Ainsworth’s History of the Grimshaws at Clayton-le-Moors

The Grimshaw family history has been well summarized well by Ainsworthin his description of the old homesteads of the Accrington area. The relevant parts for Grimshaw history are the descriptions of Clayton Hall, Sparth Hall, Dunkenhalgh, Oakenshaw and Ringstonehalgh. Grimshaw history is presented in the Clayton Hall history (p. 317-320).

The following history is most interesting if reference is made at the same time to Whitaker’s2 descendant chart:

Henry was last of the Claytons of Clayton-le-Moors, having no male issue, and at his death, in 1361, the estate went to two daughters, Cecily and Alice, joint heiresses. Cecily, the elder, married a member of the Grimshaws of Grimshaw.

The St. George visitation records Adam Grimshaw, of Grimshaw (temp. Edward III.) married (Cecily), daughter and heir of Henry Clayton of Clayton-super-Mores, Co. Lancaster.

Alice married De Legh; it was her daughter Margaret who married Henry-de-Rishton, and conveyed the mother’s share of the Manor to the Rishton family.

The following is an abstract of a title deed to a record concerning these alliances in the Harlean MSS

Indenture between Henry Grimshaw and Cecily, daughter, and one of the heirs of Henry-de-Clayton, super-Mores upon the one hand, and Henry-de-Rishton, and Margaret, his wife, grand-daughter, and another of the heirs of the foresaid Henry-de-Clayton, 40th year Edward III, 1366.

Witnessed by Henry-de-Shuttleworth, Richard-de-Rishton, Henry-de-Standen, Richard-de-Rishton, the younger.

The document is interesting as showing how the manor of Clayton came to be divided. From that time onward Clayton had to all intents and purposes two manor houses – Clayton Hall and Dunkenhalgh. The last male representative in the direct line was living in 1349, for in a document known as the Lansdowne Feodary of that date is written Henry de Clayton” holds the eighth part of one knight’s fee of the Duke of Lancaster in Clayton- which his ancestors formerly held. “His daughter, the wife of Adam Grimshaw, was living in the year 1369.

The carrying of weapons in, medieval days led to serious disputes, for in 1465, Henry Grimshaw was implicated. in the manslaughter of Robert Bynnes, of Altham. The Sheriff sent a warrant to the Constable of Altham for the arrest of Robert Bynnes. Henry Grimshaw was assisting at the arrest and killed Robert Bynnes with his lance, from which charge he was cleared, being done in the execution of his duty.

The next in descent was Robert Grimshaw, who was contracted to marry, before he was born, Joan Hacking, of Aighton, which brought Hacking estate into the family. Then followed, in 1468, Henry, who married Isabel Rishton. At the latter part of the 15th century another Henry, who married a daughter of Sir Richard Tempest, of Bracewell, succeeded. He had three sons, Thomas, Walter, and Richard. The heir, Thomas, married Margaret, daughter of John Stanley of Lathom, Esq.

Our own district was well represented at the Battle of Flodden Field, 9th September, 1513, and among those who fought was the lord of Clayton Hall, Thomas Grimshaw, who made his will previous to joining the forces. He lodged a sum of money with the Abbot of Whalley to accumulate for his three daughters.

The Battle of Flodden Field occurred on the invasion of England, while Henry VIII. was in France. The centre of the English line was hard pressed, when the Lancashire men, under Stanley, mounted the hill and fell upon the Scottish right, which, utterly broken by the shock, fell reeling back upon the rear of the Scottish centre.

The attack of the Lancashire lads led to the fall of King James IV of Scotland, and decided the battle in favour of the English. Several old ballads refer to the part the Lancashire men played.

James Stanley, brother of the first Earl of Derby, was Bishop of fly and Warden of Manchester Collegiate Church. His son, John Stanley, was knighted on the field of battle, and we may be sure that Thomas Grimshaw, of Clayton Hall, his son-in-law would bear himself as bravely as his father-in-law. under whose command he was on that famous day.

With lusty lads, liver and light, From Blackburn and Bolton-in-the-Moors, With children chosen from Cheshire; In armour bold for battle drest, And many a squire and gentleman Were under Stanley’s streamer prest

We have, no evidence of the loss sustained, that day by the Lancashires, but among those who returned was the lord of Clayton. Sir Edward Stanley their commander, who bore the crest of the eagle, was proclaimed Lord Mounteagle in 1514. His arms are on the Abbot’s House of Whalley Abbey.

All this affords a glimpse of the part our district played in the national life of the period.

Thomas Grimshaw had five sons — Richard, the heir; Henry; Nicholas, of Milnrow, near Rochdale; Ralph; and John, later of Wigan; the last-named dying without issue. And there were daughters, Anne, who married Hugh Shuttleworth, son and heir of Nicholas Shuttleworth, Esq., of Gawthorpe, on October 20th, 1540. A panel at Gawthorpe Hall displays the initials of the pair and the date 1577. She died in 1599 and was buried at Padiham Church. Dorothy married Lawrence Ainsworth, of Pleasington; Alice married John Holden, of Chaigeley; Isabel married Robert Morley, of Billington and Dinckley; Elizabeth married Gilbert Walsh, of Aughton.

In the great levy of arms in 1574, the next representative, Richard Grimshaw, was called upon to supply one coat of mail, one long bow, one sheaf of arrows, one calivar, one schuil, and one bill. He died in 1575, aged 64. His son, John, lived at Clayton Hall at the time of the Heralds’ Visitation in 1567. He married Mary, daughter and co-heiress of Thomas Catterall, of Little Mytton, who died in 1577.

The estates of Little Mytton were divided between the daughters, Dorothy Sherburne, previously married to a Whipp, and Mary Grimshaw, of Clayton Hall, whose husband died in 1587.

John Grimshaw in 1584 granted to, Nicholas, his son and heir, “all bedstocks, tables, gold signet ring, one great meal ark in the granary, two arks in the brewhouse and one in the barn, one long chest in the parlour, one great pot (my father’s gift) and all armour, one brazen mortar and pestle, one feather bed, one mattress, two bolsters, three coverlets, two pairs of blankets, and two pairs of sheets.”

Here we have some idea of the degree of comfort enjoyed in those days. Evidently the feather bed represented a degree of the amenities of life.

Nicholas, the next heir, married Ellen Rishforth, of Riddleden, and was living at the time of the next Heralds’ Visitation in 1613, his eldest son, John, being then 20 years of age, who married, in 1626, Ann Coulthurst, of Burnley. The Recusancy Laws were then in force, and on that account his own and his mother’s estates were sequestered, and Clayton Hall was let to a Preston linen draper.

Nicholas and Helen also had a son, named Nicholas, who was killed at the siege of Drogheda, Ireland, and a daughter, Katherine, who married Robert Squire, of Great Harwood. Squire’s Farm derives its name from the family.

There are interesting particulars about this time concerning the working of coal at Clayton. In 1641 John Grimshaw let for 18 years the coal seam at Clayton to Henry Towneley and Nicholas Towneley, of Royle. In 1652 the coal getters or hewers were paid 4-1/2d per quarter, and the drawers 3d. Bank-man and his partner for winding and finding sleddes, shovels, and other things, 3-1/2d per quarter. There remained 4d per quarter for profit to the owners.

Nicholas, brother of John Grimshaw, was sent to Douay to be educated for the priesthood. As a Roman Catholic he would be disqualified by the law of the country, as it then stood, from succeeding to his brother’s landed estates.

Richard, the other brother, married Elizabeth Tempest, of Broughton; their son John is mentioned in connection with Sparth on account of his marriage with Jennet Cunliffe. Richard married for his second wife Elizabeth Shuttleworth, of Clitheroe.

A daughter, Susannah, married Nicholas Shuttleworth, of Clitheroe, a younger branch of the family of Gawthorpe. They lived at Clayton Hall. Nicholas Shuttleworth was an avowed Jacobite, and supported the Stuart cause in the Rebellion of. 1715, when the Jacobite forces surrendered at Preston. For the part he played he was attainted for treason, July 24th, 1716. Their tomb is in Altham Church.

John Grimshaw, son of Jennet and John, the last male representative, left a daughter or sister, Mary Anne, who married John Heywood, of Urmston. By a settlement the estate passed to her issue, namely, Rebecca, who married Richard Lomax. Nicholas succeeded in 1715, and died 1719. The estates were at that time hopelessly involved.


1Ainsworth, 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, unk p.

2Whitaker, 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.

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