Townships: Bleasdale

A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 7. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.

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'Townships: Bleasdale', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 7, (London, 1912), pp. 141-142. British History Online [accessed 20 June 2024].

. "Townships: Bleasdale", in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 7, (London, 1912) 141-142. British History Online, accessed June 20, 2024,

. "Townships: Bleasdale", A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 7, (London, 1912). 141-142. British History Online. Web. 20 June 2024,

In this section


Blesedale, 1228.

Although now in the parish of Lancaster, owing to its inclusion in the forest, Bleasdale has remained in the hundred of Amounderness, and was probably once within Garstang. It occupies a hilly country, divided into three main parts by the Rivers Calder and Brock, which rise near the Yorkshire border and flow south-west through it. The northern part lies on the slopes of Grizedale and Stake House Fells, the height on the border of Wyresdale ranging from 900 ft. to 1,520 ft. above sea level. The central portion, between the rivers, is occupied by Bleasdale Moors on Oakendough and Hazelhurst Fells; most of this is over 1,000 ft. level, 1,505 ft. being the highest point. Bleasdale Tower lies on the north side of the Brock. The part of the township south of this stream is in the main lower, but on the eastern boundary the ground rises very steeply, the flattopped Parlick at the south end of the ridge attaining 1,416 ft. above sea level, while Fairsnape Fell to the north attains 1,700 ft. on the boundary of Yorkshire. In this part Admarsh Chapel is situated. The stream which bounds the township on the south is also called the Brock. There are 7,298½ acres (fn. 1) in the township, and the population in 1901 was 403. (fn. 2)

There are few roads; one leads from the western boundary to Bleasdale Tower, while another leads circuitously to Admarsh, Lower Fairsnape and Blindhurst.

Some prehistoric remains have been found. (fn. 3)

The township is governed by a parish council.

The North Lancashire Reformatory School was built by subscription in 1857 for the training of boys in farm work. The boys are now taught various trades and work in the mills.

In 1314 there was an iron mine. (fn. 4) The land is now chiefly in pasture, (fn. 5) the soil being a peaty moss, with clay subsoil. Butter and cheese are made. At Oakenclough are paper-mills and a fish hatchery. The water of the streams is impounded by the Fylde Water Board, affording the chief supply for the western part of the hundred.

Cuthbert Anthony Parkinson of Blindhurst, 1666– 1728, was a Franciscan historian and missionary. (fn. 6)


The district of BLEASDALE was included in the forest of Lancaster before the time of Henry II, and was therefore excepted from the charter of the forest of 1217. The boundary as defined in the perambulation of 1228 included the greater part of the present township, the Calder, instead of Grizedale Fells, being the northern boundary. (fn. 7) The value to the earl in 1297 was only 2½ marks a year. (fn. 8)

Bleasdale scarcely ever occurs in the records. (fn. 9) The most important family of later times was that of Parkinson of Fairsnape, (fn. 10) a pedigree being recorded in 1613. (fn. 11) Hazelhurst (fn. 12) and Oakenclough (fn. 13) were other vaccaries. (fn. 14) The messuage called Brooks was in 1720 sold by Richard Blackburne and Elizabeth his wife to Robert Lawson of Lancaster. (fn. 15)

William Garnett of Lark Hill, Salford, acquired a lease of the manor or forest from the Crown and greatly improved the district, converting wild lands into meadow and pasture. He built Bleasdale Tower, and was high sheriff of the county in 1843. At his death in 1863 he was succeeded by his son William James, who continued the work of improvement, and, dying in 1873, was followed by his eldest son, Mr. William Garnett of Quernmore, who served as high sheriff in 1879. (fn. 16)

Parkinson of Fairsnape. Gules on a cheveron between three ostrich feathers argent as many mullets sable.

More than half the area of the moorlands remains uninclosed. The pasture rights have been purchased from the duchy by the landowners.


The chapel at Admarsh existed in the time of Elizabeth, (fn. 17) but is of unknown origin and invocation. In 1610 it was described as' a chapel, without service, in the king's chase,' and the stipend was said to be detained by Robert Parkinson, commissary of Richmond. (fn. 18) In 1650 it had 'neither minister nor maintenance,' and the people were declared to be ignorant and careless, knowing nothing of the worship of God, but living in ignorance and superstition. (fn. 19) Nothing seems to have been done at that time, but in 1689 Richard White of Chipping had the Bishop of Chester's licence to preach in Admarsh Chapel, (fn. 20) and in 1702 Christopher Parkinson of Hazelhurst gave £5 10s. a year for the wages of a minister. (fn. 21) In 1717 there was 'service every first Sunday in the month and no other.' (fn. 22) Afterwards an augmentation was obtained, and from 1749 there seems always to have been a curate in charge. The church was rebuilt in 1835, and called St. Eadmor's (fn. 23); it was restored and enlarged in 1897. The vicar of Lancaster is patron. The following have been curates and vicars (fn. 24) :—

1749 John Penny
1764 John Braithwaite
1767 Thomas Smith (fn. 25)
1778 Joseph Stuart
1825 James Bleasdale
1828 Osborn Littledale
1833 William Fenton
1837 James Robinson
1846 Henry Short (fn. 26)
1851 David Bell, M.D. (Glas.) (fn. 27)
1855 William Shilleto, B.A. (fn. 28) (Univ. Coll., Oxf.)
1864 Robert Charles Colquhoun Barclay, B.A. (T.C.D.)
1891 John Frederick Heighway Parker (fn. 29)

The above-named Christopher Parkinson also bequeathed money to pay a schoolmaster £10 a year. (fn. 30)

The once-existing charities have failed; they amounted to less than £4 a year. (fn. 31)


  • 1. Including 10 acres of inland water.
  • 2. Including 124 in the Reformatory School.
  • 3. V.C.H. Lancs. i, 243; Lancs. and Ches. Antiq. Soc. xvii, 255; xviii, 114.
  • 4. Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 28.
  • 5. There are only 8 acres of arable Land to 3,213 of permanent grass; woods and plantations occupy 319 acres.
  • 6. Gillow, Bibl. Diet, of Engl. Cath. v, 243. He joined the Franciscans at Douay and was sent to the English mission in 1695. He published his Collectanea Anglo-Minoritica in 1726.
  • 7. Farrer, Lancs. Pipe R. 421. The bounds are thus given: From the source of Calder south to Ulvesty, thence to the summit of Parlick, down Mereclough to the Brock, down die Brock to Wensnape, thence up to Stogesthol and to Senesty, thence going down to the Calder and up this stream to its source. See also Cal. Pat. 1338–40, p. 427. A commission to define the bounds of the forest of Bleasdale was issued in the time of James 15 Lancs. and Ches. Rec. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 279.
  • 8. Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 290. The vaccaries of Blindhurst, Hazelhead, Fairsnape and 'between the Brooks (Brocks)' existed in 1323; ibid, ii, 128. The pasture between Calder and Grizedale was also accounted for; ibid. 178.
  • 9. In the time of Henry VII the tenants of the Chase complained of distraints made by Sir John Booth, the king's receiver, on their cattle in the pasture lands in Bleasdale; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), i, 112. A mill site was granted in 1609 at Admarsh; Pat. 7 Jas. I, pt. xi. By the county lay of 1624 Bleasdale was required to pay 14s. 11½d. to each £100 contributed by the hundred; Gregson, Fragments (ed. Harland), 23.
  • 10. Anthony Richardson, the queen's lessee, had a dispute with Ralph Parkinson in 1572 respecting Admarsh, Fairsnape and the Fells, and the matter occurs later; Ducatus Lanc. ii, 399; iii, 47, 275.
  • 11. Visit. (Chet. Soc), 134; the succession is given as Ralph -s. Ralph -s. Ralph -s. Robert (living 1613). Robert Parkinson in 1602 and George in 1642 were burgesses of the Guild; Preston Guild R. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 57, 116. George Parkinson sold or mortgaged Fairsnape and Blindhurst, water-mill, &c., to Edward Hodgkinson in 1649; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 146, m. 103. A dispute occurred in 1659 between the widows of George and Robert Parkinson; Exch. Dep. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 34. One moiety of Fairsnape and Blindhurst passed by marriage to the Cliftons of Lytham and thence by sale to William Garnett of Salford. The other moiety remained in the Parkinson family till the 18th century, when there was a further partition between William Sharp of Lancaster (as husband of the granddaughter and heir of Henry Parkinson) and Richard Parkinson (brother of Henry). This Richard was grandfather of Canon Parkinson of Manchester. See his Old Church Clock (ed. 1880), pp. xii, lxxv-lxxvii. John Clifton of Fairsnape and Thomas his son were burgesses of the guild of 1662; Preston Guild R. 142. See the account of Clifton in Kirkham.
  • 12. This also was held by Parkinsons; Ducatus Lanc, iii, 275. So also was Stake House; ibid, ii, 42.
  • 13. Ibid, iii, 294, 363.
  • 14. In 1622 the vaccaries appear to have been Falsnape (Fairsnape), Blindhurst, Hazelhurst, Brooks, Calder and Oakenclough, with land called Scoring Moss; Pat. 20 Jas. I, pt. iii. In 1670 John Sturzaker paid £2 a year rent for Oakenclough, Peter Blackburne £2 11s. for Brooks, Richard Parkinson £2 11s. 8d. for Falsnape and John Fanshaw £2 for Calder; ibid. 22 Chas. II, pt. ii, no. 1.
  • 15. Piccope MSS. (Chet. Lib.), iii, 206, from 2nd-3rd R. of Geo. I. at Preston.
  • 16. Baines, Lancs. (ed. 1870), ii, 540; Burke, Landed Gentry.
  • 17. Raines in Gastrell's Notitia Cestr. (Chet Soc), ii, 438.
  • 18. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 8.
  • 19. Commonw. Ch. Surv. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 126.
  • 20. Stratford's Visitation List, 1691, at Chester.
  • 21. Gastrell, Notitia, ii, 437–8; Parkinson gave a rent-charge of £4. a year for a 'preaching minister who should officiate monthly.'
  • 22. Ibid.
  • 23. The name Admarsh was perhaps thought to be connected with Eadmer, the friend of St. Anselm and historian of his time.
  • 24. Ch. Papers at Chester Dioc. Reg.
  • 25. Richard Parkinson, named in a former note, 'who had twelve children, engaged the Rev. Mr. Smith to become a permanent resident in his house and teach his children and officiate in the chapel, giving him for his labours board and lodging and £12 a year'; Old Church Clock, p. xiv.
  • 26. Afterwards rector of Stockton Forest, Yorks.
  • 27. Afterwards vicar of Goole.
  • 28. Afterwards vicar of Goosnargh.
  • 29. Mr. Parker has assisted in the compilation of this list.
  • 30. End. Char. Rep. for Lancaster, 1903. Formerly the curate of the chapel was often the schoolmaster also.
  • 31. Ibid. Richard Blackburn in 1743 gave £50 for the poor. The capital passed to John Lawson and A. R. Ford, and in 1826 the interest, £2 10s., was still paid. Nothing is now known of it. Thomas Parkinson in 1728 left £10 to the poor; interest of 9s. a year was paid by Henry Parkinson down to 1794, when his heirs were two daughters married to John Garner of Crookhall in Cockerham and to William Taylor of Borwick; a moiety of the interest was paid by William son of John Garner down to his death in 1817, when the entire legacy failed. A dole of £1 3s. 9½d. was in 1826 received from Brabin's charity, of which an account is given under Chipping. It is now applied to the school there.