52 residents #8 'Prosperity'

One of the great things about researching Springhill is the diversity of the community. In many places the great and the good live in large houses apart from the hot polloi. In Springhill however there is money and relative poverty in close proximity.

Springhill House was build c 1830 by Richard Ashworth, woollen merchant, and his son John who later diversified into coal as the demand for the latter increased to support the developing industrialisation of the area. Next to Springhill House was another sizeable dwelling inhabited in 1841 by a 'merchant', probably either woollen or coal and another Ashworth, probably a relative. So some money about then.

However just round the corner, less than 20 yards away, was a tiny cottage inhabited by Alice Nuttall, laundress (and a direct ancestor of mine!). Life would not be over-prosperous for her.

52 residents #7 'favourite discovery'

Favourite discovery? Ooh there are so many!

- Chancery documents which outline the resolution of a dispute between the nieces of Springhill resident Mary Ann Patrick nee Ashworth over the details of her will. Not only do these list every property, many with residents, but it also includes a copy of her husband, Charles Patrick's signature. This enabled me to match it with that on an earlier document thus proving that the reason he cannot be found in the UK between 1820s and 1855 is because he was in Canada.

- The deeds to Sunset View which gives a thorough description of the rights of way and restrictive covenants in the area

- Contact with a relative of Charles Patrick which led to the copy of his funeral card. They had a copy within the family but didn't know how it fitted in.

- grubbing around in the cellar of Springhill Farmhouse trying to work out how the cellars, ground floors and first floors of Springhill Farm and 2 Springhill relate to each other, with all three floors being different dimensions.

- the gravestone of a young woman and one-day old baby who died on consecutive days. A sad story behind that one.

But my favourite discovery would be to find that the local newspaper has been digitised…

52 residents #6 'same name'

Oh there are so many of them…

Three generations of William Spence who farmed Springhill house
Three John Ashworth's, father, son and nephew.
A whole slew of Abel Bridges who lived in Meadowhead and Chapel Hill over a period of about 400 years. I'm still trying to work out how they were all related but am sure they must be.

52 residents #5 'so far away'

I have a number of extracts from the Clitheroe Court Rolls relating to the area around Springhill in the 16th century. They describe a steady stream of residents amerced for allowing their beasts to trespass, failing to maintain highways, illegal encroachment of land etc. The impression is of trying to eek out a living in a not too hospitable environment, and it must have been pretty chilly in winter with ill-fitting doors and windows.

I often wander over Chapel Hill and the other fields behind Springhill and sometimes wonder how the landscape may have changed over time. In some ways probably relatively little. The land was enclosed early, the fields relatively unimproved as the land is poor quality pastoral land and the 'highways' still in poor condition, at times masquerading as a river. This far away land, 200 yards from Springhill but 4 centuries ago, is surprisingly close in many ways.

But I'm grateful for double glazing…