Waugh: Sketches of Lancashire Life (4)

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In this active arena of industrialism there are many places of historic interest scattered over the uneven country spreading out from both sides of the line; old halls and churches, where our forefathers have lived and worshipped many centuries; and quaint relics of ancient hamlets, hidden among the great overgrowth of modern factory villages, mingled with immense mills and costly mansions, often belonging to men who were poor lads a few years ago, wearing wooden clogs, and carrying the woollen pieces back from the loom at their own houses upon their shoulders.  As we cross the valley immediately beyond the Middleton station, the little picturesque old parish church of Middleton stands full in sight, upon the top of a green eminence, about a mile northward from the line, and just above the town, which lies chiefly down in the valley, north-west of the church.  In the interior of this old fane still hang against the southern wall the standard and armour of Sir Richard Assheton, which he dedicated to St. Leonard of Middleton, on returning from the fight of Flooded Field, where he greatly distinguished himself, taking prisoner Sir John Foreman, serjeant-porter to James the Sixth of Scotland, and Alexander Barrett, high sheriff of Aberdeen; and capturing the sword of the standard-bearer of the Scottish king.  He was accompanied to the battle by a brave array of picked Lancashire archers, the flower of his Middleton tenantry.  At the western base of the hill upon which the old church of St. Leonard of Middleton is situated two large cotton factories now stand, close to the spot which, even so late as the year 1845, was occupied by the picturesque, heavy-timbered old hall of the Asshetons, lords of Middleton.  The new gas-works of the town fills part of the space once covered with the gardens of the hall.  Middleton lies principally in the heart of a pleasant vale, with some relics of its ancient quaintness remaining, in good condition, such as the large, antique wood-and-plaster inn, called the "Boar's Head," in the hollow at the front of the parish church.  But the green valleys of Middleton are fast filling with cotton and silk mills, and dye works, and a thriving population.  The manor of Middleton anciently belonged to the honour of Clithero, and was held by the Lacies, Earls of Lincoln.  In the reign of Henry III., the heir of Robert de Middleton held a knight's fee in Middleton, of the fee of Edmund or Edward, Earl of Lincoln, who held it of the Earl of Ferrars, the king's tenant in capite.  And Baines, in his history of Lancashire, further says,—

"In 3 Edward II., the manor of Middleton is found in the inquisition post-mortem of Henry de Lacy, amongst the fees belonging to the manor of Tottington, held by service of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster.  With Henry, Earl of Lincoln, this branch of the Lacys passed away; and their possessions in this country, with his daughter and heiress, devolved upon Thomas Plantagenet, Earl of Lancaster.  The heirs of Robti (Robert) de Middleton possessed lands in Midelton, by military service, in the reign of Henry the Third, 1216 -1272.  At a later period the manor was possessed by Richard Barton, Esq.; the first of this family who is recorded in connection with Middleton was living in the reign of Henry the Fourth, 1410.  He died without surviving issue, and the manor passed to the heirs of his brother, John Barton, Esq., whose daughter Margaret having married Ralph Assheton, Esq., a son of Sir John Assheton, Knt., of Ashton-under-Lyne, he became Lord of Middleton in her right, in the seventeenth of Henry the Sixth, 1438, and was the same year appointed a page of honour to that king.  He was knight-marshal of England, lieutenant of the Tower of London, and sheriff of Yorkshire, 1473-1474.  He attended the Duke of Gloucester at the battle of Haldon, or Hutton Field, Scotland, in order to recover Berwick, and was created a knight banneret on the field for his gallant services, 1483.  On the succession of Richard the Third to the crown, he created Sir Ralph vice-constable of England, by letters patent, 1483."

    Thus began the first connection of the town of Middleton with that powerful Lancashire family, the Asshetons, of Ashton-under-Lyne, in the person of the famous "Black Lad," respecting whom Dr. Hibbert says, in his historical work upon Ashton-under-Lyne, as follows:

"It appears that Ralph Assheton became, by his alliance with a rich heiress, the lord of a neighbouring manor, named Middleton, and soon afterwards received the honour of knighthood, being at the same time entrusted with the office of vice-chancellor, and, it is added, of lieutenant of the Tower.  Invested with such authority, he committed violent excesses in this part of the kingdom.  In retaining also for life the privilege of guld riding, he, on a certain day in the spring, made his appearance in this manner, clad in black armour (whence his name of the Black Lad), mounted on a charger, and attended by a numerous train of his followers, in order to levy the penalty arising from neglect of clearing the land from carr gulds.  The interference of so powerful a knight belonging to another lordship could not but be regarded by the tenants of Assheton as a tyrannical intrusion of a stranger, and the name of the Black Lad is at present regarded with no other sentiment than that of horror.  Tradition has, indeed, still perpetuated the prayer that was fervently ejaculated for a deliverance from his tyranny:―

'Sweet Jesu, for thy mercy's sake,
     And for thy bitter passion,
 Save us from the axe of the Tower,
     And from Sir Ralph of Assheton.'"

Happily, with the death of this terrible guld-rider of Assheton the custom was abolished, but the sum of five shillings is still reserved from the estate, for the purpose of commemorating it by an annual ceremony.  Ralph Assheton, of Middleton, was an energetic adherent to the parliamentary cause during the civil wars.  On the 24th September, 1642, about one hundred and fifty of his tenants, in complete arms, joined the forces of Manchester, in opposition to the royalists.  He commanded the parliamentary troops at the siege of Warrington, which he captured.  He was engaged at the siege of Lathom House, and led the Middleton Clubmen at the siege and taking of Bolton-le-Moors by the royalists, May 28, 1644.  In 1648 he was a major-general, and commanded the Lancashire soldiery of the commonwealth, on the marshalling of the parliamentary forces to oppose the Duke of Hamilton.  In the same year he took Appleby from the royalists.  His eldest son, Richard, who died an infant, March 25th, 1631, was supposed to have been bewitched to death by one Utley, " who, for the crime, was tried at the assizes at Lancaster, and executed there."  His son Ralph espoused the cause of Charles the Second, and was created a baronet in 1663.

    As we glide out of sight of Middleton, a prominent feature of the landscape on the opposite side of the railway is the wood-crowned summit of "Tandle Hills."  These hills overlook the sequestered dairy farms and shady dingles of an extensive district called "Thornham;" which, though surrounded at short distances by throng, smoky, manufacturing villages and towns, is a tract full of quaint farm folds, little grassy uplands and dells, interlaced with green old English lanes and hedge-rows.  Before the train reaches Blue Pits station, it passes through the fine estate of the Hopwoods, of Hopwood; and, at some points, as it passes, the chimnies and gables of Hopwood Hall peep through its surrounding woods, in a retired and well-cultivated valley, on the north side of the line.  As the train begins to slacken on its approach to the station, the tiny, old roadside village of Trub Smithy, the scene of many a humorous local story, lies nestling beyond two or three fields to the south, at the foot of a slope, in the high-road from Manchester to Rochdale.  At "Blue Pits" station, we obeyed the noisy summons to "Change here for Heywood," and were put upon the branch line which leads thitherward.  The railway hence to Heywood winds through green fields all the way, and is divided from the woods of Hopwood by a long, straight stripe of gleaming canal, kept in excellent order.  As we rolled on towards Heywood the moorland heights of Ashworth, wild, round-topped Knoll, Rooley, and Lobden, rose boldly up in the background of the scene before us, seemingly at a short distance, and before any glimpse was seen of the town of Heywood, lying low between us and the hills.  But as we drew near, a canopy of smoky cloud hung over the valley in front; and "we knew by the smoke "—as the song says—that Heywood was near; even if we had never known it before.  Heywood is one of the last places in the world where a man who judges of the surrounding country by the towns itself, would think of going to ruralise.  But, even in this smoky manufacturing town, which is so meagre in historical interest,—there are some significant peculiarities connected with its rise and progress, and the aspects of its present life; and some interesting traits in the characteristics of its inhabitants.  And, in its surrounding landscape, there are many picturesque scenes; especially towards the hills, where the rising grounds are pierced, here and there, by romantic and craggy glens; long, lonesome, and woody, and wandering far up towards the moors, like "Simpson Clough;" and sometimes green and pleasant by the quiet water-side, like "Tyrone's Bed," and "Hooley Clough."

    As the train drew slowly up to that little station, which always looks busy when there are a dozen people in the office, the straggling ends of Heywood streets began to dawn upon us, in the valley off at the north-west side of the line, with the peeping chimney tops of many of the cotton-mills, which lay yet too low down and far off to be wholly seen.  Some costly mansions were visible also, belonging to wealthy men of the neighbourhood,—mostly rich cotton-spinners,—perched on "coignes of vantage," about the green uplands and hollows in the valley, and generally, at a respectful distance from the town.  Many of the cotton mills began to show themselves here entirely,—here and there in clusters, the older ones looking very dusky and dreary, and uninviting to the eye; the new ones as smart as new bricks and long lines of glittering windows could make their dull, square forms appear.  A number of brick-built cottages bristled about the summit of a slope which rose gently up in front of us from the station, and closed from view the bulk of the town, lying down in the valley beyond.  We went up the slope, and took a quiet bye-path which leads through the fields along the southern edge of Heywood, affording a good view of the town and the valley in which it is situated, and entering the town near the market-place.  And now, let us take a glance at the history, and some of the present features of this manufacturing town.

    So far as the history of Heywood is known, it has not been the arena of any of those great historical transactions of England's past, which have so shaken and changed the less remote and more populated parts of the country.  The present appearance of Heywood would not, perhaps, be any way delightful to the eye of anybody who had no attractive local interest in it.  Yet a brief review of the history, and the quick growth of the place, may not be uninteresting.  Heywood is the capital of the township of Heap, and stands principally upon a gentle elevation in a wide valley, about three miles from each of the important towns of Rochdale, Bury, and Middleton.  The township of Heap is in the parish and manor of Bury, of which manor the Earl of Derby is lord.  This manor has been the property of the Derby family ever since the accession of Henry VII., after the battle of Bosworth Field, when it was granted by the king to his father-in-law, Thomas Stanley, first Earl of Derby, who figures in Shakspere's tragedy of " Richard the Third."  The previous possessors were the Pilkingtons, of Pilkington.  Sir Thomas Pilkington was an active adherent of the York faction, in the wars of the Roses; and, in a manuscript of Stowe's, his name appears, with a large number of other friends of Richard, who "sware Kynge Richard shuld were ye crowne."  There is a picturesque and secluded little hamlet of old-fashioned houses in this township, called Heap Fold, situated on a hill about half-a-mile west of Heywood.  This hamlet is generally admitted to be the oldest, and, probably, the only settlement in the township of Heap in the times of the Saxons, who first cleared and cultivated the land of this district.  Previous to that time, it may be naturally supposed that, like many similar parts of South Lancashire, this district was overrun with woods, and swamps, and thickets.  Edwin Butterworth published a little pamphlet history of Heywood, from which I quote the following notes:—"The origin of the designation Heap is not at all obvious; in the earliest known mention of the place, it is termed Hep, which may imply a tract overgrown with hawthorn-berries.  The name might arise from the unevenness of the surface,—heep (Saxon) indicating amass of irregularities.  The denomination 'Heywood' manifestly denotes the site of a wood in a field or a wood surrounded by fields."  Farther on, in the same pamphlet, he says:"The local family of Hep, or Heap, has been extinct a considerable time.  The deed of the gift of the whole forest of Holecombe, to the monks of St. Mary Magdalen, of Bretton, in Yorkshire, by Roger de Montbegon, is witnessed amongst others by Robert de Hep; but without date, being of an age prior to the use of dates.  Roger de Montbegon, however, died 10th Henry III, so that this transaction occurred before 1226."  It may be true that what is here alluded to as the local family of Hep or Heap, is extinct; but the name of Heap is now more prevalent among the inhabitants of Heywood and the immediately surrounding towns than anywhere else in England.  With respect to the two suppositions as to the origin of the name; almost every Lancashire lad will remember that he has, at one time or another, pricked his fingers with getting "hops," the common bright red berry, which, in other parts, goes by the name of the "hip."  And then there is some show of likelihood in the supposition that the name has come from the Saxon word "heep," meaning "a mass of irregularities," as Butterworth says; for the whole district is a succession of hills and holes, and undulations, of ever-varying size and shape.  Again, he says, "Heap was doubtless inhabited by at least one Saxon family, whose descendants, it is probable, quietly conformed to Norman rule.  In that era, or perhaps earlier, the place was annexed to the lordship and church of Bury, of which Adam de Bury, and Edward de Buri, were possessors shortly after the conquest. [14]  A family of the name of Hep or Heap, held the hamlet from the paramount lords.  In 1311, third of Edward II., Henry de Bury held one half of the manner of Bury." [15]  Previous to the fifteenth century, this township must have been part of a very wild, roadless, and untempting region, having, for the most part, little or no settled population, or communion with the living world beyond; and the progress of population, and cultivation of the land, up to that time appears to have been very slow, and only in a few isolated spots; since, although there were several heys of land at that time, near to a wood, and thence called "Heywood," upon the spot now occupied by a busy community of people, numbering twenty thousand at least, principally employed in the cotton manufacture, yet, there is no record of any dwelling upon that particular spot, until shortly after the fifteenth century, when a few rural habitations were erected thereon.  From this comparatively recent period may be reckoned the dawn of the little rural village which has since expanded into the present stirring manufacturing town of Heywood, now thriving at a greater rate than ever, under the impulse of modern industrialism.  About this time, too, began the residence there of a family bearing the local name. "In 1492 occurs Robert de Heywood. In the brilliant reign of Elizabeth, Edmund Heywood, Esq., was required, by an order dated 1574, to furnish a coat of plate, a long bowe, shéffe of arrows, steel cap, and bill, for the military musters." [16]  James Heywood, gentleman, was living before 1604.  Peter Heywood, Esq., a zealous magistrate, the representative of this family in the reigns of James the I. and Charles the I., was a native and resident of the present Heywood Hall, which was erected during the sixteenth century.  It is said that he apprehended Guido Faux, coming forth from the vault of the house of parliament, on the eve of the gunpowder treason, November 5th, 1605; he probably accompanied Sir Thomas Knevett, in his search of the cellars under the parliament house.  The principal interest connected with the earliest history of the town of Heywood, seems to be bound up in the history of Heywood Hall and its inhabitants, which will be noticed farther on.

    The old episcopal chapel, near the market-place, dedicated to St. Luke, is a very plain little building, with nothing remarkable in its appearance, or its situation. It seems to have been founded at the beginning of the seventeenth century.  It contains inscriptions commemorative of the Holts, of Grizzlehurst, and the Starkies, of Heywood Hall.  A dial-plate on the eastern exterior, bears the date 1686, with the initials of Robert Heywood, Esq., of Heywood Hall, who was governor of the Isle of Man, in 1678.  Besides the Heywoods, of Heywood Hall, there were several powerful local families in the olden time seated at short distances round the spot where Heywood now stands: the Heaps, of Heap; the Bamfords, of Bamford; the Marlands, of Garland; the Bolts, of Grizlehurst; and the Hopwoods, of Hopwood—which last still reside upon their ancient estate.

    Heywood, or "Monkey Town," as sarcastic people in other parts of Lancashire sometimes call it, is now a manufacturing place of at least twenty thousand inhabitants.  It owes its rise almost entirely to the rise and progress of cotton manufacture; and the history of the latter incorporates the history of the former in a much greater degree than that of any other considerable town in the district.  This gives it a kind of interest which certainly does not belong to any beauty which the external appearance of the town at present possesses.  A few years before those potent mechanical inventions became known which ultimately made Lancashire what it is in our day, Heywood was a little, peaceful, and comparatively unfrequented country fold; but a few years after these inventions came into action, it began to grow into what the people of those days perhaps thought "something rich and strange," with a celerity akin to the growth of great towns in the United States of America.  About two hundred years ago, a few little rural cottages first arose upon this previously almost unpeopled spot; and at the same time when the manufacture of cotton began in South Lancashire, it was still a small agricultural village, prettily situated in a picturesque and quiet scene, about the centre of the long, gentle ridge of land, which is now nearly covered by the present smoky town, full of cotton factories.  This little rural nucleus clustered near to the old, white-washed episcopalian chapel which stands in the market-place.  Previous to the invention of the fly shuttle, by Kay, in the neighbouring town of Bury; and the ingenious combinations and applications of the inventions of his contemporaries by Arkwright, the enterprising Preston barber, almost every farm-house and little agricultural cottage in this part had the primitive spinning-wheel and the old-fashioned hand-loom in them, wherewith to employ any time the industrious and frugal inhabitants could spare from their rural occupations.  At the time of Arkwright's first patent, the people of these parts little knew what a change the time's inventions were bringing upon their quiet native haunts—still less of the vast radiating influences which were to arise therefrom, combining to the accomplishment of incalculable ends; and they were, at first, slow to wean from their old, primitive, independent way of living partly by farming and partly by manufacturing labour, which they could do in their own houses, and at their own leisure.  "Manchester manufacturers are glad," says Arthur Young, in 1770 (the year of Arkwright's first patent), when bread is dear, for then the people are forced to work."  But though the supply of yarn in those days was less than the demand, and the people were not yet draughted clean away from their old manner of life, they were caught in the web of that inevitable and inscrutable destiny which will have its way, in spite of the will of man.  The world's Master had new commissioners abroad for the achievement of new purposes.  These wonder-working seeds of providence, patiently developing themselves in secret, were soon to burst forth in a wide harvest of miraculous change upon the field of human life.  Certain men of mechanical genius arose, and their creative dreams wrought together in a mysterious way to the production of extraordinary results.  John Kay, of Bury, invented the "picking peg," or fly-shuttle, in 1738; and his son, Robert Kay, invented the "drop-box," used in the manufacture of fabrics of various colours,—and that wonderful cotton and woollen carding machine, which stretches the wire out of the ring, cuts it into lengths, staples and crooks it into teeth, pricks holes in the leather, and puts in the teeth, row after row, with extraordinary speed and precision, till the cards are finished.  Thomas Highs, the humble and ingenious reed-maker, at Leigh, in 1763, originated that first remarkable improvement in spinning machinery which he called after his favourite daughter "Jenny;" and he also introduced the "throttle" or water frame in 1767.  This man lingered out his old age in affliction and dependence.  James Hargreaves, the carpenter, of Blackburn, improved upon the original idea of the spinning-jenny, and invented the crank and comb, "an engine of singular merit for facilitating the progress of carding cotton."  The ignorant jealousy of the Lancashire operatives in those days drove this ingenious man to seek shelter in Nottinghamshire, where he was but ill-received, and where he ended his day's in miserable poverty.  He died in a workhouse.  Arkwright, the Preston barber, was more endowed by nature with the qualities requisite for worldly success than these ingenious, abstracted, and simple-minded mechanical dreamers.  He was a man of great perseverance and worldly sagacity.  With characteristic cunning, he appears to have wormed their valuable secrets out of some of these humble inventors; and then, with no less industry and enterprise than ingenuity, he combined these with other kindred inventions of the period, and wrought them into a practical operation, which, by its results, quickly awakened the world to a knowledge of their immense power.  He became a rich man, and "Sir Richard."  In 1780, the "spinning-mule," was first introduced by its inventor, Samuel Crompton, a poor dreamy weaver, then dwelling in a dilapidated corner of a quaint old Lancashire hall, called "Th' Hall i'th Wood," in Turton, near Bolton.  This machine united the powers of the spinning-wheel and the water-frame.  The spinning-mule is now in general use in the cotton manufacture.  This poor weaver gave his valuable invention to the public, without securing a patent.  His remuneration in the shape of money, was therefore left to the cold chances of charity; and it would doubtless have been more prompt and secure, and more productive, under the protection of a patent.  He was, however, at first, rewarded by a subscription of one hundred guineas; and twenty years afterwards, by an additional subscription of four hundred guineas; and in 1812 parliament awarded the sum of five thousand pounds to the dreamy old weaver, in his latter days.  In 1785, the first patent for the power-loom was obtained by the Rev. Edmund Cartwright, of Kent, who invented it; and after considerable improvements, it has at last contributed another enormous impulse to the manufacturing power of these districts.  Whilst these great mechanical agencies were developing themselves, James Watt was busy with his steam-power; and Brindley, in conjunction with the Duke of Bridgewater, was constructing his gigantic water-ways.  They were all necessary parts of one great scheme of social alteration, the end of which is not yet.  These men were the immediate sources of the present boasted manufacturing power and wealth of Lancashire.  Up rose Arkwright's model mill at Cromford; and the comfortable, industrious, and independent people of South Lancashire, who were spinning and weaving in the old way, in their scattered cottages and folds, began to find themselves drawn by irresistible spells into new combinations, and new modes of living and working.  Their remote haunts began to resound with the busy tones of clustering labour; their quiet rivers, late murmuring clear through silent glens and sloughs, began to be dotted and dirtied with new mills; and their little villages speedily shot up into large and active manufacturing towns.  From 1770 to 1788, the use of wool and linen in the spinning of yarns had almost disappeared, and cotton had become the almost universal material for employment; the hand-wheels were superseded by common jennies, hand carding by carding engines, and hand picking [17] by the fly shuttle.  From 1778 to 1803 was the golden age of this great trade; the introduction of mule yarns, assimilated with other yarns producing every description of goods, gave a preponderating wealth through the loom.  The mule twist being rapidly produced, and the demand for goods very large, put all hands in request; and weavers' shops became yearly more numerous,—the remuneration for labour was high, and the population was in a most comfortable condition.  The dissolution of Arkwright's patent in 1785, and the general adoption of mule spinning in 1790, concurred to give the most extraordinary impetus to the cotton manufacture.  Numerous mills were erected, and filled with water frames; and jennies and mules were made and set to work with almost incredible rapidity." [18]

    Heywood had already risen up, by the previous methods of manufacture, to a place of about two thousand inhabitants, in the year 1780—that changeful crisis of its history when the manufacture of cotton by steam-power first began in the township of Heap with the erection of Making Mill, hard by the north side of Heywood.  This mill was built by the firm of Peel, Yates, and Co., of Bury—the principal of which firm was Robert Peel, Esq., (afterwards Sir Robert), and father of the memorable Sir Robert Peel, late prime minister of England, whose name is honourably connected with the abolition of the Corn Laws; a man who won the gratitude of a nation by bravely daring to turn "traitor" to a great wrong, in order that he might embrace a great right.  This mill is now the property of Edmund Peel, Esq., brother of the late Sir Robert.  It stands about half a mile from Heywood, in a shady clough, and upon the banks of the river Roch, which rises in the hills on the north-east extremity of the county, and flows down through the town of Rochdale, passing through the green glen called "Tyrone's Bed;" and through "Hooley Clough."  The river then winds on westward, by the town of Bury, three miles off.  The course of this water is now well lined with manufacturing power, nearly from its rise to its embouchure.  A stranger may always find the mills of Lancashire by following the courses of its waters.

    Before the factory system arose, when the people of this quarter did their manufacturing work at their homes—when they were not yet brought completely to depend upon manufacture for livelihood, and when their manner of life was, at least, more natural and hardy then it became afterwards—their condition was, morally and physically, very good compared with the condition which the unrestricted factory system led to in the first impetuous rush after wealth which it suddenly awoke, especially in the employment of young children in mills.  The amount of demoralisation and physical deterioration then induced and entailed upon the after population, particularly in isolated nooks of the country, where public opinion had little or no controlling influence upon such mill-owners as happened to possess more of capital and reckless avarice than of humane care for their operative dependents, must have been great.  It was a wild manufacturing steeple-chase for wealthy stakes, in which whip and spur were used with little mercy, and few were willing to peril their chances of the plate by any lingering considerations for the sufferings of the animal that carried them.  But the condition of the factory operatives, since the introduction of the Ten Hours' Bill—and, perhaps, partly through the long-continued and earnest public discussions which led to that enactment—has very considerably and visibly begun to improve.  Benevolent and just men, who own mills, have, of their own accord, in many honourable instances, paid a much more liberal attention to the general welfare of their workpeople even than the provisions of the law demanded: and those mill-owners whose only care for their operatives was bounded by a vigorous desire to wring as much work as possible out of them for as little pay as possible, were compelled to fulfil certain humane regulations, which their own sympathies would have been slow to concede.  The hours of factory labour are now considerably and systematically shortened; and the operatives are not even so drunken, riotous, and ignorant, as when they were wrought, monotonously as their machinery, from bed-time to bed-time.  Books and schools, and salutary recreation, and social comfort, are more fashionable among them than they used to be—partly because they are more practicable things to them than before.  The mills themselves are now necessarily healthier in many respects than formerly; factory labour is restricted to children of a reasonable age; and that elementary education which is essential to every child's welfare, is now, by a wisdom worthy of extension, administered through the necessary impulse of the law to all children of a certain age in factories.

    Heywood town is altogether of too modern an origin to contain any buildings very interesting to the admirer of those quaint and instructive relics of ancient architecture which may generally be found, more or less of them, in unaltered nooks of the older towns of the county; and which, although their condition and character may be unsuited to the fashions and requirements of modern manufacturing life, yet please and instruct the thoughtful mind, breathing a kind of relieving historic interest and beauty among the great overgrowth of dull-looking modern buildings forced up by the hot atmosphere of Lancashire manufacture during the last seventy years.  The only places in Heywood around which an antiquarian would be likely to linger and muse, with anything like satisfaction, would be the little episcopal chapel in the market-place, founded in the seventeenth century, and Heywood Hall, which stands about half a mile from the town, and of which more anon.  With these exceptions, there is probably not one building in the place two hundred years old.

    The appearance of Heywood, whether seen in detail or as a whole, presents as complete, unrelieved, and condensed an epitome of the still-absorbing spirit of manufacture in the region where it originated, as can be found anywhere in Lancashire.  And, in all its irregular, serpentine main street, consisting of more than a mile of most monotonous, brick-built shops and cottages—together with the dingy, radiating little streets and alleys diverging therefrom—there does not appear even one modern building remarkable for taste, or for any other distinguishing excellence, sufficient to induce an ordinary man to halt and admire it for a minute.  There is not even and edifice characterised by any singularity whatever, calculated to awaken wonder or curiosity in an ordinary beholder, except its great square, brick cotton mills, machine shops, and the like; and when the outside of one of these has been seen, the outside of the remainder is no novelty.  The heights and depths principally cultivated in Heywood appear to be those of factory chimneys and coal-pits.  Of course, the interiors of the mills teem with mechanical wonders and ingenuities; and the social life and characteristics of the population is full of indigenous interest.  But the general exterior of the town exhibits a dull and dusky succession of manufacturing sameness.  Its inns, with one or two exceptions, look like jerry-shops, and its places of worship like warehouses.  A living writer has said of the place, that it looks like a great funeral on its way from Bury to Rochdale, between which towns it is situated midway.  When seen from any neighbouring elevation, on a dull day, this strong figure hardly exaggerates the truth.  The whole life of Heywood seems to be governed by the ring of factory bells—at least, much more than by any other bells.  The very dwelling-houses look as if they, too, worked in the factories.  To persons accustomed to the quaint prettiness of well-regulated English rural villages, and the more natural hue and general appearance of the people in such places, the inhabitants of Heywood would, at first sight, have somewhat of a sallow appearance, and their houses would appear to be slightly smeared with a mixture of soot, sperm oil, and cotton fluz.  And, if such observers knew nothing of the real character and habits of the factory population, they would be slow to believe them a people remarkably fond of cleanliness and of substantial homely comfort, as far as compatible with the nature of their employment.  A close examination of these Heywood cottages would show, however, that their insides are more clean and comfortable than the first glance at their outsides might suggest; and would also reveal many other things not discreditable to the native disposition of the people who dwell in them.  But the architecture and general characteristics of Heywood, as a town, evince no taste, no refinement, nor even public spirit or liberality, commensurate with its wealth and energy.  The whole population seems yet too completely wrapt in its laborious manufacturing dream, to care much about the general adornment or improvement of the place, or even about any very effective diffusion of those influences which tend to the improvement of the health and the culture of the nobler faculties of the people.  But Heywood may yet, perhaps, emerge from its dreary apprenticeship to blind toil; and, wiping a little dust from its eyes, look forth towards things quite as essential and of a nobler kind than this unremitting fight for bread for the day.  At present, wherever one wanders among the streets on week-days, the same manufacturing indications present themselves.  It is plain that its people are nearly all employed in one way, directly or indirectly.  This is suggested, not only by the number and magnitude of the mills, and the general aspect of the habitations of the people, but by every living movement on the streets.  Every vehicle that passes; every woman and child about the cottages; every lounger in the market-place tells the same story.  One striking feature of week-day life in Heywood, more completely even than in many other kindred towns, is the clock-work punctuality with which the operative crowds rush from the mills, and hurry along the streets, at noon, to their dinners; sauntering back again in twos and threes, or speeding along in solitary haste to get within the mill-doors in time for that reawakening boom of the machinery which is seldom on the laggard side of its appointment.  And it is not only in the dress and manners of this numerous body of factory operatives—in their language and deportment, and the prevailing hue of their countenances—that the character and influence of their employment is indicated; but also in a modified variety of the same features in the remainder of the population, who are either immediately connected with these operatives, or indirectly affected by the same general manufacturing influences.  I have noticed, however, that factory operatives in country manufacturing towns like Heywood have a more wholesome appearance, both in dress and person, than the same class in Manchester.  Whether this arises from any difference in the atmosphere, or from more healthy habits of factory operatives in the country, than those induced among the same class by the temptations of a great town like Manchester, I cannot say.

    In the course of the year, there are two very ancient festivals which are kept up, each with its own quaint peculiarities, by the Heywood people; and commemorated by them with general rejoicing and cessation from labour.  One of these is the "Rush-bearing," held in the month of August; an old feast which seems to have died out almost everywhere else in England, except in Lancashire.  Here, in Heywood, however, as in many other towns of the county, this ancient ceremony is still observed, with two or three days' holiday, hilarity, and feasting, in the hay season.  The original signification of this annual "Rush-bearing," and some of the old features connected with the ceremony, such as the bearing of the rushes, with great rejoicing, to the church, and the strewing of them upon the earthen floor of the sacred fane, have long since died out.  The following racy passage is taken from a poem called "The Village Festival," written by Elijah Ridings, a living author, of local celebrity, and is descriptive of the present characteristics of a Lancashire "Rush-bearing," as he had seen it celebrated in his native village of Newton, between Manchester and Oldham:—

When wood and barn-owls loudly shout,
As if were near some rabble rout;
When beech-trees drop the yellow leaf,
A type of human hope and grief;
When little wild flowers leave the sun,
Their pretty love-tasks being done;
And nature, with exhaustless charms,
Let's summer die in autumn's arms:
There is a merry, happy time,
With which I'll grace my simple rhyme;—
The wakes—the wakes—the jocund wakes!
My wand'ring memory forsakes
The present busy scene of things,
And soars away on fancy's wings,
For olden times, with garlands crown'd,
And rush-carts green on many a mound,
In hamlets bearing a great name, [19]
The first in astronomic fame;
With buoyant youth and modest maid,
Skipping along the green-sward glade,
With laughing eyes and ravished sight,
To share once more the old delight!
Oh! now there comes—and let's partake—
Brown nuts, spice bread, and Eccles cake; [20]
There's flying-boxes, whirligigs,
And sundry rustic pranks and rigs;
With old "Chum" [21] cracking nuts and jokes,
To entertain the country folks;
But more, to earn a honest penny,
And get a decent living, any
Aye, any an humble, striving way,
Than do what shuns the light of day.
Behold the rush-cart, and the throng
Of lads and lasses pass along!
Now watch the nimble morris-dancers,
Those blithe, fantastic antic-prancers,
Bedeck'd with gaudiest profusion
Of ribbons, in a gay confusion
Of brilliant colours, richest dyes,
Like wings of moths and butterflies;
Waving white kerchiefs here and there,
And up and down, and everywhere;
Springing, bounding, gaily skipping,
Deftly, briskly, no one tripping;
All young fellows, blithe and hearty,
Thirty couples in the party;
And on the foot-paths may be seen
Their sweethearts from each lane, and green,
And cottage home; all fain to see
This festival of rural glee;
The love-betrothed, the fond heart-plighted,
And with the witching scene delighted;
In modest guise, and simple graces,
With roses blushing on their faces;
Ah! what denotes, or what bespeaks
Love more than such sweet apple-cheeks?
Behold the strong-limbed horses stand,
The pride and boast of English land,
Fitted to move in shafts or chains,
With plaited, glossy tails and manes;
Their proud heads each a garland wears
Of quaint devices—suns and stars;
And roses, ribbon-wrought abound;
The silvers plate, [22] one hundred pound,
With green oak boughs the cart is crowned,
The strong, gaunt horses shake the ground.
Now see the welcome host appears,
And thirsty months the ale-draught cheers;
Draught after draught is quickly gone—
"Come; here's a health to every one!"
Away with care and doleful thinking;
The cup goes round; what hearty drinking!
While many a youth the lips is smacking,
And the two drivers' whips are cracking;
Now, strike up music, the old tune;
And louder, quicker, old bassoon;
Come, bustle lads, for one dance more,
And then cross-morris three times o'er.
Another jug—see how it foams,
And next the brown October comes—
Full five years old, the host declares,
And if you doubt it loudly swears,
That it's the best in any town
Tenpenny ale, the real nut-brown.
And, who was he, that jovial fellow,
With his strong ale so old and mellow?
A huge, unwieldy man was he,
Like Falstaff, fat and fall of glee;
With belly like a thirty-six [23]
(Now, reader, your attention fix),
In loose habiliments be stands,
Broad-shouldered, and with brawny hands;
Good humour beaming in his eye,
And the old, rude simplicity;
Ever alive for rough or smooth,
That rare old fellow, Bill o' Booth!" [24]

    The other is a famous old festival here, as well as in the neighbouring town of Bury.  It is a peculiarly local one, also; for, I believe, it is not celebrated anywhere else in England except in these two towns.  It begins on Mid-Lent Sunday, or " Simblin-Sunday," as the people of the district call it, from the name of a spiced cake which is prepared for this feast in great profusion, and in the making of which there is considerable expense and rivalry shown.  On "Simblin-Sunday," the two towns of Bury and Heywood swarm with visitors from the surrounding country, and "Simblins" of extraordinary size and value are exhibited in the shop-windows.  The festival is kept up during two or three days of the ensuing week.  In the Rev. W. Gaskell's interesting lectures on the "Lancashire Dialect," the following passage occurs relative to this "Simblin-Cake:"—"As you are aware there is a kind of cake for which the town of Bury is famous, and which gives its name in these parts to Mid-Lent Sunday—I mean 'symnel.'  Many curious and fanciful derivations have been found for this; but I feel no doubt that we must look for its true origin to the Anglo-Saxon 'simble' or 'simle,' which means a feast, or 'symblian,' to banquet.  'Simnel' was evidently some kind of the finest bread.  From the chronicle of Battle Abbey, we learn that, in proof of his regard for the monks, the Conqueror granted for their daily uses thirty-six ounces of 'bread fit for the table of a king, which is called simenel; and Roger de Hoveden mentions, among the provisions allowed to the Scotch King, at the Court of England, 'twelve simenels.'  'Banquet bread,' therefore, would seem to come very near the meaning of this word.  I may just observe in passing, that the baker's boy who, in the reign of Henry VII., personated the Earl of Warwick was most likely called 'Lambert Simnel,' as a sort of nickname derived from his trade." [25]

    The amusements, or what may be called the leisure-habits, of the factory population in Lancashire manufacturing towns are much alike.  Some are sufficiently jaded when their day's work is done, or are too apathetic by nature to engage heartily in anything requiring further exertion of body or mind.  There are many, however, who, when they leave the factory in the evening, go with a kind of renovating glee to the reading of such books as opportunity brings within their reach, or to the systematic prosecution of some chosen study, such as music, botany, mechanics, or mathematics, which are favourite sciences among the working people of Lancashire.  And even among the humblest there are often shrewd and well-read, if not extensively-read, politicians, chiefly of the Cobbett school.  But the greatest number occupy their leisure with rude physical sports, or those coarser indulgences which, in a place like Heywood, are more easily got at than books and schools, especially by that part of the people who have been brought up in toilful ignorance of these elements.  The tap-room is, unfortunately, the most convenient school and meeting-place for these; and the tap-rooms are numerous, and well attended.  There factory lads congregate nightly, clubbing their hard-earned pence for cheap ale, and whiling the night hours away in coarse ribaldry and dominoes, or in vigorous contention in the art of single step-dancing upon the ale-house hearth-stone.  This single step-dancing is a favourite exercise with them; and their wooden clogs are often very neatly made for the purpose, lacing closely up to above the ankle, and gaudily ornamented with a multitude of bright brass lace holes.  The quick, well-timed clatter upon the tap-room flags generally tells the whereabouts of such dancing haunts to a stranger as he goes along the streets; and, if he peeps into one of them, he may sometimes see a knot of factory lads clustered about the tap-room door inside, encouraging some favourite caperer with such exclamations as, "Deawn wi' th' fuut, Robin!  Crack thi' rags, owd dog!"  The chief out-door sports of the working-class are foot-racing, and jumping-matches; and sometimes foot-ball and cricket.  Wrestling, dog-fighting, and cock-fighting are not uncommon; but they are more peculiar to the hardier population outside the towns.  Now and then, a rough "up and down" fight takes place, improvised at an alehouse door, or brought off more systematically in a nook of the fields.  This rude and ancient manner of personal combat is graphically described by Samuel Bamford, in his well-known "Passages in the Life of a Radical."  The moors north of Heywood afford great sport in the grouse season.  Some of the local gentry keep packs of harriers; and now and then, a "foomart-hunt" takes place down by the waterside, with the long-eared dog, whose mingled cry, when heard from the hill-sides, sounds like a chime of bells in the distant valley.  The entire population, though engaged in manufacture, evinces a visible love of the fields and field sports, and a strong tincture of the rough simplicity, and idiomatic quaintness of their forefathers, or "fore-elders," as they sometimes call them.  In an old fold near Heywood, there lived a man a few years since, who was well known thereabouts as a fighter.  The lads of the hamlet were proud of him as a local champion.  Sometimes he used to call at a neighbouring alehouse, to get a gill, and have a "bout" with anybody so inclined and worth the trouble, for our hero had a sort of chivalric dislike to spending his time on "wastrils" unworthy of his prowess.  When he chanced to be seen advancing from the distance, the folk in the house used to say, "Hellho! so and so's coming; teen th' dur!" whereupon the landlord would reply, "Naw, naw!  lhyev it oppen, or else he'll punce it in!  But yo'n no 'casion to be fyerd, for he's as harmless as a chylt to aught at's wayker nor his sel!"  He is said to have been a man of few words, except when roused to anger, when he uttered terrible oaths with great vehemence.  The people of his neighbourhood say that he once swore so heavily when in a passion, that a plane-tree growing at the front of his cottage, withered away from that hour.  Most Lancashire villages contain men of this stamp—men of rude, strong frame and temper, whose habits, manners, and even language, smack a little of the days of Robin Hood.  Yet it is not uncommon to find them students of botany and music, and fond of little children.  Jane Clough, a curious local character, died at a great age, near Heywood, about a year and a half ago.  Jane was a notable country botanist, and she had many other characteristics which made her remarkable.  She was born upon Bagslate Heath, a moorland tract, up in the hills, to the north-east of Heywood.  I well remember that primitive country amazon, who, when I was a lad, was such an old-world figure upon the streets of Rochdale and Heywood.  Everybody knew old Jane Clough.  She was very tall, and of most masculine face and build of body; very strong-boned and robust, with a clear and healthy complexion.  She was mostly drest in a strong, old-fashioned blue woollen bed-gown, and thick petticoats of the same stuff.  She wore a plain but very clean linen cap upon her head, loosely covered with a silk kerchief; and her foot-gear consisted of heavy clouted shoon, or wooden clogs, suitable to her rough country walks, her great strength, and masculine habits.  Botany was always a ruling passion with rough old moorland Jane.  She was the queen of all flower-growers in humble life upon her native clod; especially in the cultivation of the polyanthus, auricula, tulip, and "ley" or carnation.  Jane was well known at all the flower-show of the neighbourhood, where she was often a successful exhibitor, and though she was known as a woman of somewhat scrupulous moral character—and there are many anecdotes of her illustrative of this—yet she was almost equally well known at foot-races and dog-battles, or any other kind of battles, for which she not unfrequently held the stakes.

    There used to be many a "hush-shop," or house for the sale of unlicensed drink, about Heywood; and if the district was thrown into a riddle, they would turn up now and then yet; especially in the outskirts of the town, and up towards the hills.  These are generally sly spots, where sly fuddlers, who like ale for its own sake, can steal in when things are quiet, and get a belly-full at something less than the licensed price, or carry off a bottle-full into the fields after the gloaming has come on.  Of course "hush-shop" tipplers could not often indulge in that noisy freedom of drunken speech, nor in those wild bursts of bacchanalian activity vulgarly known by the name of "hell's delight," of which licensed ale-houses are often the unavoidable scenes; and where the dangerous Lancashire ale-house game, called "Th' Bull o' th' Bank," has sometimes finished a night of drunken comedy with a touch of real tragedy.  The most suitable customers for the "hush-shop," were quiet, silent, steady soakers, who cared for no other company than a full pitcher; and whose psalm of life consisted of scraps of old drinking-songs like the following, trolled out in a low chuckling tone:

"O good ale, thou art my darling,
 I love thee night, I love thee morning
 I love thee new, I love thee old;
 I love thee warm, I love thee cold
                                                 Oh! good Ale!"

There is an old English drinking-song just republished in "The Songs of the Dramatists," which was printed in 1575, in Bishop Still's comedy of "Gammer Gurton's Needle," though probably known earlier.  Fragments of this old song are still known and sung in the north of England.  The burden runs thus in a Lancashire version:

"Back and side, go bare, go bare,
     Fuut and hond, go coud;
 But bally, God send thee good ale anuf,
     Whether its yung or owd!"

    Having glanced in this brief way, at the progress of Heywood, from the time when it first began to give a social human interest to this locality, as a tiny hamlet, about the end of the fifteenth century,—at which time the valley where it now stands was a comparatively unfrequented solitude—up to its present condition as a busy cotton-spinning town of twenty thousand inhabitants, surrounded by a district all alive with manufacturing activities, I will return to the narrative of my visit to the place, as it fell on one fine afternoon about the end of June.

    We had come round from the railway station, along the southern edge of the town, and through the fields, by a footpath, or "fuut-gate," which led us into Heywood about one hundred yards from the old episcopal chapel in the middle of the town.  The mills were stopped.  Country people were coming into town to do their errands, and a great part of the working population of Heywood appeared to be sauntering along the main street, stopping at the shops to make their markets as they went along; or casting about for their Saturday night's diversion, and gazing eagerly from side to side, to see what could be seen.  Clusters of factory girls were gathered about the drapers' windows.  These girls were generally clean and tidy; and, not unfrequently, there were very intelligent and pretty countenances amongst them.  The older part of the factory operatives, both men and women, had often a staid and jaded look.  The shops were busy with customers buying clothing, or food, or cheap publications; and the ale-houses were getting lively.  A little company of young "factory-chaps" were collected about the bookseller's shop, near the old "Queen Anne," looking out for news, or pictures, or reading the periodicals exposed in the windows.  Now and then, a select straggler wended his way across the road to change his "library-book" at the Mechanics' Institution.  There was considerable stir lower down the street, where a noisy band of music was marching along, followed by an admiring multitude.  And, amongst the whole, a number of those little, active, mischief-loving lads, which are so well-known in every manufacturing town by the name of "Doffers," were clattering about, and darting after one another among the crowd as blithe as if they had never known what work was.  We crossed through the middle of the town, and went down the north road into an open tract of meadow land, towards the residence of mine host.

    The house was pleasantly situated in a garden, about two stones' throw from the edge of Heywood, in the wide level of rich grass land, called "Yewood Ho' Ghreyt Meadow."  The road goes close by the end of the garden.  We entered this garden by a little iron side-gate, and on we went, under some richly-blossomed apple trees, and across the grass-plat, into the house.  The old housekeeper began to prepare tea for us; and, in the meantime, we made ourselves at home in the parlour, which looked out upon the garden and meadows at the front.  Mine host sat down to the piano, and played over some of that fine old psalmody which the country people of Lancashire take such delight in.  His family consisted of himself, a staid-looking old housekeeper, and his two motherless children.  One of these was a timid, bright-eyed little girl, with long flaxen hair, who, as we came through the garden, was playing with her hoop upon the shady grass-plat, under the blossomy apple trees; but who, on seeing a stranger, immediately sank into a shy stillness.  The other was a contemplative lad, about thirteen, with a Melancthon style of countenance.  I found him sitting alone in the parlour, absorbed in "Roderick Random."  As soon as tea was over, we walked forth in the cool of the evening, to see the daylight die upon the meadows around.  We could hear the stir of Saturday night life in the town.  Through the parlour window we had caught glimpses of the weird evolutions of a large bat; and, as we stood bare-headed in the garden, it still flitted to and fro about the eaves, on noiseless wings, in dusky, vivid motions.  As the still, cool night stole on, we went in, and the shutters closed us from the scene.  We lingered over supper, talking of what newspaper writers call "the topics of the day," and of books, and local characters and customs; and about half an hour before midnight we crept off quietly to our beds.

    When I rose from bed, and looked through the window of my chamber, the rich haze of an unclouded midsummer morning suffused the air.  The sunshine lay glittering all over the dewy fields; for the fiery steeds of Phœbus had not yet drunk up those limpid springs "on chaliced flowers that lie."  The birds had been up many an hour, and were carolling and chirping gleefully about the eaves of the house and in the gardens.  The splendour and serenity of the day had touched even the dull manufacturing town on the opposite ridge with its beautifying magic; and Heywood seemed to rest from its labours, and rejoice in the glory and gladness which clothed the heavens and the earth.  The long factory chimneys, which had been bathing their smokeless tops all night in the cool air, now looked up serenely through the sunshine at the blue sky, as if they, too, were glad to get rid of the week-day fume, and gaze quietly again upon the loveliness of nature; and all the whirling spinning machinery of the town was lying still and silent as the overarching heavens. Another Sabbath had dawned upon the world; and that day of God, and god of days, was breathing its fine balm among the toilers again.  It is a poor heart that never rejoices in the freedom and joy of nature, nor ever felt the serene and sacred suggestiveness of an English Sunday morning:

"Man has another day to swell the past,
 And lead him near to little, but his last;
 But mighty nature bounds as from her birth;
 The sun is in the heavens, and life on earth:
 Flowers in the valley, splendour in the stream,
 Health on the gale, and freshness in the stream.
 Immortal man! behold her glories shine,
 And cry, exultingly, 'They are mine!'
 Gaze on, while yet thy gladdened eye may see;
 A morrow comes when they are not for thee."

It was a feast to the senses and to the soul to look round under the sun upon such a scene at such a time, with the faculties fresh from repose, and instinctively conscious of reprieve from that relentless round of busy necessities that follow them, hotfoot, through the rest of the week.  As I dressed myself, I heard mine host's little daughter, "Mary Ann," begin to play "Roseau's Dream" on the piano, in the parlour below, and I went down stairs humming a sort of bass accompaniment to the tune; for it is a sweet and simple melody, which chimed in well with the tone of the hour.  The little shy musician stayed her fingers, and rose timidly from her seat, as I entered the room; but a little coaxing soon induced her to return to it, and she played the tune over and over again for us, whilst the morning meal was preparing.  Breakfast was soon over, and the youngsters dressed themselves for chapel, and left us to ourselves; for the one small bell of Heywood Chapel was going "Toll—toll—toll;" and straggling companies of clean, healthy children, were wending up the slope from the fields towards their Sunday schools.  Through the parlour window, I watched those little companies of country children—so fresh, so glad, and sweet-looking—and as they went their way, I thought of the time when I, too, used to start from home on a Sunday morning, dressed in my holiday suit, clean as a new pin from top to toe, and well content with a plentiful breakfast of oatmeal "porritch" and butter-cakes; and accompanied to the door with a world of good and gentle admonitions.  I thought of some things I learned "while standing at my mother's knee;" of the little prayer and the blessing at bed-time; of the fine old solemn tunes which she used to sing when all the house was still, whilst I sat and listened, instinctively drinking in those plaintive old strains of devotional melody, never to forget them more.  I thought of the simple joys, the painful, lonely struggles, and the well-remembered sorrows of those days; and as these things came over my mind, the feelings of childhood touched me across the changeful gap which lies between.

    We were now alone in the silent house, and there was a Sabbatical stillness all around.  The sunshine gleamed in at the windows and open doors; and, where we sat, we could smell the odours of the garden, and hear the busy music of birds outside.  We walked forth into the garden, among little beds of flowers, and blooming apple trees.  The subdued chirrup of children's voices was still going up the road hard by, towards the town. From the thick woods round Heywood Hall, there came floating over the meadows a thrilling flood of mingled bird-music from an innumerable choir of feathered singers, sporting among those leafy shades.  All nature was at morning service, and it was good to listen to this universal canticle of praise to Him "whose service is perfect freedom."  A kind of hushed joy seemed to pervade the landscape, which did not belong to any other day, however fine; as if the hills and vales, the woods and waters, also, knew it was Sunday:—"Hail, Sabbath! thee I hail, the poor man's day."  To the wisest and best men, the whole universe is one magnificent place of worship, and the whole course of human life one ceaseless divine service.  The man who has a susceptible hearty and loves nature, will find pleasure and renovation in communion with it, no matter what troubles may disturb him in the world of man's life:

                      "For she can so inform
 The mind that is within us, so impress
 With quietness and beauty, and so feed
 With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,
 Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,
 Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all
 The dreary intercourse of daily life
 Shall e'er prevail against us or disturb
 Our cheerful faith, that all which we behold
 Is full of blessings.  Therefore let the moon
 Shine on thee in thy solitary walk;
 And let the misty-mountain winds be free
 To blow against thee."

    The back yard of the house, where we were sauntering about, was divided from the woods and gardens of Heywood Hall by a wide level of rich meadows; and the thick summer foliage which lapped the old mansion from view, looked, in the distance, a very inviting shelter from the heat of a cloudless midsummer forenoon—a place where we could wander about old swardy plots and lawns, among embowered nooks and mossy paths—bathing, meanwhile in the pleasant coolness of its thick, green shades; in which a blithe multitude of small birds were waking the echoes of the woods with the sweet tumult of their blending melodies.  Being disposed for a walk, we instinctively took the way leading thitherward.  The high-road from the town of Heywood, northward, goes close by the front gates of Heywood Hall.  This road was formerly lined by a thick grove of trees, reaching nearly from the edge of the village to the gates, and called "Th' Lung Nursery."  This grove so shut out the view, and overhung each side of the way, that the walk between looked very lonely after dark; and country folk, who had been loitering late over their ale, in Heywood, began, when they reach "Th' Lung Nursery," to toot about from side to side, with timid glances, and stare with fear at every fitful rustle of the trees.  Even if two were in company, they hutched closer together as they approached this spot, and began to be troubled with vivid remembrances of manifold past transgressions, and to make internal resolutions thenceforth to "Fear God, an' keep th' co'sey," if they could only manage to "hit th' gate" this once, and get safely through the nursery, and by the water-stead in Hooly Clough, where "Yewood Ho' Boggart comes a-suppin' i' th' dhyed time o'th' neet."  This road was then, also, flanked on each side by a broad, sprawling thorn-edge, overgrown with wild mint, thyme, and nettles; and with thistles, brambles, stunted hazles, and wild rose bushes; with wandering honeysuckles weaving about through the whole.  It was full of irregular dinges, and "hare-gates," and holes, from which clods had been riven; and perforated by winding, mysterious tunnels and runs, where the mole, the weasel, the field-mouse, and the hedge-hog wandered at will.  Among the thorns at the top, there was many an erratic, scratchy, half-made breach, evidently the result of the frequent incursions of country herbalists, hunters, bird-nesters, and other restless roamers of the woods and fields.  It was one of those rich, old-fashioned hedges which country lads delight in; where they could creep to and fro, in a perfect revel of freedom and fun, among the brushwood and prickles, with no other impediment than a wholesome scratching; and where they could fight and tumble about gloriously among nettles, and mint, mugwort, docks, thistles, sorrel, "Robin-run-i' th'-hedge," and a multitude of other wild herbs and flowers, whose names and virtues it would puzzle even a Culpepper entirely to tell; rough and free as so many snod-backed young modiwarps, ripping and tearing, and soiling their "good clooas" as the country mothers used to call them, by tumbling among the dry, fine soil of the hedge-side, and then rolling slap into the wet ditch at the bottom, among "cuckoo-spit," and " frog-rud," and all sorts of green pool-slush; to the inexpressible dismay of sundry communities of limber-tailed "Bull-Jones," and other little necromantic fry that inhabit such like stagnant moistures.  Some looked for nests, and some for nuts, while others went rustling up the trees on climaxing adventures, trying the strength of many a bough; and all were blithe and free as the birds among the leaves, until the twilight shades began to fall.  Whilst the sun was still up in the sky, they thought little about those numerous native boggarts, and "fairees," and "fleeorin'," which, according to local traditions and superstition, roam the woods, and waters, and lonely places; sometimes with the malevolent intent of luring into their toils any careless intruder upon their secluded domain.  Some lurking in the streams and pools, like "Green-Teeth," and "Jenny Long Arms," waiting, with skinny claws and secret dart, for an opportunity to clutch the unwary wanderer upon the bank into the water.  Others, like "Th' White Lady," "Th' Skrikin' Woman," "Baum Rapped," "Grizlehurst Boggart," and "Clegg Ho' Boggart," haunting lonely nooks of the green country, and old houses, where they have made many a generation of simple folk pay a considerable toll of superstitious fear for some traditional deed of darkness done in the dim past.  Others, like "Nut Nan," prowled about the shady recesses of the woods, "wi' a poke-full o' red-whot getters, to brun nut-steyleis thir e'en cant."  But, when dusky evening began to steal over the fading scene, and the songs of the birds, and all the sounds of day began to die upon the ear—when the droning beetle, and the weird bat began to flit about; and busy crowds of midges danced above the road, in mazy eddies, and spiral columns, between the eye and the sky; then the superstitious teachings of their infancy began to play about the mind; and, mustering their traps, the lads turned their feet homeward, tired, hungry, scratched, dirty, and pleased; bearing away with them-in addition to sundry griping feeds of unripe dogberry, which they had eaten from the hedge-sides—great store of hazle-nuts, and earth-nuts; hips and haws; little whistles, made of the tough bark of the wicken-tree; slips of the wild rose-bush, stuck in their caps and button-holes; yellow "skedlocks," and whip-lashes made of plaited rushes; and sometimes, also, stung-up eyes and swollen cheeks, the painful trophies of desperate encounters with the warlike inhabitants of "wasp-nests," unexpectedly dropped on, in the course of their rural frolic.

"Oh, sweet youth; how soon it fades;
 Sweet joys of youth, how fleeting!"

The road home was beguiled with clod-battles, "Frog-Leap," and "Bob Stone," finishing with "Trinel" and "High Cockolorum," as they drew near their quarters.  The old hedge and the nursery have been cleared away, and now the fertile meadows lie open to the view, upon each side of the road.

    On arriving at the entrance which leads up from the high road to Heywood Hall, we turned in between two grey, dilapidated gate-pillars, standing in a semicircle, receding a little from the road side.  These old, headless, battered gate-pillars, had a lone and disconsolate appearance about them.  The crest of the Starkies is gone from the top, and the dismantled shafts look conscious of their shattered fortunes.  The wooden gate, now ricketty and rotten, swung to and fro with a grating sound upon its rusty hinges, as we walked leisurely up the cool, spacious avenue of tall trees, towards the hall.  The fine old wood, so thick with its fresh green, was a glorious sight, with the strong flood of summer sunshine pouring down upon it, and stealing through its fretted roof of many-patterned foliage, in freakish threads and bars of sunlight, which played about beautifully among the leaves and upon the fresh verdure underneath the trees, weaving a constant interchange of green and gold within that calm and pleasant shade, as the plumage of the wood moved with the wind.  The scene strongly reminded me of a passage in Spencer's "Faëry Queene:"—

"And all within were paths and alleies wide,
 With footing worne and leading inward farre
 Faire harbour that them seems: so in they entred ar."

We went on under the trees, along the deserted carriage road, now tinged with a creeping hue of green; and past the spacious old garden, with its long, low, bemossed brick wall; and, after sauntering to and fro among a labyrinth of neat footpaths, which wind up and down the cloisters of this leafy cathedral, we came to the front of the hall.  It stands, now tenantless and silent in the midst of its ancestral woods, upon the brow of a green eminence, overlooking, on the north, a little green, well wooded valley, watered by the river Roch.  The landscape was shut out from us by the surrounding trees, and the place was as still as a lonely hermitage in the heart of an old forest.  The tread of our feet upon the flagged terrace in front of the mansion resounded upon the ear.  We peeped through the windows, where the rooms were all empty and quiet; but the state of the walls and floors, and the remaining mirrors, showed that some care was still bestowed upon this deserted hall.  Ivy hung thickly upon some parts of this large, straggling old building, which has evidently been built at different periods; though, so far as I could judge, the principal part of it appears to be about two hundred years old.  When manufacture began greatly to change the appearance of the neighbouring village and its surrounding scenery, the Starkies left the place; and a wooded mound, in front of the hall, was thrown up and planted by order of the widow of the last Starkie who resided here, in order to shut from sight the tall chimneys which were gradually rising up in the distance.  We wandered about the grass-covered yards, and among the extensive, straggling outhousing, at the rear of the hall.  A very large household must have been kept here in the palmy days of the Starkies.  The following passage, relative to the ancient inhabitants of Heywood Hall, is quoted from Edwin Butterworth's "History of the Town of Heywood and its Vicinity:"—

"A family bearing this name flourished here for many generations; but they were never of much note in county genealogy, thought more than one were active in public affairs.  In 1492 occurs Robert de Heywode.  In the brilliant reign of Elizabeth, Edmund Heywood, Esq., was required by an order, dated 1574, to furnish 'a coats of plate, a long bows, sheffe of arrowes, steel cap, and bill, for the military musters.' [26]  James Heywood, gent., was living before 1604.  Peter Heywood, Esq., a zealous magistrate the representative of this family, in the reigns of James the First and Charles the First, was a native and resident of Heywood hall, which was erected during the sixteenth century.  It is said that be apprehended Guido Faux coming forth from the vault of the house of parliament on the eve of the gunpowder treason, Nov. 5, 1605.  He probably accompanied Sir Thomas Kneuett, in his search of the cellars under the parliament house.  In 1641, 'an order was issued that the justices of the peace of Westminster, should carefully examine what strangers were lodged within their jurisdiction; and that they should administer the oaths of allegiance and supremacy to all suspected of recusancy, and proceed according to those statutes.  An afternoon being appointed for that service in Westminster hall, and many persons warned to appear there, amongst the rest one — James, a papist, appeared, and being pressed by Mr. Hayward (Heywood), a justice of the peace, to take the oaths, suddenly drew out his knife, and stabbed him; with some reproachful words, "for persecuting poor Catholics."  This strange, unheard-of outrage upon the person of a minister of justice, executing his office by an order of parliament, startled all men; the old man sinking with the hurt, though he died not of it.  And though, for aught I could ever hear, it proceeded only from the rage of a sullen varlet (formerly suspected to be crazed in his understanding), without the least confederacy or combination with any other, yet it was a great countenance to those who were before thought over apprehensive and inquisitive into dangers; and made many believe it rather a design of all the papists of England, than a desperate act of one man, who could never have been induced to it, if he had not been promised assistance by the rest.' [27]  Such is Lord Clarendon's account of an event that has rendered Peter Heywood a person of historical note; how long he survived the attempt to assassinate him is not stated.

    "It is highly probable that Mr. Heywood had imbibed an undue portion of that anti-Catholic zeal which characterised the times in which he lived, and that he was the victim of those rancorous animosities which persecution never fails to engender.

    "Peter Heywood, of Heywood, Esq., was one of the gentlemen of the county who compounded for the recovery of their estates, which had been sequestrated 1643-5, for supporting the royal cause,—he seems to have been a son of the Mr. Heywood that was stabbed; he re-obtained his property for the sum of £351. [28]

    "The next of this family on record, is Peter Heywood, Esq., who was one of the 'counsellors of Jamaica,' during the commonwealth;—one of his sons, Peter Heiwood, Esq., was commemorated by an inscription on a flat stone in the chancel of the church of St. Anne's-in-the-Willows, Aldersgate-ward, London, as follows:—

"'Peter Heiwood, that deceased Nov. 2, 1701, younger son of Peter Heiwood, one of the counsellors of Jamaica, by Grace, daughter of Sir John Muddeford, Knight and Baronet, great grandson to Peter Heywood, in the county palatine of Lancaster; who apprehended Guy Faux with his dark lanthorn; and for his zealous prosecution of papists, as justice of peace, was stabbed in Westminster hall, by John James, Dominican friar, anno. domini. 1640.

"Reader, if not a papist bred,
 Upon such ashes gently tread." [29]

    "Robert Heywood, of Heywood, Esq., married Mary Haslam, of Rochdale, Dec. 20, 1660; and was probably elder brother of Peter Heiwood, of London.

    "In the visitation of 1664, are traced two lines of the Heywoods, those of Heywood and Walton; from the latter was descended Samuel Heywood, Esq., a Welch judge, [30] uncle of Sir Benjamin Heywood, Baronet, of Claremont, near Manchester.  The armorial bearing of the Heywoods, of Heywood, was argent, three torteauxes, between two bendlets gules.

    "The property of this ancient family, principally consisting of Heywood Hall and adjoining lands, is said to have been purchased by Mr. John Starkey, of the Orchard, in Rochdale, in the latter part of the seventeenth, or the beginning of the eighteenth century.  Mr. Starkey was living in 1719; his descendant, John Starkey, Esq., married Mary, daughter of Joseph Gregge, Esq., of Chamber Hall, Oldham.  John Starkey, Esq., who died March 13, 1780, was father of James Starkey, Esq., of Fell Foot, near Caramel, Lancashire, the present possessor of Heywood Hall, born September 8, 1762, married September 2, 1785, Elizabeth, second daughter of Edward Gregg Hopwood, Esq.  In 1791, Mr. Starkey served the office of high sheriff of the county;—from this family branched the Starkeys of Redivals, near Bury."

    Heywood town itself looks anything but picturesque or pretty, at present; but, judging from the features of the country about Heywood Hall, especially the whole of the north side, and what the aspect of that country has been beforetime, this old house must have been a very pleasant and retired country-seat about a century and a half ago.

    Descending from the pleasant eminence, upon the northern edge of which Heywood Hall is situated, and which was probably the first inhabited settlement hereabouts, at a time when the ground now covered by the manufacturing town hard by was a tract of woods and thickets, wild swards, turf moss, and swamps—we walked westward, along the edge of the Roch, towards the manufacturing hamlet of Hooley Clough.  This beautiful valley, by the water-side, is a very serene spot, and has a sylvan and well-cultivated appearance.  The quiet river winds round the old pastures of the hall, which slope down to the water from the well shaded summit upon which it stands.  The opposite heights are clad with well-conditioned woods and plantations; and Crimble Hall looks forth prominently from the lawns and gardens upon the summit.  About a mile up this valley, towards Rochdale town, in a quiet green glen, lies the spot pointed out in Roby's "Tradition" of "Tyrone's Bed," as the place where the famous Irish rebel, the Earl of Tyrone, lived in concealment some time during the reign of Queen Elizabeth.  Even at this day, country folks, who know little or nothing of the tradition, know the place by the name of "Yel's o' Thorone"—an evident corruption of the "Earl of Tyrone."  This was the wild Irish chieftain who burnt the poet Spenser out of his residence, Rathcormac Castle.  It was dinner time when we reached the stone bridge at Hooley Clough; so we turned up the road towards home, for the walk had sharpened our appetite.

    The youngsters and the dinner were both waiting for us when we got back to the house; so we fell to without further delay.  The little girl was rather more communicative during dinner; and, after the meal was over, we had more music.  But, while this was going on, the lad stole away to some nook that he knew of, with a book in his hand.  And, soon after, the master of the house and I found ourselves once more alone, smoking and talking together.  I had enjoyed this summer-day so far, and was inclined to make the most of it; so, when dinner was over, I went out at the back, and down by a thorn-edge, which divides the meadows.  I was soon followed by mine host, and we sauntered on together till we came to a little shelving hollow, in which a still pool lay gleaming like a sun among the meadows.  It looked cool, and brought the skies to our feet.  Sitting down upon its sloping bank, we watched the reflection of many a straggling cloud of gauzy white sailing over its surface, eastward.  Little fishes, leaping up now and then, were the only things which stirred the burnished mirror, for a second or two, into a thousand tiny tremulations of liquid gold; and spiritual water-flies darted to and and fro upon the pool, like nimble fancies in a fertile mind.  And thus we rested, saying little, but lazily enjoying the glory of a summer day in the fields; while

"The lark was singing in the blinding sky,
 And hedges were white with may."

But we had a few prime cigars with us, and a great jug of fresh buttermilk, which, at this time of the year, is proverbially worth "a guinea a quart."  And we took long drinks of it.  I hardly need say that it swelled us more than it elevated us, and we lolled about upon the green grass in a state of dull, full, rotund sobriety.  After awhile, we drifted dreamily asunder, and I crept under the shade of a fence hard by, to avoid the heat, and there lay on my back, looking towards the sky through my fingers, to keep sight of a littler fluttering spot from which a skylark poured down its rain of blithe melody upon the fields around us.  My face was half buried in tall grass and meadow herbs; and I soon fell asleep with them peeping about my eyelids.  After half an hour's dreamy doze, thus, in the sun—during which my mind appeared to have acted over a whole life-time in masquerade, I woke up, and, after shaking the buzz of field-flies out of my ears, we gathered up our pots, and books, and went back into the house.

    When it drew towards evening, we left the house again; for it was so fine outside, that it seemed improvident to remain under cover longer than necessary; and we walked through the manufacturing village in Hooley Clough, and on, northward, up hill, and down dell, until we came to a wild upland expanse, called "Birtle," which stretches away along the lonely base of Ashworth Moor.  The sun was nearly touching the top of the hills when we reached that elevated tract; and the western heavens were glowing with the grandeur of his decline as we walked slowly over the fields towards the solitary old homestead called "Grislehurst."  Here we stayed awhile, conversing with an ancient cottager and his dame, about the history of their native corner, its legendary associations, and other matters interesting to them and to us.  We left Grislehurst in the twilight, by a route which led us through the rocky deeps of Simpson Clough, and on, homewards, just as the first lamps of evening were lighting up; rejoicing in the beautiful approach of a cloudless summer night, as we had rejoiced in the glorious day which had gone down into the west.

    The next morning I returned by an early train to Manchester; and, since that time, it has often been a pleasure to me in the crowded city to recollect that livelong summer day, spent in the country north of the manufacturing town of Heywood.  Its images never return to my memory but I wish to hold them there awhile.  And it was not the less exhilarating freedom and delight of roaming over my native hills and cloughs, dressed in their summer green, than in the magnificent harmony of changing grandeurs, which heaven and earth made up "from morn to dewy eve" that day; and which stirred me with a scarce and indescribable joy, the remembrance of which has something of freedom and elevation in it; a feeling which interprets to me the significance of what the philosophic Emerson says, relative to the influence of nature's beauty:—"Give me health and a day, and I will make the pomp of emperors ridiculous.  The dawn is my Assyria; the sunset and moonrise my Paphos, and unimaginable realms of faërie; broad noon shall be my England of the senses and the understanding; the night shall be my Germany of mystic philosophy and dreams."  If men had their eyes open to the beauties and uses of those elements which are open to all alike, and truly felt the grandeur of this earth, which is the common home of the living, how much would it reconcile them to their differences of social position, and moderate their ill-conditioned repining at the superiority of this man's housing, and that man's dress and diet.

    Looking back at the present character and at the previous history of this town of Heywood, there is some suggestive interest in both the one and the other.  The period of its existence, from the time when it first arose in an almost uncultivated spot as an habitation of man till now, is contained in such a comparatively brief space of time, that to any studious man who cares to consider the nature of its origin and the character of the social influences which have combined to make it such as it now is, the materials for guiding him to a comprehension of these things, lie almost as much within his reach as if the place were a plant which he had put into the soil for himself, and the growth of which he had occasionally watched with interest.  In this respect, although Heywood wears much the same general appearance as other cotton-spinning towns, it has something of a character of its own, different from most of the other towns of Lancashire, whose histories go back many centuries, often through eventful changes, till they grow dim among the early records of the kingdom in general.  Unlike those, in this, however, Heywood is almost entirely the creation of the cotton trade, which itself arose out of the sudden and wonderful combination of a few ingenious thoughts put into energetic practice by a people who seem to have been eminently fitted by nature to perceive their value and to act enterprisingly upon what they perceived.  If it had been possible for an intelligent man to have lifted himself into mid-air above Heywood, about two hundred years ago, when its first cottages began to cluster into a little village, and to settle himself comfortably down upon a cloud there so as to be able distinctly to watch and quietly to reason upon the growth of the place below, with all the changing phases of its life from then till now, it might present to him a very different aspect, and lead him to very different conclusions to those engendered by people living and moving actively among the busy swarms of human action.  In the mind of such a serene overlooker—distinctly observing the detail and the whole of the manner of life beneath him, and fully comprehending the nature of the rise and progress of this Lancashire manufacturing town—many valuable thoughts might arise, which would not so easily occur to those who creep about the crowded earth, from day to day, full of little perturbations.  But, to almost any thoughtful man, the history of this modern manufacturing town would illustrate the power which a little practical knowledge gives to a practical people over the physical elements of creation, as well as over that inert portion of the people who have little or no education, and are, therefore, drifted hither and thither by every wind of circumstance which wafts across the surface of society.  It might suggest, too, how much society is indebted, for whatever force or excellence there is in it, to the scattered seeds of silent thought which have quietly done their work among the noise of action—for ever pointing it on to still better action; and it might suggest, how much the character of the next generation depends upon the education of the present one.  Looking at this question of education merely in that point of view in which it affects production, the following passage, by an eminent advocate of education, shall speak for itself:—"Prior to education, the productive power of the six millions of workers in the United Kingdom, would be the physical force which they were capable of exerting.  In the present day, the power really exerted is equal to the force of a hundred millions of men at least.  But the power of the uneducated unit is still the physical force of one man, the balance being exerted by men who understand the principles of mechanics and of chemistry, and who superintend the machine power evolved thereby.  Thus the power originated by the few, and superintended by a fraction of society, is seventeen times greater than the strength of all our workers, and is hourly increasing."  If a man was a pair of steam-looms, how carefully would he be oiled, and tended, and mended, and made to do all that a pair of looms could do.  What a loom, full of miraculous faculties, is he compared to these—the master-piece of nature for creative power and for wonderful variety of excellent capabilities! yet, with what a profuse neglect he is cast away, like the cheapest rubbish on the earth!


Thought-wrapt, he wandered in the breezy woods,
In which the summer, like a hermit, dwelt:
He laid him down by the old haunted springs
Up-bubbling, 'mid a world of greenery,
Shut-eyed, and dreaming of the fairest shapes
That roam the woods."


"Whiles glow'ring round wi' prudent cares,
 Lest bogles catch him unawares."


WHEN one gets a few miles off any of these populous manufacturing towns in Lancashire, many an old wood, many a lonesome clough, many a quiet stream and ancient building, is still the reputed haunt of some old local sprite, or "boggart," or is enveloped in an atmosphere of dread by the hereditary superstitions of the folk of the neighbourhood, as being the resort of fairies, or of "feeorin." [31]  This is frequently the case in retired vales and nooks of the lowlands of Lancashire, lying between the populous towns.  But it is particularly so in the hilly parts, where the old manners of the people are but little changed, and where many tiny homelets of past ages still stand in their old wild solitudes, and, like their sparse population, retain many of their ancient characteristics.  In such places, the weird legends and superstitions of the forefathers of Lancashire are cherished with a tenacity which would hardly be credible to the inhabitants of English cities in these days.  There still lingers the belief in witchcraft, and in the power of certain persons to do ill through peculiar connection with the evil one; and the belief, also, that others—known as "witch-doctors"—are able to "rule the spells," or counteract the malign intents of necromancy, and possess secret charms which afford protection against the foul fiend and all his brood of infernal agencies.

    A few years ago, I lived at an old farm, called "Peanock," up in the hills toward Blackstone Edge.  At that time, a strong little fellow about twenty-three years of age, called "Robin," was employed as "keaw-lad" at the farm.  Robin used to tell me fearful tales of the witches and boggarts of the neighbourhood.  The most notable one of them all was "Clegg Ho' Boggart," which is commemorated by the late Mr. John Roby, of Rochdale, in his "Traditions of Lancashire."  This local sprite is still the theme of many a winter's tale, among the people of the hills about Clegg Hall.  The proverb "Aw'm here again—like Clegg Ho' Boggart," is common there, and in all the surrounding towns and villages.  I remember Robin saying that when he had to go into the "shippon" early on a winter's morning, with a light, he used to advance his lantern and let it shine a minute or two into the "shippon" before he durst enter himself, on account of the "feeorin" which "swarmed up an deawn th' inside i'th neet time."  But, he said that "things o' that mak couldn't bide leet," for, as soon as his lantern glinted into the place, he could see "witches stuttering through th' slifters o'th wole by theawsans, like bits o' leet'nin."  He used to tell me, too, how that a dairy-lass at a neighbouring farm had to let go her "churn-pow," because "a rook o' little green divuls begun a-swarmin up th' hondle as hoo wur churnin'."  And then he would glance, with a kind of unconscious timidity, towards a nook of the yard, where stood three old cottages connected with the farm; and in one of which there dwelt an agèd man, of singular habits and appearance, of whose supposed supernatural powers most of the people of that neighbourhood harboured a considerable degree of fear; and, as he glanced towards the corner of the building, he would tell me in an undertone that the little Irish cow, "Red Jenny," which used to be "as good a keaw as ever whiskt a tail or gave a meal o' milk, had never look up sin 'owd Billy glented at hur through a hole i'th' shippon wole one morning as Betty wur milkin hur."  Prejudices of this kind are still common in thinly-peopled nooks of the Lancashire hills.  "Boggarts" appear, however, to have been more numerous than they are now upon the countryside when working-people wove what was called "one lamb's wool" in a day; but when it came to pass that they had to weave "three lambs' wools" in a day, and the cotton trade arose, boggarts, and fairies, and "feeorin" of all kinds began to flee away from the clatter of shuttles, and the tired weaver was fain to creep from his looms to bed, where he could rest his body, while he wove his fearful fancies into the freakish pattern of a dream.  And then, railway trains began to rumble hourly through solitudes where the "little grey folk" of past days had held undisturbed sway, laden with multitudes of busy, curious people, who reeked little of witchcraft; and perhaps these helped to dispel some of those romantic dreams of old glamour which had been fostered by the ignorance of the past.

    Far on in the afternoon of a mid-summer day, I sat at tea with an acquaintance who dwells in the fields outside the town of Heywood.  We had spent the forenoon in visiting Heywood Hall, and rambling among its woods, and through a pleasant clough, watered by the Roch, which winds along the northern base of the wooded eminence upon whose brow that venerable mansion stands.  We lingered over the afternoon meal, talking of the past and present of the district around us.  We speculated upon the ancient aspect of the country, and the condition and characteristics of its early inhabitants; we talked of the old local gentry, their influence, their residences, and their fortunes; of remarkable local scenes and men; and of the present features of social life in these districts.  Part of our conversation related to the scenery and legends of that wild tract of hills and cloughs which comprises the country, rising, northward, from Heywood up to the lofty range of moorlands which separates that part of Lancashire from the romantic district of Rossendale Forest.  Up in this remote tract of hills and cloughs, between Heywood and these wild moors, which look down into Rossendale, there is a small solitary hamlet, called Grislehurst.  To a stranger's eye, the two quaint farm-steads, which are now the sole relics of the hamlet, would be interesting to see, if only on account of the retired beauty of their situation, and the romantic character of the scenery around.  Grislehurst stands on a lone elevated platform of land, called "Birtle," or "Birkle," the place of birches.  It is bounded on the north by the dark range of Ashworth moor, and the round lofty mass of Knowl hill; and on the east by Simpson Clough, a deep ravine, about two miles long, running up into the northern moors.  This shady glen of precipitous crags, and wood-shrouded waters, is chiefly known to those people in the vicinity who like rough and lonesome country walks; and to anybody who loves to ramble among such wild, legend-haunted solitudes, a moonlight walk through "Simpson Clough" would be a pleasure not easily forgotten.  Grislehurst stands about a stone's throw from the western brink of this Clough, and its situation is out of the way of common observation.  But it is not only the lone charm of its situation, which makes this now insignificant looking hamlet interesting.  Grislehurst is an old settlement of the early inhabitants of the district; and was for some centuries one of the seats of the Holt family, of Grislehurst, Stubley, and Castleton, in this parish; a branch of the Holts of Sale, Ashton, Cheshire.  Some of this family fought in the Scottish wars, and also in favour of the royal cause, at Edgehill, Newberry, Marston Moor, &c., and were named in King Charles's projected order of the Royal Oak. [32]  There was a Judge Holt, of the Holts of Sale; and a James Holt, whose mother was co-heiress to Sir James de Sutton; he was killed at Flodden Field.  Mary, the daughter of James Holt, the last of the family who resided at Castleton Hall, in this parish married Samuel, brother of the famous Sir Humphrey Cheetam.  The manor of Spotland was granted by Henry VIII. to Thomas Holt, of Grislehurst, who was knighted in Scotland, by Edward, Earl of Hertford, in the thirty-sixth year of the reign of that monarch.  The Holts were the principal landowners in the parish of Rochdale, at the close of the sixteenth century.  What remains of Grislehurst, is still associated in the mind with the historic interest which attaches to this once-powerful local family.  The place is also closely interwoven with some other interesting ancient traditions of the locality, oral and written. [33]  In earlier years, I have often wandered about the wild woods and waters, and rocky recesses of this lonely glen, thinking of the tale of the rebel Earl [34] who is said to have concealed himself, two centuries ago, in a neighbouring clough, which bears his name; and, wrapt in a dreamland of my own, sometimes a little tinctured with the wizard-lore which lingers among the primitive folk of that quarter.  But in all my walks thereabouts, I had never visited Grislehurst, till this summer afternoon, when, as we sat talking of the place, my curiosity impelled me to propose an evening ramble to the spot, from which we could return, by another route, through Simpson Clough.

    We were not quite half an hours walk from Grislehurst when we started on the north road from Heywood; and the sun was still up in the heavens.  Half a mile brought us into Hooley Clough, where the road leads through the village of Hooley Bridge.  This village lines the opposite banks of the Roch at that place.  Its situation is retired, sheltered, and picturesque.  The quiet vale in which it lies is agreeably adorned with modern plantations, and the scattered remains of old woods; and the whole scenery is green, varied, and pleasant.  The village itself, has a more orderly and wholesome appearance than any other manufacturing hamlet which I remember.  The houses were clean, and comfortable-looking, and the roads in fair condition.  I noticed that nearly every cottage had its stock of coals piled up under the front window, and quite open to the street, the "cobs" neatly built up into a square wall, and the centre filled up with the "sleck an' naplins."  It struck me that if the people of Manchester were to leave their coals thus open to the world, the course of a single night would, generally, "leave not a wreck behind."  The whole population of the place is employed by the Fenton family, whose extensive mills stand close to the margin of the river, in the hollow of the clough.

    We went up the steep cart-road leading out of Hooley Clough towards the north, emerging into the highway from Bury to Rochdale, about a quarter of a mile above the hollow where it crosses the lower end of Simpson Clough, and nearly opposite the front lodge of Bamford Hall, now the seat of one branch of the Fenton family.  The country thereabouts is broken into green hills and glens, with scattered patches of old woods, shading the sides of the cloughs.  It is bleak and sterile in some parts, in others wildly-picturesque, and altogether thinly populated over the whole tract, reaching up to the mountainous moors.  As we descended the highway into Simpson Clough, a wood clothed the southern side of the road; but, through an opening in the trees, we caught a glimpse of "Makin mill," low down in a green valley to the west.  This little old mill was the first cotton factory erected in the township of Heap.  It was built about 1780, by the firm of Peel, Yates, and Co., and now belongs to Edmund Peel, Esq., brother to the late prime minister.  Looking over the northern parapet of the bridge, in the hollow of the road, the deep gully of the clough, below, is filled with a cluster of mills and the cottages attached to them.  Woody heights rise abruptly around, and craggy rocks over-frown this little nest of manufacture lying far below in the bottom of the ravine.  We climbed up the steep, shady road, in the direction of Bury, and on reaching the summit at a place called "Th' Top o' th Wood," we turned off at the end of a row of stone cottages, and went to the right on a field-path which leads to Grislehurst.  Half a mile's walk brought us up to two large old farm-houses, standing a little apart.  We were at a loss to know which of the two, or whether either of them belonged to Grislehurst Hall, or its outhousing.  The largest took our attention most, on account of some quaint, ornamental masonry built up in its walls, though evidently not originally belonging to the building.  We went round to look at the other side, in which similar pieces of ancient masonry were incorporated.  The building, though old, was too modern, and had too much of a utilitarian, barn-like plainness about it to be the hall of the Holts.  And then, the country around was all green meadow and pasture; and if this building was not Grislehurst Hall, there was none.  I began to think that the land was the most remarkable piece of antiquity about the place.  But one part of the west side of this building formed a comfortable cottage residence, the window of which was full of plants and flowers, in pots.  An hale old man, bareheaded and in his shirt sleeves, leaned against the door-cheek with his arms folded.  He was short and very broad-set, with fresh complexion and bright eyes; and his firm, full features and solemn figure, bespoke a life of healthy habits.  He wore new fustian breeches, tied with black silk ribbon at the knees.  Leaning there, and, looking calmly-over the fields in the twilight, he eyed us earnestly, as country-folk do when strangers wander into their unfrequented corners.  The daylight was beginning to glide away, and the soft summer evening was coming beautifully down on that remote, quiet landscape which stretches along the base of Ashworth moor.  The old man's countenance had more country simplicity than patriarchal force of character in it; yet he was very comely to look upon, and seemed a natural part of the landscape around him; and the hour and the man together, somehow, brought to my mind a graphic line in the book of Genesis about the patriarch Isaac going out "to meditate in the field at eventide."  After we had sauntered about the place a few minutes, during which the old cottager watched us with a calm but curious eye, we went toward him with the usual salutation about it being a "very fine neet," and such like.  He melted at once from his statuesque curiosity, and, stepping slowly from the threshold, with his arms still folded, replied, "Ay, it is, for sure. *   *   Wi'n had grand groo-weather [35] as week or two.  But a sawp o' deawnfo' ud do a seet o' good just neaw; an' we'st ha' some afore lung, or aw'm chetted.  Owd Know [36] has bin awsin to put hur durty cap on a time or two to day; an' as soon as hoo can shap to tee it, there'll be wayter amoon us yo'n see."  His dame, hearing the conversation, came forth to see what was going on, and wandered slowly after us down the lane.  She was a strong-built and portly old country woman, rather taller than her husband; and her light-complexioned face beamed with rustic health and simplicity.  The evening was mild and still, and the old woman wore no bonnet, nor even the usual kerchief on her head as she walked out.  Her cap and apron were white as new snow, and all her attire looked sound and sweet, though of homely cut and quality.  I knew, somehow, that the clothes she had on were scented with "neps" or lavender, or such like herbs, which country-folk lay at the bottom of the "kist," for the sake of the goodly smell which they impart to their clothing.  And no king's linen could be more wholesomely perfumed.  Give me a well-washed shirt, bleached on a country hedge, and scented with country herbs!  The hues of sunset glowed grandly above the lofty moors in front of us, and the stir of day was declining into the low, rich hum of a summer evening.  The atmosphere immediately around seemed clearer than when the sun was up, but a slight shade of hazy gray was creeping over the far east.  We lounged along the lane, with the comely dame following us silently, at a distance of three or four yards, wondering who or what we could be; and why we had wandered up into that mountain nook at such a time.  After a little quiet, discursive talk with the old man, about the hay-crop, the news of the town, and such like, we asked him whether the spot we were upon was not Grislehurst; and he replied, "Yor oppo the very clod."  We then inquired where Grislehurst Old Hall stood, and whether the large old building of which his own cottage was a part, had been any way connected with it.  He brightened up at the mention of Grislehurst Hall; and turning sharply round, he said, with an air of surprise—"What! dun yo pretend to know aught abeawt Gerzlehus' Ho'?  *  *  Nut mich, aw think, bi'th look on yo."  I told him that all we knew of it was from reading, and from what we had heard about it; and that, happening to be in the neighbourhood, we had wandered up to see if there were any remains of it in existence.  "Ay, well," said he—and as he said it, his tone and manner assumed a touch of greater importance than before—"Iv that's o' th' arran yo han', aw deawt yo'n made a lost gate.  Nether yo nor nobory elze needs to look for Gerzlehus' Ho' no more.  It's gwon, lung sin!  *  *  But, yo'n let reet for yerrin a bit o' summat abeawt it, if that'll do."  He then turned slowly round, and, pointing to a plot of meadow land which abutted upon an oblong dingle, to the south, he said, "Yo seen that piece o' meadow lond at th' edge o'th green hollow theer?"  "Yes."  "Well; that's the spot wheer Gerzlehus' Ho' stoode when aw'are a lad.  To look at't neaw, yo wouldn't think at othur heawse or hut had studd'n oppo that clod; for it's as good a bit o' meadow lond as ever rain weet or scythe swept.  *  *  But that's the very spot wheer Gerzlehus' Ho' stoode.  An' it're a ghreyt plaze too, mind yo, once't ov a day.  There's naut like it oppo this country-side neaw, as heaw 'tis; nether Baemforth new ho', nor noan on um.  But what, things are very mich awturt sin then.  *   *  New-fangle't folk, new-fangle't ways, new-fangle't everything.  Th' owd ho's gwon neaw, yo see'n; an' th' treece are gwon at stoode abeawt it—the dule steawnd theem at cut um deawn, say aw! [37]  An' then th' orchart's gwon; an' th' gardens an' o'are gwon; nobbut a twothore treece ov a very scarce mak, at's laft o'er anent this biggin—aw dar say yo see'd um as yo coom up—they're morels.  *  *  An' then, they'n bigged yon new barn oppo th' knowe; an' they'n cut, an' they'n carve't, an' they'n potter't abeawt th' owd plaze, whol it doesn't look like th' same; it doesn't for sure —nut like th' same."  We now asked him again whether the large stone building, in part of which he lived, had belonged to the old hall.  "Ay, well," said he, looking towards it, "that's noan sich a feaw buildin', that isn't.  That're part o'th eawtheawsin to Gerzlehus' Ho', yo may see.  There's a window theer, an' a dur-hole, an' some moor odd bits abeawt it, of an owdish mak.  Yo con happen tay summat fro thoose.  But it's divided into different livin's neaw, yo see'n.  There's a new farmer lives i'th top end theer.  He's made ghreyt awterations.  It's a greadley good heawse i'th inside, iv yo see'd through."

    "Well," said I, and what sort of a place was Grislehurst Old Hall itself?"

    "What, Gerzlehus' Ho'?" replied he; well, aw should know, as hea 'tis, iv onybody does.  Aw've been a good while oppo th' clod for naut iv ah dunnut.  *  *  Ay, yo may laugh; but aw're weel acquainted wi' this greawn afore thir born, my lad—yers to me, neaw?" [38]

    I made some sort of an excuse for having smiled, and he went on.

    "Gerzlehus' Ho' wur a very ghreyt plaze, yo may depend.  It're mwostly built o' heavy oak bauks.  *  *  There wur ir Jammy lad, [39] an' me, an' some moor on us—eh, we han carted some ov a lot o' lwods o' rare fine timber an' stuff off that spot, at time an' time!  An' there's bin a dhyel o' greadley good flags, an' sich like, ta'en eawt o'th land wheer th' owd heawse stoode, an' eawt o'th green hollow below theer—there has so."

    "How long is that since?" said I.

    The old woman, who had been listening behind us, with her hands clasped under her white apron, now stepped up, and said, "Heaw lung sin?  Whau, it's aboon fifty year sin.  He should know moor nor yo abeawt it, aw guess."

    "Ay," said the old man, "aw've known this clod aboon fifty year, for sure.  An' see yo," continued he, "there wur a shootin'-butts i' that hollow, sin aw can tell on.  And oppo yon green," said he, turning round towards the north, and pointing off at the end of the building, "oppo yon green there stoode a fine owd sun-dial i'th middle ov a piece o' lond at's bin a chapel-yort aforetime.  They say's that there's graves theer yet.  An' oppo that knowe theer, wheer th' new barn stones, there wur an' owd plaze o' worship—so th' tale gwos."

    It was clear that we had set him going on a favourite theme, and we must, therefore, bide the issue.

    Turning his face to the west, he pointed towards a green eminence which stood at a short distance, and said, "To this day they co'n yon green hillock 'Th' Castle,' oppo keawnt on there once being a place theer, where prisoners were confine't.  An' that hee greawnd gwos bi'th name o'th 'Gallows Hill,' what for, aw know nut."  He then paused, and, pointing to a little hollow near the place where we stood, he slightly lowered his voice as he continued—"An' then, aw' reckon yo seen yon bend i'th lone, wheer th' ash tree stons?"  "Ay."  "Well," said he, "that's the very spot wheer Gerzlehus' Boggart's buried."

    My thoughts had so drifted away in another direction, that I was not prepared for such an announcement as this.  I was aware that the simple-hearted inhabitants of that moorland district clung to many of the superstitions of their forefathers; but the thing came upon me so unexpectedly, and when my mind was so quietly absorbed in dreams of another sort, that, if the old man had fired off a pistol close to my ear, I should not have been so much astonished, though I might have been more startled.  All that I had been thinking of vanished at once into the region from whence it came; and, my curiosity was centered in this new phase of the old man's story.  I looked into his face to see whether he really meant what he had said; but there it was, sure enough.  In every outward feature he authentically endorsed the sincerity of his inward feeling.  His countenance was as solemn and mysteriously eloquent as an unlettered gravestone.

    "Grislehurst Boggart;" said I, looking towards the place once more.

    "Ay;" replied he.  "That's wheer it wur laid Ihow; an' some ov a job it wur.  Yo happen never yerd on't afore."

    The old woman now took up the story, with more earnestness even than her husband.

    "It's a good while sin it wur laid; an' there wur a cock buried wi' it, with a stoop [40] driven through it.  It're noan sattle't with a little, aw'll uphowd yo."

    "And, dun you really think, then," said I, "that this place has been haunted by a boggart?"

    "Has bin—be far!" replied she.  "It is neaw!  Yodd'n soon find it eawt, too, iv yo live't uppo th' spot.  It's very mich iv it wouldn't may yor yure fair ston of an end, other wi one marlock or another. [41]  There's noan so mony folk oppo this country-side at likes to go deawn yon lone at after delit, [42] aw con tell yo."

    "But, if it's laid and buried," replied I, "it surely doesn't trouble you much now."

    "Oh, well," said the old woman, "iv it doesn't, it doesn't; so there needs no moor.  Aw know some folk winnow believe sich things; there is at'll believe naught at o', iv it isn't fair druvven into um, wilto, shalto; [43] but this is a different case, mind yo.   Eh, never name it; thoose at has it to dhyel wi' knows what it is; but thoose at knows naut eawt sich like—whau, it's like summat an' naut talkie' to um abeawt it; so we'n e'en lap it up where it is,"

    "Well, well, but stop," said the old man.  "Yo say'n at it doesn't trouble us neaw at it's buried.  Whau, it isn't aboon a fortnit sin th' farmer's wife at the end theer yerd summat i'th dhyed time o'th neet; an' hoo wur welly thrut eawt o' bed, too, beside—so then."

    "Ah," said the old woman, "sich wark as that's very scarrin [44] i'th neet time.  *  *  *  An' they never could'n find it eawt.  But aw know'd what it wur in a minute.  Th' farmer's wife an me wur talking it o'er again, nobbut yesterday; an' hoo says at ever sin it happened hoo gets as timmersome as a chylt as soon as it drays toawrd th' edge o' dark, iv there's nobory i'th heawse but hersel'.  *  *  Well, an' one very wyndy neet, as aw're sittin' bi'th fire, aw yerd summat like a—"

    Here the old man interrupted her.  "It's no use folk tellin' me at they dunnut believe sich like things," said he, seeming not to notice his wife's story; "it's no use tellin' me at they dunnut believe it!  Th' pranks at it's played abeawt this plate, at time an' time, ud flay ony wick soul to yer tell on."

    "Never name it!" said she "aw know whether they would'n or not.  One neet, as aw're sittin' by mysel'—"

    Her husband interposed again, with an abstracted air, "Unyaukin' th' bhyes', an' turnin' carts an' things o'er i'th deep neet time; an' shiftin' stuff up an' deawn th' heawse when folk are i' bed; it's rather flaysome, yo may depend.  But then, aw know, there isn't a smite o' sense i' flingin' one's wynt away wi' telling o' sich things to some folk.  *  *  *  It's war nor muckin' wi' sond, an' drainin' wi' cinders."

    "And it's buried yonder," said I.

    "Ay," replied he, "just i'th hollow, where th' ash tree is.  That used to be th' owd road to Rachda', when aw're a lad."

    "Do you never think of delving th' ground up," said I.

    "Delve!  naw;" answered he, "aw'st delve noan theer, as hea 'tis."

    The old woman broke in again—"Naw; he'll delve noan theer, nut iv aw know it.  *  *  *  Nor no mon elze dar lay a finger oppo that greawnd.  Joseph Fenton's [45] a meeterly bowd chap, an' he's ruvven everything up abeawt this country-side, welly, but he dar not touch Gerzlehus' Boggart for his skin!  An' aw houd his wit good, too, mind yo!"

    It was clearly useless attempting to unsettle the superstitions of this primitive pair.  They were too far gone.  And it was, perhaps, every way best, to let the good old couple glide on through the evening of their life, untroubled by any ill-timed wrangling about matter-of-fact philosophy.  But the old dame suspected, by our looks, that we were on easy terms with our opinion of the tale; and she said to us, "Aw dunnut think yo believ'n a wort abeawt it!"  This made us laugh in a way that left little doubt upon the question; and she turned away from us, saying, "Well, yo're weel off iv yo'n naut o' that mak o' yor country side."

    We had now got into the fields in the direction by which we intended to make our way home; and the old people seemed inclined to return to their cottage.  We halted, and looked round a few minutes, before parting.

    "You've lived here a good while," said I to the old man, "and are well acquainted with all the country round."

    "Aw know every fuut o'th greawnd about this part—hill an' hollow, wood an' wayter-stid."

    "You are getting to a good age, too," continued I.

    "Well," said he, "aw'm gettin' middlin' boudly on into th' fourth score.  Ir breed are a lungish-wynded lot, yo seen; tak um one wi' another."

    "You appear to have very good health, for your age," said I.

    "Well," replied he, "aw ail mich o' naut yet—whau, aw'm mheyt-whol, [46] an' sich like; an' aw can do a day-wark wi' some o'th young uns yet, thank God for't.  *  *  But then aw'st come to't in a bit, yo know'n—aw'st come to't in a bit.  Aw'm so like. [47]  Folk conned expect to ha' youth at bwoth ends o' life, aw guess; an' wi' mun o' un us othur owd be or yung dee, as th' sayin' is."

    "It's gettin' time to rest at your age, too."

    "Whau; wark's no trouble to me, as lung as aw con do't.  Beside, yo see'n, folk at's a dur to keep oppen, connut do't wi'th wynt. [48]

    "Isn't Grislehurst very cold and lonely in winter time?"

    "Well; it is—rayther," said he.  "But, we dunnit think as much at it as teawn's-folk would do.  *  *  *  It'll be a ghreyt dhyel warse at th' top o' Know hill yon, see yo.  It's cowd enough theer to starve an otter to dhyeth, i' winter time.  But, here, we're reet enough for th' matter o' that.  An' as for company we gwon a' neighbourin' a bit, neaw an' then, yo see'n.  Beside, we getten to bed rayther sooner ov a neet nor they dun in a teawn."

    "To my thinkin'," said the old woman, "aw wouldn't live in a deawn iv eh mut wear red shoon."

    "But you haven't many neighbours about you here."

    "Oh, yigh;" said he.  "There's th' farmer's theer; and one or two moor.  An' then, there's th' 'Top o'th Wood' folk.  Then there's 'Hooley Clough,' and th' 'War Office,' [49]—we can soon get to othur o' thoose when we want'n a bit ov an extra do.  *  *  Oh! ah; we'n plenty o' neighbours!  But th' Birtle folk are a dhyel on um sib an sib, rib an' rib—o' ov a litter—Fittons an' Diggles, an' Fittons an' Diggles o'er again.  An' wheer dun yo come fro, sen yo?

    We told him.

    "Well; said he, "an' are yo it'd buildin' line—at aw mun be so bowd?"

    We again explained the principal motive of our visit.

    "Well;" said he, "it's naut to me, at aw know on—nobbut aw're thinkin' like.  *  *  Did'n yo ever see Baemforth owd ho', afore it're poo'd deawn?"


    "Eh, that're a nice owd buildin'!  Th' new un hardly comes up to't i' my e'en—as fine as it is.  An' are yo beawn back this gate, then?"

    "Ay; we want to go through th' clough."

    "Well; yo mun mind heaw yo gwon deawn th' wood-side; for its a rough gate.  So, good neet to yo!"

    We bade them both "Good night!" and were walking away, when he shouted back, "Hey! aw say!  Dun yo know Ned o' Andrew's?"  "No."  "He's the very mon for yo!  Aw've just unbethought me!  He knows moor cracks nor onybody o' this side—an' he'll sit a fire eawt ony time, tellin' his bits o' country tales.  Sper ov anybody at Hooley Bridge, an' they'd tell yo wheer he lives.  So, good neet to yo!"

    Leaving the two old cottagers, and their boggart-haunted hamlet, we went over the fields towards Simpson Clough.  The steep sides of this romantic spot are mostly clothed with woods, principally of oak and birch.  For nearly a mile's length, the clough is divided into two ravines, deep, narrow, and often craggy—and shady with trees.  Two streams flow down from the high moors above, each through one of these gloomy defiles till they unite at a place from whence the clough continues its way southward, in one wider and less shrouded expanse, but still between steep and rocky banks, partly wooded.  When the rains are heavy and dree upon Ashworth moors, these two streams rush furiously through their rock-bound courses in the narrow ravines, incapable of mischief, till they meet at the point where the clough becomes one, when they thence form one strong and impetuous torrent, which has, at least once, proved destructive to some of the mill property lower down the valley.  Coming to the western brink of this clough, we skirted along, in search of an opening by which we could go down into it with the least difficulty.  A little removed from the eastern edge, and nearly opposite to us, stood Bamford new hall, the residence of James Fenton, Esq., one of the wealthy cotton-spinners, of that name, in this locality.  A few yards from that mansion, and nearer to the edge of the clough, stood, a few years ago, the venerable hall of the Bamfords of Bamford, one of the oldest families belonging to the old local gentry; and, probably, among the first Saxon settlers there.  Thomas de Bamford occurs about 1193.  Adam de Bamford granted land in villa de Bury, to William de Chadwick, in 1413; and Sir John Bamford was a fellow of the Collegiate Church of Manchester, in 1506. [50]  A William Bamford, Esq., of Bamford, served the office of High Sheriff of the county, in 1787.  He married Ann, daughter of Thomas Blackburn, Esq., of Orford and Hale, and was father of Ann, lady of John Ireland Blackburn, Esq., M.P.  He was succeeded by Robert Bamford, Esq., who from his connection with the Heskeths of Cheshire, took the name of Robert Bamford Hesketh, Esq., and married Miss Frances Lloyd, of Gwrych Castle—Lloyd Hesketh Bamford Hesketh, Esq., of Gwrych Castle, Denbighshire, married Emily Esther Ann, youngest daughter of Earl Beauchamp. [51]  The venerable and substantial old hall of the Bamfords was taken down a few years ago.  I do not remember overseeing it myself, but the following particulars respecting it have been kindly furnished to me by a native gentleman who knew it well:—"It was a fine old building of the Tudor style, with three gables in front, which looked towards the high-road; it was of light coloured ashler stone, such as is found in the neighbourhood, with mullions, and quaint windows and doors to match, and was, I think, dated about 1521.  Such another building you will certainly not find on this side of the county.  Castleton Hall comes, in my opinion, nearest to it in venerable appearance; but Bamford Hall had a lighter and more cheerful aspect; its situation, also, almost on the edge of the rocky chasm of Simpson Clough, or as it is often called Guestless, i.e. Grislehurst Clough, gave an air of romance to the place, which I do not remember to have noticed about any ancient residence with which I am acquainted."

    Stillness was falling upon the scene; but the evening wind still sung its lulling vespers in Grislehurst wood, and, now and then, there rose from the gently-rustling green overhead, the silvery solo of some lingering singer in those leafy choirs, as we worked our way among the deepening shade of the wood, down the broken steep, by blind paths, until we came to the rocky bed of "Nadin Water," low in the shrouded hollow of the clough.  The season had been dry, and the water lay in quiet pools in the fantastic basins and crevices of the channel, gleaming in the gloom, where the light fell upon them through the trees.  We made our way onward, sometimes by leaping from stone to stone in the bed of the stream, sometimes tearing our path over the lower part of the sloping bank, which was mostly broken and irregular, and, in some places, scattered with moss-greened fragments of fallen rock, in others, slippery and swampy with old lodgments of damp, fed by the tiny rindles and driblets of water, running more or less in all seasons from little springs, here and there, in the wood-shaded steep.  In some parts, the bank was overgrown with close-woven, scratchy thickets, composed of dogberry-stalks, wild rose-bushes, prickly hollins and thorns, young hazles and ash trees; broad-leaved docks, and tall drooping ferns; and, over all, the thick summer green of the spreading wood.  Pushing aside the sweeping branches of the trees, we laboured on till we came into the pleasant opening where the two streams combine.  A stone bridge crosses the water at this spot, leading up to the high and woody ridge of land which separates the two ravines in the upper part of the Clough.  Here we climbed up from the stony bed of the stream, and got upon a cart-road which led us southward, out of the clough, and up to the Rochdale road, which crosses the lower end of it, at a considerable elevation.  The thin, clear crescent of a new moon's rim hung like a silver sickle in the sky; and the stars were beginning to glow in "Jove's eternal house!" whilst the fading world below seemed hushed with wonder and awe, to see that old, mysterious sprinklings of golden lights coming out in silence once more from the over-spanning blue.  We walked up the slope of the road, from the silent hollow, between the woods, and over the knoll, and down into Hooley Clough again, by the way we came at first.  Country people were sauntering about, in the balmy twilight, upon the main road, and the green bye-lanes thereabouts, in twos and threes.  In the village of Hooley Bridge, the inhabitants were lounging at their cottage doors, in neighbourly talk, enjoying the last beautiful hours of a departing summer day; and, probably, "Ned o' Andrew's" was sitting in some quiet corner of the village, amusing a circle of eager listeners with his quaint country tales.

    A short walk brought us to the end of our pleasant ramble, and we sat down to talk over what we had seen and heard.  My visit to Grislehurst had been all the more interesting that I had no thought of meeting with such a strong living evidence of the lingering superstitions of Lancashire there.  I used to like to sit with country-folk, hearkening to their old-world tales of boggarts, and goblins, and fairies,

"That plat the manes of horses in the night.
 And cake the elf lock in foul sluttish airs;"

and I had thought myself well acquainted with the boggart lore of my native district; but the goblin of Grislehurst was new to me.  By this time I knew that in remote country houses the song of the cricket and the ticking of the clock were beginning to be distinctly heard, and that in many a solitary cottage these were now almost the only sounds astir, except the plaintive cadences of the night wind sighing around, and turning every crevice into a voice of supernatural import to many a superstitious listener; while, perhaps, the low rustle of the trees, blended with the dreamy ripple of some neighbouring brooklet.  The shades of night would by this time have fallen upon the lonely, haunted homesteads of Grislehurst, and, in the folds of its dusky robe, would have brought to the old cottagers their usual fears, filled with

         "Shaping fantasies, that apprehend
 More than cool reason ever comprehends;"

and I could imagine the good old simple pair creeping off to repose, at the old time, and covering up their eyes more carefully than usual from the goblin-peopled gloom after the talk we had with them about Grislehurst Boggart.

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