now hidden by the new building. The house is a good example of the smaller stone-built halls of this part of the county, which form a striking contrast to the prevalent wood and timber construction of the less hilly districts.
Roger Chadwick of Warmhole in Spotland held 43 acres in Castleton in 1626. (fn. 42)
Among the estates may be named Goose Lane, Hartley, and Crossfield. (fn. 43) In 1626 there was some copyhold land in Castleton hamlet.
In addition to the places of worship named in the account of Rochdale, the following have in recent times been erected in Castleton: —For the Church of England, St. Martin's, Castleton Moor, 1862, (fn. 44) and All Souls, 1899, the Bishop of Manchester collating to each; for the Wesleyans, United Free Methodists, and Congregationalists, (fn. 45) one each.