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The following analysis describes a few qualities of the name. There are many additional factors (legal name, nicknames, family surname, combined names, previous names, and business signature) that contribute to the entire personality - and the entire life.

Reeds in local fields


The name of Rishton gives a practical, logical, analytical approach to life and a great deal of patience. You enjoy working at anything of a mechanical or technical nature, and believe that what is worth doing is worth doing well. When you are interested in a project, you concentrate all your thoughts on it and do not appreciate being interrupted. This name creates a deliberate and methodical way of thinking and speaking; it takes you time to learn but, once you have mastered a subject, you do not forget it. You are very systematic in all you do and do not like to see things out of order; however, there is a tendency for you to be too fussy. There is a seriousness to your nature which could cause you to worry over your responsibilities, especially when confronted with change and uncertainty. You are overly fond of heavy foods such as meat, potatoes, breads and pastries and could suffer with stomach and intestinal disorders, constipation or boils.

Our surnames are more than just a name. This alone can tell us so much about a persons history, and the families background. Names such as Miller, Woods, and Aspen, all names still found in the town, tell us their occupations or places where they came from. Any look at any historical book shows the same names over many generations.

In the entire County, surnames relate to small towns and areas, Whalley, Worsley, Haworth and Walmsley being just a few which are still in the town of Rishton. All these names date back many centuries.

As the Anglos moved West from the Pennines, they chose settlement sites above the rivers. These were called "TUNS", Accrington, Rishton and Tunstall all reflecting this, amongst others. These words were derived from Northumbrian Anglo Saxon, and later Mercian Anglo Saxons who were led by Penda, their blood thirsty pagan king who killed the Christian King Oswald (Oswaldtwistle), brought with them a new vocabulary.

Most experts consider the River Ribble was firstly a territorial, and later a language barrier between Northumbria and Mercia, later there was a second boundary between the Anglo Saxons and the Norseman.

It is this that gives us our "twang" - so unique and fascinating - changing from one river bank to the next. Even the small streams were boundaries, as found round Rishton.

"Rishton" the name, originates from Anglo Saxon times, meaning "Village among the Rushes", and it is believed would have been pronounced “Risc - tun”. Tun is the Saxon word for Farm, and not as can be found elsewhere on this page, Town.

Reeds in the fields of Rishton

You will find that Rishton is a variant of Riston. This name comes from the 1800 acre manor of Long Riston near Lancashire, England.

There is also evidence of Celtic influence in this part of Lancashire, with such names as Calder, Ribble and Pendle.

It is thought that Rishton was first settled in Saxon times and the Saxons settled four estates, Cowhill, Tottleworth, Sidebeet and Holt, all of these names are still in existence today. The Saxons gave the village the name of ‘Risctun’ risc meaning rushes, and tun a fortified dwelling place. Today there are still many rushes and the valley areas are very marshy.

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:-


BeforeA. D.1000Risc-tun
InA. D.1200Riston
InA. D.1243Ruston
InA. D.1246Ryston
InA. D.1277Ruyston
InA. D.1322Rissheton
InA. D.1332Russhton
InA. D.1371Ryssheton

Other lists such has this are also found for Tottleworth, Sidebeet, and Cowhill.


The name itself can be traced to Saxon times, WORTH, the second half of the name comes from the Saxon era of English settlement, and means Fenced Land. We know that the Saxons were in this Country from 350 AD to 1000 AD, so it is possible that Tottleworth came into being about this time.

The Old English words 'Tottla' & 'worth' meaning 'Tottla's enclosure' and the first recorded use of the name was in 1204. This part of the name derived from the Saxons, said to describe a "homestead". The second, meaning an enclosure of land. So in effect Tottleworth is an enclosure of homes.


InA. D.1200Tottleworth
InA. D.1258Totleworth
InA. D.1288Tottilwort
InA. D.1295Totleworth
InA. D.1300Tatilword
InA. D.1348Totelworth


The syllable "Dun" belongs to the Celtic language, as was found in the old Edinburgh name - Dunedin. This syllable is thought to be the same has as found in the modern word London.

This Celtic Syllable meant "Protected from Foes", and the second syllable "scar", which was added at a much later date, meant a chink, or hill pass.



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


The Saxons gave the area its name, being called Side Byht.


InA. D.1258Ffidebitht
InA. D.1278Sydebiht
InA. D.1295Sidebuhte
InA. D.1637Sidebight


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 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.


It is said that the name comes from the Saxon landowner, Gunnhildr, who lived at Cunliffe before the Norman Conquest.

It is also suggested that there is some connection between this word and "Cunnus Diaboli", which was a monkish name for a hollow in a rock, through which people crawled through to be healed of sickness.

It is possible that there was such a rock in the area, the many springs giving greater emphasis to this this supposition, by wearing away the stone to create such a hole.

The word Cunliffe was wrote "Kundaclyve" in a deed of 1200, and this old spelling suggests a much earlier spelling than Saxon.

The Kunda is, like Dunscar Farm, a Celtic word, and means hard or strong. The Clyve part belongs to a much later date, and means a cliff or a deep descent. The Britons of Cunliffe would have known of the stone lying just under the surface of the land, and therefore gave it its name of Kunda, this stone being valuable to them in many ways.


Used primarily for the naming of the school, there is also Norden view, and Norden Terrace. The name means North Dene, or valley.


Parish Church and School Jubilee 1927 by Carlton Noble.