A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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Goldiaue, 1323–4; Goldea, 1422; Goldeshagh, 1459.
The chapelry of Newchurch in Pendle includes a large part of the old forest of Pendle. Goldshaw Booth township, which has an area of 2,034 acres, lies for the most part on the southern slope of a ridge extending from Spence Moor on the west to Newchurch on the east and rising at the former point to more than 1,500 ft. above sea level. This ridge descends rapidly on the north side to Ogden Brook (900–1,150 ft.) and more gradually on the south to about 650 ft. above sea level. In the south-eastern corner is another ridge, rising to 930 ft. The valley between the ridges, formerly known as Sabden, (fn. 1) is drained by Sabden Brook, which flows south-west to the Calder.
There are two cotton factories, one at Spen Brook near Newchurch and the other, known as Spring Mill, at Walton Row; a third, called Fence Mill, has been pulled down within the last few years. The village of Newchurch lies in the north-east corner of the township and extends into Rough Lee Booth; it is about the centre of Pendle Forest. The soil is clay, overlying clay and rock, and the land is used chiefly for pasture, there being 1,238 acres in permanent grass, with only ½ acre of arable land and no woods. (fn. 2)
Old Laund Booth was in 1898 extended to include about 200 acres of Goldshaw Booth, (fn. 3) and in 1904 the newly-formed civil parish of Sabden took a further portion of the township. The population of the original township was 422 in 1901, more than half of which had been taken away by the change of limits. The diminished township is governed by a parish council.
The accounts of the vaccaries of Pendle in 1296 give the names of eleven boothmen or keepers. The names of the stock farms or vaccaries, locally known as booths, are not recorded. In each cattle had died of the murrain; one boothman had a cow allowed to him, one having been stolen by robbers; another had lost an on through the attack of a wolf. (fn. 4) In 1305 the number of boothmen was one less. (fn. 5) There were two vaccaries in Goldshaw Booth in 1323, yielding a rent of 56s. (fn. 6) Richard and John de Whitaker were the farmers or tenants. (fn. 7) In 1418 Roger Flore, chief steward, demised the vaccaries of Over and Nether Goldshaw and Higham Booth, late at £13 1s. 8d. rent, to Sir Richard Radcliffe for ten years at £16; Richard Shireburne had the Craggs in Pendle, near Goldea, at 20s., as against the old rent of 13s. 4d. (fn. 8) The rental of 1463–4 shows that William Leyland, Richard Robinson, John Nutter and Richard Fielding paid £8 6s. 8d. for Nether Goldshaw and Over Goldshaw with the Craggs, the rent having been reduced from £9 6s. 8d. (fn. 9)
In 1507 the vaccary in Over Goldshaw and Nether Goldshaw with the Craggs was demised by copy of Court Roll for the increased rent of £13 6s. 8d. to the old farmers or tenants, viz. Robert, Edmund, Stephen and Henry Nutter, Edmund, Ellis and Thomas Robinson, William Birkby, Edmund, Lawrence and John Aspden and the wife of Roger Aspden. (fn. 10) The Nutter and Robinson families appear in the township for long afterwards, but the other families seem to have been quickly replaced by new ones. Hargreaves and Stevenson appearing. (fn. 11) The names of their tenements are rarely given, but in a 17th-century rental John Stevenson of Heights, Richard Nutter of Hall, John Robinson of Hoarstones and Mr. John Moore of Greenhead occur. (fn. 12)
The old house of Hoarstones, situated in a southerly projection of the township between the two portions of Old Laund Booth, has been to a large extent rebuilt by the present owner, Mr. W. H. Hartley.
Goldshaw is closely connected with the famous Pendle Forest witchcraft trials of 1612. Elizabeth Southerns, 'Old Demdike,' confessed that she had first met Tib, her 'familiar,' some twenty years earlier at a stone pit in Goldshaw; she and her daughter Elizabeth Device (or Devis) and Device's two children Alison and James were among the most prominent persons in the trial, as accused or as witnesses, while John Hargreaves of Goldshaw Booth was said to have been a victim. Another 'witch' of the immediate neighbourhood was Anne Whittle, 'Old Chattox,' who with her daughter Anne wife of Thomas Redferne was tried and executed for witchcraft at the same time, she being then eighty years of age. (fn. 13)
An echo of the earlier proceedings against witches occurred in 1634, and resulted in the indictment at Lancaster of seventeen inhabitants of Pendle Forest charged with witchcraft. At the examination of witnesses previous to the trial it was deposed that witches to the number of thirty or more had met on several occasions at a new house called Hoarstones. The principal accuser, a boy ten years of age named Edmund Robinson, of Newchurch in Pendle, actually described how whilst gathering bullaces a black hound and a grey one had appeared, with which he thought to have coursed a hare. They would not run, and upon his beating the black one there stood up in its place one Dickonson's wife, whom he at once charged with being a witch. Failing to bribe him to silence, she conjured a little boy, who had changed out of her companion grey hound, into a white horse, whereupon she set Robinson and carried him to Hoarstones, distant about a quarter of a mile. There he saw other witches on horseback arriving, to the number of threescore, and presently followed them to an adjoining barn, where six of them kneeling upon the floor pulled at six several ropes fastened to the roof; upon which, into the informer's sight, came smoking flesh, butter in lumps, and milk, as it were, syleing (i.e. straining through a sieve) from the ropes, which fell into basins. And so like these six did others in turn until the witness took fright and fled. He was chased by some of them to a place in the highway called Boggart Hole, where they desisted, on two horsemen being met with, but not before he had identified them. (fn. 14)
Upon this and similar evidence seven inhabitants of the forest were found guilty of witchcraft and remitted to Bishop Bridgeman of Chester for examination. He reported on 15th June 1634 that of the seven three had died in prison at Lancaster, where another lay sick beyond hope of recovery. Margaret Johnson, alias the penitent witch, a widow sixty years of age, made a formal confession, (fn. 15) 'often acknowledging that she was a witch but more often faulting in the particulars of her actions as one having a strong imagination of the former but of too weak a memory to retain or relate the other.' Mary Spencer of Burnley, aged twenty, in her confession utterly denied any knowledge of witchcraft, 'and prays God to forgive Nicholas Cunliffe, who having borne malice to her and her parents these five or six years has lately wrongfully abused them.' Her father and mother had been condemned last assizes for witches and had since died and been buried. Frances Dickonson, wife of John Dickonson, husbandman, also denied all knowledge of witchcraft. She had been wrongfully accused by the son of Edmund Robinson alias Rough, and by Edmund Stevenson of Stainscomb, who maliced her upon bargains of butter, but in the audience of John Nutter, steward of Blackburn Hundred, John Hargreaves of Higham, and John Radcliffe of the Heyhouses in Pendle confessed that he knew nothing of her but well. (fn. 16)
A month later the boy Edmund Robinson, being examined by a Middlesex justice by command of Chief Secretary Windebank, admitted his evidence before the judges at Lancaster, but confessed that all that tale was false and feigned, being framed out of his own invention from tales and reports about a witches' feast kept at Malkin Tower in Pendle Forest about twenty years before; he wished to cover his own delinquencies in neglecting to bring home his father's kine through staying to play with other children. Having once invented the tale he persisted in it until he came to the king's coachman at Richmond, to whom he declared the truth. He had been with his father at Hoarstones at the time he was building it for Thomas Robinson to dwell in. (fn. 17)
On 29 June the Council directed his Majesty's surgeons to make choice of midwives to inspect and search the bodies of the women sent up by the sheriff of Lancaster as indicted for witchcraft. They were then staying at the Ship Tavern at Greenwich. The king's surgeons with five others and ten midwives returned their certificates on 2 July from Surgeons' Hall, Mugwell Street, London; they stated that they had inspected the bodies of Jenet Hargreaves, Frances Dickonson and Mary Spencer, and had found nothing unnatural nor anything like a teat or mark; there was nothing on the body of Margaret Johnson inconsistent with a well-known disease. (fn. 18) Bishop Bridgeman measures the truth of these charges in the following words: 'Conceit and malice are so powerful with many in those parts that they will easily afford an oath to work revenge upon their neighbour.' (fn. 19)
Turbary in Red Moss and a parcel of land in Goldshaw, probably part of the Bull Hole estate, were surrendered by Edmund Stevenson in 1562 for a term of twenty-nine years to Christopher Whittilles, (fn. 20) supposed to be a connexion of the above-named Anne Whittle alias Chattox. John Nutter of the Bull Hole occurs several times in the witch trials. Another John Nutter, of this district, became Dean of Chester and has been noticed as rector of Sefton and of Aughton. He died in 1602. Richard Nutter of the Hall in Sabden was in 1671 the surviving trustee of Christopher Bulcock of Barley. (fn. 21)
Stainscomb, standing in a picturesque ravine between two spurs of the Craggs, was formerly the habitation of one of the Stevenson families and was sold by Nicholas Stevenson of Admergill early in the 18th century to John Haydock of Heysandforth, by whom it was in 1732 conveyed to James Matthews, curate of Burnley, and his successors as an augmentation for the curacy. The purchase money, £400, was derived half from Queen Anne's Bounty and half from the benefaction of the Rev. Edmund Townley of Royle. Several parcels of the estate were named doles, such as Stainscomb Dole. Right of common upon Whinberry Clough was included in the surrender. (fn. 22)
In 1516 an inquiry was made as to the division between Goldshaw Booth and Pendleton, when it was decided that the tenants of the former should have all the land and turbary within bounds beginning at Goldshaw Booth and proceeding by the ditch beginning at Heyhouses at the foot of Stirkclough, along the west side of Calf Hill to Abbotsgate; by metes and signs then fixed to Wimberclough Brook. (fn. 23)
Pendle Forest, by the county lay of 1626, contributed £7 1s. 7½d. when £100 had to be raised from Blackburn Hundred. (fn. 24)
The Forest is subordinate to the manor of Ightenhill and the courts are held at Higham. (fn. 25)
In Pendle in 1524 three persons contributed to the subsidy in respect of their lands: Henry Banister, Simon Blakey and William Barcroft; they lived in Barrowford or Reedley Hallows. (fn. 26) In 1564 the following so contributed: Henry Banister and Nicholas Hancock. (fn. 27) In 1597 Henry Banister, William Anderton, William Barcroft, Edmund Robinson, Hugh Moore. (fn. 28) In 1626 Charles Banister, Isabel Anderton, Thomas Barcroft, Edmund Robinson, Nicholas Duxbury, and John Nutter; Hugh and Elizabeth Anderton, Mary Ruskin and many others paid as non-communicants. (fn. 29)
In 1666 there were 502 hearths in Pendle liable to the tax, but there were few large houses in the Newchurch portion, that of John Hartley of Rough Lee with six hearths being the largest. There were three houses of four each in Goldshaw Booth; the remainder had three or less. (fn. 30)
The church of ST. MARY THE VIRGIN stands on the hillside, the ground of the churchyard, which is almost wholly on the south side of the building, falling rapidly from north to south. Of the original chapel nothing remains except it be that the tower incorporates part of the 16th-century structure. The building consists of nave with north aisle, south porch and west tower, and is built of local gritstone. With the exception of the tower the church was rebuilt in 1740, (fn. 31) and in plan is a plain rectangle 60 ft. long by 30 ft. wide internally, divided into nave, 19 ft. wide, and north aisle, 10 ft. wide, by an arcade of six semicircular arches. Externally the building is very plain, the south side having four tall elliptical-headed windows with moulded architraves and plain keystones. The east window is of three lights divided by plain mullions, the lesser side lights having square and the middle light a semicircular moulded head and plain keystone. The aisle has a double tier of smaller and plainer windows and internally contains a gallery its full width. There is also a gallery at the west end containing the organ. The nave and aisle are under separate gabled roofs. The walls are constructed of square-tooled stones in courses with square projecting quoins, but the porch, which is 7 ft. 6 in. square inside, is faced with rusticated sandstone blocks and has an outer semicircular arch and pediment. There was formerly a second door in the south side near the east end, but this is now blocked up. On the north side there appears to have been originally a door high up in the wall leading to the gallery, the level of the churchyard allowing this without steps. The building underwent a thorough restoration in 1902 when the roof was renewed and blue slates substituted for the original stone slabs; the pitch at the same time was slightly altered. The modern chancel arrangement extends 15 ft. from the east end, but the original sanctuary appears to have occupied only 7 ft., that length of blank wall inclosing it on the north side below the gallery with a narrower arch in the arcade above, the east end of the aisle forming a small vestry. The arcade is a lofty one with pillars 10 ft. high with Tuscan caps, and the arches, which are 9 ft. 6 in. wide, rising 4 ft. 9 in. above this. The gallery front dates from about 1812. The roof is a modern one of open timber in six bays.
The west tower is 9 ft. by 7 ft. 6 in. inside, the greater length being from west to east, and is of very plain character with square-headed two-light belfry windows and embattled parapet. Like the later nave it is built of gritstone, with large quoins, on one of which at the south-west angle facing south are the date 1653 and the initials I.D. Another quoin at the north-west angle facing west has the date 1712 and some initials difficult to decipher. (fn. 32) These dates may have reference to rebuildings of the tower in these years. Except for a string course rather low down and a plain two-light west window, the walls are quite plain, (fn. 33) and the tower is now open its full height internally to the floor of the belfry. There is no vice and no external door. (fn. 34) The door from the old ringing chamber floor to the gallery is now built up.
There is a good brass chandelier dated 1756 inscribed with the names of the churchwardens of that year, and the royal arms of George II are on the south wall. The fittings are modern and mostly date from 1902. There is a detached stone sundial on the roof at the south-west angle of the nave dated 1718 and with the initials H. P., C. B., I. B. and I. V.
There is one bell by T. Mears, London, 1830.
The silver communion plate consists of a chalice and cover paten of 1633; the chalice, which is 5 in. high, is inscribed 'John 6, vers. 53. Then Jesus sayd unto them Veryly Veryly I say unto you Except you eat the flesh of the sonne of man and drinck his blood ye haue no life in you. Anno Dom. 1633. The Church Wardens of the new church in penell forest are John Robinson of the old land and John Steuenson of Gouldsha booth Robert Bulcok of Whithough Iohn hartle of the ruff lea'; a chalice of 1643 made at York, with the maker's mark R. C.; and a paten and flagon of 1882. There are also a small silver paten which fits the York chalice and appears to belong to it, but it has no marks, and a large pewter plate with the maker's name William Cowell.
The registers begin in 1574, but the earlier entries are copies on paper obtained from Chester by Archdeacon Rushton (incumbent 1825–48).
When this part of the county was disforested and granted out to copyholders early in the 16th century chapels were built for the dwellers in Pendle and Rossendale; and as the forests had been technically in the parish of St. Michael's in the castle of Clitheroe the new chapels remained in the same, as chapels of ease. St. Mary's, (fn. 35) giving a name to NEW CHURCH in Pendle, was built in Goldshaw Booth, in a central position, before 1529. (fn. 36) One of the first curates, named William Seller, (fn. 37) was unsatisfactory, and in 1535 it was reported that he did not attend to hear confessions. (fn. 38) In the following year he was suspended, (fn. 39) and in 1537 Thomas Hird was chaplain. (fn. 40) In 1544 the Bishop of Chester gave sentence of consecration, apportioning the oblations, &c., to the service of the curate and forbidding the chaplain of the castle to officiate there. (fn. 41) In 1551 an agreement was made for the maintenance of a priest at the new church in Pendle. (fn. 42) Little is known of its history, and it is probable that the curates frequently changed. (fn. 43) About 1610, however, it was reported to be 'well affected,' one Mr. Nutter being the minister. (fn. 44) Nothing is said as to his maintenance, and there appears to have been no endowment, for in 1650 the minister, Edward Lappage, 'an able divine,' had no maintenance but £39 a year from the committee of the county. (fn. 45) The allowance would cease at the Restoration, (fn. 46) and in 1717 the certified income was only £1 12s., but there were subscriptions of about £13. (fn. 47) In 1722 (Sir) Nathaniel Curzon gave £200 for an endowment, and the patronage was assigned to him (fn. 48); after descending in his family for about a century it was sold, and the Hulme Trustees now present to the vicarage. (fn. 49) The net income is given as £247. (fn. 50)
The following have been incumbents (fn. 51) :—
|Ellis (fn. 52)|
|1721||John Anderton (fn. 53)|
|1804||William Barton, B.A. (fn. 54)|
|1825||John Rushton (fn. 55)|
|1848||Thomas Morton Gosling, M.A. (Brasenose Coll., Oxf.)|
|1865||Nicholas Medland Germon, M.A. (Brasenose Coll., Oxf.)|
|1870||James Holt Horrox, M.A. (Brasenose Coll., Oxf.)|
|1905||Stephen Peachey Duval, M.A. (Brasenose Coll., Oxf.)|
|1908||George Charles Fletcher, M.A. (Brasenose Coll., Oxf.)|
In 1681 a conventicle was reported at the house of George Hargreaves in 'Pendle,' and fines of 5s. on each of those present were imposed. (fn. 56)
The Wesleyan Methodists have a chapel at Harpers, built in 1824.
At an official inquiry in 1899 it was stated that there were no endowments for the poor, though there were small sums available for schools, £16 9s. 8d. yearly in all. The report was issued in 1900.