Lower Darwen–The Township | Lower Darwen Mill | Other Industry
The Eccles Family | Lower Darwen Village | Conclusion

Through family ties I chose as my project the village of Lower Darwen, and the Eccles family.  Soon after starting my research it became obvious that the subject was much larger than I had realised.  First the name Lower Darwen, this, in days gone by, applied to both a township, and village.  Should I leave out the township, would it matter to the project?  In the end I have included it.  The next problem was with the Eccles family, there were so many of them.  I have only included those who either ran the mill, or lived and played a part in the life of the village.  The mill that Thomas Eccles built would have to be mentioned, perhaps for no other reason that it was from 1774 to 1939 the largest employer in the village.  Brief mention will be made of other places of employment, the railway, the churches, and the social life of the village.  My connection with the village is through the maternal side of the family, my grandmothers family were from the village.  She, and two of her daughters worked in the mill, as did her sister.  Many members of that side of the family rest in the churchyard of St. James’ Church, one has his name engraved on the village War Memorial.  As for me, at the tender age of three, I was dragged kicking and screaming along Branch Road, from Ewood, to start my education at Sandy Lane School.

Low​​​​er Darwen – The Township

It is certain that the township of Nether Darwen later Lower Darwen, came into being at the same time as its near neighbours, Blackburn and Over Darwen, later just Darwen.  With moorland heights to the east and west, it is situated in the valley of the River Darwen.  In total it covered an area of 2667 acres.  The Saxon Lords of the Manor lived in the village of Ewood (Ewode) at 'Fernhurst' were today stands the manor house built in 1700.  It was here that in later years the tenants of the Lord of the Manor, gave three days work twice a year, at shearing time, and haymaking.  The tenant of the manor farm had the benefit of this labour so he had to provide meat and drink in its place (a custom known as booning).  After the defeat of the Saxons by William the Conqueror, the township became a part of the estate of 'Henry de Lacey' (Lord of Clitheroe).  In 1311 Sir Adam Banestre rented part of the township for 4s. 0d. per year this being paid at midsummer.  For some time during the 1400s the township formed part of the estate of the 'Talbots of Bashall', who about 1598 sold it to Thomas Walmsley, the famous 'Judge Walmsley'.  In the year 1523 seven men from the township were assessed for tax, paying to Henry VIII a total of 12s. 0d.  How times have changed.  The township provided three men for the army of Queen Mary in 1553.  Richard Haworth of Lower Darwen became one of the original Governors of the new Grammar School in Blackburn in the year 1567.  In 1585 the township subscribed £4. 19s. 2d. to the same Grammar School, Lawrence Haworth who gave 20s. 0d. becoming one of the Governors twelve months later.  At a muster of men at arms during the reign of the first Elizabeth, held at Whalley in 1595 during the war with Spain the township sent:
2 men armed with bills (Agricultural tools or small pike)
6 archerers
6 men armed with shot (Hand gun)
23 unarmed men
Later during the reign of James the First, and four years after the peace with Spain had been signed another muster of men took place at Whalley, the year 1608.  Amongst the 1,453 men mustered the Lower Darwen contribution was:
22 Caliveres (Small muskets fired from the shoulder)
17 Bills (Agricultural tools or small pike)
3 Archers
16 Corsdetlers (men in armour)
In 1911, only three men were paying tax in the township James the First gaining the sum of 14s. 0d.  By the year 1663 inflation, and the demands of the parliament of Charles the Second caused the four men assessed to pay a total of £4. 18s. 8d.  The Walmsley’s still held the manorship in 1700, for the initials of Bartholomew Walmsley are carved in the lintel over the entrance to the then new Manor House.  This was to replace the previous house damaged during the civil war for being the property of a ‘papist’.  Bartholomew Walmsley was himself a well known Catholic and 'Jacobite'.In 1779, by Act of Parliament, the then Lady of the Manor, Catherine Lady Stourton, was given permission to enclose Lower Darwen Moor.  She was also given the rights to all the coalmines, seams of coal, and all other minerals, delves, quarries, stones, sand and gravel, but with this came the responsibility to keep the roads in good order.  The Petries of Dunkenhalgh, became the last Lords of the Manor, when they inherited it from the last member of the Walmsley family.  By the year 1892, and by two Acts of Parliament, the 1879 Improvement Act, and the Corporation Act of 1892, Blackburn laid claim to 2000 acres of the township.  The cost of the township was taken over by Darwen; all was united again when Blackburn occupied Darwen in 1974.

Lower Darwen Mil​​​l  

Thomas Eccles built the first mill in Lower Darwen in 1744; this was a Spinning Mill using Hargreaves Spinning Jennies powered by hand.  In 1779 a mill race and water wheel were built.  By 1804 there were two Spinning Mills employing one hundred people.  These mills used the Power Mules and Water Frames, the inventions of Crompton and Arkwright.  The 1820’s saw the first inspection of mills in Lancashire by order of the Quarter Sessions at Preston.  This was done by Charles Whitaker, J.P. and the Reverend James Quartley on the 17th July 1823 in the Lower Division of the Blackburn Hundred.  Their report on the mills at Lower Darwen reads as follows;
“1; Joseph Eccles Two cotton mills at Lower Darwen.  There are about 50 persons in each of these factories.  Half an hour is allowed for breakfast and an hour for dinner.  The interior walls are white washed once a year.  Both factories are dirty and in one of them the air is very impure in consequence of the Boghouse being situated near the staircase and to the entrance into the rooms in the same manner as those in the mill Livesey and Rodgett, King-street, Blackburn.”  There is no mention of the mill school at Lower Darwen which was mentioned at other mills.  One general observation of the working hours says; “It appears to be the general practice in nearly all the Cotton Factories in the district to work 12 and a half hours on each of the 5 first days of the week and only 9and a half on Saturday making a total of 72 hours in the week, an average of 12 hours a day.  This arrangement is represented to us to have been made at the request of the workpeople to enable them to Market on Saturday evening and to attend to their domestic concerns preparatory to Sunday.”
The 1840’s saw some major extensions, including the rebuilding of the Spinning Mills and the addition of a weaving shed with “Power Looms” was introduced and a mill lodge was built in Duchess-street.  It is said that the mill was one of the first to change from water to steam in this area and probably Lancashire.
The riots of the period against the introduction of new machinery missed the mills of Lower Darwen, due it is said to the good relations between masters and the workers.  The latter were called to the mill by a bell rung from the turret on the top of the “Old Mill”.
On February 1854, a fire broke out in the stables adjoining the mill.  The flames were prevented from spreading to the nearby cotton warehouse the cotton from which was removed.  Relays of buckets were established from the mill lodge to the site of the fire, a constant supply of water was thus produced.  The horse drawn fire engine, belonging to Hopwood and Son, of Nova Scotia, and the engine from Blackburn was soon on the spot and gave effective assistance in preventing the flames from spreading.  By the following Wednesday the Blackburn Standard had not heard how much damage had been caused.
A much more serious fire occurred on the 17th February 1857.  The fire broke out in the blowing room in the upper part of the “Old Mill” which was three storeys high, at three in the afternoon near to both the river Darwen and the mill Lodge.  Immediately the alarm was given the hands left their workplace and assisted in trying to douse the flames with the means available.  Messengers were sent to Blackburn and Darwen for help.  A short time after the news reached Blackburn the towns recently acquired powerful new engine called the “Britannia” was despatched with four horses to Lower Darwen.  At the same time the engine belonging to R. Hopwood and Son was sent to the conflagration.  When the engines arrived they were able to play their hoses on the fire with some considerable effect.  Soon after the engine belonging to Messer’s Eccles Shorrock of Darwen arrived, also another of Blackburn’s engines came to fight the Fir.  By five o’clock they had succeeded in arresting the progress of the flames before they could spread to other parts of the mill but not before the roof of the mixing room had fallen in.  The lower storeys of the mill were saved but a large quantity of cotton was damaged by both fire and water.  The origin of the fire it was thought was by a spark in the beater of the lapping machine.  There was very little damage to other machinery.  The morning after the fire the work went on as usual, so that no loss of time by the workforce occurred.  The estimate of the loss sustained was £800.  The following notice appeared in the Blackburn Times of February 21st 1857.

Fire at lower Darwen Mill.jpg

During the Cotton Famine caused by the American Civil War, 1861-65, the mill continued production though working reduced hours.
There was a fatal accident to a young boy on the 13th August 1866, Thomas Holden, employed as a creeler by James Lightboun was caught in a self acting machine when at his work and was severely crushed on his back and his stomach.  He was taken out of the machine by James Longworth and carried home.  Doctor Stephenson was called in and attended the boy until his death on 16th August.
The “Old Mill” was demolished in 1885; it was replaced by a weaving shed of 416 looms with a separate engine room and a boiler house plus a preparation block.  Over six hundred people were employed by the mill at this time.  In 1897 following the failure of the mill, William Birtwistle took over the company which began trading under the name of T. and R. Eccles, the first mill in his Allied Group.  This new firm commenced a clear out of machinery, 20,183 spindles and 183 old looms being sold on 16th may 1897.  The weaving shed of 1885 was extended, spinning was ended and the building turned into warehousing.
A third Weaving shed was built in 1905-06 this bringing the number of looms up to 1080 and an increase on the workforce of 650.  By 1912 there were 1122 looms producing plain and fancy cotton goods.  During the 1920’s and 30’s the mills followed the pattern of boom and bust of the Lancashire cotton industry.  Power was changed from steam to electric, other lines were introduced, jacquards and artificial silk.  The 1939-45 war saw the mills closed for some time, they reopened in 1945 but they were gradually reduced.  By 1951, only 544 looms remained, the Birtwistle Group used the mill for training.  But the decline continued.  The mill finally stopped production of cotton goods in 1971, after almost 200 years.
Thanks are due to the Lancashire Archive for permission to quote from the findings of the report in the mills for Lancashire of 1823.  The original document is in the archive under the Ref. QSP 2841/29.
There were two other cotton mills in the village, the first Charnley’s Newfield Mill, a weaving shed built in 1850 by the side of Highercroft brook almost at the bottom of Stopes Brow.  The mill started with 280 looms and about 100 workers.  It was sold during the Cotton Famine, buildings and machinery included for £500.  The new owner John Ingram hoping for better times increased the number of looms to 438.  Good times never came, and after losing £9,753 in five years, the firm became bankrupt in 1869.  A new firm took over Bradley’s, but they could not get enough water to make steam power, and they abandoned the building in 1879, it was demolished in 1892.  The second mill still stands in Kingston Place but no longer produces textiles.  Built in 1906 the mill was leased to J. & L. Ward. Ltd.  At first the mill contained 640 looms and employed 250 people, more looms were introduced in 1908 and 1911 bringing the total up to 1022 looms worked by 350 employees.  Two paper mills now come into the story, the first ‘Scotshaw Brook’ is to be found on Branch Road, and is still producing paper, for the Sanderson group.  Built in 1867, it was first powered by water; the mill race can still be seen running from a lodge on the opposite side of the road.  Steam took over the power, and the mill produced, boards, browns, and blue papers.  Out second paper mill was built on Greenbank Terrace, Lower Darwen Paper Mill, was owned by the Co-operative movement.  It had two paper machines in 1873 producing wrappings for the home trade; the work force was then no more than a hundred.  Expansions were made to both mill and workers until the end of the Second World War.  It was then taken over by the Reed Group production was changed to envelope paper, boards, both brown and coloured coated paper, and wallpaper bases.  At the end of the war 190 people were employed, but in 1991, the mill closed and these jobs were lost.  The mill buildings have since been demolished. 
By far the largest single employer the village ever had was the 'Fuse Factory', otherwise the Royal Ordnance Factory.  Built at the top of Stopes Brow at the end of 1938, it produced fuses for anti-aircraft shells.  During the Second World War 2,000 people were employed at the factory.  After the war production was diversified, but was gradually run down.  In the early 1990s most of the factory was closed, a smaller Royal Ordnance Plc was formed and most of the factory land sold for housing.  In 1881 the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway opened an engine shed, just outside Lower Darwen Station in the Blackburn direction.  It had eight roads, and a turntable, 32 locomotives were housed there.  By 1934 the locomotives housed was increased to 44.  Just before it closed down on the 14th February 1966 these had been reduced to 20.  As with the station the buildings were demolished and the site returned to nature.  Some quarrying was carried out in the area, some quarrymen are to be found in the 1951 census, there was coalmining in the township.  A pit named the Lower Darwen Colliery was opened in the mid 1800s, but this closed in 1918.  The village seems well off for employment today, and there are industrial estates close to it.

The Eccles Fami​​​​ly

Thomas Eccles who built the Old Mill in Lower Darwen came from a family who had lived in the Darwen area for over three hundred years.  The family originally came from Clitheroe.  His arrival in 1772 was to start a family connection with the village that would last through five generations to 1967.  Thomas Eccles was born at Mill Farm, Pickup Bank in the year 1743.  He was brought up on the farm, and was trained as a handloom weaver.  As a young man he was steward for the Sudell Family.  He married May Eccles (who came from a family of the same name), who had come from the Walton-le-Dale district.  They moved onto Lower Waterside Farm, but Thomas still herded his cattle on Mill Farm.  When his father died in 1771 he moved back to Mill Farm, twelve months later he and his wife moved to Lower Darwen.  They took up residence in Lower Darwen House net to which the mill was erected.  He and his wife were to have eight children before Mary died.  Ichabod, the eldest child built the ‘Elms’ in Lower Darwen but died at the early age of twenty-three in 1803 just months after its completion.  Joseph Eccles, who took over the mill after his father’s death in 1818, is credited with opening the mill school in 1817, one of the earliest in the county.  He married Mary Livesey, of Darwen; they too had a large family of five sons and two daughters.  Not much is known about him; in the Baines History of Lancashire of 1824 he is described as a Cotton Spinner of Lower Darwen.  In the year 1828 he took into partnership his sons Thomas the eldest, and Richard.  The two brothers took over the running of the mill, and under their supervision many changes were made.   Thomas Eccles married Jane Mitchell in 1833; they had four sons and three daughters.  He was one of the first directors of the Blackburn and Darwen Railway Company.  Thomas, and his brother were very much involved in the founding of the Congregational Church in the village, the factory school being used for the first services.  Thomas became a county magistrate on the 8th January 1849.  In the 1860s due to ill health he gave up his business interests and moved to Torquay.  He died in 1878, although not before he had been influential in the establishment of a Congregational Church there.  His son Richard Junior was brought up as a Cotton Spinner going into partnership with his brother Thomas Mitchell, running mills in Bamber Bridge, and Blackburn.  He lived in the ‘Elms’, married Helen Cheetham; they had two sons and a daughter.
Richard Eccles J. P., the brother of Thomas, son of Joseph was born in 1807, he married Ann Mary Jeffreys in 1851, and they had two children, Richard Herbert, and Lucy.  Richard, like his brother was central to the Congregational Church, and became a county magistrate in 1852.  He was Chairman of the Board of Guardians when the ‘Workhouse’ was moved from Grimshaw Park to Whinney heights in 1864.  When he died in 1888 his son Richard Herbert took over the running of the mill.  Richard Herbert Eccles J. P. was born at Highercroft House in 1855, from his boyhood he was involved with the mill, factory school, and village life.  He chose though to join the Army; he was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the 97th Regiment.  His regiment saw some service overseas, during a spell serving in Canada; he met and married his first wife a local girl Julia Rutherford in 1879.  During this short marriage she died in 1882, they had two sons, and a daughter.  He saw service with the Army in South Africa during the first Boer War, but on his return home in 1884 he resigned his commission.  This was in protest at the Gladstone government’s handling of the peace agreement (Treaty of Pretoria).  Leaving the Liberals he joined the Conservatives, and threw himself into local politics.  In 1884 he married for the second time, his wife Jean Marshall coming from Perthshire. Before she died in 1909, they had two sons and another daughter.  During the period between the Boer and Great Wars he saw the mill through some difficult times, though he could not stop the mill becoming insolvent in 1897.  Herbert Eccles remained in charge after the company was taken over by William Birtwistle; he remained so until his retirement, the last Eccles to run the mill, but not the last to be involved in the village life.  The sons, and daughter of Richard Eccles Jnr, new married, and the ‘Elms’ was their home until their deaths.  The eldest, Richard Howard, trained as an accountant and was for over thirty years Secretary of the Bleachers Association travelling to Manchester every weekday.  Even so he found time to look after the village, being much involved with the Congregational Church, and school.  He was also a member of the Board of Management of the Hospital for Incurables at Bury.  Born in 1871, he died in 1958, aged eighty-seven.  James Ronald Eccles spent all of his working life away from the ‘Elms’.  He was born in 1874 was educated at Clifton College, and Kings College, Cambridge.  He got an M. A. In 1909 he went as a teacher to Gresham’s School in Norfolk, he became headmaster there in 1919.  He died in 1956.  The last member of the Eccles family to live and play an active part in village life was Helen Margaret Eccles, J.P. (Known affectionately to the villagers as ‘Dolly’).  Born in 1872 three years before her father died, she was educated at home, and Highfield, Hendon.  Miss Helen as she was called by the villagers, taught at the Congregational Church Sunday School, was active in temperance work, and child welfare.  She was a member of the Blackburn Education Committee, and became a county magistrate on the 29th January 1931.  During the time Miss Helen ran the ‘Elms’ it was thrown open during the simmer so that the village children could have garden parties.  In 1967 at the great age of ninety-five she died at the Elms, the last member of a most remarkable family who did so much for the village of Lower Darwen.

Lower Darwe​​​​n Village

The building of the mill in 1774, seems to have had little impact on the village, there is very little evidence on Yates Map of 1786 to show expansion of either property or population.  It would be true to say that at this time the village was in the centre of a farming area, mainly pasture and meadow for cattle and sheep, with some cultivation of corn.  There were two packhorse trails through the village.  One left the Roman Road, at Blackamoor, descending Stopes Brow, along Fore Street meeting the other trail at the bridge over the River Darwen. (1)  This trail came from Darwen Chapels, after the bridge one trail went to the west and Tockholes, the other north to Blackburn.  When the map was drawn there was only one house of note, Highercroft House built in 1634, the house was demolished in the mid 1960s to make way for the ‘Centurion’ public house. The village was one of the early centres of nonconformism, even before the first visit by Charles Wesley in 1759; there had been regular meetings in the barn of Newfield Farm.  It was in the barn of the village farm that Wesley preached on his second visit in 1761.  A Methodist school was established in 1828, the Wesleyan Church on Park Lane, (Highercroft Road) followed in 1851, this was demolished in the early 1900s.  Prior to this thought, the Vicar of Blackburn, Dr. John William Whittaker, alarmed at the growth of the nonconformists encouraged the building of a Parish Church.  A church dedicated to St. James was built on Stopes brow in 1829 a school followed in 1838.  The school was replaced in 1873 at a cost of £850, both church and school have now gone, the school in 1996, the church in the 1960s.  Modern buildings have replaced both. In 1871 another church was built by the Methodists in Fore Street quite close to where Wesley had preached on his second visit, the building though damaged is still to be found, and in use.  Last but not least came the Congregational Church in Sandy Lane, built in 1885, the congregation having used the Mill School for almost fifty years. The Eccles family had started this school in 1817, but not in the building still standing by Albert Place, this was established by the Eccles’ in the 1840s at a cost of £410.  Just by the Railway Station on Parr Lane, the Methodists built a Sunday school in 1904, the building, under-used became neglected and was demolished in the 1980s.  In 1896 the Mill School became the Congregational School in Sandy Lane, it was extended in 1910, but is now a retirement home.  Before closing this section, this is an extract taken from the Blackburn Times of the 12th April 1862: ‘Independent (Mill) School had 180 pupils, 32 of whom were over 15, taught by 10 teachers, who had 380 books to teach from.’ The benevolent Eccles’s?  The farms in the area would supplement their earnings by weaving, the Parish Register of 1774 shows that there were 57 handloom weavers in Lower Darwen.  In 1826 during the bad times, Lower Darwen township had only four of 377 families not directly dependent in the textile trade.  The village received £75 in 1841 from the Manufacturers Relief Committee according to census figures of the time only 732 people lived in the village.  In the same census there is still mention of handloom weavers.  For example, Roger Taylor, 35, Crofter, his wife Margaret, 29, Handloom Weaver.  The village continued to grow.  BY 1860 there were 1280, and in 1901 this had passed 2000.  In 1861 the village policeman Robert Holme was so badly paid that his wife had to take in washing. At the same time Thomas and Jane Eccles of the ‘Elms’ had the help of three live-in servants, he at that time had 488 people working in the mill.  The railway came through Lower Darwen in 1847; Rakes Bridge was built in twelve months.  On the 3rd August it was possible to travel to Darwen or Blackburn eight times a day and four times on Sunday.  The time it took to get to Blackburn was 5 or 6 minutes, the cost one way was: 1st Class, 4d, 2nd Class, 3d. and 3rd Class, 2d.  A primitive wooden station was built on Park Lane, this incidentally was stolenovernight it was found at Eccleshill being used as a hencote.  Sidings were built on the Darwen side of Rakes Bridge, railwaymen, joined twelve workers living in the village.  Robert Lowe was appointed Station Master in 1899; he must have had job satisfaction for he remained for the next twenty-five years.  In 1861 the Co-op set up shop in the village, the first shop, and the largest was on Fore Street, known as the Lower Darwen Co-operative Society.  This was followed by the Conservative Co-operative Society in 1874; they had two shops, one at Raikes Bridge, the other on Sandy Lane.  Between them they had almost 500 members in 1914 with combined sales of almost £16,000.  One took Thursday as half-day, the other Tuesday, but only Lower Darwen Co-op took an annual holiday. (2) The mills at this time took separate ‘Wakes’ Eccles’s with Darwen, Wards with Blackburn.  At this time the village must have been prosperous for there were many shops, even a bank.  Fore Street contained a large number of these, the butcher, grocer, tailor, bookmarker and newsagent to name a few.  The County Bank used the building that had been the Police Station.  At the turn of the century there were three public houses in Lower Darwen, strange for a nonconformist community.  At Rakes Bridge stood the Railway Arms a beer house, sadly no more.  Just off the road the Hindle Arms is still with us but disguised as the ‘Winning Post’.  The Swan that stood in Fore Street was demolished in the early 1900s, another ‘Swan’ was built north of the River Darwen in 1907, but now trades under the name of ‘Uncle Jacks’.  There was never any professional entertainment in the village; it was a case of ‘do it yourself’.  The schools were used for entertainment, each put on concerts and plays.  Christmas would see each church group perform pantomimes.  Sandy Lane School’s Christmas show would include prize giving for those who attended the school, the Sunday School, and the village Cricket Team, members of the tennis club, and the bowling club would collect trophies won during the season.  One of the Eccles family would give the prizes, most of which were bought by the family.  Church groups would meet during the week; the rooms were used for badminton and other indoor games.  Youth clubs were set up for the young folk of the village.  Both the Methodists and the Congregationalists built tennis courts and Bowling Greens.  The recreational ground behind the church became the envy of the two towns either side of the village.  Mr. J. R. Eccles arranged with Darwen Corporation the tipping of ashes onto the Cricket ground, so that it became the same size as Blackburn’s Alexander Meddowes.  His sister provided the children’s corner, with swings, slides and roundabouts etc.  Over the Lower Darwen Co-op were rooms used for meetings mostly political, and a dance floor, the latter used well into the 1970s.  Today’s village is a thriving place, but has had to pay a terrible price for it.
In my introduction I mentioned the difficulty I was having over what and what not to include, in the project.  Now at the end, I am even more uncertain though I have well exceeded my allotted words, so much more had had to be left out.  There were so many other families who could have been mentioned, the Aspinalls, Hindles, Walmsleys, and the Howarths.  On the 28th August 1744, Elizabeth Howarth married Robert Peel the statesman.  Dickie Hacking, a well-known local character, was the builder when the Eccles’ carried out their mill improvements in the late 1840s; he was later to build the new Town Hall in Blackburn (1856).  There must be much more to find out about the effect the Railway was to have on the village.  I have hardly mentioned the farms and farmers, who were so important to Lower Darwen.  The R.O.F. and the jobs it created, jobs that were the envy of those employed in textiles.  There have been problems along the way trying to confirm sources, the mill is a good example, three say that it was first a spinning mill; one says it was a carding mill.  One local historian even got the name of the first owner wrong.  I ended the last chapter with the worlds 'had to pay a terrible price', the Lower Darwen I knew as a child and later a young man no longer exists, where there once were green fields, now housing has replaced them.  Some of this housing is so bad that people do want to live in them.  The good, but expensive homes are built in such a way that sets them apart from the village.  There is nowhere to meet now, the Methodist Church has a coffee morning on Thursday, but there is no village hall.  When Miss Helen died nothing took the place of the Eccles family influence on village life.  The ‘Elms’ was left to Blackburn so that it could be used by the village for meetings, leisure and a library.  Blackburn Council in its wisdom demolished the house.  Newfield Farm that had fallen into disrepair after a life of two hundred years was demolished after attempts were made to save it.  Plans were made to move it brick by brick to Witton Park but these fell through.  The oldest house in the village went the same way; a public house is not the ideal replacement for ‘Highercroft House’.  Unless a watchful eye is kept on the powers that be, the same fate awaits ‘Fernhurst’ the village’s old Manor House.  For all its trials and tribulations I have enjoyed this project and I have no doubt been carried away in the length of its discharge.  Lots of people are due thanks for their help, given in the main cheerfully.  I must have driven the staff of the Reference Libraries of Blackburn and Darwen to distraction; the people at County Records could not have been more helpful.  To the people of the ‘Coffee Morning’ at the Methodist Church a special thanks, I wish I could have spent more time with them.  To Maggie Sims at Blackburn Museum and Dr. Stephen Bull of the County Regimental Museum at Preston, my thanks for their help with the weaponry in Chapter One.  Finally thanks to Les Scott for his help and advice.
Creator:  Gerald Schofield
Location:  Lower Darwen
Document Type: Original Text
Description:  Original text by Gerald Schofield about Lower Darwen and the Eccles family written for a college project.
Classification No: E02Lower Darwen
You may freely reproduce this content provided you do not do so in the course of a business and state clearly that the content was provided by Gerald Schofield for use in the Cotton Town digitisation project.
back to top