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A Historic Adventure

History: Welcome

Domesday Book


Bolton by Bowland village was recorded as Bodeton in the Domesday Book, meaning bow in the river. Bolton-by-Bowland is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 - see adjacent extract.

The Domesday Book is one of the most important historical records of the country and was commissioned by William the Conqueror in 1086. It captures details such as landowners, local customs and even disputes.

St Peter and St Paul Church


The first part of the Church was built before 1190, and the local landowners, the Pudsays, supervised the improvements and extensions to the church in the 13th, 14th, 15th and early 16th centuries. In the church is the tomb of the 15th-century landowner, Sir Ralph Pudsey. Sir Ralph had three wives who between them produced 25 children, all are commemorated within the church. In the year 1464, Sir Ralph took the risk of hiding the Lancastrian King Henry VI, who was fleeing from his Yorkshire enemies after the defeat at the Battle of Hexham. King Henry's Well is located a few yards from where Bolton Hall used to stand.

History: See and Do

Bolton Hall (1229 - 1958)

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Bolton Hall

Bolton Hall was the home of the Pudsay family from the fourteenth century until the end of line in 1771. It was with Sir Ralph Pudsay with whom King Henry the 6th stayed after he lost the Battle of Hexham on the 15th May 1464. King Henry the 6th was a scholarly, pious King, who became a pawn in the Wars of the Roses (1455-1485).

Sir Ralph Pudsay had the other distinction of having twenty five children from his three wives. His memorial is in the parish church of St. Peter & St. Paul Bolton-by-Bowland. Sir Ralph Pudsay rebuilt & restored the church in the second half of the 15th century.

Perhaps the heyday of the Hall came after 1866 when the Hall was bought by a rich coal mine owner. He kept a staff of almost a hundred & lived in style. He would open the grounds & parts of the house to the public on the long Saturday afternoons of summer when trips would come across the border from Lancashire (Bolton-by-Bowland used to be in the West Riding of Yorkshire) in horse-drawn Charabancs.   

Ghost Room

The Hall had many attractions such as a “Ghost Room”, a magnificent old Banqueting Hall, and the Harness room, in which there was a most unusual display of three Skeletons. These were of a horse called Balloon Boy, a hound called Milton Spanker, and a Frenchman.

History: See and Do

Pudsay's leap


Overlooking the River Ribble is Rainsber Scar which is a beautiful spot - known locally as Pudsay's leap where William Pudsay is said to have made the leap on horseback when being chased by soldiers for illegally minting his own coins. (According to legend he was later pardoned by his godmother, Queen Elizabeth I).

Bowland Archer


The Bowland Archer was a feature atop the old Bowland Rural District Council signposts.

It is a fanciful Victorian idea that Bowland was named after bow-men. “Bolland” as it used to be known, comes either from Old Norse meaning “cattle land”, or from Old English interpreted as “bow or bend in a river” - perhaps the Hodder valley or the Ribble south of Bolton-by-Bowland.

History: See and Do

Lancashire | Yorkshire


Yorkshire until 1974

Bolton by Bowland was originally in Yorkshire until 1974 and is now in Lancashire. There still remains several reminders within the village which are a reminder of pre-1974, such as the sign posts.

West Riding

As you pass over the bridge in the centre of the village then please note the restored 'West Riding' style road sign with grid reference 786494 on the top finial.This was restored in 2008 to how it looked prior to 1971 when the village was in the old West Riding of Yorkshire. You are of course in Lancashire! The below left hand photograph shows how the sign posts were modified with the "York W.R" section at the top cut off. The right hand side photograph shows the sign after it was restored in 2008

History: What's On

Stocks and Cross


The photograph to the left was taken around the early 1920's. Stocks House which is in the background that at the time of taking this photograph was a reading room and a cafe.

To the left are the old village stocks,the large stone post in the centre of the photograph is not the 'whipping post',but an old cross that was placed there for when there used to a be market in the centre of Bolton by Bowland to remind traders to trade fairly.The stocks and what is left of the cross have been there since Medieval time.

History: What's On

The Coach & Horses

The Coach & Horses The present building of the Coach and Horses dates back from the start of the last century. The old oak tree on the right hand side is the only one left out of four oak trees, which once stood on the site occupied by the pub. Originally, the Coach and Horses was known as The Windmill. The change of name was probably due to the arrival of a new squire at Bolton Hall, who was a keen horseman, and drove a coach and four. The large Building on the right hand side is the Coach House for the pub, which provided stabling for visitors to the Coach and Horses.

History: About

Wayside Cross

A Wayside Cross is any cross that has been erected by the side of a road or path and they are found all over the world, particularly in Europe.

There have been various reasons for erecting these: For example as markers placed along routes used by Christian pilgrims, or as a shrine in reverence, perhaps to a saint who has some connection to the locality. Others mark burial sites, a disaster, a miracle, or some other event that should be remembered. In some cases they were erected to mark meeting places for Christian worship and later churches were built adjacent to the cross, resulting in the cross being within the church's walls.

Wayside Crosses are typically made of stone, iron or wood, of modest size and appearance, and often neglected, especially if sited in the countryside. For protection from the elements, some are enclosed or semi-enclosed.

There are an unknown number of Wayside Crosses, many of which are featured in local history books and tourist guides. Many more have quite probably fallen into ditches and become covered with debris, just waiting to be discovered one day.


There appears to be two remains of Wayside Crosses in Bolton-by- Bowland, one is located on the left hand side of the driveway approach to the formal Bolton Hall and the second behind Mint Cottage. These Wayside crosses would have been used as a marker for the route between Sawley Abbey and Bolton Abbey.

History: What's On

Pudsay Shilling

At the end of the sixteenth century, the squire of Bolton, William Pudsay, was short of money due to his rich living & the fines for recusancy (he refused to attend church) Suffered by his father. Chancing to meet some fairies in the wood beside the river, He was presented with a magic silver bit, which would Nourish a horse from sunrise to sunset. They told him where He could find silver in his lead mines at Skellhorn near Rimington. Taking their advice, William discovered the silver & set up his own mint to produce silver coins which bore the Pudsay Star & became known as the Pudsay Shilling. These were accepted as legal tender locally & William & His miners grew rich.

Eventually the Royal Mint discovered what was going on after a miner had got drunk in a Clitheroe ale house & spilled a pocketful of the new coins over the floor, Soldiers arrived at Bolton Hall to arrest William, but he fled on horseback. Placing the magic bit in the horse’s mouth he escaped by making a ninety foot leap down the precipice at Rainbser Sear to cross the river. Landing unharmed, he rode on to London where he received a pardon from Queen Elizabeth who was said to have been his Godmother.

This fantastic tale has a germ of truth in it; counterfeit coins Are known to have been made in this area around that time, but it is unlikely that William had anything to do with it.

Individual Record of Ralph Pudsay (AFN: 9T6D-40)

Ralph Pudsay Birth: about 1405 Place: Of, Barforth, Yorkshire, England
Death: 14 April 1468

Father: John Pudsay was born about 1360 in Of, Barforth, he died 1421.

Mother: Margaret Eure was born about 1380 in Of, Barforth. She died before 2 Jan 1443/1444 in Beverly.

Spouse: Matilda Tempest. Marriage: about 1428 Place: Barforth. Children 2.

Spouse: Margaret Tunstall. Marriage: about 1432 Place: Scargill, Yorkshire. Children 6.

Spouse: Edwina Mrs Pudsay. Marriage: about 1445 Place: Barforth. Children 17.

Brothers & Sisters of RALPH PUDSAY

Thomas Pudsay was born about 1406

John Pudsay was born about 1408 in Of, Barforth, Yorkshire. He died 1421.

Alice Pudsay was born about 1410 in Of, Barforth. She died 1444.

Clementia Pudsay was born about 1412 & died 1454, married John Knockley about 1438.

William Pudsay born about 1414 in Of, Barforth died 1499. Married Elizabeth Aske about 1444.

Thomas Pudsay born 1406. Married Grace Hamerton about 1430.
Son Henry Pudsay Lord of Bolton was born about 1442.

Mike Hammond 15-September 2004

History: Text
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