7.5. Duxbury area, Speed 1610

Commentary by Helen Moorwood 2013

This map has been ‘grabbed’ from the website, the source of much valuable information about Myles Standish and the Standishes of Duxbury. No reference is given for the date 1648, but it is actually a b/w replica of Speed’s map of 1610/11. The dotted line is the boundary between the Hundreds of Leyland and Blackburn (but see below). Speed’s map was in turn an almost exact copy of Saxton’s map of 1577, the very first detailed and approximately accurate map. Unfortunately, when it came to Duxbury, many mistakes were made. First and foremost it reproduces the route of the River Yarrow rather differently from how nature organised it.


Duxbury Area Speed


The U bend is much more pronounced in reality than indicated here. The flow from the source in the moors in the NE runs almost due North/South (with many meanderings, of course), and when it reaches its extreme southern point, it swings north-westwards at an angle of about 60°, a much sharper curve than indicated on this map. Any modern map shows this clearly. This stretch of the Yarrow within Duxbury was not affected at all by18th century drainage schemes or canals (the Leeds-Liverpool Canal runs just to the right, North-South between Hyll and the large wood), and there has been relatively little new building along these banks, so it must have looked rather similar in the 16th century to how it does today.

No roads are shown on any of the early maps mentioned – only bridges. These were, of course, of far more relevance to travellers, as an indication of the crossing points of otherwise unfordable rivers. The Yarrow Bridge shown on this map has in fact moved since the 17th century and is situated a little further to the NE. This took place at the latest when the A6 was rerouted in 1827.

This map contains very clearly many local points of interest, and Tony Christopher’s marking in red of The Pele and Burgh in Duxbury highlights two of the most important buildings. Not surprisingly, Duxbury (New) Hall is not there, because it had not yet been built (soon afterwards, in c.1623).

Location of The Pele. Speed and/or Saxton must have made notes for themselves as to where to include this when they actually drew their maps, as something like ‘just to the west of the bridge over the Yarrow’. Unfortunately, as they both depicted the route of the Yarrow wrongly, and with the size of their symbol for a Manor House or Hall, The Pele looks rather misplaced. However, the map would have served well enough any visitor who was arriving from the South – over the Yarrow bridge and turn left.

Location of Burgh. This has caused much discussion in recent years and with several different theories as to a) which this Burgh was; b) where it was; and c) what and where is the modern version, if any. As with the siting of The Pele on this map, I suspect that Saxton’s/Speed’s notes said something like, ‘Burgh, west of The Pele, on the way to Charnock’, but then placed it on the wrong side of the Yarrow. Today Burgh Wood, Burgh Hall Farm and the modern Burgh Hall (and Lower Burgh Hall until its demolition in 2009) are all within the U-bend of the Yarrow, all due south of Astley Hall. This was the home in the 16th and 17th centuries of the junior Standish of Standish family of The Burgh, with all the Thurstons and Laurences (see their Visitation Pedigrees of 1613 and 1664/5).

We can see very clearly some of the other places that occur in the Standish of Duxbury story. Starting from the south-east in Leyland Hundred:

Raventon= Rivington, where several Standish of Duxbury boys went to the Grammar School founded in 1566 by Bishop James Pilkington.

Hyllis Hall o’the Hill in Heath Charnock, still there today in a modern version and home of Chorley Golf Club.  

Charley(Chorley) is still there, of course, with Asley today the country house Astley Hall, run by the Local Council as Astley Hall Museum and Art Gallery.

Along the Yarrow, more or less in the same place now as indicated on this map are Extonburgh (Euxton), Charnok (Charnock Richard, with the M6 running through it) and Eccleston, with the last part of the name of Croston appearing on this map. This was the last township named in Captain Myles Standish’s list of lands in his Will in 1656.

Still in Leyland Hundred going north we see Werden (Worden), home for several centuries of the Farringtons of Worden, who feature prominently in the Stanley story, William Farrington having been Comptroller of the Household of the Earls of Derby at Lathom and Knowsley, and compiler of the invaluable Derby Household Books 1587-1590. Then comes Laland (Leyland), with its hundred spelt Lailand, best known today for British Leyland, and Walton hall. This was owned by Baron Thomas Langton, one of the perpetrators of the ‘affray at Lea’ in 1589, which led to the death of Thomas Hoghton, whose family was subsequently awarded Walton Hall in compensation.

This Thomas Hoghton was the younger brother of Alexander Ho(u)ghton, who in 1581 had written his Will naming William Shakeshafte three times in conjunction with “instruments of musics” and “playclothes”. The latter, of course, lies at the centre of LANCASTRIAN SHAKESPEARE, and if this identification is correct, then young William Shakespeare spent “a couple of years” at Houghton toure (Hoghton Tower), up in the right hand corner of this map in Blackburn Hundred and fairly accurately drawn and placed, sitting on its hill.

Between there and Chorley lie Brundell (Brindle) and Clayton (Clayton-le-Woods). However, Speed or someone else made a mistake in boundaries, because Hoghton in most ancient records is in the Hundred of Leyland, with the River Darwen (right at the top) here forming the boundary.

I cannot leave this map without mentioning a little more about this river, which had flowed in from the next section of this map, from the right, skirting Blackburn, where it was later to give its name to the Cotton-town Darwen, my home town. In 1577 and 1610 this did not yet exist, the closest point of interest to the cartographers being Tockholes, where there was a chapel. The chain of moors depicted by Speed is still very much there, of course, dominating the skyline as one drives along the M65, the most prominent landmark being Darwen Tower (not dreamt of until Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1898) on one of the far moors depicted middle right.


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