Townships: Cowpe, Lench, Newhall, Hey and Hall Carr

Pages 150-151

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.



Couhope, 1325.

Lenches (xvii cent.).

This crescent-shaped township occupies the northern slope of the ridge which divides the hundreds of Blackburn and Salford, being included in the former, though the manor and parish to which it belongs are in the latter. The northern boundary is formed by the Irwell and a tributary stream. Cowpe forms the eastern corner with the hamlet of Boarsgreave; Lench lies on the north-eastern slope of the hill, opposite Newchurch in Rossendale; Newhall Hey (fn. 1) and Hall Carr occupy the western slope, in which lie the hamlets of Townsend Fold, Wood Top, and Longholme. The area of the township is 1,499 acres, composed as follows:—Cowpe 569½, Lench 396, Newhall Hey and Hall Carr 533½.

The principal and practically the only road is that from Bury to Rawtenstall and Bacup, which runs near the Irwell on the north-western side of the township. Near it runs the Bury and Bacup branch of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway.

There are numerous quarries on the hills, while cotton-mills line the banks of the Irwell.

Horse-races formerly took place near Cowpe. (fn. 2)

A catastrophe known as Cowpe Flood occurred in 1838, due, it is said, to a 'cloudburst' on the hill at the head of Cowpe Valley. (fn. 3)

The township has now ceased to exist, being part of the borough of Rawtenstall, which was made a civil parish in 1894. (fn. 4)

There is practically nothing to record of this township. It may have become attached to the hundred of Blackburn through its proximity to the Forest of Rossendale, in which it was long included. (fn. 5)

In connexion with the Established Church, St. James's, Waterfoot, was opened by licence in 1863 and consecrated in 1865.

A small building, said to have been a pre-Reformation chapel, formerly stood at Rough Lee in Lench. (fn. 6)


  • 1. The place so called lies on the north bank of the Irwell, outside the township and parish.
  • 2. Baines, Lancs. (ed. 1836), ii, 674.
  • 3. Newbigging, Forest of Rossendale, 317.
  • 4. Local Govt. Bd. Order 32291.
  • 5. The following are among the references to the township in the inquests of the Forest of Rossendale included in the court rolls of the manor of Accrington, preserved in the Public Record Office and at Clitheroe Castle. John Nuttall of Newhall Hey in 1539 claimed 10s. damages against Nicholas Ramsbottom for encroachment and wrongful inclosure of a parcel of land at Newhall Hey; and the jury set out merestones according to which the defendant was in future to occupy. The parties made an agreement in the following year regarding fences between Hall Carr and Newhall Hey. The greave of Rossendale surrendered in 1539 a messuage and appurtenances in Cowpe Close, given him by James Pecopp, to the use of John and Peter Pecopp. In 1564 Charles son of Richard Nuttall, Richard son of Richard Rawstorne of Lumb, John son of John Bridge, and George Nuttall of Gollinrod, at the request of Charles Nuttall of Aveley in Essex, son and heir of Charles Nuttall, late of Crow Lumb, deceased, surrendered a messuage, &, in Cowpe, rented at 21s. 3d., in the occupation of Robert Nuttall and Ralph his son, to the use of Christopher Nuttall of Newhall Hey and other feoffees for the following purposes:— To the use of the above Robert Nuttall of Cowpe for thirty-three years, paying 9s. 1d. to Elizabeth Rawstorne, and after her death to Richard son of Giles Nuttall and his heirs; at the end of the term a moiety or 'half dole' was to be held for the above Ralph Nuttall and the other moiety for Richard son of Giles, but Ralph was to pay Richard £21 in three instalments in Edenfield Chapel. The fine upon admittance was 21s. 3d.— the same as the rent. In 1532 the jury, in deciding on a complaint as to the obstruction of a road from the Lench to Deadwin Clough, awarded the plaintiff a sufficient road from 'Le Lenche Yait' to his house, and also ordered that a 'middyng sted ' upon the said king's highway should be removed. John Nuttall in 1539 complained that his brother Ralph had trespassed by making a path on his land at the Lench and Marled Earth, and defendant was directed to use instead a road from the Lench to the Carr meadow head. There was another dispute between the brothers in 1541. A messuage in the Lench was in 1545 surrendered to the use of Vane or Evan son of John Schofield; the fine, 21s. 8d., was the same as the rent of the tenement, and this appears to have been the rule.
  • 6. Newbigging, Rossendale, 111. The statement that 'a large stone pulpit was demolished when the building was converted to its present use'—two cottages —throws doubt upon the story.