A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1907.
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Bolde, 1212; Boulde, 1332; the final e is wanting in some cases as early as 1300.
The area, which measures 4,483 acres, (fn. 1) is divided by a brook, now called Whittle Brook, but formerly Holbrook, running across it from the north-west boundary to Great Sankey. Cambal Wood lay in the south-east corner; on the south was Bold Heath, with Crow Heath and Lunt Heath on the borders of Cuerdley and Widnes. In the south-west corner was Cranshaw Hall.
The flat and open country is divided into arable fields and pastures, interspersed with plantations, and dotted with farms. The crops are chiefly corn, potatoes, beans, and cabbages, which thrive in a clayey soil. In the north there are collieries, and the country is even less wooded than in the south. One patch of old mossland also exists in the farthest northern portion of the township. Bold Old Hall and Barrow Old Hall are two picturesque buildings, surrounded each by a moat, situated respectively in the centre and far south east of the township. In the geological formation of the township the permian and bunter series of the new red sandstone are represented; the red sandstone and red marl with limestone of the permian at Travers farm and Bold moss in the extreme north of the township, with a patch of the lower mottled sandstone of the bunter series adjoining. In the south-eastern portion of the township the upper mottled sandstone is represented, and elsewhere the pebble beds.
The principal road is that from Prescot to Warrington, going eastward through the southern half of the township. It is crossed by the roads from St. Helens to Widnes, from which there are branches in the north to Burtonwood, and in the south to Penketh. The London and North-Western Company's branch line from St. Helens to Widnes passes through the township.
In addition to the collieries there are works where tools are made.
The population was 950 in 1901.
There is a parish council.
The legend of Bold and the Dragon seems to have been based on an ignorant interpretation of the placename. (fn. 2)
Richard Bancroft, bishop of London 1597 to 1604, archbishop of Canterbury 1604 to 1610, was born here and baptized at Farnworth chapel. (fn. 3) Robert Barnes, of Bold, was bishop of Carlisle from 1570 to 1577, and of Durham from 1577 to 1588. (fn. 4)
Tibb's Cross and Bold Heath Cross were on the Prescot and Warrington road; the latter was taken down about 1870, and the little green on which it stood has been turned into a garden. Close to it was the pinfold. (fn. 5)
South of the hall there was an extraordinary cluster of fine old oaks, many of them of vast growth; they covered 40 acres of land. (fn. 6)
Charles Leigh, in his Natural History, states that 'the most remarkable thing of the wild duck is their way of feeding them at Bold in Lancashire . … They oftentimes adventure to come into the moat near the hall, which a person accustomed to feed them perceiving, he beats with a stone on a hollow vessel. The ducks answer the sound, and come quite round him upon a hill adjoining the water. He scatters corn amongst them, which they take with as much quietness and familiarity as tame ones. When fed they take their flight to the rivers, meres, and salt marshes.' (fn. 7)
The earliest record of BOLD is found in the survey of 1212. (fn. 8) It appears that the manor was assessed as four ploughlands and held in thegnage by the rent of 21s. 4d. yearly by Adam son of Richard; and that Adam's great-grandfather Tuger the Elder (senex) had formerly held it. Two minor manors had been created, or perhaps preserved from more ancient times, viz., La Quick and another unnamed, each of half a plough-land.
It was Tuger the Elder who granted La Quick out of his demesne; (fn. 9) he was probably a contemporary of King Stephen. The name of his son does not occur, but Richard de Bold paid half a mark to the scutage of 1201. (fn. 10) He died in or before 1211, and Adam, his son and heir, proffered 100s. for livery of the four plough-lands in Bold. (fn. 11) The issues while the manor was in the king's hands amounted to 7s. (fn. 12) Richard's widow, Waltania, who was of the king's gift, married Waldern de Reynham. (fn. 13)
Of Adam de Bold nothing more seems to be known. He died in or before 1222, his brother Matthew succeeding. The latter was called upon to show by what warrant he held two plough-lands in Bold, and in May, 1223, fined 3 marks for his relief, and had livery of three plough-lands. (fn. 14) Three charters of Matthew's have been preserved; (fn. 15) he was living in 1242, when he was a juror on the inquiry of the Gascon scutage. (fn. 16)
The next in possession was William de Bold. (fn. 17) His parentage is not stated. He received a grant of the manor of Bold from William de Ferrers, earl of Derby, who died in 1254; the boundaries were fully defined, and the services were to be the payment of 10s. a year and doing suit at the wapentake court of West Derby. (fn. 18) A change took place in his time in the tenure, for about 1260 Robert de Ferrers enfeoffed Sir William le Boteler of Warrington of the manor with the service of William de Bold and his heirs, rendering 10s. a year for it. (fn. 19) From this time the manor of Bold became part of the Warrington fee; the old thegnage rent of 21s. 4d. was paid by the holder of the manor to the lord of Warrington, who paid 10s. to the earl or duke of Lancaster. (fn. 20) Some of William de Bold's charters have been preserved. (fn. 21)
Robert son of William de Bold succeeded his father in or before 1278, and held the manor over forty years. He is first mentioned in a complaint of William son of John de Quick concerning the latter's free tenement in Bold. (fn. 22) He himself had a suit against Henry earl of Lincoln a few years later. (fn. 23) In 1297 and subsequently he made certain settlements on his eldest son Richard, (fn. 24) who for a time at least appears to have been in possession of the manor. (fn. 25) A considerable number of Robert's charters have been preserved, reaching down to 1325, (fn. 26) about which time probably he died. (fn. 27)
His son Richard, who succeeded, held possession for about twenty years. (fn. 28) He married Margery daughter of William de Mobberley of Mobberley, (fn. 29) who survived him and as 'Lady of Bold' managed the affairs of her grandson. One of Richard's first acts was to come to a settlement with William le Boteler of Warrington. The earl of Lancaster, disregarding the Ferrers grant of the manor to the lord of Warrington, had claimed the old thegnage service of 21s. 4d. from the lord of Bold, who was thus required to pay both to Boteler and to the earl. Richard therefore called upon William le Boteler as mesne lord to acquit him, and so obtained redress. (fn. 30) Another matter settled was the claim of Ellen de Torbock, the latter resigning all her right to the lands in dispute. (fn. 31) A little later a boundary dispute with John la Warre, as to land claimed by the latter as part of Cuerdley, was settled in Richard's favour. (fn. 32) A number of his deeds have been preserved, showing his management of the manor and lands. (fn. 33) He appears to have been successful in agreements with his neighbours and in adding to his possessions. He died in 1346 or 1347. (fn. 34)
His son William, who died before him, was married about 1329 to Sibyl, daughter of Sir Richard de Hoghton, (fn. 35) and left a son and heir Richard, who was still under age in 1352. (fn. 36) Margery de Bold was still living in November, 1364; (fn. 37) she was defendant, as guardian, in several suits. (fn. 38) Richard de Bold, who was made a knight between 1368 and 1370, married Ellen daughter of Richard de Molyneux of Sefton. (fn. 39) He died between 1387 and 1391. (fn. 40)
His son and successor John had been contracted in marriage in 1378 to Emma daughter of David de Ireland of Hale. (fn. 41) He was knighted about 1400; he and Thomas Bold were engaged in April, 1403, for the campaign which Henry Prince of Wales was about to prosecute against Owen Glendower. (fn. 42) He was otherwise employed in the public service, being sheriff of Lancashire in 1406. (fn. 43) In November, 1404, he had obtained a grant of free warren in his demesne lands in Bold and Prescot. (fn. 44) He died on 27 June, 1436, being then constable of Conway Castle. (fn. 45)
Richard, his son and heir apparent, had been married in 1404 to Ellen, daughter of Sir Gilbert de Halsall; (fn. 46) she was a widow in 1433, (fn. 47) her husband having predeceased his father. Sir Henry was succeeded by his grandson Henry, who was subsequently made a knight and survived until 1464. (fn. 48) The latter Sir Henry's widow was named Grace; he left two sons, Richard and Tuger, and several daughters. (fn. 49)
Richard had in 1439 been married to Katherine daughter of Richard Bold of Chester. (fn. 50) But little seems known of him except that he took part in the Scottish expedition of 1482, in which he was made a knight by Lord Stanley; (fn. 51) he died between 1483 and 1487, (fn. 52) leaving his manors to his son, Sir Henry Bold, who was made a knight at the battle of Stoke, 1487. (fn. 53) He had two sons, Richard, who succeeded to Bold, and Tuger, who purchased Eccleston and other manors in Lancashire and Harleton in Buckinghamshire. (fn. 54)
Richard son of Sir Henry married Margaret daughter of Thomas Boteler of Bewsey. (fn. 55) He acquired other lands in Bold, but sold some in Flintshire. (fn. 56) He was made a knight between 1500 and 1506, (fn. 57) was collector of a subsidy in 1503, (fn. 58) and died 16 November, 1528, (fn. 59) leaving a widow, Margaret, (fn. 60) four sons, and five daughters. (fn. 61)
His eldest son, Richard, succeeded. He was thrice married. (fn. 62) By his second wife, whom he married in 1535, he had a son Richard, who succeeded in 1558; (fn. 63) and by his third, another son, William, whose descendants came into possession in 1612.
The son Richard held the manors for more than forty years. He was a justice of the peace, and in 1590 made 'show of good conformity' to the ecclesiastical laws, but was 'not greatly forward in the public actions of religion.' (fn. 64) A few years earlier, according to information furnished by a servant of his, 'neighbours used to come to Bold at such time as other men were at church.' (fn. 65) Richard Bold had no children by his wife, (fn. 66) but made over all his manors to his illegitimate son, Sir Thomas Bold. (fn. 67) The latter died without issue in September, 1612, when Richard Bold, son and heir of the William Bold mentioned above, entered into possession. (fn. 68)
The new lord married Anne, daughter of Sir Peter Legh of Lyme. (fn. 69) He was sheriff in 1630, (fn. 70) and died on 19 February, 1635–6, his heir being his second son, Peter, aged only nine years. (fn. 71) The heir escaped the most dangerous period of the Civil War, and on attaining his majority accepted the existing order, (fn. 72) serving the office of sheriff in 1653–4. (fn. 73) He died before the Restoration, leaving an infant son, also named Peter, to succeed.
The heir was in 1671 entrusted to Adam Martindale to be educated, along with her own son, by Lady Assheton of Middleton, his mother's sister. (fn. 74) Soon afterwards he was entered at Lincoln's Inn, and sent to Christ Church, Oxford. (fn. 75) At an early age he was elected one of the knights of the shire, (fn. 76) and in 1690 was sheriff. (fn. 77) He died in 1691, his son Richard being still a minor.
Soon after coming of age Richard Bold was elected knight of the shire, (fn. 78) but he died young on 21 March, 1703–4. (fn. 79) His heir was an infant son Peter, who went up to Oxford in 1722, (fn. 80) and was elected to Parliament soon after coming of age, serving for Wigan in 1727, and for the county from 1736 to 1741 and from 1750 to 1760. (fn. 81) He died in 1762, leaving six daughters. (fn. 82) The eldest, Anna Maria, succeeded to Bold and his other estates, and dying unmarried in 1813, aged eighty-one, (fn. 83) was succeeded by Peter son of Thomas Patten of Bank Hall, Warrington, by Dorothea his wife, younger sister of Anna Maria Bold. Peter, upon succeeding to the family estates in 1814, took the surname of Bold. He served in Parliament for various constituencies, and on his death in 1819, (fn. 84) left four daughters as coheirs. Of these Mary, the eldest, succeeded to Bold. She married at Florence, and afterwards at Farnworth, Prince Sapieha of Poland, but died in 1824 without issue. Bold then passed to her sister Dorothea, who married Henry Hoghton, afterwards baronet; he subsequently assumed the name of Bold in addition to his own surname. (fn. 85) Their son, Henry Bold-Hoghton, sold the Bold estates in 1858 and later, and in 1862 discontinued the use of Bold as part of his surname. The purchaser of Bold Hall, William Whitacre Tipping, (fn. 86) died intestate in March, 1889, the estate passing to the next of kin, Mrs. Wyatt, then of Hawley Parsonage, Hampshire. About ten years later, after various attempts had been made to dispose of the estate, it was purchased by a syndicate, registered under the style of the Bold Hall Estate, Limited; the hall, much dilapidated, was taken down, and a colliery opened.
The mansion was thus described in 1860: 'The hall stands on a gentle elevation commanding extensive scenery to the south, extending over a fine expanse of park to the distant hills of Cheshire; to the north and east it overlooks the pleasure grounds and the finely timbered north park with its groves of unrivalled oaks. It is a handsome, uniform, and very substantial edifice, adorned with fine stone columns and corresponding decorative dressings, designed and erected about 1732 under the superintendence of the eminent Italian architect Leoni.' (fn. 87)
QUICK, (fn. 88) now forgotten, was sometimes styled a vill. About the reign of Henry II Tuger the Elder, as lord of Bold, gave half a plough-land to Albert, which was held by Albert's son Henry in 1212 by an annual service of 4s. 6d. (fn. 89) This estate is identified as being in the Whike, because Henry son of Albert was a benefactor of Cockersand Abbey, (fn. 90) and their lands lay in the 'Quickfield.' A charter of about 1270 shows that part of the Whike had been recovered by the lord of Bold. (fn. 91) Another portion was held by the Rixton family. (fn. 92) More than a century later the messuage called the Whike was held of the Bolds by Nicholas Penketh for a rent of £4 6s. 8d. (fn. 93)
A local family took surname from it. (fn. 94)
The Hospitallers had a close in Quick Hill held by Richard Bold about 1540 at a rent of 12d. (fn. 95)
The Haydock family had early an interest in Bold, and in particular in CRANSHAW. (fn. 96) The Bolds acquired this estate also, and in the sixteenth century it is found as the dower of Margaret Bold and the portion of younger sons, Francis and Richard. (fn. 97)
BARROW is mentioned in 1330, when a messuage in Bold in a place called the Barrow was given to Henry son of Alan de Barrow and Margery his wife; with remainder to Alan's brother Ellis. (fn. 98) Almost a century later Cecily de Collay, or Cowley, daughter and one of the heirs of Ellis de Barrow, granted all her share of the inheritance to Randle son of Richard son of Henry de Bold, and to his son Richard. (fn. 99) This property also was acquired by the senior branch of the family, and in 1537 formed part of the dower assigned to Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Gerard, (fn. 100) on her marriage with Richard Bold.
In the survey of 1212 it is mentioned that 'Gilbert held anciently four oxgangs of land for 3s. 6d., and now Richard his son holds them' of Adam de Bold. (fn. 101) This estate has not been identified, but may be HOLBROOK, which was held of the chief lords by a rent of 3s. 6d., as appears from a grant in 1329 by William son of Henry de Holbrook of Bold to Henry his son, on the latter's marriage with Agnes daughter of Roger de Ritherope. (fn. 102) Very little is known of the family; but their estate passed to the Corans, or Currens, of Bold, (fn. 103) and in 1535 Holbrook House was given by the father to Richard son of Ralph Coran, on his marriage with Margaret daughter of Richard Lancaster of Rainhill. (fn. 104) Twelve years later this Richard Coran appears to have sold his lands to Richard Bold. (fn. 105)
BRINSOPE is another estate of which a few particulars have survived. (fn. 106)
Various families and place names occur in the deeds and pleadings, but no consecutive account of them can be given. (fn. 107)
In 1662 Mrs. Joan Owen, mother of the heir, was living in Bold Hall, which had twenty hearths; Henry Greene had Cranshaw and Holbrook. (fn. 108)
Two 'Papists' registered estates in Bold in 1717: Nicholas Lurkey of Eccleston, shoemaker; and Mary widow of John Longworth. (fn. 109)