Townships: Clayton-le-Dale

Pages 257-260

A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.

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In this section


Cleyton, 1243; Claiton, 1246; Clayton, 1258; Cleyton or Clayton (by Ribchester), xiv-xvii cent.

The township extends from the boundary of Dutton on the north-west across the River Ribble (fn. 1) for a distance of 3 miles to the south-east, rising from about 75 ft. above the ordnance datum at the river bed to nearly 500 ft. on the borders of Wilpshire. The area of the township on both sides of the river is 1,714½ acres, and the population in 1901 was 311 persons. (fn. 2) The Yoredale rocks underlie portions of the higher part of the township, the Millstone Grit the remainder. The land is parcelled out in small farms devoted to the production of dairy produce. There is some woodland on the brows and in the ravines by the river. (fn. 3) The high road from Clitheroe to Preston traverses the township with a cross road leading northward to Ribchester and towards the south-east to Wilpshire station, on the Bolton and Clitheroe branch of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Company's railway, which serves this township. There are traces of a Roman road—known in mediaeval times as the 'Stanystrete'—leading from the river opposite Ribchester in the direction of Blackburn. The principal houses are Showley Hall, New Hall, Clayton Hey, Showley Fold and Harwood Fold. In 1842 the township was included in the district chapelry of St. Peter, Salesbury. (fn. 4)

In the 16th and 17th centuries 'Clayton-in-leDale-cum-Showley' was rated as a joint township.

In recent times one of the most noteworthy incidents was the destruction of Clayton Grange by an exasperated body of cotton operatives on strike. The owner was the president of the masters' committee, which insisted on a reduction of wages while the mills were to be kept working full time; the men on the other side held out for 'short time' if the pay were reduced. The house was surrounded and burnt down in May 1878, but was afterwards rebuilt.


CLAYTON was held of the honor of Clitheroe by the service of thegnage and 10s. yearly rent, the first recorded tenant being one Spartling, (fn. 5) living about the middle of the 12th century, the father of Ralph de Clayton, who gave to the monks of Sawley the third part of an oxgang of land, a ridding in Wingives Holme which Eilsi had improved from the waste and land lying between Sideley Clough and Ruelay Clough. Afterwards with the consent of his son Aldred he gave them another ridding which Siward had made, feeding at the time of mast-fall for 30 swine and yearly for 20 sows. (fn. 6) Aldred his son confirmed these gifts and augmented the monks' holding to the sixteenth part of the town (½ oxgang). (fn. 7) William son of Aldred became a tenant of Sawley holding part of these tenements. In 1239 he and Beatrice his wife gave the town to Adam de Blackburn in exchange for five plough-lands in Rimington and Gasegill, co. York. (fn. 8)

A few years later the grantee, as Adam son of Henry de Blackburn, gave the manor to Adam his son charged with the yearly service of 10s. due to the chief lord. (fn. 9) Adam the father was lord of Wiswell and died in 1259. Many years later his eldest son John gave to his younger brother Adam lands in this town and in Salesbury, Ribchester and Dutton in consideration of the sum of £40, which he afterwards remitted. (fn. 10) Adam de Blakeburn, who is frequently described as 'Master Adam,' died about 1280. His manor-house in Clayton was known as 'Le Holme.' (fn. 11) Adam his son enfeoffed Hugh de Clitheroe in 1288 of his manor of Holme, but apparently retained a life interest and in 1292 leased his demesne to Adam de Hudleston of Billington, who was returned as holding the manor at the death of the Earl of Lincoln in 1311 for 10s. rent and suit of court. (fn. 12) Adam de Blackburn died before 1319 without issue, when the interest of this family in the manor terminated, but was continued as to the mesne manor of Showley, as will presently be related. (fn. 13)

In 1319 Adam de Clitheroe, having succeeded his elder brother Roger, son and heir of Hugh de Clitheroe, brought a plea against Adam de Hudleston the elder, and six years later against Richard son of John de Hudleston and Robert his son, as heirs of Adam, demanding tenements in Clayton, Dutton and Ribchester, of which his father had acquired the reversion in 1288. The proceedings were delayed by respites until Midsummer, 1333, when Adam de Clitheroe recovered seisin of the estates, which clearly included the manor. (fn. 14) In 1343 after his death the manor of Holme was delivered to Sibyl relict of Robert son of Adam de Clitheroe together with the reversion of lands held in dower by Cecily relict of Adam de Clitheroe and the services of the free tenants of the manor—viz. Adam son of John de Blackburn, Henry de Clayton and Robert de Bolton.

The subsequent descent, which exactly follows that of Salesbury, continued in the families of Clitheroe, Talbot and Warren to George second Baron de Tabley, who in 1866 sold the manor with an estate extending to 657 statute acres to Mr. Henry Ward of Blackburn. The Duke of Somerset acquired it about 1894.

Near to the old ford over the Ribble, a short distance to the south of Ribchester Bridge, at the extreme north-east corner of the township facing south, is the house called NEW HALL to distinguish it from Salesbury Hall, which often went by the name of the Old Hall. It is a small but picturesque stone building of three stories, now a farm-house, with low mullioned windows and central projecting gabled porch the full height of the building, with a small stone gable on either side. The walls are of rough stone with dressed quoins, and on the square door head are the date 1665 and the initials G. T., probably those of George Talbot, while on a panel over the window above is carved the Talbot dog. The porch door is approached between two high stone walls with moulded coping, forming a narrow passage-way originally entered through a stone gateway with ornamental square head, but now open at the end. (fn. 15) There is a good external stone chimney at the west end and the north side facing the river has a wide gable to the east. Some of the windows in the east front to the road are modernized, but the house remains substantially as when erected, and its grey stone ivy-covered walls and stone slated roofs and gables make a very charming picture.

SHOWLEY. Scholley, xiii cent.

Henry son of Master Adam de Blackburn acquired lands in Mellor adjoining Showley, as described in the account of that township, and he also held the mesne manor of Showley, probably by his father's gift. His son John received pardon in 1313 for complicity in the murder of Peter de Gaveston, as an adherent of Earl Thomas, and dying young left issue by Agnes his wife, Henry, Adam and Robert. (fn. 16) Henry spent part of his life in Ireland and gave his lands to his brother Adam, who was the largest contributor in this township to the subsidy granted in 1332. (fn. 17) Early in 1349 Henry de Clayton of Dutton took action against Robert de Clitheroe and Adam de Blackburn on account of a weir which they had made in the Ribble in connexion with their water-mill, whereby his way through the river was rendered impassable, and also claiming a share of inclosures and improvements made in Clayton. In consideration, however, of a yearly rent of 13s. 4d. secured to him he withdrew all proceedings. (fn. 18) Later in the year Adam died and his widow Edayne, or Idonea, and her second husband Robert de Cunliffe, obtained a grant from Adam de Hoghton, chivaler, of the wardship and marriage of her son Robert de Blackburn, in respect of the tenure by her late husband of the manor of Pleasington and this mesne manor of Sir Adam, as mesne tenant in the former case by knight's service. Robert the son had a grant in 1356 from Robert de Clitheroe of a plot of waste in Clayton, was described as of Showley in 1366 and 1372, and was probably the last of his line to hold this estate. (fn. 19)

The following step is uncertain, and when Showley next comes into view it forms part of the estate held by Thomas Radcliffe, kt., at his death on 22 November 1440. Richard Radcliffe, aged twenty-eight at his father's death, (fn. 20) gave puture to the sheriff at Showley in or about 1460 and died possessed of this estate in 1477. His grandson Richard settled lands in 'Sholley,' and in Mellor and Little Harwood, 'hamlets of Sholley,' upon Alice daughter of Thomas Gerard, kt., when he married her in or before 1482. (fn. 21) After the death of William Radcliffe great-grandson of Richard in 1561 the manor passed with his other estates to Gilbert Gerard, then esq., and his wife Anne, halfsister of William Radcliffe, in accordance with a grant made by Radcliffe a few months before his death. (fn. 22) Gilbert Gerard, kt., sold the manor in 1602 to John Lister, gent., who immediately conveyed it to Richard Walmsley (brother of Thomas Walmsley of Dunkenhalgh, kt.), who died in 1609 described as of Showley, gentleman. (fn. 23)

The manor descended through successive members of this family without break, save for a temporary forfeiture suffered by Thomas Walmsley, in 1715, to Thomas George Walmsley, the seventh in direct descent from Richard Walmsley, who sold the estate in 1870 to Mr. James Eden. (fn. 24)

Walmsley of Showley. Gules on a chief ermine two hurts.

SHOWLEY HALL stands in a high situation between two small ravines in the south side of the Ribble, but is an uninteresting two-story farm-house with stuccoed front and stone slated roof. It is said to have been originally built round three sides of a quadrangle, but all but the central block at the south end had been demolished before 1877 and this portion had been largely rebuilt by Mr. Eden in 1870. (fn. 25) The doorway is flanked by Ionic columns with entablature and segmental pediment over, and one of the windows preserves its stone mullions, but otherwise the external appearance of the house is entirely modern. One of the rooms has some oak panelling apparently of 18thcentury date, and this together with the doorway suggests a reconstruction of the old house at that period. There are modern extensions at the back. The private chapel stood to the north of the hall, but has long been destroyed. About thirty years ago, whilst the foundations were being removed, some ancient coins were found.

Francis Petre, Roman Catholic Bishop of Amoria and vicar apostolic of the Northern District of England, resided here for many years before his death in 1775. His tomb is at Stydd Chapel, near Ribchester. (fn. 26)

In 1350 Robert son of Adam de Clitheroe, Ralph de Clayton and Robert de Bolton were freeholders in this township. (fn. 27)

No persons were assessed upon land to the subsidy of 1523 in 'Clayton-cum-Sholey.' (fn. 28)

In 1662 the following were freeholders (fn. 29) :—

Richard Cooper, for Showley Fold 12d.
Robert Shaw, for Stubhead 3d.
John Parker, gent., for Gadshaw 5d.
George Talbot, gent., for Barker's tenement 1d.
For the lands formerly of John Talbot, esq.:—
Robert Calvert and John Entwisle 1d.
Robert Catterall 1d.
John Haworth 1d.
Thomas Lund ½d.
Robert Collinson ½d.
Robert Bolton and Richard Dewhurst, for the Oaks ½d.
John Talbot and Thomas Calvert, for Clayton Hey 1d.
Mary Tomson, widow ¼d.
Richard Astley and John Morris, for Dewhurst's and Moore's ½d.
Richard Cooper of Nooke ¾d.
John Hesmenough 1d.
Robert Catterall, for part of Hesmenough's land 1d.

In 1666 there were thirty-eight hearths taxed in Clayton-le-Dale and fourteen in Showley, of which eight belonged to Mr. Walmsley. (fn. 30)

Sir George Warren owned nearly half the township in 1789 and Richard Walmsley more than a fifth part. (fn. 31)

Showley Fold, formerly belonging to the Cowper family, (fn. 32) was in 1876 the property and residence of Mr. T. S. Ainsworth.

Harwood Fold took its name from a yeoman family of that name, of whom Mr. John Harwood was a governor of Blackburn Grammar School in 1681, and William his son restored the house as recorded by the initials W H E and the date 1728 upon a stone built into the walls of the house.

The estate of the dissolved monastery of Sawley in this township was in the possession of the Hesmondhalgh family for several generations. (fn. 33)

Clayton Hey, a tenement belonging to the manorial estate, was in the occupation of Hugh and John Clayton in 1514 when John Talbot of Salesbury made his will settling it upon his two younger sons Richard and William Talbot for their lives. (fn. 34)


  • 1. This may be partially due to changes in the course of the river, possibly also to very ancient apportionments of meadow ground by the riverside.
  • 2. Including 33 acres of inland water; Census Rep. 1901.
  • 3. The agricultural returns of 1905 give arable land 2 acres, permanent grass 1,579 acres, woods and plantations 53 acres.
  • 4. Lond. Gaz. 20 Sept. 1842.
  • 5. a One of this name (after 1120) was rector or dean of Whalley.
  • 6. Sawley Reg. (Harl. MS. 112), 76. These grants were made before the middle of John's reign.
  • 7. Ibid. 76b. The principal tenement extended along the windings of Maggeldesmedow-cliffe from the confluence of Oxcdene clough with the Ribble to a syke on the eastern side of the road called Stanistrete running down to the Ribble. Other lands lay in a cultivation called Bradeley, lying to the south of a hill called Cadeshou; on the south side of the hall which Jordan de Claiton had built; where Mikel brook ran down to Lummelade and along the boundary of Salesbury to the Turne dyke upon Hesemore and beyond to Crumboc-halgh, thence to Blake brook and Mikel brook; also riddings (sartum) called Wimarke-riding and Margaretriding. Geoffrey Dean of Whalley and Henry parson of Blackburn attest.
  • 8. Curia Reg. R. 120, m. 15 d. William son of William and Beatrice quitclaimed to Adam and his heirs; Towneley MS. DD, no. 2106.
  • 9. Ibid. no. 2060. Henry de Torbock, then seneschal, attests.
  • 10. Ibid. no. 2062.
  • 11. Ibid. no. 2097. In 1280 Amabel de Rokeby, relict of Adam de Blackburn, acknowledges receipt of 5½ marks from Hugh son of Hugh de Clitheroe as farm of the dower of all her late husband's lands, by letter dated at 'Le Holme.' She entered pleas at different times against her sons Henry and William to obtain dower in their lands in Mellor and Dutton; De Banco R. 34, m. 36; 95, m. 87. Adam her eldest son impleaded her in 1296 for making waste in his inheritance here and in Ribchester. She pleaded that she demised the tenements to John de Blackburn, whom Adam ejected, and so she was disseised; ibid. 115, m. 129.
  • 12. Towneley MS. DD, no. 2059, 2061; Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 12.
  • 13. Coram Reg. R. 297, m. 128 d. In 1297 Agnes relict of John de Blackburn (apparently brother of Adam) brought pleas demanding dower against Adam de Blackburn in a messuage and 40 acres, against Adam de Hudleston in 5 marks of rent, and against John de Blackburn in 100 acres of land. She recovered her dower; De Banco R. 118, m. 131. Adam de Blackburn gave Roger de Clitheroe herbage for four horses in his marsh of Dedhee in Clayton and stabling in his manor of the Holme during the time of herbage, so that Roger could either feed them there or carry the herbage to his house in Dinckley; Towneley MS. DD, no. 1151.
  • 14. De Banco R. 231, m. 93; 255, m. 182 d.; 256, m. 117; 273, m. 101 d.; 276, m. 164. The tenements were described as 14 messuages, 2 mills, 100 acres land, 25 acres meadow, 200 acres pasture, 247 acres wood and 3 acres marsh, and 8s. 9½d. rent. The later proceedings are curious in view of the fact that Sibyl daughter of Richard de Hudleston had been contracted in marriage with Robert de Clitheroe in 1331. The pleadings are recited in a plea before the king in 1334 when an assize came to recognize if Robert son of Adam de Clitheroe, Sibyl his wife, Cecily relict of Adam de Clitheroe, John son of Henry de Balschagh and Richard de Esthalle 'o the Bote' disseised Katherine relict of Adam de Hudleston of the third part of the manor of Holme. Verdict—Katherine takes nothing; Curia Reg. R. (Rex) 297, m. 128 d.
  • 15. It is so shown in a sketch by the Rev. S. J. Allen made about 1835, now in the possession of Mr. Henry Taylor. At that time there was apparently a low building on the east side of the gateway in front of the house.
  • 16. a Cal. Pat. 1313–17, p. 25; Towneley MS. DD, no. 2040–5; HH, no. 1741–3.
  • 17. Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 2 (1), m. 1; Exch. Lay Subs. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 84.
  • 18. Towneley MS. DD, no. 2138.
  • 19. Ibid. 1103; Dods. MSS. cxlii, fol. 71; Coram Reg. R. 423, m. 32 d.; Add. MS. 32107, no. 381.
  • 20. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m.; Towneley MS. DD, no. 1492. He held two messuages, 190 acres of land and pasture of Richard Hoghton, kt., in socage (for 2s. rent).
  • 21. Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 103; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iii, 75.
  • 22. Ibid, xi, 7.
  • 23. Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 64, no. 211; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xx, 24 (Rec. Soc. iii, 147). Mr. Walmsley settled the capital messuage in Showley and lands belonging to it, containing 100 acres 'of the large measure there used,' upon his son Richard and Ellen daughter of William Gerard of Radborne in Brindle, gent., at their marriage in 1608.
  • 24. A full account of the family of Walmsley of Showley is in Abram, Blackburn, 458–60.
  • 25. Ibid. 460.
  • 26. Whitaker, Whalley (ed. 1876), ii, 466. Francis son of John first Lord Petre was born in 1690, and educated at Douay College. He succeeded to the charge of the Northern District as vicar apostolic on the death of Dr. Dicconson, whose coadjutor he had been consecrated by the title of Bishop of Amoria in 1750.
  • 27. Rentals and Surv. 377.
  • 28. Subs. R. Lancs. bdle. 130, no. 82. On goods Thomas Walmsley was assessed on £4, Richard Hawkeshey on £3 and John Mores on £2. In 1543 Thomas Walmsley on £15, Robert Mygeley on £6, Ellis Hesmondhalgh, Thomas Hawkeshaw, Robert Greenhylles and John Haworth each on £5 and 16 other persons on smaller amounts; ibid. 130, no. 125, m. 8. In 1626 Richard Walmsley, John Clayton, Richard Hesmonhalgh and Roger Dewhurst were assessed on goods; the wife of Richard Walmsley, Robert Catterall and his wife, Richard Osbaldeston, gent., Robert Shawe and his wife and John Dewhurst were non-communicants and paid 8d. each; ibid. 131/317.
  • 29. Survey of 1662, MS. penes W. Farrer, 117.
  • 30. Subs. R. Lancs. bdle. 250, no. 9. Only Robert Catterall (4) and David Sallom (3) had more than two hearths.
  • 31. Land tax returns at Preston. Out of a total of £19 14s. 11d. Warren with 26 tenements paid £9 8s. 5½d. and Walmsley with 8 tenements paid £4 0s. 8d.
  • 32. Henry Cowper of Showley occurs in 1477 with Alice Osbaldeston, relict of Gilbert Cowper; Towneley MS. DD, no. 1065.
  • 33. John Hesmondhalgh died in 1608 holding the property of the king as of his manor of East Greenwich; Richard his son was aged seventeen years; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 194. John Rodes held the same property apparently at his death in 1623; ibid. ii, 217, 361.
  • 34. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iv, 67.