A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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The parish is remarkable as being one of the few ancient parishes in the county having but a single township. The area is 3,104 acres. (fn. 1) The surface is elevated, as will be inferred from the name, and rises at two points, (fn. 2) north and south, to 525 ft.; it slopes to the north-west somewhat rapidly. In the slight hollow between the highest points lie the village and church of Brindle, near the centre of the township. There are several hamlets; to the west Pippin Street, to the north Jack Green and Brindle Lodge, to the south-west Thorpe Green, Radburn and Rip Row. A brook, the Lostock, rising near the church runs east to the boundary, and then turning south-west itself forms the boundary for some distance.
The principal roads meet at the village; they come from Hoghton, Walton-le-Dale, Clayton-le-Woods and Whittle-le-Woods. The nearest railway stations are Bamber Bridge and Hoghton, nearly 2 miles from the church. The Wigan and Lancaster Canal goes along near the western border.
The wake was held on the Friday in Whitsun week. (fn. 5)
To the ancient fifteenth Brindle paid 11s. 8d. when the hundred paid £30 12s. 8d.; and to the county lay of 1624 it paid £5 11s. 1¼d. out of £100. (fn. 6) From its secluded situation in a hilly district the parish has had an uneventful history (fn. 7); yet it saw a little of the Civil War. (fn. 8) In more recent times some scandal was caused by its workhouse and lunatic asylum. (fn. 9)
A muslin manufactory is mentioned in the Directory of 1824. There are now a cotton factory and chemical works, and the valuable stone quarries are worked. Grass and potatoes are the chief crops. There are 444 acres of arable land, 2,362 acres of permanent grass and 70 of woods and plantations. (fn. 10) The soil is mainly clay and sand.
One of Wesley's most prominent fellow-labourers, the Rev. William Grimshaw, was born at Brindle in 1708. Ordained for the Anglican ministry and curate of Howarth he worked energetically with the Methodists, and had great influence in the border district of Lancashire and Yorkshire. He died in 1763. (fn. 11)
The manor of BRINDLE was a member of the fee of Penwortham, and was in 1212 held, together with Anderton, by Robert Grelley, lord of Manchester, but no service was rendered. (fn. 12) It continued to be reckoned among the possessions of the Grelleys and their successors down to the 17th century. (fn. 13) In 1320 the lord of Brindle owed suit of court to Manchester and was one of the judges there 'by custom of old time,' (fn. 14) and the manor was, with Anderton, part of the Upper Bailiwick. (fn. 15) Sir Peter Gerard held the manor and advowson in 1473 of the lord of Manchester in socage, rendering puture, suit of court, and a rent of 15s. (fn. 16) This quit-rent was still paid in the middle of the 18th century.
Brindle and Anderton were together held of the Grelleys by a family which derived a surname from the former place. Peter, (fn. 17) Thomas (fn. 18) and Sir Peter de Burnhull (fn. 19) appear during the 13th century. Sir Peter married Alice de Windle, and thus greatly increased the family possessions. (fn. 20) He was succeeded in turn by his sons Peter and Alan, both minors. (fn. 21) The former son died without issue before 1298, (fn. 22) and the latter, who died before 1324, left three children—Peter, Joan and Agnes. The son, who married Katherine afterwards wife of Hugh de Venables, died soon after his father without issue. Joan married William Gerard and Agnes married David Egerton. (fn. 23) For a time the inheritance was held by the sisters and their husbands, but Agnes dying without issue the whole ultimately went to the Gerards of Bryn.
The manor of Brindle descended regularly in this family (fn. 24) until 1582, when Sir Thomas Gerard, having incurred the resentment of Elizabeth by his adherence to Rome and Mary Queen of Scots, as it was supposed, was thrown into the Tower, and only escaped with a heavy fine. Brindle was among the manors sold to pay it; the purchaser was William Cavendish, ancestor of the Duke of Devonshire. (fn. 25) The advowson has descended regularly to the present duke, (fn. 26) but the manor has been granted to a junior branch of the family, (fn. 27) and was held by the late Charles Compton William Cavendish, third Lord Chesham, K.C.B., (fn. 28) who died in 1907. His heir, the present Lord Chesham, was a minor. A court leet and court baron used to be held in May. (fn. 29)
The place does not seem to have had a resident lord since the end of the 13th century. Among the minor families which appear in the records are those of Chorley, (fn. 30) Brereworth, (fn. 31) Gerard of Radburn, (fn. 32) whose estate descended to the Walmesleys of Showley, (fn. 33) Warburton, (fn. 34) Worthington of Blainscough, (fn. 35) Clayton, (fn. 36) Hoghton, (fn. 37) Hesketh, (fn. 38) Swansey (fn. 39) and Hulton. (fn. 40) The Subsidy Roll of 1332 shows Robert the Physician among the contributors in Brindle. (fn. 41)
In 1628 several recusants compounded for the sequestered two-thirds of their estates. (fn. 42) Thomas Woodcock had his estate confiscated by the Commonwealth authorities and ordered for sale in 1652. (fn. 43) Several other 'delinquents' and recusants occur in the records of that time. (fn. 44) To the hearth tax of 1666 as many as 112 hearths contributed, but no house had so many as six hearths. (fn. 45) Several 'Papists' registered estates in 1717. (fn. 46)
Denham Hall is noticed by Kuerden as having been built by Sir Henry Slater. (fn. 47) James Heatley of Samlesbury purchased an estate in the parish and his son William (1764–1840) built Brindle Lodge, which he bequeathed to his niece, Mrs. Catherine Eastwood. In consequence of disputes over the inheritance it was sold to Mr. Whitehead of Preston. (fn. 48)
The Duke of Devonshire was almost sole landowner in 1798. (fn. 49)
In 1742 twenty-four tenements on lease for three lives contained 410 acres, worth £410; thirty-two tenements on lease for two lives contained 409 acres, worth £455; fifteen tenements on lease for one life contained 239 acres, worth £260; twenty-one tenements on lease for twenty-one years contained 148 acres, worth £155; six tenements containing 57 acres were held at will, worth £62; twenty-two cottages held at will were worth £19. The total area was given as 1,267 acres (of 8 yards to the rod), worth £1,420 per annum. (fn. 50)
The church of ST. JAMES (fn. 51) consists of chancel with north chapel and vestry, nave, south porch, and west tower. Only the tower and chapel, however, are old, being of 15th-century date, and the latter has been so much restored in recent years as to deprive it of nearly all its archaeological interest. The nave of the old church was pulled down and the present one built in 1817. Baines (fn. 52) states that the north and south walls of the chancel were rebuilt long before this date, but he may refer to the rebuilding of the 15th century. The present chancel dates from 1869–70, when the church was thoroughly restored, its south wall, which formerly stood 4 ft. back, being brought into line with that of the nave. Little remains, therefore, to show the disposition of the original plan, though the length of the building was presumably the same as at present.
The chancel is 26 ft. by 23 ft. with a five-light pointed east window, and two windows of two lights and a priest's door in the south side. The north side has a modern arcade of two pointed arches opening to the chapel, which is the same length as the chancel and 20 ft. in width. Internally the chapel has little antiquarian interest, having been entirely renovated, but externally the old stone walling remains, the top of the gable alone being new. The east window is of three cinquefoiled lights under a four-centred arch with moulded jambs and head, but without hood mould, and on the north side is a square-headed three-light window of similar detail. The roof is modern. There was another similar square-headed window on the north side, but the modern vestry effectually hides or has destroyed all the other ancient features on this side. The diagonal buttress at the north-east corner is part of the original structure bonding into the walling, but a wider buttress on the north side, now in the angle of the vestry, is a later addition. The chancel and chapel are under two separate gabled roofs of different height, but both butting at the west end against the wide gable of the nave. The roofs are covered with blue slates and have overhanging eaves.
The nave is 43 ft. square, and originally had galleries all round. The east and west galleries were taken down in 1869–70, but those on the north and south stood till 1887. The galleries probably gave some sense of proportion to the church which it now lacks, the nave, which is without aisles and under one wide gabled roof, being a cheerless specimen of the worst period of churchwarden Gothic. (fn. 53) Later stone pointed arches of two orders separate it at the east end from the chancel and chapel. The roof is divided into four bays by three plain wood principals, and the windows are pointed of three lights with the mullions crossing in the heads. At the west end, north of the tower, is a three-light square-headed window copied from that on the north of the chapel. A porch has been added in front of the south door.
The tower, which is at the south-west corner of the nave, presumably in a line with the ancient chancel, is 9 ft. 6 in. square inside, and is built of gritstone. It has a projecting vice in the south-east corner, but its stages are unmarked externally by any string-course, and the top finishes with an embattled parapet with angle and intermediate pinnacles. The west door has a four-centred arch and hollow chamfered jambs and head, and above is a pointed window of three cinquefoiled lights with hood mould terminating in shields. The mullions and tracery are new. The belfry windows are of two cinquefoiled lights with tracery over under a pointed labelled head. There is a clock on the west side, made by Thomas Kirkhall of Bolton-le-Moors, 1637. On the north and south sides, below the belfry, is a small square-headed window, and on the west side above the clock a small niche with the canopy cut away. The west buttresses are diagonal and of five stages, and there is a square buttress at the northeast angle now incorporated with the nave wall. The tower arch is of two chamfered orders dying into square jambs at the springing, and is filled with a modern glazed screen, the bells being rung from the floor of the church.
The fittings are mostly modern, but some of the old oak seating has been used up as wainscot along the lower part of the nave walls. There are some fragments of 16th and early 17th-century glass placed in front of the north window of the chapel, including two shields (fn. 54) of arms.
The first shield has a strap-work border, and in place of crest a basket of fruit. Between the shields is a round piece of glass on which is a plough, the groundwork being made up of fragments of a Resurrection window, showing figures rising from tombs. There is also an inscription on the glass to Thomas Brown, one of her Majesty's Yeomen of the Guard. (fn. 55) Under the tower is a board with the royal arms of George III, and in the nave there is a good brass chandelier dated 1792, now unfortunately painted blue and gold.
The font now in use is a modern Gothic one, octagonal in shape, but the church contains three other fonts, and there is a fifth in the rectory garden. Of those in the church the oldest is a circular stone one 2 ft. in diameter, probably of 12th-century date, standing on a made-up base at the west end of the nave. Close to it is a four-sided font with chamfered angles, apparently dating from the early 16th century, having panelled sides, on one of which is the sacred monogram and on another a four-leafed flower. The other two sides are defaced and plain. The remaining font inside the building is a plain 18th-century one on a circular pedestal, but the one in the rectory garden is of greater interest. It is seven-sided and of rough stone, and is only 16 in. in diameter. It was recovered in the village in 1907, and may have belonged to St. Helen's well. The bowl is 12 in. wide and 7 in. deep, and there is no pedestal.
In the churchyard, in the angle of the vestry and north chapel, is a stone coffin, and near to it a sepulchral slab with a plain incised cross. There are also two other slabs in the churchyard, one to the east and the other to the south of the building, each with a floreated cross, and on both the north and south sides is an octagonal sundial shaft raised on two steps. The tops of the shafts are square with hollowed faces, and the dial plates are gone.
There are six bells, four of which are by Taylor of Loughborough, one recast in 1837, and the others cast in 1904. The two remaining bells are ancient and said to belong to the 14th century. One bears the inscription in Gothic letters, 'MARIA IN NÕE IHS,' and the other has various marks difficult to decipher, one being a Gothic a.
The plate consists of a chalice, ' the gift of Rachael Derbyshire to the church of Brindle, An. Dom. 1729'; another chalice without inscription with maker's mark RL; a paten of 1704–5; a pewter flagon; and a silver-plated flagon given in 1874.
The registers begin in 1558. The first two volumes (1558 to 1714) have been printed by the Lancashire Parish Register Society. (fn. 56) The churchwardens' accounts begin in 1775.
The rectory is mentioned before 1200, (fn. 57) but it must be noticed that in 1341 Brindle was taxed as one of the townships of Penwortham. (fn. 58) A few years later the regular succession of rectors begins. The advowson was always attached to the manor (fn. 59) until the division mentioned above, when the Duke of Devonshire retained the patronage, which has descended to the present duke. (fn. 60)
The net value of the rectory in 1535 was £12 18s. 4d. (fn. 61) In 1650 besides the church there was a parsonage-house with 4 acres of glebe, and the value was about £75 a year. (fn. 62) The certified value sixty years later was less than this, namely, £49 15s. (fn. 63) It is now given as £464. (fn. 64)
|Instituted||Name||Patron||Cause of Vacancy|
|c. 1190||Ughtred (fn. 65)||—||—|
|oc. 1292||Thomas de Burnhull (fn. 66)||—||—|
|oc. 1355||Hugh de Pemberton (fn. 67)||—||—|
|11 Feb. 1369–70||Thomas de Chorley (fn. 68)||David de Egerton||d. Hugh de Pemberton|
|10 Apr. 1413||Richard de Shakerley (fn. 69)||Sir Thos. Gerard||—|
|9 Jan. 1445–6||John del Kirk (fn. 70)||Sir Peter Gerard||res. R. de Shakerley|
|24 Oct. 1487||William Lunt (fn. 71)||Sir T. Gerard||d. J. del Kirk|
|?||Thomas Gerard (fn. 72)||—||—|
|c. 1523||Thomas Bulkeley (fn. 73)||Sir T. Gerard||—|
|12 Aug. 1537||John Harper, M.A. (fn. 74)||Thomas Gerard||d. T. Bulkeley.|
|oc. 1565||William Rishton (fn. 75)||—||—|
|18 Nov. 1567||William Gerard (fn. 76)||Sir T. Gerard||d. W. Rishton|
|25 Jan. 1575–6||John Shireburne, B.D. (fn. 77)||Bishop of Chester||—|
|25 Dec. 1594||James Starkie, M.A. (fn. 78)||W. Cavendish||d. J. Shireburne|
|25 May 1603||William Bennett, B.A. (fn. 79)||William Cavendish||d. J. Starkie|
|30 Dec. 1629||William Bispham, M.A. (fn. 80)||The King||d. last incumbent|
|29 Apr. 1636||Alexander Clarke, M.A. (fn. 81)||Countess of Devonshire||exch. W. Bispham|
|3 Apr. 1637||Robert Gale, M.A. (fn. 82)||"||d. A. Clarke|
|21 Apr. 1640||Edward Rigby, M.A. (fn. 83)||Earl of Devonshire||res. R. Gale|
|Dec. 1646||Thomas Cranage (fn. 84)||—||exp. E. Rigby|
|1650||William Walker (fn. 85)||Earl of Devonshire||—|
|1651||Philip Bennett (fn. 86)||—||—|
|1651||Henry Pigot, B.D. (fn. 87)||—||—|
|25 Oct. 1662||Earl of Devonshire||—|
|19 June 1722||John Young (fn. 88)||Duke of Devonshire||d. H. Pigot|
|4 May 1743||William Burrow, M.A.||"||d. J. Young|
|20 Nov. 1751||Samuel Pegge, M.A. (fn. 89)||"||res. W. Burrow, jun.|
|25 Oct. 1758||John Bourne, M.A.||"||res. S. Pegge|
|31 Oct. 1770||Peter Walthall, M.A. (fn. 90)||"||res. J. Bourne|
|7 Sept. 1812||John Charles Bristed, M.A. (fn. 91)||"||d. P. Walthall|
|25 Apr. 1822||Charles Edward Kendall, M.A. (fn. 92)||"||res. J. C. Bristed|
|9 Aug. 1864||Thomas Lund, B.D. (fn. 93)||"||d. C. E. Kendall|
|3 July 1877||Stephen Ray Eddy, M.A. (fn. 94)||"||d. T. Lund|
|26 Nov. 1889||Kinton Jacques, M.A. (fn. 95)||"||res. S. R. Eddy|
|3 May 1909||George Lomas, M.A. (fn. 96)||"||res. K. Jacques|
|25 Jan. 1910||Philip Lancashire, M.A. (fn. 97)||"||d. G. Lomas|
Of the pre-Reformation clergy little is known. Some of them occur as trustees or witnesses to charters. There was no endowed chantry, but in 1541 there were two priests living in Brindle, paid by Thomas Gerard; the rector at that time may have been non-resident. (fn. 98) The visitation list of 1548 shows the rector and three others, one perhaps absent, that of 1554 gives three names; those of 1562 to 1565 give the rector's name alone. (fn. 99) Many of the subsequent rectors were pluralists, and a curate was placed in charge of this out-of-the-way parish. Samuel Pegge is the most noteworthy of the later rectors.
A school was founded about 1623, the master being appointed by the rector. (fn. 100)
There is a Methodist chapel near the northern boundary, opened in 1828 (fn. 101)
A large proportion of the inhabitants have from the Reformation onwards remained faithful to Roman Catholicism. (fn. 102) Very little is known of the priests who ministered to them in the first part of the penal times, (fn. 103) but from 1704 the Benedictines have been in charge, and a chapel and residence were built. (fn. 104) The present church of St. Joseph dates from 1786; the district attached to it is peculiar, inasmuch as it lies in two dioceses—Liverpool and Salford. There is an ancient cross in the churchyard. (fn. 105)
Apart from the school there are only two endowed charities. (fn. 106) The poor's stock and the gift of Edward Blacklidge (fn. 107) produce £5 6s., and from the Shuttlingfields estate (fn. 108) £38 18s. 4d. is received, of which £20 is given to the school. The remainder, about £20 after charges have been paid, is given in sums of money to the poor, preference being given to widows and aged persons.