Enlarging the boundaries

So, after much thought, I have decided to redefine this study a bit.

It started off as a study of the 12 or so (the exact number has varied over time) houses making up the Springhill area of Higher Cloughfold. That has always been interpreted fairly loosely, so for example John Ashworth's interests in collieries led me to look as some aspects of the mines he owned and the mining industry in general. Essentially, if it could be linked to a Springhill resident, it went in.

A strict interpretation did leave a number of interesting subjects outside this definition. These include the 325 yr old Baptist Church just across Edge Lane from Springhill, the 625 yr old Friends' Burial Ground and history of the early Quakers at Chapel Hill, the impact of the railway, the history of the Rossendale Union Gas Board on Bacup Road, the school at Choughfold…

So for some time I have been wondering about extending the boundary. The main theme will still be the 12 or so houses in the Springhill area but extending it will allow me to look as some of these areas in more depth.

So far so good, but how to choose the new boundaries?

  • The ancient parish of Whalley is huge. The modern parish of Newchurch St Nicholas is manageable but Springhill hasn't always remained within this parish and the parish boundaries have change markedly and repeatedly over the last 200 years as daughter churches formed then reunited.
  • The current civil administrative area of Rossendale is too large and has only existed since 1974. The old one, Ratwenstall, itself only existed since the late C19. Whilst this makes sense geographically it includes areas of little direct relevance to Springhill, for example villages of Goodshaw and Crawshawbooth over the moor.
  • The earlier township of Newchurch was also large and Springhill was at its extreme west end. There is a large area to the east of Newchurch village that is within the old township but of little relevance to Springhill.

i have decided therefore to go with the boundaries of the old vaccary of Deadwenclough for a number of reasons:

  • It is pretty much centred on Springhill and therefore would be the immediate community historically
  • It is the administrative area in use as the land emerged from forest law in 1507 and so court rolls and other documents dating from the earlier part of Rossendale's history refer to it.
  • I have already, for this reason, extracted material for 'Deadwenclough' if the records are to old or vague to permit more specific localisation.
  • Parish and other records still referred to Deadwenclough, albeit not consistently, until at least the mid C19.
  • It is small enough to be feasible
  • It contains a reasonable range of additional material to study: churches, schools, mills, utilities, quarrying, retail, public houses and the like.
  • It contains most of the material included in my current 'one square on the map' page, which will remain.

I had earlier toyed with a boundary of 1km radius from Springhill. This largely overlaps with Deadwenclough, and it makes sense to use the area for which set boundaries exits and which is recognised in records.

I spent an enjoyable but rather muddy couple of afternoons walking the boundaries (or as close as feasible without trespass) and getting a feel for the new patch. It took a bit of detective work with an 1840 description together with old and modern maps and ariel photography to complete it.

This means that a fair number of the census returns, trades directories etc will have to be redone. That will take time.

Anyway, here it is:

Deadwenclough 1849 boundary jpeg

Short cut

Someone either overshot the lane or tried to cut the corner from Far Heightside. It's far too boggy to do that!

short cut

Picture courtesy of George Kirk.

Preparation is everything

After a busy few weeks at work I managed to take a day off and scurried down to the National Archives. I had originally planned to tackle the 1939 Register for my area but revised this when FMP announced that this would be free to subscribers in February. By the time I found this out it was too late to preorder any of the material specific to Springhill (of which there is lots of juicy Chancery stuff, litigious lot they were). Plan B therefore was to extend my coverage of the 1910 Valuation, which currently has only been transcribed for the immediate Springhill area.

Lesson number one: if you are going to look at something which requires access to the Reading Room, make sure your readers' ticked is up to date. Mine wasn't.

Having realised that I didn't have any proof of address, I decided not to waste time on the e-learning about not using pencils with rubbers and headed back to the open area. No matter, I will make a start on the 1939 after all.

Find My Past website was down.

In the event I found the Register for births as Sion Baptist ('the Particular Baptist Church at Cloughfold' - it helps to know the history of the place) and had great fun transcribing these. I managed about 2/3 of them in the time available. Yes, they are available on Ancestry and the Genealogist but having got to Kew it was a shame to waste the time and the weather was too poor for the gardens.

So for next time:
Complete the e-learning and register for a ticket before leaving home
Remember to preorder the documents in advance so I finally can find out the settlement of Mary Ann Patrick's will and the custody arrangements for her nieces in their minority.
Take the documents necessary for the reader card
Decide in advance what computer-based resource I will use if there is a gap between fetching documents from the reading room.

Found in the Paddock...

Was wandering around the old Paddock the other week looking for plants in flower as part of the BSBI New Year flower hunt. Didn't find any flowers but did find this interesting stone slab over a small passage apparently leading underground.

slab 1 200 slab 2 200
slab 3 200 slab 4 200

But why is it there? The general area is extensively mined and quarried but no workings are known this low down the hill and most ventilation shafts were not protected until recently. It is too shallow to admit anyone. There are some springs which have similar coverings but no water has been seen emerging from it and the amount of rain recently is such that many long dormant springs have flowed this last month.

So I am left with no idea…

Surname and One Place Studies: do they marry?

As this study has developed there have been a number of surnames which have recurred over time and whose bearers have had profound influence on the place. These have fallen into two main groups:

Firstly, there are families who seem to have a pretty constant presence in the area and whose members have exerted influence over time. The Bridge/Briggs family weaves its way through the study from being one of the earliest residents on deforestation in 1507 to having members interred in Sion graveyard in 1858 and on to today. Howarth/Haworth is another contender as are Ormerod and Ashworth.

There are also a number of surnames which are particularly associated with the wider Rossendale area - the Rossendale Family History and Heraldry Society list a number including Ormerod (again!), Taylor, Rothwell, Pickup, Duckworth, Tattersall, Trickett, Whittaker and of course Ashworth.

A third aspect is the range and relative frequency of surnames in a point of time and how they change over time. What is the relative proportion of Ashworths to Ormerods in, say, 1841 and 1911? Does that differ from their distributions in C17 on deforestation?

So I have decided to dip my toe into the world of surname studies and how they relate to one-place studies. I have no intention of undertaking a traditional 'all instances, worldwide' type of study as the distribution of Ashworths or trend in BMDs of Ormerods elsewhere doesn't appeal. Instead I hope, over time, to look at three areas:

Firstly the Bridge name in Deadwenclough, the old administrative area which includes Springhill. I have chosen Bridge because of their presence in the early court rolls and Deadwenclough because that is the area to which these rolls refer.

Secondly, and this may be brave (for which read,stupid) I want to try and get my head round the local Ashworth families and their influence on the area. It is often said that there is an Ashworth under every stone round here and that when the local FH society is contacted for help with Ashworths they advise choosing another name. This will not be finished soon (for which read, ever).

Thirdly, to look at relative frequency of names in the area at two distinct parts of time. This is still to be fleshed out but will probably involve comparison with records, probably from a variety of sources, in the first half of C17 with those at a C19 point, possibly the 1841 census. Migration studies would be interesting to look at too but might be tricky.

To this end I have registered the first two with the Surname Society and enrolled on the Pharos One-Name Studies course for a crash course to get up to speed with this new way of looking at data. I won't be GOONS-registering them as the focus is on one-place rather than one-name studies - Briggs/Bridge is already registered anyway.