Cowhill Farm

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The decipherment of Manor deeds affords many curious examples of the way place names were spelt according to their sound by the men responsible for writing these documents. Lack of education was responsible for this, and this phonetic spelling has caused many curious changes within a few years as can be seen from the following:-


In A. D. 1200 Kuhill
In A. D. 1220 Cuhill
In A. D. 1280 Couul
In A. D. 1295 Cowhul
In A. D. 1300 Cowill
In A. D. 1379 Cowhill
In A. D. 1640 Cowell

The fold once consisted of four farms, Cowhill being just one of them.

This farm is situated on Cowhill Fold and is 80 acres in size. The farmhouse and outbuildings are constructed of stone, dating from about 1850. The buildings are used for their original purposes, the barn and dairy having been added later.

The fields vary in size from 20 to 10 acres. Fences except one that has a hedge and ditch bound the fields. The stream forms the sides of 5 of the fields.

The farmhouse is on the higher land of Cowhill fold. There is a gentle slope down the fold and the fields at the bottom are flat. The flat land is used for meadowland, the slopes for grazing.

Farm Plan

Figure - Plan of Farm yard and Buildings.

The drainage is good except for near the stream where the land is always marsh. There is a little artificial drainage, as pipes have been laid under one field recently. The gentle slopes allow water to drain into the stream.

The soils have high clay content and need constant liming and manuring. The farm is not sheltered and is exposed to the winds. Again there is no arable farming.

The grass is permanent; Kale was grown at one time but not now. The grass is for grazing and the hay for fodder.

The farmer had a herd of 20 Friesian cows. In the winter they are housed in the shippon. Again fodder is bought for them to supplement the hay, mostly in the form of cattle cake.

A few sheep are bought each autumn for wintering, then sold the following spring. They usually graze on the meadowland.

Hens are kept on the farm, the eggs are sold locally or sent to the packing station.

Pigs used to be kept on the farm, and turkeys reared for Christmas but the farmer no longer keeps pigs or turkeys.


The farm is one that has been in the family for about 3 generations. The farmers wife again helps around the farm. One boy is permanently employed and temporary help is employed at hay making time.

Machinery is adequate with a tractor and haymaking equipment. As at farm A, during haymaking, a farmer with a bailer loans himself to the farm.

Milk is again Tuberculin tested, but all the milk is bottled on the farm, the farmer having a retail round in Rishton.


A North East Lancashire Cotton Town by Marian Sleigh