If Hesketh, and later the Lomax families, were the owners of the land at Ryley’s Tenement, and if the Hindles were the tenants but did not live there, who then were the occupiers? There are two good clues to follow to attempt to answer that question:
1. The tenement was called Ryley’s and farms and tenements were often named after the people who lived there.
2. The buildings were marked as a smithy in 1844 – could the presence of a smith be traced in the area?
The parish register of Saint Bartholomew’s Parish Church in Great Harwood lists a marriage that took place on 27 December 1693 as follows:
John Riley – Blacksmith, Upper Town
Grace Blore – Widow, Upper Town
Married by Banns being published 3 times at Harwood
It is possible that Grace was the widow of George Blore who died in 1691 in the Upper Town. George was the son of William Blore, also of Upper Town and himself a blacksmith. Grace’s burial is noted in the parish register in 1724 as the wife of John Riley, Farrier, but by now they are living in the lower town. It seems probable that they were the tenants until 1717 when William Hindle took the lease, but their name then lingered on for many years.
The Hindles main habitation was at Lower Edge End, which later became Dobson’s Farm. A lease was made to William Hindle, innkeeper, for the property in 1720. It is clear that William Hindle was not a blacksmith so may have needed to find a suitable tenant for Ryley’s. Records show that a Thomas Critchlow or Critchley, a blacksmith, moved to the town from Padiham sometime between 1725 and 1727 when his son Richard was baptised at Great Harwood church. Births and deaths for the children of Thomas Critchlow, smith, are recorded at Cliff until 1732. Thomas’s wife Ann was buried the day their daughter Ann was baptised on the 22 April 1734, but by this time Thomas is living in the Lower Town. After that year there is no mention in the parish register of a smith or blacksmith living at Cliff until 1753; all smiths are shown as being at Lower Town. This may simply mean that if there was a smith working at Cliffe there were no significant life events to be recorded for him or his family.
In 1753 the parish register of Great Harwood church recorded that John and James, sons of John Haworth of Cliff, Blacksmith, were baptised. This family were associated with the smithy and other buildings at Cliff for over one hundred years. The will of John Haworth, made in 1797 but not proved until 1814, is the first probate document we know that relates to a family living at the Cliffe Park Cottage.
It isn’t possible to be certain of the age of John Haworth when he died, so it isn’t possible to say when he was born, but we do know he was not born in Great Harwood. Settlement records for Great Harwood show that John and his wife Mary applied for leave to settle in the town from Filly Close in Reedley Hallows near Burnley. In the settlement certificate his children were named as Mary, Alice, John, James and George. The first two children were baptised in Haslingden, the remainder in Great Harwood so it seems that the permission to settle was somewhat retrospective and that John had not lived in Reedley Hallows for some time; he may have been born there or he may have gained legal settlement in Reedley Hallows because of an apprenticeship. Mary Haworth, wife of John Howarth of Cliffe, blacksmith, was buried in February 1758, shortly after the burial of her son William on the 27 January that year. John remarried, probably to Jane Greenwood of Livesey, in 1759 and she died at Cliff in 1814 age 84. John Haworth named his living children in his will of 1797 as James, John, Ann, George, Henry, Isaac, William, Alice (wife of Ellis Nutter) and Jenny (wife of James Taylor).
In his will John Haworth states that he held his tenement at Higher Cliff by lease under Hesketh. However, this was not the smithy building and cottages, but a messuage just across the road, the building shown on both the 1763 and 1796 plans. A lease for the property exists from 1758, and one document states that John Haworth was admitted to the tenement, but it isn’t clear when. At least two of his sons followed their father into the blacksmith’s trade, John and Henry and in his will he left all his smithy tools stood in the smithy to Henry. We know that his son John was also a blacksmith as he was named as such in the will; other records show that Isaac was also a smith. Although John Haworth made his will in 1797, he did not die until either 1807 or 1811. There is a burial that may be for him for 1807 but none for 1811, however the probate notes state he died in 1811, which may have been an error. Probate was not granted until after the death of his wife Jane in 1814.