Introduction to Early Rimington Deeds (Late 12th Century – Mid 17th Century) 

In 1916 The Yorkshire Archaeological Society published the 56th volume of its Record Series 'Pudsay Deeds.' It was edited by Colonel Ralph Pudsay Littledale, a descendant of the Pudsay family of Bolton-by-Bowland, who had in his family's possession hundreds of deeds regarding numerous properties which they owned during their more than four hundred years of being landowners in the north of England.

The Pudsay Deeds book contains almost 450 transcripts of deeds. Well over a 100 relate to land and property in Rimington. The majority are described here. Most were drawn up between the period of the reign of Richard I (1189 – 1199) through to the reign of Henry IV (1189 – 1413). Strangely there is a big gap in years before the next few Rimington deeds appear, starting in 1497.

Some deeds are more detailed than others, naming plots of land or describing the boundary of the area where the land lies. The names of the witnesses show the early forms and emergence of surnames. A few of the deeds reveal an unusual requirement of payment of rent, such as ‘a rose’ (e.g. No 53) or ‘a pair of white gloves’ (e.g. No 21).

Probably with the exceptions of Rimington village itself, and Howgill, the boundaries of Newby and Gazegill lands were different eight hundred years ago to those we can observe now. Stopper Lane didn't exist, neither did Salem chapel nor several dwellings at Copley. The toll road (A682) didn't cut through the eastern side of Rimington until early in the 19th century, nor did the railway to the west.

Newby land probably stretched west to Stoops Lane; a good way up the hill towards Martin Top to the south; down to Rimington/Gazegill Beck (known as both) to the north, and maybe as far, or beyond Beck Side to the east, if indeed the land of the Solebergh family in Newby stretched that far. By 1846 the name had become corrupted to Suver, which was then the name of a large tract of pasture stretching between Newby Hall, Beck Side and Rakes.

Gazegill's lands appear to have stretched between the water known as Gazegill or Rimington Beck and Eel Beck, running north south, and Rimington Mill and Todber, running east west. Two of the deeds (Nos 46 & 73) suggest the route of Gazegill/Rimington Beck was different in the past.

The location of many of the plots of land presented remain a mystery. Some are not specifically identified with a name but just described as between, for instance, the land of person A to the east, and person B to the west. Many of the early names that are given have been lost, either due to a change of name, to new use, or to the merging with an adjoining plot. However, comparing them to the field names listed in the tithe award schedule compiled in 1846, there are still some that remain identifiable eight hundred years later. These locations are mainly concentrated in three areas. Namely, the vicinity of Rimington Hall; the area along both sides of Rimington Lane between Bridge End and Eel Beck, and the Gazegill area.

Within one of these areas was Hazel Head, a small farmstead with several fields each identified with this name in the 1846 tithe award. The buildings later became Denis Field and were where Rimington Hall stands now. I was told many years ago that Hazel Head was pronounced ‘Hazzel 'ed’.
Several deeds refer to 'the Chapel of Gasegile', e.g. Nos. 50, 67, and 69. This would have been the private chapel of the wealthiest family at Gazegill. There were two fields next to each other called Chapel Ing and Chapel End in 1846. At one time I thought these could be the site of the lost chapel. Now I very much doubt it because the fields were about ¼ of a mile away from Gazegill in the vicinity of Newby, near the weir, and on the south side of the beck.
Brian Stott February 2021

Click on the following links for:

Index to place names PDF

Deeds Part 1 Numbers 1 to 27 PDF

Deeds Part 2 Numbers 28 to 55 PDF

Deeds Part 3 Numbers 56 to 84 PDF

Deeds Part 4 Numbers 85 to 110 PDF