​​​​​​​​​​​Manors, Halls and Large Houses​​​

Bank HouseThe Halls of Feniscowles | Gallig​reaves Hall​ | Shadsworth Hall
The Old and New Halls at Pleasington​ | Woodfold Hall | Whinfield Hall​

Bank Ho​​use

The date of the building of Bank House is unknown but is likely to be some time before the 17th Century. The name refers to the steep bank up to the top of Revidge looking out over the town and in the opposite direction towards Beardwood and Mellor. In 1614 the house was occupied by Thomas Whalley who had married Ellen Hindle, a widow from Rishton, Thomas was evidently a man of means but had declined the offer of a knighthood for which default he paid a fine of ten pounds. He became known as the Duke of the Bank from which Dukes Brow took its name. The civil war was ongoing and in 1642 Sir Gilbert de Houghton led a small force of Royalist from Houghton and, stationed near Bank House, bombarded the town which was for Parliament. Apart from ransacking the farm and stealing food the town did not suffer any loss and the troops withdrew to spend their Christmas Day at home.

Bank House on Duke's Brow.  From​ this spot Sir Gilbert Hoghton bombarded the town in 1642. 
Became known as the "Spewing Laddie" House due to the fountain.

The Whitehead family acquired the house in the following century and on Langs Survey of 1739 some land at Revidge is held by "Richard Whitehead", who's descendants remained there for the next century. Thomas Whitehead, a military man, became a Lieutenant-Colonel but his active service meant that he lived away from Blackburn and the house and surrounding farms were leased. Thomas was awarded a Baronetcy and tenancies were advertised in 1809.
The first recorded tenant was Doctor James Barlow, a prominent surgeon, who was among the first to undertake a successful caesarian operation. He left Bank House in 1826 and a William Eccles was the next tenant. He was a solicitor who, with his practice and share in his father's business, was able to buy land at Nova Scotia and build five six storey spinning mills, extensive weaving sheds with associated housing. William left Bank House in 1839 and by 1852 had been elected as an M.P. for Blackburn. He was later unseated on a charge of bribing the electors.

A tenant of the Whiteheads then was John Smith who leased Wagtail Quarry, across Duke's Brow near to the Quarryman's Public House. He eventually became the agent of the Whiteheads and following the death of Sir Thomas ran the estate for Lady Whitehead. In 1858 she contributed three acres, formerly stone quarries, to the land purchased by the borough for the creation of Corporation Park. In 1848 Bank House was taken by Lettice, the widow of James Briggs, and of her eleven children was joined by five of her daughters.

Bank House was vacant in 1860 and John Smith took it over himself. He was now a councillor for St. Paul's ward, had become an Alderman and also was the Mayor of Blackburn in 1867. Lady Whitehead died in 1869 and her spendthrift son asked John Smith to sell what remained of the family property. Smith had the first option to buy and did so, but as the properties were deeply mortgaged and poorly laid, despite controlling some of the most desirable land in the district Smith became bankrupt and insolvent. Bank House was then sold.

Porch at Bank House.  "Heaven protect this house and you,
Until you bid this world adieu, August 15, 1744" is scratched on a pane of glass above the arched lintel. 

According to an article in the Evening Telegraph John Noel Nichols​ was born at Bank House in 1883. He went on to be the maker of the famous drink Vimto and a purple plaque is displayed at the house. The house also boasts another plaque unveiled by Sir Bernard de Hoghton in 1992 commemorating the action in the Civil War by his ancestor Gilbert in 1642. The house, on what is now Adelaide Terrace, is said to be the oldest in Blackburn and is a Grade II listed building with a stained glass window depicting an angel, some traditional fireplaces and a large garden with a fountain called the "spewing laddie". In 1916 the house was bought by an Albert Wilson for £600.00 and his family have lived there from that time. In 2017 it was put up for sale.

Janet Burke
The above information is from research by Jim Halsall and articles in the Evening Telegraph dated the 19th January 2017 and the 25th January 2021.

The Halls of Feniscowles​

Feniscowles Old Hall
Links Lane becomes Higher Feniscowles, which runs by the side of Pleasington Golf Club and ends behind the fourteenth green. This is where Feniscowles Old Hall is sited, and still exists today. According to Abram's "History of Blackburn"​​a Thomas de Livesey held the freehold from as far back as 1404 and the Livesey family lived there until the 18th century. The house was restored in 1726 by a Thomas Livesey and in the wall of the barn are the initials "TL & AL" (Thomas and Alice Livesey) 1732. In a passage near the kitchen, within a scroll, are the initials TAL and the date 1726.


Feniscowles Old Hall

In 1798 William Feilden purchased the hamlet of Feniscowles from Thomas Ainsworth, the Lord of the Manor, which included the Old Hall and land across the River Darwen where William later built the new hall. The old hall was more a farmhouse than a hall and in 1877 was owned by Mrs. Harriet Openshaw together with forty seven and a half acres. In later years the house was divided into two residences.

Feniscowles New Hall
William Feilden born in 1772 was the third son of Joseph Feilden who built Witton Hall or House as it was known. He went to Blackburn Grammar School and then on to Oxford and became one of the first M.P.'s for Blackburn in 1832. William had purchased the hamlet of Feniscowles in 1798 and went on to build Feniscowles New Hall in 1812. The hall was close to the River Darwen, in the grounds a deer park was created and it was landscaped with many ornamental forest trees. There was a gate house on Preston Old Road at the bottom of Moulden Brow and another just over the bridge near Immanuel Church in Pleasington. William was awarded the Baronetcy of Feniscowles in 1846 and collected in his lifetime many valuable paintings and natural history objects. William died in 1850 and his son William Henry Feilden succeeded to the baronetcy and lived at the hall. Unfortunately due to the great increase of industrialisation, the river became heavily polluted and William Henry took the Corporation and Over Darwen Health Board to court. He lost his costly and protracted case in 1877 and died two years later in 1879.
In that year an announcement appeared in the Blackburn Standard, it read;
“Feniscowles Hall—This hall has been let on a seven year lease to the Rev. Father Quick to be used as a training school for boys of the Roman Catholic Faith.”

The ruins of Feniscowles Hall. Built in 1808 by William Feilden who was MP. The grounds were converted into a deer park.
 it was for a time used as a training school for Roman Catholic boys, and at the
end of the 19 century  into pleasure gardens. By 1911 it was falling into disrepair. Date 1959.

In 1903 the hall was put up for auction but there was no buyer. It then was used for wedding functions and as a pleasure park with swings and other attractions on its lawns with part of the mansion let off for catering. By the 1930's the hall was in disrepair and left to decay but when the lead was removed from the roof during WWII its fate was sealed. Eventually the land was sold and the ruins of this once fine hall can be seen from Preston Old Road. There are several photographs of the hall on Cotton Town.

Janet Burke
Much of the above information is from Abram's History of Blackburn, research by Jim Halsall and an article by George C. Miller in the Blackburn Times dated April 22nd. 1955

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​​Galligreaves Hall​

The hall was built on land originally owned by John and Joseph Feilden of Witton. They sold the land to John Pickup, a well known wine and spirit merchant, who built Galligreaves Hall in about 1830 - locally due to the wine and spirit connection it was also known as Brandy Hall. The family were unfortunate in that their daughter Helena's husband William Ainsworth, died in a shooting accident when only thirty eight years old and their son Edmund died when he fell from a hayloft. John Pickup's widow sold the hall to Joseph Harrison for £7,000 - at that time the hall was surrounded by twenty four acres of  park and woodland. Joseph and his wife Elizabeth moved into the hall in about 1847 where he lived until his death aged seventy five in 1880. Joseph Harrison had become one of the greatest engineers of his day owning Bank Foundary. He was a Justice of the Peace and the deputy Lieutenant of Lancashire and he and his family were very generous in many ways to the town. After Joseph's death in 1880 the hall remained empty until Thomas Sagar, a mill manager, took the lease. On his retirement Thomas was given the bell from Galligreaves Hall which had been used to ring in the new year.

Galligreaves Hall, Agnes Street. It was  first opened  as a Public House in 1880
and finally shut its doors in 2002.

Some of the land around the hall was sold for the building of Phoenix Ironworks and Shakespeare Mill where the school of St. Wilfrid's was later built. Land, where the gate house of the estate had been, was also sold for the building of  St. Luke's church. Eventually all the parkland and woodland was gone and the hall became surrounded by housing. The remaining part of the hall became a Conservative Club and then was bought by Duttons Brewery who transformed it into a public house - the Galligreaves Hotel. Its final role became that of a pre-school nursery.

Janet Burke
 Much of the above information is from research compiled by Jim Halsall and an article by Barbara Riding in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph dated the 6th. of November 2003.

Shadsworth Hall​

The history of this house goes back to James I when it belonged to the Astley family. Thomas Lord Fauconberg married Mary Cromwell, daughter of Oliver, in November 1657 - Mary was his second wife and in 1659 he purchased the Manor of Oswaldtwistle which included Shadsworth Hall. However there is no verification that they actually lived at the hall or that her father Oliver Cromwell had also stayed there. Apparently the nearest Oliver Cromwell came to Blackburn was in 1648 when he defeated the Scottish invaders at Preston and spent the night at the old Unicorn Inn in Walton-le-Dale. There is mention of a John Astley, Yeoman of Blackburn and Lord Fauconberg in an old indenture dated the 8th of March 1669. Lord Fauconberg died in 1700 and Mary in 1712.

Shadsworth Hall circa 1928. 
Note gate posts and sign for Queen's Tennis Club

In 1701 Henry Astley assigned the lease to Thomas Sharples whose son John in turn conveyed it in 1725 to William Davies, Yeoman. Twenty one years later Thomas Brewer a woollen dyer purchased the estate and resided at the house until 1799. His brother Edward was a governor of Blackburn Grammar School and he lived at Whitebirk. After his death in 1790 Edward's house was converted into a wayside inn called the Red Lion and the building still exists today.

After passing through various hands the estate was advertised for auction on the 5th of July 1797 "as being leased for life to Henry Whalley aged fifty nine of Ramsgreave". The estate was purchased by Messrs Benjamin and James Wilson of Baxenden. They both died unmarried and the estate passed to four nephews, sons of Edward Wilson and when the last of these nephews, John Rawsthorne Wilson of Lytham, died in 1865 the estate was recorded as being 245½ acres in size. Presumably the Wilsons has already sold the estate as in 1826 a William Carr, Clerk to the County Justices, owned the hall. This was the time of the "cotton riots" and rioters caused much damage to the hall. The mob finally dispersed when Mr. Carr showed some firearms. Mr Carr's daughter Mary married the Reverend Samuel Allen on the 16th of June 1829 at the Parish Church. Reverend Allen was one of the "Blackburn Worthies".

Two ladies posing in the garden of 
Shadsworth Hall, for their photograph.
by kind permission of Mr Alan Pickering, Holden Wood Antiques.

In the census of 1891 and 1901 William Woodhouse, a mill manager, lived at Shadsworth Hall. He had progressed from being a clerk in the mill to an employer and manufacturer and by 1911 had retired to a property called Lyndhurst on Revidge Road where he died in 1918. 
In the 1920's the hall became the home of Queen's (Park) Tennis Club who remained there until the 1950's. Finally in 1952 the Shadsworth housing estate was built by Blackburn Corporation and the hall was demolished sometime after that. Wilkinson House was built on the site and was named after Frank Wilkinson, Mayor of Blackburn from 1963 to 1964. On maps dated in the sixties the tennis courts are shown but whether the club still existed at that time is not known. 

Shadsworth Hall
by kind permission of Mr Alan Pickering, Holden Wood Antiques.

An old photograph album was found by Mr. Alan Pickering who kindly permitted the images to be entered on Cotton Town. There is no information as to the dates or the identities of the people in the photographs but it looks like the late 19th or early 20th century.

Janet Burke
Much of the above information is from research by Jim Halsall, John Graham Reeves, Ancestry and George C. Miller.

The Old and N​ew Halls at Pleasington​

Pleasington Old Hall
This had to be so named as it had been in existence for some considerable time. It was rebuilt in 1587 and ​although in Elizabethan times houses were often built in the shape of "E" in this case the porch was not centrally placed. The lintel over the doorway contains three panels with the centre one showing the arms of the Ainsworth family - three battle axes and the adjacent panels showing the arms of Thomas Hoghton of Hoghton Tower and John Southworth of Samlesbury. These families were the main landowners of Pleasington when the hall was rebuilt in 1587. Lawrence Ainsworth was the occupant of the manor house and Lord of the manor at that time. The interior apparently was of little interest although there were signs that the central hall, (now the parlour), was once used as a chapel for there is an ambry in a corner near the door, framed in oak and marked with the initials L.A. An ambry was a type of cupboard in ancient churches used for the vestments. In 1701-2 Thomas Ainsworth was killed by falling down the cellar steps at the old hall and it was on record that he left "no property and great debts". The last direct male descendant of the family died in 1779 but his estates, being mortgaged, had been publicly sold two years earlier to Richard Butler of Preston. John Bowden son of a High Sheriff of Derbyshire inherited the estate in 1841 from his cousin Miss Mary Butler and assumed the name of Butler-Bowden. Latterly the hall with seventy eight acres of land was a farm known as Old Hall Farm. 

Pleasington New Hall
 This hall was built by John Francis Butler, son of Richard, in 1805-7 and he also built the Roman Catholic Church known as Pleasington Priory. John and his sister died without issue which is why the estate passed to their cousin John Butler-Bowden. His eldest son Colonel J.E. Butler-Bowden had possession of the house until 1893. The original house had been much smaller than the present one with just three entertaining rooms but had been enlarged over time. Mr. W. H. Hornby M. P. took up residence in 1894 and made improvements to the property. Standing on a slope the hall overlooked a valley and the main rooms had a southern aspect. The property covered a large area with garden terraces and greenhouses. Sir Harry Hornby lived there for twenty years but in 1914 it was left empty. Eventually in 1930 it was put up for sale and the hall and one hundred and seventy acres was acquired by Blackburn Corporation with the intention of using ninety three acres for the construction of a new cemetery. The hall was then demolished in 1931 and eventually in 1943 Blackburn Corporation built a crematorium with a new cemetery on that site.

Janet Burke
The above information is from research by Jim Halsall, articles from the Blackburn Standard dated 21st. December 1895 and the Blackburn Times dated 15th. November 1930 and 5th. September 1931.

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​Woodfold Hall​

woodfold Hall.jpg
© Matthew Cole - terms and conditions

Henry Sudell made his fortune out of the cotton weaving industry of Blackburn and in 1798 built the mansion Woodfold Hall. The stone was quarried on Abbott Brow in nearby Mellor where he was now the Lord of the Manor. The architect was James Wyatt and there were over twenty rooms on the ground floor surrounding a sizeable yard and including a dairy, a brew house and a china closet at over seventeen feet by fourteen feet. The four hundred acre grounds were stocked with deer, wildfowl and a pack of hunting dogs and enclosed by a wall of four miles in circuit. Henry was a great philanthropist and supported many of his fellow townsmen when times were hard. Unfortunately in 1827 by speculating in the German and American markets he lost a great amount and left Blackburn never to return. Everything was sold but a major portion of the park had been settled on his family who sold it to John Fowden Hindle of King Street in 1831. Henry Sudell died at Ashley House, near Chippenham on the 30th. of January 1856 aged ninety two.
John Fowden Hindle died only a few months after purchasing the Woodfold Estate which then passed to his son also named John Fowden Hindle. He became the High Sheriff of Lancashire in 1844 and died in 1849. He was succeeded by his brother William who died four years later and William's two daughters inherited the estate - one being Mrs. George Frederick Gregory who happened to be the sister-in-law of Mrs. Daniel Thwaites. Daniel Thwaites bought half of the estate to settle a family matter. The Gregory family never actually lived at Woodfold Hall and in 1858 John Sparrow, a cotton manufacturer of Eanam in Blackburn, lived at the hall. The next tenant was Thomas Lund who had married Esther Thwaites, daughter of Daniel,  in 1855. He had been a successful businessman but like so many before him went bankrupt  in 1867 and was investigated for fraud. The hall was finally bought by Daniel Thwaites in around 1873 and his only daughter Elma and her husband, Robert Yerburgh the M.P. for Chester, came to live at the hall.
Elma died in Scotland in 1946 and the contents of the hall were auctioned off in 1949. The roof was removed to avoid rates and certain taxes and the hall was left derelict for many years. Woodfold Park contains two listed buildings being the bridge over Arley Brook and the ice house in Old Woodfold Wood. Eventually planning permission was gained for the renovation of the property and apartments were made in the main building and other living accommodation in the grounds.
plan of Woodfold Hall.jpg
© BwD - terms and conditions

The stone of Henry Sudell's mansion was quarried on Abbot's Brow, but the foundations were built upon his profits from the thriving weaving trade throughout Blackburn district.  After his marriage in 1796, Sudell set up home in this seat from which he discharged his duties as Lord of the Manor of Mellor, and of which Blackburn historian George C. Miller observed "its nature is more that of a temple than a dwelling".  As this plan of the ground floor shows, Woodfold Hall allowed Sudell to enjoy the high life of a successful entrepreneur: there are over twenty rooms downstairs surrounding a sizeable yard, and including a dairy, a brew house and a china closet which would rival many modern living rooms at over 17ft x 14 ft.  Sudell stocked his 400-acre grounds with deer, wildfowl and a pack of hunting dogs, and travelled into Blackburn by in a grand coach-and-four with uniformed postilions.  He also played the role of philanthropist with energy, founding St. John's church in Blackburn and St. Mary's in Mellor, helping recruitment to the Lancashire Fencibles, and supporting many of his fellow townsmen in lean times - even roasting an ox in the old marketplace at Christmas each year.  When 6,000 handloom weavers marched upon Woodfold from Blakey Moor in 1818, Sudell had the pragmatism to accede to their demand for a 5% advance; and even when his high living caught up with him nine years later, Sudell left his butler with enough money to establish himself at the Fox & Grapes pub on Preston New Road.  
After Sudell fled Blackburn, his grand lifestyle there was continued first by John Fowden Hindle as High Sheriff of Lancashire, and then by the Thwaites family; they owned it for a century up to 1949, when its contents were offloaded in a mammoth three-day sale of nearly 800 often elegant and valuable items. 
Woodfold Park contains two listed buildings: the Bridge over Arley Brook and the Ice House in Old Woodfold Wood.
The lithograph pictured above of Woodfold Hall makes the most of its rural setting, and was created by C. J. Greenwood whilst John Fowden Hindle, High Sheriff of Lancashire, lived there before 1850.
BJanet Burke and Matthew Cole 
Much of the above information is from research by Jim Halsall and an article in the Blackburn Times dated 25th. of November 1933. ​

Woodfold Park, Ice House Located in Woodfold Wood
The Ice house is G​rade II and was listed on the 27th September 1984
It is located about 100 metres west of White House Pond, and was probably built c.1800. The ice house is of b​rick with sandstone rubble walls and covered with earth. It is egg-shaped with a brick-lined vessel which is mostly below ground, the upper part is enclosed in square walls of sandstone rubble. Now damaged, the entrance on the north side was probably by a square porch of which only the foundations now remain.

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This house was built by William Dickinson an iron founder and machinist of Phoenix Foundary, Shakespeare Street, Bank Top. William died in 1882 and William Henry Hornby junior, bought Whinfield from the trustees of William Dickinson.

The house was described as a neat, brick built villa in the Italian style of architecture. It was turreted and the main entrance shaded by a portico and panelled with coloured glass. The grounds were not extensive but laid out with taste with two or three choice specimens of imprecata pine which showed well below the terrace. The main area contained various shrubs and flowers. At the rear a flight of steps took one to a modest conservatory with palms and ferns but the property was not designed to be ostentatious. Surprisingly the property had been built on the site where wrestling took place, even on Sundays and was overlooked by the cockfighting which took place close to the West View public house. At that time the area was more isolated and the Preston Road had not been constructed. William H. Hornby left Whinfield and bought Pleasington New Hall in 1894.

The next owner was Eli Heyworth in 1900 up to his death in 1904. Elizabeth Heyworth his widow is on the electoral register at Whinfield in 1904.
Mary Astley, the widow of James Astley of Beardwood Hall was in residence at Whinfield according to the 1911 census and remained there until 1918.
Lawrence Heyworth the son of Eli and Elizabeth came to live at Whinfield in 1919 and stayed there until 1930.

In 1933 on the electoral register Henry Whittaker, a Blackburn solicitor, is shown to be living at 2, Whinfield Place. Numbers 1 and 2 had been created from the outbuildings of the main house but on the 1939 register he was living at Whinfield,  Lillian Eastwood, a widow was living at Whinfield House with her two sons and various families were living at numbers one to seven Whinfield Place. Henry had attended Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School and later was on the governing body and chairman from 1950. He was also chairman of Blackburn Savings Committee for which he was awarded the OBE in 1951 and Vicar's Warden at St Mary's Church, Mellor for over thirty years. Henry died in 1961 at the age of seventy seven and his widow left the property to the newly established East Lancashire Mark Benevolent Fund Ltd. The house was demolished and three two storey blocks of flats were built alongside two existing cottages in the grounds. Three stained glass windows were recovered and incorporated into the communal hall and stairway of the first block of flats. This was now the Prior's Close Complex named in reference to the Provincial Priory of Lancashire in the Order of the Temple (better known as the Knights Templar) and is still in existence today.

Janet Burke
Much of the above is from research by Jim Halsall, an article by Henry Yates in the Standard and Weekly Express dated the 24th June 1893 and from Ancestry.
Also from an article by Michael Thompson Secretary of the Prior's Close Committee from 1999-2014.​