R is for Rossendale and Rochdale

Rossendale has been mentioned a few times in the blogs so far. This study is about the Springhill area of Higher Cloughfold village so where does Rossendale come in?

Originally Rossendale (with numerous infuriating spelling variations) was known (and still is known) as the Forest of Rossendale. It was a forest in the legal sense, being the name of the area of East Lancs subject to forest law although it was more strictly a chase rather than a forest as it was subject to the Lord of the Honor of Clitheroe rather than the King. To what extent is was a ever a forest in the botanical sense is debatable and the frequently repeated statement that a squirrel could jump from tree to tree from Haslingden (at one end of Rossendale) to Sharnyford (at the other, about 4 miles away) without touching the ground is probably mythical.

On deforestation Rossendale became part of the manor of Accrington New Hold, or at least those bits north of the river Irwell did, including Springhill. The land was copyhold to the manor and this system for land transfer continued until 1926. With industrialisation came the formation of the townships and latterly the boroughs of Haslingden, Rawtenstall and Bacup. Rossendale as an administrative entity existed in two main forms: the parliamentary constituency after 1885 and the postal district. Addresses in Springhill are still ‘Springhill, Rossendale, Lancs which confuses delivery men no end as it isn’t marked on maps and satnav will take you to the wrong place...

The borough of Rossendale was formed by merger of the three above boroughs plus Ramsbottom and Whitworth in 1974 and its borders loosely follow those of the ancient forest.

Rochdale is a town about 6 miles (and a big bit of moor) away from Springhill but the Ashworth/Patrick families (see ‘A is for...’ and ‘F is for...’) had strong links with Rochdale:
Mary Ann Patrick nee Ashworth went to school in Rochdale, location unknown. She presumably boarded rather than make that journey daily by carriage
Charles Patrick gave a Rochdale address at marriage in 1855. How he got there from Middlesex (where he was born) via Canada is unknown.
Patrick had various social connections with Rochdale, including the yeomanry and possibly the freemasons.

A one-place study doesn’t just involve study of one place!