A member of The Federation of Family History Societies
St James' Church, Haslingden
St John's Church, Bacup
St Mary's, Church Rawtenstall


Rossendale Branch Newsletter December 2006

Programme: 2006 - 2007

Wednesday 6th December

The Branch Committee wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.

We hope you enjoy tonight’s Buffet & Quiz organised by "Mac & Flo" who have travelled all the way from Ramsbottom to host this quiz!

If you haven’t bought a ticket, there are still a few places available at £2.50 per head.

Wednesday January 3rd 2007

A Letter for Alice - Mary Davison

Postponed from October 2006.

Wednesday 7th February

Research & Enquiries Evening

Please note

that the Haslingden Roots & Rossendale Branch Family History Research Evenings held at Haslingden Library on Tuesdays evenings, have been suspended until January 9th, 6.30 - 8.30. For more information email rossendale@lfhhs.org.uk

Rossendale Ancestry

If you are a member and have Rossendale ancestors, please let me have your story for this section of the newsletter.

I have been compiling the newsletter since 1998, I feel that we have built up an excellent archive of Rossendale history and Rossendale family stories but I do need your input.

It does pay to advertise although it may take some time to make a link with a relative. In January 2004, I related the story of my great-grandfather, Jesse Wakefield, his three wives and his many children. A few months ago, I was surprised to receive an email from a ‘cousin’ living in Glasgow. I was able to take her back to 1709, she was able to give me photographs, stories and family letters.

If you have made a successful contact through this column, please let me know.

Rossendale Strays

submitted by Brenda Kershaw

From the 1851 census - Leeds, Yorkshire

Lord, John aged 71 - Bacup. Ref. HO107-2321/441
Maden, Enoc aged 36 - Bacup HO107-2321/782
Maden, John age 38 - Bacup HO107-2320/358
William, Ann -27 Newchurch HO107-2320/51

Rossendale Miscellany

News, Notes and Queries

Henheads I was recently asked if I had a list of Jurors for the Township of Henheads. Henheads is a curious strip of land situated to the west of Higher Booths and bordered on the east and north by three detached portions of Lower Booths. These were receptively, Rising Bridge, Stonefold and Withins. The whole area is about a mile and a half in length. Historically Henheads was common pasture land for the tenants of the Rossendale Forest. In 1801 it had a population of 122 and in 1851 a population of 160. Most of this was made up of people living at the southern end - at Sherfin, Sherfin Nook and Sherfin Side (57) and an overflow from Rising Bridge (45), the rest were mainly farmers and labourers.

Jurors’ List for Henheads 1800 & 1810

Ashworth, John 41 Newchurch Yeoman. 1800
Ashworth, Thomas 50 Duxburys Banksman 1810
Riley, James 44 Stonefold Banksman 1810
Taylor, John 64 Sherfin Banksman 1810
Worsley, James 42 Rising Bridge Tradesman 1810
Worsley, James 64 Rising Bridge Banksman 1810

You will see that in 1800 there was only one juror with property qualifications in Henheads and he was living in Newchurch.

Memories of Mill Workers

As those "dark satanic mills" disappear into history Lancashire Museum Service aims to create a local community exhibition and collect and preserve valuable memories. They would like to talk to anyone with memories of the Textile Industry in Rossendale (and elsewhere in East Lancashire). They would like to hear personal experiences of life in the mills. If you have any photographs of millworkers, or of the mills themselves, if you know anyone who might be willing to share their story, you are asked to ring Rebecca or Gil on 01706 226459.

Newchurch in Rossendale - Registers

Way back in 1953, Milton Ormerod finished transcribing the Newchurch registers, from 1723 - 1813 and deposited his work with the Lancashire Parish Register Society, for future publication. The registers prior to 1723 (volume 45) had already been published in 1912.

Milton’s transcripts have now been picked up by Craig Thornber, who is proposing to check them against the originals (held at Manchester) and against the Bishop’s Transcripts (held in Preston), providing he gets permission from the Vicar and the Parochial Council, they will be eventually be published by the LPRS.

I will keep you updated on Craig’s work. He is coming to see us in March when he will be giving us a talk on another of his interests, Disease and Medicine in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The Honor of Clitheroe

By coincidence, I recently had nn enquiry for another piece of work undertaken by Dr. Milton Ormerod, published in the November 1990 edition of "Lancashire". I can not reprint the entire article but some of the Rossendale information may be of interest.

Milton states "The Honor of Clitheroe was a group of manors and forests administered by Clitheroe castle. It consisted of the manors of Chatburn, Worsthorn, Pendleton, Colne, Ightenhill and Accrington with the Forests of Bowland, Trawden, Pendle and Rossendale.... until 1507 the forests were managed under forest laws for the preservation of deer and only thinly inhabited, except that the de Lacy’s had used the Forest of Rossendale and possibly other forest areas for fattening cattle. Rough shelters called "booths" were erected for those who managed the cattle- hence the use of the word booth in the descriptions of divisions of the forest, which later became areas of settlement.


In 1507, Henry VII threw the forests open to anyone who cared to enclose land, on which they could pay the then going rate of 4d per customary acre (roughly twice the size of a statutory acre) in yearly rent. People, often the younger sons of local yeoman families flocked to take up this opportunity and over the succeeding centuries their heirs and others expanded their ownings, until they reached the most inhospitable edges of the moors. A petition to the Crown about the chapel at Newchurch in Rossendale told how those who had come to Rossendale in 1507, to seize the chance of acquiring land, had lived in tents until they could afford to build houses


I have found that the most abundant surnames appear in the rentals of 1507 and 1527 for Rossendale. The only exception to this is the most abundant name of all in Rossendale, Ashworth..

These are the surnames of families resident in the Rossendale Forest from the Rent Rolls of 1527:

Nuttall, Ramsbottom, Crawshaw, Pickup, Shepherd, Heap, Ormerod, Priestley, Schofield, Ingham, Haworth, Hey(s), Lord, Whitaker, Bridge, Tattersall, Holt, Whitworth, Durden (Dearden), Law, Pilling, Kirshaw (Kershaw), Duckworth, Taylor, Cronshaw (Crankshaw), Hargreaves, Birtwistle, Shaw, Ashworth, Ratcliffe, Grimshaw, Fenton, Rothwell, Rushton, Kenyon.

I have also calculated that the most abundant surnames in the first volume of the registers of Newchurch in Rossendale (1539 - 1662) shows tenants of the same surnames in the same divisions of the manor or forest.


The area of the Rossendale Valley south of the Irwell from Bacup to Waterfoot was not part of the Honor of Clitheroe but part of the Manor of Rochdale known as Brandwood. The earliest rental for this area (1538) was published in the "Survey of the Manor of Rochdale" (Chetham Society. New Series (1913), edited by Henry Fishwick. In it there are no less than eight separate tenants named Ashworth. For all practical purposes they were part of the Forest of Rossendale. W. Hardman in a pamphlet entitled "History of the Village of Cowpe" speculated that the Ashworths were first brought to Brandwood by the monks of Whalley Abbey, at some unspecified time before the dissolution of the monasteries. He probably based his supposition on the fact that the Abbey was the land owner of both Brandwood and the area which included Ashworth... and so these settlers would initially be described as ‘de Ashworth’.

Given all this, it is very likely that someone bearing one of the surnames in the Clitheroe rentals had 16th century ancestors in the area and because of the frequent intermarriages which must have taken place among these close communities, it is likely that they would have the blood of most of the other families of that manor or forest in their veins as well."