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The oldest known buildings in the Springhill area date from this period after deforestation, with the datestone of Polefield Cottage, engraved IRT 1642. This is almost certainly the oldest house in the area still standing.

IRT is said to stand for James Townend and his wife. The image below is recopied from the excellent 'Stories in Stone' by John B. Taylor, now sadly out of print.

Further comments on Springhill at this time are below.
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Springhill's land has been included within various administrative areas. This can get confusing…

Over time the land is variously described as being in the:

Hundred of Blackburnshire
Vaccary of Deadwenclough
Manor of Accrington New Hold
Honor of Clitheroe
Township of Newchurch
Borough of Rawtenstall
Borough of Rossendale

(Deadwenclough continued as a name for the area long after the vaccary system ceased)

"Cloughfold' began to emerge as a distinct village in the early C19 and originally referred to the settlement on the turnpike road now known as Newchurch Rd. With industrialisation, development occurred on Bacup Road. This was originally known as 'Waterside'. These two settlements began to be known as 'Higher Cloughfold' and 'Cloughfold' respectively in the early years of the twentieth century.
Although Rossendale was forest land and belonged to the lord of the manor, there had apparently been gradual piecemeal enclosure since early 14th century. The land was deforested in 1507 by decree of Henry VII.

In a decree of 1550 granting the rights of Parish churches to Newchurch Church, it is claimed that there were 20 people living in the forest at the time of deforestation. The Clitheroe Court rolls of the time seem to have more names than this however.

According to Tupling there were 8 tenants in Deadwenclough in 1547 and by 1550 the same decree claimed 1000 residents in Rossendale. In the Lancashire Church survey of 1650, Newchurch church served 300 families in Deadwenclough, Wolfenden, Tunstead and Bacup. With the growth of population came the growth of the domestic woollen industry in Rossendale and a summary of its development is included left.

Once free from forest law, the land formed the manor of Accrington New Hold within the Honour of Clitheroe and became subject to the customs of the manor. For land transfers, the land was surrendered to the manor court and admittance granted to the successor on payment of a fine, typically one year's rent. The transfer was enacted by the transfer of a rod between the parties and the term 'by the rod surrendered' appears in many old deeds. An entry was made in the court rolls and the new occupier given a copy - hence these became known as copyhold transactions.

How this played out in Deadwenclough is summarised in 'Deadwenclough 1507-1750', left. The documents on the left also include copyholders in the 16th century and at the time of James I and a list of Greaves (maintainers of forest law) and Overseers of the Poor who came from Deadwenclough. The full list is in Newbigging.
Back to Springhill:

There seems to be a close association between the Springhill area and Sion Baptist Church, which is currently adjacent to Springhill itself.
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Sion Baptist Church dates from 1672 when a licence was granted to the dissenting Church of Rossendale to meet in the barn of John Piccoops. There is a strong tradition that this was the barn attached to Lodge Fold Farm, once situated in Higher Cloughfold immediately south of Springhill and demolished for road widening. Its site is now grassed.

The original datestone from Lodge Fold Farm was stolen from outside Whitaker Park Museum early in 2012. This is redrawn from Taylor's 'Stories in Stone'.

WEH - Rev. William Horrocks, curate of St Nicholas' Church 1622-1641. The old farm was once used as a parsonage, and it would be unusual for a dissenting congregation to meet next to a clergyman's residence.

Taylor also records a datestone of 1854 in Lodge Fold Barn, marking its rebuilding.
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Polefield Cottage was bought as the manse for Sion church in 1951 and there is a suggestion that it may have been used as a meeting place for the congregation in the early years of the church before moving to its present site in the early 18th century. The upper room of Polefield was once one open room which it is suggested was the meeting hall.

Sion is said to possess deeds dating from 1559 which describe the surrender of land in 'Deadwoodclough' comprising some houses and gardens known as 'The Fould' and land called 'Chapel Croft', on which the church now stands. This land was once in the possession of William Horrocks, Rector of Newchurch, but it is unclear whether it was in his personal possession or belonging to Newchurch Church.

It is thought that Robert Litchford brought a house from James Townend, which he subsequently gave to the church in 1705. This is said to be on the site of the previous chapel, now Litchford House.

More details of the early history of Sion and its links with Springhill are given in the two documents on the left - 'Baptist Manse", a Rossendale Free Press article in 1951 and 'Sion Baptist Church', an extract from the history of the Church by JS Hardman.

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