Townships: Bradshaw

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

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, 'Townships: Bradshaw', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 5, (London, 1911) pp. 270-272. British History Online [accessed 20 May 2024].

. "Townships: Bradshaw", in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 5, (London, 1911) 270-272. British History Online, accessed May 20, 2024,

. "Townships: Bradshaw", A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 5, (London, 1911). 270-272. British History Online. Web. 20 May 2024,

In this section


Bradeshagh, 1312, and generally; Bradshaw, 1580.

This township occupies the western slope of a hill which rises from below 400 ft. at Bradshaw Brook on the west to 888 ft. on the eastern boundary, not much more than a mile away. Bradshaw village occupies the southern corner; Horrobin mills, Birches, (fn. 1) and Turton Bottoms, are in the north. The area is 1,156 acres. The population was in 1901 enumerated with that of Turton, in which township Bradshaw was included by the Bolton Extension Act of 1898.

Watling Street, an old Roman road, runs along the north-east boundary. It is joined by the road from Bolton, which passes through the village and then north and north-east through the township.

John Bradshaw's house, the Hall, had thirteen hearths liable to the tax in 1666; the other houses were all small, the whole township containing only thirty-eight hearths. (fn. 2)

The land is chiefly in pasture. There are large bleaching, dyeing, and calico-printing works.

There is a cross on Watling Street, (fn. 3) and the pedestal of another near the western border.


Originally BRADSHAW was included in Harwood, of which it formed the northern moiety; (fn. 4) but a local family established itself there, and in time the manor was considered to be held directly of the lords of Manchester by the fourth part of a knight's fee, and payments of 9d. each for sake fee and castle ward. (fn. 5)

No proper account of the family can be given, though it retained its estate from the middle of the 13th century to the end of the 17th. (fn. 6) William and Roger de Bradshaw occur in Turton pleas in 1246. (fn. 7) In 1253 Roger de Brockholes came to an agreement with Ughtred de Bradshaw concerning 4 acres in Bradshaw which Roger had received in free marriage with Mabel the sister of Ughtred, together with right of pasture in Bradeheme. (fn. 8) At a later date William son of Roger de Brockholes released to Robert son of Henry son of Ughtred de Bradshaw all his claim to the said lands. (fn. 9) In 1324 Robertson of Henry de Bradshaw made a settlement of the manor of Bradshaw. (fn. 10) There are only fragmentary notices of the family during the two centuries following this. (fn. 11) An Alexander Bradshaw was head of the family in 1514, when he was succeeded by his son John, (fn. 12) and he by several generations of the same name. (fn. 13) In the 17th century the family was remarkable for its Puritanism in a Puritan district. (fn. 14) About this time their fortunes began to decline, and in 1694. the manor was purchased by Henry Bradshaw of Marple in Cheshire, a nephew of the regicide John Bradshaw. (fn. 15) It has since descended regularly, by Henry's daughter and heir Mary, who married Nathaniel Isherwood of Bolton, to Mr. John Henry Bradshawe Isherwood, the present lord of the manor and principal landowner. (fn. 16)

Bradshaw. Argent two bendlets between as many martlets sable.

Isherwood. Argent a fesse dancetty azure, on a chief of the second a lion passant or.

Bradshaw Hall stands a little over a quarter of a mile north of the village on the left bank of the Bradshaw Brook, hidden from the road by tall trees. The house is a fragment of a fine 17th-century building, with a new south front dating from the early years of the last century and a large modern north-west wing. The original building had a frontage facing east of over 60 ft., and was of three stories with centre porch and flanking bay windows going up the full height, and with an almost continuous range of mullioned and transomed windows on each floor. The walls were faced with sandstone and finished with a plain parapet ornamented with spiked finials, and the roofs were covered with stone slates. On the north side the house extended westward about 60 ft., the plan thus forming an irregular L-shape, each wing being 25 ft. in width. The north wing still stands pretty much as when built, being still three stories in height and preserving its rows of mullioned and transomed windows, together with the stone parapet, but the east front at some time before the beginning of the 18th century has been mutilated by the removal of the upper story and the destruction of the south end. All that remains standing therefore is now the lower part of the northern end of the principal elevation, including the porch and chamber over, and the bay window adjoining it on the north. Above the porch the wall is carried up to the level of the sills of the nowdestroyed upper windows, but along the remainder of the front the later roof constructed after the removal of the upper story is visible, and the wall ends just above the first-floor windows. This front, therefore, though picturesque as a fragment, is divested of all its original architectural proportions, and suffers greatly in its sky line by the somewhat haphazard way in which the later repairs were effected. The porch entrance is under a semicircular doorway flanked by rather rude fluted Tuscan columns on pedestals, and carrying an entablature ornamented with large spiked finials. Above the door is a stone with the arms of Bradshaw, and the arms occur again with supporters on a stone over the five-light mullioned window to the porch chamber. In 1813 a restoration of the house took place, when the present plain south front was erected, much of the old stone being removed. The porch between the flanking sash bay windows on this side is a later addition, and a large north-west wing has been added to the house in recent times. In 1890 the foundations of the destroyed part of the east front were laid bare, the ground, which had risen on this side of the house 2 or 3 ft., was reduced to its original level, and the steps to the porch restored. The interior is almost entirely modernized, but in the window of the breakfast-room are two old quarries bearing the arms and crest of Bradshaw. The date of the erection of the house is not known, but it was probably the early years of the 17th century.

The Radcliffes of Smithills and their successors the Bartons long had an estate in Harwood, apparently in the Bradshaw part of that township. (fn. 17) There are but few other references to the place. (fn. 18)

The landowners in 1802 were Henry Bradshaw Isherwood and John Parker, the latter contributing about a fifth of the land tax. (fn. 19)


A chapel is supposed to have existed at Bradshaw before the Reformation, but nothing is known of its history; (fn. 20) a mediaeval bell, hanging in the present chapel, is said to have been brought from Yorkshire. (fn. 21) It was rebuilt about 1640 by the Bradshaw family, (fn. 22) and after decaying somewhat was in good repair in 1724. There was no endowment. (fn. 23) In 1843 it was 'a mean and dilapidated structure,' but was rebuilt in 1872 in the Early English style, and is known as St. Maxentius'. (fn. 24) The ivy-grown tower of the old building of 16th or 17th century date still stands in the churchyard to the west of the present church. Formerly it was little more than a domestic chapel for the Bradshaws and their tenants, (fn. 25) and after the Restoration was used by the Nonconformists from time to time; (fn. 26) but the incumbents are now nominated by the vicars of Bolton. The net value is given as £385 a year. A parish was assigned to it in 1853. (fn. 27) The following have been curates and vicars:— (fn. 28)

1726 John Norris, M.A. (Glasgow)
1737–8 James Wyld, M.A.
1769 Robert Dean, B.A. (fn. 29)
1799 John Atkinson, M.A.
1802 John Lutener, B.A.
1812 Thomas Brocklebank (fn. 30)
1822 Birkett Dawson, B.D. (Emmanuel Coll. Camb.)
1844 Philemon Alfred Galindo, (fn. 31) B.A. (T.C.D.)
1877 Robert Kershaw Judson, M.A. (St. John's Coll. Camb.)


  • 1. The Birches was the subject of a suit in 1535 between Alexander Bradshaw and Edmund Bradshaw, and others; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), i, 149.
  • 2. Subs. R. Lancs. bdle. 250, no. 9.
  • 3. Lancs. and Ches. Antiq. Soc. xxii, 148, 149.
  • 4. See the account of Harwood.
  • 5. Harland, Mamecestre (Chet. Soc), iii, 480. In the 16th century the tenure was socage.
  • 6. This family, in spite of its obscurity, is supposed to have been the parent stock of the more famous ones of Bradshagh of Haigh near Wigan and Bradshagh of Westleigh, as well as of others.
  • 7. Assize R. 404, m. 2.
  • 8. Kuerden, fol. vol.; Harl. MS. 2112, fol. 107. Ughtred is here spelt Huard. Ughtred de Bradshaw had a grant of common of pasture in Harwood from Alexander de Cuerdale; ibid. fol. 149b. Brockholes was a part of the composite fee in which was Bradshaw.
  • 9. Kuerden fol. MS. It appears from this that Mabel was the daughter of Henry, who must therefore have been the father of Ughtred (Huthred). Henry de Bradshaw had a charter from Henry Maudgeston [Monewdon], lord of Tottington till 1235, allowing him common of pasture for all cattle fed in Bradshaw; Harl. MS. 2112, fol. 149b This probably relates to the acre in Affetside, which long descended with Bradshaw. Several other members of the Bradshaw family occur in deeds, &c., of the latter part of the 13th century. In 1285 Beatrice widow of Ughtred de Bradshaw in a claim for dower appeared against Henry son of Robert de Bradshaw respecting a messuage and lands in Bradshaw by Bury; against Alan son of William de Bradshaw respecting a messuage and 2 oxgangs of land there; against Mary widow of William de Bradshaw respecting a messuage and 1 oxgang of land; against Henry son of Matthew de Conway respecting a messuage and land; against William son of Henry del Thome respecting two messuages, 6 oxgangs of land, &c.; and against Mary de Bradshaw respecting a messuage, oxgang, &c.; De Banco R. 58, m. 7 d. The 10 oxgangs here in evidence cannot be oxgangs of assessment, as the whole of Harwood contained only 1 plough-land. Alan de Bradshaw is named again; De Banco R. 345, m. 64 d.; he was probably the Alan de Harwood mentioned in the account of that township. Amery widow of Alan de Bradshaw in 1296 claimed dower in Harwood against Roger de Radcliffe; ibid. 113, m. 120. Simon de Bradshaw was a plaintiff in 1292; Assize R. 408, m. 5. In the same year a Richard de Bradshaw is mentioned; Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 229, 230, 605. In 1274 the sheriff was ordered to arrest certain persons on a charge of complicity in the death of John de Bradshaw; Coram Rege R. 12, m. 69. John son of Simon de Bradshaw was witness to a charter in 1335; Harl. MS. 2112, fol. 145/181.
  • 10. Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 59; it is not clear who the Henry de Bradshaw was by whose agency the settlement was made. Robert de Bradshaw appears as early as 1292 as plaintiff against Henry de Trafford respecting a tenement in Harwood; Assize R. 408, m. 57. In 1306 Robert de Bradshaw was one of the two free tenants of Harwood [i.e. for Bradshaw], and Nicholas D'Ewias granted his homage and service to his brothers Roger and William D'Ewias; Dods. MSS. liii, fol. 19, no. 37. In 1311 he held of the Earl of Lincoln a pasture in Tottington by homage and the service of 12d. a year; Mamecestre, ii, 255.
  • 11. Henry de Bradshaw attested a charter in 1341 and John Bradshaw in 1350; Harl. MS. 2112, fol. 145b/181b, 152/188. A few notes from charters are printed in the Visit, of 1613 (Chet. Soc.), 58. From one of these it appears that Robert de Bradshaw had a son Henry, occurring in 1343, and another son Richard, mentioned in 1393–4; a Thomas son of John de Bradshaw was living in 1378–9. Further, Henry de Bradshaw had a son Ellis, also living in 1378–9. The succession therefore was probably, in. spite of the long descents, Robert—s. Henry—s. Ellis. Ellis de Bradshaw appears several times between 1385 and 1395; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc), i, 13, 61. He is probably the Ellis de Bradshaw who, with Margaret his wife, recovered seisin of lands in Coppull, &c., in 1403; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxiii, App. 3. John son of Ellis de Bradshaw was in 1395 already married to Eleanor, one of the daughters and heirs of John de Arderne, then seven years of age, to whom his father was one of the guardians; Lancs. Inq. p.m. i, 60; ii, 7–9. John de Bradshaw is from time to time mentioned down to 1433; ibid. ii, 37; Pal. of Lanc. Chan. Misc. 1/9, m. 72. The land in Lower Darwen, afterwards in possession of the family, probably came from his marriage. After forty years another Ellis appears as lord of Bradshaw; Mamecestre iii, 480.
  • 12. In 1501 Alexander (son and heirapparent of John) Bradshaw of Bradshaw agreed with Richard Holland of Denton concerning the marriage of Alexander's, son and heir John with Ellen daughter of Richard Holland; Harl. MS. 2112, fol. 154/190. The Tottington court rolls (preserved at Clitheroe Castle and the Record Office) afford another clue, by means of the acre in Affetside. In 1508 Andrew Bradshaw had died, leaving a brother and heir John, who received possession of the land. The next in succession was Alexander Bradshaw, who died in 1514, and his son John succeeded him. At this point the inquisitions and visitations begin.
  • 13. John Bradshaw had a letter from Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland and Warden of the Marches, desiring his assistance against the Scots; Visit. of 1613, p. 58. He died 19 Jan. 1542–3, holding the manor of Bradshaw in Harwood, with sixteen messuages, a fulling mill, a watermill, &c., together with messuages and lands in Sharples, Bolton, Harwood, and Rivington, the manor and lands in Bradshaw being held of Lord La Warre in socage, by a rent of 9d. yearly and two suits at his court of Manchester; the land in Harwood was held of Edmund Trafford in socage by the rent of a barbed arrow; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. vii, no. 33. The inquisition recites a feoffment for the benefit of his wife Ellen, who survived him; also grants to his surviving brothers Hugh and Robert, made in 1523 and 1532 respectively. John Bradshaw, the son and heir, was over forty years of age. He had special licence of entry; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxix, App. 551. See also Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), ii, 64. John Bradshaw the younger died on 10 July 1548, leaving a son and heir only fourteen years of age. His wife was Mary daughter of Ralph Orrell; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. ix, no. 31. By his will he gave all his lands, &c., in Bradshaw and Rivington to Mary his wife for a term of twelve years; they included the hall with its appurtenances, various closes named Mort's Hill, Beysingley, Chapel Fields, Holmes after the Water (formerly Holme Hurststead), Oldham, &c. Provision was made for his younger sons and daughters—Ralph, Robert, Alexander, Richard, Agnes, Ellen, Margaret, Anne, and Elizabeth. To his son and heir John he left 'all such heirlooms as are specified in my father's last will,' his best gelding, a great ark standing in the barn, and all his harness. He desired to be buried within Bolton Church, near the accustomed burial-place of his ancestors; Wills (Chet. Soc. new ser.), i, 6–10. See also Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), iii, 15, 32. The heir, the third John Bradshaw in succession, had special licence of entry in 1556; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxix, App. 551. He died on 14 May 1574, leaving as heir his son John, then twenty-two years of age. The manors and lands were unchanged; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xiii, no. 39. The day before his death he made provision for his younger son Nicholas and his daughters Anne, Elizabeth, Alice, and Mary; ibid. See also Manch. Ct. Leet Rec. (ed. Earwaker), i, 168. In 1587 disputes arose over the provision made for the daughter Anne, who married Thomas Holt of Hagley, Bucks.; Duchy of Lanc. Plead, cxlii, H, 2; cxxv, H, 20. John Bradshaw, who succeeded, made a settlement of the manor and lands in 1580; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 42, m. 140. He was living in 1613, when a pedigree was recorded, which begins wrongly. He died 31 Dec. 1626 holding the manor of Bradshaw, with sixteen messuages, a fulling mill, 300 acres of land, 200 acres of meadow, 500 acres of pasture, 50 acres of wood, 500 acres of moor, &c., in Bradshaw, 1½ acres in Harwood, and a messuage in Bolton; John his son and heir was over forty years of age; Towneley MS. C, 8, 13 (Chet. Lib.), fol. 78; Manch. Ct. Leet Rec. iii, 128. John Bradshaw the heir was still living in 1664, when a pedigree was recorded, showing a son John and a grandson also John, the last-named being eighteen years of age; Dugdale, Visit. (Chet. Soc), 50. This pedigree was signed by Hugh Bradshaw, a younger son of John the grandfather. John Bradshaw, a 'very ancient' man, was buried 3 Feb. 1665–6; an incident at his funeral is narrated by Oliver Heywood in his Diaries, iii, 94. A settlement of the manor of Bradshaw, &c., was made by fine in 1642, the deforciants being John Bradshaw and Anne his wife, John Hartley and Alice his wife; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 141, no. 5. A 'Shakespeare Bible' noticed in N. and Q. (6th ser. xi, 57) contains some particulars of the Bradshaw family, William, younger son of John Bradshaw, having been an owner of it.
  • 14. A zealous Protestant, writing in 1595 to some one in authority urging the more rigorous prosecution of recusants, suggested John Bradshaw of Bradshaw as a proper person to be nominated a commissioner for the purpose; Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 585. He was a justice of the peace; ibid. 583. In 1620 he and a number of others were presented 'for not communicating at Easter last or not receiving the same kneeling'; he appears to have conformed by deputy; Scholes and Pimblett, Bolton, 315. He was a member of the Presbyterian classis in 1646. After the Restoration Bradshaw Chapel, by the connivance of the Bradshaw family, remained in the hands of the Nonconformists for some time.
  • 15. 'John Bradshaw of Bradshaw, Esq., in his will dated 15 March 1693–4, recites his indentures of 15–16 May 1692, whereby he empowered his trustees, Henry Wrigley of Langley, Thomas Bradshaw of Haslingden, and John Jenkinson of Failsworth, gents., by lease, mortgage, or sale to raise legacies for his younger children from his manor of Bradshaw, Bradshaw Hall, and all his lands in Bradshaw, Harwood, and Tottington; and these trusts fulfilled he devised the same lands to his son John Bradshaw and his heirs. This son shortly afterwards, having no issue by his wife, a daughter of — Gregge of Chester, sold the estate to Henry Bradshaw of Marple Hall'; Raines in Notitia Cestr. ii, 17. John Bradshaw, the testator, was buried 30 March 1694; Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 291. The sale of his estates must have been determined upon already, for by fine of 28 March 1694 Henry Bradshaw secured from John Bradshaw, Thomas Bradshaw, Henry Wrigley, and John Jenkinson the manor of Bradshaw, together with messuages, water grain mill, lands and pasture rights in Bradshaw, Harwood, and Tottington; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 232, m. 70. 'After the sale of Bradshaw the family was represented by the descendants of Thomas Bradshaw, Esq. (great-uncle of the vendor), and his wife Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Edward Rawstorne of Lum Hall, Esq., and whose grandson, — Rawstorne, gent., by his wife Dorothy, daughter of the Rev. Henry Walmsley of New Malton in the county of York, had a son Dr. Henry Bradshaw, living in Salford in 1765, and who considered himself entitled to this estate of his male ancestors'; Raines, op. cit. ii, 18.
  • 16. For an account of this family see Earwaker, East Cheshire, ii, 61–76; Ormerod, Cheshire (ed. Helsby), iii, 843.
  • 17. In 1312 Roger de Radcliffe received from Adam del Birches a messuage, 30 acres of land, &c., in Harwood and Bradshaw, the remainders being to Robert son of Roger and his heirs, and then to Adam de Hulton and his heirs; Final Conc, ii, 13. From later suits it appears that this estate had in the time of Edward I been granted by Alan de Bradshaw to Roger de Radcliffe and his issue; in default to remain to Richard brother of Roger and his issue; by virtue of which, as Roger died without issue, it should have descended to Robert son and heir of Richard de Radcliffe, and then to Richard son of Robert, who claimed it in 1346; De Banco R. 345, m. 64 d. It appears that in virtue of the fine of 1312 Adam de Hulton (and Roger his son) and John de Radcliffe, rector of Bury, had taken possession; Robert the son of Roger, named in the fine, died without issue; ibid. R. 344, m. 21 d.; R. 348, m. 404 d. This appears to be the estate in 'Harwood ' held by Sir Ralph de Radcliffe of Smithills in 1406 of John son of Ellis de Bradshaw in socage by a rent of 3s.; its value was 40s. a year clear; Tcwneley MS. DD, no. 1504. In 1517 John Barton's' estate in Harwood and Bradshaw was held of the lord of Manchester by unknown services; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iv, no. 82. It is also mentioned in later inquisitions, e.g. Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 207–11.
  • 18. In 1302 Adam de Hindley did not prosecute a claim against Hugh de Hindley and others respecting a tenement in Bradshaw; Assize R. 418, m. 13. Joan widow of Richard de Faldworthings in 1351 claimed a messuage and two plough-lands in Bradshaw against Thurstan de Holland; Duchy of Lanc Assize R. 1, Mich. m. 5 d., Lent m. 7.
  • 19. Land tax returns at Preston.
  • 20. The 'Chapel fields' are mentioned in the will of John Bradshaw, 1548, already quoted.
  • 21. See Lancs. and Ches. Antiq. Soc. xii, 115, 116; the inscription is ave maria gracia plena.
  • 22. The chapel existed in 1650, when it was served by Mr. Felgate, 'a man of civil carriage,' who had been elected by the congregation; there was no income beyond the voluntary offerings of the people; Commonwealth Ch. Surv. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), 33. Nothing is said as to the chapel having been recently built, as is done in some other cases; but it was recommended that it be made a parish church. In 1646 it had been ordered that £13 16s. 10d. a year, out of Mr. Anderton's sequestered tithes, be allowed to the minister; Plund. Mins. Accts. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 17. There are references to Mr. Felgate's appointment and conduct in Bury Classis (Chet. Soc), 97, 99, 106, 107, 121, 122. Mr. Bankes was the preacher in 1653; ibid. 133. For Samuel Felgate's subsequent career see Dr. Shaw's account of him, op. cit. 225, 226; and for James Bankes, a Royalist, Manchester Classis (Chet. Soc.), 411–12.
  • 23. Gastrell, Notitia, ii, 17, 18; the voluntary contributions amounted to about £12 a year. There were thirtyfive 'papists' in the chapelry, a Dissenters' meeting-place (which had disappeared by 1724), and a solitary Quaker.
  • 24. Mr. Galindo for some reason imagined this to have been the old dedication.
  • 25. John Bradshaw in 1541 paid a chaplain, who may, however, have ministered in the parish church; Clergy List (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), 13.
  • 26. Oliver Heywood preached funeral sermons there in 1669; Diaries, i, 98, 263. See also Bridgeman, Wigan Church (Chet. Soc), iii, 470, and W. F. Irvine, Rivington, 94. From Mr. Earwaker's notes and the Visitation Lists it appears that John (or Thomas) Isherwood was at the chapel in 1663, Charles Isherwood in 1671, and Richard Critchley in 1676. In 1687 Bishop Cartwright ordained Thomas Whitehead, B.A., of Jesus College, Cambridge, to the curacy; Raines in Notitia Cestr. ii, 18. He was at Rochdale in 1691.
  • 27. Lond. Gaz. 4 March 1853.
  • 28. From the Church P. at Chester Dioc. Reg.
  • 29. Also curate of Cockey in 1778; he died in 1799; Parson Folds, 49.
  • 30. Vicar of Deane, 1818 to 1830.
  • 31. By his will and codicil, 1878–80, he left £1,560 to the endowment of the church; End. Char. Rep.