52 residents #38 Roger de Poitu

I love reading about other people's one-place studies and sit with a degree of jealousy as folk wax lyrical about how their place could be traced back to Roman times or was named in the Domesday book.

Mine has none of that. The Domesday entry for the area which included Springhill reads as below. It is included with land 'between the Ribble and the Mersey', where indeed it is.

Roger of Poitou held the undermentioned land:


Blacheburn: King Edward held Blackburn. 2 hides and 2 carucates of land.
The Church held 2 bovines of this land and St Mary's Church had 2 carucates of land in Whalley exempt from all customary dues.
In the same manor woodland 1 league long and as wide as a hawk's syria.
To this manor or Hundred were attached 28 free men who held 5 and a half hides and 40 carucates of land as 28 manors.
Woodland 6 leagues long and 4 leagues wide.
They were (subject to) the aforesaid customs.


Roger was born c 1058 the third son of Roger of Montgomery II who supported William I in the conquest of England. Roger de Poitou was said to have received the land in gratitude for his father's service during the Norman Conquest. He was made first Duke of Lancaster.

I often wonder what Roger de Poitou felt when he received this unpromising parcel of land far away from anywhere sensible at that time. Was he grateful or did he feel his family's work was under-appreciated? Was he jealous of others who received 'better' (i.e. more income-generating) land elsewhere? Did he even know (or care) Blacheburn existed?

Anyway he didn't hold it long as Domesday continues….

Roger of Poitou gave all this land to Roger of Bully and Albert Grelley. There are as many men as have 11 and a half ploughs, to whom they granted exemption from dues for 3 years. It is therefore not now assessed."

But by 1092 he had gained it back, and by 1102 Henry I granted it to tStephen of Blois after Roger was involved in a failed rebellion against the king. He returned to France and died sometime between 1122 and 1140.

(I'm not going to lie, I have no primary sources for Roger de Poitou and readily available secondary sources, print and online, are contradictory.)

52 residents #37 William Plaice

William Place, b q3 1896 to James William Place, Stone Quarry Man  and his wife Jane, cotton weaver. By 1911 he had joined his mother in the weaving shed, probably in the same mill as was the way things tended to be around here.
He was born in Rawtenstall as were his parents but his sister Ada, 6 years younger, was born in Accrington.  Did they move out there and move back, or was his mother visiting? Well the census doesn't help there as in 1901 they were living in Ashworth St, Rawtenstall not a million  miles away from their 1911 home on Dobbin Lane (5 Nuttall Row to be precise).
It doesn't help that of the three James Place in Rawtenstall in 1891, two were quarrymen and one a stone mason…
1918 and he is a private in the 2nd/7 Royal Warwickshire (325131). He transferred to them at an unknown time from the S Lancs Regiment (27620), for reason unknown. May 1918 finds him in the France/Flanders field where he died on May 15 and is buried IF 14 Robecq. The cemetery plan is available for download from the cwgc so we know where he lies…so sad. He was single.
An ordinary chap, another victim of an extraordinary war. Springhill and the immediate area suffered eight known fatalities, young men who probably knew each other before enlisting and met their deaths in different parts of the same conflict.
1901 census RG 13/3850 p 28.
1911 census RG 14/24708
'Soldiers Died in the Great War' gives his place of birth and residence and regiment numbers.

52 residents #36 James Pilling

James Pilling flourished in the second half of the 17th century and there is evidence that he may not have been an entirely wholesome character. Now life was difficult then and even some of the churchwardens were known to have appeared before the Halmote from time to time for failing to maintain highways, damaging fences, piecemeal encroachment and the like. Pilling may have been not much worse than many others of his time.
In 1686 the churchwardens of Newchurch St Nicholas certified to the Quarter Sessions that James Pilling:
  • 'had played the theif'
  • 'kept his cattle and horses upon other mens pasture, having none of his own'
  • 'keeping in a house contrary to the will of its owner'
  • 'an idle dissolute persen'
  • 'a grabbing quarrelsome fellow'
  • 'much disquiete troubles and wronging his neighbours'
  • 'in a word he is a lawless person and cares not so what he doth speakes or swears'
mmm, maybe he was worse than most after all.
Interestingly he is identified in this document as being a woollen weaver, at a time when most people existed by a combination of smallhold pastoral farming and outsourced weaving.

QSP 622/28