It was the Anglo Saxons that first built a wooden palisaded house in the area, and the meaning of Holt came from them - a "wooden hollow", but this is only partially correct. Its full meaning, as the Saxons used the word, was a piece of land cleared of trees about half way down a well wooded slope. Picture the Hyndburn brook as it would have been in 600 A.D., a clear and sparkling stream with its banks covered in trees, rising sharply to Rishton. This part then was easily the most beautiful part of the village, and although ferocious pirates, the Saxons had an eye for beauty. It wasn't just for beauty that the Saxons took this land though, the brook was vitally important to them, for it enabled them to drain water from the land to enable cultivation, and provided water for the cattle.
One of the earliest manuscripts dealing with Rishton was written in Latin around 1200. At this time Rodger de Rishton is Lord of the Manor, and in this deed he gives one quarter of the whole "vill of Rishton" to his eldest son Adam. It was set out that Adam, his son and heir, is granted all that quarter of his land, namely half a carucate (a carucate varied from 50 to 100 acres), except the land of his free tenants, beginning where the stream of Tottleworthdene falls in Hyndburn, up Tottleworthdene to where Northdene meets Salterford, and up this as far as Smalshaghsyke, then up by the Redecar to Risshelache, through the mid lake to Endemoss, through the mid-moss to and down the Holghclogh to Redbroke, along this to Hallhaede, up this to the old dyke, and along this to the greystone next Ediholes, which is the land of God and of St. John, Baptist, following the dyke which divides little Harwood and Riston waste lands as far as the Thyrsclogh and so down to Elvynkar, along the "kar" to Knuzdenbroke, up this to the clogh, near the Outlone, up this to Hayleybroke, down to Hyndburn, and down the Hyndburn to the dead water and to where the stream of Tottleworthdene joins Hyndburn, where we began."
Rodger de Riston died about 1215, leaving his estate to his oldest son Adam, who succeeded him as Lord of the vill, who had also, some time before his fathers death, received from his father a moiety of Dunkensale (Dunkenhalgh). Little more is known of this family, and in 1242 we find that another family of the same name paid scutage ((Feudal. Law) meaning Service of the shield, a species of knight service by which a tenant was bound to follow his lord to war, at his own charge. It was afterward exchanged for a pecuniary satisfaction for the manor.
It is possible that the first de Rishtons had to leave the manor due to a crime which was committed, this idea is strengthened when we learn that Paulinus de Noel, or Nowell, was outlawed in 1246 for the murder of the wife of Adam de Rishton, but we are not informed if this Adam was the Son who took over the manor in 1215 from his father Rodger.
The Holt became the residence of a branch of the Rishton's who originated from Gilbert de Blackburn. He settled upon the Manor of Rishton in 1245 (or 1242, see below), and ever afterwards styled himself as Gilbert de Rishton, from his place of residence. The family acquired estates in neighbouring townships, and when Richard Rishton died in 1425, he held the Manor of Ponthalgh in the township of Church, which eventually appears to have superseded Church Hall as the manor house of Church, but was one of the landowners of Rishton. The motorway link Road now runs over this site. It is interesting to note that the manor house was strongly built of massive stone blocks as a defence and protection both for the family and their tenants in times of danger.
The de Rishton family, as has been disclosed in the annals of Church, had become prominent in local affairs during the previous century. They acquired the Manor of Rishton in 1242 A.D. by the marriage of Margery de Praers to Gilbert de Blackburn, who then assumed the name of Gilbert de Ryston, and held a tenth part of a knight’s fee in Rishton, of the Earl of Lincoln. The whole of the "vill" had been given to Gilbert by Robert de Praers, as the marriage portion to Roberts sister.
Before Gilbert came to Rishton, it should be mentioned that there was a rector of Blackburn, who signed many local documents at the time as Henry de Blackburn. Henrys signature is found on the first deed of Rishton about 1200, and two more witnesses to this deed were his sons Gilbert and Adam. It is this Gilbert that that is usually identified with the gift of the village from de Praers, but there was another and more important family in the district, and the head of this family in 1212 was also Henry de Blackburn. This family held many estates and manors in the district, and it is quite possible that Gilbert belonged to this more important branch of the same family which were settled at Wiswell and Hapton.
Of Robert de Praers and his tenure here under the de Lacys as chief Lords, little is known. There was a Henry de Praers who appeared as a witness on the first Rishton deed, and there was also a charter of Maud de Praers which granted Tottleworth to Uctred, who was the son of Roger de Rishton about 1220.
Gilbert de Rishton, with some boon companions caused a great sensation in the district in 1256, when, after dining together, they quarrelled over a game of dice. Gilbert killed his intimate friend, William de Melver (Mellor).
The penalty for murder was death, but before the trial took place at Lancaster Castle, Gilbert had fled, and the local landowners who really should have arrested him, appeared to have helped him evade the courts. In order not to be in trouble themselves these local magnates blamed William de Hackinshaw of the crime, but when the case was tried the crafty scheme was detected and the punishment made unusually severe. De Hackinshaw fled nonetheless, after being accused by the local landowners, and although acquitted by the judges his goods and chattels were declared forfeit.
Gilbert had been a man of some importance, and it was difficult for the law to enforce justice against such a highly placed criminal. Instead he was outlawed and his estates forfeited. He was now a fugitive on the face of the Earth, and any man could kill him without penalty. What became of his fate we do not know, but within a short time Gilbert was presumed dead.
The vills of Clayton, Church and Blackburn, owned by Richard de Altham, Henry de Shuttleworth, William Folrig, William de Livesey and others were fined for the false charges which they made against William de Hackinshaw, and the vill of Rishton was also fined for harbouring the real murderer. John de Blackburn, Henry de Whalley, Galfrida his brother, Richard de Altham, and Ade Nohell (Nowell) were all fined for aiding in his escape.
On the death of Sir Edmund Lacy, his son, Sir Henry, succeeded him as chief Lord, and he appears to have taken an even more lenient view of the whole affair, for in 1278, Gilbert, son of Henry de Rishton, and grandson of the murderer Gilbert, is found settling the whole manor again on his illegitimate son Adam, who demised it, with the exception of Cunliffe and Sidebeet, to his father for life.
As a result of the de Rishton family being deprived of the Manor of Rishton, they later acquired, through Robert de Rishton, the Manor of Church and all the lands, by purchase from Peter de Chirche, and his son Simon.
Adam de Rishton died before 1300, without surviving issue, whereupon Sir Henry de Lacy claimed the manor as chief Lord, and between 1305 and 1310 regranted the manor to a member of his own family and her husband, Sir Edmund Talbot of Bashall in Craven, and Joan, his wife (a de Lacy). One third of the manor was retained by Mabel who was the widow of Adam, but on her death this part of the manor was added to that of the Talbot's once more.
The Talbot Family.
The Talbots settled at Holt Manor between 1305 - 1310, and this was the starting point of a bitter feuding warfare between the Talbots and the de Rishtons (mainly of the Ponthalgh line) which was to last for two centuries.
Rishton manor was given by Henry de Lacy to a member of his own family sometime before 1310. In the de Lacy inquest of 1311, it is found that "Joanna, wife of Edmund Talbot, held two carucates of land in Rissheton, by the fourth part of a knights fee, a yearly rent of 1s,. and suite to the court of Clyderhou (Clitheroe) every three weeks".
The 1310 (or earlier) Charter was granted by Henry de Lacy to Sir Edmund Talbot, who held the manor of Rishton. "In the reign of Henry V (1415) the manor of Rishton had been taken into the kings hands by reason of Sir Thos Talbot being an outlaw. (the Talbot's were on the Yorkshire side while the Rishton sided with the Lancastrians. The result was a little war on their own account". Sir Edmund Talbot had granted him an oratory within his manor house at Holt. It was the son of this Sir Edmund who betrayed the King (Henry VI) who had taken refuge at Bolton Hall where for a year he was sheltered by Sir Ralph Pudsay).
In 1393 Sir Thomas Talbot played an important role in the Lancashire Cheshire conspiracy, against the Dukes of Lancaster and Gloucester, and he was outlawed the following year. Once caught he was imprisoned in the tower of London, but he escaped a few days before his execution.
On the 12th August 1395, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, entrusted the custody of 3/4 of the manor, which had formally been in the possession of Sir Thomas, to Henry de Rishton of the Dunkenhalgh.
Rishton was now in the custody of the Duke as security for a debt of 50 marks owed by Sir Thomas to the Duke.
On the 21st May 1414, Sir Thomas was again outlawed! Rishton now went into the hands of the King, for "treason and felony" on the part of Sir Thomas as a follower of John Oldcastle.
It seems about this time time that Ralph de Rishton of Powthalgh petitioned the King to give the manor to his branch of the Rishton family, for on the 9th September 1415, we have a document from the King addressed "to his well-beloved and loyal Richard de Radclyff, Knight, Henry de Longton, Ralph de Radclyff, and William Ambrose," asking them "to enquire into the title of Ralph, and do justice".
Sir Thomas Talbot died in 1417, "sore, troubled, and vexed for the titill of Kynge Richard", leaving one son, Edmund, "who durst not appear". This young Talbot was later to recover his lands from the de Rishtons, making them angrier than ever at losing the manor for a second time. Much feuding started with the de Rishtons carrying out destructive raids on Holt Manor, "and with mony evil - disposed persons hath diverse tymes robbed hym and his tenants of their gods (goods) and cattell to the value of Cli (£100) and more unto hym and his tenants gret undoying".
TThe Talbots at Holt were surrounded by the estates belonging to the descendants of Robert and the other brothers of Adam, the last de Rishton, Lord of the Manor. As one would expect, now that the de Rishtons had had lost all hope of recovering the manor again, they made great effort to cause as much trouble as possible for their supplanters, the Talbots.
In 1452, they presented a petiiton to the King, which was Henry VI, in which they complained that "Sir Edmunde Talbot, Knyght, by way of oppressione, hase destroyd the landes of the said beseker (Henry Rissheton) and dryffen away his tenants because he wolde do no neyghburshep ne suffre thyme to occupie and maynor (manure) their saide parte". We are also told that the de Rishton cattle at Sidebeet, which was the family estate, where driven out of the Shire, and, although they had a legal warrant for the recovery of cattle, etc., the officers dare not go near the Talbots for fear of death. Obviously the Talbots meant business at this time!
In 1455 Sir Edmund Talbot built a private chapel in Holt. The license was obtained in this year.
Sir Edmund Talbot died in 1462, and was succeeded by his son Thomas, who in 1464 played an ignoble part in our history, not just of Rishtons, but the entire Country.
This was the time of the War of the Roses, and it was the most unfortunate, most amiable, and weakest of the Lancastrian Kings, Henry VI, who remained in hiding for 12 months at Bolton Hall, home to Sir Ralph Pudsey.
Henry was entertained for a short time at Waddington Hall as well, which was the home of another Gentleman who had supported the the Kings interests, this man was Sir John Tempest.
Sir Thomas Talbot had married Alicia, the daughter of Sir John Tempest de Bracewell, and had probably discovered the Kings hiding place through his father-in-law. Talbot made himself the ring leader of a small band of men, which included other heads of important families, as well as Sir John Talbot de Salesbury, who was a cousin of Sir Thomas.
Leyland related the manner in which the King was betrayed and abused thus:-
"King Henry was taken in Clithereoode by side of Brungerley hipping (stepping) stones in Lancastershyre, by Thomas Talbot, of Bashall, and John Talbot, his cousin of Colebry (Salesbury), which decieved him, being at his dyner in Waddyngton Haul, and brought to London, with his legges bounde to the sterropes."
The house at Waddington was beset upon, but the King contrived to escape, and fled by a secret passage, hoping to put the river between himself and his pursuers, but his enemies were to many and to eager for him. He was captured, some say when attempting to cross the stepping stones, and others say after he crossed them and fled into Clitheroe Wood close by. He was escorted to London in the most derogatory manner, with his legs tied to the stirrups of the horse on which his captors mounted him, and an insulting placard fixed to his shoulders. He was paraded through the streets of London as an object of scorn and thrown into the tower.
Sir Thomas Talbot meanwhile, the ringleader of this coup, received £100, together with his costs and charges. The others also received grants from the Yorkist King, Edward IV, but early in the reign of Richard III, who was the son of Edward IV, Sir Thomas was further granted an annuity of £40. His sons also received annuities from King Richard III:
- Edmund, the heir - £20
- William - £15
- Thomas - £10
In a letter patent addressed by Richard III from York to Sir Thomas Talbot in 1484, we find that Richard refers to Henry VI as "our great adversary late in fact but right King of England".
TThis plot was probably hatched at Bashall Hall, which was only a short distance from Waddington Hall, about a mile and a half. Sir Thomas Talbot was a Yorkist and a descendant of Yorkist, and without doubt he sacrificed his late King because of his intense loyalty to to the King of his own County. His enmity to the Lancastrian King might have been due to his intense hatred for the Lancastrian family of the de Rishtons, whose estates completely surrounded the Talbot manor of Holt.
In 1465, the year after the betrayal of Henry VI, Thomas Wilkinson, the vicar of Halifax and many other Halifax men with certain other strong fellows from the Countryside marched into Lancashire to do battle with the Talbots. The Talbots however were forewarned and raised an army of men and met them at Burnley. Weather a skirmish took place or not is unknown, but the visitation shows that not all Yorkshire men were happy with the demise of the Lancastrian King.
In 1476 we find the de Rishtons engaged in a violent dispute with the Talbots over the rights of both parties in Cowhill.
In a bond dated 21st January 1476, the parties agree to abide by the award of Sir Richard Hamerton and Robert Ambrose. Their decision was that Cowhill and Endemoss (known as Boggarts Barn) was to be divided in the same proportion of 3 to 1 as the whole of the manor was.
Before this settlement was arrived at, something akin to a battle had taken place outside the now well defended Holt Hall (see later), were many persons were wounded./p>
&"Harre Rissheton of Cowhill hath with great multitute come in riotous wyse to the howse of Thomas (Talbot) in Ryssheton"
Harre was ordered to pay 100s to the servants of Thomas, who were hurt at the said assult at the Holt, and also another 100s to Thomas the following year.
Meanwhile Thomas was ordered to pay Harre 88s 8d, to be distributed among the servants of Harre at Cowhill Close.
Sir Thomas Talbot died on the 16th February 1499, and was succeeded by his son and heir Edmund, who was now aged 30 having been born in 1469.
Edmund married Ann who was the sister of Sir Percival Hart, Knt., and had a son and heir named Thomas, who also became Lord of the manor upon Edmunds death on the 13th February 1519. Edmund died aged 49.
Thomas at this time was just 3 years old, having been born in 1516. His mother, Ann, went on to marry Sir James Stanley, of Cross Hall, with whom she had 2 sons and 3 daughters. One daughter also named Ann, became the central figure in a scandalous transaction.
Dame Ann Stanley received the manor house from her 1st husband as her dower, and after her 2nd marriage she took Sir James Stanley to live in Holt Hall.
TThomas the infant Lord of the Manor, grew to be a solider of repute in the reign of Henry VIII (1509 - 1547), and his successor. He obtained the lease of Blackburn Rectorial Estates after their alienation from Whalley Abbey around 1550, and after that date he lived at Audley Hall, while his mother continued to live at the Holt, even after her second husbands death. Ann died at Holt Hall in 1566, and was buried in the Talbot family chapel at Blackburn Church.
For many years Sir Thomas Talbot stationed his soldiers at Holt Hall, where special quarters were built for soldiers similar to those built later at Bashall Hall, the seat of this family after the Rishton estates were sold to Thomas Walmsley. These bodies of armed men would have given the village an aspect of bustle and animation, for many of Stanley's troops were also stationed at Holt Hall.
Sir Thomas died at Audley Hall in 1558, eight years before the death of his mother. His will, dated 4 and 5 Philip and Mary, 1557, records that:
"being appointed to repaire to the Queens (Mary I) Majesties most noble affaires and warres toward Scotland"
He bequeathes his lease of Bashall Manor to his daughter Anne, and also the lease of his parsonage at Blackburn, and his household stuff at Audley Hall.
Sir Henry, his son and heir, became Lord of the Manor. He himself had two sons, Thomas and John, and also a daughter Marie. Marie went on to marry John Livesey of Livesey. Sir Henry died about 1570, and was succeeded by his oldest son Thomas who himself died childless in May 1598.
On the 23rd February 1581, 17 years before his death, Thomas, along with his wife Elizabeth, and his brother and heir to the estate, John, sold the manor of Rishton along with lands and rents in Rishton, Cowhill, Whitebirk, Sidebight, and Tottleworth to Thomas Walmsley.
The Talbots of Salesbury entered a claim for half the chapel at Blackburn Chapel at this time, being descendants of William, a younger son of Edmund. They had entered their claim to the vault 50 years previous but had always been refused, because it belonged to the Holt, not to the Talbots. The case was heard on the 2nd November 1612, and decided that the vault should be shared between them.
Dr. Whittaker, author of the "History of Craven" believed the Talbots to be buried at Stede, due to their being no memorial or ornamental pew in dedications to the Talbots, but he was only vicar at Blackburn for 12 months before its demolition in 1820. In the South aisle of the Choir was a chapel, known as Walmsley Chapel, Centuries before it had been called the Rishton, Holt, or Talbot chapel, and inhere were the remains of both the Rishtons and Talbots.
One of the earliest descriptions about this building is from 1540. Originally thought to be a Saxon settlement, it is described as having a moat fed from Spaw Brook with a drawbridge across it. The drawbridge was later replaced with a plain bridge. The Saxon manor house was replaced with a strong stone building, possibly during the 12th Century, and it was this building that was strengthened with the moat and drawbridge.
Traces of the moat and drawbridge were still visible at the turn of the 1900's, between the Mission Hall and Holt Farm. The mission hall stood on the original site of Holt Manor. The present road from Holt Street runs across a tip which was started there to fill in the early moat.
By the turn of the 18th Century the building had become a farmhouse. The court was to meet here twice a year to decide who was to be elected constable, moorlooker and the pinder who was the person who caught the stray animals. The court also heard any complaints which local people had about their neighbours, fences, ditches, who owed money, or people who had borrowed implements without returning them.
The current Farmhouse pictured above was built in 1848 upon the site of a second building that was built in the settlement area.
The application of John Smalley, of Holt Farm, to register under the Milk and Dairies Order, 1936, as a cow keeper and Retail Purveyor of Milk, was granted on the 8th October 1942.
On the 14th August 1952, Dunkenhalgh Estates applied to the Council for planning permission to build a Diary at the farm.
Mr. Heap applied for planning permission at the farm on the 12th December 1952, for a piggery to be built, which was duly allowed.
Rishton Remembered by Kathleen Broderick.
Parish Church and School Jubilee 1927 by Carlton Noble.
Rishton on Record, the Festival of Britain 1951.
A History of the Parish of Saint James, Church Kirk, by The Reverend R. J. W. Bevan and Victor G. Palmer, 2nd Edition 1989.
A Chronology of Accrington and Men of Mark, by R. S. Crossley, Published 1924.