CHAPTER XII

CHAPTER XII

LANSHAW BRIDGE AND THE

EMMOTTS.

Lanshaw Bridge is a departure-point for Wycoller, and some account of the village may not be out of place.

First, a word as to the spelling. The "e" is an intrusion, the oldest maps record "River Lanshaw," and the oldest inhabitants rightly say, as did Halliwell Sutcliffe, "Lanshaw Brig". In his account of the Cunliffes, General Owen spoke of Longshaw Bridge, and we have Langroyd. "Lan" means long, "shaw" a wooded height (the one up to Emmott), and "brig" of course is bridge, so that the word means "the bridge by the long wooded height.''

Lanshaw Bridge is the village of the Emmotts, by far the most ancient family in this district. Whilst Romance has illumined Wycoller and made its name widely known, Lanshaw Bridge having yet much of interest has pursued its placid way without the blare of publicity. Yet the Emmotts deserve a place in this record.

It is often said that a Duc D'Emot came over with the Conqueror, but perhaps their lineage goes still farther back. Is there anything to justify this?

By permission, it is possible to visit Hallown Well in the grounds of Emmott Hall. This is a remarkable and probably historic erection, having stout walls of dressed stone 18ft. long by 16ft. wide and 9ft. deep, with 14 steps leading down to the........

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Lanshaw Bridge and the Emmotts.

......base. Its water is crystal clear and a coin dropped into it can readily be seen, in daylight, resting on the bottom. Its water is quite different in quality from that of the surface stream which runs quite near by: it is continually replenished from powerful springs which enter at the bottom : the well never freezes over, so rapid is the flow; it is cool in summer and warm in winter.

This remarkable water supply may mark an historic spot. It has always been regarded as a Holy or Saints Well, and the name Hallown Well may derive from Hallow E'en or Hallowmas, the festival of All Saints celebrated on the 1st November. It is said that Christians newly converted from paganism about 835 A.D were baptized there. The Well was certainly visited for its healing qualities, and the man in charge said very proudly only a very little while ago. "This is water."

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records. " A.D. 926. King Athelstan ruled all the Kings in the Island which they confirmed by pledge and oaths at a place Eamot on the 4th July, and they renounced idolatry."

Now the word "eamunt" means "the mouth of the water." that is, the spring. The oldest inhabitants of the district pronounce Emmott as "Ee-ah-mut," precisely the old derivation. In the minds of many people this association of name and well give assurance that the Hallown or Hullen Well is indeed a memorable spot. Does "Emmott" derive from "Eamot" ?

It is impossible to assert that the lineage of the Emmott family goes back so far, but Dr. Whitaker in the first edition of his "History of Whalley," published in 1818, states that the house of Emmott has given name to a long line. The first he records is Robert de Emot in 1311 ; "Burke's Landed Gentry" says he built the mansion of Emmott, and from that date the........

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Romantic Wycoller

.......Lands have remained in the possession of the family. ("Robert Laithe" is quite near the Hall). Whitaker's "Whalley" has an imperfect pedigree of the family.

Christopher Emmott, Esq., merchant of London, who died 24th February, 1745, aged 72, was probably the builder of the frontage of the present Hall, for the initials "C.I.E." and the date "1737" are inscribed on the front of the building.

"Lower Emmott," which has a very fine long mullioned window of the 16th Century, quite comparable with those left standing at Wycoller, was possibly the Dower House of the Hall.

The high place held by the family over a long period may be judged from the monuments to their memory placed in the chancel of Colne Church. Their coat-of-arms readily observeable there shows "A fess (a band across one third of the shield) engrailed (edges of semi-circles) between three bulls' heads cabossed (full faces, no neck showing): blue ground"

This coat-of-arms may also be seen at Emmott Hall carved on a large vase placed like a finial on the parapet over the porch.

The records of the family over a long period would show them interested in education and the well-being of their tenantry. Highly esteemed was the last occupant, the late Mrs. W. E. J. Green Emmott (formerly Miss Kathleen Vereker, granddaughter of the third Viscount Gort), who was a generous supporter of the Colne Musical Festival and of cultural activities in general.

Whitaker, the historian, writing in 1818, says the house (i.e., Emmott Hall) is convenient and respectable, with a front of rather heavy modern architecture. This is faint praise and suggests that the interior is of earlier date. The thick walls and big old fireplace, resembling that at Wycoller, give some support to this suggestion.

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Lanshaw Bridge and the Emmotts.

Within the grounds near the wayside is the Emmott Cross. The tall octagonal shaft surmounted by a capital with orifice to hold the crucifix, all betoken Christian inception and construction. It would appear to occupy its original position, its heavy square base resting upon a piece of rock, but its precise significance is doubtful, though it may have some connection with the visit of pilgrims to the Hallown Well

Let us return to Lanshaw Bridge and glance at the old corn-mill still merrily working. Many large estates in mediaeval times had mills for grinding corn worked bv water-wheels: It was usual to find streams diverted into a dam supported by an embankment from which a sluice controlled the flow of water. An inspection of the way in which the Lanshaw Bridge mill receives its power is full of interest. Note the three levels at which carts or wagons mav be loaded.

It should be remembered that the road over the Moss, and Keighley Road are both modern. Formerly, from Colne, the traveller had to climb up Lidgett, pass the then Blue Bell Inn, fork right at Saltersyke up to Hill Top and then down to the village of Lanshaw Bridge. When the new road to Yorkshire was made a toll was charged; the keeper lived on the site of the present bus waiting-room and a chain stretched across the road just below the well or watering-trough which still remains. Some people "dodged" the toll by passing through the corn-mill yard.

The old road by the Herders was free. Let us travel down the hill and cross the stream by the "Emmot Brigge" first named in 1510. On the left is Rye Flat Farm, said once to have been a public-house. There seems every support fur the claim. In the corridor is a serving-hatch, there is ample cellarage, and the discerning may discover a spot on the out-side where the sign was probably placed. Was this the first........

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Romantic Wycoller

........"Emmott Arms" when all traffic passed its doors, to be superceded by the present one when the new roads carried traffic east and west instead of north and south ?

A little higher up the lane is the old school. John Emmott, a gentleman of great piety and charity, dying in 1746, left 10 per annum, a goodly sum in those days, for the support of the school. A monument to his memory stands in the chancel of Colne Church. The school was thus evidentlv established before 1746 and is the second oldest school in the district, being preceded only by the original Colne Grammar School. One of the earliest schoolmasters was Henry Robinson, an ancestor of Mr. Milton Robinson, B.Sc., of Colne. He it was who, at his own expense, built the house attached to the School and erected the sun-dial.

Emmott Hall is now untenanted and the windows are boarded up. It is in need of considerable repair and presents a sad sight, evidence of the passing of another of the families of ancient lineage who played so large a part in the activities of the past. It is good to learn that Lady Cross, the elder daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Green-Emmott, maintains an active interest in her old home. What its future will be, who can say ?

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