Lancashire TelegraphTourist guide to Brindle (From Lancashire Telegraph)

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Tourist guide to Brindle

ONCE situated on a main road linking Blackburn, Chorley and Preston, the completion of the M65 motorway diverted a lot of the traffic from Brindle.

It is now possible to enjoy it for what it once was - a historic and fascinating village.

Still surrounded by gentle rolling hills and lush green fields, Brindle has a wonderful old church and one of Lancashire's most fascinating inns.

The name Brindle is Celtic in origin and means a settlement close to a spring.

Although it cannot be proved with any certainty, it is thought that in Anglo Saxon times a battle called Brunanburh was fought with invading Vikings in the eighth century.

Brindle is full of both fascinating history and more than a smattering of folklore.

The latter is certainly the case with the tale of the Brindle Cuckoo.

The villagers decreed that they wanted summer to remain all the time - a sort of 16th century wish for global warming.

It was decided to wall in a cuckoo so that it could not fly away and thereby keep winter at bay.

Sadly, it did not work but the local folk were still called "Brindle Cuckoos" until well into the 19th century.

The village had one day each year on which a crowd of 20,000 would crowd into Brindle. In the 19th century a race was run from the Rectory to the canal at Wheelton.

The local bookmakers did a roaring trade and it was not unusual for the favourite to get nobbled!

Once this was over, peace was restored and life for the locals revolved around the church and the equally historic pub.

The church is now dedicated to St James but it was once named St Helen.

This is interesting in the sense that Helen was the patron saint of wells and springs.

This makes sense of the meaning of the name Brindle.

Although most of the building dates to the 19th century, there is a solid 15th century tower and some fine stained glass.

There was obviously Christian focus here in Saxon times as proved by the remnants of an ancient preaching cross.

It is normal to find stained glass in a church - but not in the local pub.

What is now the Cavendish Arms, opposite the church, is a former manor house owned by the Gerard family.

Sir James Gerard made the mistake of supporting Mary Queen of Scots against Elizabeth I and was sent to the Tower of London.

He was forced to sell his estate to the Cavendish family whose main residence was at Holker Hall in Cumbria, in an area which was until 1974 a part of Lancashire.

Although adapted to function as a pub, it has retained many of the features of the old manor house, including some fine stained glass.

The fact that the food is so good is an added bonus for those who visit this historic pub.

There are few more attractive villages than Brindle, which has the added advantage of being within easy travelling distance of Blackburn, Chorley and Preston.

Brindle may be small but it is perfectly formed and any visit should never be rushed.

The nearby Hamlet of Withnell Fold, set on the canal, is a fascinating place.

Here the Parke family built a paper mill and housed its workers in purpose-built cottages.

These are now part of a conservation area. This mill made a very special paper which was used all over the world as banknotes.

On the other side of the canal is an excellent little nature reserve.

Also close to Brindle is Hoghton Tower, one of the most historic houses not just in Lancashire but also in the whole of England.

The Hoghton family are still in residence, their ancestors having come from Normandy along with William the Conqueror.

The family have been Lords of this manor ever since and the tower is well worth more than one visit.

Around the house, which is set on a hill overlooking the River Darwen, is a network of beautiful footpaths.

Brindle Lodge is worth looking at from a distance and is just to the west of Hoghton on the Brindle Road.

It was built in the early 19th century and has "folly" buildings in the grounds. These are attractive even though they are non-functional.

Brindle was once on an old turnpike road and there is a fine example of a toll house at Brindle Bar corner.

Comments (1)

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1:00pm Thu 9 Aug 07

Steve Williams says...

What few pople who were born and bred in Brindle (not "in-comers) are still referred to as "Brindle Cuckoos". Visit www.brindlehistorica
lsociety.org.uk for full details about Brindle's history
What few pople who were born and bred in Brindle (not "in-comers) are still referred to as "Brindle Cuckoos". Visit www.brindlehistorica lsociety.org.uk for full details about Brindle's history Steve Williams
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