No history of Rishton would be complete without
mentioning Tottleworth. A hamlet it would seem since time began!!!
The ancient hamlet of Tottleworth in the township of
Rishton is an interesting place. It still maintains its old world
appearance and consists of a small group of dwellings. The back of one
house opens onto the front of another and where you expect to find an
outlet, there is a cul-de-sac. The gardens and backyards are closely
intermingled and some of the dwellings are independent of any road levels.
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.
A charter of Maud de Praers granted Tottleworth to
Uctred, who was the son of Roger de Rishton in about 1220.
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:-
The hidden hamlet of Tottleworth which is now
designated a conservation area, dates back to Saxon times and still
reserves its ancient Layout. The most important building is the 17th
century Manor House Farm once owned by the Hesketh family of Rufford. The
Hesketh family were large landowners of Great Harwood.
The road throughout Tottleworth Village was nothing
more than a dirt track, but during the 1990's the road leading into the
village was tarmaced, and a 20 miles per hour speed restriction put in
The narrow land from Holt, through Tottleworth was the
great road to and from Great Harwood in the old days. This road was the
salt road to Whalley and Clitheroe, from Manchester and the outside world.
Hundreds of pack horses carrying salt, coal, iron, and cloth to and from
Clitheroe market or fair helped to wear the paved track.
The road never really went through Harwood, instead
when reaching the brooks, the track would turn slightly to the left and
head towards Tottleworth Lee, and Close Brow.
The history of Tottleworth stretches far into medieval
days. It was settled quite early, as it is mentioned in a document in the
13th century. Another interesting document dealing with
Tottleworth in 1348 reveals that sea-coal was found and worked there. This
coal was probably an outcrop found where Norden brook joins the Hyndburn
River, known then as Broadridingwood.
The same document deals with the division of land
between William de Hesketh of Harwood, and Adam de Rishton de Tottleworth.
William gave his land in the west of Tottleworth to Adam and Adams father,
Richard, and in return the Heskeths obtained Broadridingwoods from them.
Both parties were to share the sea-coal, William having
3/4 and Adam and Richard the other. Both parties were to also have roads
for pack animals in the open season, and William and his heirs were retain
responsibilities for any damage done to Adams land.
In the same document, the doles of land which belong to
Henry de Rishton are:
- On the croft of 6 selions (or beds), 4 lie
- On Wallandes 3 selions, 2 lie together.
- On berrybuttes 6 selions, 3 lie together.
This suggests that land in both Tottleworth and Rishton
was enclosed and had been dating from before this document in 1348. The
name Tottleworth meaning an enclosure of land anyway!
The doles or strips, belonging to the de Rishton are
given as lying together, this tells us that perhaps strips of land were
being exchanged so that their strips all lied at the side of each other,
this would have formed a small field or enclosure. This was called "making
a close" and was unusual in this period of time. It became more common in
the 16th Century, mainly because of its many advantages.
Richard, Henry de Rishtons oldest son, married Margaret
Holt (the name was purely coincidental!), who was the daughter of William,
the son of Peter Holt of Stodlegh, or Studley in Warwickshire, some time
during or before 1414. This was how the de Rishtons of Dunkenhalgh
acquired their estates in Warwickshire. In that year, Richard and Margaret
received the de Rishton estate of Tottleworth from Henry, presumably as a
dowry, at the same time receiving more lands in Tottleworth from one
Richard Catlowe, who was a chaplain.
All the land around this area has changed dramatically
with new trees having grown and parts of the gardens refurbished, but the
buildings still remain to this day, as can be seen in the photo's around
The first weaving shop where weavers appropriated looms
was also built there, the cotton coming from the West Indies. The Rishton
cotton mills were the
outcome of this early loom shop at Tottleworth.
The roads for pack animals from Tottleworth are, in the
main still in existence today. For many years the ancient paving stones
were visible along the length of the road, particularly round the bottom
of the hill where the road joins Moor Lane, and at the summit to the hill,
by Manor House Farm, there still exists the pack animal paving on the
The other track from Spring Street is narrow, and it is
obvious that travellers on foot, or horse, and packhorses made this road,
and it was never intended for carts. In some places the
trees meet overhead, and high banks are covered with Hawthorn bushes,
branches or rough grass.
reputed to be the last hangman in the Country also lived in Tottleworth.
The village green was slightly down the hill with a
well on it for clear water. This has gone with the building of two
driveways to the houses.
On the 20th August 1925, Mr. A. Haworth, the estate
agent, attended and interviewed the council with regards to the water
supply at Tottleworth, and the condition of various farms in the district.
The sanitary inspector was to deal. The Spring supplying Tottleworth
Hamlet with water for domestic purposes was upon analysis proved to be
seriously polluted, and immediate steps were taken. As a consequence the
well was cleansed and permanently sealed as also was the source of supply
to Holt Farm, the quality of the water has greatly improved since this
work was carried out. It was twice reported during the year that this area
ought certainly to be supplied with Town’s water.
The Council Chairman reported that an estimate had been
received from the Accrington District Gas & Water Board, on the 13th
August 1936, 11 years after it was found that the water was polluted, as
to the cost of providing town water to Tottleworth, and the same had been
forwarded to the County Council and also Mr. Scurrah, and a meeting had
been arranged between Mr. Scurrah, Mr. Harrison, Mr. Broughton, Mr.
Eginton, and the Chairman and Officials of the Sanitary Department.
A deputation, consisting of Messrs. Mallett, Birtwistle
and Riding, was received from the inhabitants at Tottleworth on the 10th
October 1936, with regard to the Water Supply at Tottleworth. They were
informed that the same was receiving the attention of the Council. The
Chairman read a letter on the 12th November 1936, from the Lancashire
Agricultural Committee with reference to the water supply at Tottleworth
and asking the Council if they were willing to bear their share of the
annual cost of the proposed water main. The Council were not prepared to
go on with the present scheme but that the first scheme should be gone on
A letter was read from Mr. Harrison, General Manager of
the Accrington District Gas and Water Board, on the 3rd December 1936,
that the cost of Water Supply to Tottleworth from Lee Lane was
approximately £260, then there would also be a further fixed charge of £2
per house for the stop tap and service pipe, payable by the owner or
tenant and that he estimated the revenue from the gross rental would be
£14 per annum and the Board would require a rental of not less than 10% on
the actual cost and asking if the Council would be responsible for the
difference between the assessed revenue income and the 10% revenue
required on the actual cost. Resolved that the Scheme be accepted subject
to the Dunkenhalgh Estate and the County Council contributing towards the
revenue required by the Board.
A letter was read from the Dunkenhalgh Estate on the
14th January 1937, that they were prepared to assist in the proposed
scheme for a main water supply from the Harwood end of Lee Lane to the
Tottleworth Cottages via Lidgett Bridge, by making ten annual payments of
one-third of the annual rental, which would be equal to 10% of the
ascertained actual cost of the proposed scheme, which must not exceed £27
and that the actual cost referred to includes the several stop taps to be
fixed at suitable points. The Accrington District Gas & Water Board to be
liable for any claims for surface damage or compensation. A letter was
also read from the County Council with regard to the Tottleworth Water
Supply, that they only contributed towards Capital Expenditure in
connection with the provision of Public Water Supplies in the
Administrative County. Resolved that application be made.
The owners of 9 and 10 Tottleworth, and Fairholmes
cottages were reported to be in a dangerous condition and were to be
inspected on the 15th April 1937. On the 1st June 1937, Demolition orders
were served on numbers 9, 10, and 15 Tottleworth, also on Higher Cutt
cottages and Far Holmes cottages.
In May 1937 A water scheme to provide Tottleworth with
water was approved by the council. The Accrington and District Gas and
Water Board were requested to commence work as soon as possible.
The question of providing seats on Holt Street
recreation ground and the footpath to Tottleworth was raised and discussed
by the council committee on the 5th July 1938. Gifts of seats were offered
by Councillor Worsley (on behalf of the Regnal Circle No. 2) and
Councillor Tattersall for use on Holt Street Recreation ground, and by
Councillor Sanderson for use on Tottleworth footpath. It was resolved by
the council that the offers be accepted, and best thanks offered to the
donors for their generosity, and that the surveyor should obtain and fix
the seats in the positions referred to.
A petition was read from the residents of Tottleworth,
to the District Council, on the 20th February 1941, concerning the
provision of Air Raid Shelters and instruction in Incendiary Bomb Control.
Arrangements were made to give a fire fighting demonstration.
It was reported that a lamp had been damaged at
Tottleworth by a motor vehicle, on the 14th January 1943, the property of
the Ministry of Home Security. The matter has been taken up with the
Councils Insurers. The Clerk reported on the 21st January 1943, that the
Co-operative Insurance Society, Ltd. had paid the claim for damage in
respect of the lamp post at Tottleworth in full.
The Council Clerk reported upon the position with
regard to liability for repairs to the footpaths to Tottleworth on the 9th
September 1943. The Council resolved that the necessary repairs should be
carried out and the cost should be borne by the Local Authority.
The Surveyor submitted plans showing a proposed lay-out
of temporary housing at Tottleworth and at Butler Street on the 5th April
1945. An application was made for fifty temporary houses, using the former
balloon site in Tottleworth itself. The Surveyor was also to submit an
alternative lay-out for temporary housing on Holt Recreation Ground. The
Tottleworth site was selected for temporary housing.
On the 24th May 1951, Gas Lamps were removed and the spigots cleaned off
and painted which were found to be in not bad condition, and the manufacturers
were instructed to proceed with the making of the brackets and
switch-boxes for new electricity lighting. The Gas Board and the
Electricity Board were instructed to deal with the old and new services.
The old lanterns and time clocks were offered for sale to the Great Harwood U.D.C.,
and they were
asked if they would undertake the maintenance of the
gas lamps which remained on Lee Lane and Tottleworth on a time and material basis. Similarly,
the Clayton-le-Moors U.D.C. were asked
to carry out the
maintenance of the four lamps in Hermitage Street.
On the 31st May 1951,
The question was raised of the necessity for a telephone to be installed in the Tottleworth
area particularly in cases of emergency, and it was resolved That a communication be forwarded to the Post Office telephone
Manager putting forward a strong case for early consideration.
On the 12th July 1951, The Council Clerk reported that the Great Harwood U. D. C, were prepared
to maintain the gas street lamps on Lee Lane
and Tottleworth on a labour and materials basis plus 20 per cent.
establishment charge. A letter of thanks was forwarded to the Great
Harwood U. D. C, for their offer.
to Tottleworth. It was decided on the 11th October 1951, to leave six columns in position for
the time being.
On the 10th January 1952, The Surveyor was instructed to arrange for the all-night
lighting of two of the lamps.
The Council Clerk submitted a letter from the N. W. Electricity Board
on the 12th March 1953,
stating that as they were unable to obtain the minimum annual
guaranteed revenue from the occupiers of the property at
Tottleworth, the Board were unable to agree to a supply being given
to this area, and that the matter was now left in abeyance.
Rishton remembered Kathleen
Parish Church and School Jubilee
1927 by Carlton Noble.
A Lancashire Cotton Town Marian
Mrs. Hilda Lucas.
Hyndburn District Towns and Villages Website (No longer available, it was