||Subs. R. bdle. 250, no. 9, Lancs.
||Loc. Govt. Bd. Order 31671.
||It is usually named among the appurtenances of the lordship; see also the
inquisitions, &c., cited in later notes.
||This appears from charters cited below.
Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and
Ches.), iii, 448, from an imperfect copy.
The phrase 'et Francis et Anglicis'
occurs in the introductory clause. An old
copy, transcribed by Canon Raines, introduces the words in the grant: 'salvo jure
Ricardi de Blonda.'
Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and
Ches.), i, 74. Henry de Whalley was
present when the concord was made, and
did homage to Geoffrey.
||Raines MSS. (Chet. Lib.), xi, 252.
Robert de Middleton and Alan his brother
were witnesses. This charter and others
were copied by Canon Raines in 1845
from the originals, then in the possession
of James Dearden, lord of the manor of
Rochdale; other Ashworth charters he
copied from old copies in the same collection.
||Ibid. 253. Robert de Middleton was
||Ibid. 252. The seal bore an eightpetalled flower with the legend + s'
stephan de asewrt. William de Middleton was a witness.
||Ibid. 253. The grant included the
homage of Alexander son of Robert de
Ashworth (½d.), and John son of Alexander (1½d.) ; also Molle and Margery (2½d.).
The same Ralph, perhaps at an earlier
time, granted land to Robert son of Robert
de Ashworth; the bounds in one place
followed the plough of the church, and
they touched Penkesdene. Robert de Ashworth was a witness; ibid.
Margery daughter of Richard de Ashworth son of Walter, in her virginity
granted to the same Robert son of Alexander de Bamford her right in half an oxgang of land in Ashworth; and Robert her
brother made a similar grant; ibid. 258.
||In 1287 Eduys daughter of Stephen
de Ashworth in her widowhood granted
land to Robert son of Robert de Ashworth and Tiffany daughter of Margery
her sister (the bounds included Bentley
Ford); and Maud, another daughter of
Stephen, did the same; ibid. 259. Margery daughter of Stephen also granted, but
perhaps at an earlier time, certain lands
to Robert son of Robert; the bounds began at the dwelling of Sweyn, followed
the metes between the church land and
the lay fee to Ashworth, and by the syke
to Pedkesdene; Kulnecloh is also named.
Robert de Ashworth was a witness; ibid.
It is difficult to decide on the identity
of this Robert son of Robert, but perhaps
his father was the son of Alexander de
Bamford. There was, however, an earlier
Robert, for Geoffrey son of John de
Buckley granted to Robert son of Jordan
de Ashworth all his lands in Ashworth;
the bounds included Blachlache, Penkesden, Stanelciste, Warmedene, Wudulschae, and Russilache. One witness was
Roger de Middleton, and if this be the
earlier Roger (of 1212) the grantee would
no doubt be son of the Jordan de Ashworth who attested the charter of the
time of Henry II, already quoted; ibid.
258. Robert de Ashworth, son of Alexander de Bamford, granted 'as to his
partner' to Robert son of Robert de Ashworth all the waste pertaining to the third
part of an oxgang of land in Ashworth;
||Margery daughter of Stephen de
Ashworth in that year released to Richard
de Ashworth, her chief lord, all her lands;
ibid. 254. Maud de Ashworth released
to Richard de Ashworth, probably about
the same time, land and house and all her
part of the barn, held of the church of
The grant to Geoffrey son of Robert
the dean seems to have descended to
Henry de Whalley in 1236. Afterwards,
as noted above, Henry son of Handle is
called chief lord; and then in 1294 Richard
de Ashworth is so entitled. The grant to
the Chethams was perhaps redeemed, for
the 3s. 4d. was afterwards payable to the
lords of Middleton directly. In 1298
Geoffrey de Chadderton confirmed to his
son Adam all his land in Ashworth;
Clowes D. See also the case referred to
As to the parentage of Richard de Ashworth, a Robert son of Richard son of
Walter has occurred above, but appears to
be too early for the Robert son of Richard
whose daughter was living in 1405.
||Holt near Milnrow is thought to be
the place from which this wide-spreading
family took a surname.
In Nov. 1349 Henry son of Henry de
Greenhalgh gave to Hugh son of John del
Holt and Maud daughter of Robert de
Ashworth all Maud's lands; Raines, op.
cit. 257. In Lent 1357 John de Chetham claimed the 3s. 4d. rent from Hugh
del Holt and Maud de Ashworth, &c.
Hugh thereupon twice challenged the
array of the assize; first, because Ellen
wife of Richard de Cudworth, the bailiff,
was of kin to the plaintiff, and second because William de Radcliffe, the sheriff, was
also akin; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 6,
m. 3. In the following year John de
Chetham did not prosecute his claim;
Assize R.438, m. 9. Hugh del Holt was
living in 1370, when he granted all his
lands in Bury and Middleton to his son
Robert, with remainders to younger sons,
Hugh and John; Raines, op. cit. 265.
It may have been the younger Hugh who
was outlawed in 1393, when the escheator
sold his forfeited goods; ibid. 257. Hugh
de Holt in 1375 claimed the moiety of
a messuage and lands in Middleton against
Richard de Urmston and Margaret his
wife; De Banco R. 456, m. 10.
||Robert de Holt the son of Hugh, already mentioned, in 1395 granted to John
de Holt, chaplain, as trustee, the lands
which had belonged to Richard 'the Abbot'
in the hamlet of Ashworth; and they
were regranted to Robert with remainders
to Hugh and William his brothers; Raines,
op. cit. 261. Robert in 1398 granted to
Maud his mother certain lands in Middleton and Bury; ibid. Richard the Abbot
attested a charter in 1343; ibid. 257.
His lands were the subject of another
feoffment in 1398, perhaps after the death
of Robert de Holt; ibid. 262.
In 1401 Maud the widow was summoned to answer Henry de Greenhalgh
and Alice his wife concerning the wardship of Hugh son and heir of Robert
son of Hugh de Holt. It was asserted
that Robert had held two messuages and
lands in Middleton of Richard de Barton
in socage by the service of 3s. 4d. yearly;
and Alice claimed as next of kin, being
Hugh's grandmother, her daughter (Alice)
by a former husband, Thomas de Barlow,
having been Robert's wife. Maud successfully upheld her title by the abovecited grant of her son in 1398; Pal. of
Lanc. Plea R. 1, m. 24b.
In 1405 the feoffees granted to Hugh
son of Hugh de Holt and William his
brother an annual rent after the death
of Maud widow of Hugh de Holt and
of John de Holt, chaplain, from the lands
which had belonged to Robert son of
Richard de Ashworth. Hugh son of
Robert de Holt was the heir; Raines,
op. cit. 263, 264.
Hugh the heir was at that time probably very young. In 1419 Margaret de
Shaw, wife of Richard de Urmston, released all actions against him; ibid. 266.
In 1435 he made a feoffment of all his
lands, of which he was refeoffed in 1467;
ibid. 266. Hugh Holt of Ashworth was
fined in 1448; his sons Thurstan and
William are mentioned about the same
time; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 11, m. 42;
12, 29b. Hugh seems to have been outlawed, and in 1449 the escheator sold his
goods to Richard Barton; Raines, op. cit.
268. He contracted his daughter Isabel
in 1455 to marry Oliver Parker; and
twelve years later his son and heir apparent,
Richard, was married to Margaret daughter
of James Chetham of Nuthurst; ibid. 267,
272. About the same time the old dispute as to the 3s.4d. rent was referred to
arbitration, and no doubt settled; Clowes
D. Just ten years later still Oliver son
of Richard son of Hugh Holt was contracted in marriage with Constance daughter of James son of Ralph Holt of Gristlehurst; Richard was probably dead; Raines,
273. In 1478 Hugh was refeoffed of all
hi3 lands, with remainders to Oliver son of
Richard Holt, to William and Jordan
brothers of Richard, and to Adam Holt;
Oliver Holt occurs again in 1517 and
1520; ibid. 269. In 1518 he made a
feoffment of all his manors, messuages,
&, called 'le Ashworth'; Pal. of Lanc.
Plea R. 123, m. 3 d. In 1522 he with
other feoffees gave land in Ashworth for
Grace the daughter of Ralph Rishton, who
was to marry Robert the son and heir
apparent of Oliver, with remainder to
Richard the brother of Robert; Raines,
269, 270. Robert Holt in 1533 married
Joan sister of Robert Langley of Agecroft;
Agecroft D. 106, 107. In the depositions
in a dispute as to the bounds of the waste
between Robert Holt and tenants of the
Earl of Derby in Bury are many particulars as to the place-names. Penkesden
Brook, part of the boundary, was in dispute, it being asserted by the witnesses for
Holt that Cheesden Brook ceased to be so
called at the Lumn (Lumn Bridge, at the
north end of Ashworth), and was then
called Penkesden Brook until it fell into
Naden Brook; while on the other side it
was said that Penkesden was a small
brook flowing into the Cheesden; Duchy
Pleadings (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), iii,
52–60. The present arbitrary boundary
line, running north and south on the east
side of Cheesden Brook, probably represents a compromise made on the occasion.
||He died on 22 Jan. 1559–60. Joan
his wife survived him; sons Robert and
William are named, and daughters Cecily,
Dorothy, and Elizabeth; also the brother
Richard. Feoffments made in 1559 are
recited in the inquisition in Raines, op.
cit. 275. His will is printed in Piccope,
Wills (Chet. Soc), i, 52–4.
Richard Ashton of Middleton in 1566
stated that Robert Holt of Ashworth,
holding of him by knight's service, had
died leaving a son and heir, Robert Holt,
whose wardship belonged to him; but one
Roger Gartside, having obtained the deeds
and evidences, had forcibly carried the
heir away and made him marry one of his
daughters; Duchy of Lanc. Plead, xlviii,
||He was of Brasenose College, Oxford,
B.A. 1566; fellow of Oriel 1568; M.A.
1572; Foster, Alumni; also Cooper, Athenae
Cantab. ii, 283, 551. Raines quotes his
own statement (from the Bowes Correspondence, Surtees Soc), that he was born
Douay Diaries, 6, 25.
||See Dict. Nat. Biog.; Gillow, Bibl.
Dict, of Engl. Catholics, iii, 361–5; Foley,
Records S. j. vii, 368, 1231–46. For a
time after his expulsion from Scotland he
was rector of the English College at Rome;
then for ten years he resided in Belgium,
distributing the King of Spain's alrm to
the English exiles for religion. In the
bitter dissensions which at that time arose
among the adherents of the old religion
he was a strong partisan of the 'Spanish'
faction, and roused so much bitterness
that he was sent to Spain, where he died.
He appears to have been an upright and
able man, but austere even to harshness
in his dealings with others. Many references to him will be found in the
Calendars of State Papers of the time.
His account of 'how the Catholic religion
had been continued in England during
thirty-eight years of persecution, and how
it might still be preserved,' is printed in
the Dcuay Diaries and in Foley.
||a In 1574 there was a fine of Ashworth, &c., Robert Holt being deforciant;
Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 36, m. 42.
Some of the deeds are in Raines MSS. xi,
Robert Holt some time before 1565
married Agnes daughter of Roger Gartside; she had an estate in Saddleworth,
which was to descend to her heirs; Lancs.
Inq. iii, 440; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle.
27, no. 166; Yorks. Fines (Yorks. Arch. and
Top. Assoc), ii, 26. The 'wife of Mr.
Robert Holt' was buried at Middleton 2
Nov. 1594; and he seems to have married
a second wife named Clemence, buried at
the same place 9 June, 1609; Regs.
||Robert Holt, son of Robert, married
Mary daughter of Sir Richard Assheton
at Middleton in 1594; their son Richard
was baptized at the same church on 28
March 1597; and the wife was buried
there 25 Aug. 1600. Robert married as
his second wife Dorothy, by whom he had
a son William, born in 1606. Robert was
buried on 2 Jan. 1608–9; Middleton
registers. Immediately afterwards the
wardship of Richard the heir was granted
to his grandfather Robert; Raines, xi, 282.
The will of Robert Holt the son,
dated 1608, is given in Raines MSS. vi,
266. Richard was his son and heir. He
died 'holding the pure religion now established in the Church of England,' as he
had held it 'from the time of his discretion.' The apostle spoons of his grandfather Gartside were to be heirlooms.
Coal mines at Nat Bank are mentioned.
In 1614 Richard was contracted in marriage to Mary daughter of Robert Duckenfield; Raines MSS. xi, 294; Earwaker,
East Cheshire, ii, 20. The 'wife of Mr.
Richard Holt of Ashworth' was buried
at Middleton 19 May 1618; and the
marriage with Mary sister of Theophilus
Ashton of Clegg, mentioned in the inquisition of 1624, took place on 29 Oct.
1618; Fishwick, Rochdale Registers, ii, 156.
By the former marriage there was a son
Robert, who lived a few months only.
||These statements arc from the inquisitions made in 1624 after the death of
Robert and Richard Holt; Lancs. Inq. p.m.
(Rec Soc. Lancs, and Ches,), iii, 437–41;
442–51. The tenures appear to be more
accurately given in the second document
Royalist Comp. Papers (Rec. Soc.
Lancs, and Ches.), iii, 255–7. Debts
amounting to £626 were due by him to
Mr. Cudworth of Werneth, Mrs. Chetham
of Manchester, and others. The Ashworth estate was worth £150 a year; he
also had land in Saddleworth.
||Dugdale, Visit. (Chet. Soc), 148; it
is meagre and inaccurate. Richard Holt
was married twice—to Jane daughter of
John Greenhalgh (at Bury in 1635) and
to Jane daughter of Radcliffe Ashton of
Cuerdale; ibid. 126, 10.
||Raines MSS. xi, 295. His wife Jane;
sons Robert, Richard, William, and
Thomas; and daughters Elizabeth and
Mary, are named in the will. He was
buried at Middleton 28 Sept. 1668. Of
the daughters, Mary married Thomas
Butler of Rawcliffe, and was living in
1704; ibid. 290.
||Ibid. 283, 284; also Pal. of Lanc.
Feet of F. bdle. 245, m. 61. Mortgages
amounting to over £3,000 had to be paid
off, Sir Ralph Assheton of Middleton
being the creditor.
Richard Holt does not seem to have
married, though he had a 'particular kindness' for one of the Hulton family; Hist.
MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 141. William Holt was in 1696 described as 'of
York'; his wife in 1700 was Hannabella.
In a lease granted by Richard Holt in
1688 the following services were required,
in addition to the rent of 23s. 4d. and four
hens at Christmas: Four days' shearing or
reaping corn; two days' harrowing with
an able horse and a harrow; loading four
cartloads of turf; keeping a man for the
wars, with musket and bandoliers; finding
a man to sod the stone wall betwixt the
common and demesne; finding three able
men to marl while the marling time
lasted, or pay 9s. a week. Tenants had
also to grind their corn at Ashworth Mill;
Raines MSS. xi, 282.
||Ibid. 286; the will of Samuel
Hallows, dated 1736. For his character
see Raines in Notitia Cestr. ii, 104.
||Ibid. 288–90; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of
F. bdle. 348, m. 53. John Hatfield, a
minor at his great-uncle's death, acquired
possession in 1750; he had a brother, the
Rev. George Hatfield. The advowson of
the chapel was expressly included in the
sale in 1751. At this time the clear
rental was £338 1s. 9d. There was a
coal mine at work. The area was nearly
630 customary acres.
||William Egerton was sole contributor
to the land tax of 1787.
||Col. Fishwick in Lancs, and Ches.
Antiq. Soc. xx, 30, quoting the title
deeds. It appears, however, that there
was an intermediate owner or mortgagee,
one Samuel Hill, acquiring Ashworth from
Thomas Ferrand in 1757; Pal. of Lanc.
Feet of F. bdle. 359, m. 68.
The manor of Ashworth was included
in a recovery of Wilbraham Egerton's
estates in 1806; Aug. Assizes, 46 Geo. III,
Royalist Comp. Papers, iv, 41.
||Gastrell, in Notitia Cestr. (Chet. Soc.),
ii, 102, says it was 'very ancient' and
founded in the time of Henry VIII.
Robert Holt in 1559 left 'toward the then
sustentation of Ashworth chapel 6s. 8d., to
be paid 'when the church reeves should
reasonably require the same;' Piccope,
Wills, i, 53. The chapel had a warden
in Gastrell's time.
Ch. Gds. 1552 (Chet. Soc), 12.
||There was no surplice in 1592;
Lancs, and Ches. Antiq. Soc. xiii, 57.
Commonw. Ch. Surv. (Rec. Soc.
Lancs, and Ches.), 26. Just at that time
there was no minister there, 'for want of
Notitia, loc. cit.; 'it was certified
that nothing certain belonged to it.' In
1671, however, Richard Whitehead of
Pilsworth had given a rent-charge of £3
'to the use of such minister as should
perform the service and cure at the chapel
of Ashworth'; ibid, ii, 34.
||Ibid, ii, 105. Radcliffe Scholefield
was officiating without licence in 1703;
he was the Presbyterian minister of Whitworth in 1718, and afterwards held a
charge in Cheshire; H. Fishwick, Rochdale, 264. In 1668, though 'with some
difficulty,' Oliver Heywood was able to
preach at Ashworth 'for one part of the
day'; Diaries, i, 259.
||Raines in Notitia Cestr. ii, 104.
||Raines MSS. (Chet. Lib.), xi, 290.
||Church P. at Chester Dioc. Reg. For
a biographical account of the curates from
1614 onward see Col. Fishwick's account
in Lancs, and Ches. Antiq. Soc. xx, 33–40.
The following names are chiefly taken
from it: John Ashworth, 1614 to 1622;
Richard Walker, 1622 to 1625; Hugh
Brooks, styled 'Vicar of Ashworth,' occurs
in 1626; — Ramsbottom occurs 1648;
Henry Pendlebury, M.A. occurs 1649;
— Leigh occurs 1652; Abraham Ashworth, B.A., 1665 to 1674 and later.
Benjamin Hollinworth, of St. John's
College, Cambridge, was there in 1686;
Visit. P. at Chester.
Land. Gaz. 21 May 1867. The endowment was in 1833 said to be derived
from £800 private gift, £1,000 royal
bounty, and £300 Parliamentary grant.