Welcome to the Cowling Moonrakers Website.

Announcement From Moonrakers …

September 30th, 2009

Summer meetings 2014:

Thursday June 5th, at the Bancroft Room, St Andrew’s Methodist Church, 7.30 – 9.15pm  Refreshments available. July 3rd and August 7th (off site, venue to be confirmed) All welcome. 

Thursday 3rd July meet at St Andrew’s Methodist Church at 7.15 for transport to Cowling Hill. Please bring digital cameras, notebooks and pencils to help record historic buildings and sites at Cowling Hill

Thursday 7th August meet at St Andrews Church at 7.15 for transport to Middleton. Please bring digital cameras, notebooks and pencils to help record religious buildings, historic buildings and sites at Middleton and Gill


 August meeting off-site as above.

Moonrakers will be unable to take part in the Cowling Gala this year.

NEWS IN BRIEF: 2013/14

 2013 January – ‘Thrang as Throp’s Wife’ – Cowling Hill(Head), Ickornshaw connection. Cowling Pinnacle building research begins, Research on early owners of Ickornshaw Mill begins. Decision to take advice re condition of Viscount Snowden Memorial.

2013 February  -Advice from English Heritage re Viscount Snowden Memeorial passed to parsh council. Research to be trialled at March meeting. 11th year as a local history group begins.

2013 March, April and May meetings group research new information on Ickornshaw Mill.

2013  July parish council refer us to District Councillor re improvements to Snowden Memorial.

2013 July 1st display of research at our Cowling gala stall

2013 September new information regarding dam flood in 19th century.

2013 September English Heritage say all of Snowden memorial should be pointed

2013 October Wrapping commences of archives in special paper to stop deterioration. Cowling Parish Council to pay up to £300 to point around plaques on Snowden Memorial

2014 April Above wrapping completed.

          May Visit to Cowling Hill Baptist chapel

          June Commencement of indexing of archives

          July Commencement of recording of parish historic buildings and sites at Cowling Hill















Categories: Moonraker Updates

Welcome Cowling history lovers.

September 4th, 2009

A big welcome to our Moonrakers website.

This is our  second site, built after the first webmaster  was unable to maintain the old site due to pressure of work. Our thanks go to him for his hard work.


We therefore went for a new look site, which continues to  develop.  The intention is to keep you up to date with the latest Moonrakers local research, history stories and events. Our hope is to have various contributors  bringing energy and  a wealth of experience to our sharing of information and historic adventure. We hopefully might even give you a laugh on the way.

We have decided to run the two websites side by side. Therefore the information on the old website will stay there. Historic pictures of Cowling can be browsed in the old site’s gallery.

So its onward and upward and into the future – or should that be into the past? Enjoy your visit to Moonrakers and please keep returning to watch us progress.

Mark Barnes,  Chairman

Categories: Moonraker Updates

Historic Sites Record Started

July 24th, 2014

July saw us return to Cowling Hill, to follow up our Baptist Chapel visit, with a commencement of our recording of parish historical sites both photographically and in print.

We must thank two residents for helping us with much information. This included:

A date for the building of the last inn that stood at Cowling Hill and its exact location

The exact site of the Pinfold (pound for stray animals before 18/19C land enclosure)

Possible sites for Benton Gap Farm

Photographs of many buildings and structures were taken to record what was still there in 2014.

Cowling Hill(or Head) is one of the two oldest settlements in our parish, with Ickornshaw and could date back to  or before Domesday  Book 1086 as Cowling parish appears in this. It was situated on the main road from Glusburn to Colne until the early 19th century. The road is known as the Old York Road which signifies its importance as a thoroughfare, possibly between the ancient centres of York and Lancaster with its regular stage coach route. It is therefore much older than the present 19th century village and where the term ‘Cowinheeaders’ comes from.

In August we will continue out study of religious buildings at Middleton Chapel and recording the historic sites at Gill and Middleton.

Categories: Interesting Facts

Indexing of Archiveand and Loans Register Begins

July 24th, 2014

In June the group commenced indexing our archive documents that we had sorted and preserved in previous months. This will continue at our next St Andrew’s meeting.

A report was given of our participation in the Holy Trinity Flower Festival. We were glad that we could be involved in such a successful fund raising activity. Thanks must go to the hard working organisers of the event.

The group heard that a document loans register had been set up. It was then agreed how this should operate. All documents in our archive can be viewed or loaned. A loan deposit may be requested.

A discussion of our Cowling Hill Baptist Church visit followed, with a viewing of photos taken. It was agreed that this had been a very fruitful meeting and was leading to more information coming in, which we shall share soon. Thanks go once again to the Baptist members for their hospitality.

We have two aims for this summer’s off site meetings. Our Cowling Hill Baptist visits started the first one – to visit parish religious buildings. In July we are beginning our second aim by returning to Cowling Hill – to record parish historic buildings/sites. Please see below for details.

Categories: Interesting Facts

Cowling Hill Baptists – Much New Information!

July 22nd, 2014

Our May meeting, at Cowling Hill Baptist Chapel was our first offsite one of the year. It proved to be a wonderful experience. Two members made us extremely welcome. They began by showing us the baptistery that took the place of baptisms outside, in Surgill Beck pool. We were shown old records, photos, bibles and crockery used for teas. Our many questions were answered and rich conversation about the chapel and Cowling Hill (or Head) went on for two hours. After which it was expressed that the time had passed too quickly.

We not only added to our knowledge of the chapel, but Cowling Hill area as well. We were told that 1724 was the date when a minister, from Bacup, Lancs, commenced serving the population of Cowling Hill, riding between the two townships. This is about 200 years before the commencement of the modern village of Cowling. Cowling Hill would then have been a thriving village, with shops, cottages, one or two inns, farms, possibly a hand-loom weaving workshop, a windmill, other workshops and a green. It was served by stage coaches going between Yorkshire and Lancashire. The road was known as the York Road and there was possibly a set of cottages of the same name. In January 1753 Hugh Tillotson leased land to the Baptists for the building of their chapel (Gulliver 2011). We were given, at our visit, a copy of the letter from Cowling Hill Baptists to the Church at Bacup, in 1756, requesting their independence because of “the distance we live from one another and the inconvenience of our ministerial supplies.”  So commenced the independent Cowling Hill Baptists.  This year they will be able to celebrate 290 years of ministry and in 2016, 260 years of independence. We thank them for continuing to show excellent hospitality. We also thank another local historian, formerly of Cowling, for communicating with us extra information about Cowling Hill and its Baptists.

Categories: Interesting Facts

Document Conservation Completed

July 22nd, 2014

At the April Meeting the hard work conserving our archive documents in special paper was at last completed. This has taken up several months meeting time but should be worthwhile in the end as documents should not deteriorate. The next task is to index these so that they can easily be retrieved for using.

In the second part of the meeting members again discussed aims for the year. These included recording of parish historic buildings and sites, participating in the Holy Trinity Flower Festival and visiting parish religious buildings.

Categories: Interesting Facts

Bay Horse History Page Completed

July 22nd, 2014

Once again much document conservation was carried out by the group this month (March). Hopefully April will see this completed, leading to an index of the documents for easy retrieval, should they be needed for inspection or display.

Planning of the year ahead commenced to be continued at our next meeting.

Photos of documents and pictures sent to us from the Chadwick family, one time owners of Ickornshaw Mill, were viewed and lead to much discussion of family members and where they lived.

This month the group completed a rather fuller than expected history of the Bay Horse pub, one of the oldest buildings in Cowling village. This is now on the new refurbished pub website, complete with a list of landlords, a sale report from 1923 and a dialect poem about Dolly Watson, a famous landlady of the 19th century. This can be viewed at www.bayhorsecowling.co.uk, Our History. Any additions for this history should be sent to our group at our website, to any member or phone the number below.

Categories: Interesting Facts

Conservation Continues and Bay Horse Input

July 22nd, 2014

Half of the February meeting was given over to document conservation which is going well. It is anticipated that this valuable work will take another few months. Members then added information to the history of The Bay Horse public house, which Moonrakers are compiling for the new website. This lead to interesting talk of ‘Buffs’ (RAOB), buffalo horns and footballers changing in a cellar with a stream running through it. It was later decided to have a display of our research at the Holy Trinity Church flower show in May.  At the end a sketch of Ickornshaw Mill ground plan was shared and a map showing a suggested 20th century Cowling bypass.

Categories: Interesting Facts

Public Houses of the Past

July 22nd, 2014

At our January meeting it was announced that Moonrakers had agreed to provide the website manager of the Bay Horse public house with the history page for the new website, to coincide with the pub’s refurbishment.

Time was then spent on some reorganisation of how the group operates. After that, there followed a very interesting discussion, about the different building there had been on the Ickornshaw Mill site. This is to be followed up next month.

Last month we stated we’d tell you more about the other public houses and ale houses that had provided meeting places in Cowling Parish over the years.

Prior to the growth of the present village, on New Road Side in the 19th century, the two main areas of settlement were Cowling Hill, earlier known as Cowling Head and Ickornshaw. Both are probably very ancient, as Cowling parish is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. At Cowling Hill it appears that there may have been two inns, or possibly one that changed its name. We have the names of The Duke of York and the Golden Fleece. As this was known as the Old York Road, it’s quite possible there would be much passing trade before the advent of the new road.

In Ickornshaw there was a public house which one can still see the ruin of, at the foot of Freegate/Nan Scar. This was known as the Grinning Rat. It was probably also the Black Bull, that moved up to the New Road Side, where Dovetail furniture shop is. We record that it closed as a pub in 2003. It is also said there was an ale house by the bridge. There could possibly have been a Birk’s beer house in Ickornshaw, but there are references to Birks in other parts of the parish.

Middleton is our next oldest settlement, probably dating from the late 18th, early 19th century and is known to have been a hand loom weaving community. In the 19th century The Mason’s Arms, Middleton was one of the venues, used as a meeting place for the Ancient Order of Foresters, before they built their hall on new Road Side, at Cock Hall.

In addition there is thought to have been an ale or tippling house at Stotthill in the 17th century, quite possibly at Dean Laithe Farm.  Also it is thought that Brush Farm on the Sutton border was an alehouse. These are situated on or near more important route ways in past centuries and the 19th century quarry at Earl’s Crag.

Again we must thank  Mrs J Tindale for this information. More details are available on our old website. If anyone has anything to add to this we’d be pleased to hear from them.

Categories: Interesting Facts

Archive Conservation Commences.Parish Council Praised.

December 13th, 2013

During our ten year existence as a local history group we have been fortunate to be given many original historic documents, such as the 19th
century proposed railway plans for Cowling.
We store these in an archive so that they are not lost to the village in a far off library or record office. At the November meeting we commenced wrapping these in special archive paper, that helps preserves the documents in storage.

This activity will continue next month and may be on going until the task is completed. During this time we could have less monthly news,
unless we come across a document that we consider extremely newsworthy.

Finally we’d like to complement Cowling Parish Council. At the November meeting they were discussing pointing around the plaques of the
Snowden Memorial. We hope that this is the first stage in a complete repair and conservation of the cairn, its base and path. Then Cowling Parishioners can be proud of the monument to their most famous son, who rose from a humble beginning to be Chancellor of the Exchequer
of his country.

Categories: Interesting Facts

English Heritage Support Memorial Conservation

December 13th, 2013

Some good news this month is that an English Heritage architect supports the view that all the Snowden Memorial requires pointing.
The reason for this being that a photo from the 1930’s clearly showed that it was a pointed structure. This information has been passed to the parish council.

Last month we reported that a member had been to Tom’s Well on the moor. It has been suggested that it possibly is a holy well. If anyone
has more information on this please contact us by phone or email.

Information is also required regarding the Atkinson family of Laneshaw House or Farm. Two members, with landowner permission, visited the
site of their house last month. They then found the Atkinson family on the 1841 census, farming there including parents, eight children and a grandchild. If anyone knows what happened to this family please contact us, as above.

Two decisions for 2014 were made at the October meeting. First the group will commence a record of historic building within the parish,
area by area. It was also decided to request visits to the various religious buildings within the parish in 2014.

Categories: Interesting Facts

Ickornshaw Moor 1848 Dam Burst – New Info.

December 13th, 2013

At the September meeting a member presented to the group new information about Ickornshaw Mill, following on from the group’s research
earlier in the year.

This related to the damage done in 1848 when the Ickornshaw Moor reservoir dam burst causing flooding damage. This new information listed
nineteen payments to landowners for damage to property from Cowloughton Farm on the moor edge to New Hall Farm at the eastern end of the parish. In a few instances details are given of damage caused to bridges, walls, railings and loss of life of stock. Payments were also made to compensate landowners for time taken to clear up the debris left and compensate them for crops and manure washed away, off fields. The total bill paid by Halstead’s, the Colne owners of Ickornshaw Mill came to over £263, a large sum of money in 1849.

The reservoir had been built in the 1820’s to supply water power for mill water wheels in Cowling and Sutton parishes in times of dry
weather. This was prior to Cowling village (New Roadside) and its mills being built.

Other items discussed were the location of Snowden and Tom’s Well, which a member had visited, an update on Snowden Memorial repair and
conservation information and some proposed new research into building foundations at Laneshaw in the west of the parish.

The meeting ended with a discussion about commencing conservation work on historic documents at the October meeting.

Categories: Interesting Facts