A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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Osbaldeston, xiii-xx cent.; Osebaldreston, 1256; locally 'Osboston.'
This rural township is bounded by the River Ribble on the north and west and contains an area of 1,084 acres. (fn. 1) From the river, where the elevation does not exceed 70 ft. above the ordnance datum, the land rises towards the south-east to an elevation of 360 ft. below the village of Mellor, near the source of a brook which forms the eastern boundary. On the south-west a brook which falls into the Ribble near Sunderland Hall divides the township from Balderston. The subsoil consists of the Millstone Grit. The land is almost entirely under grass, and there is a considerable area of woodland scattered along the ravines which descend to the Ribble and in Old Park Wood, near Oxendale Hall. (fn. 2) The population in 1901 numbered 182 persons.
The main road from Clitheroe to Blackburn passes through the hamlet of Osbaldeston in the south-eastern angle of the township, where a lane branches northward to Osbaldeston Green and connects with occupation roads. A Roman road is mentioned in a 13th-century charter. (fn. 3) The nearest station is at Wilpshire on the Bolton, Blackburn and Hellifield line of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company. Blackburn is distant 4 miles.
The township was included in 1842 in the district chapelry of St. Peter, Salesbury. (fn. 4) Under the Divided Parishes Act it was joined in 1892 to the ecclesiastical parish of Balderston.
Pennant whilst on a tour to the north of England in 1773 passed through the district and notes:
Opposite to Ribchester stand several ancient seats, such as Osbaldeston Hall, once the residence of the great family of that name, sold by the last owner about forty years ago; the remainder of the estate he bequeathed to a distant relation, a friend and a servant. (fn. 5) A younger branch of the family, a baronet descended from this house, had a fortune near Oxford. I remember Sir Charles, I believe the last of the title, when I was at the University, a poor profligate old fellow, who in all weathers went in his waistcoat only, and for a shilling would at any time leap up to his neck in water. (fn. 6)
Dr. Whitaker's description written in 1818 is as follows:—
This is a small township, but of great fertility, stretching along the southern bank of the Ribble, about half of which was the demesne of the Osbaldestons and the rest demised to tenants. The manor-house, which stands low and sheltered, within a moat, is pretty entire, though greatly mutilated. It appears to have consisted of a centre and two wings, opening southward, with a deep projection in the middle of the central part. What remains appears, from the style and arms, to have been erected by Sir Edward Osbaldeston about the latter end of the reign of James the First. The present cow-house, at the west end, appears to have been a gallery about 60 ft. long, with two deep embayed windows and transom lights. The upper room in the central projection is fitted up with brown wainscot in oblong and lozenge panels. In the plaster above the chimney-piece are the arms and numerous quarterings of the family, with the cyphers E. O.—D. O.
Over the stable door, on the impost, are the family arms, with the cyphers [T with lozenge around stem] and [T with lozenge to the right - see printed volume], with the date 1593.
On the open green, westward from the house, are lines of large stones, forming three sides of a quadrangle, which seems to have been intended as bases for crooks of oak, and to have formed the outline of a more ancient house. There is yet a tradition that the chapel projected from the north wall, near the kitchen door, and nearly from the corner where the rude figure of Hercules is wrought into the wall. (fn. 7)
The woods of this township and Salesbury, which had been completely destroyed, are now rising again into consequence under the fostering hand of their present noble possessor, (fn. 8) so that the aspect of several miles along the north side of this fertile valley is annually improving in beauty, as is the estate itself in value.
In 1587 John son and heir of Edward Osbaldeston, esq., granted to his younger brother Hamlet an annuity of £13 6s. 8d. out of closes called Grene Holme, Wheat Field, the Chapel Flat, Sweton, Croucke Spit and the Great Meadow. (fn. 9) The township was probably rated as 6 oxgangs of land and contributed only 4s. 8d. to the fifteenth out of £37 1s. 7d. levied on the whole hundred exclusive of the forests. (fn. 10)
Osbaldeston and the adjoining vill of Balderston represent one of the twentyeight Domesday manors held in 1066 by a freeman (fn. 11) who was probably the ancestor of Ailsi son of Hugh, thegn of these vills in the reigns of Henry II, Richard and John. At a very early date they were included in the fee within this hundred granted by Ilbert or Robert de Lacy to the ancestor of De Arches. Between 1177 and 1193 Robert de Lacy confirmed certain privileges to William de Arches which had been granted to his ancestors by Robert's ancestors, particularly the venison taken within his fee. (fn. 12) Before the middle of the next century the mesne lordship of De Arches was extinguished by the grant to John de Lacy from Adam de Buckden and Matilda de Arches his wife of the whole service which Hugh de Osbaldeston owed for the land of Osbaldeston with the appurtenances, (fn. 13) which was thenceforth held sine medio of the honor of Clitheroe by the yearly service of 6s. and a sore sparrow-hawk. (fn. 14) The grant of Sunderland by Ailsi son of Hugh to Sawley Abbey and his subsequent grant of Balderston to his second son are described in the account of that mesne manor. In 1202 he and his sons Robert and William were amerced by John Bishop of Norwich and his fellow justices in eyre in the county. (fn. 15) About the end of the reign of Henry II he enfeoffed Geoffrey de Clayton of land by the Ribble between Studle-clough and the old hedge of Osbaldeston carr. (fn. 16) Hugh de Osbaldeston succeeded his father Ailsi during John's reign and made several feoffments of land here to his kinsmen. (fn. 17) He lived until shortly before 1256, when Thomas his son and successor made an agreement with William de Balderston, his tenant of the manor of Balderston, touching the services due to him. (fn. 18)
Before 1278 Thomas was succeeded by his son Adam, (fn. 19) who released to the monks of Sawley in or about 1286 his right in a plot of wood and pasture called the Mikelfal in Sunderland Wood, for which they conceded to him all lands approved by him or his ancestors before that time. (fn. 20) In 1292 he acquired from Roger de Dewyhurst and Avina his wife a messuage and land here which Thomas his father had given to William son of Bernard de Samlesbury, father of Avina. (fn. 21) He died before 1298, when Thomas his son recorded his claim to a reversionary interest in the manors of Haigh and Blackrod. (fn. 22)
At the death of Henry de Lacy Earl of Lincoln in 1311 Thomas de Osbaldeston held Osbaldeston and Balderston of Alice, mother of the earl, as part of her dower. (fn. 23) In 1324 he was summoned, as having land to the yearly value of £15, to attend the Great Council at Westminster. (fn. 24) For some time before 1328 he was one of the coroners for the county, until he became incapacitated by illness and infirmity. (fn. 25) He married Anabella, by whom he had no issue, was living in 1332, when he paid to the subsidy levied in that year, (fn. 26) and died before 1335. His widow married Roger de Elston, lord of Ribbleton; both were living in 1361. (fn. 27) He was succeeded by his brother, usually described as John son of Adam de Osbaldeston, who made a settlement in 1336 by which two-thirds of the manor and the reversion of one-third held by Roger de Elston and Anabella his wife were settled upon himself for life, with remainder to his son Alexander and Katherine daughter of Thomas de Molyneux of the Edge and their issue. (fn. 28) In Michaelmas term 1344 Joan relict of John de Osbaldeston demanded her dower in two-thirds of the manor from Roger de Elston and Anabella his wife. (fn. 29) The date of John de Osbaldeston's death is not recorded; he left issue Alexander, who had married Katherine de Molyneux before 1336, (fn. 30) and a daughter Alice.
It is probable that Alexander died in his minority about the same time as his father, for his sister Alice repeatedly describes herself as daughter and heir of John de Osbaldeston. In 1357 and again in 1360 she granted to Thomas son of Henry Banastre of Walton-le-Dale, who had married her brother's widow, the yearly service of 5s. of Thomas son of William de Osbaldeston, which she had inherited from her father, (fn. 31) and the year following released her right in the manor of Osbaldeston and the service of Richard son of John de Balderston for the manor of Balderston. (fn. 32) 'Thomas Banastre de Osbaldeston, esquier' heads the list of contributors to the poll tax of 1379. (fn. 33)
The only issue of Alexander de Osbaldeston and Katherine de Molyneux was a son Geoffrey. In 1380, at the instance of the Duke of Lancaster, he and Thomas de Molyneux, his maternal uncle, were pardoned for certain offences wherewith they stood charged. (fn. 34) He married in 1357 Margaret daughter of William, whose surname has not been ascertained, (fn. 35) but it is uncertain if the marriage was consummated, as he subsequently married Cecily, probably daughter of Sir John le Norreys, kt. (fn. 36) In 1390 John son of Geoffrey de Osbaldeston was in Ireland in the king's service, in the retinue of Sir John Stanley. (fn. 37) He was knighted at St. Maxence by Henry V on 13 October 1415, before the battle of Agincourt. (fn. 38) In the spring of 1417 he went to France again in the retinue of the king, (fn. 39) and was with other Lancashire knights before Louviers and Rouen in the summer of 1418, (fn. 40) and at Gisors the year following. (fn. 41) By his marriage with Joan daughter and heir of Roger de Coghull, and heir of her grandmother Margaret daughter of Sir Richard Handlo, kt., he became lord of Chadlington Manor, co. Oxon., and ancestor of Osbaldeston of that ilk.
Thomas Osbaldeston, eldest son of Geoffrey, succeeded his father, and by the death of Thomas Molyneux, his grandmother's brother, in December 1387, became heir to the manor of Cuerdale. (fn. 42) In or before March 1406 he demised this manor to Robert Radcliffe, younger son of William Radcliffe of the Tower, who had married his grandmother Katherine after the death of her second husband Thomas Banastre. (fn. 43) She had been first married as far back as 1336, and must have been near eighty years of age at this time. That she died soon after this date is evident from the fact that her third husband's son and heir was born in or before 1415. (fn. 44) Thomas Osbaldeston married before 1406 Alice, by whom he had Geoffrey his heir and John, and died soon after. (fn. 45)
In 1435 by the death of Robert Radcliffe of Osbaldeston the manor reverted to Geoffrey Osbaldeston, then aged twenty-nine years. (fn. 46) In 1411–12 his father arranged for his marriage to Isabel daughter of Henry Langton of Walton-le-Dale, (fn. 47) by whom he had several sons. William the youngest settled at Long Compton, co. Warw., where his descendants continued for some generations. John the eldest died in his father's lifetime, having married Elizabeth daughter of Sir Richard Balderston, by which match a fourth part of the Balderston estates came to this family after the death in 1512 of James Harrington, Dean of York. Geoffrey the father died in 1475, the inquest after his death being taken four years later, when his grandson Richard Osbaldeston, son of John, was found to be his heir, being then aged seventeen years. (fn. 48)
In 1480 Richard Osbaldeston recovered from Geoffrey, Richard and William Osbaldeston, his uncles, part of the estate which Alexander his ancestor had settled upon his issue in 1336. (fn. 49) He took to wife Grace daughter of William Singleton of Broughton Tower, and died in 1507. (fn. 50) Alexander his son, aged twenty-six at his father's death, fought at Flodden Field under the Earl of Derby, (fn. 51) and was knighted a little later. (fn. 52) He was twice married, first, about 12 June 1490, to Agnes daughter of Sir Christopher Southworth, (fn. 53) who was the mother of his heir, and secondly to Ellen daughter of Thomas Tyldesley of Wardley, (fn. 54) by whom he had issue Richard, upon whom he settled Sunderland Grange in Balderston in 1540. (fn. 55) He was sheriff of the county in 1527–8, (fn. 56) and died 17 January 1544. (fn. 57) His son John Osbaldeston, aged thirty-six years at his father's death, married Margaret daughter of George Stanley Lord Strange, K.G., by whom he had numerous offspring; he married secondly after 1567 Jane daughter and co-heir of John Stanley, base son of John brother of Thomas Stanley first Earl of Derby, and relict of Sir Thomas Halsall, kt. (fn. 58) In 1557 he was nominated a captain in the army of Lord Shrewsbury serving in Scotland. (fn. 59) He died 22 October 1575.
Edward Osbaldeston, aged forty-three in 1576, married in 1548 Maud daughter of Sir Thomas Halsall, kt., and died 7 September 1590. (fn. 60) Thomas his brother was residing at Wigan in 1576, and was father of Edward, who laboured in the north of England on the Roman Catholic mission from 1589 to 1594, when he suffered for his religion at York. (fn. 61) Geoffrey, another brother, was appointed justice of the Court of King's Bench in Ireland in 1605 and chief justice in Connaught in 1607. John son and heir of Edward Osbaldeston was aged thirty-five at his father's death. He married Ellen daughter and co-heir of John Bradley of Bradley Hall, near Chipping, and Beetham, co. Westmorland, and died in 1603. (fn. 62) His eldest son Edward Osbaldeston, born in 1573, was said to be skilled in mathematics, in which he found great entertainment in his leisure; in fencing and riding he excelled all others in the county, and in natural philosophy was a bright ornament. (fn. 63) He was knighted by James I at Lathom 20 August 1617. (fn. 64) He married Mary daughter and heir of Francis Farington of Hutton Grange, and died in 1637. His eldest son John died in his father's lifetime and was twice married. The issue of both marriages died young and unmarried, Edward the eldest son in 1642 at the age of fourteen. Alexander second son of Sir Edward (fn. 65) married in 1645 Anne daughter of Sir John Talbot of Salesbury, by whom he had a numerous family. He entered his pedigree at Dugdale's visitation in 1664. (fn. 66) Notwithstanding that he had never been in arms against the Parliament his estates were sequestrated for recusancy, but in 1650 in response to his petition an order was made allowing him to enjoy one-third of his estates (fn. 67); two-thirds remained sequestered for his recusancy, though he said he had never been convicted. (fn. 68)
Edward Osbaldeston, eldest surviving son of Alexander, married in 1676 Margaret daughter of Thomas Braddyll of Portfield, (fn. 69) and died intestate in 1689. His eldest son Alexander, born in 1677, died without issue in 1747, (fn. 70) having alienated the manor and the greater part of the family estates. Some portion is said to have passed to his cousin John Osbaldeston son of Michael, a younger brother of Edward. (fn. 71) Some time before his death Alexander Osbaldeston had mortgaged the manor and demesne lands of Osbaldeston to Allan Harrison, son of John Harrison of Little Mearley Hall. (fn. 72) By his will made in 1752 Allan Harrison, then of Lancaster, made a settlement of his estates, including the manor of Osbaldeston, by which after his death his daughter and heir Anne Sybelle became beneficial owner. She married George Wilson, and joined her husband in 1774 in conveying the manor with lands here and in Balderston and Ribchester with a free fishery in and a ferry over the Ribble to Sir George Warren, K.B., (fn. 73) in consideration of £5,000 and an annuity of £400 during their lives. (fn. 74)
From Sir George Warren the manor descended, like those of Salesbury and Dinckley, to George second Baron de Tabley, who in 1866 sold the manor to Henry Ward of Blackburn. It was in 1894 purchased by Solomon Longworth, and the following year, the new owner having died, it was sold by his executors to the present lord of the manor, Mr. Joseph Dugdale of Blackburn. The manor is titular only, no courts being held or rights exercised. (fn. 75)
OSBALDESTON HALL stands in a low situation close to the left bank of the Ribble, and is approached from the south by a field road which drops with a steep descent in front of the house. The building is now a farm-house, and has been so much patched and altered from time to time and parts allowed to fall into so great a state of dilapidation that it is difficult to determine at all correctly what the original plan of the house was. The main building is now [capital letter L]-shaped with north and east wings, the east wing projecting 19 ft., but it is possible that there was originally a corresponding wing at the west end and that the plan in the first instance followed the usual type. There is nothing, however, actually to prove that this was so, and a three-light mullioned and transomed window at the west end of the north wing, now mutilated, is against the theory, though the end wall may very well have been rebuilt in stone and the window inserted after an original west wing had been pulled down. The building is of two stories faced with brick and stone, with a good projecting chimney at the east end, but externally has lost most of its original architectural features except in the upper windows of the south gable end. To this original block, in which is probably incorporated the house of the latter part of the 16th century, though externally patched with brick and otherwise modernized out of all recognition, has been added a small wing at the north-east corner about 27 ft. square, standing some 7 ft. beyond the north front and with a smaller gabled projection at the east end facing south, set back behind the chimney of the east wing. At the opposite end of the house, now forming the west wing, is a later two-story stone building 64 ft. in length, the roof of which is slightly lower than that of the main block to which it is attached at the angle, being set back 16 ft. from the north side of the house. This range of building, which appears to be of 17th-century date, is built of rough stones with quoins at the angles and with stone slated roofs, (fn. 76) and has a straight frontage to the garden facing east of 55 ft. The west front, however, is broken up by two square bay windows projecting 8 ft., with a chimney between corbelled out slightly below the level of the first floor. The bays have low mullioned windows of five lights on the ground floor, that at the south end having also three lights on the return, but they are now, along with the chimney, roofed over with continuous lean-to roofs, and whether or not they were finished with upper windows and gables cannot be stated. The west front, however, appears to have been originally one of some architectural merit, and the two upper mullioned and transomed windows between the bays and the chimney are still in place, though built up. The upper room was probably a long gallery, possibly with a range of windows at both sides and broken up by bays on the west. The wing, however, is now more or less dilapidated, and used as a shippon and for other farm purposes, and the east wall to the garden has been rebuilt in brick. The south end of the east wing is built of large squared stones to the height of the eaves, the gable above having been rebuilt in brick, and this patchwork method is followed in greater or less degree in other parts of the house. The north front facing the river is altogether without interest, but that facing the garden, approached as it is between dwarf brick walls forming a kind of bridge over a ditch, which marks in all probability the line of a moat, is not unpicturesque, notwithstanding the air of neglect about both the garden and house. The irregularity of the building, the great length of the west wing which seems to close in the garden on this side, and the yew trees which stand on each side of the entrance gate all go to make a picture which is not without a certain charm.
The interior has been very largely modernized and the ground floor has few points of interest except for the kitchen fireplace, which has an elliptical stone arch 14 ft. wide and ingle-nook 5 ft. deep, but the upper room in the east wing retains most of its ancient features and is lit at the south end by a seven-light mullioned and transomed window, (fn. 77) which is almost the only external architectural feature left on that side of the house. The hood mould of a similar window on the ground floor still remains, but new sashes have been inserted. The upper room itself is 31 ft. long by 18 ft. 6 in. wide, and has an oak floor and good oak wainscot to the walls, with large square panels and longer narrow ones above. The room was originally also lit at the south end of the west side by another seven-light window, now built up, forming with that at the south end a fine range of fourteen lights as a kind of angle bay. On the east side is an elaborate plaster mantelpiece with ornamental pilasters, cornice and large strapwork panel, in the centre of which is the Osbaldeston coat of arms, with many quarterings, now almost indecipherable on account of many coats of whitewash, together with the initials E. O. and M. O., probably those of Edward Osbaldeston and Maud (Halsall) his wife, who held the estates 1575–90. On the frieze above the initials of Edward Osbaldeston again occur. The ceiling, which is 11 ft. high, is plain, but the beams have ornamental plaster work for some distance on either side with vine pattern on the soffit and foliage in the spandrels. The other rooms on the first floor are without interest.
On the door head of one of the outbuildings on the west side of the house are carved the arms of Osbaldeston impaling Bradley, with the date 1593 and the initials of John Osbaldeston and Ellen (Bradley) his wife, and on either side the initials T. O. and T. D., the first probably being those of Thomas Osbaldeston their son. The stone evidently belonged to the older part of the house, and has been used up in the later building.
In the will of Edward Osbaldeston dated 25 June 1588 (fn. 78) mention is made at Osbaldeston Hall of the large table in the parlour, the boards and tables and forms in the hall, the great aumbry in the buttery, 'the great brewing leade, the great brewing knopp and the leade under it in the brewhouse,' the 'greate beif pott in the boylinge howse called Coleman,' the inner chimney with the rest of the irons (fn. 79) in the kitchen to hang pots on, the glass and casements in the windows, the wainscot 'within all and every part' of the house, and the great standing bed with the wheel bed under it in the great chamber.
Saxton's map shows a deer park at Osbaldeston, which had been destroyed before Dr. Whitaker's time.
STUDLEHURST.—Part of this small freehold estate was given by Ailsi son of Hugh before the end of the 12th century to Geoffrey son of Swain de Clayton, and a further part was granted to him by Hugh son of Ailsi. (fn. 80) Robert de Stodelehurst held a freehold here in 1246, when he, together with his lord, Hugh de Osbaldeston, was sued by Adam de Sunderland for common of pasture. (fn. 81) The same year Hugh demised land here to Robert for life. (fn. 82) In the time of Edward I, Richard son of Roger de Stodulhurst released the homage and service of 2s. at the Assumption from the tenant of this land to the lord, Adam son of Thomas de Osbaldeston. (fn. 83) In 1336 Robert son of Adam de Stodelhurst held a small freehold here for life. (fn. 84) After his time it is probable that this estate reverted to the manorial lord, for in 1379 Robert, Roger and Adam, all of Stodilhirst, are described in the poll tax roll as husbandmen.
For a long period there is no record of the ownership of this estate. In the 15th century John Lussell was admitted to the gild at Preston in 1415, and Christopher his son or grandson was present at the gild held in 1459. (fn. 85) Thomas Lussell had become possessed of Studlehurst before 1542, when he was present as a foreign burgess at the Preston gild, (fn. 86) and again twenty years later with his sons John and Henry. (fn. 87) The latter succeeded his father, and as Henry Lussell, gent., was returned among the freeholders in the county in 1600. (fn. 88) He was at the gilds of 1582 and 1602 with his son Thomas. (fn. 89) Thomas his son died in 1616 seised of this estate, which he held of Edward Osbaldeston in socage for a pair of gloves and 2s. yearly, Edward his son being aged four years. (fn. 90) Edward Lussell died in 1637, his sister Grace being his heir. (fn. 91) In 1650 and 1662 John Ingham paid 8d. of free rent for a messuage and 30 acres (customary) called Studlehurst. (fn. 92) By what means the estate passed to the family of Livesey has not been ascertained, but in 1806 Robert Bell Livesey demised it to Robert Hubbersty, yeoman, for a term of 1,000 years, and the latter afterwards assigned it to Richard Hubbersty. After the death of Richard Hubbersty in 1873 the estate was conveyed the following year by his trustees to Messrs. John, Edward and Joseph Dugdale of Blackburn. (fn. 93)
Another estate at Studlehurst was in the possession of Robert Aspden of Arley, in Mellor, in 1543, and was contracted to be sold in 1579 by his son James and grandson Robert to Richard Brooke, citizen and fustian maker of London. (fn. 94) But the sale was not completed, and in 1590 the Aspdens passed the estate and lands in Mellor to John Osbaldeston, esq. (fn. 95)
OXENDALE.— This freehold estate was held by a junior branch of the local family. In 1508 William Osbaldeston and in 1524 his son Robert held the estate. (fn. 96) Lawrence Osbaldeston rebuilt the hall in 1656. (fn. 97) His son Lawrence, who was made a governor of Blackburn Grammar School in 1687, alienated the estate in 1714 to William Fox of Goosnargh, yeoman. After the death in 1802 of William Fox, grandson of the last-named, the estate passed to his daughter and was probably mortgaged by her heir. In 1846 the mortgagees of the estate conveyed it to John Addison of Preston, whose daughter Anne Agnes married Lt.-Gen. J. F. Crofton of London and in 1874 joined with her husband in conveying the estate to Messrs. John, Edward and Joseph Dugdale. (fn. 98)
Oxendale Hall stands on the high ground to the south of the river at a short distance from Osbaldeston Hall, but well sheltered on the north side by woods. It is a picturesque three-story stone-built house with low mullioned windows and stone slated roofs. The front, which faces south, is about 60 ft. in length and has a wide projecting gable at its west end with three smaller gables in the remaining length, the middle one over a projecting porch which goes the full height of the building. The front has been very much restored, and all the windows are new with the exception of those in the top floor in the gables and that over the porch. At the back, however, the original 17th-century windows remain. The walling is of rough stone with large quoins at the angles, and over the door, which has a four-centred arch, are the initials of Lawrence and Rosamund Osbaldeston and the date 1658. A lead spout head on the side of the porch is dated 1763 and has the initials W. F. (William Fox).
Alexander Osbaldeston's house in 1666 had fifteen hearths, another had five hearths and another three; there were forty-two hearths taxed. (fn. 99)
In 1787 Mr. Richard Higham, probably the tenant of the hall, paid land tax for more than one-third of the township. Mr. William Fox was the next largest contributor.
A Roman Catholic mission was established here about 1834 and in 1837 the chapel of St. Mary was opened.