Townships: Walmersley-with-Shuttleworth

Pages 141-143

A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 5. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


In this section


Walmersleye, 1289. The name was frequently corrupted: Womersley and Wamessley (xvi cent.); Walmsley (xix cent.).

Suttelesworth, 1227; Shyotlesworth, 1241; Shytlesworth, Shitleswurth, 1246; Schutelesworth, 1292.

Of the component parts of this township Walmersley lies to the south of Harden Brook, and Shuttleworth to the north of it. Out of a total of 5,064½ acres, (fn. 1) the former has an area of 2,949½ acres, the latter of 2,115. The surface is hilly, spurs shooting out from the eastern side towards the valley of the Irwell, which bounds the township, and is fed by tributary streams running down the valleys between the spurs. Deeply Vale is on the eastern border. The north-eastern part of Shuttleworth is occupied by Scout Moor, which at one point rises to 1,534 ft. The brook forming the northern boundary is called Scout Moor Brook and Dearden Brook. The population in 1901 was 711.

The principal road is that running north from Bury to Haslingden, about half a mile to the east of the Irwell, crossing Pigslee Brook, the boundary, and passing through Walmersley village, Bassfield, Gollinrod, Park, Shipperbottom, Bank Lane, and Shuttleworth. Roads branch off to the west to Summerseat and Ramsbottom. Shuttleworth is also crossed by the main road from Rochdale to Haslingden, which passes the hamlet called Turn and joins the former road at Edenfield. The Lancashire and Yorkshire Company's line from Bury to Accrington passes in part through this township, and has a station called Summerseat.

Shuttleworth was in 1829 described as 'a small village on the border of the dreary waste called Rooley Moor.' (fn. 2)

The Grant Tower in Walmersley was built by that family in 1829, and stands on the hill over against Nuttall and Park.

On Whittle Pike in Shuttleworth were formerly the remains of a beacon. (fn. 3)

A pot containing Roman coins of the 3rd century was discovered at Throstlehill, Walmersley, in 1864. (fn. 4) 'Castlesteads' is supposed to have been an entrenchment; it is on a bluff overlooking the Irwell. (fn. 5)

The hearth-tax return of 1666 shows twenty hearths liable in Shuttleworth, and sixty-seven in Walmersley; no house had more than four hearths. (fn. 6)

John Kay, the inventor of the fly-shuttle, was born at Park in Walmersley 16 July 1704, and died in France, as is supposed, after 1760. (fn. 7)

The cotton manufacture, with its mills and bleach and dye works, is the chief industry along the Irwell; inland the chief product is grass; the soil is heavy, with subsoil of rock.

The present township of Walmersley-with-Shuttleworth is much smaller than the former hamlet or township, portions having been taken into Ramsbottom and Bury, and some minor alterations effected. (fn. 8) It has a parish council.


Under the lords of Bury WALMERSLEY seems for some time to have been held by a family assuming the local surname. (fn. 9) In later times, however, a number of families appear holding small estates in this part of the township, for example, the Kays of Cobhouse, (fn. 10) Rothwells, (fn. 11) and Woods. (fn. 12) Shipwalbottom, now Shipperbottom, also occurs as an estate and a surname. (fn. 13) Gollinrod was the estate of a Nuttall family. (fn. 14)

The estate of Oliver Nabb in Walmersley was sequestered by the Parliament. (fn. 15)

SHUTTLEWORTH appears to have been a part of Tottington, acquired by an ancestor of Adam de Bury, who in 1227 established his right to a moiety of it. (fn. 16) Henry de Bury in 1311 held half the manor of Shuttleworth of the lord of Tottington by a rent of 12d. a year. (fn. 17) The Shuttleworth family is occasionally mentioned. (fn. 18) There is little further to record of this part of the township. (fn. 19) If the suppositions here made are correct this composite township represents an originally diverse tenure, Walmersley being an integral part of the manor of Bury, while Shuttleworth was part of the manor of Tottington, and came to be joined with Bury through a grant to the ancestor of Adam de Bury.

In 1796 the principal landowners were Richard Nangreaves, John Lancashire, and the Rev. [Richard] Formby. (fn. 20)

Complaint was made about the destruction of trees in Fletcher Wood in Walmersley in 1596. (fn. 21) Ellis Fletcher paid £10 on refusing knighthood in 1631. (fn. 22)

Christ Church, Walmersley, was built in 1838 for the Established worship, and rebuilt in 1883; the patronage is in the hands of five trustees. (fn. 23) At Shuttleworth, St. John's in the Wilderness was built in 1848; the incumbents are presented alternately by the Crown and the Bishop of Manchester. (fn. 24)

The Wesleyan Methodists have a church at Summerseat, opened in 1847, where the Primitive Methodists have a chapel also.

The Baptists have a chapel in Shuttleworth.

The Congregationalists have one at Park. It originated in a separation from Dundee Chapel, Holcombe, in 1798. (fn. 25)


  • 1. The present township has only 3,139 acres, including 41 of inland water; Census Rep. 1901.
  • 2. J. Butterworth, Bury (ed. 1902), 22.
  • 3. Baines, Lancs. (ed. 1836), ii, 677.
  • 4. Barton, Bury, 46–8.
  • 5. Watkins, Rom. Lancs. 243; Taylor, Lancs. Crosses, 467.
  • 6. Subs. R. bdle. 250, no. 9, Lancs.
  • 7. a He had much opposition, and was so embarrassed by the lawsuits he had to engage in against those who infringed his patents, that at last he took refuge in France. It is related that on one occasion, when his house was gutted by the mob, he escaped by being carried out of Bury in a wool sheet. His son Robert invented the drop-box in 1759. See a statement of the case by Thomas Sutcliffe, a descendant of John Kay, in his Exposition of Facts, 1843, and Crusoniana; also Dict. Nat. Biog. A monument to John Kay was erected in Bury in 1908.
  • 8. Under the Divided Parishes Act, 1882, the detached part called Cobhouse Farm was transferred from Walmersley to Birtle, within which it lay. In 1894 the township was extended to include part of Birtle-with-Bamford, by Local Govt. Bd. Order 31671.
  • 9. In 1289 Matthew de Walmersley claimed against Roger son of Robert de Walmersley the moiety of an oxgang in Walmersley in Bury; De Banco R. 80, m. 201. Robert de Walmersley was a juror in 1300; Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 305. Roger de Walmersley contributed to the subsidy of 1332, as an inhabitant of Bury; Exch. Lay Subs. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 33. In 1365 there was a dispute as to the guardianship of the heir of Henry de Walmerslcy between Sir Roger de Pilkington and John de Radcliffe, lord and rector respectively of Bury; De Banco R. 419, m. 33 d. In 1587 Roger Walmersley unsuccessfully claimed four messuages, a fullingmill, 60 acres of land, &c., in Bury, as descendant of Roger son of Roger de Walmersley, who was seised, as he alleged, in the time of Richard II. He proffered the following pedigree: Roger—s. Simon s.p.—bro. Henry—s. Roger—s. Roger—s. John—s. Roger—s. Roger, the plaintiff; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 260, m. 6.
  • 10. Some charters preserved by Kuerden (iii, B, 17) seem to refer to this estate; by one of them Adam de Bury granted to Henry son of Gilbert de Redvales an acre within 'Gobbetris,' by 'Pedeksdene' Brook, with all easements in Walmersley and 'Kobholris.' William son of Roger Kay of 'Cobholleres' was in 1346 charged with having cut down John del Holt's trees in Bury; De Banco R. 346, m. 113; R. 347, m. 231. In 1360 John del Holt the elder was plaintiff respecting an assart at 'Pigkisdene' in Bury, now Pigsden in Walmersley; Assize R. 450, m. 1. Ralph Holt in 1441 claimed two messuages, 60 acres, &c., in Bury and Middleton against Thomas son of William Kay and others; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 3, m. 14. A settlement of the estate of Thomas Kay in Walmersley was made in 1586 by himself, his wife Anne, Richard Kay, Charles Holt, and Mary his wife; it contained three messuages, a water-mill, 18 acres, &c.; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 48, m. 216. The estate of Robert Kay, consisting of ten messuages, a mill, 60 acres of land, &c., seems to have been purchased by Edward Rawstorne in 1582; ibid. bdle. 44, m. 160. Some deeds of the Kays of Cobbas or Cobhouse, as it is now spelt, are copied in Raines MSS. (Chet. Lib.), xxxi, 411, &c., with a pedigree reaching down to 1858. Captain William Kay of Cobhouse took part in the defence of Lathom at both sieges (Civil War Tracts [Chet. Soc.], 169, 212); his sword and dagger are in possession of descendants at present. Stones in the house bore the inscriptions: In the same volume of Raines MSS. will be found extracts from the journals of Richard Kay of Baldingstone, near Cobhouse, of the early 18th century; pp. 430–449.
  • 11. Thomas Rothwell in 1578 purchased a messuage, &c., in Walmersley from Ralph Nuttall; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 40, m. 71. Giles Rothwell, who died 17 March 1630–1, held a messuage and lands in Walmersley of the Earl of Derby, as of his manor of Bury; Thomas, the son and heir, was twenty-two years of age; Towneley MS. C, 8, 13 {Chet. Lib.), fol. 1073.
  • 12. Thomas Wood and Joan his wife in 1552 acquired a messuage, &c., from Richard Lache, clerk; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 14, m. 66. Henry Wood died 28 Feb. 1625–6, holding a messuage in Bank Lane in Walmersley of the Earl of Derby; Thomas, the son and heir, was only five years of age, but by his will the estate was left to a son Henry for life, after the death of the testator's brother, John Wood, he paying 20s. to the heirs; Towneley MS. C, 8, 13 (Chet. Lib.), fol. 1293.
  • 13. Joan daughter of Roger Eleteson of Shipwalbottom in 1351 claimed against Thomas Johnson of the same a messuage, 20 acres of land, and 10 acres in Bury— otherwise in the place called Shipwalbottom in the hamlet of Walmersley in the town of Bury; she being daughter and heir of Roger son of Richard, brother of Adam de Shipwalbottom (possessor in the time of Edw. II), whose son Richard had died without issue. The defendant held by a grant from one Henry de Stock, who received from Richard, the plaintiff's grandfather; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 1, m. 3d. Twelve years later Joan prosecuted the same claim against Margaret widow of William de Kirkhagh; De Banco R. 415, m. 205 d. The estate appears soon afterwards to have descended to the Wolstenholme family; see Fishwick, Rochdale, 526. Early in 1507 it was sold by James son and heir of John Wolstenholme, Joan his wife, and Nicholas Wolstenholme, to Thomas Hesketh (of Rufford); Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 103, m. 3. It occurs, as a messuage and lands in Walmersley, in the Hesketh inquisitions, without notice of the tenure; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. v, no. 16; vii, no. 14; and was in 1555 sold by Sir Thomas Hesketh and Alice his wife to Elizabeth Nuttall, widow; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 16, m. 131. Thomas Jones andThurstan Rawstorne in 1577 had a suit with Ralph Nuttall respecting Shipwalbottom in Walmersley; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), iii, 56. From the Bury registers it appears that a family named Kay lived at Shipwalbottom in the first half of the 17th century.
  • 14. Alexander de Bury, in the latter part of the reign of Henry III, granted to Nicholas de Golynrode all his land in the hamlet of Walmersley, the bounds on three sides being a brook, the great water of Irwell, and Cowtelaw syke, at a rent of 18d. at the feast of St. Oswald; Ormerod, Parentalia, 43. John son of Nicholas Gollin of Gollinrod in 1491 sold the estate to Henry son of Richard Nuttall of Nuttall in Tottington; ibid. 41. In the work referred to the descent of the estate is traced as follows: Henry Nuttall—s. George—s. Henry, s.p.—bro. Christopher—s. George, d. 1617—s. George, d. 1637—s. Richard, d. 1675–6—dau. and heir Susanna wife of Joshua Crompton of the Old Hall in Pilkington. As late as 1559 Ralph, the heir of John Gollin, claimed a messuage, &c., in Bury against George Nuttall and Roger Holt; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), ii, 212. George Nuttall, murdered in March 1636–7 by Thomas Rothwell, held his tenement of the Earl of Derby as lord of Bury by a rent of 18d.; Richard, his son and heir, was twenty-five years of age; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xxx, no. 94, and Bury Reg. Susanna Crompton died in 1716, and her daughter Hester, wife of Samuel Wareing, succeeded to Gollinrod; then came the Nangreaves of Netherton in Chester, issue of Anne, eldest daughter and co-heir of Hester. 'After their extinction by the death of Col. S. W. Nangreave in 1815,' Gollinrod and Sedger hey 'passed to the illegitimate issue of his eldest brother, and were sold in parcels, except a small part, which passed under the will of Col. Nangreave to his natural daughter, whose descendants still (1851) possess it. The remains of the mansion have been destroyed'; Ormerod, op. cit. 44, referring to the Gollinrod charters, then 'in possession of the trustees of the late Mrs. Edward Mangin of Bath, natural daughter of Col. Nangreave.'
  • 15. Royalist Comp. Papers (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 203–6. Abraham Nabb of Walmersley had made a settlement of his lands in 1638, just before his death, and they were held by his trustees for the benefit of his son Oliver and other uses, but seized by the Parliamentary authorities about 1643 and again in 1645, on the ground that Oliver had joined the Royal forces. This was denied; and it was said that he had fought for the Parliament 'at the last invasion into Scotland' (1652). He was a butcher. George Battersby, a tenant, was also concerned in the sequestration; ibid. i, 153.
  • 16. A deafforestation grant was made in 1225 to John de Mara for Adam de Bury; Cal.Pat. 1216–25, p. 576. In 1227 Adam de Bury claimed 200 acres of land and a mill, with the appurtenances, in Shuttleworth, against John de la Mare, in right of descent; and John acknowledged the moiety of the land, &c., claimed to be Adam's right, to wit, a moiety of the whole demesne, wheresoever it lay versus umbram, at the rent of 12d. Those who had been enfeoffed by John must perform a moiety of the due service to Adam and a moiety to John; Final Conc. i, 49. In 1246 Adam de Bury and Roger de Shuttleworth were convicted of having disseised Robert de Byron of his common of pasture in Shuttleworth, by approving 30 acres of pasture; Assize R. 404, m. 2.
  • 17. De Lacy Inq. (Chet. Soc), 19. Shuttleworth and Shipperbottom were particularly named in the grant of the Pilkington manors to the Earl of Derby in 1489.
  • 18. Geoffrey de Denton [? Foxdenton] in 1241 acknowledged Roger de Shuttleworth to be a freeman, for which he received 20 marks; Final Conc. i, 80. John de Rawstorne (Routhesthorn) in 1292 claimed certain lands in Bury against Richard de Shuttleworth and against Eva widow of Roger de Shuttleworth, but was nonsuited; Assize R. 408, m. 33. The same property apparently was in dispute in 1343, when John son of Richard de Rawstorne held a messuage and ploughland in Bury which his father had had from John de Rawstorne the elder, and which he said was only 5 acres of landThe claimant was Agnes de Shuttleworth, who stated that she had been seised in the time of Edward I; De Banco R. 336, m. 418 d. Margery daughter of Richard de Radcliffe, Roger de Shuttleworth, and Roger his son, in 1334 complained of a disseisin with force and arms by Robert de Horn cliffe, Robert del Ewood, and others, and the sheriff was ordered to take them. Afterwards the parties made fine; Coram Rege R. 297, m. 6; R. 298, Rex, m. 1 d. A partition of 10 acres of wood, &c., between Alice widow of Roger de Pilkington and Roger de Shuttleworth and Roger his son was made in 1348; De Banco R. 354, m. 3 d. In 1408 Hugh son of Roger, son of Roger de Shuttleworth of Bury, was an outlaw, unjustly, as he alleged; Towneley MS. RR, no. 1545. Agnes widow of John de Bradshagh and John their son released in 1427 to Ellen de Shuttleworth and Robert de Radcliffe her son all their messuages, &c., in a place called Questondene in Bury; Ct. of Wards, Deeds and Evidences, box 153, no. 7. In 1462 William Shuttleworth made a settlement of his lands in Bury, and a portion was granted to Peter his son and Margaret the wife of Peter; and in 1481 Margaret, as widow, released to Sir Thomas Pilkington all her right in the lands which had belonged to Peter Shuttleworth, grandfather of her late husband; Dods. MS. cxlii, rol. 164, 165.
  • 19. Isabel widow of John Leigh of Shuttleworth is named in 1425–6; Final Conc. iii, 124. This may refer to the Shuttleworth in Hapton, but there were in the 16th century Leighs who had land in Bury; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 52, m. 126; 57, m. 50.
  • 20. Land-tax returns at Preston.
  • 21. Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), iii, 343.
  • 22. Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 216.
  • 23. The old church was 'a neat stone structure,' with chancel, nave, and low square tower, in which was a clock; Barton, Bury, 244.
  • 24. A district was formed in 1845; Land. Gaz. 26 Aug.
  • 25. A full account of its fortunes will be found in Nightingale, Lancs. Nonconf. iii, 167–78. It was at Bast House, to the south-east of Gollinrod, that Henry Pendlebury exercised his ministry after being expelled from Holcombe in 1662; ibid, iii, 158.