Such is the history of the Forest and the Hodder Valley!

However, all this was a thing of the past when we visited Bashall Hall.


The Manor, the Talbots, the Hall, the Township and Bashall Eaves

In 2011, the Local History and Vernacular Buildings group visited Bashall Hall, the home of the Barnes family since 1972. Unfortunately, at some point, the records and deeds of the old Hall were sent to London for safe-keeping and were destroyed in the Blitz, but we were invited to look inside the present building, including a look in the ‘barracks.’ Having more time because of ‘lock down’ and much more information being available on line than there was in Clitheroe library, I have looked further into the history of the Hall and the area. This is not an academic paper, but I have listed my sources at the end.

Bashall Hall Farm with the hall behind it.

The Manor

Bashall, pronounced ’Bash’ll’, lies to the west of Clitheroe, formerly in the West Riding, and now in Lancashire. It is a township in the parish of Mitton, with a history which goes to before the Norman invasion. ‘Open Domesday’ says that Bashall was one of the townships ‘belonging to Grindleton’ which Mary Higham suggests the existence of an early multiple estate. The area was taken over by Roger of Poitou from Earl Tostig. A few finds give clues to suggest the ancient occupation of the area, two tumuli are evident in Waddington, to the east of Bashall.

The township follows the pattern of many in the Pennines and Yorkshire Dales, with access to the river (in this case both the Ribble and the Lune), the village on higher, drier land and open moorland or ‘waste’. In Bowland, the development was affected by the presence of the Forest of Bowland. The boundaries of the forest varied over time, sometimes including part of the township, sometimes skirting it to the north.

Bashall Town as marked on maps consists of Bashall Barn, now a wedding venue and two 19th C(?) houses on the other side of the lane to Waddington. This runs along a ridge, which was probably the result of glacial moraine, and which Margaret Gelling says gave it the Anglian name Bacself, composed of boec used for ‘back’ and scelf – level ground or floor. Nearer Waddington is Backridge, which seems to be a modern interpretation of the same word. Bashall Eaves is a hamlet along the road towards Browsholme Hall, and Whitewell, which dates from the time of settlement at the edge of the Forest. Bashall Hall sits to the north of the Barn and is almost hidden from sight. The Hall and the Town are therefore at the intersection of north-south and east-west routes, with a connection which runs to the north-west to the Trough of Bowland and Lancaster.

At first, the very existence of a hall of this size seems surprising, but looking at the history of the Talbot family, we find that they were related by marriage to most of the local gentry families, many of whom built large halls, most of which are still standing. These include Hamerton Hall and Dunnow Hall [Slaidburn], Waddington Old Hall, Salmesbury and Lovely Halls [near Preston], Hellifield Peel, Halton Hall [Halton East, Skipton], Stoneyhurst [now the school]. The halls at Downham and Read were rebuilt on the existing site of their old hall, but only a barn remains at Horrocksford, Clitheroe, the house at Bracewell which Nicholas Tempest built. [King Henry’s barn], and the mews of Bolton [by Bolton] Hall. Huntroyd [near Burnlley] was an enormous pile, but only a gateway remains. Salmesbury Hall has connections to the Talbots, and with Lovely Hall shares a similar history of rebuilding in the 1600s, and later alterations and development, and in the case of Salmesbury, obvious demolition.  Browsholme is still lived in by the family, who seem to have lived in and married into a slightly higher level of society.

Nicholas Pevsner dated the present building from around 1600, much altered, and this accords with the date stones of many of the farm houses in the area, but there are small mullion windows in three of the sides. Perhaps these were part of an earlier structure? To the north of the of the house is a barn-like building known as the ‘barracks’, as at one point the then owner of the hall – Talbots – kept a small private army. The construction of the barracks suggests its age, maybe the original manor house was similarly built, rebuilt in stone and finally rebuilt to something like its present appearance. When Pevsner visited [1950s], it was partly derelict and was, at the time the Barnes family bought it used by a local farmer. In 2011, the family sought planning permission to change the barn forming part, of the farm buildings situated to the south of the Hall, to a house. The results of the investigation needed for the grade II* building are detailed on the website and include a copy of a sketch by Charles Buck, dated 1720, and labelled “The east Prospect of Bashall, seat of William Ferrers Esq.” So, was there a progression – a half-timbered house, suggested by the ’barracks’, followed by a stone built, more substantial house, which had mullioned windows, which was then greatly increased to something like the building we see today? And who had the house at the end on the 16th century, who had the wherewithal to finance it?

The Talbots

The family most usually associated with Bashall Hall are the Talbots. From the 13th to the 16th centuries, Talbot men held local positions and fought under different kings, suggesting that they were a family with the power and prestige to build more than a modest manor house.

Thomas de Talbot was granted the manors of Bashall and Mitton in or around 1256 by Edmund de Lacy, 6th Lord of Bowland, 1240-1258. The rent was £8/10/7 to be paid on the Feast of St. Giles (1st Sept). He was made Governor of Clitheroe castle and died around 1274, to be succeeded by his son Sir Edmund Talbot, who was made Steward of Blackburnshire, around 1300 by Henry de Lacy, then Earl of Lincoln. The area suffered an incursion by the Scots in1319, the parish church at Mitton badly damaged and many local inhabitants killed. Sir Edmund fought in Scotland under Edward I [1304]. He married Jane, the daughter of Mary & Sir John Tempest, of Bracewell and they had four sons, the youngest, William, was the ancestor of the Talbots of Salesbury, and the eldest was Sir Thomas Talbot of Bashall.

In 1310, an Edmund Talbot was one of the witnesses to a charter in which Richard, the son and heir of Sir Richard de Goldsburgh, granted land in Bolton [by Bowland] to Sawley Abbey and another Sir Edmund Talbot of Bashall and served with the Black Prince in Gascony.

Sir Edward Talbot was Captain of the camp and town of Berwick in 1387 and later captain of the camp Guyenne, in Picardy.

Sir Thomas Talbot de Bashall had a Royal Grant for enclosing “Bashall Parke” and served under Richard III by whom he was knighted.

After the Yorkist victory of 1467 at the battle of Hexham, Henry VI fled, making his way south via Muncaster Castle and settling for some time in the area near Clitheroe. He stayed at Bolton by Bowland, and then for about a year at Waddington Hall. He was recognised as he sat at dinner one night, and was caught trying to escape over the Ribble at the stepping stones at Brungerley by Sir James Harrington, Sir John Tempest of Bracewell, Thomas Talbot and his cousin John. Henry was taken towards London and passed on to the Earl of Warwick at Islington. He spent the next five years in the Tower. For a reward, the Talbots and Tempests and their male heirs received forty pounds a year from Edward.

According to Joseph McNulty, in 1481 Thomas Talbot held appointments in France & elsewhere in the King’s service.

More information is available from the ‘History of Parliament’ [on line]. Alan Davidson wrote about Sir Thomas Talbot 1507/8 – 58. Like earlier Talbots he held various positions for the Crown, including Sheriff of Lancashire and Master Forester for the forest of Bowland and also took part in fighting the Scots.  He was knighted at Leith by the Earl of Hertford, whilst fighting under Earl of Derby. Francis Talbot, 5th Earl of Shrewsbury wrote a glowing recommendation for Thomas to join the Earl of Northumberland at Berwick. He could bring with him Lancashire men faithful to him.

In 1618 the Talbot name came to an end of the male line, but continued through the women of the family. The Hall was home to a number of families for many years. When Thomas Talbot died 25th Feb 1618, he was survived by his daughter Margaret, who married Colonel William White of Duffield [died 1661]. His niece, Jane White, inherited the Hall and married Edward Ferrers. They were living at the Hall when Charles Buck sketched it in 1720.  Their son was John Ferrers, who died in 1707, and their granddaughter Dorothy married into a local family, the Walmesleys. Her grand-daughter, Margaret Walmesley of Bashall married Hugh Hugh-Lloyd, of Plymog, Denbigh, and Gwerclas, in the old counties of Denbighshire and Merionethshire respectively,

The Hall

The central block of the south facing front

The listing of 1954 describes the house as having two wings, east and west, and a central block. The front façade faces south, although the present approach is to rear, that is, the north. The east block has three storeys, with the roof running east-west. This wing has two gables to the north and south. The central block has been reduced in height, reportedly the result of a fire. The roof, and that of the two-storeyed west wing, which projects to the south, run north – south.

The east wing with its two gables.

There is a variety of styles of windows. The mullioned windows include fourteen, twelve, six and four lights, some transomed. The east block has sashed windows with glazing bars, as has the central block, which also has a large canted bay window at the rear.

Our approach to the hall was to the rear.

At the time of listing two of the first-floor rooms had panelling, one of early 17th century type and the other more applicable to the 18th century. Both the eastern and central block had rooms with door-ways with Tudor arched heads, and the central room had a Tudor arch over the fireplace.  Pevsner describes the principal staircase as early Georgian, “with two twisted balusters to each tread”. We entered through a doorway, obscured in the picture of the north facade by a vehicle, into a large hall-way from which an impressive staircase led up to the first floor.

Visitor’s entrance.

A sketch of 1720 by Charles Buck is labelled “The east Prospect of Bashall, seat of William Ferrers Esq.” really shows the southern side, and a difference between the house then and now. He showed the central section with three high windows where there is now a door between two windows, and a bridge to allow access to the door.

The barracks to the north of the house has a timber framed upper storey, with a jettied wooden gallery, and is now open along its length. The timber panels have a wattle and daub infill. The walls are rubble built and both storeys have blocked doors and windows.

The “Barracks”

An early Georgian summer house sits in the corner of the garden to the south of the house, with a pediment and a big vase on the top.

The Summer House


The vases on the summer house.

The Village of Bashall Eaves

The township of Bashall consists almost entirely of agricultural land with scattered farms. The Normans had an influence in Bowland Forest by increasing the number of vaccaries, but the lower lying land between the Ribble and the Hodder, now give over to grass, would have been more suitable for crops. In 1379, according to the Yorkshire Subsidy Rolls there were twenty men and their wives living in the township, and three men and three women who paid the tax individually. All paid four pence, one groat, except Willelmus Colthyrst and his wife who paid only two, and Ricardus Talbot and his wife who paid twelve pence. Thomas Page was a fletcher, arrow maker, but no other occupations were included. In the 14th and preceding centuries Lancashire and Yorkshire were part of the border zone which saw the fighting with the Scots with incursions of violence and destruction as far south as the Ribble at times. With the plague, the Black Death, also causing loss of life the population probably decreased but then increased gradually through Tudor and Stuart times.

By the 1672 Lady Day Assessment [Hearth Tax], there were sixty-five people who paid, with forty-three paying for one window and ten paying for two. John Ferrers Esq, however paid for fourteen. One Brian Talbot is also listed. He is not part of the line of the family who occupied the Hall, but one of many who were descendants of members of the family whose stories emerge at different times. By 1803, there were fourteen men who described themselves as farmers, and one yeoman, but other occupations are recorded in the Muster Roll, indicative of a small community such as Bashall Eaves. One Gentleman was ‘infirm’, but there were twelve labourers, eight servants, two weavers, two shoemakers, and one blacksmith. The mill was near the Hall, with one man to work it.

By 1802 the population of Mitton and Bashall was five hundred and fifty-two. From the entry of professions and trades in Baines’s Directory and Gazetteer Directory of 1822, we learn that James Taylor, Esq. was at Bashall Hall, and that there was a school master among other occupations. The population was 348 in 1835, and a Wesleyan chapel had been built.

Today the Red Pump is an inn and steak house, the school has become the village hall and the chapel a house, but the land is still farmed, and all the houses occupied and well cared for.

The Hall was home to a number of families for many years. When Thomas Talbot died 25th Feb 1618, he was survived by his daughter Margaret, who married Colonel William White of Duffield [died 1661]. His niece, Jane White, daughter of his brother John, inherited the Hall and married Edward Ferrers. They were living at the Hall when Charles Buck sketched it in 1720. Later the Hall changed hand several times and eventually, unoccupied, fell into disrepair, to be rescued by Mr Barnes, making a beautiful home.



The History of the Original Parish of Whalley, and the Honor of Clitheroe, to which is subjoined an Account of the Parish of Cartmell. 4th Ed. Rev. and Enl. Thomas Dunham Whitaker

The History and Antiquities of the Deanery of Craven in the County of York. Thomas Dunham Whitaker

The North of England. Frank Musgrove

A History of Lancashire. J.J. Bagley

The Making of the Central Pennines. John Porter

Of Names and Places: Selected Writings of Mary Higham, Ed. Alan G Crosby

Bowland Forest and the Hodder Valley. M. Greenwood & C. Bolton

The Chartulary of the Cistercian Abbey of St Mary of Salley in Craven. Vol 1. Ed. Joseph McNulty

The Buildings of England. Yorkshire West Riding. Nikolaus Pevsner. Second edition revised by Enid Radcliffe


Discovering Old Welsh Houses

British History on Line. Lancashire

Burke’s Genealogy and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry

Ancient Charters and Muniments of the Borough of Clitheroe

GENUKI Great Mitton [Subsidy Rolls 1379]

1066 library. Richard de Talbot

British Listed Buildings. Bashall Hall

The first page

* From

Although Ralph Rishton of Ponthalgh and Anne Stanley, half-sister of Thomas Talbot had come to ‘an arrangement’ possibly even marriage, Thomas and his mother Lady Stanley, seized Anne and forced her into marriage with John Rishton of Dunkanhaugh.

~ From Bowland Forest and the Hodder Valley by M. Greenwood and C. Bolton. p 57.

From the Church Court of Whalley in the Act Book of Whalley Abbey       A doubtful marriage. James Overend alias Robinson of Bentham and Agnes, former wife of John Parker were in fact brother and sister and so were unable to marry. 21st April, 1518


Jim Dawson was walking home to Bashall Hall Farm from the Edisford Bridge Inn, when he was shot in the shoulder, dying four days later from septicaemia. Although investigated by the police, no one was ever found nd charged with the crime. March 1934

^ From Bowland Forest and the Hodder Valley. M. Greenwood and C. Bolton p 58

Reynall Sawer to go around Whitewell church on two Sundays carrying a candle for adultery with Isabella Hayerset. 1537

+ From Bowland and Pendle Hill by W R Mitchell p69

Bashall Hall was attacked by over one hundred members of the Singleton family of Withgill and their friends [1461]. In retaliation, John Talbot struck Alice Singleton with a lance [price 6d]. Alice died immediately, but Richard Talbot struck her again with an arrow which pierced her brain.

* From Record Office at Kew 

Edmund Talbot, Alex Levessy and John A Waddington, all of Bashall, owed William Smith [Smyth] twenty pounds. They could not pay as Talbot owned a horse, but the other two owned nothing at all. The grey coloured horse was being looked after by Stephen Pinn {Pynne}  [a pin-maker], a stationer and inn-holder dwelling at The Swan with Two Necks in Gracechurch Street.

. From Bowland and Pendle Hill by W R Mitchell

In the early 15th century, Scottish raiders took advantage of the general lawlessness of the area, to attack, steal cattle, destroy buildings and sometimes take hostages.