A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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Samelesbure, xii cent.; Samelesbiry, Schamelesbyre, Schampelesbyri, Samplesbiry, xiii cent.; Samesbury, xiii—xvi cent.; Samlesbury, xiv—xx cent.
This rural township lies in Lower Ribblesdale, and extends from that river over undulating ground into the valley of the Darwen and upwards as far as Arley Brook in Woodfold Park, a distance of 3 miles. From this point the eastern boundary extends over the slope of Hoolster Hill, the highest ground in the township, to the village of Mellor Brook. To the north the Preston and Clitheroe road forms the boundary for some distance, but is not in the township. To the south the River Darwen and its tributary the Beasting Brook form the boundary until the hundred of Leyland is touched.
Towards Mellor Brook the subsoil consists of the Yoredale rocks, which extend south to Hoolster Hill, in the southern, central and northern parts of the Millstone Grit, and towards the Ribble of Bunter pebble beds. From Rowley Fold to Beasting Brook a small area of the Permian rocks occurs. The soil is generally of a clayey nature. There is some arable land and a considerable area of woodland in Seed Park and scattered over numerous ravines, but the land principally consists of meadow and pasture. (fn. 1) The area of the township is 4,379 acres, and the population in 1901 numbered 860 persons. (fn. 2)
The main road from Preston to Blackburn passes through the township, crossing the river at Brockholes Bridge; half a mile to the east of the village the main road to Clitheroe branches from it, and is again connected with it by a short link which turns south from Mellor Brook. In the opposite direction a country lane leads to Walton-le-Dale. The nearest railway station is at Hoghton on the Liverpool, Blackburn and Accrington line of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company. The principal employment is agriculture; there are paper-mills on the River Darwen at Roach Bridge and Samlesbury Bottoms. The sewage disposal works of the Blackburn Corporation are within the township, and the Thirlmere conduits of the Manchester Corporation Waterworks pass through the middle of it, crossing the Ribble and Darwen upon aqueducts.
There is a parish council.
William Billington, operative, sceptic and poet, was born at Samlesbury in 1827. He worked in the cotton mills at Blackburn, and published volumes of poems in 1861 and 1883. He died in 1884. (fn. 3)
SAMLESBURY was held in the latter half of the 12th century by Gospatric son of Swain in thegnage by the yearly service of 12s. It is by no means improbable that he was a younger son of Swain son of Leofwin, lord of part of Hindley about the middle of the 12th century. In addition to his manor of Samlesbury he held half the manor of Alston in Amounderness, and in Salford Hundred half the manors of Harwood (fn. 4) and Sharples, estates which his son Roger held in 1212 after Gospatric's death. (fn. 5) Roger, having married Margaret daughter and heir of Walter son of Osbert (de Clifton) without the consent of the chief lord, Theobald Walter, was summoned in 1194 to answer for this default. (fn. 6) In 1224 his neighbour Edward de Brockholes demanded half the vill of Samlesbury from him, but after Roger's death accepted 10 marks from Roger's successor in 1227 to resign his claim. (fn. 7)
This successor was William de Samlesbury, Roger's eldest son, (fn. 8) who increased his estates by marrying Avina daughter and heir of William de Notton, lord of Breightmet in the parish of Bolton-le-Moors, (fn. 9) by whom he had issue Margery, Cecily and Elizabeth. He died about 1256, his widow obtaining the manor of Breightmet in satisfaction of her dower. (fn. 10) His eldest daughter Margery married first in or before 1257 Richard son and heir-apparent of William de Clifton, (fn. 11) who died shortly after his marriage, and secondly Robert de Hampton of Allonby, co. Cumb., and died without issue before July 1267 (fn. 12); Cecily the second daughter married before 13 April 1259 John Deuyas; and Elizabeth married after that date Robert de Holand son and heir of Thurstan de Holand. Robert de Hampton died in 1277, (fn. 13) but not until 1292 or 1296 was a partition of his third part of the manor made between Deuyas and Holand. (fn. 14) In 1311, at the death of the Earl of Lincoln, Dame Cecily Deuyas and Dame Elizabeth de Holand held a plough-land here in thegnage by the yearly service of 12s. (fn. 15)
The Holand (fn. 16) moiety of the manor passed like the other estates of the family to the Lovels, and was forfeited by Francis Viscount Lovel upon his attainder in 1485. On 25 February 1489 it was granted with many other forfeited estates in the county to Thomas Earl of Derby. (fn. 17) In July 1600 William Earl of Derby passed half the manor by fine to trustees, (fn. 18) by whom it was conveyed to Thomas Walmsley, kt., (fn. 19) Justice of the Common Pleas, and from him descended with the other estates of that family, as described in the account of Dunkenhalgh, (fn. 20) until in 1852 it was left to the father of the present owner, Mr. Oswald Henry Petre.
The D'ewias or Deuyas family became possessed of lands in Yorkshire, mostly within the Lacy fee, by the marriage of Nicholas Deuyas, kt., to Alice daughter of Jordan Foliot. (fn. 21) John Deuyas, the issue of this marriage, increased the family estate by his marriage to Cecily de Samlesbury. He was one of the knights of the shire returned for the county to the Parliaments of 1295 and 1298, having received knighthood before 1284. (fn. 22) He died before the end of 1309, (fn. 23) leaving numerous issue besides Nicholas his successor, (fn. 24) who appears to have held aloof from the rebellion of Thomas of Lancaster. Nicholas Deuyas was summoned in 1324 to attend the Great Council at Westminster. (fn. 25) Early in 1326 he settled his estates here and in Riseholme, co. Lincoln, upon his daughter and heir Alice and her issue by Gilbert son and heir of Gilbert de Southworth, to whom he had then recently given her in marriage. (fn. 26) About All Saints' Day 1335 he leased the manor-house, 169 acres of land, 11 acres of meadow with the mills to his son-in-law for a term of eight years for £11 9s. yearly, (fn. 27) and died before 15 May following, when dower was assigned to Joan his widow in half the manor, including the chief messuage which William Deuyas had lately held, and in Mellor. (fn. 28)
Some account of the early members of the Southworth family has been given in the history of the township from which they took name. (fn. 29) Gilbert de Southworth the elder acquired a number of small estates in Middleton and the hamlet of Houghton in the time of Edward I and Edward II, and Gilbert his son added to these in the next reign. (fn. 30) The elder Gilbert was sheriff from July 1323 to 12 March 1326 (fn. 31) and died shortly after, his son making arrangements with Cecily his mother in 1329 for the payment of his father's debts and provision for his brothers and sisters. (fn. 32) He was living in 1346, but was shortly after succeeded by his second but eldest surviving son Thomas, who was described as 'chivaler' in 1362. (fn. 33) John son of Sir Thomas married in or before 1386 Margaret daughter of Richard de Hoghton, kt., (fn. 34) and shortly after succeeded to his father's estates. In 1398 he was retained as 'esquire' to serve the Duke of Lancaster for life at a fee of £10 per annum and went to France in the duke's retinue. (fn. 35)
John Southworth, 'chivaler,' was one of the 2,000 Englishmen who fell victims to dysentery at the siege of Harfleur in the autumn of 1415. Thomas his son, who succeeded at the age of twenty-three, (fn. 36) married Joan daughter of John Booth of Barton in 1409, and in 1420 had licence for his oratories in the manorhouses of Southworth and Samlesbury. (fn. 37) He died in 1432, leaving issue Richard his son and heir, aged twelve years, who had been married in 1429 to Elizabeth daughter of Richard Molyneux, kt. (fn. 38) He was returned in 1444–5 with William Lord Lovel as holding Samlesbury in socage. (fn. 39) In 1462 he made a settlement of his estates and died in 1472, when it was found that Christopher was his son and heir, aged thirty years. (fn. 40)
Christopher Southworth conveyed his estates to trustees in 1474, was knighted in Scotland 24 July 1482, and died in 1487. By Isabel his wife daughter of Thomas Dutton of Dutton, kt., and co-heir of her brother John Dutton, he had issue John, aged nine at his father s death. (fn. 41) John Southworth was knighted 18 February 1504, when Prince Henry was created Prince of Wales, and the same year gave £20 not to take the Order of the Bath. (fn. 42) He dwelt at the Over Hall in Samlesbury, was present at the battle of Flodden, and died in 1517, leaving Thomas his son, aged twenty, as his successor. (fn. 43) Thomas Southworth was knighted in Scotland in 1523 (fn. 44) and served the office of Sheriff of Lancaster in 1541–2. He married first Ann Stanley, from whom he was divorced, and secondly in 1518 Margery daughter of Thomas Butler of Bewsey, kt., to whom he was related in the third degree. (fn. 45) He restored the west wing of the Over Hall in 1532 and rebuilt the south wing in 1545. (fn. 46) He died 13 January in the following year, his son John being twenty years old. (fn. 47) From Christopher brother of Sir Thomas descended the Southworths of Wyke Champflower. (fn. 48)
John Southworth was knighted in Scotland in 1547, a few weeks after his marriage to Mary daughter of Richard Assheton of Middleton, kt. In 1557 he was active in performing military service in the north with his hundred men, and earned the confidence of his leaders so fully that they added a second hundred men to his command. (fn. 49) After the accession of Elizabeth he served the office of sheriff in 1562, but soon after came under the notice of the Privy Council as a fervent adherent to the Roman Church, and refusing to subscribe to a form of submission to the established religion fell upon evil days. In 1576 he was reported to the Privy Council for recusancy, and in 1581 was arrested and committed to the New Fleet in Manchester, where he lay with a certain amount of liberty to take exercise until 1584, when he was summoned to reside in the Metropolis as being less dangerous there than in the county where he was 'greatly allied and friended.' (fn. 50) In 1586 Thomas, one of his younger sons, was reported as harbouring a seminary priest at the lodge in Samlesbury Park, where many of the family, servants and friends resorted to hear mass. (fn. 51) In December 1587 Sir John, described as of Salford, gave a bond for payment of £400, part of £1,100 fine due to Lord Burghley and the Chancellor for his recusancy, the balance being pardoned by the queen upon his coming to church. (fn. 52) The year following he vested his estates in trustees, and died 3 November 1595, leaving Thomas his son as successor to the family estates, then more or less encumbered as the result of many years of bitter persecution. (fn. 53) Thomas Southworth married Rosamond daughter of William Lister of Thornton-in-Craven, esq., and soon after his succession sold some portion of the estates. In 1605 he settled the Lower Hall with the demesne lands upon his son John and Jane his wife, a natural daughter of Richard Shireburne of Stonyhurst, kt., but John died during his father's lifetime. Thomas Southworth died 30 November 1616, and was succeeded by his grandson Thomas son of John and Jane Southworth, then aged seventeen years. (fn. 54)
In 1612 Jane Southworth widow of John Southworth and two other women of Samlesbury were the victims of a discreditable plot, apparently devised by Christopher Southworth, a seminary priest known as 'Master Thompson,' partly as it was alleged with the object of promoting the cause of the Roman Church and partly with the intent to punish the women for having become converts to Protestantism. The victims were tried at Lancaster Assizes in August of that year on a charge of witchcraft, the principal witness against them being a child aged fourteen, a granddaughter of one of the victims, by whom they were accused of bewitching her so that her body wasted and consumed. Being examined as to the author of this charge the witness confessed that she had been instigated and instructed to make the charge by 'one Master Thompson, which she taketh to be Master Christopher Southworth.' The prisoners were therefore acquitted. (fn. 55)
Thomas Southworth, heir to his grandfather, married Ann daughter and co-heir of Thomas Tyldesley of Orford, kt., and died in 1623, having sold the Lower Hall to Thomas Walmsley of Dunkenhalgh, whose father had acquired the Earl of Derby's moiety of the manor some years earlier. John his eldest son died without issue in 1635 and Thomas his younger son in 1641 (fn. 56) unmarried, when the succession to the manor and estates passed to his brother John Southworth, aged fifty-seven at the herald's visitation made in September 1664. (fn. 57) He does not appear to have taken any active part in the political strife of the Commonwealth period, but his estates were sequestrated for his delinquency and in 1646 he compounded with the commissioners for sequestration by a fine of £359. (fn. 58) He married Elizabeth daughter of Thomas Langton of Low in Hindley, and died early in 1676; Edward, his third but eldest surviving son, succeeded and in 1678 sold the manor with the Over Hall to Thomas Braddyll of Portfield for £3,150. (fn. 59) It descended with other estates in the Braddyll family and was sold by order of the Court of Chancery in 1850 to Mr. John Cooper of Penwortham, who sold it in 1862 to Joseph Harrison, then of Galligreaves Hall, Blackburn, afterwards of this place. (fn. 60) Since Mr. Harrison's death in 1880 the manor has been vested in trustees.
SAMLESBURY OLD HALL stands on an elevated site between the valleys of the Ribble and the Darwen about midway between Preston and Blackburn, the high road passing close by it on the south side. (fn. 61) The house, though much modernized, is still an admirable specimen of timber construction and before the restorations of the last century must have been one of the most interesting domestic buildings in the county. It was originally built on three sides of a courtyard, following the usual type of plan of central hall and projecting end wings, the hall in this case being on the west and the east side remaining open. Only the west and south wings, however, now remain, the north wing which contained the kitchen and servants' apartments having long disappeared. Attempts have been made to prove the great hall to be of 14th-century date, (fn. 62) but the evidence of the building, so far as can be ascertained after two rather drastic restorations, does not seem to point to a date earlier than the 15th century, at which period the house was probably rebuilt. The north wing, however, seems either to have been disused or dismantled by the first half of the 16th century, when alterations were made in the hall by Sir Thomas Southworth and the south wing rebuilt, the wall on the south side being wholly reconstructed in brick and then assuming its present aspect. All the living rooms of the house appear at this time to have been concentrated in the south wing, the kitchen being at the west end, the dining-room and other family apartments in the middle and the chapel at the east end, the latter being probably the arrangement before existing.
Previous to the making of the present high road about 1825 the house was in a somewhat secluded position, and the line of a moat by which it was formerly surrounded could be traced. The moat, however, has long been filled up and is now merged in the walks and flower-beds of the modern gardens. After the Southworths forsook the house in the latter half of the 17th century (1679) the building was divided and let to various tenants, the Braddylls being non-resident, and during the 18th century it was allowed to become more or less dilapidated. At the beginning of the 19th century, however, it was described as structurally sound and in substantial repair, but subsequently it was allowed to fall into decay and it became so badly dilapidated that its complete ruin seemed at one time inevitable. (fn. 63) It became at one period a beer-house, probably at the time the high road was in making, but on a full licence being obtained some years later a restoration was carried out in 1835 by which incalculable harm was done to the great hall, many of its architectural features being then completely destroyed. (fn. 64) A further and more complete restoration was undertaken by Mr. Harrison, after his purchase of the property in 1862, in order to fit it for its original use as a residence, the south wing being then lengthened at the west end. (fn. 65)
Except for the south wall and the modern addition at the west end the house is of timber and plaster construction on a low stone base, but externally the timber work is almost entirely new, only a few of the original upright pieces remaining. The whole, moreover, is uniformly painted dark red, and, though picturesque, the building has lost a great deal of its antiquarian interest, many of the original architectural features of the elevations towards the courtyards having totally disappeared, little or no attempt having apparently been made at the last restoration to adhere to the original design. The roof of the great hall, which is the full height of the west wing, is covered with modern blue slates and the front wall reconstructed with straight and diagonal timber framing, into which two large modern deal windows have been introduced. The bay window has lost externally all its ancient detail and is now quite plain, and treatment of a similar nature has been meted out to the long elevation on the north side of the south wing, in the lower story of which a series of seven lofty four-light windows 6 ft. wide have been inserted in place of the low wooden mullioned windows high in the wall which seem to have originally existed. (fn. 66) The south wing, which is two stories in height, has a long front of 91 ft. 6 in. to the courtyard, the whole of which is now covered with quatrefoil ornament with a plaster cove below the eaves. In the upper floor are three square bay windows, the undersides of which retain their carved ornament, and at either side of the heads of the lower modern windows are carved square paterae set diagonally, some of which belong to the ancient front. The general effect of the whole, however, is one of extreme flatness, relieved somewhat by a modern porch about midway in its length, which though poor in detail breaks rather happily an otherwise too uniform monotony. The cornice here, as throughout the house, is modern and incongruous and the roof is covered with stone slates. The most picturesque feature of the exterior is the bay to the great hall with its square room above faced with quatrefoil ornament and gable over, occupying the angle at the junction of the west and south wings, which, though the detail is nearly wholly modern, retains most of its ancient features.
The south front is built of 2-in. bricks on a stone base, and its length, which was originally 113 ft. but which the modern addition has increased to 143 ft., is broken only by three original projecting chimneys and a later one at the west end. The roof line runs unbroken, except for a modern ventilator, from west to east, and the general effect, as on the side facing the court, is one of flatness and want of distinction. The plaster cove is continued along the side of the building under the eaves, and the windows are square-headed with stone mullions and cinquefoiled lights, many of them being modern restorations. The chimney to the dining-room is externally 12 ft. 6 in. wide, and is built of stone to about twothirds of the height of the wall, above which, like the others, it is of brick. A small modern brick porch has been added in front of the one door on this side of the building between the two easternmost chimneys. The modern western extension contains offices, with servants' rooms over, and is built of brick faced on the north side with timber and plaster.
The great hall, the original arrangement of which was similar to that at Little Mitton, is 33 ft. 9 in. long by 26 ft. 3 in. wide, with a steep open roof 15 ft. to the wall-plate and 29 ft. 6 in. to the ridge. The proportions were, however, slightly different, as the room has been reduced in length at the north end by about half a bay, (fn. 67) and at the south end the wide canopied recess which formerly occupied the middle of the wall with a door on each side having entirely disappeared, its space has been thrown into the passage behind a screen which was erected without any authority at the end of the hall. The result has been to make a further reduction of about 6 ft. at this end, though the line of the two doors which stood on either side of the recess is retained. A drawing (fn. 68) of the hall as it was before the alterations of 1835 has fortunately been preserved, together with one of the ancient oak screens which stood at the north end. This screen was a very handsome one dated 1532, and bearing the name of Sir Thomas Southworth, similar in general appearance and design to that at Rufford Old Hall, and standing detached and movable probably between narrow speres against the walls, carried up to the roof as arched principals. In the 1835 alterations the north end of the hall appears to have been pulled down, the original passage behind the screen destroyed, and the screen itself cut up and used in the erection, at the south end, of the existing screen with the gallery over. Into this, probably at the second restoration, (fn. 69) a quantity of later Jacobean woodwork from old bedsteads and other furniture has been introduced, producing a rather strange and incongruous effect. The tall carved finials, which, as at Rufford, formed so conspicuous a feature of the old screen, are, however, rather cleverly worked into the composition of the gallery front. The roof is divided into four bays of unequal size, that at the south being over the gallery and passage. Two of the principal supports are of unusually massive oak and are on the principle of crook construction, with long curved timbers rising from floor to ridge, with tie-beam and curved pieces below. The tie-beam is held by a square king post, which is intersected midway by a horizontal tie, and the truss is strengthened by crossed beams inclining with the slope of the roof. The spaces between the principal rafters and the purlins are plastered and ornamented with diagonal wind braces, the inner sides of which are foliated. The roof has been a good deal restored and the side posts are encased in modern varnished deal to a height of 5 ft. 6 in. from the floor. The principals are unmoulded, but have a simple hollow chamfer on the edge, and the wall-plate is carved with a running floral pattern and embattled along the top. The room, however, is now very much modernized, the old flagged floor having given place to one of wood and the walls papered. The fireplace too is a modern Gothic one of stone inserted in the original arched opening, which is 15 ft. wide and 7 ft. high to the crown of the arch. The west wall appears to have been rebuilt in stone in the 16th century, and had formerly three low mullioned windows high up below the eaves, one of which, built up, may still be seen from the outside. The original stone chimney shaft has disappeared and given place to one in brick, and there is a good deal of brick patching on the exterior of the wall. The room may have had originally a fireplace in this position, as the disposition of the roof timbers shows no special provision for a louvre. At the south-east corner is a bay window of seven canted sides, 9 ft. in depth and the full height of the room to the wallplate, the lights divided in the middle by a transom. Externally, as before mentioned, the window has been entirely renewed and is quite plain, but internally the mullions are moulded and the transom has a modern vine-leaf pattern on two sides. Over the bay is a small room lit by a small square bay in the gable, the original means of access to which is not certain, but was probably from the south wing.
The made-up screen and gallery at the south end
of the hall contains the inscribed portions of the
original wind screen set in the gallery front, as
'Ao Domi Moccccc/xxxii | S [symbol - see printed volume] P Bono statu' INRI
'Thomas Sothworth, kngt.'
with the Southworth crest. The two original doorways have been retained though their position has been altered, (fn. 70) and one is now made up, and a shallow square middle recess with smaller semicircular ones at the ends has been formed. The room is lit by two modern windows on the east side.
The south wing has been very much modernized and its original plan apparently lost. The ancient timber construction remains, however, the moulded oak wall posts and roof principals being still in position as well as the wood ceilings of several of the lower rooms. A corridor runs the greater length on the north side on both floors, from which the various rooms open. The chapel which was at the east end of the wing probably occupied the space (32 ft. 6 in. by 20 ft.) of the present library and the room adjoining it on the west, and may have been the full height of the building, with a family pew over the west end approached from the upper floor as at Smithills, but this must remain a matter of conjecture. Before the 1835 alterations, however, a wood screen, apparently of 16th-century date, with carved posts and traceried openings, stood here, (fn. 71) but no traces of it now remain. The south window of the chapel, now in the library, which is of four cinquefoiled lights with elaborate tracery under a square head, is said locally to have come from Whalley Abbey. The only other indication of this end of the house having been used as a chapel is a round-headed piscina in the end of the south wall of the present library, and possibly in the sacred monogram carved in the spandrels below the bay window on the upper floor facing the courtyard. The piscina is very plain and has no drain, and very possibly belongs to an earlier structure.
The staircase and fittings generally of the entrance hall are modern, and the dining-room, which is 25 ft. by 15 ft. 6 in., retains very little of its former appearance. The ceiling, however, is the original one of oak divided into compartments by moulded beams. The old arched stone fireplace was elaborately restored in the 'sixties and has now all the appearance of modern Gothic rich in colour and gilding. Over the opening are the arms of Southworth quartering Samlesbury, Hoghton quartering Assheton, and Langton, each with crest and initials above, together with the inscription, 'Thomas Sothworth Kt. Ao. Dm. MoCCCCCXLV.'
At the east end of the corridor over the door to the library is a carved oak panel with head of Henry VIII, and at the west end a similar one with the head of a queen, apparently Anne Boleyn. In the upper rooms the original carved roof remains with moulded side posts and purlins, and shaped pieces enriched with carving in traceried and vine patterns. The upper floor seems to have contained two large rooms, apparently the principal apartments of the house, being much more lofty than those on the ground floor; but the original disposition of the upper plan can now be only conjectured.
In the time of Edward IV Lord Lovel and Richard Southworth gave puture to the sheriff at Samlesbury; in 1662 John Southworth paid yearly to the bailiff of the wapentake 10s. 8d. for the Upper Hall and demesne, whilst Richard Walmsley paid 6d. for his lands called Seedhouse. (fn. 72)
ROACHER HALL.—Richard Houghton, kt., had a small estate here at his death in 1631. (fn. 73) Roacher Hall stood on the right bank of the Darwen, near Roacher Bridge, and was a two-story stone house with mullioned and transomed windows and central roundheaded doorway, above which was a stone with the arms and initials of Henry Hoghton. Another stone in an end wall bore the Hoghton arms, and was inscribed: 'This building was erected Anno Domini 1675 by Henry Hoghton, esq., son to Sr. Gilbart Hoghton, Knight and Baronet.' A barn in the rear had the initials and date H. H. 1673, and another stone in the barn had the same date and initials along with those of Hoghton's wife Mary Stanley. (fn. 74) Part of the hall was taken down in 1881 and the rest in 1882, when the present house of the same name was built. (fn. 75)
The SAMLESBURY LOWER HALL stands close to the left bank of the Ribble about three-quarters of a mile north-east of the church. It is now in ruins, (fn. 76) and a modern farm-house has been built close to it on the south side. The house was apparently of late 17th or early 18th-century date, and was of two stories, the front, which faced south, being about 96 ft. in length. The walls were of red sandstone roughly dressed, and the roof ran the length of the building with overhanging eaves and a gable at each end. The long line of the south front was broken by a slight projection 11 ft. wide marking the entrance, faced with ashlar v-jointed blocks, and going the full height of the building with a gable in the roof. On each side were four square-headed windows on each floor, originally of two lights with mullion and transom, but sashes had been introduced before the house was abandoned. The front walls stand now only to the height of about 12 ft. or 14 ft. just above the sills of the first floor windows, and the back walls facing the river have almost completely disappeared. The windows in the front wall are mostly built up with brick, the whole being a picture of the most complete ruin, open to the sky and overgrown with weeds. A large apartment in the house was used as a chapel by the Roman Catholics of Samlesbury for a long period. (fn. 77) Since its acquisition by Thomas Walmsley in the time of James I the Lower Hall estate has descended with the Petre half of the manor.
FLEETWOOD HALL, standing on the south side of the River Darwen upon an estate of nearly 200 acres, was formerly the residence of a branch of the Fleetwood family of Penwortham, who were for several generations farmers of the rectorial glebe of Blackburn, of which this estate formed part, as representing the ancient glebe of Samlesbury Chapel. In 1877 it was the property of Mr. Kay of Bury.
Sowerbutts Green (fn. 78) has been for more than two centuries the property of the Culcheth family of this place and of the Hubberstys as heirs-general of the Culcheths. In 1877 Mr. Robert Hubbersty was owner.
In 1332 the contributors to the subsidy numbered sixteen persons; those to the poll tax of 1379 numbered forty-nine, all husbandmen or labourers. (fn. 79) Richard Charnley was the only person assessed upon lands in 1524. Hugh Welchman in 1649 compounded for his delinquency in adhering to the forces against the Parliament by a fine of £3 10s., representing the sixth part of the value of his estate. (fn. 80)
To the tax in 1666 as many as 127 hearths were liable in this township; the house of John Southworth had thirteen hearths and that of William Walmsley ten; there was one of four hearths, and others smaller. (fn. 81)
A deer park is shown in Saxton's map as existing here in the time of Elizabeth.
The church of ST. LEONARD-THELESS stands in a low situation close to the left bank of the Ribble, amid pleasant rural surroundings, and consists of a clearstoried nave and sanctuary under one roof, 66 ft. long internally by 18 ft. 6 in. wide, with north and south aisles 10 ft. 6 in. wide, and a tower at the north-west corner. The tower, however, is modern, having been added in 1899–1900, at which time also the two wooden porches on the south side were erected. There was a restoration in 1885, (fn. 82) when a new east window was inserted, the walls stripped of accumulated coats of whitewash and the piers re-chiselled. Originally the building, which dates substantially from the year 1558, had a wooden bell-turret over the west gable, but this was removed at the time the tower was built. The original chapel, which existed in the 12th century, had probably been rebuilt, and the ancient masonry now incorporated in the east and west walls may belong to a 14th or early 15th-century building, whose length must have been the same as at present, but narrower in width and less in height, being presumably without aisles and forming a long barn-like structure, the area of the existing nave. The plan of this earlier church, however, must remain more or less conjectural. As reerected in the middle of the 16th century the building is on plan a parallelogram 66 ft. long by 43 ft. 10 in. wide internally, the aisles being divided from the wider central space by an arcade of four pointed arches of two plain chamfered orders on octagonal piers with moulded caps, but with a straight length of wall 7 ft. long at each end, that at the east forming the sanctuary.
The walls are built of yellow sandstone in blocks of fairly large size, but the older masonry is of local red sandstone in small pieces, the line of the old gable at each end being still preserved. The north side is also partly built of red sandstone, probably from the older structure, and the character of the plinths to the aisles and to the ends of the nave and sanctuary clearly shows the different dates of the building. Apart from this sandstone masonry, however, which preserves no architectural detail, new windows having been inserted in it at each end, the church is entirely of 16th-century and modern date, and before the addition of the tower and porches had externally little or no architectural interest, the general impression being one of flatness. The roofs are covered with stone slates and have overhanging eaves.
The east window is modern, dating from the restoration of 1885, and has three lights with tracery under a pointed head. In the south wall of the sanctuary the piscina remains, but without drain. The altar rails have turned Jacobean oak balusters. The clearstory has four square-headed three-light windows on each side, and the west window is a pointed one of three lights, with the mullions crossing in the head. The aisles are lit by three square-headed windows of three lights in the north and south walls, with a three-light window at each end. All these windows, with the exception of that at the west end of the south aisle, which has a segment head and trefoiled lights, have round-headed lights and are without labels. The south side has two doorways, a narrow one near the east end, with chamfered head and jambs, serving as a priest's entrance, and the other with pointed arch and continuous moulded jambs and head. At the west end of the outer wall of the north aisle is a modern doorway opening into the vestry under the tower. Internally the walls have been stripped of their plaster, and are now of rough stone. The roof, which is of flat pitch, is divided by eight original oak beams into nine bays, with new intermediate beams and wood filling. An 18th-century ceiling was taken down during the restoration. The east end of the south aisle is occupied by a pew, with good modern Gothic oak screen.
The fittings are interesting, belonging mostly to the first half of the 18th century, though there are some pew ends dated 1688, 1689, and 1697. The majority, however, bear dates ranging from 1713 to 1756, together with the initials of their respective owners, and have been cut down to a uniform height of 3 ft. 6 in. There are twenty-five of these dated pews, and in the south aisle the older Hoghton pew bears the initials of Henry Hoghton, together with the family arms, crest and motto, and the date 1678. The floors of the pews are now boarded and the passages flagged. The pulpit and desk form a twodecker, probably of equal date with the majority of the pews, and stand at the east end of the north side of the nave, having been removed to this position from the front of the sanctuary in 1885. The organ is at the west end of the nave, and the baptistery at the west end of the south aisle, inclosed by a modern oak screen. The font is circular, and consists of a rough piece of stone with chamfered edge, being probably of 12th-century date. The base is modern.
On the floor at the north side of the sanctuary, now partly covered up, is an alabaster slab with black letter inscription, the only words decipherable being 'Hic jacet . . . . Isabellam | filiam Ricar. Balderston armigi et obiit quinto die Februari | . . . Dn. propicietur,' said to be to the memory of Sir William Atherton, kt., and his wife Isabel Balderston, who died in 1440–1. An old helmet, shield and sword, the shield bearing the Southworth arms, are suspended from the wall at the east end of the north side of the nave, and in a case near the pulpit are preserved a chained black-letter Bible and Jewell's Exposition on Thessalonians, printed in 1611 by John Norton.
There are some fragments of 16th-century glass in the upper lights of the west window.
The tower has a vice in the south-east corner and a door on its west side. It finishes with an embattled parapet and a square turret over the vice, and has a clock on the east and west sides and on the south side of the turret.
There is a ring of eight bells by Taylor of Loughborough of the same date as the tower. The two old bells which hung in the gable turret are now at the residence of the late Mr. Crook of Stanley Grange. One has the inscription 'Campana Jhesu Cristi,' and both are probably of 14th-century date.
The plate consists of two chalices of 1819 with maker's mark W.B., and a paten and flagon of 1889 made in Birmingham, the paten inscribed 'St. Leonard's-the-Less, Samlesbury.'
The registers begin in 1678.
The recorded history of Samlesbury chapel goes back to the middle of the 12th century, when it was a chapel of ease to Low or Walton-le-Dale. Gospatrick, lord of the manor, by chance entertained two Irish bishops for a few days, and induced them to consecrate a burial-place by the chapel, the rector of Blackburn assenting. The Bishop of Lichfield on hearing of it was indignant at this invasion of his right, and condemned the consecration as null; but on having the local difficulties represented to him he gave way and allowed burial there. (fn. 83) The chapel was with the rectory of Blackburn granted to Stanlaw Abbey, (fn. 84) and the monks took care to have the facts put on record. Various references are made to the chapel from time to time, (fn. 85) and it was no doubt served regularly down to the Reformation. (fn. 86) A curate and two chapel-wardens are named in 1552, when the king seized the church ornaments. (fn. 87) The building probably fell into decay about that time, for in 1558 the Earl of Derby wrote offering help in its restoration. (fn. 88)
What followed on the accession of Elizabeth is uncertain, but a curate's name is given in the visitation lists 1562–5. (fn. 89) With the squire and many of the people resolutely opposed to the change of religion it is unlikely that this chapel was maintained with any zeal, and in 1610 it had only a stipendiary reader. (fn. 90) In 1619 the curate was presented 'for not reading the whole service contained in the Book of Prayer every Sabbath and festival day, as also for not wearing the surplice at times of prayer, and [that he] did once administer the communion to some that did [not] kneel.' Others of the people were presented for 'having piping music and dancing in their houses at divine service time upon the Sabbath day'; and more 'for burning candles over corpses, for crossing with towels and praying where crosses are and have been.' (fn. 91) The curate's stipend was nominally £4 a year, paid by the vicar of Blackburn. (fn. 92) In the time of the Commonwealth £40 a year was added, (fn. 93) and in 1658 it was proposed to make Samlesbury a parish. (fn. 94) After the Restoration the old conditions returned, and this chapel was served by the curate of Walton-le-Dale. Some additional endowments were procured, (fn. 95) and in 1717 the certified income was £14 16s. 8d.; in summer there was service one Sunday in the morning and next Sunday in the afternoon and in winter every other Sunday. The two wardens were chosen by the minister and principal inhabitants. (fn. 96) From 1763 the chapel seems to have had a curate of its own, and some further endowments were procured about that time and subsequently. The income is now stated as £290 net. (fn. 97) A district was assigned to it in 1837. The incumbents, now styled vicars, are presented by the vicar of Blackburn. The following is a list (fn. 98) :—
|Thomas Baldwin, M.A. (fn. 99) (Peterhouse, Camb.)
|George Astley, B.A. (fn. 100)
|Patrick Comerford Law, B.A.
|Henry Walter McGrath, M.A. (T.C.D.)
|Francis Law, B.A. (fn. 101) (Queens' Coll., Camb.)
There is a Wesleyan Methodist mission room.
Through the protection of the Southworths (fn. 102) and then of the Walmsleys and Petres of Lower Hall it is probable that mass was said in this township pretty constantly even during the severest times of persecution. (fn. 103) In 1709 Bishop Smith confirmed and preached there to a great concourse of people, the vicar of Blackburn remarking: 'The neighbouring Protestants seemed to take little notice of the matter, it being no novelty with them.' (fn. 104) The chapel of St. Chad at Lower Hall was used till about 1816, when it was ruined by the encroachment of the Ribble. It was served by Franciscans in the 18th century; since 1816 by seculars. (fn. 105) The present church of St. Mary, Southbank, was built in 1817–18. (fn. 106)
Mrs. Dorothy Langdale in 1715 left £200 for the maintenance of aged poor persons or the binding of apprentices. Land in Whittle-le-Woods was purchased, but in 1826 it was found that the rent had usually been applied to relieve the poor rate, though apprenticeship fees had from time to time been paid. This abuse was corrected and fresh schemes were made in 1829 and 1877, the latter accidentally enlarging the area concerned to the ecclesiastical parish of Samlesbury instead of the township. The gross income is £23; the distribution was formerly in kind, but now in money, sums of 5s. to £3 being given at Christmas. Under Richard Houghton's Preston charity a fourth part of the rent of Wood Crook in Whittingham was to be applied to the poor of Samlesbury. The land was sold in 1871 and the proceeds invested in consols; £2 19s. 11d., being a fourth part of the interest, is distributed in money doles in the same way as the Langdale charity. The Rev. William Lawson Barnes in 1854 gave a rentcharge of £3 on land called the Glebe Farm in Osbaldeston for the benefit of 'poor persons residing in the chapelry of Samlesbury, who should be members of the Protestant Episcopal Church of England as by law established at the time of executing the indenture, exclusive of all persons in any manner howsoever being in membership or communion with the Church of Rome.' It is given by the vicar as required in sums of 2s. 6d. to 25s. There is also an endowment for the Sunday school.