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Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.


Post by Stanley »


In my articles about the canal I mentioned wood as a household fuel. This triggered some thoughts that have been intriguing me for years. Those of you who are regular readers might remember me mentioning once that I found a reference that intrigued me so I bought the book that was the source. It was only when it arrived I found it was in Latin, not one of my languages. However, I did the best I could and found a rich seam of information. The book was the Bolton Priory Compotus 1286. (The accounts of the Priory) Here's what I found....
1296/97. Under Custus domorum. [Expenses connected with the house?] ‘Et sarratoribus in bosco de Bernolwyk. 2s/10d. [‘and for sawyers in Barnoldswick Wood’] 1297/98. ‘Et carpentariis laborantibus in Bosco de Bernolwik.” Payment made for carpenter’s work probably connected with wagon or carriage building in the ‘wood of Barnoldswick’. 3s/7d. Also payment to Johanni le Tournour; 12d, which seems to be for felling trees in the wood of Barnoldswick.
Doreen Crowther had sent me some evidence she had found. From the Court Rolls of the Honour of Clitheroe. Water mill at Colne repaired 1442/1443. Two loads of timber from Barnoldswick Wood carried there to make two ‘balkes’ at 8 pence per load. Two loads of timber for ‘ground werke’ at 8 pence per load. One load of timber for making a ‘sille’ under the ‘axeltree’; 8 pence. Paid 12 pence for carriage of another ‘sille’ and ‘ground sille’ from Pendle to Clitheroe. Same rolls record carriage of one axletree from Barnoldswick; 12 pence. Three loads of timber for the soles of the shears at the said mill [this is a fulling term and therefore must be referring to the Walk Mill.] at 8 pence per load. Carriage of three beams of ‘le shrendicg’ and other necessaries at 8 pence per load.
These references have intrigued me for years. They are firm evidence that Barlick was a source of large timbers, almost certainly oak. Barlick must have been a better source than Colne or anywhere nearer, otherwise, why come here? So when I saw the phrase Barnoldswick Wood in the Compotus my antennae started twitching. The 1297 entry is even more interesting because it too seems to be connected with expenses incurred by the Priory mill. However in this case it is specifically connected with labour connected with wagon-building. The 1312 entry of payments to Johanni le Tournour is a bit murky because of my lack of knowledge of Latin. I can’t find a proper translation of ‘meremio prosternendo’, ‘prosternendo’ is translated as to lay low, knock down, overthrow and I have guessed that this refers to felling trees. ‘Johanni le Tournour’ gets me twitching even more, could this be John the turner? The modern equivalent of John Turner.
I've run out of space but bear with me, I promise there's an interesting story buried in all this 'proper' history. This is evidence of Barlick resources and industry including wood-turning over 700 years ago....


A turner using a pole lathe in 1395.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
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"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
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