Townships: Higham with West Close Booth

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

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'Townships: Higham with West Close Booth', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6, (London, 1911), pp. 512-513. British History Online [accessed 16 June 2024].

. "Townships: Higham with West Close Booth", in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6, (London, 1911) 512-513. British History Online, accessed June 16, 2024,

. "Townships: Higham with West Close Booth", A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6, (London, 1911). 512-513. British History Online. Web. 16 June 2024,

In this section


Hegham, 1296. Westecloos, 1323.

This township is mainly upon the southern slope of the long ridge already mentioned as extending west from Pendle Hill, and is bounded on the south by the Calder; but it extends over the northern slope also, including part of the course of Sabden Brook. The ridge attains within the township a height of 828 ft. above sea level. The village of Higham lies on the southern slope at a height of over 600 ft. above the sea; West Close is a little lower down, and at the foot of the hill near the Calder is Pendle Hall, with Hunterholme to the west of it. On Sabden Brook stand houses called Dean and Lower Dean. The area of the township is 1,584 acres (fn. 1); there is a small detached portion to the east. In 1901 there was a population of 591, to which should be added 30 in the detached portion.

The principal road leads eastward through Higham village, from Padiham to Fence and Barrowford. There is a minor road along the west of the ridge.

The soil is clay, with rocky subsoil; the land is mostly in grass. There are cotton-mills and shuttle works.

The detached part of the township was added to Old Laund Booth in 1898, (fn. 2) and another part was included in the new township of Sabden in 1904.

There is a parish council.


Though not properly speaking a manor, HIGHAM was often described as one, because the halmote courts are held there. (fn. 3) Lying within the forest of Pendle there is little to be said of its history. (fn. 4) At the disforesting in 1507 it contained three of the royal or ducal vaccaries, viz. West Close and Hunterholme, Higham Booth, (fn. 5) and Higham Close, formerly called Nether Higham. (fn. 6)

In West Close, an ancient inclosure from the forest, a family named Cronkshaw or Cranshaw were long established, (fn. 7) and in 1600 Leonard Cronkshaw was returned as a freeholder. (fn. 8) Another estate was known as Pendle Hall; it passed by marriage from the Hancock family (fn. 9) to the Andertons of Euxton. (fn. 10) It is now part of the Huntroyde estate. Fence is partly in this township and partly in Old Laund. (fn. 11) White Lee was formerly owned by a family named Moore. (fn. 12) Sir Jonas Moore, distinguished as an engineer and mathematician, was born there in 1618. He died in 1679, having taken part in the draining of the Fens in 1651 and served as Surveyor of Ordnance to Charles II. (fn. 13) The land in the township is now in the hands of a large number of holders.

For the Church of England a chapel of ease to Padiham was erected in 1874; it is called St. John the Evangelist's.

The Wesleyan Methodists (fn. 14) have a chapel, erected in 1812 and enlarged later. It was replaced by the present chapel in 1872.

'Hachiller or Ashlar House, an ancient dwelling with the date 1594 over the door . . . is traditionally said to have been originally erected as a Catholic chapel and a dwelling-house for the officiating priest.' (fn. 15) The old name was the New House within the Forest of Pendle, or else the Fence. (fn. 16) This was purchased by Mr. Starkie of Huntroyde in 1857. (fn. 17)


  • 1. The Census Rep. 1901 gives 1,539 acres, including 9 of inland water.
  • 2. Loc. Govt. Bd. Order 37367.
  • 3. So in 1670 and 1686; Whitaker, Whalley, i, 292; ii, 276. It took the place of Ightenhill in 1525. Lands described as in 'Higham Manor' may be anywhere within the forest of Pendle; e.g. Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), i, 299.
  • 4. In the accounts of 1296 appear sums of 18s. 10½d. for repairing the ditches and heys around Higham and in the park (of Ightenhill), and 9s. 3d. for a cowkeeper; De Lacy Compoti (Chet. Soc.), 18, 39. The stock at Higham in Pendle in 1323 was one bull, twenty-four cows, one heifer, fourteen twinters and seven calves; Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 198. The herbage of West Close and Higham, then one vaccary, was farmed for 40s.; ibid. 200. An account for 1341–2 is printed in Whitaker, Whalley, i, 310. In 1463 and 1466 William Leyland had grants of the herbage and pasture of Higham Close at £4 13s. 4d. rent, Higham £6 13s. 4d. and West Close £5 13s. 4d.; ibid. i, 298. In 1472 Hugh Gartside had a like grant; ibid. 299.
  • 5. Or Over Higham.
  • 6. Ibid. 297.
  • 7. John Cronkshaw had West Close before 1463; ibid. 298. In 1507 the pasture called West Close and the land of Hunterholme were demised to Lawrence, John and Thomas Cronkshaw and Robert Croke, the late tenants, at £8 a year; Huntroyde D. Twenty years later the only change was that Thomas had been succeeded by John Cronkshaw the younger; Duchy of Lanc. Rentals, bdle. 5, no. 12. Lawrence Cronkshaw by his guardian complained in 1546 that Thomas Ryley and others were detaining title deeds, and in 1548 was himself the plaintiff; Ducatus Lanc. i, 179, 223. About the same time John and Robert Cronkshaw were plaintiffs respecting a tenement in West Close, Higham Parrock and Old Parrock; ibid. 264. John Cronkshaw and Ellen Rishton claimed lands in West Close, Hunterholme, Fence and other places under a marriage settlement; ibid. iii, 237. John Croke in 1545 and his son Richard in 1554 claimed a messuage called West Close against Hugh Halstead and others; ibid. i, 194; ii, 180. The jurors in the Whalley courts give the names of the principal inhabitants of Over and Nether Higham and West Close from 1513 to 1537; Act Bk. of Whalley (Chet. Soc.), 15, &c. They include Hargreaves at Over Higham, Boothman at Lower Higham and Hanson at Hunterholme.
  • 8. Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 236. It was probably the same Leonard who claimed lands in West Close and Hunterholme in 1563; Ducatus Lanc. ii, 260. Hunterholme was held by Richard Shuttleworth in 1609 (and 1662); Grimshaw MS.; 'Honor of Clitheroe' MS. 244.
  • 9. The Commissioners of 1507 demised the vaccary called Higham Close or Nether Higham, which Richard Hancock had held for £4 13s. 4d. rent, to his widow at £6. She held the same in 1527; Duchy of Lanc. Rentals, bdle. 5, no. 12. Nicholas Hancock was living in 1535; Whalley Act Bk. 183. In 1564 he was described as 'of Lower Higham, gent.'; Farrer, Clitheroe Ct. R. 458. He and Isabel his wife are named in 1567; Huntroyde D. See also Duchy Plead. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), iii, 80. William son of Nicholas Hancock died in 1586 holding messuages, &c., in Downham and South Kirkby (Yorks.). He married Ellen daughter of Simon Haydock at Burnley in 1570, and after his death she lived at Lower Higham. The heir was a daughter Isabel, aged seven; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xiv, no. 57.
  • 10. Isabel Hancock the heiress married (1592) Richard Assheton of Downham (d. 1596), by whom she had no issue, and then William Anderton of Euxton (d. 1618), by whom she had a son Hugh; Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccclxvii, 4. She was a convicted recusant, and accordingly under the Commonwealth two-thirds of her estate were sequestered. She died in May 1652. The Pendle Hall estate, lying in Lower Higham and Furtherley, had been granted to trustees in 1649 to raise £500 for grandchildren. It was copyhold of the manor of Ightenhill; Royalist Comp. Papers (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 67–72, 58. The estate was in 1664 sold by Hugh Anderton of Euxton to Piers Starkie of Kempnough, a son of Colonel Starkie of Huntroyde, and on his death in 1689 appears to have descended (probably by will) to Piers' great-nephew John Starkie of Huntroyde, who was the owner in 1695; Huntroyde D.
  • 11. Whitaker, op. cit. i, 266, 305. In 1507 Higham Booth was demised in moieties to Sir John Booth and to Hugh and Edmund Standen, each half paying £5 rent. By 1527 it had been divided among eight persons, surnamed Moore (3), Hargreaves (4), and Hugh Parker, paying £16 in all. In 1609 the tenants were John Moore of Height (and Dean), Hugh Moore and Henry Parker of White Lee, Richard Grimshaw of Fence, Nicholas Hargreaves, and eight others. In 1662 there were twenty-one tenants, the chief being John Moore of Fence, Thomas Croysdale, Lawrence Duxbury and John Moore of White Lee. Nicholas and Hugh Moore claimed land in Hollinbacks and Fence against John Hartley and Isabel his wife in 1563; Ducatus Lanc. ii, 268. The estate of Richard Thornton of Fence was in 1650 sequestered by the Commonwealth authorities for delinquency 'on a false suggestion that he assisted the enemy in the late invasion under the Duke of Hamilton.' The estate was afterwards declared forfeit and sold; Cal. Com. for Comp. iv, 2667; Index of Royalists (Index Soc.), 44.
  • 12. John Moore of Over Higham was a juror in 1514; Act Bk. of Whalley, 22. Hugh Moore the same in 1524; ibid. 90. John Moore of Fence and Hugh Moore of Dean were freeholders in 1600; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 236.
  • 13. There is a long notice in Whitaker, op. cit. ii, 528–35; also Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • 14. Methodism was introduced into Higham as early as 1749 under the influence of William Grimshaw of Haworth, but there are practically no records till 1794, when there was 'a small society' there.
  • 15. Mannex, Directory, 1854. The house is in the north-east corner of the township.
  • 16. Whitaker, op. cit. ii, 276. It had been owned by Grimshaw, Walmesley of Coldcoats and (1762) Smith.
  • 17. Information of Mr. Howsin.