Difference between revisions of "Buckley, Lancashire"

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Latest revision as of 23:14, 17 March 2017

View from Buckley Hall Prison.jpg
A view over Buckley towards the Pennines
Grid reference: SD906150
Location: 53°37’52"N, 2°8’32"W
Post town: Rochdale
Postcode: OL12
Dialling code: 01706
Local Government
Council: Rochdale

Buckley is a swollen village of southern Lancashire so subsumed in development as to have become a mere suburb of Rochdale. It is to be found at the northern fringe of the townscape attached to Rochdale, a mile and a half from the town centre, along the course of Buckley Brook, with the townscape extending a finger north-east into Littleborough too. Buckley sits to the south of the village of Wardle. The Victoria County History observes that Buckley is "upon an eminence of ground" by the South Pennines.[1]

Buckley is mainly residential, and contains a prison. North of the village is farmland.

The village's mediæval history is tied closely to a Norman family who were granted the estate as a gift for their services given in the Norman conquest of England; they subsequently adopted the surname 'de Buckley'. Members of the Buckleys of Buckley family appear throughout the High Middle Ages in legal charters related to Buckley, the surrounding area, and its manor house Buckley Hall.

Throughout the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period, Buckley was the principal estate of the township of Wardleworth. The Buckleys of Buckley Hall continued to hold positions of regional importance, such as priests, gentry and military officers, but their size and influence diminished through death and migration prompting the obsolescence of the Buckley estate. Industrialisation resulted in the neighbouring town of Rochdale to encroach on Buckley.

Buckley Hall was left unoccupied from the 1880s, until bought by a Roman Catholic charity for conversion into an orphanage. The orphanage was operational from 1888 until 1947. The original building was demolished in the early-1990s and HM Prison Buckley Hall was opened in its place.


The name 'Buckley' is derived from the Old English term æblæc hlæw, which translates as "bleak hill".[2][3]

This Old English term became corrupted to "Blakelow",[2] and then into the variants of "Bucklegh", "Bulkey", "Bukklegh", and "Bucley" before settling on "Buckley".[3]


The mediæval hamlet of Buckley lay within the Anglo-Saxon manor of Hundersfield, in the parish of Rochdale.[4] It remained in obscurity until the 11th century, when it is believed that Normans loyal to William the Conqueror were given the estate as a reward for their services given during the conquest of England.[3] It is from this exchange that the family of Buckley, the progenitors of the Buckley surname in Lancashire, was founded.[1][5] "Geoffrey de Buckley" is the earliest known member of the Buckley family, who appeared during the 12th century in charters relating to Stanlow Abbey, Whalley Abbey and land exchange in and around the hamlet of Buckley.[1] Geoffrey de Buckley served as the Dean of Whalley, and his nephew, also called Geoffrey de Buckley, was killed at the Battle of Evesham in 1265 and is commemorated in windows at Worcester Cathedral and Lichfield Cathedral.[3]

Buckley on an old Ordnance Survey map

At the centre of the Buckley estate was a watermill used for grinding grain, which existed at least as early as 1335, and Buckley Hall, which first appears in written records in a description dated 1626.[3] Buckley Hall was noted as a "faire mansion house",[3] and was owned by a family or families surnamed Buckley, after the locality.[1] The Buckleys of Buckley used Buckley Hall as a chapel and residence and continued to have influence over local and regional affairs as priests, yeomen, esquires and other gentry into the Early Modern Period; Geoffrey Buckley of Buckley was the Rector of St Alban's Church in London during the 1470s,[6] and John Buckley of Buckley, son of Abel, was a Lieutenant Colonel with the Roundheads at the Siege of Lathom House during the Civil War.[7]

When the manor of Hundersfield was abolished and its territory divided amongst new townships,[8] Buckley Hall and its surrounding area fell within the bounds of Wardleworth. Buckley appears to have been the "principal estate" of Wardleworth and encompassed land in the outlying areas of Foxholes and Fieldhouse.[1] The main line of the Buckley family continued to own Buckley Hall and its estates,[9] while other members founded new families in Saddleworth,[10] and Shaw and Crompton.[11] The lineal descendants of the Buckleys of Buckley gradually diminished in influence and the last known member of the main branch of the Buckleys of Buckley was a Captain William Buckley.[9] In 1722, Captain Buckley had a lethal dispute with Major Samuel Crooke, the High Sheriff of Lancashire, regarding a right of way in Higher Walton, Lancashire. Buckley and Cooke entered a duel at Rochdale in which Cooke was killed.[12] Buckley was tried at the assizes in Lancaster and found guilty of manslaughter, but received "only a light sentence". He died in 1730.[9]

The demise of the Buckleys of Buckley, combined with the urbanisation of the expanding market town of Rochdale, brought about the gradual obsolescence of the Buckley estate. Buckley Hall passed from Captain William Buckley to his nephew Thomas Foster (who assumed the surname of Buckley), and his son, Edward Buckley, who in 1786 sold the hall and estate to Robert Entwisle.[7] Although by 1626 a "considerable part of the town of Rochdale was built on the southern side of Wardleworth",[13] the industrialisation of Rochdale advanced its encroachment upon the bounds of Buckley. In 1825 part of Wardleworth was included in the area of the commissioners for the improvement of the town of Rochdale, and an act of parliament in 1839 allowed Rochdale's Water Works Company to construct a reservoir in Buckley to supply water to Rochdale.[14] Buckley Wood Reservoir was completed in December 1841 and held 24 million gallons of water.[15] By 1851 Rochdale had expanded well into the bounds of Wardleworth,[16] and in 1872 the municipal boundaries of Rochdale were extended over the remaining area of Wardleworth.

Buckley Mill (right), in 1968

Although the Buckley family was said to be one of the founders of the cotton trade in the area,[9] industrial scale textile processing was introduced to Buckley with the construction of Buckley Mills. Buckley became "a Victorian ensemble of a mill, workers' housing" and Buckley Hall as "the mill owners house", which in 1860 fell to the Schofields, a family of merchants and traders.[9] Buckley Mills were visited by Henry Pelham-Clinton, 6th Duke of Newcastle in September 1873.[17]

Buckley Hall was demolished in the 1860s by the Schofields and rebuilt "to the highest standards of comfort and opulence for the time ... four storeys high of red brick with yellow brick arches in an Italianate style with an Elizabethan bow".[9] However, in 1882 Buckley Hall became unoccupied as a result of William Schofield's death, and stayed unoccupied until brought to the attention of Herbert Vaughan and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salford in 1887.[18] Buckley Hall was found to be suitable for conversion into an orphanage and Poor Law School operated by the Brothers of Charity, a Roman Catholic institute from Ghent in Belgium.[18] Buckley Hall Orphanage officially opened on 19 March 1888 with 28 boys in residence.[18] Construction of Eclipse Mill at Buckley began in 1899.[19]

About the town

Buckley Brook

Buckley Brook runs through Buckley. It is a tributary of the Hey Brook, which in turn is a tributary of the River Roch.

Buckley Hall in 1800

Buckley Hall and has been the only significant landmark in Buckley. It first makes an appearance in record in a written description dated 1626, but was at that time noted as being an ancient hall.[20] It held a collection of vertu until it was dispersed in 1884.[21] The Brothers of Charity ensured the purchase Buckley Hall and converted it into an orphanage for Roman Catholic boys. The orphanage was operational from 1888,[22] until 1947.[23]

As a means to replace Victorian prisons, and to cope with an increasingly large prison population, the government turned to the private sector and gave contracts to companies for the operation of private prisons.[24] HM Prison Buckley Hall was the fourth privately managed prison in the United Kingdom,[25][26] and the first privatised Category C establishment holding medium security prisoners.[25] Between 1966 and 1989 it operated as a senior detention centre. It reopened in 1994 before a demolition of the Buckley Hall mansion and rebuilding programme took place. The present prison buildings opened in 1995.[25] In 2002, HMP Buckley Hall reopened as a prison for female offenders;[27] As a result of increases in the size of Britain's male prison population, HMP Buckley Hall was reverted to a male Category C prison in September 2005.[26] In 2009, HMP Buckley Hall had a maximum prisoner capacity of 381.[26]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 A History of the County of Lancaster - Volume pp225–227: {{{2}}} (Victoria County History)
  2. 2.0 2.1 March 1916, p. 17.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Gallacher 2003, p. 1.
  4. Fishwick 1889, p. 390.
  5. Fishwick 1900, p. 5.
  6. Mattley 1899, p. 2.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Fishwick 1889, p. 393.
  8. Fishwick 1889, p. 1.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 Gallacher 2003, p. 2.
  10. Fishwick 1889, p. 394.
  11. Rathbone 2000, p. 152.
  12. Mattley 1899, p. 6.
  13. Fishwick 1889, p. 100.
  14. Taylor 1956, p. 89.
  15. Mattley 1899, p. 16.
  16. Anon 1851, p. 446.
  17. Mattley 1899, p. 61.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Gallacher 2003, pp. 3–4.
  19. Mattley 1899, p. 126.
  20. National Monuments Record: No. 46001 – Buckley Hall
  21. Mattley 1899, p. 85.
  22. "The 1880s", Rochdale Observer (M.E.N. Media), 11 June 2003, http://menmedia.co.uk/rochdaleobserver/news/s/333151_the_1880s, retrieved 22 July 2010 
  23. "Orphanage boys will never be forgotten", Rochdale Observer (M.E.N. Media), 30 October 2001, http://menmedia.co.uk/news/s/330/330175_orphanage_boys_will_never_be_forgotten.html, retrieved 22 July 2010 
  24. Powell 2005, p. 56.
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 National Monuments Record: No. 1144337 – HMP Buckley Hall
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 HM Prison Service, Buckley Hall, hmprisonservice.gov.uk, http://www.hmprisonservice.gov.uk/prisoninformation/locateaprison/prison.asp?id=238,15,2,15,238,0, retrieved 14 July 2010 
  27. "Changing of the prison guard", Rochdale Observer (M.E.N. Media), 17 April 2002, http://menmedia.co.uk/rochdaleobserver/news/s/330/330625_changing_of_the_prison_guard.html, retrieved 22 July 2010 
  • Anon (1851), The Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales, 2, A. Fullarton & Co. 
  • A History of the County of - Volume : {{{2}}} (Victoria County History)
  • Fishwick, Henry (1889), The History of the Parish of Rochdale in the County of Lancaster, Rochdale: J. Clegg 
  • Fishwick, Henry (1900), A genealogical memorial of the family of Buckley of Derby and Saddleworth, https://archive.org/details/genealogicalmemo00fish 
  • Flanagan, John; Hughes, Carthage (1988), The History of Buckley Hall, Rochdale 1887—1947, Chorley: Lisieux Hall, ISBN 1-870335-05-8 
  • Gallacher, Pat (2003), Buckley Hall Orphanage Rochdale 1888 — 1947, Preston: Lisieux Hall, ISBN 1-870335-29-5 
  • March, Henry Colley (1880), East Lancashire nomenclature and Rochdale names, London: Simpkin and Co. 
  • Mattley, R. D., Annals of Rochdale: A Chronological View from the Earliest Times to the End of the Year 1898, Rochdale: J. Clegg 
  • Powell, Vincent (2005), The Legal Companion, Robson Books, ISBN 978-1-86105-838-6 
  • Rathbone, Peter (2000), The Lives of the People of Crompton, Lancashire 1580–1700, Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society 
  • Taylor, Rebe Prestwich (1956), Ernest Taylor, ed., Rochdale Retrospect, Rochdale Corporation 
  • Edwin Waugh (1869), Lancashire Sketches (3rd ed.), Simpkin, Marshall