The Oakenshaw Line of the Grimshaw Family

A line of Grimshaws separate from the Clayton Hall line (see companion webpage) began at Oakenshaw at an early date. Oakenshaw is located in Clayton-le-Moors about a mile southwest of Clayton Hall. It can be seen on the current OrdnanceSurvey map of the area as well as the 1790 map ofClayton-le-Moors.


John Grimshaw, Progenitor of the Oakenshaw Line

Trappes-Lomax History of the Earliest Grimshaw Family Line

Ainsworth’s Summary of Oakenshaw Family History

Anne Grimshaw, Prominent Figure in the Pendle Forest Grimshaw Line


John Grimshaw, Progenitor of the Oakenshaw Line

The John Grimshaw who originated the Oakenshaw line can be seen in Whitaker’sdescendant chart of the earliest recorded Grimshaw family as the fourth child (third son) of Adam and Cicely, born after Henry, Richard, and Agnes. Trappes-Lomax(p. 77-81) describes the Oakenshaw family line as follows:

William de Oakenshaw is mentioned as owning Oakenshaw in 1376. William de Oakenshaw and Margaret his wife occur next, and enfeoffed Thomas de Hesketh (lord of Great Harwood) in the Oakenshaw lands: by deed dated 23 Nov. 1401 Hesketh released the same to John 3rd son of Adam de Grimshaw of Clayton by Cicely de Clayton his wife, and the estate continued for many generations in this branch of the Grimshaws.

Trappes-Lomax History of the Earliest Grimshaw Family Line

Richard Trappes-Lomax authored a small book, published by the Chetham Society in 1926, that is one of the most important sources of information available for the earliest recorded Grimshaw family line (see companion webpage). “A History of the Township and Manor of Clayton-le-Moors, Co. Lancaster”5 provides abundant information on the Grimshaw family that originated in Eccleshill and occupied the Clayton-le-Moors estate for over 400 years, until the Grimshaw line ran out and the estate was carried into the Lomax family. The book also contains valuable information on a contemporary Grimshaw line, located at nearby Oakenshaw, that stemmed from the Clayton-le-Moors line. A summary of the descendant chart is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. The Oakenshaw Family Line, started by John Grimshaw and Elizabeth Aspden is shown below (the preceding generation of Adam Grimshaw and Cecily Clayton is also shown. Anne Grimshaw, who married Nicholas Grimshaw of the Pendle Forest line as described further down on this webpage, is shown with a hyperlink.)

Adam Grimshaw (Died 1361) & Cecily Clayton

|—Henry Grimshaw

|—Richard Grimshaw

|—John Grimshaw ( – Before 1407) & Elizabeth Aspden

|—|—Roger Grimshaw

|—|—|—Geoffrey (Galfridus) Grimshaw

|—|—|—|—Persavall Grimshaw

|—|—|—|—|—Nicholas Grimshaw

|—|—|—|—|—|—Persavall Grimshaw

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—Nicholas Grimshaw & Elizabeth

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—Thomas Grimshaw & Janet Edge

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—Nicholas Grimshaw ( – Before 1664) & Rebecca Holme

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—Thomas Grimshaw* & Mary Sagar

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—Jennet Grimshaw & ___ Towne

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—John Towne

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—Rebecca Towne

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—Mary Towne

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—Alice Towne

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—Isabel Towne

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—Richard Towne

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—Thomas Grimshaw* & Isabel Hargreaves

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—Nicholas Grimshaw (4 Jan 1664 – Before 1742) & Deborah Shawe

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—Thomas Grimshaw ( – Before 1742)

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—Sarah Grimshaw

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—Isabel Grimshaw & Henry Bulcock

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—Rebecca Grimshaw* (15 Feb 1666 – 17 Nov 1720) & John Livesey ( – 19 May 1708)

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—Rebecca Grimshaw* (15 Feb 1666 – 17 Nov 1720) & John Jolly

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—John Grimshaw (15 Sep 1669 – 1703)

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—Richard Grimshaw (25 Mar 1672 – )

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—Thomas Grimshaw (5 Mar 1675 – 5 Oct 1744)

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—Isabel Grimshaw (5 May 1679 – )

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—Anne Grimshaw (9 May 1681 – ) & Nicholas Grimshaw (see Pendle Forest Line)

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—Richard Grimshaw

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—William Grimshaw

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—|—Henry Grimshaw

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—Richard Grimshaw

|—|—Richard Grimshaw

|—|—Margaret Grimshaw & Hugh Baron

|—|—|—Thomas Baron

|—|—|—|—Hugh Baron

|—|—Alice Grimshaw & Peter Marsden

|—|—Joan Grimshaw & John Sharrock

|—|—|—John Sharrock

|—|—|—|—William Sharrock

|—|—|—|—|—Alice Sharrock & John Boyce

|—|—|—|—|—|—Henry Boyce

|—|—|—|—|—Isabella Sharrock & Jacob Whitehalgh

|—|—|—|—|—|—Richard Whitehalgh

|—|—|—|—|—Agnes Sharrock & Richard Cottam

|—|—|—|—|—|—William Cottam

|—Agnes Grimshaw & Thomas Bank

Ainsworth’s Summary of Oakenshaw Family History

Ainsworth3 (p. 336-338) provides an excellent family history for the Oakenshaw-based line of Grimshaws as follows:

Anyone walking along Sparth Road from Whalley Road and taking the path forward toward Dunkenhalgh, Pass buildings of absorbing interest; it is the most historic road in Clayton-le-Moors. From Clayton Hall at one end to Dunkenhalgh at the other, we pass the Sparth, with its halo of romance and story of the early struggles of Nonconformity, continued by the old Baptist Chapel at Oakenshaw now demolished and still later linked by the early beginnings of Methodism, commenced in one of the cottages in Stocks Row, which latter received its name from the stocks being once situated there…

Another interesting old landmark, which, alas, is falling into decay, is Ringstonehalgh, and yet another old homestead inseparably linked with it, which has disappeared, is the old homestead of the Grimshaws of Oakenshaw.

The Fort Arms links us with that well-known family, while Ellison Fold was one of the earliest homes of the Ellisons.

In the early part of the 19th century Oakenshaw is described as a little town of modern cottages, but there was still standing in the place an old-fashioned house, much the worse for wear from age and neglects, built from its appearance in the 16th century. It had small mullioned windows, gabled roof, with porch and chimneys to match, the home of the Grimshaws of Oakenshaw for many generations.

In a document dated 1720, it is asserted that the Grimshaws had enjoyed an estate which was freehold, as proved by writings, for 330 years. That would bring their ownership of the estate to the year 1390. They branched from the Grimshaws of Clayton, bearing the same arms. Oakenshaw was granted by Henry de Clayton to his younger son, Thomas (circa 1220) for a rent of twelve pence in silver.

Richard Clayton in 1365, granted it to his daughter, Alice, for her term of life, for the rent of a Red Rose. Evidently the Red Rose of Lancashire had even then a significance. Twelve years later William de Oakenshaw released it to John, third son of Adam de Grimshaw, of Clayton Hall, who married Elizabeth Aspden. He died previous to 1407, when his widow was granted all the lands in Oswaldtwistle, which had been her gift.

Roger succeeded to Oakenshaw, and died on war service in France, having made his will previous to leaving, as was usual in such instances. Several generations followed, one, Nicholas, having copyhold lands in Accrington.

The first member of whom anything of interest is known is Thomas Grimshaw, of Oakenshaw, born between 1630 and 1635. He married, October 26th, 1658, Mary, daughter of John Sagar, of Habergham Eaves, and sister of Charles Sagar, Master of Blackburn Grammar School, and later a notable Nonconformist divine. By her Thomas Grimshaw had a daughter, Jennet. His wife died young and he married a second time, 14th May, 1663, Isabel Hargreaves. By this marriage he had four sons: Nicholas, born January 4th, 1664; John, born September 15th, 1669; Richard, born March 25th, 1672; and Thomas. born March 5th, 1675. There were also three daughters: Rebecca, born February 15th, 1666; Isabel, born May 5th, 1679; and Anne, born May 5th, 1681.

Thomas Grimshaw, of Oakenshaw, died in 1700, and his will was proved at Chester in that year. The testator names a copyhold estate he had at Huncoat, which his sons, John and Thomas, were authorised to sell and to pay certain sums of the proceeds to testator’s daughters. He left all his capital messuage, called Oakenshaw, to his sons, John and Thomas, in trust for his grandson, Thomas, son of testator’s eldest son, Nicholas. This latter, Nicholas of Oakenshaw, yeoman, died in 1742. John Grimshaw his brother, died at Padiham in 1703, and Thomas, the younger brother, in 1744, having previously sold his estate at Higham Booth to his nephew, Thomas Grimshaw, of Heyhouses. Interesting particulars of the eldest daughter of Thomas Grimshaw are recorded in the Church Book of Altham, from the pen of her second husband, the Rev. John Jollie. She married for her first husband John Livesey, who died in 1708, to whom, she bore sons. One of them, John, is referred to by Mr. Jollie:

August 5th 1719. Our son-in-law, John Livesey, married to Margaret, the daughter of John Hamer, of Bradshaw. He brought her to Ringstonehalgh in the September after.

Rebecca married for her second husband the Rev. John Jollie, the Dissenting minister at Sparth. He was the nephew and successor of the Rev. Thomas Jollie. The marriage is referred to, under the date January 25th, 1713: “Pastor was married to Rebecca Livesey (widow) at New Church in Pendle Forest by Thomas Ellis, curate. The banns were first published at Colne, but before this, on the sixth of the same month, he (the Pastor) had the consent of the Church and their advice to marry.

Ringstonehalgh was the residence of the Rev. John Jollie, but he says: “My wife and I, with brother Thomas and our daughter, left Ringstonehalgh at Martinmas, 1719, and came to Oakenshaw.

Thou knowest our wanderings: we are strangers on earth and sojourners, as all our fathers were.

He records November 17th, 1720: “My dear wife departed this life.” His memorial of her states that:

She was born at Oakenshaw in Clayton-le-Moors, 1666, Candlemas, of an ancient family, that had enjoyed an estate 330 years, as appears from old writings, but how long before we cannot tell. The said family, beside this estate, had others considerable, and were reputed greatly. She was the eldest daughter of Thomas and Isabel Grimshaw. After she grew up she went to hear the most famous preachers in the Church of England with a design to edify her soul. Once going to Whalley Church to hear the anniversary sermon of Sir Ralph Assheton, she got wet; this brought a great cold and sore illness. This was when she was about 19 or 20 years old. When she was badly, Agnes Cottam, a neighbour, came to see her, and told her that old Mr. Jollie would preach at Altham on such a day. This was the beginning of Liberty. She went, and liked the sermon very well. Some weeks after she went to hear Mr. Jollie at Wymond Houses. She continued under Mr. Jollie, a ministry, and was soon after taken into communion by Mr. Jollie, with her parents’ consent. She received an offer of marriage from Mr. John Livesey, a neighbour. When both of them were in their 30th year (about 1696), they were married. They had two sons and two daughters in ten years. Her husband, John Livesey, died May l9th, 1708.

January lst, 1712. Rev. John Jollie went to reside at her house, and a year after they were married. That year they resided at Ringstonehalgh. Her going to Bolton to be with her son Samuel was thought to be the cause of her fatal illness. She was taken ill whilst at Bolton. She returned home, and died a fortnight afterwards on Thursday, November 17th, 1720.

Before her death she gave directions concerning her affairs’ and desired her husband, Mr. Jollie, “being unfit for housekeeping,” to live with her brother, Thomas Grimshaw, at Oakenshaw. She spoke of her children by her first marriage, Rebecca, her eldest daughter, who married Rev. James Burgess, minister at Darwen and afterwards of Greenacres Chapel, and Dorothy, Thomas, and John Livesey. She had a Christian interment in her first husband’s grave, as she desired. Mr. John Jollie preached a funeral sermon for his wife at Sparth, November 27th, and Mr. Burgess, her son-in-law, also preached. Her husband survived her five years, as recorded in the Church Book. The learned and faithful Pastor Mr. John Jollie, died June 27th, 1725, and was interred at Altham, where his gravestone may be seen.

It is interesting to note that the Thomas Jollie who took Rebecca (Grimshaw) Livesey into conversion, and whose son she later married, is the sameJollie who was the arch-enemy of John Grimshaw of Clayton Hall, the “Papist” who married Jennett Cunliff.

Anne Grimshaw, Prominent Figure in the Pendle Forest Grimshaw Line

Anne Grimshaw, 5th child of Thomas and Elizabeth (Hargreaves) Grimshaw, married a distant relative, Nicholas Grimshaw of the Pendle Forest line of Grimshaws and was progenitor of a major branch of that line (see companion webpage). Anne is described on the Pendle Forest Grimshaw descendant chart by Whitaker1 as follows: “Anne, dau of Thomas Grimshaw of Oakenshaw, born 9th May, 1681”. Trappes-Lomax contains the following entry regarding Anne: “7. Anne, born 9 May 1681, wife of Nicholas Grimshaw of Padiham and Northwood” (see companion webpage).


1Whitaker, Thomas Dunham, 1872, An History of the Original Parish of Whalley, and Honor of Clitheroe (Revised and enlarged by John G. Nichols and Ponsonby A. Lyons): London, George Routledge and Sons, 4th Edition; v. I, 362 p.; v. II, 622 p. Earlier editions were published in 1800, 1806, and 1825.

2Trappes-Lomax, Richard, 1926, A History of the Township and Manor of Clayton-le-Moors, County Lancaster: Chetham Society, Second Series, v. 85, 175 p. (see companion webpage).

3Ainsworth, Richard, 1928, The Old Homesteads of Accrington & District, Embracing Accrington, Baxenden, Stonefold, Oswaldtwistle, Church, Clayton-le-Moors, Great Harwood, Rishton, Hapton, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Altham, Whalley: Accrington, Wardleworth Limited, p. 308-343.

Webpage History

Webpage posted July 2000, Updated February 2001. New banner added July 2015.