Clayton-le-Moors under the Lomaxes

Clayton-le-Moors flourished and expanded after the Lomaxes took over in 1715; most of the growth during the Industrial Revolution took place during their tenure. They expanded their holdings to include much of Great Harwood. The large estate continued until it was sold at auction in 1925. The handbill advertising the auction of Clayton Hall is shown at the bottom of this webpage.


Pollard’s History of the Lomaxes

Ainsworth’s Summary of Oakenshaw Family History

Handbill for Clayton Hall Auction 


Pollard’s History of the Lomaxes

Pollard1 summarized the history of the Lomaxes as follows (this narrative is most interesting if reference is made simultaneously to Whitakers descendant chart):

The name of Lomax was to be found in many parts of South East Lancashire by the time of Henry VIII, and it was the Pilsworth branch of the family whose descendants became Lords of Clayton-le-Moors and Great Harwood.

Richard Lomax (born 1688) eldest son and heir of James Lomax of Pilsworth married Rebecca Heywood (1715), a descendant of the Grimshaw family of Clayton-le-Moors. Rebecca’s mother was the daughter of John and Jennet Grimshaw of Sparth, and from them she inherited the Clayton Hall Estate in 1728.

[Editors note: Whitaker, in Figure 4, shows Rebeccas mother as the sister, not daughter, of John who married Jennet; Trappes-Lomax, in Figure 5, agrees that Rebeccas mother was the daughter of John and Jennett]

James the eldest son of Richard and Rebecca was born in 1717, and in 1753 they put him in possession of the Clayton Estate, never having lived there themselves. James prospered, working coal mines in Clayton and leasing land in Great Harwood for the same purpose. When the Nowell’s of Read put up for sale the Lower Town of Great Harwood in 1770-1773, James Lomax was the chief buyer. He rebuilt Clayton Hall in 1772. He became a convert to the Roman Catholic Church about 1769. Local tradition says that he had become friendly with the Petre’s Chaplain at Dunkenhalgh, and that the latter gave him some superior brandy. This led him to inquire into the religion of the country of its origin, the enquiry or the brandy or both led to his conviction of the truth of Catholicism. From this time onwards, the Lomax family embraced the Roman Catholic faith.

Richard Grimshaw Lomax, his eldest son succeeded him. He married Catherine Greaves, daughter and co-heir of Thomas Greaves of Preston. They lived at Clayton Hall. Richard extended his coal mining interests, leasing more land in Great Harwood from Sir Thomas Hesketh. When any property came on the market in Great Harwood, Richard Grimshaw Lomax was the buyer. In 1819 the Upper Town of Great Harwood was valued by Sir Thomas Hesketh, and put up for sale. Richard Grimshaw Lomax bought it. Richard and Catherine had twelve children, ten sons, and two daughters. All his sons who survived were educated at Stonyhurst College, and three of them became priests. He died in 1837 and was buried at Altham.

John Lomax the fourth son born to Richard and Catherine succeeded to the estate. He was born in 1801. He married Helen, daughter of John Aspinall of Standen Hall. He improved and enlarged Clayton Hall. He died in 1849, and was also buried at Altham. John and Helen had no children, and his brother James succeeded him.

More is known about James Lomax than any other Lord of the Manor of Great Harwood, because he lived in the town some time and devoted so much of his time and interest to it. He was born in 1803 and built Allsprings, Great Harwood, in 1838. Whilst at Allsprings he married Frances Cecilia Verda, eldest daughter of Charles Walmesley of Wigan, On the death of his brother (1849), James Lomax became the owner of 3,400 acres of land in Lancashire. 2,865 acres of this was in Great Harwood and the rest was in Clayton-le-Moors and Hurst Green. There was still some land in Great Harwood owned by a few families who had bought it at the 1770 sale, and if it came up for sale again, James Lomax snapped it up. Eventually with the exception of a few acres, he owned the whole of the land and farms in Great Harwood. His daily occupation was to go round the farms. He had the management of them in his own hands.

It was during his lifetime that great changes took place. Great Harwood grew from a village, whose inhabitants earned their living by farming and hand loom weaving, into a small cotton manufacturing town. The population numbered 1,659 in 1801, and by the time he died in 1886 it had reached the 9,000 mark. The fact that nearly all the land belonged to him, was a deciding factor in most of the changes that took place. The line of the railway was influenced by the fact that he owned the land through which it had to run. With the building of new mills, shops and houses land was leased in a different way. The old method of leasing land for one, two or three lives died out and the practice of paying a ground rent for 999 years took its place.

James Lomax was a man of courage with many sides to his nature. He lost his right hand in Ms youth, in an accident. When asked how he coped with the surgery of the time, he answered ‘I said three Hail Mary’s and told them to cut away”..

James Lomax who had been educated at Stonyhurst College was a great benefactor there, giving bursaries for prizes, and he also donated L2,000 to the extensions of the building. He had so much affection for his college that he missed attending only two speech days in 75 years.

He died at Clayton Hall on 25th March 1886, at the age of 82 years, and was buried in the Lomax vault, near the Lomax Chapel of Our Lady and St. Huberts Church. Full details of the funeral were printed in the Blackburn times, 3rd April.

His wife died in 1891 and was buried in the family vault at Our Lady and St. Huberts Church.

James and Frances Cecilia Berda had no children, the only one in the large family of Richard Grimshaw Lomax to have issue was the youngest son Thomas. His daughter Helen, and his granddaughter Helen Mary Maxima (Mrs. David Howell) jointly succeeded to James Lomaxs estates. They inherited the Clayton Hall Estate in 1886 when he died, and Allsprings Estate on the death of his wife in 1891.

Helen, (James Lomaxs niece) married her cousin Thomas Byrnand Trappes of Stanley House, Clitheroe. The wedding took place at Our Lady and St. Huberts Church on 10th January 1866. Mr. Thomas Byrnand Trappes died in 1891 and after his death Helen took the additional name of Lomax.

Helen Trappes Lomax died 15th June 1924, and was buried at Hurst Green. She was succeeded by her eldest surviving son Richard.

Richard Trappes Lomax was born in 1870, he married (1894) Alice, Daughter of Basil T. Fitzherbert of Swynnerton, Stafford. He was a Captain I the 3rd Battalion K.O. Royal Lancashire Regiment, and served with them in South Africa 1900-1901. He joined the Lancashire Hussars in 1914 as Captain, becoming Major in 1915. He had eight sons, his eldest son was a Captain in the Scots Guards and served with them in the war 1914-1918.

In 1925 the Clayton Hall Estate which included Great Harwood was sold by auction. The sale was spread over
three days, the land in Clayton-le-Moors being sold first. In Great Harwood, farms, houses and plots of land were sold, and in addition public houses, and ground rents for nearly all the houses and buildings in Great Harwood were auctioned. It was not an opportune time for selling. Some of the lots remained unsold, but the rest were bought by many people in different walks of life.

It was the end of a way of life which had been bound up with the Lords of the Manor for nearly 900 years.

It is interesting to note that Richard Trappes-Lomaxs history of Clayton-le-Moors was published by the Chetham Society in 1926, not long after the large estate was liquidated in 1925. The Clayton-le-Moors Lomax coat of arms shown is described as a combination of the preceding Grimshaw, Clayton and Lomax (earlier family) arms:

The Lomax coat of arms registered in Burkes “General Armory” is a combination of the three families. The shield is quartered, displaying the Lomax arms in the first and fourth quarter. The Grimshaw arms in the second and the Clayton arms in the third. The crest over the shield is described as “out of a mural crown a demi lion – gu – (red) collared and holding an escallop.”

Handbill for Clayton Hall Auction 

(in preparation)


1Pollard, Louie, 1978, Great Harwood Gleanings: Lancashire County Library and Leisure Committee, unk p.

Webpage History

Webpage originally posted on unknown date. Updated and reorganized May 2005.