A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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WORSTHORNE WITH HURSTWOOD
Wrdestorn, 1202; Wrdeston, 1242; Wrthisthorn, 1258; Wursthorn, 1328. Hirstwode, Hirstewod, 1323.
A large part of this triangular township consists of the moorland hill country which forms the boundary between Lancashire and Yorkshire. The county boundary on the east is formed by Black Hameldon, a ridge which for nearly two miles has an altitude of about 1,500 ft. above sea level; while across the north of the township extends the height of Hameldon, descending from 1,500 ft. on the Yorkshire border to 700 ft. at Bottin, 2½ miles to the west. North of this hill is the valley of Swinden, down which flows Swinden Water to join the Brun; a reservoir has been formed here for the water supply of Burnley. There is no boundary between the two parts of the township. The Brun is formed by the combination of Hurstwood, Cant Clough and Shedden Brooks on the southern side of the township. In the western end, in the lower ground between the Brun and Swinden Water, lies the village of Worsthorne proper, having Hurstwood a mile south-east, and Rowley nearly the same distance north-west. High Halstead is to the north of Bottin, overlooking Swinden. On the moor to the east of Hurstwood is the large Cant Clough reservoir. The area of the township is 3,510 acres. (fn. 1) In 1901 it had a population of 852.
The principal roads cross at Worsthorne village. One goes east from Burnley over the hills into Yorkshire; the other goes south from Briercliffe to Holme in Cliviger, with a branch to Hurstwood.
The agricultural land is used for pasturage. The soil is clay, overlying shale. There is a colliery at Rowley. Cotton goods are manufactured.
On the hills are remains of a neolithic settlement, with tumuli, stone circles, or 'Ringstones,' and a Roman camp, or walled station. (fn. 2)
Though in 1332 Worsthorne was regarded as an independent township, contributing separately to the subsidy, it is noteworthy that Dr. Whitaker in 1800 wrote of it as being no more than a hamlet of Briercliffe. (fn. 3) It is now governed by a parish council.
At an early time the lords of Clitheroe appear to have divided Worsthorne among a number of free tenants, among whom in 1202 the Pilkington family were numbered. (fn. 4) The value of Worsthorne, which was assessed as two ploughlands, was in 1242 returned as £8 1s. 11½d., to which rents of a sore sparrowhawk and a pair of white gloves must be added. (fn. 5) In 1258 the free tenants in Worsthorne paid 20s. for the dye house, and 21½d. rent is also recorded. (fn. 6) In 1292 Henry de Lacy granted to Oliver de Stansfield, his receiver for Pontefract, the homage and service of the free tenants of Worsthorne, twenty-one tenements being given, of which three had belonged to Richard de Towneley. (fn. 7) This was the origin of the later manor of WORSTHORNE, for which Oliver and his heirs by Emma, formerly his wife, were to pay 1d. a year at St. Giles's feast. (fn. 8) In 1311 Oliver de Stansfield was recorded as holding of Henry de Lacy the hamlet of Worsthorne by rendering 1d. yearly. (fn. 9) He was a clerk, but his issue appear to have been legitimate, (fn. 10) and the manor descended (fn. 11) to Joan daughter of Giles Stansfield, who married Simon Haydock, as recorded in the account of Heysandforth in Burnley. The freeholders, headed by the Towneleys, disputed the Haydock lordship, (fn. 12) and in 1560, after an arbitration, it was decided that all homages, services, heriots, courts, knights' service, wards, marriages and other claims by Simon Haydock in right of Joan his wife should be released to the freeholders, who were, however, to continue to pay the ancient yearly free rent of £2 0s. 1½d. and £1 6s. 8d. increment. (fn. 13) The manor was thus dissolved, except in name, (fn. 14) and in 1627 the Haydocks sold their right to William Thornton. (fn. 15) After this time there is no further record of any manor there.
The early division into tenements has been related above, but from rentals of uncertain date, perhaps the 14th and 15th centuries, it is shown that the vill had been divided into four parts of half a plough-land each, the names of the lords being given as Alexander de Patrington, Alexander de Nevill, Robert Pelie or Polie and Roger de Thornton. (fn. 16) In a dispute in 1548 it was explained that within the township there were four principal freeholders called the four 'posts,' who all held their lands of Simon Haydock and Joan his wife. Upon the death of any one of them a heriot of 45s. was due to the lords, to the payment of which the freeholders had to contribute. (fn. 17) The existence of these minor lordships affords a clue to the disputes which led to the agreement of 1560. This agreement contains a list of the tenancies then existing and fixes the contribution of each to the chief rent. (fn. 18)
Some of the earlier occupiers used Worsthorne as a surname, (fn. 19) but in later times the chief families were those of Halstead or Halsted of Rowley and Towneley of Hurstwood.
ROWLEY is mentioned in a number of early charters (fn. 20) and by the beginning of the 16th century was held by the Halsteds, (fn. 21) Lawrence Halsted of Rowley in 1522 making an exchange of lands with William Halsted of Worsthorne. (fn. 22) Oliver Halsted in 1548 was said to hold of Simon Haydock and Joan his wife by a yearly rent of 3s. 9d. (fn. 23) John Halsted of Rowley in 1631 paid £10 as composition on refusing knighthood. (fn. 24) John, who died at Rowley in 1632, held four messuages, &c., of the king as of his manor of Clitheroe. His heir was his son John, aged 28. (fn. 25) The estate descended to Lawrence Halsted, who died in 1786. Passing over the next male heir, Banastre Halsted, he bequeathed the estates to Banastre's brother Nicholas, whose children afterwards inherited. Two of these were daughters, Ellen Esther, who married Robert Holgate, and Eliza, who married Edward Every-Clayton; in 1846 Eliza and Amelia, daughters of the former, took Halsted as a surname, and resided at Hood House in Habergham Eaves. (fn. 26) Much of the family property has been sold, but Rowley is the property of Major Charles Edward Every-Halsted, (fn. 27) son of the abovenamed Mrs. Every-Clayton.
ROWLEY HALL is situated on high ground at the extreme north-west corner of the township, about 1½ miles east of Burnley, and is a two-story stonebuilt house with mullioned windows and balled gables, the principal front facing south, and with a projecting gabled porch on the west. The house, which appears to be originally of 16th-century date, has been considerably modernized and wholly restored, retaining little architectural or antiquarian interest. Large additions have been made on the north side, and the building is now divided into two. The walls are of roughly-dressed stone with angle quoins, and the roofs are covered with stone slates. The old gables on the south-west sides have been retained, but many of the windows are new and the interior is wholly modern. On stone shields in the spandrels on either side of the restored doorway to the porch are the initials of John Halsted and Mary (Sellars) his wife with the date 27 September 1593. (fn. 28) A peculiar feature of Rowley Hall was that a roadway from Netherwood to Brownside Bridge originally passed in at the front door and out at the back, and was in use till nearly the end of the 18th century. (fn. 29)
There were other Halsted families in the township, (fn. 30) of which the Rowley family is supposed to have been a younger branch, but no proper account can be given of them. William Halsted of Worsthorne died in 1589, leaving a son John, aged thirteen. He had held two messuages, &c., in Worsthorne of the queen as of her honor or castle of Clitheroe by the eleventh part of 1d. yearly; had a rent of 9s. 4d. from Hurstwood and lands in Foulridge and Barnoldswick. (fn. 31)
WORSTHORNE HALL occupied a site on a rising piece of ground on the west bank of the narrow stream which runs through the village, and was a large three-story gritstone building with gables and boldly projecting porch. It is described as having been one of the best examples of substantial and ornamental domestic architecture in the county, (fn. 32) but having fallen into decay, mainly due to mining operations underneath, it was taken down in 1893. The porch, which went up the full height of the house, had a semicircular-headed doorway, the rooms on the first floor being lit by a large six-light mullioned and transomed window with returns of four lights on each side, and over the door was a sunk and moulded panel with raised letters, inscribed 'Robertus Halstead et Elizabetha uxor ejus, Anno Domini 1638.' (fn. 33) The windows to the ground and first floor were all large with transoms and double reveals, and those to the second floor in the gables had a raised middle light with the heads of the side lights curved inwards—a characteristic of many gable windows in this district. Philip Gilbert Hamerton, who at one time resided at The Hollins close by, was of the opinion, 'after studying a great deal of architecture,' that Worsthorne Hall was one of the most harmonious and complete houses of its type that he had ever seen. (fn. 34)
The Legh and Towneley families were early owners in the township. (fn. 35) Other names which occur are Windle, (fn. 36) Blackburn, (fn. 37) Halliday, (fn. 38) Barcroft, (fn. 39) Birtwisle, (fn. 40) Woodroffe, (fn. 41) Folds, (fn. 42) Hitchon, (fn. 43) and Eastwood. (fn. 44)
HURSTWOOD gave a surname to landowners there. (fn. 45) Tattersall (fn. 46) and Ormerod families (fn. 47) had an estate there which by marriage came to Bernard son of John Towneley of Towneley. (fn. 48) It descended to two daughters, Ellen and Catherine, of whom the latter married Richard Whyte. Hurstwood Hall was devised to his nephew Richard Chamberlain, by whose representatives it was sold to William Sutcliffe. In 1803 it was purchased by Charles Towneley of Towneley, and became part of the Towneley estates. (fn. 49)
HURSTWOOD HALL is an interesting twostory gritstone building standing on the north side of a deep clough overlooking a small stream called the Thorndean Water, just before its junction with the River Brun. The house is L-shaped in plan, the longer wing with a frontage north and south to the road and garden, with mullioned windows and stoneslated roofs. The north side to the road has a wide projecting gable in which is a four-centred arched doorway with a sunk and moulded panel above on which is inscribed in raised letters 'Barnardus Townley et Agnes uxor ejus' with the date 1579. The windows in this side are small and mostly of three lights with hood moulds, but on the south there is a long range of eleven lights to both ground and first floor with rounded heads under a continuous label. The windows in the gable of the projecting west wing are of the same type, but of six lights each and there are two good external chimneys at the west end, one of which is carried on corbels from the first floor. The entrance on the south side is by a projecting porch towards the east end with a room above and small gable over, and the building has been extended eastward at some later time by the addition of a lower two-story wing. The exterior is well preserved, but internally the fine oak panelling which once covered the walls has almost entirely disappeared. The hall is now used as a farm-house and the principal entrance is by the door on the north side facing the roadway.
The Spencer or Spenser family was of long continuance in Hurstwood. (fn. 50) Upon very doubtful evidence the poet Edmund Spenser is alleged to have sprung from this family, and it is supposed that he composed his Shepherd's Calendar while staying with his relatives here. (fn. 51) The building known as Spenser's House stands north-west of the hall, and is a small house of somewhat similar type and apparently of about the same date with three plain gables without copings facing south to the road, between the two westernmost of which is a projecting porch with low-arched doorway and with a room over. The porch has a lean-to roof which is almost a continuation of that of the house, but at a flatter pitch, and was probably not the intention of the original builder. Some of the windows have been modernized, but others, including those over the porch, retain their rounded lights. Like other buildings in the village, the house is constructed of gritstone and is covered with stone slates, but its chief interest lies in its reputed connexion with the family of the poet.
At the extreme western end of the village in a fine situation is Tattersall's House, (fn. 52) another picturesque late 16th-century building with square-headed mullioned windows and semicircular arched doorway in the centre, a good type of the substantial home of the Lancashire yeoman of the period, largely constructed of massive gritstone blocks. The Tattersalls have been noticed under Briercliffe. (fn. 53)
John, Lawrence and William Halsted and Richard Jackson were the landowners contributing to the subsidy of 1524. (fn. 54) Oliver Halsted and William Hurstwood paid for lands in 1543. (fn. 55) In 1597 the following so paid: John Halsted of Rowley, John Towneley, Robert Jackson and John Halsted. (fn. 56) In 1626: John Towneley, John Halsted of Rowley, the heirs of John Halsted, John Halsted of High Halstead and Christopher Jackson. (fn. 57)
In 1666 it was recorded that sixty-four hearths were liable to the tax; the largest houses, with seven hearths each, were those of John Halsted of Rowley and Mrs. Katherine Towneley; Lawrence Whitwham's had five. (fn. 58)
In connexion with the Church of England, St. John the Evangelist's, Worsthorne, was built in 1835 and had a district assigned to it in 1843. (fn. 59) The Hulme Trustees are patrons.
The Wesleyan Methodists built a chapel here in 1837. The General Baptists had a meeting-place in 1776, but removed to Burnley. (fn. 60) There is now a Baptist chapel at Hurstwood, dating from 1876.