This farm is one of the largest farms in Rishton. It is
found in the north west of Rishton at the base of the northwest ridge.
The farmhouse was built in 1875 of the local stone.
There was a cellar under the house were butter was made but this was
filled in. The farmyard is set out in a square with buildings round the
outside. The picture above shows this layout.
The buildings serve the same purposes as when they were
built, but extra buildings have been added; a barn and shippon north of
the house, and also a dairy where the milk is cooled and bottled.
The farm used to be 100 acres in size, but has been cut
down because of residential building projects along the main road. The
fields vary in size from 30 acres to 15 acres and the boundaries have
mostly been decided by the residential property, the canal that cuts
through the land, the reservoir for the canal, and a small wood on the
main road. On other sides other farms bound the farm.
and ditches bound all the fields. The two fields on the North side of the
canal are at the lowest slope of the ridge, the rest of the fields slope
gently northwest, whilst those on the south side of the canal dip more
steeply. Next to the canal however they become very level and drainage is
bad. The fields drain towards the canal. From the reservoir to the canal
is a stream that lets off water from the reservoir. This stream runs
through two of the fields to the canal.
Near the canal drainage is poor. The father of the
present farmer has done a lot to improve drainage. Trenches and pipes have
been laid down about 1915. In front of the house is a natural spring that
is used for all purposes. This water has been piped into the house, so
that the farmer has his own water supply.
The soil varies on the farm. There is some peat and bog
oak in the field behind the house, known as the moss. During the war when
the farmer had to plough his land, root crops grew well there. On the
slopes across from the canal, the soil is made of clay. Sandy soil is
found elsewhere but all the soil is acidic and frequent liming is
The climate is not suitable for arable farming. There
is often fog and a cold mist by the canal in winter. There is little
shelter for crops although a little shelter is obtained from the northwest
winds by the hill.
The grass is permanent for both grazing and hay. The
farmer has a herd of 30 Hereford cows, which are fed on hay, provender,
and cattle cake. They are housed in the shippons during winter. The farmer
does most of the buying and selling at Hellifield.
Sheep are also kept and graze in the fields across the
canal. They are usually only wintered and sold the following spring.
The farm is a family concern with the farmer’s wife
helping the farmer. There is one permanent farm labourer, and extra help
is required with the haymaking. The framers main markets are Hellifield and Gisburn for
stock and foodstuffs are bought from Clitheroe and Blackburn.
The milk is tuberculin tested, some is sent to the milk
marketing board, the rest is bottled on the farm and bought by a dairyman
who has a milk round in Rishton.
The farmer has a few hens, mostly battery hens. Some of
the eggs are sold locally and some are sent to packing stations. No
cooperatives are active in this area. Machinery is adequate with the
farmer owning a tractor and harvesting equipment.
A North East Lancashire Cotton Town by Marian Sleigh.