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The History of Huncoat
A chronological list of dates
Section Three : Miscellaneous Facts
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A BRICK MUSEUM
A collection of 30 samples of locally made bricks

Local VIP's
* John Hacking of Huncoat invented one of the earliest cotton carding engines

* James Hargreaves of Stanhill, Oswaldtwistle invented the Spinning Jenny

* John Mercer of Great Harwood invented Mercerisation of cotton cloth making it easier to print and finish

* Frederick Steiner of Accrington (born Alsace) improved the dyes for printing

* Robert Peel set up a calico printing works at Church and established Hyndburn as the major centre for textile printing

* Jonathan Peel established several textile works in the Hyndburn area including Oakenshaw and Broad Oak. The latter passed into the hands of the firm Fort, Taylor and Bury but when Mr. Taylor retired Thomas Hargreaves became a partner and eventually acquired the whole business. (He was not from the same family as James Hargreaves; inventor of the Spinning Jenny.) It was at Broad Oak under the firm Hargreaves Brothers that Polyester was discovered and Terylene invented by JR Whinfield and JT Dickson around 1941.

* John Blake of Hyndburn developed the hydraulic ram

* James Arkwright of Preston invented the water frame for spinning yarn

* John Kay of Bury invented the flying shuttle for weaving

* John Bullough (of Howard and Bullough) bought the Isle of Rhum off the Scottish coast near Mallaig in 1886 for the sum of 35,000. In 1897 his son George Bullough commissioned the building of Kinloch Castle on the island. In 1957 Lady Monica Bullough sold the island to the nation for 23,000. It is now a National Nature Reserve.

The Water Courses of Huncoat
Water courses (rivers and streams) invariably formed the ancient administrative boundaries.

Warm Leaf Brook flows northward off the Coppice down the clough of the same name and under Burnley Road and Woodside Road flats. Beneath Bolton Avenue playing fields it is culverted until it emerges near a little concrete bridge. Beyond in the marshy ground underneath electricity pylons it meets Spout House Brook. Spout House Brook springs from the old Rake Head quarries and goes under Burnley Road just west of Wedgewood Road. It can be seen in the gardens of several houses on Woodside Road before it decants into Spout House woodland. After passing through the old brick works pond it meets Warm Leaf Brook and becomes Clough Brook (known locally as Tom Brook) turning northwards under the railway line.

Another stream which I call Laneside Brook because that is where it seems to spring from, flows north eastwards via Sankey House Farm and is partly culverted running alongside Whinney Hill Road but emerges under the bridge at the bottom of Bolton Avenue. Beside Enfield Road in front of Oak Bank Terrace it joins the other streams forming Clough Brook and then flows north easterly below the old colliery site down to Waterside on the canal. Here it goes under a small aqueduct for the canal trending northwards through the deep and wooded Altham Clough Wood. At Syke Side Bridge it becomes Syke Side Brook for a short distance before issuing into the River Calder at Dunkirk.

Another major stream, for which the name Hameldon Brook seems apt name comes off Great Hameldon beside Windy Harbour and falls down through Cronker Plantation to an old reservoir at Childers Green. Then it enters Castle Clough Brook to make its way down into the River Calder at Fenny Fold.

River Hyndburn

Many streams and brooks come together to form the Hyndburn. It starts to take that name between Church Street, Oak Street and Cross Street and is culverted under Warner Street, Peel Street and Broadway. It emerges under the railway viaduct roundabout and then runs alongside Hyndburn Road to Church, the Dunkenhalgh and Clayton. It joins the Calder at Martholme.

Pleck Brook rises under the Coppice and comes down under Water Street to join the Hyndburn under Broadway. There are springs near Miry Farm behind the Coppice which feed the reservoirs above Plantation Road. These in turn decant into Plantation Brook.

Plantation Brook rises on Moleside Moor and flows through Brocklehurst Wood passing north of Arden Hall and below Hodder Street and Cedar Street. Once it reaches Washington Street it is called Accrington Brook and joins Pleck Brook under the bottom of Water Street.

Warmden Brook rises on Black Moss and comes down Warmden Clough to be joined by Tag Clough and Worsley Brook in Broad Oak and then becomes the River Grange.

Woodnook Water rises near Baxenden and comes down through Priestley Clough to meet the River Grange where they both form the Hyndburn.

Some Historic Notes on the Coppice (Peel Park), Accrington
Formation of the park
In September 1899 a plan was first mooted for the Borough of Accrington to buy land on the slopes of the Coppice to make a public park. Negotiations took place sporadically over a period of ten years and eventually the Borough decided it wanted to include a parcel of land on the top of the hill. The land belonged to Mr. William Peel of Knowlmere Manor in the Hodder Valley and in 1909 he made a gift to the town of part of the land comprising the Coppice and sold it the rest at a very reasonable rate. As a mark of appreciation to the benefactor the new amenity was to be called "Peel Park". The work of laying out the park was implemented to coincide with periods of depression and so alleviate local unemployment.

On 29th September 1909 the park was formally opened with the ceremonial unveiling of a memorial to William Peel. His family originated from Peel Fold, Oswaldtwistle and were notable for Sir Robert Peel the Prime Minster and founder of the Police force. Mr William Peel officially opened the park during a ceremony which included a procession of 5,000 children from local schools, three bands and civic dignitaries walking from Avenue Parade to the top of the Coppice. The schools represented on the procession; Cambridge Street, St Anne's, St Mary Magdalene's, Hargreaves Street, St Andrew's, St Mary's Woodnook, Spring Hill, St John's, Hyndburn Park, Benjamin Hargreaves, St Peter's, St Oswald's, St John's Baxenden, Green Haworth and St James'.

The Monument
The memorial to William Peel was ceremoniously unveiled on 29th September 1909. It was constructed of ashlar* stone comprising of three stepped rises each being of twelve inches. The base was 12ft. 6ins. square with two stone blocks forming a cube at the top of the pyramid bearing plaques and inscriptions. The top surface of the cube sloped slightly for viewing of the maps and diagrams inset into it. To the front (south facing) side of the cube was attached a shield bearing the inscription "Peel Park. To gratefully record the gift by William Peel Esq. of Knowlmere, of 35 acres of land forming part of this park." On two sides of the cube were carved the names of the then Mayor Councillor J.C.Lupton and the Chairman of the Parks Committee Councillor J.R.Cameron. The four sides of the monument each faced squarely North, East, South and West and these words were carved into the stone on each respective side.

*Ashlar Stone
The ashlar stone used for the monument came from Tootle Hill Quarry on the south-west flank of Longridge Fell.

The Centenary
On 26th September the Coppice Centenary was celebrated with a civic procession to the summit which coincided with the refurbishment of the paths and the Peel monument. The procession was lead by the Mayoress of Hyndburn, Sarah Barton, who was escorted to the top of the hill by an actor who was dressed in period costume from 1909. There were also musicians lining the route of the procession who joined at the top to perform music.

The Shelter
This was erected in June 1911 and presented to the town by Lady Macalpine of Broad Oak. On 10th June 2008 it was declared structurally unsafe by Hyndburn Borough Council and had to be demolished, having stood for nearly 100 years.

The Trees
Photographs of the Coppice around 1848 indicate an abundance of trees but by 1909 there was only a sparse population of windswept saplings and by the 1960's it had become a bare scarred eyesore. A programme of new tree planting began in April 1972 but for the first five years the slow growth meant there was little impact on the landscape's appearance. By 1990 however, the afforested hillsides were looking quite mature. In 2000 some of the trees were getting overgrown and beginning to obscure the view off the top so they were pruned back in 2004!

The Cannons
These were two 64lb guns that were presented to the Corporation in 1910 by William Peel and for long stood sentinel over the town. During the second world war the barrels were removed and melted down towards the war effort and the cannon bases became derelict. In the 1960's they were local landmarks of curiosity attracting vandalism and became abandoned amongst the remnants of trenches dug on the top of the hill for military training. By the 21st Century their remains had disappeared and even the trenches were hard to discern.

The Accrington Pals
Trained on top of the Coppice before going to the Somme in 1916.

The Summit
The Peel Monument (NGR771293) and the Macalpine Shelter (NGR772293) stand at 830 feet above sea level. The height of the Ordnance Survey triangulation station (NGR772294) is determined at 843 feet. The land used to rise gradually behind up to the Kings Highway over 1000 feet but construction of the A56 road cutting in 1984 considerably altered the landscape and now there is an isolated man-made summit of around 850 feet mile behind and east of the Peel Monument.

Hillock Bank
This was a farm building right at the foot of the Coppice near to the bowling green. It appears on maps in 1890 but by 1965 was just a remnant.

About the Holy Well of Great Hameldon

O.S. Maps have always shown a feature on the south-west foot of Great Hameldon labelled May Road Well at a kink in the Huncoat boundary (NGR SD793284). This is an ancient holy well and is infact carved roughly with the words "Mary's Holy Well," although it has also been described as "Mary Hoyle Well." It is a natural spring covered by a 7 inch thick stone slab, 94 inches long and 51 inches across.

It may be significant that The Virgin Mary was celebrated by the Catholic Church in May and that this May Road well being situated only 440 metres off the Kings Highway beside a junction track leading over to Loveclough, Dunnockshaw and Goodshaw in Rossendale was well frequented by travellers in bygone days. Up until the end of the 18thC places like Mary's Holy Well were places of pilgrimage and fairs on the first Sunday in May. Today, like thousands of others in the British Isles it is rather neglected and overgrown and it is believed that the spring water was long ago diverted to nearby reservoirs.

Holy wells were frequently pagan sacred sites that later became Christianised. The term 'holy well' is commonly employed to refer to any small water source which has some significance in the folklore of the area where it is located, whether in the form of a particular name, an associated legend, the attribution of healing qualities to the water, the belief in the presence of a guardian spirit or Christian saint, or a ceremony or ritual centred on the well site.

Back to Huncoat History Contents Page
Back to Section One : Pre 1900
Back to Section Two : Post 1900

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