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BOTTOMS FARM

(MOVERLEY)

WALSDEN

   
The hamlet of Bottoms began to develop in the Walsden valley when the new turnpike road was cut about 1770. Prior to that, the valley floor was wet and marshy, unsuitable for foot or hoof. Few lived or even ventured along the valley, but some had to endure it in parts when traversing the valley on business.
   

The only road serving the area was a packhorse trail coming from the general direction of Littleborough, through Steanorbottom, up and along the brooding Reddishore Scout, following the contours of the gigantic scarp, passing Moorhey and Allescholes and dropping down a perilous route to the valley floor before winding its way back up the hillside. It wasn’t so much a road as a track, laid with stone slabs to allow for the passage of packhorses and carts.

   

Following the construction of the turnpike road, the valley bottom was drained and turned over to meadow. This attracted folk down from the hilltops, and where the packhorse trail meets the new road, a small community developed becoming known as Bottoms.

One particular development was the farm. It existed in 1775, as there is a mention of “Mr. Hall’s farm, Bottoms” in the register of sittings at St. Mary’s church. Until the 1840’s the whereabouts of the original farmhouse is not known.

   
At the bottom of the packhorse trail is a group of old buildings that lead us to believe this was the old farmhouse. Grouped round the farmyard are several old buildings. The tall house on the right of the photo is late Victorian and was not there in the days of the farmhouse. It belonged to Joseph Crossley in the late 1800's and early 1900's and was a butcher's shop.

looking towards the main road, taken from the packhorse trail at the back of the courtyard.

   
One of the buildings, now used as a workshop, has the appearance of an old dwelling place, with evidence of a doorway facing the packhorse track. It has windows to the front, facing the new road, and could well be the original farmhouse.
   
This particular building was used as a slaughter house in living memory, serving the butcher's shop located in the tall Victorian building seen on the earlier photo.
   

In about 1790, the Waggon & Horses Inn was built somewhere in or near this group of buildings. This pub was demolished about 1927 when the road was widened. A replacement pub was built on more or less the same site after allowing for the widened road. During the road widening, half the old farmyard disappeared along with the original pub.

   

Thomas Lord signed the petition of 1838 supporting the town overseers in the fight against the introduction of the new Poor Laws, quoting his address as Bottoms and occupation as farmer. He is the first known farmer there since Mr. Hall in 1775.

He was succeeded by 1841 by William Greenwood with his wife Sarah and son William. William was a son of Robert Greenwood who was licensee at the Black Swan Inn, Todmorden.

   

Moverley Cottage, the replacement farmhouse

The land was owned by Mr. Henry Wood, and between then and the 1843 tithe survey, a new farmhouse was built for William. The site had been the location of an old house, possibly the oldest dwelling in the immediate area of Bottoms, where Thomas Law and his long-term sweetheart Susan Howarth had run a beerhouse together.
   

It was known as The Cherry Tree and had enjoyed a wonderful trade from the labourers during the construction of the railway through the district. After 6 children and 20 years of co-habiting, Susan and Thomas married in 1843 and moved on to another pub, eventually ending up at THE VIADUCT at Gauxholme. The house was modernised and converted to a farmhouse for William Greenwood and family. It was given the new name of Moverley Cottage.

   
The 1843 survey shows the farm had fields, woods, meadows, one barn and a large garden of over half an acre. In total there were almost 12 acres of land. William was still there in 1851 with Sarah and his niece Fanny who is the daughter of his brother Robert Greenwood. Sadly, Sarah died in 1858 and was buried at Christ Church. William plodded on alone at Bottoms Farm, with help from a Walsden lady, Sally Holt. He still has 12 acres in 1861, although by 1871 he has 34 acres – and a new wife, Hannah. William died aged 75 in 1878 and is buried at Christ Church with first wife Sarah and two of his brothers.
   
After William’s death, the farmhouse was taken over by John Wade, a retired chemist and druggist, whose business had been on Church Street in Todmorden. By 1891 there was again a farmer in the house. He was Abraham Greenwood who had moved from MOORHEY FARM.
   

In 1901, a family by the name of Johnson from Yorkshire were in occupation of the farm. Charles Johnson states he was a worker as opposed to working on his own account, so maybe he was a manager for another farmer in the area.

   

Bottoms 2007

The farmhouse is still there, perched on the corner of Allescholes Lane and Rochdale Road, and is a private house, still known as Moverley Cottage. All the farmland has disappeared and the area is built up.

 

Bottoms 1920

   

 

BOTTOMS LINKS:

COMPLETE CENSUS TRANSCRIPTION 1841 TO 1901 AND 1843 SURVEY

 

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