Abandoned Communities ..... Haslingden Grane
Further west along the lane from the village you can see the remains of the house known as Lower Ormerods. The original house was built in the seventeenth century on a level platform cut out of the hillside. Excavation of the ruins has revealed evidence of building techniques. Dressed stone formed the interior and exterior face of each wall, with a cavity a foot wide that was filled with rubble, lime mortar, and earth. Every few courses longer stones, known as through-stones, were laid through the thickness of the wall to provide additional strength. Stones on the outside of the wall were set at a slight angle in such a way that rain water would run off the wall rather than seeping into it, a method known as water shotting.

As at Hartley House Lower Ormerods became a centre for weaving near the end of the eighteenth century. In 1790 it was bought by Ellis Ratcliffe of Grane village who added a loom shop along the back of the building. For much of the nineteenth century Lower Ormerods was occupied by the Kenyon family. By the time of the 1871 census, however, the farm itself consisted of just nine acres farmed by John Kenyon, who also employed his daughter Alice Kenyon as a dairymaid.  Five other members of the family were working as cotton weavers at the cotton mill at Calf Hey. One of them, Henry Kenyon, born in 1852, soon moved into the village, where he became caretaker of the Methodist chapel. He lived in Chapel Row, and also kept a grocer's shop. Around 1906, however, he decided to move away from Haslingden Grane, complaining that the reservoirs had made the village too cold. He moved to the town of Darwen, some five miles to the west.

At both Hartley House and Lower Ormerods the last recorded farming was in 1899. Soon after that date Lower Ormerods was abandoned and gradually fell into ruin.

The ruins of another settlement, Grane Head, are less conspicuous today, but can be seen on the hillside at OS SD751222. Just below Grane Head the remnants of a pack horse bridge are visible close to the Rossendale Way. There was a school room at Grane Head in 1798, and soon afterwards George Duckworth, otherwise known as Owd George, converted his attic into a place for religious services. George Duckworth made a large contribution, £200, to the cost of constructing the Methodist chapel in Grane village that opened in 1815.  In the 1840s a man called Owd Pickup ran night classes at Grane Head, and later the houses at Grane Head were used as accommodation for men employed in building the Calf Hey reservoir.

Continue in a westerly direction along the pack horse road and as you emerge from an area of woodland you will see on the hillside in front of you the splendid ruins of Top o' th' Knoll. For about fifty years from the 1830s Top o' th' Knoll was the home of Andrew Scholes. Scholes, known locally as Owd Andrey, has been described as a man of many talents. As a violin player he was often invited to perform at “beef neet” celebrations after a cow had been slaughtered at a local farm. He carved one of his poems on to a stone slab outside Top o' th' Knoll:

Happy is the man, the only happy man,
That out of choice doth all the good he can;
Who business leaves, and others better makes
By the prudent industry and the pains he takes.
While he lives he's men's esteem,
And when he dies his fame will follow him.

Owd Andrey lived alone, becoming increasingly reclusive. He was, however, obliged to allow visitors to see his cart. Owd Andrey constructed the cart inside the house, but when it was completed he discovered that it  was a little bigger than the doorway. He left it leaning against the wall of the room.

This information about Owd Andrey comes from Grane Revisited: Four Walks Around Haslingden Grane, by Arthur Baldwin et al.,1991.

Just above Top o' th' Knoll the pack horse road passes between two walls. At the highest point, where the ground is liable to be damp, a pedestrian causeway can still be seen next to the track.

A sketch of Lower Ormerods as it may have appeared around 1850. The loom shop can be seen in the foreground of the picture.


Lower Ormerods in 1943


Lower Ormerods in January 2011


Grane Head


Track with paved pedestrian causeway not far from Top o’ th’ Knoll


Two views of Top o’ th’ Knoll