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Post by Stanley » 11 Jan 2014, 05:33

JOHN BAGSHAWE. (1758-1801)

Taken from ‘A Study in Engineering History: Bagshawe versus the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, 1790/1799’ by R B Schofield. Printed in the Bulletin of John Rylands Library, University of Manchester. Autumn 1976.

John Bagshawe inherited the joint estates of the brothers William and John Bagshawe in November 1791. These were the Oaks, Wormhill Hall of Castleton and Coates Hall Barnoldswick. He had trained as a lawyer and for a time looked after his Uncle John but when he died and John Bagshawe inherited he devoted the rest of his time to managing his estates.

The Coates Hall Estate included tenanted farms at Coates Hall, Greenberfield and Coates Flatt. He owned the Corn Mill and worked Greenberfield Quarry. His uncle William Bagshawe who was in possession of Coates in 1770 when the first plans were being made for the canal, realised that he owned the nearest limestone to Lancashire on the line of the canal. (Greenberfield and Coates lie on the limestone side of the Craven Fault, which divides the grit stone to the south of Barlick from the limestone to the north.)

Around 1770 he constructed a ‘deep drain’ to dewater Greenberfield Rock and during negotiations about the canal passing through his land he negotiated with John Longbottom of Halifax, the Canal Co’s principal Engineer and Surveyor for an ‘arched road’ under the waterway to allow the drain and a road to the quarry to pass. Longbottom agreed to put this before the general committee of the canal and assured him it would be ordered. (9Sept 1770)

In 1790 when canal plans were revived, tenant at Greenberfield was Thomas Thornber and at Coates Flatt, Peter Hartley. Peter Hartley attended a meeting in Colne on 24/11/1790 and reported to JB that it appeared plans had changed and his underpass was not to be built. This plus the rough way the contractors treated the locals as digging commenced seems to be the start of JB’s troubles with the L&L Co.

The canal company proposed to do away with what was the existing Skipton Road at Greenberfield and take the line down the east side of the canal to Gill thus saving two bridges and in the process, destroying JB’s plans for his quarry. He also learned that the underpass for the drain was not to be built.

JB believed that the lime in Greenberfield was better quality than that in Gill Rock Quarry opened by Colonel Farrand shortly before 1790. He suspected that the company wanted to prevent him from exploiting his quarry as they had their eye on opening a quarry of their own. In later years when Canal Co. bought land from Mr Parker at Rainhall for a quarry it seemed he was right. Schofield thinks however that it wasn’t deliberate, just shortage of capital putting pressure on the company to make least accommodation roads and bridges.

Bagshawe went to Joseph Outram [1732-1810] (father of Benjamin Outram (1764-1805)) who was to act for him until JB’s death in 1801. The matter was settled by a payment from the Canal Co to JB, or so it seemed at the time.

The Canal Co seem to have gone ahead with their original plan which was to divert the Skipton Road down the east side of the canal to the existing Greenberfield bridge. They built the bridge and after a period of worsening relations a discussion was held on 11 Nov 1797 with the canal co reps in a pub in Barlick and JB in Coates Hall, communications were by notes! Not surprisingly, it ended in deadlock.

Round about 1798 a new tenant, John Waite moved into Greenberfield and obstructed the new road with hurdles and brushwood. They stopped the road over twenty times but the Canal Co threw it down each time.

Late in 1798 Benjamin Outram came to inspect and reported on ‘Mr Bagshawe’s estate on the Banks of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.’ By February 1799 Bagshawe had won his case against the Canal Co. The canal co built the accommodation bridges for Eastwood and Banks but seem to have put only a ‘swivel’ bridge in on the line of the old road. No trace of this remains and the present road follows the new line put in by the Canal Co.

After this victory JB died in Staines on 21 August 1801. The Greenberfield Quarry was never exploited, the canal co’s road line to Greenberfield survived. The canal co’s quarry at Rainhall prospered, as did Farrand’s at Gill Rock.

Stanley Challenger Graham
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