Founding families, those intrepid individuals who were in at the beginning of our places. For Springhill the obvious place to start is with the tenants of the area (then known as Deadwenclough) when the area emerged from Forest law in 1507. These were Jurden Brugge, James Crawsha, William Holt and Thomas Crawsha, of whom hopefully more in later blogs. Jurdan Brugge in particluar was not over-enamoured by general neighbourliness or fairness.
However these men weren't the first to live in the area and a document of 1295/6 (cited in Shaw, Royal Forests of Lancashire) lists the vaccary keepers for Rossendale (of which Springhill is part) as Henry of the Estock, John of Pycoppe, John son of Odousa, Robert of Couhoppe, Richard of Dunnockshae, Richard of Bencrofte, Thomas of the Estok, Henry of Houghton, William of Dynley, Alan of Rocliff and William son of Andrew.
Not much to go on there then.
Of these, Henry of the Estock is named as 'Sub-Insturator for Rossendale'. He was also the tenant of the pinfold in Deadwenclough (one of two in Rossendale, and about 50 yards south of Springhill) in 1324. Elsewhere he is recorded as Henry of the Stocks so his name may indicate his profession rather than his origin.
Pycoppe may be related to Pickup Bank on the moor east of Blackburn. Couhoppe is Cowpe, now a village south of the river about a mile away. Dunnockshaw is between Rossendale and Burnley, Houghton near Bolton and Rocliff not far from Rochdale. Bencrofte and Dynley I don't know.
I don't think I've much chance with John son of Odousa and even less with William son of Andrew. Any ideas?
By 1305/6 the vaccary tenants were William on Dynlay, John of Cleges, Richard of Dunnockschae, Henry of the Stocks, Alan Franceys, Haney of Berdeshul, Thomas of the Stockes, Henry of Dynley, William Cronschage, Henry of the Reved and Robert of Couhope.
There had obviously been a degree of movement in the 7 years between the two lists, with five of the tenants being the same and six being new. Henry of Dynley and William of Dynley may have been brothers, or father and son, or…
Life on the East Lancs moors must have been pretty hard and pretty dreary at times in those days. The weather is wet and windy, the land boggy and doesn’t grow anything much, distances are long. I wonder who chose to come and live in those areas and how they managed in cold, draughty cottages. Whilst subject to forest law it was mainly used for cattle rearing for oxen.
I think I’ll leave them there for the moment and see what I can make of the 16th century. Unfortunately the local registers don’t survive from that far back so it’s off to the manorial records to see what can be found there.