Townships: Eccleshill

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

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'Townships: Eccleshill', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6, ed. William Farrer, J Brownbill( London, 1911), British History Online [accessed 24 July 2024].

'Townships: Eccleshill', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6. Edited by William Farrer, J Brownbill( London, 1911), British History Online, accessed July 24, 2024,

"Townships: Eccleshill". A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6. Ed. William Farrer, J Brownbill(London, 1911), , British History Online. Web. 24 July 2024.

In this section


Eccleshull, xiii-xvi cent.

Until the end of the 17th century Mellor with Eccleshill was treated as a joint township for fiscal and administrative purposes, although the two places are distant from each other 3 miles or more. The township lies on the eastern side of the two Darwens and of the river of that name, whose tributary, called in its descent Hoddlesden, Grimshaw, or Davy Field Brook, forms the eastern and northern boundary before joining that river near the village of Lower Darwen. From an elevation near the junction of the two streams of 400 ft. above the ordnance datum the spur of the moorland range which gives name to the place reaches an elevation of 860 ft. at New Sett End on the south side of the township.

The subsoil consists of the Coal Measures, the soil of clay. The situation is bleak and the land consists entirely of meadow and pasture, and is devoid of woodland or plantations. (fn. 1) The area of the township is 797 acres. The south-western part of the township was included in the municipal borough of Darwen in 1879 or 1884. The remainder, containing 629 acres, (fn. 2) was constituted a civil parish in 1894; in 1901 the population numbered 330 persons. The township was included in the ecclesiastical parish of Hoddlesden in 1863. The main road from Blackburn to Bury and Manchester traverses the length of the township with branch roads to Hoddlesden and several to Darwen. The Bolton, Blackburn and Hellifield branch of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Company's railway skirts the township and the Hoddlesden branch line passes through it. The nearest station is at Darwen. There are iron-works, a colliery, a cotton factory, fire-brick, sanitary tube and glazed brick manufactory and brick-works, and the township abounds in beds of coal which are known to have been worked for three centuries, (fn. 3) also beds of fire-clay and of various kinds of stone. The population is chiefly located at Waterside, between Hoddlesden and Grimshaw, where the cotton factory is situated.

A stone cross 2 ft. high, with some Roman coins under it, was found near Guide about 1865 on the direct line of the Roman road from Ribchester through Blackburn to Manchester. (fn. 4)

There is a parish council.


ECCLESHILL was another member of the knight's fee granted about 1165 by Henry de Lacy to Robert Banastre, as described under Walton-le-Dale. At the beginning of the 14th century the Hoghtons were mesne tenants under the Langtons, and after the Earl of Lincoln's death in 1311 Richard de Hoghton was returned as holding half a plough-land here by the sixteenth part of a knight's fee and 8½d. yearly, doing suit at the three weeks court at Clitheroe. (fn. 5) The mesne tenants also rendered 4s. yearly to the bailiff of Salford Hundred in respect of a 12th-century infeudation made to the Marsey family of this manor, as stated in the account of Mellor. The mesne lordship of the Hoghtons became merged in the superior lordship under the lords of the honor of Clitheroe upon the acquisition of the manor of Walton-le-Dale by that family.

Hoghton. Sable three bars argent.

Under the Hoghtons a family bearing the local name appear as tenants of the manor in the 13th century. Henry de Eccleshill attested a charter in 1214. Robert de Eccleshill occurs in 1246, and was probably father of another Robert, living in 1269, who gave to Stanlaw Abbey the site of a tithe barn between Hoddlesden Brook and Eccleshill Mill, and in 1276 was committed to gaol for disseising Margery daughter of John de Samlesbury of land here. (fn. 6) Robert son of Richard de Eccleshill held the manor in the time of Edward II, and in 1321 enfeoffed Thomas de Culcheth of land called the Halgh in the fork between the River Darwen and Hoddlesden Brook. (fn. 7) He had sons Richard and Robert, but the manor passed early in the reign of Edward III to Adam de Turton, who held lands adjoining the Halgh in 1321, was the largest contributor to the subsidy of 1332, and in 1344 rendered 4s. to the sheriff in respect of this manor. (fn. 8) His son Nicholas de Turton was living in 1346, but died before 1350. (fn. 9) The records are silent for some time, but the manor or part of it appears to have been acquired by the Holdens of Holden. (fn. 10) William Moore of Kirkdale held an estate here at his death in 1409 which doubtless included some part of the manor, for John Moore held Eccleshill in 1445–6 as the forty-eighth part of a knight's fee. (fn. 11) It descended in this family until 1554, when John Moore, esq., and Anne his wife passed by fine to Richard Grimshaw fourteen messuages with lands in Eccleshill. (fn. 12) These estates, including the manor, descended in the Grimshaw family of Clayton-le-Moors until after the death of Richard Grimshaw about the year 1672. A century later the manor was in the possession of the right hon. Richard Clayton, lord chief justice of the Court of Common Pleas in Ireland, 1765–70, of the family of Clayton of Adlington, and afterwards of his nephew Sir Richard Clayton, bart., whose lands here in 1787 paid land tax £6 8s. 1d. out of £9 11s. 10d. charged upon the township. (fn. 13) The manor was sold by Sir Richard about 1814 to Thomas Wilson of Preston. Mr. Wilson's heirs held it in 1836, and sold it in 1859 to James Hodgson of Liverpool, in whose trustees the manor and estates are at present vested. (fn. 14)

Clayton. Argent a cross engrailed sable between four torteaux.

Grimshaw. Argent a griffon segreant sable, beaked and legged or.

GRIMSHAW. At an early date this estate adjoining on the east to Hoddlesden Brook was granted to a family who took name from it. Having acquired half the manor of Clayton-le-Moors by marriage about the year 1345 they removed to that place, in the account of which some notice of the family will be found. In the time of the first Edward the original tenement was augmented by various gifts of adjacent lands from the lords of the vill. (fn. 15)

In 1610 Robert Holden of Holden and Nicholas Grimshaw of Clayton-le-Moors made an agreement for the allotment of the wastes of Eccleshill. (fn. 16)

The Cuerdale family had a small estate here in the 13th century, which passed with their estates to the Osbaldestons. John Osbaldeston sold it in 1593 to Richard Shuttleworth of Gawthorpe, kt., (fn. 17) in whose descendants it has remained, being now in the possession of Lord Shuttleworth of Gawthorpe.

Several of the small freeholders of Over Darwen had lands in Eccleshill; Mr. Abram gives some account of them in the History of Blackburn.

Cecily de Grimshaw and two others contributed to the poll tax of 1379. Only thirty-one hearths were taxed here in 1666. In 1779 Mr. Hamer Taylor and others answered for the ancient rent of 4s. payable yearly to the bailiff of Salford Hundred.


  • 1. Agricultural returns for 1905 give 644 acres of permanent grass.
  • 2. Including 2 acres of inland water; Census Rep. 1901.
  • 3. In 1729 Peter Walkden, Nonconformist minister in Chipping, enters in his diary: 'Dec. 17. Son John went to Eccleshill coal-pit for 2 loads of coals'; Abram, Hist. of Blackburn, 490.
  • 4. A lecture by the Rev. R. N. Whitaker, vicar of Whalley, in 1867.
  • 5. Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 12; Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 192.
  • 6. Lancs. Assize R. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 47, 146; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 235; Whalley Coucb. (Chet. Soc.), i, 102.
  • 7. In the description of the boundaries of this land on the east, south and west these places are named—From Hoddesdene Brook up Dedesike and Wallesike to Wallesheved, by Haselehurst Greve below the Halgh house, to a Haghethorn on the lower side of Thommekar and to a Crabbetree, up the Redde-lumme to Halghdich, across the ditch of Tyddy-clogh, below the Outlone leach, down to Derewent; Towneley MS. DD, no. 1579.
  • 8. Ibid.; Exch. Lay Subs. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 83; Duchy of Lanc. Var. Accts. bdle. 32, no. 17, fol. 6. In 1325 Robert son of Robert de Eccleshill gave to Adam de Turton all his messuages and lands in Eccleshill (except a plat called Thomeherth) within boundaries among which Les Bridestones, Blakepitte, Blakelache-hevid and Le Wythyn-greve are named; Towneley MS. DD, no. 1580.
  • 9. Ibid. no. 1587–8. Nicholas son of Adam de Turton was in 1343 accused of interfering with the Clitheroe fair; Assize R. 430, m. 22.
  • 10. a See the tenures recorded in subsequent notes.
  • 11. Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc.), i, 93; Duchy of Lanc. Knights' Fees, bdle. 2, no. 20, fol. 9.
  • 12. Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 15, m. 70; Towneley MS. DD, no. 1582b. Thomas Grimshaw father of Richard died in 1539 seised of seven messuages here which he held of Gilbert Holden for 4s. rent; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. viii, 16. John Grimshaw son of Richard died in 1587 seised of nineteen messuages here which he is erroneously stated to have held of Robert Holden, gent., in socage by 4s. rent; ibid. xiv, 53.
  • 13. Land tax return at Preston. The will of Richard Clayton the judge had ordered his manor to be sold; Trans. Hist. Soc. (new ser.), xxv, 65.
  • 14. The manor and estates were advertised for sale in 1848, and then consisted of the tenements of Grimshaw, Brocklehead, Bent, Eccleshill Fold, Shaw Fold, Holden Fold and Lower Eccleshill, having a total area of 436 acres; also of mines of coal which had been worked for several centuries; Abram, Blackburn, 597; Cal. Com. for Comp. iii, 2379.
  • 15. Robert son of Richard de Eccleshill gave to Richard son of Walter de Grimeschae land between Ketlis croft and Bimme croft, land the grantor had given to his son Richard with the services of Richard de Grimeschaw 4s. 6d., Alan son of Robert 10d., Adam son of Henry (Grimshaw) 11½d., Adam de Wiswalle 4d. To Henry son of Walter de Grimeshawe he gave land bounded by Hodlesden Brook, Lewebroc and Ruhlieruydic; Towneley MS. DD, no. 1571, 1581. Robert son of the above Robert confirmed to Henry son of Adam de Grimeschagh in 1317 the lands which Henry and his ancestors held of him for 4s. yearly and four iron arrows; ibid. no. 1582. By this service Nicholas Grimshaw held his estate of Grimshaw of Robert Holden in 1610; ibid. OO, no. 1180.
  • 16. Robert Holden's share was only 10 acres, adjoining on the south-east to his lands in Over Darwen called Hodlesden Heyes; the remainder was awarded mainly to Nicholas Grimshaw, together with a parcel of waste in Over Darwen near the south-east end of the moor 'above certaine meare stones called the Brydestones'; Towneley MS. OO, no. 1180.
  • 17. Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 55, m. 32; described as two messuages, 160 acres of land, &c., in Eccleshill and Over Darwen. See Shuttleworth Accts. (Chet. Soc. old ser. xxxv), 80.