local traditions - the Rossendale Triathlon

10 year old this year, the Rossendale triathlon begins and finishes at Marl Pits and the run comes straight down Edge Lane. It is usually held towards the end of May or early June.

tri 2015 200

It comprises:
400 m swim (pool)
21k cycle (hilly!)
5k run, (three loops of a circuit)
The record was set by Carl Shaw in 2010 at 1:00:53.

The run circuit is based almost exactly on the perimeter of the old Springhill Farm lands. Its interesting how former boundaries re-emerge in a new context.

It is not an easy route:


tri CYCLEMAP_2013 200 tri RUNMAP_2013 200

52 residents #21 Thomas Jenkins

Not to be confused with Jenkyn Thomas. An easy mistake to make.

They both had the same names
They were both Unitarian ministers
They both ministered in Rossendale in the early years of the 20th century
Only one lived in Springhill.

Thomas Josef Jenkins b21 Nov 1871 Pencarreg, near Lampeter. He was called to the ministry in 1896 and ministered at Bethlehem Unitarian Church, Newchurch, from 1913 until his death in 1918.

He is shown as being ‘of Springhill’ in Kelly’s Directory of Lancashire 1909. Interesting, as in 1911 he was enumerated at 20 Spa Lane, Hinckley, with his wife Annie Meriam Jenkins and daughter Gwyneth Irene (b ~1901, Rhyndwyclydah, Glamorgan) and son Jenan Kenneth (b~ 1906 Hinckley, Leics). Another child was recorded as deceased.

Just to confuse things, Rev Jenkyn Thomas was minister at Rawtenstall Unitarian church between 1902-1906.

Kellys' Directory of Lancashire 1909 shows Jenkins, Rev Thomas Josef (Unitarian) at Springhill. The Unitarian History Society records:
'JENKINS, Thomas Josef, B 21 Nov 1871 near Lampeter, Car Min 1896-1918. from 1913 at Newchurch, d Newchurch D 14 March 1918 at Newchurch. I:1918, 91 *1919.'

1911 RG14 - PN19008 RD402 SD2 ED1 SN226


Today traffic was halted on Bury Road whilst a chicken crossed the road.
No idea why it did that.

52 residents #20 Francis Bridge

The Bridge family have been closely associated with the Springhill area since Rossendale emerged from forest law in 1507. Churchwardens, greaves and scallywags, they tumble through the generations in a succession of Adams, Francises and Christophers with the odd Jordan thrown in for good measure.

My interest in Francis was aroused when, browsing through the Lancashire Record Office catalogue (as you do) I came across:

QSP 198/9
Quarter Sessions Preston Michaelmas 1660
maintenance of child of Francis Bridge

Mmm that sounds interesting and indeed it was. Francis had married Ann Chadwick of Spotland (Rochdale parish, but the township extended to about a mile away). The couple had a son at some ungiven date and a daughter reasonably close to 1660. Francis abandoned Ann virtually at confinement, leaving her to be supported by friends. The matter was brought to the Quarter Sessions by the churchwardens who did not want responsibility for the upkeep of the child to fall to the parish, particularly as Francis had recently come into an inheritance. Interestingly one of the wardens is one Adam Bridge, almost certainly a brother/uncle/father/…

It didn’t go well as at we find:

QSP 202/24
Quarter Sessions Preston Epiphany 1660/1
Maintenance of Anne daughter of Francis Bridge of Deardenclough yeoman

Francis Bridge (or probably more than one) was engaged in a number of land surrenders between 1666 and1691. Unfortunately the court rolls for this period haven’t been transcribed and time to visit Preston has been lacking.

The parish records for Newchurch St Nicholas include the baptism of a son of Francis Bridge in 1565 but not of a daughter, Anne or otherwise, around 1660 nor of the death of a child of Francis around that date. They do record the death of an unnamed wife of Francis Bridge on 9 Jan 1659/60 - how did they not know her name, or why did the not record it?

Newchurch St Nicholas (via the Lancashire OPC)
v Jul 1656 Adam sone of francs Bridge of Dedwenclough
x Jan 1657/8 Mary d francs Bridge of Dedwenclough
9 Feb 1663/4 bap St Nicholas Thomas s Francis Bridge
22 April 1666 Ffranciscus Bridg fil ffrancisci Bridg of Cisclough
12 Jun 1670 Alice gem fil ffrancs Bridg of Cloughfoot bap St Nicholas
12 Jun 1670 Chroftr Bridg gem fil ffrancis Bridg of Cloughfoot bap St Nicholas
31 Dec 1671 Isaak Bridg fil ffrancisci Bridg of Newchurch
16 May 1675 Alice fil ffrancis Bridge

1 Dec 1668 Ffrancis Bridge - Mary Schofield

xx Nov 1659 ffrancs Bridge sone of Thomas Bridge of Newchurch
xv May 1661 ffrancs Bridge fil Adam Bridge
26 Oct 1675 ffrancis Bridge
22 Nov 1684 ffrancs Bridg senex of Clough
20 May 1686 ffrancs Bridg of Newchurch
15 April 1691 ffranciscus Bridg of Dedwinclough

Land surrenders:
1666 Surrendered land in Deadwenclough to John Bradley
167? ditto from Josuah Nuttall
1690 received property from Richard Heaton
1691 ditto to George Piccop
DDHCL /3/225

(Many thanks to
Mistress Agnes for help with some of the less legible words!)

Local traditions - BRGS leavers' day

The exact date varies from year to year, but on a (usually) sunny day in mid May the 6th form at the local grammar school stand down for revision and A levels.

Traditions around this have evolved over the years. In the 1970s it comprised holding hands in the hall and singing ‘Aud Lang Syne’ followed by de-bagging the head boy and girl and hanging their trousers over the school clock.

More recently things have become more sophisticated:
On the third last day the pupils come in their old school uniforms. As the 6th form takes from a wide range of lower schools there is plenty of variety.
On the second last day they come in their leavers’ hoodies. That in itself is a change from ‘tasteless shirt day’ from a few years ago.
On the last day they come in fancy dress, sing songs and eat lunch provided by the school

Then comes the ‘walk’ (out of school hours), taking in the Jolly Sailor, the Boar’s Head, the Red Lion, the White Lion, the Queen’s Arms then heading off down towards Edenfield…

fancy dress brgs leavers 200 red lion may brgs 200

As well as three generations of my family, all Springhill residents, attending BRGS Mr Holden, the second headmaster of the school, lived in Lawn House.

52 residents #19 Henry Jackson

Henry Jackson’s chief claim to fame in Springhill was as a member of the committee which built Sion Sunday School (now used for worship) in 1902. Despite being a committee member and despite the building having 14 foundation stones, he did not lay one of them. Wonder if he upset somebody?

finance committee Sion new school 1902 200

In 2014 this picture was reprinted in the ‘Yesteryear’ section of the local paper with a caption provided by the member of Sion who submitted the picture. He identified Jackson as the last headmaster of Newchurch Grammar School and the first of BRGS (EH Holden of 52 residents week 17 being the second).

Unfortunately this is incorrect.

The first headmaster of BRGS was called Thomas Ernest, not Henry
TE Jackson was not a Baptist but a staunch Churchman and lay reader at St Nicholas.

So what of Henry?

He is buried in the graveyard as Sion:
gravestone 56 Jackson 200


That has him born ~ 1854 and Alice ~ 1846.

He was born the son of Joseph and Ann Jackson, grocer, of Bacup and latterly Union St, Hareholme. He married Alice Bridge q3 1876 in the Haslingden registration district.

1901 census (RG 13/3850) Henry (b Bacup) was living at 10 Peel St with wife Alice (b Rawtenstall) and children:
Alfred B single age 23 b Rawtenstall
Annie single age 21b Rawtenstall
Lizzie single age 18 b Rawtenstall
Harry King single age 14 b Cloughfold
Harold B single age 7 b Cloughfold
and niece Emily Bridge single age 18 b Bolton
Henry was employed as Cotton Mill Storekeeper

1911 he was still there, by now employed as a Doctor’s clerk.
They reported 8 children of whom 5 were living and 3 had died.

Working backwards, in 1891 (RG 12/3348/F) he was a 8 Peel St with his family and his brother in law Abel Bridge, sister in law, niece and nephew. The enumerator has documented Abel’s place of birth down to the farm - wish they were all this helpful!

1881 he was a cotton warper living in Springside, Rawtenstall. He and Alice lived next door to John and Betty Bridge with children including son Abel.

Elizabeth Jackson married Jospeh Smethurst q3 1905 in Haslingden reg district (8e 0311).

battle of the posters part II

Well the election has been and the results are awaited but one count is in - the battle of the posters.

Election 2 (both Conservative, plus the joke one outside the house of the UKIP candidate)
Holy week 2
For sale 5

So God equals the election but property dealing trumps the lot of them. The winner could have been posters for a missing cat but they were outside the study area. The UKIP candidate didn’t even have a poster at his own house - vetoed by Mrs Candidate?

As an election aside, I can’t resist this offering from @LewesPeasant.

election @LewesPeasant 200

52 #18 Lambert Howarth

Lambert Howarth was bon q4 1841 in Sabden, Lancs. By the age of 9 he was living in lodgings in Newchurch (head, Edward Heys), approx 15 miles from home, and working in a cotton mill. He continued as a cotton spinner on the 1861 and 1871 censuses. In 1861 he was still lodging in Forrester’s house, Newchurch.

By 1871 he was a married man, having married Betsy Taylor q1 1869 in Haslingden district. Betsy was born ~1842 in Musbury and gave her occupation in 1871 as a milliner, so Lambert was doing ok for himself there. Lambert and Betsy lived in Bidleway Bottom, Newchurch.

In 1881 both Lambert and Betsy were recorded as drapers, still in Bridleway.
1891 has Lambert still in drapery but also ‘mineral water manufacturer’, a strange combination. Although their address was recorded as 116-118 Burnley Road, the adjacent properties make it clear that it was actually Burnley Road East. There were a number of mineral water manufacturers in the area at that time, including one run by my gg uncle John William Taylor. Perhaps it was the same one?

In 1885 he founded his slipper manufacturer company, Lambert Howarth & Sons, trading as Osbornia footwear. He had two mills, Greenbridge Mill in Fallbarn, Rawtenstall and another in Healy Royds, Burnley.


osbornia advert 1 200 osbornia advert 2  200

Lambert and Betsy had three children:
William Robert Howarth b ~1871 Nechurch
Charles Frederick Howarth b ~ 1873 Newchurch
Ernest Taylor Howarth, b ~ 1881 Newchurch
(Lambert helpfully listed them all on the 1911 census even though none were resident with him at the time and one had been dead for 20 years!)

Sadly their prosperity didn’t protect them from tragedy and Ernest died q4 1881 aged 7 months. He is buried in Sion graveyard, in a grave containing the remains of a number of infants from different families.

Lambert Howarth died in 1918 and is buried in Sion Baptist graveyard.

documentary about Lamberts gives an idea of the troubles faced by the Lancashire footwear industry in the 1990s. Lambert Howarths went into administration in July 2007 after losing a contract with M&S. Greenbridge Mill still stands and currently houses a clearance store, a rather fine cafe and a small museum of the Rossendale Footwear trade.

The museum also contains the stone cross from Bethel Baptist Church, Waterfoot, now demolished. The accompanying plaque explains that this was purchased by John Howarth when Bethel was demolished in 1996 and installed at Lambets. It explains that Bethel was built with funds from Sir HW Trickett, a major slipper manufacturer in Waterfoot and so the acquisition of the cross was ‘in keeping’ with the museum and Trickett’s contribution to the Rossendale slipper trade.

The only problem is that Bethel was built in 1868 and Trickett was born in 1857…however he was baptised there in 1877 and served as Sunday School superintendent, deacon and treasurer.

cross lamberts 200 cross text lamberts 200

gravestone, Sion Baptist Church

1911 RG14 - PN24702 RD471 SD1 ED8 SN251

1901 RG13/3849

1891 RG12/3347/F

1871 Bridleway bottom
Lambert Cotton mule spinner b Whalley
Betsy milliner b Musbury

1861 Lodging Foresters House, Bridleway,

Local traditions - dancing round the maypole

Growing up in the (ahem) 1960s in Cowpe (about a mile from Springhill) I remember this well.

Andrea Baron had a maypole and on the first of May the local girls would get together and carry it round the village, stopping every now and then to take a ribbon and dance round it:

‘Dancing round the Maypole, merrily we go
Dancing round the Maypole, singing as we go’

The pole was supported by one girl who was chosen as the Queen. As well as holding the thing up, she had to sing a solo:

“I’m the Queen, oh can’t you see
I’ve just come from the village green
If you wait a little while
I will show you the polka style’

(Girls: Can you dance the polka?)

‘Yes I can
Not with you, with my old man
First upon the heel and then upon the toe
That’s the way the polka goes’

(except that it isn’t, it’s step step step hop)

Hopefully people would give us money but that rarely happened. The pole would then be dropped and carried to the next place.

Interestingly I can’t find these lyrics on t’internet. Perhaps is was a local variant, but they are pretty much the same as those given by Edmund Whittaker in his
memoirs of the 1920s.

Made in RapidWeaver