A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 7. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.
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Although now in the parish of Lancaster, owing to its inclusion in the forest, Bleasdale has remained in the hundred of Amounderness, and was probably once within Garstang. It occupies a hilly country, divided into three main parts by the Rivers Calder and Brock, which rise near the Yorkshire border and flow south-west through it. The northern part lies on the slopes of Grizedale and Stake House Fells, the height on the border of Wyresdale ranging from 900 ft. to 1,520 ft. above sea level. The central portion, between the rivers, is occupied by Bleasdale Moors on Oakendough and Hazelhurst Fells; most of this is over 1,000 ft. level, 1,505 ft. being the highest point. Bleasdale Tower lies on the north side of the Brock. The part of the township south of this stream is in the main lower, but on the eastern boundary the ground rises very steeply, the flattopped Parlick at the south end of the ridge attaining 1,416 ft. above sea level, while Fairsnape Fell to the north attains 1,700 ft. on the boundary of Yorkshire. In this part Admarsh Chapel is situated. The stream which bounds the township on the south is also called the Brock. There are 7,298½ acres (fn. 1) in the township, and the population in 1901 was 403. (fn. 2)
There are few roads; one leads from the western boundary to Bleasdale Tower, while another leads circuitously to Admarsh, Lower Fairsnape and Blindhurst.
Some prehistoric remains have been found. (fn. 3)
The township is governed by a parish council.
The North Lancashire Reformatory School was built by subscription in 1857 for the training of boys in farm work. The boys are now taught various trades and work in the mills.
In 1314 there was an iron mine. (fn. 4) The land is now chiefly in pasture, (fn. 5) the soil being a peaty moss, with clay subsoil. Butter and cheese are made. At Oakenclough are paper-mills and a fish hatchery. The water of the streams is impounded by the Fylde Water Board, affording the chief supply for the western part of the hundred.
Cuthbert Anthony Parkinson of Blindhurst, 1666– 1728, was a Franciscan historian and missionary. (fn. 6)
The district of BLEASDALE was included in the forest of Lancaster before the time of Henry II, and was therefore excepted from the charter of the forest of 1217. The boundary as defined in the perambulation of 1228 included the greater part of the present township, the Calder, instead of Grizedale Fells, being the northern boundary. (fn. 7) The value to the earl in 1297 was only 2½ marks a year. (fn. 8)
Bleasdale scarcely ever occurs in the records. (fn. 9) The most important family of later times was that of Parkinson of Fairsnape, (fn. 10) a pedigree being recorded in 1613. (fn. 11) Hazelhurst (fn. 12) and Oakenclough (fn. 13) were other vaccaries. (fn. 14) The messuage called Brooks was in 1720 sold by Richard Blackburne and Elizabeth his wife to Robert Lawson of Lancaster. (fn. 15)
William Garnett of Lark Hill, Salford, acquired a lease of the manor or forest from the Crown and greatly improved the district, converting wild lands into meadow and pasture. He built Bleasdale Tower, and was high sheriff of the county in 1843. At his death in 1863 he was succeeded by his son William James, who continued the work of improvement, and, dying in 1873, was followed by his eldest son, Mr. William Garnett of Quernmore, who served as high sheriff in 1879. (fn. 16)
More than half the area of the moorlands remains uninclosed. The pasture rights have been purchased from the duchy by the landowners.
The chapel at Admarsh existed in the time of Elizabeth, (fn. 17) but is of unknown origin and invocation. In 1610 it was described as' a chapel, without service, in the king's chase,' and the stipend was said to be detained by Robert Parkinson, commissary of Richmond. (fn. 18) In 1650 it had 'neither minister nor maintenance,' and the people were declared to be ignorant and careless, knowing nothing of the worship of God, but living in ignorance and superstition. (fn. 19) Nothing seems to have been done at that time, but in 1689 Richard White of Chipping had the Bishop of Chester's licence to preach in Admarsh Chapel, (fn. 20) and in 1702 Christopher Parkinson of Hazelhurst gave £5 10s. a year for the wages of a minister. (fn. 21) In 1717 there was 'service every first Sunday in the month and no other.' (fn. 22) Afterwards an augmentation was obtained, and from 1749 there seems always to have been a curate in charge. The church was rebuilt in 1835, and called St. Eadmor's (fn. 23); it was restored and enlarged in 1897. The vicar of Lancaster is patron. The following have been curates and vicars (fn. 24) :—
|1767||Thomas Smith (fn. 25)|
|1846||Henry Short (fn. 26)|
|1851||David Bell, M.D. (Glas.) (fn. 27)|
|1855||William Shilleto, B.A. (fn. 28) (Univ. Coll., Oxf.)|
|1864||Robert Charles Colquhoun Barclay, B.A. (T.C.D.)|
|1891||John Frederick Heighway Parker (fn. 29)|
The above-named Christopher Parkinson also bequeathed money to pay a schoolmaster £10 a year. (fn. 30)
The once-existing charities have failed; they amounted to less than £4 a year. (fn. 31)