A Bit of Old Gambleside


The following article is believed to have been printed in the Rossendale Free Press on 13 September 1958.

"Here is a photograph of a bit of vanished Rossendale - a group of buildings which once stood at Gambleside, beyond Loveclough.

It depicts an Elizabethan mansion-house which bore the date stone 1668, and which was pulled down many years ago by the Irwell Valley Water Board when they bought all the land forming the watershed of Clowbridge reservoir.

There was a Baptist Chapel, too, to provide for the religious life of the prosperous 18th and 19th century village, and children were taught to read and write at its Sunday school.

The chapel had an open-air font, which still exists, though surrounded by weeds.

This was supplied by the brook which feeds the reservoir.

The last person to be baptised in it was Mrs. M. M. Ashworth. This was some eighty years or more ago.

The chapel was a forerunner of that at Clowbridge.

The country round Gambleside was part of the Forest of Rossendale, which was cleared and divided into vaccaries in the reign of Henry the Eighth.

The name Gambleside is probably that of a Danish or Saxon settlement.

There were several small farms in the district, and eventually it developed into a biggish village.

The road from Manchester to Burnley was the old King's Highway over the moors, and this passed through Gambleside.

Wool from the sheep kept by the farmers was spun and woven into cloth on handlooms, most of the cloth being used for clothing their own families.

One of the farmers, a man named Haworth, used to take some of the surplus cloth to Manchester by horse and cart, bringing back weft and warps for the villagers.

Main crop was oats, and this formed the principal food of the people - many of whom had porridge no  less than 24 times a week!

One of the first settlers at Gambleside was a John Ormerod, and for 500 years there was a family of that name in the district.

A John Ormerod of Gambleside was one of the first trustees when Goodshaw Church was erected 600 years ago.