Midgley of Blackburnshire
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Blackburnshire is now an extinct administration district of the Duchy of Lancaster, which in Lancashire included the Ribble valley, Great Harwood, Whalley Parish with its abbey and convent, Burnley, the wapentake and honour of Clitheroe with its castle, the Hundred of Blackburn, the Baliwick of Blackburnshire and the manor of Rochdale.


                                          The extent of Blackburnshire at the time of Henry de Lacy's Inq. p.m. (1311)

For much of its recorded history the 'shire' of Blackburn has been a distinct entity controlled by the earls of Derby [Ferrers] then held by the De Lacys before being inherited in right of Henry de Lacy's sole heir, Alice de Lacy wife of Thomas Earl of Lancaster and eventually the Duchy of Lancaster. Later it was held by the crown until the present day. The successive lords of Blackburnshire as given in 1328 were John de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln; his son Edmund de Lacy;then his son Henry de Lacy. The lordship then passed to Thomas Earl of Lancaster following the death of his father in law Henry de Lacy. It was conjoined in 1294 along with the earldom of Lancaster and the honour of Clitheroe to the honour of Pontefract by the marriage of Thomas and Alice de Laci. After the forfeiture of Earl Thomas in 1322 the lordship fell into the hands of King Edward II, followed by his son King Edward III when he granted it with the honour of Clitheroe to Queen Isabella, formerly the wife of Edward II. As part of the Duchy of Lancaster  the 'shire' came under the lordship of  Henry Plantagenet, John of Gaunt [through his wife Blanche Plantagenet] which since Henry IV's day [prev. Henry Bolingbroke], has been held in the crown.

John Speed's map of  Lancashire of 1610 shows that by his time Blackburnshire had been extended to include an area from Ribchester through Longridge, Chipping, the boundary then following the River Hodder to Mitton and so returning to the River Ribble.


1610 John Speed's map showing the extension of Blackburnshire by this time. 

The Duchy of Lancaster.
It was Henry [of Grosmont] Plantagenet, Duke of Lancaster who granted the Baliwick [outlying manor] of Blackburnshire to the Abbey of Whalley. The abbey also had a convent attached. Henry had married Isabel Beaumont, daughter of Henry Lord Beaumont they produced two children, Maud and Blanche. Maud was married to William Count of Hainault [Hainaut] whilst Blanche carried the Duchy to her husband, John of Gaunt [Ghent] d. 3rd March 1398. John was the fourth son of Edward III.
John of Gaunt thus inherited through his wife the vast Duchy of Lancaster which included the Baliwick of Blackburnshire.
Blanche and John had six children:
i] Philippa Plantagenet b. 31st March 1360.
ii] Elizabeth Plantagenet b. abt. 1364. Married the 5th Lord Hastings. Lord Hastings became the Steward for the Duchy if only briefly, before Richard II replaced him following the banishment of Henry Bolingbroke, Richard's brother.
iii] John b. before 1366.
iv] Edward b. after 1364.
v] Henry of Bolingbroke [later Henry IV] b. 30th March 1366. Henry later became the Duke of Lancaster after his one year banishment when he returned through the coast of Yorkshire and Hull to depose Richard II. Thus the Duchy of Lancaster merged with the crown, i.e. it became the ruling monarchs property as it is today.
vi] Isabel b.1368.

 Lancaster Castle from the air. Until 2011 this was still a place where felons were held at 'Her Majesty's Pleasure' - From the 1700's many northerners were sent to Australia in transport ships after their death-sentences were commuted here.

The Honour of Clitheroe as part of the Duchy of Lancaster possessed six manors :
* Ightenhill Manor [now Gawthorpe Hall and Park]. A manor house was built here in the 1100's-1200's which today exists only as a mound to the rear of Hill Farm [Manor House or Smith's Cottages]. In 1200 Geoffrey Towneley married a daughter of Roger 'Helle' De Laci, Geoffrey was granted land at Burnley by Roger. Later the Towneley family of nearby Towneley Hall held Ightenhill Park lands until about 1580 when Richard Shuttleworth was granted a lease here. In 1290 Ightenhill had a corn mill constructed and by 1294 Henry De Laci had been granted, by his great personal friend, Edward I, a charter for a weekly Tuesday market and a three day annual fair both of which continue today. By 1296 a fulling mill, using local fuller's earth  had been established on the banks of the river Brun, this saw the beginning of cloth making in Lancashire. Henry De Laci's two sons died prematurely, one is reported to have fallen down the main well of Denbigh Castle and the second son to have fallen either from the parapet of Pontefract Castle or from a window at Ightenhill manor house. Henri De Laci's only surviving child and heiress, Alice De Laci married Thomas Plantagenet, Earl of Lancaster in 1294. Thomas gained Ightenhill manor upon the death of Henri De Laci 12th Lord of Clitheroe in 1311. But by 1322 Thomas had been executed for his open rebellion against Edward II. In October 1323 Edward II visited the manor and spent a number of days here where he busied himself with hearing pleas after the rebellion of Thomas of Lancaster. In 1333 Richard De Norton, one of King Edward III's archers was the keeper of Ightenhill Park. Ightenhill Manor was bounded by Colne and Accrington manors whose limits were marked with unusually shaped stone boundary markers, ditches and dykes.
* Accrington
* Colne
* Pendleton
* Tottington
* Chatburn
* Worston

was perhaps the most pre-eminent manor containing eight vills :
- granted to Oliver De Stansfield by Henry De Laci for his services rendered as constsable of Pontefract Castle. Henry De Laci looked after Ightenhill in King Edward's name.
Burnley [Bruneley]
Little Marsden.

Great Mitton/Mytton
Was owned by Whalley Abbey which, prior to the dissolution, controlled sheep farms in this district and West Yorkshire. The church dates from 1270 although the Abbey was not begun until 1296 when the monks of Runcorn moved to Whalley.  A manor Hall was built here in 1514
Of the Midgleys' of  Blackburnshire, according to Tom Mitchell, many appear to have been named Thomas or Frederick. The Midgleys here intermarried with the Sagars and Rothwells3. The Sagars, who were Royalists3 may have links to Sir William Sagar [Segar] d. 1633, Norroy King of Arms [1597-1604] and Garter King of Arms [1607-33]. A Roll of arms is mentioned after Sir William, Segar's Roll. Sir William's great grand-child was Simon Segar 1656-1712. The Sagar family burial plots are at Mitton/Mytton just outside Clitheroe, whilst their main seat was at Sagar Fold/Sagar Barns This residence was attacked by Parliamentarians during the Civil War3.

Dwelling: Mangnoles Farm
 1881 Census Place: Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, England
 Source: FHL Film 1342007     PRO Ref RG11    Piece 4202    Folio 73    Page 7
 Marr Age Sex Birthplace
John SAGAR M 27  M Mytton, York, England
 Rel: Head
 Occ: Farm Bailiff
Ellen SAGAR M 25  F Ormskirk, Lancashire, England
 Rel: Wife
John J. SAGAR   3  M Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, England
 Rel: Son
Rosella SAGAR   1  F Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, England
 Rel: Daur

Contact : Tom F. Mitchell 

Vivienne Hankin is also related to the Midgleys and Sagars of Sagar Fold. On the modern O.S. map this is labelled 'Sagar Barns' lying beside Birdy Brow which downhill crosses the River Hodder at Hodder Bridge. Further downstream nearer the Jesuit Stoneyhurst College is the so-called 'Cromwell's Bridge'. Viv's grandfather was Henry [Harry] Gordon Midgley [born at Sagar Fold, resided Accrington] and her great grandfather was Amos Midgley [journeyman]. Henry married Florence Townsend whose two brothers died at Gallipoli, one a drummer boy aged 15 years. Florence's father was a regimental recruiting officer for one of the Lancashire regiments. Sagar Fold Farm had a large dairy herd and many other animals. There is a window at the farm which commemorates a stay by Oliver Cromwell. Sagar Fold, now a B & B [the barn is now a converted  private residence] is overlooked by a large tree covered hill, Kemple End. Vivienne is searching for any gaps that can be filled in for this branch of the Midgley family in Lancashire.
Contact: Vivienne Hankins

Sagar Fold
      Sagar Fold Farm near Kemple End, Lancashire This house has been extended on the left.


                                        View of Kemple End from Sagar Fold Farm


 Dwelling: 4 Minnie Tce
 1881 Census Place: Blackburn, Lancashire, England
 Source: FHL Film 1342005     PRO Ref RG11    Piece 4199    Folio 43    Page 2
 Marr Age Sex Birthplace
Wm. MIDGELEY M 58  M Leeds, York, England
 Rel: Head
 Occ: File Maker Emp 2 Men & 1 Boy
Nancy MIDGELEY M 61  F Bolton, Lancashire, England
 Rel: Wife
Arthur Preston MIDGELEY U 25  M Blackburn, Lancashire, England
 Rel: Son
 Occ: File Cutter
Elizabeth Hannah MIDGELEY U 21  F Blackburn, Lancashire, England
 Rel: Daur
 Occ: Schoolmistress Assist

 Dwelling: Clod
 1881 Census Place: Haslingden, Lancashire, England
 Source: FHL Film 1341990     PRO Ref RG11    Piece 4137    Folio 19    Page 31
 Marr Age Sex Birthplace
John MIDGELEY M 59  M Burnley, Lancashire, England
 Rel: Head
 Occ: Farmer Of 15 Acres
Mary MIDGELEY M 62  F Burnley, Lancashire, England
 Rel: Wife
 Occ: Farmers Wife
Joici MIDGELEY M 40  F Tottleworth, Lancashire, England
 Rel: Dau In Law
 Occ: Cotton Weaver
James MIDGELEY M 35  M Burnley, Lancashire, England
 Rel: Son
 Occ: Carpenter
Henry Har. MIDGELEY U 30  M Burnley, Lancashire, England
 Rel: Son
 Occ: Cotton Weaver (Army Reserve)
Martha Ann MIDGELEY U 20  F Oakenshaw, Lancashire, England
 Rel: Dau
 Occ: Cotton Weaver
Albert B.R. MIDGELEY U 17  M Great Harwood, Lancashire, England
 Rel: Son
 Occ: Cotton Weaver
Lawrence L. MIDGELEY   13  M Tottleworth, Lancashire, England
 Rel: Grandson
 Occ: Scholar
Martha Jane MC GOVERN   5  F Burnley, Lancashire, England
 Rel: Granddau
 Occ: Scholar

The Sagars* who intermarried with the Midgleys' probably originated from Clitheroe3
*Sagar is an O.E. name Saghe or 'sawyer', one who saws wood.

 Dwelling: 5 York Rd
 1881 Census Place: Great & Little Marsden, Lancashire, England
 Source: FHL Film 1341998     PRO Ref RG11    Piece 4162    Folio 118    Page 12
 Marr Age Sex Birthplace
Amos MIDGLEY M 43  M Clitheroe, Lancashire, England
 Rel: Head
 Occ: Agricultural Labourer
Alice MIDGLEY M 37  F Whalley, Lancashire, England
 Rel: Wife
 Occ: Dressmaker
Sarah E. MIDGLEY U 19  F Whalley, Lancashire, England
 Rel: Daur
 Occ: Teacher In Elementary School (Schoolmistress)
Elizabeth MIDGLEY U 17  F Clitheroe, Lancashire, England
 Rel: Daur
 Occ: Assistant At Home
John W. MIDGLEY U 15  M Clitheroe, Lancashire, England
 Rel: Son
 Occ: Pupil Teacher
Samuel MIDGLEY   12  M Clitheroe, Lancashire, England
 Rel: Son
 Occ: Apprentice To The Grocery B
James MIDGLEY   10  M Whalley, Lancashire, England
 Rel: Son
 Occ: Scholar
Mary MIDGLEY   7  F Brierfield, Lancashire, England
 Rel: Daur
 Occ: Scholar
Abraham MIDGLEY   3  M Brierfield, Lancashire, England
 Rel: Son
Florance Ada MIDGLEY   1  F Brierfield, Lancashire, England
 Rel: Daur

Bridget Lane is a descendant of Mary Midgley in the family above. Anecdotally this family was depleted by an outbreak of tuberculosis, commonly contracted from infected milk before the advent of pasteurisation. Bridget has photographs of Elizabeth [Lizzie] Forance [Forrie] and also one of Mary and her father Amos Midgley taken in front of their home in Lancashire. Bridget would like to know what happened to the family, who they married and where they are buried. Mary married William Joseph Burns [b. Sheldon, England] and he appears to have migrated to the U.S. in 1889. Mary migrated in 1895.
Contact : Bridget Lane

 Dwelling: Knowl Top
 1881 Census Place: Mearley, Lancashire, England
 Source: FHL Film 1342000     PRO Ref RG11    Piece 4171    Folio 90    Page 36
 Marr Age Sex Birthplace
Abram MIDGLEY M 36  M Clitheroe, Lancashire, England
 Rel: Head
 Occ: Farmer Of 99 Acres Employing 1 Man And 1 Boy
Mary MIDGLEY M 25  F Rochdale, Lancashire, England
 Rel: Wife
 Occ: Farmers Wife
Ernest MIDGLEY   3  M Clitheroe, Lancashire, England
 Rel: Son
Samuel MIDGLEY U 34  M Clitheroe, Lancashire, England
 Rel: Servant
 Occ: Farm Servant
Thomas GELDARD U 18  M Clitheroe, Lancashire, England
 Rel: Servant
 Occ: Farm Servant
William HEYWORTH U 14  M Rochdale, Lancashire, England
 Rel: Visitor
 Occ: Labourer In Quarry

Glen Midgley and Jackie Hendrie are  researching Maria Sagar of Sagar Fold who married a farmer, William Midgley born about 1827 in Todmorden. He was a Lancashire farmer who at one time held five-hundred acres, they lived at Sagar Fold in the late 1800's. Maria Sager/Sagar married William on the 3rd November 1846 at St. Mary's Church, Clitheroe, Lancashire she was the daughter of Edmund Sagar. Edmund Sagar resided at Alston Hall, in the Ribble Valley in the 1841 census.5 They had at least two children, Amos  ch. 2nd June 1850 Waddington, Yorkshire and Edmund Segar Midgley b. 1st Oct 1848 Waddington who died 24th May 1922 at Auckland, New Zealand.  See Midgleys of New Zealand.
Contact: Glen Midgley
Contact: Jackie Hendrie

See Rochdale Page

See Clitheroe

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1. Whitaker Dunham Thomas,  History of the Original Parish of Whalley and honour of Clitheroe, scroll George Routledge & sons, 1872.
2. Somerville Robert, History of the Duchy of Lancaster Vol. 1 (1265-1603), London 1953
3. E-mail communication with Tom Mitchell.
4. Given-Wilson, C. Richard II, Edward II, and the Lancastrian Inheritance, English Historical Review, Vol. 109 (1994), pp.553-571.
5. Glen Midgley

Copyright ©  Tim Midgley, 2002, revised 18th July 2023.