Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

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Jul 2017

Sat 15 Jul 2017
Visit to Goodshaw Chapel and Gambleside, Rossendale.


The morning was gloomy with drizzle as Chorley Historical & Archaeological Society members met outside Goodshaw Chapel between Rawtenstall and Burnley. Being St Swithun’s day a British weather lore proverb says that if it rains on St. Swithun's day, 15 July, it will rain for 40 days.

CHAS member John Harrison had arranges the visit with local guide Harry to describe the chapel’s history.

Goodshaw Chapel

Goodshaw Chapel interior

Goodshaw Chapel pews

Goodshaw Chapel interior

Goodshaw Chapel in 1880

Rev John Nuttall memorial

Goodshaw Old Baptist Chapel (English Heritage)
Goodshaw Chapel was built in 1760 by a congregation of Baptist worshippers led by their minister John Nuttall. Under his leadership and that of his successor, John Pilling, it was a successful ministry, and between 1760 and 1809 the chapel had to be enlarged twice, once by the addition of extra gallery space, and once by moving the southern (front) elevation forwards.
Doctrinal differences in this early community of worshippers were relatively common, and on occasion this led to the splitting of the church community, with one group forming a new church elsewhere. Music played a focal point in the life of the chapel, and the ‘Larks of Dean’ - local musicians who wrote their own hymns and music, and enjoyed performances of sacred music by Handel among others - made Goodshaw their base.
By 1860, the focus of life in the valley was shifting to the new turnpike road, now the main road to Burnley. The worshippers decided to build a new church on a fresh site, leaving the old chapel, its fixtures and fittings still those of about 1800, largely unused and deserted a short distance away. Until 1960 it was used only for anniversary services, but by then it was considered dangerous. In 1976 the chapel Trustees transferred it by deed of gift to the Department of the Environment.

The graveyard was very overgrown but John had found some interesting references to graves, but unfortunately not yet identified in the graveyard.
One was:
To the memory of Giles Entwistle of Todd Hall who died in 1836 aged 54 years.
“The world’s a city of crooked streets. And death’s the market place, where all men meet. If life was merchandise, that men could buy, the rich would live and none but the poor would die”

Lunch had been arranges at the nearby New Waggonr’s Inn then we continued our tour at Limers Lane by Clowbridge Reservoir and a walk to the site of the old settlement of Gambleside.
Gambleside was on an ancient trading route connecting the Ribble Valley and Rochdale. This was an important and well-used route and was so well used that it was worn into hollows. (Hollow Ways)

After lunch it was a rainy walk
to Gambleside

CHAS members at the open air Baptistry

The main users were packhorse trains. Packhorses had been used for thousands of years following the domestication of horses. They were used to carry goods and minerals. Many were found in the Pennines and took names from goods carried or local landmarks. Many had wayside crosses. The horses were often Galloways and those in the lime trade were called” limegals.” Each horse could carry 240lbs/110kgs in side panniers. A pack horse train could be 12-20 horses, sometimes 40. They averaged 25 miles per day. They were used because roads were so poor and often impassable by wagon and bridges not always provided over rivers. The driver would earn about 6d per horse per day.
At Gambeside the 16th century saw land opened up to settlement and farming. The main crop was oats. This was the staple diet. (Porridge 24 times a week!) Probably when first stone buildings erected. Village grew in size. As well as farming there was mining and weaving and spinning wool. The surplus wool was sold in Rochdale.
The main field, or copy field was 9 acres and was where the reservoir was constructed. The main part of the village consisted of a farmhouse, mansion house, cottage, barn and Baptist chapel. A further 10 farms surrounded the village.
The mansion house dated from the 17th century/may have been older and was split into 3 dwellings in the 19th century. The farmhouse was large with 5 gables and was also split into separate dwellings.

From the ruins of Gambleside looking across Clowbridge Reservoir

Before the Baptist Chapel was built in 1849 worship had been in the Brew House at the Mansion House and in an old cottage. The chapel had a small gallery and a small organ. It closed in 1866 when the reservoir was built and a new chapel opened in Clowbridge.
The chapel had an open air baptistry. It is located by the stream below the village. It was 4 metres long, 2,2 metres wide and just over a metre deep, and constructed of dry stone walling behind which was a lining of puddled clay. Some baptisms were carried out in summer when the hillside would be covered with hundreds of people. Other baptisms were carried out in winter. Following its disuse it was almost doubled in size to store water for the steam engine at Pumping Pit, building into bedrock on the right hand side. It was restored in 1995
The reservoir covered the best land, and also 3 of the roads into Gambleside. The Ormerod family lived in the mansion house until about 1874 and the last residents left in the 1890s.
In the 1940s and 50s the derelict buildings were demolished for safety and stones used for walls and water channels.

Thomas Hawksley (1807 - 1893)

Coal was mined from around Gambleside for centuries. The earliest records are for a pit in 1612. These workings were simply tunnels driven into the hillside where the coal was exposed at the surface. Demand for coal grew in the first half of the nineteenth century with the growth of the steam-powered cotton industry. New pits were sunk in the area. At one time there were 7 active pits between Loveclough and the far side of Clowbridge Reservoir. This stimulated the growth of the Gambleside settlement.
The Gambleside Colliery had two main shafts: Pumping pit, located just below the settlement, and a later shaft on the hillside to the south. Coal was drawn up the hillside from Pumping Pit by a continuous chain-drive of tubs. It then passed through a tunnel to Swinshaw pit on the other side of the hill. Then it went via a tramway to the coal staithe in Crawshaw Booth. It was a very wet mine and closed early 20th century. United Utilities now extracts water from the mine via a modern pumping house.
At one time the colliery was owned by George Hargreaves Collieries. They had a reputation for thrift. The colliery manager lived on site and on one occasion he complained to the company that every time it rained water leaked through his bedroom ceiling. He was given an umbrella.
The colliery closed in 1936 when Sunnyside Print Works closed.
Across from Gambleside ruins is CLOWBRIDGE RESERVOIR
In 1852 the Haslingden and Rawtenstall Waterworks Company was formed by an Act of Parliament which authorised the building of Hapton Reservoir, later renamed Clowbridge. It was to use water from Limy/Lummy Water.
To gain support for the proposal and convince parliament that it was a credible proposal the promoters engaged one of the greatest civil engineers of the 19th century, Thomas Hawksley. He was involved with many schemes to provide water supplies to the new industrial towns, including Liverpool Corporation’s scheme for Liverpool. He was one of the great unsung heroes of the 19th century as improved water supply was the main reason for improved public health and reduced mortality rates.

In between the reservoir and Haslingden and Rawtenstall were lots of factories in the valley in which Loveclough, Goodshaw and Crawshawbooth are situated. The factory owners feared that their businesses would suffer a loss of water and/or have to pay for it. They opposed the proposal and it made the actual passing of the act very expensive: £5,858.
Hawksley was asked to prepare working drawings and specifications in February 1855. The company thought that the job could be completed in 12 months. This was totally unrealistic. 18 months after starting they discovered that the puddle trench had to be sunk to a greater depth than anticipated. This trench was common in Pennine embankment dams as the water retaining core. This was usually constructed in rock so I assume they underestimated the depth of the natural rock.
The company ran out of capital and work was suspended. At this point £6,108 had been spent on the dam and £7,547 on the purchase of land. 3 years later work resumed under the direction of Joseph Jackson who had built reservoirs for Bolton Waterworks. There were further problems extending the puddle trench into loose soil and wet ground in the southern hillside.
In February 1863 the work had cost over £20,000 and work was expected to be completed that spring. However they had a massive landslip on the downstream face of the dam a month later. It took over 200 men to repair. This was done by June 1863 and valves were fitted to control the outflow. There were 2 further landslips and work was not completed until August 1865. Final cost, excluding land was over £39k.

Thanks to John for the use of his notes in preparing this report.