Knowle Green Through 2000 Years

by Mavis Earnshaw

Knowle Green 1950
The road from Longridge entering Knowle Green about 1950.
Cowley Brook
The old waterfall at Cowley Brook with Clay Hill Mill in the background.


When I was asked by the Millennium Committee to write "something on the history of Knowle Green", I accepted the task with some reluctance, conscious that my husband, John, and myself were relative newcomers.

However, everyone we asked has responded readily to our questioning. They have searched their memories and their cupboards for information and they have generously provided invaluable old documents and photographs and some excellent paintings.

"Knowle Green through 2000 years" seems an ambitious title for a short book. It is, however, an attempt to celebrate the year 2000 in our community by looking back over the past 2000 years. The aim has been to capture glimpses of the different ways of life which have come and gone during that long period and to show how the people who have lived here over that time have made Knowle Green the place it is today.

We have tried to follow clues to the past in a landscape as yet unobscured by modern development, as well as the clues in written records. The story of Knowle Green is the result. The clues have led to some answers but inevitably many more questions and much remains to be done. I hope that others will be able to make corrections and provide additional information to produce a fuller account at a future date.

We hope too that this book will help to mark the millennium in Knowle Green and provide interest and enjoyment to all those who know and love this part of Lancashire.

Mavis Earnshaw
June 2000


Where and What is Knowle Green?

Early Days

Romans in Ribchester and Knowle Green
After the Romans
A Medieval Corn Mill in Knowle Green

Knowle Green in the 16th and 17th Centuries

Religious Persecution
Birth, Marriage, and Death
Families living in Knowle Green in the 17th Century
The Civil War

Living Conditions in the 18th Century

Knowle Green - A New Industrial Community

Water Powered Mills
Hand Loom Weaving
Bobbins and Hay Rakes

Farming in Knowle Green 1775-1900

Community Life in the 19th and Early 20th Centuries

The Chapel
The School
Social Life in Knowle Green 1875-1914

Changes in the 20th Century

After the 1914-1918 War
The Move to the Towns
Knowle Green- a Pleasant Place for a Day Out from the Towns
The Village Hall
The Second World War
Knowle Green in the 1950's and 60's

Knowle Green Today

The printed edition of this book (complete with more detailed maps) is available from the Village Hall.


I am grateful to the many people who have so readily helped in preparing this account. Dennis Bowyer, for many years Chairman of the Village Hall, generously allowed his beautiful paintings to be used on the front and back covers. He also provided the drawing of the waterfall and coloured the 6 inch to 1 mile map. Jean Procter, secretary of the Village Hall committee and author of the "History of Knowle Green Chapel", shared her knowledge, provided photographs and memorabilia and generally gave invaluable support.

I am grateful to Bill Holden for allowing the reproduction of a number of old postcards from his collection; to Sylvia and Derek Fazackerley for lending documents and allowing several of their old photographs to be used; to Pauline and Tony Lamper for the photograph of White Carr Mill; to Mike and Penny Pattinson for their family memories and for the photograph of Dilworth Bottom cottages; to Dinah Procter for information about the W.I. and Bill Collinson for the photographs of Huntingdon Hall and the Moorcock Inn. Ken and Lavinia Morris allowed us to photograph the cafe tariff boards and James Twigg kindly took the photograph of Cottam Hall.

Mike Rothwell, author of "Industrial Heritage", generously gave permission to reproduce his line drawings of the Cowly Brook Mills and the map of their location from his book. Clitheroe Local Studies Library reproduced the 1847 O.S. map. Ann Jepson helped to interpret the handwriting on the inventory and Margaret Panniker supplied information on old crosses. Fanny Birkett, Kathleen Bowyer, Alice Fox, Noel Greenall, John McDade and Peter Morgan (present Chairman of the Village Hall committee) all willingly shared their memories.

Dr. Alan Crosby' author of "A History of Lancashire" (1998), Peter Morgan and Jean Procter kindly read the text in draft, commented and made helpful suggestions.

Last but not least, my grateful thanks to my husband, John Earnshaw, who has acted throughout as consultant and without whose help and advice the project would not have been completed.

Written Sources which have been particularly valuable:


A History of Lancashire

Boothman Janet

From Church to School to Graveyard

Crosby Alan

A History of Lancashire

Jones E

A History of Knowle Green

Longridge L.H.S.

Longridge - The Way We Were

Procter Jean

Knowle Green Independent Chapel and The Church our Heritage

Mike Rothwell

Industrial Heritage a Guide to the Industrial Archeology of the Ribble Valley

Smith & Shortt

The History of the Parish of Ribchester

Smith Tom

A History of Longridge and District

Smyth Jane Ryding

A Step Back in Time

Taylor Henry

Ancient Crosses and Holy Wells of Lancashire

Till Joe

A History of Longridge

Vickers Peter

Popular Entertainment in the Longridge Area

Victoria County History

Volume 7


New Row hand loom weavers cottages about 1910
New Row hand loom weavers cottages about 1910
Part of Knowle Green Community Web Site
©Mavis Earnshaw 2007, except line drawings and paintings ©Dennis Bowyer 2007 and photos ©the respective owners listed in 'Acknowledgements' above.
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