Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Farnworth, Halshaw Moor

Extracts from a book entitled

“The Story of Halshaw Moor Chapel”

“ A History of A Century Of Work”

By Harold A Barnes, M.A.

Published in 1908 in by J Whatmore, Printers, Bookbinders, Farnworth

The Chapel Chronology and Harold Barnes recollections.

1483 Adam Prestall owned land in Farnworth adjoining that of John Hulton
and Richard Seddon.
1788 Apr 20 John Wesley preached at Bolton Moor Chapel
1788 May 20 James Topp and family moved from Breightmet to Farnworth
1788 Jun 2 Robert Tongs first wife Jane died
1788 Jul 29 Robert Tong, landlord married Jane Barnes.
1790 Apl 7 Lady Huntingdon’s Chapel at Tyldesley opened
1790 May 18 Robert Kenyon moved to Wigan.
1791 Mar 8 John Isherwood married Thos Mather’s daughter
1791 Mar 22 I, (Harold Barnes?) killed adder in our garden.
1791 Jul 31 The Bishop of Chester consecrated St Matthew’s Little Lever.
1791 Nov 7 Dorning Rasbotham died a Birch House.
1792 May 16 Joseph Crompton of the Paper Mills died.
1792 Aug 4 Charles Chetham fell into the Green Wheel and died.
1792 Nov 7 Stand Lane Independent Chapel opened.
1793 Mar 20 Bury Independent Chapel opened.
1793 Oct 5 Prestolee Aqueduct Bridge opened.
1794 May 4 Rev Noah Blackburn died.
1794 May 7 Thomas Young was found drowned in a pit at Dixon Green
1794 Dec 22 Joseph Knott was drowned by falling off a bridge of Mr Rawson

1808 Feb 2 Mr Roger Holland of Birch House hired the Old Grammar School at
the bottom of Dixon Green for a Sunday School
1808 April Holland’s Sunday School moved to Dial Post, where he founded
Holland’s School (at present Site 2005).
1808 June 24 First Sod cut in Withington Croft, called at that time Withington Chapel. First stone was laid by Robert Topp Senior (ShopKeeper), of Clammerclough.
Subscribers to cost of Chapel
James Heywood (on whose Land it was built)
James Jackson, of Stonehill, now the home of Tom Nuttall
Joshua Cross
Dennis Grundy, of Bury.
Thomas & Samuel Grundy
Benjamin Rawson
John Partington (shopkeeper near Bird I th Hand)
John Johnson
Mr Woodcock
A Friend?
Robert Topp
R Bullough
Thomas Hulme
J. Davenport
H. Cross
J & A Crompton

1809 Whit-Sunday Although Chapel not completed opened for worship. It seated about 250.
1809 July. Pulpit was supplied by Mr George Kirkpatrick of Manchester.
1813 January Call to Mr Dyson by the following to be Pastor by
John Almond, Alice Almond, Robert Bradshaw, Esther Bradshaw
John Birch, Betty Birch, Betty Bowcock, James Boyd, Elizabeth
Boyd, Elizabeth Boyd jun. James Rothwell Barnes, William
Crookshank, William Collins, Joshua Cross, Ellen Cross, Sarah
Cross, Ann Cross, John Cross, John Davenport, Esther Edge,
John Green, Alice Green, Peter Greenhalgh, John Holker,
Susan Howarth, Martha Hill, James Jackson, John Johnson,
Ann Johnson, Joshua Johnson, John Johnson Jun, Robert Lord,
Thomas Lord, Joseph Lord, John Partington, James Smethurst,
Richard Smethurst, Joseph Topp, Robert Topp, Hugh Topp,
Nathaniel Topp, Hannah Topp, Martha Topp, Richard Titley,
Mary Titley, Jane Tong, Richard Walkden, William Walkden,
Betty Walker, James Watson.
Mr Dyson stipend depended on pew rents, in 1819 rents equalled
£62 9s 0d.
1815 Sunday school established.
1816 Chapel House built for a manse.
1823 Aug 5 John Tong drowned himself
1824 Jan 1 Alice young drowned
1824 Mar 4 A stone was laid at St Johns Church Kearsley
1824 Apr 16 Our Chapel (Halshaw Moor) was robbed again of seventeen books
1824 Jul 18 Mary wife of William Watson was drowned in a pit.
1824 Oct 5 John Fawsett and family removed to Bolton. Musician wrote
Paradise and innumerable Hymn Tunes.
1826 May 22 Horrid murder at Joseph Bloor’s house
1826 Jun 11 Robert Kirkman of Lever was drowned
1826 Jul 1 Ralf Grundy’s daughter drowned herself.
1826 Sep 8 The New Church at Stand was consecrated.
1826 Sep 9 St John Kearsley consecrated.
1826 Dec 1 Ralph Crompton of Ringley drowned in the river.
1827 Jan 21 Body of Ralph Crompton found at Warrington.
1827 Jul 5 A man called T Walker drowned.
1827 Aug 6 Ringley Chapel consecrated
1828 Oct 12 A man’s body was found above Livesey’s weir.
1829 Sep 16 Richard Nelson, carter, of Farnworth drowned.
1830 Apl 12 Henry Gorton moved from Rawson’s Arms to Blackhorse.
1830 Sep 24 Wesleyan Chapel at Dial Post opened.
1830 Dec 26 New Jerusalem Temple at Stonehill opened.
1831 Feb 1 Man and horse belonging to Ed. Grundy drowned.
1831 Feb 2 George Grundy of Shoretop, his brother was drowned.
1831 Nov 21 Stanley Holts son was drowned.
1832 Apl 22 Henry Moses was interred at Bolton.
1832 May 3 Ben Halliwell of Kearsley killed his wife.
1833 May 21 Great fire at J. and T. Compton’s Farnworth
1833 Dec 31 Strong wind blew Mr Barnes high chimney down.
1834 May Here is a list of people invited to attend services at Whit Sunday
William Haslam, Newport Terrace. William Badger,
Bradford Place. William Leigh, chair maker. William Birrington,
Benjamin Hick, Iron founders. Gregson, Tobacconist. Ellis Wood.
F.d. Jones. J.T. Cover. J.T. Brodie. J. Burdon. J. Myerscough.
Jos. Ainsworth. Jos Nivin. T. Scholes, draper. R.Hulme. T.Hulme
Mrs Holland. T. Pullen. T.Glover, solicitor. T.Bell, Little Bolton.
T Blinkhorn. T. Walker, Bradford House. Peter Martin. Peter Haddock.
Peter Green. Jas. Haigh, cotton spinner. Thos Greson. Jas Gregson.
Jas Ferguson, the Bank. James Lever, Bank Street. W. Cole Iron-
Founder. W.Harwood. W Harwood, upolsterer. Henry Maconn, Tailor.
FROM STAND Jas Richardson, Lower Lilly Hill. Jas Walker, Park Hill.
Thos Cross, Whitefield. John Boyd, John Coward, Stand Lane.
James Richardson, Lilly Hill. Edward Richardson, Lilly Hill. Robert
Taylor, Stand Lane. Adam Kay, Water Lane. Samuel Holt, Chapel.
John Prestwich, Higher Lane. Jos Aspinall, Jos Barrow, Stand Lane.
T. Kay, Shopkeeper. Jonathon Dorning. Peter Dorning. John Scholes,
Shopkeeper. John Hall. John Smith. Jas Barratt. R. Arrowsmith, Astley.
Hy. Arrowsmith, Astley. J. Dalziel Shopkeeper. Richard Crompton,
Shopkeeper. Dr Dorning, Boothstown.
J. Seddon. J. Roberts, Calico Printer. Isaac Grundy, Calico Printer. Wm
Grundy. Dr Bell. Elizabeth Whittaker. J. &. R. Crompton. P. Ditchfield.
Timothy Crompton. Jas Greenwood. Jos Wright. Wm Partington.
R. Dawson. John Cross. Giles Gee. Giles Heywood. Richard Rudyard,
Prestolee. Thos Webster, Worsley, Richard Clark jun. Pendlebury, N. Baker.
John Edge. Wm Hill. T.B. Crompton. Mrs J. Crompton. Mrs Ridout.
Walter Harrison. H.L. Dorning. Dr Anderton. James Warburton.
J. Robinson. Wm Crompton. Joshua Hindley. Samuel Siddall.
Farnworth Bridge. Robert Entwistle. John Tonge
Moses Gate. John Shaw. Samuel Bennett. Thos Crompton. John Ridyard,
Walkden. Wm Peat, Halliwell. Brook House, John Ashton. Jas Hulme.
Hy. Haworth. Jos Lord. Wm. Staton. Wm. Vickers. E. Barnes. William
Lawton. Edward Parkinson. James Haworth. Jas Lawton. Jas Hindley.
John Green. Jas Tonge. John Tonge. Samuel Bennett. Samuel Bennett Jun.
Jas Ridyard, James Lindsey. Hy. Gibson. Edward Grundy. J.B. Pointon.
Rd. Owen. Wm Owen. Edward Hibbert. Jos Pennington.

1837 Chapel lengthened and offices added. 3 new Deacons John Johnson, Thomas Crompton and Thomas Barnes.
1838 First marriage at chapel between George Redford and Sarah
1839 A building in New Bury purchased from the Methodist New
Connection, opened as a Sunday school.
1848 Two cottages purchased in Little Lever to serve as place of worship.
1849 Little Lever Chapel opened by Dr Raffles.
1850 July The New Chapel called Farnworth Congregational opened by the
Rev. John Angel James.
1854 Dixon Green School established, it took the place of New Bury
School, which was sold to the Wesleyans.
1855 Rev. Joseph Dyson retired, replaced by Rev.G.D.Macgregor.
1868 Stone laying of Francis Street School Chapel.
1869 Francis Street School Chapel opened by Robert Thomas of Bala.
1873 Queen Street Mission inaugurated.

Background Historical notes

In 1311 the land around Farnworth Hall, down Hall Lane, the Hultons, not the Hultons of Little Hulton, held Moses gate.
In 1604 it belonged to Humphrey de Ferneth and his Kinsman Robtus de Halsall, who possibly gave his name to Halshaw Moor.
In 1509 and before there was a Roman Catholic Chapel on the site of Farnworth Hall; and certain land at Prestolee belonged to the Oratory. Great Lever Church now stands in Priest Croft Wood; a name that indicates Church land.
In 1555 Farnworth was a hamlet in the Parish of Barton upon Irwell, five miles away.
In 1603 Farnworth Hall was built, Incorporated in Farnworth Hall was a Catholic Chapel.
In 1641 Birch Hall was built.
In 1651 James Stanley Earl of Derby was executed in Bolton. It was reputed as a fugitive he hid the cellar of Seddon Farm, for a long time there was a portrait of James Stanley there which has since been destroyed.
In 1680 there was only one Gentleman’s seat, and Dorning Rasbotham says it must have been at Farnworth Hall, which then belonged to Lord Semple.
The old road from Manchester to Bolton is said to have entered Farnworth at Mabel Brow, the hollow on the Farnworth side of Kearsley House: it went over Halshaw Moor to the School House of 1780. This school was situated where the Park Gates now stand, at the bottom of Dixon Green and up what is now Plodder Lane, turning off to the right and up to what is now Plodder Lane Station. At that point we strike the very road itself, in front of the Workhouse to the top of Great Lever and down Rishton Lane to Moor Lane where it entered Bolton.
Nathaniel Topp was Overseer of the Poor for Kearsley 1750, he was a tanner. With pits at Holloway Gutter.

Local notes of Farnworth, about 1840

By Simeon Dyson.
The history of Farnworth (or as it was formerly called Halshaw Moor) with personal recollections and anecdotes of some of its former inhabitants and residents in the surrounding district during the earlier decades of the present century, will be interesting to many readers of the “Farnworth journal”. The writer is a native of Farnworth, upon three quarters of a century, and if not the “oldest inhabitant”, yet he is no chicken and has taken crest intere.2t in the rapid growth and development of his native place.
He lays no claim to any literary ability or merit in penning the following sketches, and he also trusts that no one will take offence at anything they may contain, as there is not the slightest wish or intention to hurt anyone’s feelings, but by giving a simple record of incidents and characteristics, to afford both amusement and instruction to the readers of the journal.
The township of Farnworth derived its name from the Anglo-Saxon Fearn on account of the large quantity of ferns, which formerly overran the land, and the writer remembers that during the twenties of the present century fern grew abundantly in the rural parts of the township, more especially about Lower Darley and Darley Clough.
Old Farnworth Hall, which for many years has been occupied as cottages, was once a fine specimen of mediaeval architecture, and was occupied by a branch 0f the Hulton Family who were resident here in the fourth year of Edward II The last of the family at Farnworth died during Queen Elizabeth, some time betwixt 1593 and 1605
Birch House was built in the reign of Charles I on the eve of the English Commonwealth, and was originally seat of the Rishton’s, but whom the estate was purchased from Robert Worsley of the Boothes. & Subsequently it came into possession of Doming Rasbotham, Esq., High Sheriff of the County Palatine of Lancaster in the year 1769. This gentleman was a very learned man, whose character as drawn by his friend Dr. Barnes, of Cockey Moor was inscribed on a mural tablet in the Parish Church of Deane.
Daring Mr. Rasbotham’s life, he was much respected by all who knew him for his courtesy and genial manners were on one occasion tried by the freak of a lunatic of powerful build, who was commonly called by his Dixon Green neighbours ”Greight Charley”, This poor fellow was at time subject to violent paroxysms, daring which he was even dangerous. One morning as he was passing the gate leading out at the Birch House grounds, just as Mr. Rasbotham was emerging there from, and being well known to the Gentleman (for the population was very sparse at that time). Charley looked at his foot and seeing his clog was untied. Walked up to Mr.Rasbotham, and in a commanding, insolent tone said to Mr Rasbotham, “tee me dug”. “What?” said Mr. Rasbotham, “Tee me clog? Mr. Rasbotham looked the crazy fellow steadily in the face and saw vicious mischief lurking in his eyes, so without any more parleying, he told Charley to put his toot on the copse by the roadside, and Mr. Rasbotham
Actually tied the lunatics clog, and then very gravely said “Now, Charles, your clog is tied all right, but you must never again ask me to do such a Thing, or it will be the worse for you the lunatic went on his way, boasting that he’d made Mr. ‘Rasbotham “tee his clug’. He was very speedily removed to a lunatic asylum.
In the year 1798, an Act of Parliament was passed “entitled an Act for dividing, allotting and enclosing certain commons and waste lands, within the Manors of Lordship of Farnworth and Kersley, which parcels of common and waste land are called Halshaw Moor, Dixon Green and Blackhurst Green”. An original copy of this Act is in my possession. In this Act it is set forth that William Hulton, Esq., of Hulton Park, and Lord of the Manors and owner of the commons and waste grounds, as well as the owner and proprietor of several estates within the manors. It also states that the Most Noble Francis, Duke of Bridgewater; the Right Honourable Edward Smith Stanley, Earl of Derby: The Right Honourable Henry, Lord Bradford: Sir John Parker Mosley, Baronet: William Hulton, Esquire, Le Grandre Starkie, Esquire, the Reverend Walter Bagot, Peter Rasbotham, Esquire, and others were the owners and proprietors of messuage, lands and tenements in the manors, and, were thereby entitled to the rights of common upon the commons and waste lands, which were in such a state as to be of little value, but if divided into specific allotments and enclosed might be very considerably improved. It was therefore elected that the several commons and waste lends (except the moss or turbary grounds) should be set out, divided and allotted, and that. John Seddon, yeoman, of Acres Barn, Eccles, Ralph Fletcher, yeoman, of Tong-with-Haulgh, and Richard Jones, innkeeper, of Little Hilton, and their successors were hereby appointed Commissioners for putting the Act into execution. This was only 7 years ago, and yet how marvellous is the metamorphosis of this locality since that period. Could n of the aforesaid gentlemen revisit Farnworth now their astonishment would be great indeed, and they would conclude that this was not the place with which they were formerly so familiar?
Darley Hall and park and Lower Darley were then at their best and were most beautifully wooded. The road past Cromptons paper mill which were then the only manufacturing works in the township was through a beautiful avenue of tall trees which were inhabited by many varieties of feathered songs birds, whose choral music was most chanting to listen to during the spring and summer months, and an old barn adjoining Darley Hall was tenanted by numerous bats, I well remember when a boy of five or six years old on one dark warm-autumn evening a large bat pursued by an owl, flew through the open doorway into my father’s kitchen at Chapel House, and took refuge in the corner of a shelf over the hearth, in which place my elder brother tried to capture it, but it bit his hand so severely that he was glad to let it escape into the darkness outside. The owl had not followed the bat into the kitchen, but having briefly sketched the earlier history at Farnworth I will now give some personal recollections of what the district was like some 70 years ago. Darley perched on the backyard wall; it screamed out a most dismal “Tee-whop”.
Alongside the stone wall at Lower Darley were placed at intervals rustic seats round which grew clumps of “Lily of the Valley”, and to this truly sylvan retreat I have often accompanied my father on a fine spring or summer’s morning when he took his pocket Bible and notebook and sat on one of the rustic seats to study his sermon for the following Sunday, whilst I rambled about picking wild flowers.
Darley Clough was also a lovely spot, and I have gathered many a handkerchief full of nice clean watercress, which grew in the beautifully clear brook where now is the invert sewer belonging to Farnworth Local Board. In front of Darley Hall was a well-stocked fishpond in which Mr. Cruksanks, the gardener, said there was a large carp, which was over 50 years old. It was very tame, and on throwing bits of bread into the pond it would come to the side of the pond to be fed. In the spring one of my greatest pleasures was to watch the playful gambol of the young lambs and sheep of which there was a considerable number in Darley Park.
One night a large savage dog belonging to young Benjamin Rawson broke its chain and running into the park it worried several lambs and some sheep, after which the rest of the flock were disposed of and the park was grazed by larger cattle at the bottom, of what was then styled “the coach road ” (Darley Street), there stood a cottage in a hill at the corner turning down what is now Cemetery road. In this cottage there lived a very worthy but eccentric old man and his wife. They had no family. He was the identical Robert Topp who laid the first foundation stone of the Old Independent Chapel, which was the first place of worship in Farnworth. This gentleman was a great reader, and was blessed with a wonderful memory for retaining what he read. Consequently’, he was very good company for any intelligent person with literary tastes. One of his peculiarities was never to tell his age, even his wife never really knew what his age was. My brother frequently spent an evening with him, and would sometime stay chatting till the small hours of the morning. Knowing Mr. Topps repugnance to disclose his age, my brother went one evening with a firm determination to obtain by stratagem the oft solicited but never granted information, end after several hours in interesting conversation, which was skilfully led up to fitting opportunity my brother suddenly asked “Let me see, how old did you say you were Robert?” To which query the reply was deliberately given “Oh, I’m older than I once was”. So my brothers plot failed to accomplish its object.
Coming up “Coach Road” towards the turn pike road (now Market Street), there was on the right hand side a clough or dingle, the tall trees of which were occupied by an extensive rookery, which went by the name of “Crow Bank”, the site of which is now occupied by cottages. In this dingle was a well containing a good spring of deliciously cool, pure water, There were pipes laid conveying water from it to Darley Hall, and the public of Halshaw Moor frequently poached water from its source notwithstanding a notice board was affixed to one of the large trees warning trespassers that they would be prosecuted with the utmost vigour of the law.
Mr. John Gaskell and several other influential residents in the neighbourhood combined together and determined to contest the legality of Mr. Rawson’s claim in a court of law, and all the “oldest inhabitants.” of the district were summoned as witnesses to prove that for scores of years in former times the people of Halshaw Moor had free access to that spring of water. They, however, failed to establish their claim to the well, and Mr. Rawson enclosed it with a dome resembling a giant beehive in shape.
About the year 1822, a Parliamentary grant of a considerable sum of money was made for the purpose of building churches in districts where they were thought to be needed, and three new churches were built in this part of the county about the same time, viz., Ditch-Ash (Stand), Sweet Green Trinity Church, Bolton), and St. John’s, Halshaw Moor. This last-named edifice was erected on land given for the purpose by Benjamin Rawson, Esq., of Darley Hall, who also laid the first stone amid great rejoicings and excitement, there being a general holiday in the district and a grand procession of trade societies on that occasion, all of whom ‘were decorated with their various regalia’s, with numerous bands of music, banners, and large flags, accompanied by a considerable number of gentlemen, also ladies in open carriages. Although only a small boy at the time, ‘I well remember watching that imposing sight from hr. Robert Lord’s garden (Now Mr. Bradley’s) in Church lane. In the procession the Freemasons painted the most numerous and imposing portion with all their Masonic jewels and emblems of various degrees of their craft. They also carried a richly trimmed velvet cushion bearing a large Bible on which lay a beautiful crown. But the Society of Free Gardeners attracted the most attention by their having a large wagon; over which warn erected a sort of arbour covered with evergreens intermingled with daffodils and other kinds of early spring flowers.
Inside this arbour were two live figures representing Adam and Eve, each clad in a tight-fitting flesh covered costume having short aprons of ivy leaves bound round their loins, which I suppose was the best substitute for fig leaves that could their be procured. The figure of Adam stood up in the bower leaning upon the rough handle or shaft of a rudely constructed wooden shovel and I wondered how Adam managed to make a shovel like that without any knife or tools. I also concluded that unless the soil in the garden at Eden was much looser and freer from the soil in my fathers garden was, Adam would not be able to delve much space of ground with a spade like that, In the foundation stone was worked a cavity and in the cavity was deposited a document containing the history of the Church, also a box or casket in which were placed specimen of all the current coin of the realm, in gold, silver, and copper. The cavity was, then carefully secured, as it was thought but alas? It was found on the following morning that some sacrilegious wretch or wretches had come during the night and taken away all, the coins which had been enclosed within the stone. They were, I believe afterwards replaced with others of equal value. It was strongly suspected that some of the workmen employed on the premises had committed the robbery, but there wore no rural police at that period, and the village constable was not sufficiently astute to detect the thieves.
In September 1826, the sacred edifice was consecrated Dr. Bloomfield, the Bishop of Chester, as this district was at that time in the diocese of Chester. A real live Bishop was then a great curiosity in ouch a rural district as Halshaw Moor, end the crowds came from miles around to have a look at his Lordship a he passed to and from the Church and Darley Hall. I accompanied my brother and Masters George and Thomas Barnes to the entrance lodge or gatehouse entrance to Darley Park to witness his Lordship’s return to Darley Hall. This gate—house was opposite Davenport Cottage on the Bolton Road.
On Mr. Rawson’s carriage containing his Lordship, approaching the lodge, the coachman drove rather fast, and the people rushed and struggled hard to get near the carriage. Upon seeing this his Lordship put his head out of the coach window and very deliberately called out to the driver “Drive slowly in order that the people may see me’. It warn very kind of his Lordship thus to try and satisfy the crowd’s intense curiosity, but those in the immediate vicinity of the carriage who heard the remark were rather amused at the solemn tone in which it was uttered.
There was, at this period a well in Browy Meadow, which lies between the L. and Y. railway tunnel and the river. This well was one of the principal supplies for culinary purposes, its water being very soft and pure. The field in which it lay was in close proximity to Clammerclough, which before the Manchester and Bolton railway cut through it was a most charming spot, reaching down to the riverside. Many of its tall trees were clad in ivy, in which nestled (as I have heard an old resident in the neighbourhood say) between 30 and 40 different varieties of birds. I once accompanied my brother and his two-companions to the part of Browy Meadow adjoining the clough by the river­side, with decoy birds in cages; on the top of which were securely fastened large twigs well smeared with bird lime. They very soon caught a number of brown linnets, which were loosed from their tenacious perch, and transferred into an empty cage.
On another occasion we went with fishing nets to the riverside, where the confluence of the Croal and the Irwell takes place. There the two streams joined was very deep, and both rivers were at that time free from pollution with chemicals and sewage and this particular spot was tenanted by live fishes, though none of them were very large. The young fellows succeeded in netting some tench, and I got a number of them put into a can which I took home and emptied into a large rain—water tub that was more than half full of rain water. I was delighted with the idea of being able to amuse myself with angling in this tub by means of a stock, black thread crooked pin and worms but, alas! The fishes quickly died, and spoiled the stock of water which served for general household purposes I had to listen to a very energetic lecture from my father, a ”striking” application, which made a much deeper impression upon me than many a lecture I have listened to since.
Before the cottage near Clammerclough - Mill were built and opposite where they now are, there was a tall thorn hedge in which grew a number of wild roses, and in the autumn I there gathered some hips (or wild rose fruit) from which my mother prepared a homely kind of conserve of roses, Which warn used during winter for sore throats and hoarseness.
A plantation of tall trees stood where hr. Robert Harrison’s shop and the Farnworth Post Office now are, and some 40 or 30 yards from the main road there was an old habitation in which for many years there resided a man named Robert Howarth, who was the village blacksmith and Ferrier, whose workshop was the smithy near the Bull’s Bead. He had a daughter Mary, who was totally blind from her youth-, and earned her living by sewing, and a beautiful neat sewer she was, too, end being sightless she could sew in the dark as well as the daylight. It was very interesting to watch her thread her needle, which she accomplished very eerily, by fixing the needle in the breast of her gown.
Leigh House, which is still standing behind Messer’s. Coope Brothers’ timber yard, was during the early twenties suite a mansion, with a decent sized orchard, well stocked with fruit trees where the timber yard and a number of cottages now are.
This genteel residence was at that time occupied by Mr. Todd, who worked Prestolee Old Factory (now demolished. At that time, there was no road for vehicles between Bolton and Manchester Turnpike Road (Market Street) and Nan Lane (Albert Road) except round by Moses’ Gate (Gladstone Road) or Longcauseway, which was then entirely bordered with green fields on both sides, with the exception of two or three cottages, which are still standing close to the iron chapel belonging to the Wesleyans. The entrance to Leigh House and grounds was by two white gates, which stood where the Horse Shoe Hotel is now, and from these gates the road led through a meadow or Small Park in which now stands the Wesleyan Day School. From the south—west side of Leigh House, there branched off a narrow lane, which went between where King Street and Princess Street now are.
This rural lane formed a pleasant walk, fenced in on each side a high copse, in which green thorns, hollies, wild roses and honeysuckle. I have gathered in the summer time whilst passing along that lane, lots of wild flowers, and twined them into a wreath round my straw hat, and in autumn some very fine blackberries grew on the brambles there. Mr. Todd, being a sort of village aristocrat, lived in what was then considered to be grand style, and both Mrs. Todd and their only son, Andrew, were very vain and proud.
When Leigh House was being beautified during Mr. Todd’s residence there, his wife and son determined to spare no expense in decorating the principal rooms, and they had an artist to paint the ceiling of the dining room with the sun just rising over the window, and a morning sky, with fleecy clouds dispelling the darkness from the farther side of the room The drawing-room ceiling represented Night, with a crescent moon peeping over the window, and the rest of the ceiling was dark—blue studded with stars bright silver. Round each fireplace was ornamented with classical figures and dancing fauns. This was a costly piece of extravagance, and was at the time freely commented upon by the neighbours.
They had two daughters Lucy the youngest, was a nice girl about 12 years of age, who daily rode to school at Bolton on a beautiful white pony, and Masters George and Thomas Barnes and my brother also plodded on foot to Mr. Wilson’s school at Bolton, and any of the three boys was very proud to walk alongside Miss Lucy Todd and her pretty white pony.
The following paper does not treat of a resident of Farnworth, although his home at Prestolee was only just across the boundary (being divided from that township by the river Irwell), and his person and character were very familiar to the inhabitants of Halshaw Moor, and there are no doubt some of the older inhabitants of Farnworth at the present time who will remember him as “Dictum Factum”.
He punningly nicknamed himself “Dictum Factum” from Dictum — said, and Factum — done — said done - Seddon, his real name being James Seddon. He owned a paper mill which his father had previously worked, and his horses and carts were frequently brought over Halshaw Moor over the old bridge at Darley, to witch Mr. Rawson strongly objected, denying Mr. Seddon’s right-of-way over that bridge, and threatened to forcibly contest it, if Mr. Seddon’s men again made use of it ”Dictum Factum” (as he preferred to be called) soon gave Mr Rawson an opportunity of putting his threat into execution, by sending his horses and carts guarded by all the workmen he had in his employ. They were met at the bridge by a staff of employees from Rawson’s chemical works, armed with a variety of implements of warfare and a fierce battle ensued between the two parties, ending in a complete victory for the Rawsonites, who thoroughly routed their opponents and drove them back to Little Lever. No lives were lost, but there were a few broken heads and many sore bones. “Dictum Factum” was terribly annoyed and very indignant at his defeat, and revenged himself by getting printed and extensively posted throughout Halshaw Moor and Little Lever a most bitter and sarcastically placard, carefully worded so as not to be actionable. I well remember the following lines in large capital letters: -
And some wag painted on the brew house door of the Church Inn: -
“ In Memory of Darley Fight”.
And this remained on that door for several years, to the amusement of persons attending the church, as there was no other way for worshippers to the church than down or up Church Lane.
“Dictum Factum” was not only witty, but also whimsical and capricious. He had a large summer house erected at the top of the large field leading from the river, and on the top of this building he placed a large image representing some celebrity or animal, which was changed every few weeks for a new one of a different character, the dismounted one being broken up and thrown into the river. Be mast have been a good Customer to some of the Italian image sellers who at that time frequently came round carrying a large board on which ware plaster images of various kinds.
He had an oil portrait painted, of himself which I thought was an excellent likeness, bat on exhibiting it to a party of visitors one of them (no doubt mischievously) criticised severely, and found so much fault with it that “Dictum” was thoroughly disgusted, and when the visitors left, he took a knife, cat the picture out of the frame, and slashing it across
Several times he rolled it up and ordered his servant man to throw it into the river, which was the usual receptacle for most of his cast off hobbies. On the man and his wife and bit daughters examining the wreck they found to their great joy that the entire features and one shoulder of the portrait are not injured, and James Leach who was painting at Prestolee House at the time, brought the uninjured canvas home to the Old Chapel lane, close to my father’s house. Leach, being an amateur artist during his spare time from house painting, mounted the salvage portion of the portrait on a large canvas, painted the missing parts of the picture, and returned it to the coachman’s family, by whom it was highly prized. What became of it in after years I do not know? “Dictum” sometimes amused himself as a sculptor and prided himself in the bas-relief figure of a horse, which he had carved and placed over his stable door. One bright sunny morning he was showing some visitors over his establishment, and calling their attention to the carving of the horse, told them it was his own workmanship, when a Scotch gentleman of the party, rather banteringly, said “D’ye call that a horse? Its nair like an ass with such long ears”, upon which “Dictum”, looking down towards the visitor’s feet, hastily replied, with emphasis. “Bless me, the man is looking at his own shadow”, and pointing at the stone caving said “See you, man, that is what I directed your attention to, and not your own shadow in the sunshine”
“Dictum Factum” was a heavy shareholder in the old Bank of Manchester. When the bank stopped payment a full meeting of the directors and shareholders was held, at which it. Richard Roberts, the chairman of the board of directors, presided. “Dictum Factum” entered the room just before the business of the meeting commenced, and loudly announced himself thus: — “Gentlemen, I’ve come to show you the biggest fool in all Christendom”, upon which one gentleman asked why had (Mr. Seddon) had risked such a large sum in a concern not considered over safe? To which Mr. Seddon promptly replied. “Because the devil took me up into a high mountain and showed me ten per cent.” This answer caused great merriment and excitement amongst the assembly, upon which the chairman hastily called out “Harmony, gentlemen, please, do let us have harmony”. “Yes”, replied “Dictum”, imitating the chairman’s voice and manners, “It’s our money that we want, gentlemen: please do let us have our money”. But they only received a very small portion of their money, and many were thereby reduced from comparative affluence to beggary and severe privations.
Some years before the bank’s failure, “Dictum Factum” had a new carriage built according to a plan of his own, something after the style of Napoleon Bonaparte’s private carriage which was captured after the battle of Waterloo and was afterwards exhibited in London. When “Dictum” got his new carriage home, he invited my father (whom he frequently came to hear preach) to accompany him for an hour’s drive, then he would explain the various ingenious fittings and conveniences the interior of the carriage contained. My father’s curiosity being excited, he gladly accepted the invitation and ha was both amused and interested with his ride. The description of the interior of the carriage and its cooking, citing, and even sleeping appliances, would occupy too much a pace, but nothing seemed to be wanting, that would add to the comfort of the traveller. This was previous to the introduction of any railway.
Shortly afterwards “Dictum” drove over to his father’s, whom had retired to the suburbs of Manchester, and after showing his father all the conveniences it contained the old gentleman said; “I’ll tell thee what, James, if I had ridden in a carriage like that, thou would have had to walk” a very pithy remark and full of meaning. For many years after “Dictum” had retired from business he went to Manchester every Tuesday to dine with a number of his old associates at the “Ship Inn”, in Blue Boar Court, where there was a first-class ordinary every market day, and he was a great gourmand, always enjoying a good dinner as well as cheerful society. He had a rack fitted up in his barn at Prestolee, on which he had his game (when in season) and sundry legs of mutton hung to condition and get tender. He would never have a leg or shoulder of mutton cooked until it had been hung in the barn at least a full fortnight after which he said, “It ate like venison”.
I remember “Dictum” coming to Mr. J.R. Barnes at the warehouse in Macdonald’s Lane with a memorial or petition to the directors of the Manchester and Bolton Railway, respecting the poor accommodation for passengers at Halshaw Moor Station. This memorial he had embellished with a pen and ink drawing of a huge dragon, with its open mouth representing the tunnel at Halshaw Moor, and of which issued fire and smoke forming a locomotive engine, the body and tail of the monster representing a railway train tapering off prospectively to little more than a dot. Mr. J. R Barnes was one of the board of directors.
We all had a good laugh over this artistic and calligraphic curiosity after “Dictum” was gone. During the last few gears of ‘his life, he grew to be enormously stout and short winded. On one occasion he was returning from Manchester in the same compartment I was in, and on arriving at Stoneclough Station, where his carriage was waiting at the bottom of the steps, he had the greatest difficulty in squeezing himself cut of the railway carriage, the doors being narrower than they now are now, he was struggling to compress his huge corporation ‘so as to permit his exit, he caught sight of a “Manchester Guardian” which some one had left on the seat, and turning to me he said, “That’s a ‘Manchester Guardian’ but this doorway is a Manchester and Bolton guard you in”. A most atrocious pun, but it was certainly impromptu.
One morning “Dictum” felt very unwell, and being of a very nervous temperament he fancied ha was going to die. Hi kept in bed and sent for his medical adviser, Dr. Anderton, to came immediately, but the doctor had gone his morning’s round of visits to his patients, and did not get home until noon then told “Dictum’s” urgent message, the doctor hastily swallowed his dinner and hurried down to Prestolee House. On his ascending the stairs, he heard preceding from “Dictum’s” room, at short intervals, a long and prolonged Boo-oo-co-oo-m, followed in a few seconds by another Boo-oo-oo-oo-m repeated several times. The doctor stopped outside the bedroom door for a minute or two, listening to these strange ejaculations, and entering the room laughing he approached the bedside and Inquired, “What is the matter, Mr. Seddon? And what ‘is the meaning of all this?” The sick man, turning a most doleful look towards the doctor said in a faint hollow voice, “It is the passing bell tolling f or the decease of “Dictum Factum”, who died through the cruel neglect of Dr. Anderton”. The Doctor was highly amused, but assuming as serious a countenance to he could, requested the sick man to put oat his tongue and hand, but “Dictum” refused, saying it was useless to feel the pulse of a dead man, and taking a sovereign out of his purse, he gave it to Dr. Anderton as his fee
In the earlier half of the third decade of the present century the manufacturing of all kinds of cotton goods in Farnworth and district was carried on by handloom weavers at their own homes, where this craft found employment for a considerable portion of the female population, whilst the fathers and sons were mostly working at the various collieries in the neighbourhood then owned by the Duke of Bridgewater’s Trustees, at Dixon Green and Plodder Lane; Mr. Ford Hulton, Esq., whose pits were betwixt Cheapside and the bottom of Longcauseway, also at the top of Longcauseway and Nan Lane, where there were also extensive coke ovens: and by Mr. Thomas Grundy, at what was called the “Hole Estate”. One of Mr. Grundy’s carters, who was only known by the nickname of “Meawse O’Bob’s” was brought before the County Magistrates at Bolton, being summoned for riding on his empty coal cart without reins and on being asked his name by the presiding magistrate Mr. Robert Heywood) he promptly replied “Meawse C’Bob’s”.
Mr. Heywood, enquiring the meaning of this answer, had explained by clerk of the court that “Meawse” was the Lancashire for mouse and “O’Bob’s”I that his father’s name was Robert, and on the delinquent saying that he had no other name, Mr, Heywood said “Where do you live?” The answer was “Aw live t’ th’ Hole. ~ (Meaning the H ole Estate) on which Mr. Heywood convulsed the court by quaintly remarking, “It was a proper place for a mouse to live in.”
The habits of the people were at that time very simple. Their wants were few, and their earnings small, although their hours were much longer and more laborious than they are now. The handloom weavers often worked fifteen or sixteen hours a day. I have heard the looms at work at Thomas Mather’s (close to Chapel House) at eight or nine o’clock and sometimes as late a ten o’clock on Friday evening their “cuts” or “getting deawn” as it was usually termed, previous to “bringing whoam” or taking theirs finished work home to the warehouse or their “putters out” on the Saturday morning,
These putters out” came weekly from Stand, Whitefield and Radcliffe, where the manufacturers of coloured goods had their establishments, and they hired a room in which to receive their weaver’s work, and give cut fresh yarn, healds and reeds, and patterns for the next warp.
The plain, grey cloth, such as twills, calicoes, and fustians were manufactured by Messer’s J.R. Barnes, J. and R. Lord and one or two others in Farnworth. These master manufacturers worked quite as hard and for longer hours than their workpeople did, for I well remember Mr. .R. Barnes, both before and for years after he had his first power looms, regularly rising at five o’clock in the morning, going into him warehouse at Moses Gate, and hand warping until seven o’clock, after which he went to his breakfast, and on Market days, which were held on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays, he washed, shaved and dressed, and then walked to Manchester, and did an ordinary day’s work there, having no fire in the warehouse even on the coldest day in winter. His only refreshment consisting of bread end cheese, or a two penny’ meat pie and a glass of beer, afterwards walking home again, and after getting his tea, he went into his warehouse again, his two sons, George and Thomas, have ever been warm supporters of and liberal contributors to the cause of religion and education, as well as having materially developed and aided the prosperity of the town and neighbourhood of Farnworth. Mr. Thomas Barnes’s name will be long honoured in remembrance of his munificent gift of a public park to his native town, by which act he conferred a lasting benefit, not only upon the present, but also on future generations.
Far many years after the introduction of power looms, hand-loom weaving was still carried on in Farnworth the respective homes of the artisans, as the machinery at first only adapted for weaving plain grey cloth, and all fancy checks and figured goods were still woven by hand, and many small manufacturers in Bolton and surrounding districts who had families of grown-up sons and daughters kept them all employed at home in weaving coarse caddow sheets or figured counterpanes and fancy muslins, which the head of the family took oat into the country places, and retailed amongst the middle-class families and shopkeepers, etc.A very respectable man named games Ward used to call at my father’s regularly about every two months with a large pack of toilet covers and fancy muslin neckerchiefs, which were at that period extensively worn by middle-class females. Another stout fellow called at intervals with a bulky parcel of counterpanes and caddow-sheets, all of ~ which were manufactured by his own family not “Made in Germany.” These homely manufacturers seemed to make a comfortable livelihood, buying their yarn from some of the few spinners in Bolton and Farnworth, for which they always had to pay “cash before delivery”. The production of what was at that time considered to be a good sized cotton spinning mill, was very small, owing to short machines end slow speed at which they were worked.
The following true anecdote of the “good old times” will probably interest and amuse some of the cotton spinners of the present day. Mr. George Lomas, who resided at Birch Hell (now occupied by Mr. Bateman) was connected with old Mr. Knowles at what was then known as “The Four Factories”, Bolton, and acted am yarn salesman for the firm, attending Manchester Exchange on market days.
During a protracted dull time (which occurred even in those days) the stock of yarn at “Four Factories “ had become rather heavy, and one Monday evening Mr. Knowles called Mr. Lomas into his private Office and said “George, you mast get us some orders for our twist at tomorrow’s market.” –Mr. Lomas replied ”I will do m best, Mr. Knowles, but what is the lowest price I must sell at?” Mr. Knowles replied, “We cannot take less than 3s.6d. a pound for our quantity of cops”. Cotton and yarns were then very much dearer than now. Mr. Lomas, however, could not effect any sale the following day (Tuesday) and on his returning from Manchester to the mills, Mr. Knowles bagerly asked “Well, George, have you brought any orders?” to which Mr. Lomas replied “No, I could not get any more than 3s 6d for 60’s copes”. “Oh that’s ridiculous, it can’t be lone at that price’’. Mr. Lomas answered “Yes, I have been reckoning the cost as r came from Manchester in the coach”. “How do you make your calculation?” said Mr. Knowles, on which Mr. Lomas went through various items of cotton loss in. waste, wages, expenses, interest on capital, etc, which brought the cost price to a fraction over 5s.2d. per lb. so you see” said Mr. Lomas “there is nearly 4d. a pound left at on which Mr. Knowles angrily exclaimed “Hang it man, we want that for anxiety of mind.” If cotton spinners of the present day were to be paid at anything like that rate they would soon amass large fortunes, and I know one who would now have been immensely rich.
During the period when the Rawson family were all at Darley Hall (except one son who was a captain in the army) there a meet of mounted huntsmen and harriers in front of
The Hall. I well remember watching the huntsmen in proper costume, and a pack of hounds in full cry, leaping over the fence into the meadow where the Catholic and Wesleyan chapel now stand, the hare having run across the field just before they arrived. I stood upon a stack of turf in our backyard, greatly interested in watching this unusual and exciting scene. This occurred previous to the church being built.We generally had a load of turf from Clifton Moss every autumn, as a tuff fire was preferable to coal for ironing purposes. A few years alter the above occurrence, the Clifton and Kearsley Moss got on fire during very hot dry weather and it continued to burn for weeks, until it was extinguished by broad trenches being cut all round the part on fire. Crowds came to see it, as it was quite a sensational scene, and was certainly the largest bonfire I over witnessed.
Shortly before this occurrence, a large balloon, which ascended from Warrington with Mr. Green and two other gentlemen in the car, alighted on Kearsley Moss That was considered a great event, as it happened not very long after Sadler’s fatal ascent at Bolton, which was the first balloon ascent with passenger ever witnessed from Farnworth’ Green’s balloon rather astonished the rustics who got near to it, by its monstrous size, before it was emptied of gas, and loaded into a wagon, which it entirely tilled when closely folded together.
At the time the Hulton and Grundy collieries were in full work at Farnworth, the miners worked by candle-light, as safety lamps were unknown in this district, and the coal mines here not being very deep, there was no fear of any explosion from what was known as “fire damp”. The colliers’ candles were very small (24 to the pound), very green in colour, this being caused by the arsenic used in their manufacture, which it was said prevented their tendency to gutter or rum in consequence of the air draught caused by the ventilation of the mines. The colliers were commonly seen returning front their work. In an afternoon with unburnt piece of green candle stack in a loophole made for the purpose in their working caps.
There were also numbers of women employed down the coal pits, and people thought nothing of seeing these Amazons returning from their labour, clad in men’s trousers, short petticoats, and rough jackets made from a coarse woollen cloth called “gladdin”, their legs enclosed in stockings without feet, familiarly called “whirlers”, which remind me of an anecdote current at that period that caused much amusement.There was a new hosiery shop opened in Bradshawgate Bolton, into which there entered one Saturday evening, a Collier from Halshaw Moor, named James Heathcote (alias ‘Jim Harscutt”), who solemnly walked up to the counter and asked to be shown a pair of “whirlers”, that colour”, pointing to a pair of grey stockings shown in the window, which the shop man handed to him Jim carefully examined the hose, and said, “They’re aw, reet i’th’ colour, but aw want whirlers, an not stockings”, and on the shop man enquiring, what “whirlers” were, Jim replied, “Waw, they’re stocking’s beawt feet”. “Well”, said the shop man, “these stockings can soon be made into whirlers, as you call them”. “Show mi heaw it can be done”, said Jim, upon which the shop man, being anxious to effect a sale, took a large pair of scissors, cut off the stocking feet, and passed the lot over to Jim,replied”Aye, that’s the sort of us aw wanted, haew mitch are they”. “ Two Shillings and
sixpence” replied the shopman, on which Jim angrily threw the ruined stockings across the shop counter say “Waw, man, aw never paid mooar nur a’ shillin’ fur o’ pair whirlers, un awst not pay no mooar neaw’. Walking towards the shop door. The astonished shopman saw that he had made a fool of himself, and let Jim have the whirlers for a shilling, keeping the stockings feet. Both male and female colliers wore very thick soled clogs, the bottoms of which were thickly studded with large square-headed nails called “stumps” which prevented the wearers from slipping, and must have consider-ably increased the weight of their clogs. I remember seeing at one of the earlier Halshaw Moor wakes, two of Thomas Cross’s brick makers, “Tommy Oppenshaw”, and “Billy Morris”, walking a match along the turnpike road, each shod with a specially made new pair of clogs, the wooden sole: of which were about six inches thick, and very heavily studded with enormous stumps, the prize being a new hat, which with a green ribbon tied around it, was hung at the end of a pole projecting from one of the Bowling Green Inn windows. The match caused lots of fun, as “Billy Morris was a tall, robust fellow, while “Tommy Oppenshaw” was a wiry, active little man, about five feet in height, who knocked his short legs and timber understandings about like two drum sticks. Billy’s longer legs and superior muscular power, however, gave him the advantage, and he headed the numerous procession as it reached its destination, the Bowling Green Inn. This public house was generally considered to be the oldest and leading place of resort for numbers of the middle-class shopkeepers and tradesmen of the district, who held a sort of club in the bar parlour on certain weeknights. There were also several other lodges and sick clubs connected with the establishment, most of witch held their annual dinners in the large lodge room, generally about the months of July or August, when salmon, lamb, and green peas were plentiful and cheap. There was also a women’s lodge held there, the anniversary day of which was always testified by the hanging out of a large banner, on which was painted on one side full length figures of two or three angelic females without wings, but had they been clothed in white gowns of the present fashion, of high shoulders and full sleeves, they would have looked still more like angels with their wings closed. These were represented standing by the bedside of a sick woman, to whom they seemed be administering either a very large dose of medicine or the cup of consolation. Over the picture was placed in large gilt letters, the sentence “I was sick and ye visited me”, and on the reverse aide was painted two full-length females supporting a shield on which was inscribed the name of the lodge. After the dinner the husbands and ‘sweethearts were admitted, and the evening spent in dancing, or rather “stamping” to the merry strains of a fiddle, and usually I have heard the sound of a flute also, as all the windows were usually wide open, the room no doubt being very warm. These orgies were kept up until a late hour, as there was no eleven-o’clock closing time, nor any police to interfere with the revelers enjoyment.
The Oddfellows, Free Gardeners, Ancient Druids, etc., also held their anniversary dinners at the public houses where their various lodges were held, but their after-dinner entertainments were not so lively as they were at the women’s “box-nights”, as they were commonly styled.
One part of the Bowling Green Inn was thatched at that time, and over the front door was a large sign, which was newly painted for the occasion of laying the first stone
Halshaw Moor, new church. The picture on the sign represented a number of men on the bowling green, one of who was stooping in the act of sending a bowl across the green. This artistic sign was replaced with a new one, then Mr. James Roscoe came from the Cross Axes, at Bolton, to act as landlord of the Bowling Green, when another view of the green was given with the well-known, jovial figure of tile landlord (Mr. James Roscoe) conspicuously d displayed in the foreground of the picture. The bowling green proper (now the Farnworth market ground) was at that time fenced round with very high paving flags, well jointed together so as to prevent outside people from watching the bowlers Where Brackley street joins Market Street was a large gate leading into “Old Bullough’s” cow lane, through which the cattle were driven into the pasture fields and meadows, which then extended all the way from the Manchester and Bolton turnpike road to “Nan lane” (now Albert Road) the land now Farnworth Park was farmed formerly by Mr. George Lomas, who resided at Birch Hall. On that side on which now stands the gas works there Was a plantation of ‘very tall trees, which were for many years occupied by a rookery. The other lands were farmed by Mrs. Esther Davenport, of Davenport Cottage; William Barton, of Nan Lane; James Howarth, who lived where the Bull’s Head now it; and James Dootson, shopkeeper, where the Queen’s Inn is.
Betwixt Richard Bullough and James Howarth’s property up to the Manchester and Bolton turnpike road, warn a plot belonging to Mr. John Gaskell, the whole of which is now occupied by the Farnworth Co-operative Stores. On this land were erected four cottages facing the south, and a larger house adjoining the turnpike road, which was occupied by Mr. Gaskell and his family, he being encased in the cotton waste trade with Mr. Bennet of Bolton, who built the villa residence at Summerfield, Great Lever. The cotton waste trade was at that time a most extraordinarily profitable one, for I have heard Mr. Gaskell tell of his frequently clearing £20 or £30 profit in a morning before breakfast by buying and se1ling cotton waste. The four grown-up daughters carried on business as the principle and almost only milliners, straw bonnet, and dressmakers in Halshaw Moor, and I often think of their unostentatious display of a few bonnets or dresses (all of which were made to order), and were exhibited in their modest parlour window, facing the road just before Easter or Whitsuntide, when I pass the present large and tastefully-dressed windows of the Stores which occupy the exact site of the Misses Gaskell’s display of 60 or 70 years ago. The long strip of land behind the Stores was at that time occupied as a garden, in which for many years were several flourishing hives of bees, the swarms from which it used to be nice fun for Gaskell’s two sons and myself to help to drive into fresh hives (well sprinkled inside with sugar and water) by ringing a hand-bell and drumming on tin cans. On one occasion the Queen Bee, followed by a swarm of young bees, flew across the fields towards Leigh House, and settled on some land behind where Peat’s foundry now stands, the site of which had than been recently devoted by Mr. Thomas Cross to brick making. The men at work there procured a large tea tray covered with a white cloth, and by some means or another, they managed to get the entire swarm on to the tray, over which they inverted a washing mug, and brought it back to Mr. Gaskell, who rewarded them for the successful ingenuity. This simple but true narrative faintly conveys to the young reader’s mind, the wonderful change that Halshaw Moor has undergone during the last 60 to 70 years.
Another illustration of that metamorphosis is shown in the fact that at that comparatively recent period, there was not a single butchers shop in all Farnworth, nor was there sufficient flesh meat consumed to support a resident butcher, the small quantity then required by the general public being supplied by a butcher of the name of Tunstall, who lived at Street Gate (Little Hulton), whose wife and son came round every Friday with a covered cart or van from which they sold and weighed out the usual weekly supply of beef or mutton to those who could at that time afford to indulge in the luxury of flesh meat. Only think of this when taking a walk on Saturday morning from Lower Market Street round the Farnworth Market and up to the Blackhorse, and see the great numbers of butcher’s shops and stalls there are, and how well they are stocked with flesh meat of various kinds, besides the numerous nice, clean, and tempting looking pork shops, all of which must dispense every week an enormous quantity of animal food, proving that a vast majority of their inhabitants are not vegetarians, nor were they then teetotallers, although there were only two public-houses in Halshaw Moor, besides the Bowling Green Inn, as the New Inn, (Church Hotel) was only built at the time the Church was erected, so as “to accommodate the “winders and the ringers”, it was said at the time.The two other public—houses were the “Golden Lion”, of Moses gate, by the site now occupied by Mr. Thomas Barne’s
Co’s, tall chimney, and the “Black Horse”, there being no beerhouse until many years afterwards. The landlords of these public houses brewed all their own beer, as there were no “tied houses” owned by large brewers at that time. Theme publicans supplied those who baked their own bread with what barm or yeast they required, as “German Barm” was not known in England, for a fall generation afterwards. I have, when a boy, fetched scores of half-pounds of barn for my mother, for which the standard price never varied from three pence per pound, and as neither barm nor flour were so sound and sweet as they now are, the bread did not keep good more than three or four days, necessitating two baking’s per week, and in very hot weather even three. In after years, during the “eighteen-thirties”, as the population increased these publicans could not supply the quantity of yeast required, and there came to reside in Cross Street, a stiff, hearty looking fellow of about 40 years of age known as “Barm John”, who daily went about the district blowing a long tin horn, and carrying upon his head a large wooden vessel shaped like a miniature churn, containing brewers’ barm which he daily procured from the Bolton breweries and this he retailed for many years amongst the housewives who baked their own bread. A man named Gorton kept the “Church Inn” for many years after which he left it and went to the “Black Horse”.One warm summer afternoon two bleachers’ Waggoner’s, returning from Manchester with loads of grey cloth, stopped their horses at the front of the “Black Horse”(when Gorton kept it) just as three colliers in their working clothes were coming out of the public-house. On the Waggoner’s, enquiring “ What sort of beer is sold here” one of the miners wiping his mouth with the back of his hand answered “Oh its rare good ale, aw’ve nobbut had three pints un maw yed wartches awready This was considered to be a sufficiently good testimonial, as the two men went into the taproom: but whether they drunk three pints each, I cannot say.The” Vitriol Makers Arms” in Albert Road, was built during the time Mr. George Cottingham had his Chemical works, where Mr. Nicholson’s bleach works now are, near which Mr.Cottingham then resided until he built a new house and works now occupied by Mr. Warburton at Kearsley Moor.
About this time, or shortly afterwards what was called the “Beer houses Act”, was passed thereupon a number of beer houses suddenly came into existence in Halshaw Moor.
Amongst which where The Bird I’th’Hand, Bull’s Head, and Nut Inn, which was first established at Cheapside by William Coucill, better known as “Old Chum”, who was quite an original and well known character.
He regularly attended the fairs and wakes of the surrounding hamlets. He was always a conspicuous object at Whitsuntide fair held in front of the Bowling Green Inn.
The space was crowded with standings, on which were displayed cakes and sweets of various kinds on Whit-Friday and Saturday. “Old Chum” was the principal vendor of “Barcelona Nuts” and Eccles cakes: in which edibles he literally did a roaring trade, through the medium of a lottery board, on which was painted in a circle the figures 0 to l00, and in the centre revolved on a pivot a nicely-balanced long finger, pointed like the fingers of a clock. “Old Chum” coaxingly invited the children to put their halfpennies into a tin can, something like a lobster can, and this he kept shaking and rattling the coppers inside, at the lame time loudly’ bawling “One deawn, Nooa makes three”, increasing the number as each fresh investment was made until it reached ten or twelve, when he emptied the pile of copper, he placed its value in nuts and Eccles cakes. When the subscribers each took a turn at the lottery figure, spinning it round with all their might
The highest number, which the finger pointed when it ceased revolving was declared the winner of the prize. If a considerable number were eager to invest, “Old Chum” would divide his Cakes and nuts into first, second, and third prizes. The young men and women played for higher states, never risking less than a penny and going even up to three pence a turn, and the winners were seen walking away from the lottery with their pockets distended with nuts and several Eccles cakes in their hands, to the manifest delight of “Old Chum”, who by means of this ingenious and open system of gambling managed to dispose of an enormous quantity of nuts and cakes during the fair, the profits from which enabled him to build the Nut Inn (now changed to the Duke of York), and all the adjoining cottages.
What a demoralising influence this creating and fostering a taste for gambling must have had upon the rising generation of that period, yet there was at that time no legal restraint upon such a practice, as Government lotteries in England were either still in existence or only very recently abolished. At the time and for very many years afterwards, the clothing of the working classes was mostly supplied by travelling Scotchmen, who went about the country carrying small packs of sample goods, but most of their trade was done to order and on credit, the payments being made by fortnightly or even monthly instalments where some of the colliers were only paid their wages once a month. These itinerant drapers were canny enough not to deliver any goods except where there was a decently furnished household with goods of sufficient value to cover the amount of clothing supplied. But notwithstanding their great caution, they frequently “got done” as it was familiarly termed, and as natural consequence they made those who did pay also pay for those defaulters who did not pay, in proof of which the writer was going early to his work at Messrs. Barnes’ lower mill one autumn morning before it was properly daylight, when he found a purse opposite Birch House, which he opened on arriving at the mill, and found inside it £7. 15.Od. In money and a Scotchman’s bill for a black silk dress piece, the amount of which was £7.15.Od. Towards this it showed that the owner had only paid two half-crowns. Gowns were at that time made very plain, and took less material than is now used, The owner of the purse who was a weaver in the old weaving shed was sent for and asked if she had lost anything. “No”, she said, and feeling in her pocket she changed colour and said, “I’ve lost my purse”. The writer gave her the purse and its contents, at the same time telling her that he only found out that it belonged to her by means of a Scotchman’s bill inside for a black silk dress dated April towards which it appeared she-had only paid five shillings, although it was now the end of September. She took the purse and went back to her looms in a state of dire shame and confusion. He afterwards ascertained that a better quality of black silk dress piece could have been bought at any respectable draper’s shop in Bolton for less than three pounds. This seemingly easy mode of payment often tempted the females to indulge in thoughtless extravagance, and they had trouble afterwards, for these traveling drapers held a sort of “trades protection society” at Blackburn (which was their headquarters for this district), and they had lithographed legal forms which were freely used to frighten dilatory or delinquent customers. There were then no pawnshops in Farnworth to which the inhabitants could resort when hard pressed for payment of arrears.
The turnpike roads were at that time partially paved with cobblestones (not square sets ), and the other portion was macadamized, which through the great amount of heavy daily traffic betwixt Bolton and Manchester was in dry weather several inches deep with fine dust, and in winter over the shoe tops with mud, and the lanes and byways were almost impassable, even Longcauseway being a complete “Slough of Despond”, and such places as Dixon Green and Plodder Lane were like vast mortar beds, more especially after a frost. A resident there once remarked to the writer that “when these roads got so bad as to be impassable the authorities mended them with “slutch” to keep their feet comparatively dry, the females who did not wear clogs always went out in wet and dirty weather with pattens on over their shoes. These pattens consisted of a flat wooden sole, a full inch thick with leather tabs or straps fastened on each side and tied over the top of the shoe or boot. Underneath the clog sole was fastened a strong iron ring, which projected some three inches below the wooden sole, thus lifting the wearer’s feet above the water and mud.
The land upon which “Old Chum” erected “Nut Inn” and all the cottages down the right-hand side of the Old Independent Chapel Lane, formerly belonged to Richard Nelson, the entire plot betwixt the Old Chapel yard and the turnpike road being occupied as an orchard, well stocked with very fine apple trees, which when in flower in the spring season, were a most lovely and gorgeous sight with their garlands at pink and white blossoms, in which Gaskell’s bees held their musical revels, in autumn their branches were laden with luscious and tempting fruit, which no depredator ever meddled with, although there were no police to guard the property of the inhabitants. On the opposite side of the Chapel Lane adjoining the turnpike road was a large garden belonging, to George Hutchinson, containing fruit trees of various kinds, amongst which there stood a fine damson tree on the exact site now occupied by the Union Bank of Manchester, from which tree the writer has had many a handful of nice sweet damsons. That a mighty change has been made in that locality since the writer was a youngster under ten years of age.

Richard Nelson (commonly known as “Old Nelson”) was a most disreputable character, bad tempered, and very quarrelsome, and when under the influence of drink (which, alas was very often) be was literally mad, fighting with with any one with whom he could pick a quarrel, and committing the most insane acts. He lived in a moderately sized stone house, which stood near where Graveson’s back premises now are, and kept horses and carts, with which his sons carted coal to Manchester. This notorious character had a most awful termination to his wicked life. After several days’ drunken spree, he was last seen alive at the Golden Lion one Saturday night, and several days afterwards his dead body was discovered floating in J.R. Barnes and Sons’ hot-water lodge, which at that time was behind Mr. Barnes’s garden, where the stately cloth warehouse of Messrs. T. Barnes & Co. now stands.The site on which Market Street Congregational Church is erected was formerly a small field known as “Nelsons Croft”, which was after Nelson’s death purchased by Messer. J and R. Lord, and subsequently most generously presented by them for the object to which it is now devoted.

Lower down Nelson lane (now Nelson Street), on the site now occupied by cottages belonging to Messer. Lord’s trustees, stood several very old thatched cottages, which had evidently been built many generations before Halshaw Moor was enclosed and cultivated. The walls of these cottages consisted of heavy beams of timber quite black with age, Intersected by cross pieces of a lighter character, and these were thickly interwoven with strong willow twigs, forming a substantial wicker work, and then filled up and plastered over with some kind of composition, which was said to consist mostly of “doab” or clay. The writer, when a boy, often called at some of these huts (for such they really were) with religious tracts when officiating for his Mother, who, when her health permitted, paid regular visits, neighbourhood tracts, etc., amongst the cottages in the neighbourhood, and he being keenly observant of every detail, bad them permanently impressed upon his youthful memory. The internal arrangements of these dwellings were such as would most certainly have astonished the sanitary committee of our Local Board. The ground floors were composed of nothing but native earth or clay which, with age and contact the flooring had become very dry and hard. Only the hearth