One of the earliest mentions of Gambleside is in a Survey of Blackburnshire conducted in 1507:

"GAMELSEUD - Item there is an other Vachery in Rossendale called Gamelseud late in ferme at 44s. 8d. by yere now to be holden in like wise to Oliver Ormerode and George Ormerode for 4 by yere - 4."

A "vachery" [vaccary] was a pasture where 70-80 head of cattle were kept, and other vaccaries were situated along the river valley at Loveclough, Goodshaw, Crawshawbooth, Constable Lee and Rawtenstall.

At the time of the survey the area of Rossendale was being settled by the younger sons of local families following the "disafforestation" of 1507, when areas of forest were opened up for settlement and farming.

Over the following centuries the hamlet of Gambleside grew, as income was generated from the local coal mines, and from spinning and weaving wool.

Traders, carring limestone from the quarries around Clitheroe, passed through Gambleside, travelling between the Ribble Valley and Rochdale, and the old hollow way that they used can still clearly be seen.

The traders returned with coal, some of which had been mined from the local pit at Gambleside.

In 1839 a Baptist Chapel was opened at Gambleside, and this was later connected with an open air baptistry, located by the stream below the hamlet.

In 1866 the construction of Clowbridge Reservoir was completed, on the site of the village cornfield.

Without some of its best land, and with three of the roads into the hamlet now under water, Gambleside fell into decline, and its inhabitants left to work in the cotton mills in neighbouring towns.

The Ormerod Family contiued to live at the Mansion House until about 1874, whilst the last inhabitant of the hamlet left in the 1890s.

During the 1940s and 50s, on the grounds of safety, all derelict buildings within the reservoir's catchment area were demolished, and the stone used to build boundary walls and form the water channels into the reservoir.


Further details of Gambleside Colliery can be found by clicking on the link below.

Gambleside Colliery


Two articles about Gambleside were printed in the Rossendale Free Press in the late 1950s.

Transcripts of these can be found by clicking on the links below.

Gambleside - A Vanished Village

A Bit of Old Gambleside


Further details of the development and decline of Gambleside will be able to be found soon by going on the "virtual tour" of Gambleside, following the route of the "Gambleside Walk" set up at that location.


A pedigree of the Ormerods of Gambleside, and a downloadable Gedcom file, are available through the Genealogy section, or by clicking on the Ormerods of Gambleside link.