Church of St Peter & St Paul in Bolton-
History of Bolton-by-Bowland
> History
Domesday Book
bolton by bowland
We are grateful to Mike Hammond and the late Keith Brunskill who have researched and written the text here and to Mike for his historic photographs. We would love to show more historic pictures of our village if they are available.
bolton by bowland

Keith Brunskill wrote: the village was recorded as Bodeton in the Domesday Book, meaning bow in the river. 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.

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). A local cottage is called Mint Cottage - not only for the quality of the herbs grown in its lovely garden.

Bolton-by-Bowland is a few miles from Sawley which centuries ago was known as Salley, after the Cistercian abbey which stood there. The Abbey ruins are near the village which straggles the River Ribble just two miles downstream from Bolton.

A previous Rector, John Winder M.A., has written a book about the village and its history, called 'Pudsays and Parsons' and it available from the Church for around £2.50p

Mike Hammond writes:
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.

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.

The gardens were magnificent, with extensive glass houses where Nectarines, Peaches, Grapes, Figs, & Bananas were grown; there was also an underground Palm house. The stables held over seventy horses & two coaches. After the First World War the Hall became too expensive to run. So unfortunately this bizarre, historic place was demolished in the 1950's. Before the demolition, they auctioned the contents. The most bizarre and macabre contents of the auction was 3 skeletons. One of a horse called 'Balloon Boy', the skeleton of a unknown man and a dog. They were kept in the harness room.

It was occupied for a while during World War Two, when German prisoners of war built a Chapel there.

The site of the old Hall is now called King Henry’s Mews. It is now private & not open to the Public
, although King Henrys Well can be seen from the public footpath near by.

Bolton-by-Bowland Story Page
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

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.

Canon David Mewis advises, for those searching for old records of relatives or friends: The Church holds Baptism records after 1856 Marriage records after 1837 and Burials from 1880. All previous records are held at the Records Office in Preston. Shortly we are going to send further of our records there.