52 residents # 30 The Old Country

The Old Country?

The time before Springhill House was built - c 1835? There is evidence of settlement in the area before then however. The oldest house in Springhill is Polefield Cottage, dated 1642 for a start.

That however is the oldest building still standing. There is evidence of settlement before then too. When the area emerged from Forest Law in 1507, one of the pre-existing vaccaries was Deadwneclough. This lay in the area between Rawtenstall and Waterfoot on which Springhill now stands and the Clitheore Court Rolls give some evidence of a number of residents living in the area at the time of deforestation.

Before then details are scanty. It is said that on deforestation Rossendale as a whole held 16 individuals; the briefest of glimpses at the court rolls indicates that this is an under-estimate but it wasn't densely populated. Deadwenclough had one of two pinfolds in the area (probably about half way down Dobbin Lane), possibly due to its relatively central location but possibly also due to the number of settlements in the area.

The Old Country for this study therefore is the same country but before 1507. We have some idea what happened after that date. Before then, very little.

52 residents # 29 newsworthy

Springhill doesn't often make the news. In the C19, when the local papers recorded a greater range of activities in greater detail, there would be snippets of Charles Patrick's comments at local Conservative meetings or his name would be included amongst the winners of various shows. Prosecutions related to his work as a sub-inspector of factories would be described. Details of his philanthropic activities would be documented effusively in the manner of the time. But little that was truly juicy.

Then in 2010 a Springhill resident was convicted of harassment after sending threatening letters to the resident of his former home.

It transpired that Mr C (although the details are in the public domain) had his home repossessed after he was declared bankrupt and feels that the house was sold with 'indecent haste', presumably also felt to be below market value. The new owners moved in and shortly afterwards began to receive abusive letters from Mr C threatening to sue for repossession. He was prosecuted after ignoring orders to cease, convicted at Burnley Magistrates and given a 12 month conditional discharge.

Thankfully that's as newsworthy as it gets!

52 residents # 28 multiple

In the beginning (well about 1840) there was a house. Springhill House.

By about 1855 Springhill House was larger, possibly to accommodate the increasing number os servants the new 'master of the house', but it was still one house. At some stage it acquired a number of outbuildings and a billiard hall.

After Patrick's death in 1896 Springhill House was subdivided into two, then known as Springhill House and Lawn House. Lawn House was further subdivided in 1934 into what is now Lawn House and Sunset View. At the same time at least two, probably three of the outbuildings were converted into separate houses.

So one became six.

(Just to make things easier, there is another Spring Hill House in Acre, Stacksteads about 2 miles away, together with a Spring Side House and at least two Springfield Houses…)

Vic Evans

Sunset View was bought by Harry Taylor in 1936 so his two children would have space to play. However he regularly took in lodgers, either as a favour (e.g. Ruth and Harry Wakelin, family members whose home as newly-weds wasn't ready, or evacuees from London during WW2) or commercially. One of the commercial lodgers was Vic Evans, professional cricketer.

Victor J Evans was born in Woodford, Essex, on 4 March 1912. He married Beryl M Joyner (b 23 May 1915) in West Ham registration district in q4 1937. They had two children, Colin b 1939 and Jill b 1946.

He played professional cricked for Essex between 1932 and 1937 as a right arm off-break/medium pace bowler and right handed batsman, though I'm not sure he batted as anything other than a tailender. He played 62 games for Essex, bowling 7828 deliveries with 129 wickets at an average of 29.79 and best figures of 6/47. He had five 'five-for' and took 10 wickets in a match on one occasion. He also scored 469 runs with an average of 7.94 and a top score of 23*, and took 12 catches.
(source: Crickinfo. Cricket is great for stats!)

He lived in Sunset View when he played for Rawtenstall Cricket Club as their professional in 1939. He completed one season with them, and gave his address on the 1939 register as 216 Westrow Drive, Barking, Essex with Beryl and a person whose details are redacted. Beryl's occupation is given as 'house duties, unpaid' so he was making a living out of cricket.

He died on 28 March 1975 in Barking.

Vic Evans

52 residents # 27 solo

Springhill and the surrounding area have an interesting religious history.

Prior to the reformation the majority of the population would be Catholic. The parish church was at Whalley Abbey, approx 12 miles away over rough moor. There was a chapel of ease at Haslingden (St James) from the C13 and St Nicholas at Newchurch (about 3/4 mile away) from the early C16.

The religious landscape became more complex after the reformation however:

  • George Fox received a vision on Pendle Hill (ant 10 miles north) which was instrumental in the formation of the Quaker movement. Quaker worship reached the area early and the Quaker burial ground just north of Springhill is dated 1663.
  • The dissenting congregation in Rossendale was granted a licence in 1672 to meet in 'the barn of John Piccop', almost certainly on Newchurch Road adjacent to Springhill and now sadly demolished.
  • Recusancy was strong in the general area, particularly centred on the Towneley family of Burnley (approx 8 miles north) and the Jesuit school at Stonyhurst. (ant 15 miles north).
  • St Nicholas became parochial in the C16, a great relief for the coffin carriers.
  • John Wesley preached in Waterfoot (about 1 mile east) to a 'congregation of wild men' and Methodism rapidly became established in the ares.

These all have one thing in common: at the time they were Trinitarian faiths, i.e. they believed in the divinity of God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit. This was not a universally held view however and the Unitarian movement began to emerge in England in the late C17 and C18. Unitarianism holds that God is one person and so does not recognise the divinity of Jesus or the Holy Spirit.

It was no surprise therefore that Unitarianism became established in the area, with a Unitarian congregation 3/4 mile to the east and another about a mile to the west of Springhill. One of these, Bethlehem Unitarian Church, Newchurch was ministered to by the Rev Thomas Josef Jenkyns in Newchurch in 1913. He was born in Lampeter, Wales in 1871 and died in office in Newchurch in 1918.

Just to complicate the religious pattern further, a Spiritualist congregation was established about 3/4 mile to the west and Mormon (1.5 miles west) and Jehovah's Witnesses (initially 1/2 mile south west) established active congregations in the area in the C19.

And just to complicate the research further, the Rev Jenkyn Thomas was ministering at the Rawtenstall Unitarian Church at the same time as Rev Thomas Jenkins was ministering in Newchurch.

Other Springhill residents were active in the Bethlehem Unitarian congregation in the third quarter of the 20th century.

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