The Normans in Rishton

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Part 3, The Normans

Many wars were fought with the Danes over the years after this, the biggest being the battle of Brunanburh in A. D. 937, which was thought to be in the Burnley area, but there is no evidence of the Danes ever entering Rishton.

By the 11th Century the regions of what is now Lancashire was held by two powerful nobles. To the North of the Ribble was one, the Earl of Northumbria, and too the South between the Ribble and Mersey (Terra inter Ripan et Mersham), was the Earldom of Mercia.

In 1004 Wolfic, Earl of Mercia, split his estates between his two sons, Elfhelme and Walfarge. Dyuring the reign of Edward the Confessor these lands passed into the Kings hands and many estates in "Blagbornshire" were held under his control, the revenue from these estates being paid directly to him.

Edward died in 1066, and the popular voice was that Harold should be King. Meanwhile Duke William was preparing his invasion, and later in the year William landed on these shores, and in the space of one brief autumn day the lands of England passed once more into a new race who quickly proceeded with the work of dividing the lands among themselves.

It wasn't until 4 years later in 1070 that a Norman force finally entered our Shire. Before the conquest, the landowners in Blagbornshire and its surrounding "vills" were free, equal in rights, and independent of each other. Afterwards there was but one lord in the district. The early records indicate that this was the Norman king named Rodger De Poicton, who had the land given to him in 1068. He had already promised to recognised Gilbert De Lacy as his superior Lord, and gave him the land.

THERE IS NO MENTION OF RISHTON IN THE DOOMSDAY BOOK OF 1080 - 85. That is not to say that Rishton did not exist, but the district was so wild that that the Norman surveyors made a much less particular report than was usual in describing other districts. The omission is unfortunate for anyone interested in the history of Rishton, as much could have been learnt about the Saxons, which is now lost forever. Blackburn is entered as a royal manor.

We know from later records that there was at least one manor in Rishton, and probably the Saxons who had lived in the vill before the conquest were made serfs or slaves by the Normans there, who settled soon after the Entrance of Gilbert De Lacy. Little else is known of Rishton and the Normans until 1200.


Parish Church and School Jubilee 1927 by Carlton Noble.