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Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

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Feb 2019

 

 

Tue 12 th Feb 2019
Dr Bill Shannon – Hell Holes, Moss Houses & Meanygates.

Bill’s talk stemmed from his interest in the history of maps and, in particular, dispute maps. These dispute maps were drawn by either side in a legal dispute over ownership of, or, rights to access, land.

The dispute map, or maps, in question relate to a 1596 court case. The dispute was the right of access to the moss land, known as meanygates, area south of Penwortham. Peat turf, used by much of the local population for fuel for heating and cooking, was abundant there but it had to be cut.

On one side of the dispute was William Farington, who was the farmer of the land on behalf of the landowner, the Crown.

On the other side was the mayor and burgesses of Preston, who fought for the right of townspeople to cut the turf.
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Ian Bagshaw
Farington was a litigious person who, at any one time, was fighting several cases.
Both sides had detailed maps drawn up in order to support their respective cases. These were taken to London to be used in the case. It is because they were used in a legal dispute and were retained that they are now accessible from the public records office.
Subsequently, the case was probably settled out of court, resulting in the townspeople having to pay wayleaves to Farington in order to access the land and cut the turf.

William Farington



Bill’s interesting talk on a particularly local topic consisted of images of numerous 400 year-old maps, which included the sites of ‘helle holes’ in Penwortham, These were evidence of a form of peat cutting that involved digging circular holes that, no doubt, in time became mud-filled.

Peter Robinson