A Historic Adventure
To those of us lucky enough to live here, Bolton-by-Bowland is a pretty working village with an extremely strong community spirit. It nestles in the hills and dales of the Ribble Valley, some 5 miles north-east of Clitheroe and 14 miles west of Skipton. The parish of Bolton-by-Bowland stretches for several miles and encompasses the attractive hamlets of Holden and Forest Becks, as well as the picture postcard Anna Lane.
Arguably the most attractive village in the Ribble Valley, Bolton-by-Bowland was first recorded in the Domesday Book in 1087 as ‘Bodeton’, a derivative of bothl-tun which is Old English meaning an enclosure with dwellings; in other words a hamlet. The village’s next claim to fame arose in 1464 when Henry VI sought shelter with Ralph Pudsey at Bolton Hall after his defeat by the Yorkists at the battle of Hexham during the ‘War of the Roses’. A somewhat strange haven, for Henry was a Lancastrian and in 1464 Bolton-by-Bowland was in the Craven District of Yorkshire! Legend has it that during the twelve months he spent at Bolton Hall, Henry is alleged to have found a natural spring by dowsing, and the well is still within the Bolton Estate.
There is documentary evidence of a Church in the village in 1190, but the existing Church owes much to the generosity of the local landowners and residents of Bolton Hall, the Pudsays, who during the 13th, 14th, 15th and early 16th centuries supervised and paid for the improvements and extensions to the fabric of the building. It is uncertain where the Pudsays originated for the first time the name appears was when Simon de Pudsay married Katherine, daughter of Richard de Bolton, in 1312, and the Pudsay name remained in the village until the death of Bridget Pudsay at Bolton Hall in 1770. In the Church is the tomb of the 15th century landowner, Sir Ralph Pudsey, his three wives and twenty-five children!
A Historic Adventure
A short walk from the village is Rainsber Scar, which is a beautiful spot but known locally as Pudsays Leap, where William Pudsay is said to have made the leap on horse back when being chased by the Customs for illegally minting his own coins. (According to legend his godmother, Queen Elizabeth I pardoned him). A local cottage is called Mint Cottage – and not only for the quality of the herbs grown in its lovely garden!
There are two village greens, one of which houses the remains of the 13th century market cross and stocks, and is bordered by the beautifully maintained memorial garden. The war memorial clearly demonstrated the impact of the First World War for there are 26 names of men from the village who fought and died, including two sets of brothers and two cousins.
The village boasts a thriving Cricket Club (see Web Page), an oft-used Village Hall, a Public House, and Tea Rooms where village residents have enjoyed many a televised sporting event!!
During the summer months Bolton-by-Bowland is visited by tourists and relatively local people just wishing to enjoy a day out and perhaps a walk in beautiful surroundings. We who live here feel lucky and proud to reside in an area that attracts visitors – and the good thing is we do not take our village and its surrounding area for granted. We enjoy it also.
Bolton-by-Bowland is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086