Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

News and Views

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Jan 2012 Feb 2012 Mar 2012 Apr 2012 May 2012 Jun 2012
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Jan 2012

Sat 14 Jan 2012
Causeway Farm and Cruck Barn, Hoghton.

In November 2011 Kevin Illingworth gave us a fascinating talk about Vernacular Buildings in Lancashire. Part of his talk covered timber-framed buildings and he spoke about the barn at Causeway Farm, Hoghton, which is late C15th early C16th, and has 4 cruck-trusses. I visited the farm and arranged with the farmer to photograph the barn when the cows had been moved out.

B Harris

Cruck-Barn at Causeway Farm, Hoghton


Tue 10 Jan 2012
David Clayton – the Lost Farms of Brinscall Moors

A near capacity attendance welcomed David for his talk. He began by saying what the important questions for historians were, such as how, what and how. The question that really mattered for historians, David said, was why. It was this rhetorical question that David asked several times during his talk on the lost farms of Brinscall Moors.

Why, indeed, are the moors called Brinscall Moors? No map names them as such, however, everyone around the area calls them so. Up until about 1830 Brinscall was a tiny settlement, like Ollerton is now, and had not been a civic parish since the 14th century. Actually, the parishes of Wheelton, Withnell and Heapey cover the moors.

Why were the farms built there, occupied then flourished? In fact, around 50 farms were built on the moors in an area no bigger than 5 square miles. All were built between 1680 and 1740 and all built to a standard pattern of design. Money was the answer. Landowners, such as the Hoghton family, sought to capitalise on the wide open moor land by farming sheep for meat and fleece.

The late 18th C and early 19th C saw some farms being enlarged and even some new ones built. Information from the 1851 census highlighted many farms containing large families. Calico Farm, for example, had 9 children recorded there. Families were involved in activities to earn extra money to the farming, such as handloom weaving and working in local quarries.

David Clayton

By the 1891 census though a complete change had taken place in the population of the moors. Why this change? By the late 19th C many people found employment in the local textile mills, bleach works and print works, including many people on Brinscall Moors. Impact was such that farms began to be abandoned, those in the middle of the moors were first, then those around the edges.

Brinscall, helped by the arrival of the railway in 1869, had become an industrial village.

Early 20th C saw most farms being abandoned and demolished. Why? Liverpool Corporation had built reservoirs around the edges of the moors to provide water to the city’s population. There were outbreaks of cholera elsewhere due to polluted drinking water. To ensure Liverpool’s drinking water was safe the corporation compulsorily purchased farm and banned the keeping of livestock rendering them not economically viable.

Only 10 examples of this particular type of farm survive today. Six as domestic country houses and 4 others actually still working farms.

David, then, explained in just over 1 hour why the rise and decline of these farms on Brinscall Moors took place in a small area over a relatively short period of time.

Peter Robinson