Smallshaw Hey, a small farm in Great Harwood, is first mentioned in records in 1691 when Lawrence Pollard of ‘Smalsh Hey’ was buried. Lawrence didn’t leave a will, but his widow Ann was granted administration of his estate and an inventory of his goods was made on the 19 February 1691.

£ s d
Item four cowes 8 0 0
Item two stirks 2 0 0
Item one horse 2 0 0
Item hay 1 0 0
Item two geese 0 1 1
Item one cock and two hens 0 1 0
Item two beds 1 0 0
Item in brass 0 4 0
Item in pewter 0 2 0
Item two chists 0 8 0
Item one table and a dish bord 0 3 0
Item Chears and stools and quishons 0 5 0
Item one chorn and other wooden vessells 0 5 0
Item two —–and other little pots 0 2 0
Item one fire iron and a backstone and tongs 0 3 0
Item one fryingpan and brigs 0 1 0
Item two axis a handsaw and three wimbles 0 1 6
Item for other huslement 0 0 1
Item a cottage four years in living [a year] 0 6 8
Item his aparrell and a hakna sadle 1 0 0
Total sum 17 7 7
Leonard Clarkson
John Pollard
Christopher Pollard
William Baron

At this time Great Harwood was held by two main landowners, Hesketh having two thirds and Nowell the remaining third. The Nowell lands were mostly in the more southerly part of the township and included Smallshaw Hey. There are very few records of Nowell leases, and it isn’t clear if the reference to the cottage is Smallshaw Hey or another tenement that he leased. Lawrence Pollard seems to have made his living running a small farm – there is no evidence of any other economic activity in the goods listed in his inventory.

A plan of Great Harwood made in 1603 shows lands which were farmed in severalty, that is as individual units rather than open common fields and are shown on the map with hatching; the land in the area above the Lidgett brook has this hatching. This covers the land between Smallshaw Hey to Harwood Edge.

Map showing position of farm

DDKE 2/15/2 Stopping of the Kings Highway – plan 1603

On the above plan the road from the parish church to Dunkenhalgh runs through Tottleworth, passing over Lidget Brook and by the lands where Smallshaw Hey was located. The south is to the top of the map.

In 1660 a tax was levied, and the names of those who paid the tax in Great Harwood have survived. Only the names are recorded, but it is possible to make informed guesses as to where many of those listed lived – an ‘enumerator’s walk’ can be followed to some extent. Christopher Pollard was known to live at Windy Bank at this time, which is close to Tottleworth and not far from Smallshaw Hey, and several Pollard families are listed close to Christopher, and it could well be that the Lawrence Pollard listed is the Lawrence who died in 1691, and who may have been living at Smallshaw when the tax was taken.

Christopher Pollard, widower
James Pollard and his wife
George Pollard and his wife
Lawrence Pollard and his wife

These people all paid the basic rate of 1 shilling.

The burial of Lawrence Pollard is the last time this family are shown as living at Smallshaw Hey. It isn’t until 1722 that the farm begins to appear more regularly in village records. Henry Smalley’s first child, Ann, was baptised in that year and Henry was recorded as being from ‘Smals Hey’. The previous year Henry had married Jane Pollard, and it is probable that Jane was a member of the Smallshaw Hey Pollard family; it was very common for a lease to continue in the same family over many generations – and this is the case for Smallshaw Hey in later generations also, as it passed to the son-in-law of Henry Smalley, Piers Wolstenholme, the husband of his daughter Ann, and continued with that family until the 1820s.

Ann Smalley and Piers Wolstenholme married in 1751, and they named their first child Henry. He had been born at Old Coat, a farm now gone but which stood at the south west of the reservoir at Dean Clough. The Smalley family were well established in that area, with the main family holding being known as Smalley Thorn, but they also lived at Coat and Fearley Hey over the years. When the second son of Piers and Ann Wolstenholme was born in 1754 this was at Smallshaw Hey – and Piers was said to be a plodweaver, someone who wove a type of checked cloth that was common in the area at the time. The same year he became the leaseholder of Smallshaw Hey and we have the names of the fields and the size of the holding from the lease granted by Nowell.

20 Jul 1754
Messuage called Smallshaw Hey and closes called
Long Croft
Little Higher Croft
Great Higher Croft
Over Hey
6a 2r 20p

And close called Smallshaw —on
part of Fielding’s Tenement 1a 0r 24p
Total 7a 3r 4p

Lessee 30
Anne 32 wife
Henry 2 son
Rent £6.3.0

Enclosure of the waste and commons had been taking place in Great Harwood on a piecemeal basis for many years, but in 1762 the two major landowners, Hesketh and Nowell, decided to formalise the process and a plan was drawn up with fields allotted to each landowner and their respective tenants. Piers Wolstenholme benefited from the enclosure by gaining a small piece of land called the croft, and then in 1765 he gained another close, Smallshaw Hey Close, which was over nine acres, and which had first been allotted to the administrators of a George Haworth.

A document in Lancashire Archives gives these as the lands leased by Piers Wolstenholme:

Lands on Harwood Moor Land in Harwood
Pearce Woolstenham Pearce Woolstenholm
Part of Smallshaw Hey Close Small Shayd Hey
The Croft 7a 3r 4p
9a 3r 19p 4 Bays
Lives Lives
James Woolstenholm 11 Lessee 41
John Woolstenholm 9 Ann his wife 43
Wm. Woolstenholm 5 Henry son 13
rent £6 3s

Part of the enclosure plan of Great Harwood 1762.

Smallshaw Hey can be seen with its newly allocated land, Smallshaw Hey Close to the west of the farm.

All the fields coloured pink were allotted to Nowell, and later sold to Richard Cottam.

DDHE 75/6 Lancashire Archive

The ‘4 Bays’ means a building of four sections. It is on the enclosure plan, showing there was a building there before that year.

In 1766 Alexander Nowell sold land in the town to Richard Cottam of Whalley, and this included Smallshaw Hey. Cottam renewed the lease of the tenement to Piers Wolstenholme in 1774:

2 May 1774. Richard Cottam to Pierce Wolstenholme lease and counterpart of Smallshaw Hey: term 4 lives: rent £31 10s. Names of fields are – Great Smallshaw Hey close (now in 3), the Croft, the Pighill Bottom lately enclosed from the common, and old enclosed lands called Great Higher croft, little higher croft, the meadow, Smallshaw hey close, late part of Duckworth’s tenement, Pighill meadow late part of Mercer’s tenement, and Smallshaw hey meadow late part of Fielden’s tenement. Area 27a 3r 4p.

Ann, wife of Piers Wolstenholme died in 1778 and Piers in 1800. He left a will but no inventory, and his estate was worth under £40.

In the Name of God Amen, I Peirce Wolstenholme, of Great Harwood in the parish of Blackburn and County of Lancaster being weak of Body but of sound perfect Mind and understanding, Thanks be given to Almighty God for the same, do hereby publish and declare my last will and Testament in the Manner and form following – First it is my will and Mind That all my Just debts be paid funerall Expences and the probate of this my will as soon as the same can be Raised by the yearly income of the Tenement Called Smalch Hey within the Township of Great Harwood, being my own in Right According to the Originall Lease assigned to me for the Lives mentioned therein, This I Give and Bequeath the said Tenement before mentioned Unto my son Henry Wolstenholme dureing the Interest I have therein, paying and being Accountable for the sum of Ten Guineas yearly for the Three First Years and the sum of Fifteen Guineas yearly for every year afterwards dureing my Interest therein and after my Just Debts are paid by the said yearly income above stated, Then I Give and Bequeath Unto my son William Wolstenholme his heirs and Assigns, the sum of Five Guineas yearly and Every year being one third of the income so Long the Lives named in the Lease happen to continue Then I Give and Bequeath Unto my son Peirce Wolstenholme his heirs and Assigns the sum of Five Guineas yearly being one third of the income so Long as the Lives named in the Lease Continues – The said sums last mentioned to commence after all my Just debts are paid by the said yearly income before mentioned and the same I give Unto them to make them Equal to what the remainder of my Children received of in my Lifetime Then all my cloathing or any other thing being my own in Right wheresoever the same may or can be found I Give to my son Henry Wolstenholme to be Enjoyed by him without any kind of Molestation whatsoever – And Lastly revoking all other wills made by me I do hereby Constitute my son Henry Wolstonholme my son William Wolstonholme and my son Peirce Wolstonholme before mentioned Joint Executors of this my Last will hopeing they will faithfully and truely perform the trust I have in reposed as witness my hand this fourteenth of January one Thousand Eight Hundred.

Signed sealed and delivered
by the Testator for his last
and Testament in the presence
of us as witness hereto
Robt. Pickles
Mary Sefton
Richd. Pickup his mark
Peirce X Wolstonholme
Probate under £40
Dated 19 July 1800

Henry, the first-born son of Piers Wolstenholme and Ann his wife, seems not to have taken over the tenancy of Smallshaw Hey and his burial was recorded at Great Harwood church in 1813, and he was said to be from Blackburn. William, the second son, may also have moved away and a possible burial is recorded at Altham church in 1815. Piers, the third mentioned beneficiary of the above will, was in occupation by 1818, being listed in the tithe valuations for that year.

Peers Wolstenholme – Cottam lands
1 building Value 5s. Value of land £32 13s 11 1/2d

In the later part of the eighteenth century, and in the nineteenth century the Lomax family of Clayton le Moors were buying land and farms in Great Harwood, acquiring the Hesketh portion of the town in 1819. They bought Smallshaw Hey from Adam Cottam, son of Richard, in 1822 and the lease register states that the amount of rent listed was the proportion of the rent due up to the death of the last life, which was James Wolstenholme who died in 1818 in Blackburn.

10 and 11 May 1822.
Adam Cottam to RG Lomax: lease and release of Cottams estate [includes Smallshaw Hey] Farm 27a 3r 4p.
House barn and outbuildings 0 2 11
Overhey 1 1 11
Great Higher Croft 1 0 38
Little Higher Croft 3 16
Meadow 2 3 1
Smallshaw Hey 2 0 1
Smallshaw Hey Meadow 1 0 24
Pighill 1 2 18
Smallshaw Hey Close in 3 parts 16 2 11
Croft 0 1 10
Waste 0 1 20
27a 3r 4p

Occupied by Pierce Wolstenholme under lease dated 2 May 1774 for lives of Henry, James, John and William sons of lessee. Rent £31 10.

The farm now passed through many hands in the following decades:

1828 – Thomas Ainsworth. Starting rent £54pa, then £84 pa which seems to be the addition of Harper Clough. Continues to Mar 1840, but from 1838 back to just Smallshaw and £54pa.

1840 – John Boardman takes over and pays arrears. John Kitching from 1842 rent now £61. Continues to 1849.

1850 – Re-let to John Clayton. Windy Bank added for £23pa.

1885 – Aspinall Clayton, son of the above John Clayton.

1900 – Robert Bentham.

1913 – Bought by Fred Exton in 1921 for £2,440.

After 1921 the history of the farm is more difficult to trace as it was in private hands, but directories show that Fred Exton was in occupation to at least 1935. The 1939 register, compiled at the start of WWII and Barrett’s directory for that year show that Arthur Leigh, a dairy farmer, was the occupier.

John Blackmore and his wife Margaret bought the farm in 1952 and the family were there until the late 1990s.This is how many people refer to the farm: Blackmore’s.


  • 1603Stopping of the King’s Highway – plan. Great Harwood: Lancashire Archive.
  • Lay Subsidy. Photocopy of document held at TNA.
  • DDLX 12/7. Nowell lease. Lancashire Archive.
  • DDF 965. Nowell Survey. Lancashire Archive.
  • Will of Piers Wolstenholme. Lancashire Archive.
  • DDLX 19.Cottam lease. Lancashire Archive.
  • The Parish Register of Great Harwood. Images accessed at
  • 1691/92. Inventory of Lawrence Pollard.  Image accessed at Family Search.