This small 19th century steading is situated to the E of the B6214 in the NE corner of the estate. It consists of a pair of 19th century cottages now converted into a single dwelling. A small rnage of shippon and pig stys with hayloft over, a garage building and an Earth closet. A large brick-built shippon range has been constructed also.
(NT VBS Surveyor; 1987)
Property location and use
Lower Buckden stands on a break of slope above the River Irwell, within the National Trust's Stubbins Estate, about 2km north of Ramsbottom town centre, at NGR SD78581894 and at an altitude of 215m AOD. Access to it is via a track from Helmshore Road (the B6214, running between Helmshore and Holcombe). The site falls within the Rossendale District of Lancashire.
The farmstead is formed by an irregular group of buildings. The house (Building 1) faces south, with Buildings 2 and 3 to the north-east (a small store, and a pair of pig sties and stables with hay loft over, respectively); Building 4, another store or shed, stands to the south-west. Modern buildings, probably dating from the 1950s and later, adjoin Building 4, and also form a group of cow sheds to the west of Building 1.
The property is occupied by Mr & Mrs G Wood, son and daughter-in-law of Mrs Wood of Broadwood Edge, who run the two farms as a single enterprise, based at Broadwood Edge. It is not clear to what extent the agricultural buildings at Lower Buckden are in use.
Information from Rossendale Borough Council indicates that none of the buildings at the site are listed as being of special architectural or historic interest.
A detailed investigation into the history of the site has not been undertaken as part of this survey, but a number of sources were consulted to contribute to an understanding of the buildings. These include a history of the Stubbins Estate by Broadley (1994), cartographic evidence held by the Lancashire Record Office, and information on early twentieth century rates valuations, held by Bury Archives.
Broadley notes historical references to Buckden from 1525 (Broadley 1994, 14-15), although the place-name probably applies to the general area, rather than the present farm. (A dwelling close to the valley bottom near Strongstry is known as Buckden Cottage). Greenwood’s map of 1818 shows only a small group of buildings in the approximate location of Higher Buckden, which are not named. The tithe map of c1838 (Figure 3b) shows five separate structures at Lower Buckden, which may include Buildings 1, 3 and 4. These are numbered 800, which the apportionment records as farm buildings at Lower Buckden, the property of Robert Nuttall, occupied by John Knowles (LRO DRM 1/97). The first edition Ordnance Survey 6" to the mile map of 1850 shows a similar arrangement of buildings, named simply Buckden.
The OS 1:2500 map of 1893 shows little change, with one structure apparently demolished, and the 1910 edition of the same map shows only the addition of Building 2; by 1929 there is also a small addition to Building 4. The 1963 1:2500 map shows the replacement of the north-western buildings with the present sheds, the extension westwards of Building 4, and a new structure to the east of Building 1 (which does not survive).
Rate valuations show that Albert Wolstenholme was occupier in 1910, and A J Porritt the owner; the house was valued at £7 10s, the farm buildings at £7. Ten years later the same tenant was resident, and the house was valued at £10 3s, the buildings at £7 10s. In 1929 Arnold and Albert Wolstenholme were tenants, and the farm buildings were valued at £11 3s, while in 1934, when the Wolstenholmes retained the tenancy, the house was valued at £10 17s (Bury Archives ARM/T/1869ff).
The National Trust carried out a sketch survey of the farm in c 1987, which made a brief record of the buildings at Lower Buckden, which appear to have undergone little change since then (Green, 1987; see Appendix 2).
Descriptions of the buildings
Building 1 (house)
Building 1 is a double depth, two bay, two storey house with cellar, which appears to date from the early nineteenth century. It is built from coursed quarried gritstone, of relatively high quality, with small edge-laid quoins, and the stone has been cleaned or blasted, which lends it a modern appearance; the east elevation is rendered. Door and window dressings are of monolithic gritstone blocks, while the roof is of Welsh blue slate with tile ridge, and there are two gable stacks. A small, brick-built rear porch can be dated to c 1900 on map evidence.
The front elevation is nearly symmetrical and has a pair of doorways (the right one blocked), which suggest that the building contained two dwellings originally. The four large windows all contain twentieth century casements. There are no openings in the west gable, but the east gable has a small window to both ground and first floors. The rear elevation has four windows; the top right contains a four pane sash window, which is probably original, while the bottom left window, which has a steel lintel, has previously been a doorway. The present rear entrance is via the porch, and has a monolithic surround, but there is also a second doorway, to the eastern half of the house.
The interior is divided by a full-height cross-wall, which may support the idea of two separate dwellings, but the present internal arrangements suggest the house was for a single occupancy, although this may be the result of alterations. There is a vaulted cellar, confined to the north-east quarter; and equipped with stone slab table; there is no indication that there was a second cellar to serve the western half of the house. On the ground floor the north-east quarter is occupied by a back kitchen and pantry, separated by a brick wall, and neither contains firm evidence for a fireplace for an earlier, second heated kitchen, although there is some disturbance in the east wall. Of the three heated ground floor rooms, none contains historic fixtures or fittings, although all have exposed beams. The stairs to the first floor are plain and of timber; a second set located on the west side of the cross-wall would have interfered with the rear doorway, and can therefore be considered unlikely.
The first floor is divided similarly to the ground floor, with a secondary partition creating the bathroom in the north-east quarter. There is now only one fireplace, a grate of nineteenth century date, but it is possible that the other bedrooms have had theirs removed. It was not possible to inspect the roof space, but it is thought likely that the cross-wall continues to the ridge, making a truss unnecessary, as is the case at the majority of the houses in the Estate.
Building 2 (store)
This small store, which stands very close to the north-east corner of the house, can be dated to c 1900 on map evidence. It has an irregular shape and a single doorway, and lacks windows. Its most likely function is as a coal shed, and although Green suggests it may be an earth closet, there is a privy attached to Building 3 which would have served this function.
Building 3 (pig sties and stables)
This agricultural building is probably of early nineteenth century date, and is depicted on the tithe map of c1838. It is built from random or roughly coursed rubble, some apparently field-gathered, with squared, edge-laid quoins, and monolithic dressings to most of the doorway openings, although a steel lintel is used at the south-east end, perhaps replacing a failed timber. Some of the internal walls contain brick, which may be evidence for later alterations. The roof is of blue slate with a tile ridge, suggesting a re-roofing. A mobile unit parked in front of the building prevented a photograph being taken of the front elevation, but access into the ground floor was not hindered.
The south-east half of Building 3 is occupied by a pair of pig sties on the ground floor, with pens divided by upright slabs to the front, and sties at the rear; the narrow doorways suggest it would not have been suitable accommodation for other animals. There is a stone-built privy attached to the south-east gable, with WC installed.
The north-west half of the building is divided into three parts, none with original fittings. The larger end room appears to have had stalls facing south-east, but whether these were for cattle or horses is not known; the same can be said of the two smaller units in the middle of the building.
Access to the upper floor, believed to be a hay loft but now apparently disused and inaccessible, was originally via a doorway in the front elevation (now blocked with breeze block), and a doorway in the north-west gable (now boarded up). Green notes that it has sawn softwood trusses.
Building 4 (store)
This square building also appears to have been built by the time of the tithe map (c 1838), but may have been rebuilt or altered. It is of a single storey and built from random or roughly coursed rubble, with edge-laid, squared quoins. It is built into the bank to the rear (the south), and there is a wide doorway, probably secondary, and with window over, to the north. The roof is of stone slate, with stone ridge, and is carried on purlins which span the building's length. The building is currently used as a store, but was probably formerly a garage or cart shed; originally it may have had a different purpose, which is no longer evident.
Discussion and conclusion
Lower Buckden contains a mix of buildings typical of the small farms at the Stubbins Estate, and all probably dating from the early nineteenth century or earlier. Building 1 is one of only two double-depth houses at Stubbins (the other being Middle Red Lees) and as such has a relatively modern appearance. The presence of two front entrances suggests that it formerly comprised two separate dwellings, and although this is not borne out by any other architectural or documentary evidence, there is no obvious alternative explanation.
The three outbuildings represent only part of what is known to have comprised the farmstead prior to the construction of the large cow sheds around the 1950s, which involved the demolition of earlier structures shown on early maps. Only one of the surviving buildings is of interest (Building 3), as an unusual example of pig sties and stables (or possibly shippons) combined under one roof; Buildings 2 and 4 are of little historic or architectural interest.
A group of buildings previously existed at Higher Buckden, situated 300m to the south-west of Lower Buckden; these may be those depicted on Greenwood's map of 1818 (Figure 3a). The OS map of 1850 names the site “Buckden Higher Barn”, and shows a linear arrangement of buildings, shown in greater detail on the 1893 1:2500 map (Figures 3c & 4). A tracing was not taken from the tithe map, but Broadley notes that Higher Buckden was owned by Robert Nuttall and occupied by Widow Holden at that time (Broadley 1994, 15). The buildings appear unchanged on the 1910 and 1929 maps (Figures 6 & 7). Rates valuations show that between 1910 and 1934 there were two separate dwellings at Higher Buckden, with no separate valuations for any farm buildings, suggesting either that there were none, or that they were assessed with the farm (probably Lower Buckden). Harry Haworth and Thomas Raynor were resident in 1910, whose dwellings, already owned by A T Porritt, were valued at £4 and £3 respectively (compared with £7 10s for the farmhouse at Lower Buckden). In 1920 the tenants were Amy Lewlove and Arnold Wolstenholme, and in 1934 James Kay and Fred Watson. The low valuations and the frequent changes of tenants suggest the houses were of a poor standard; in 1936 an application was made to Ramsbottom Urban District Council for additions and alterations to Buckden Cottages, including the provision of a wash house (Bury Archives ARM/T/2205 Plan no 1333).
The buildings at Higher Buckden are shown on the OS 1963 map, but whether they were still occupied at that date is not clear; the 1994 map shows them to have been demolished. At present the site is used as a midden, but some stone walls, and upright slabs from former pens or yard walls, survive.
Buckden Clough is a second site in the vicinity of Lower Buckden which has undergone demolition; it is situated on the north bank of a wooded ravine 400m south-west of Lower Buckden. It was not depicted on Greenwood's map of 1818, but the tithe map and apportionment record it as the property of Robert Nuttall, occupied by Edward Kay (Broadley 1994, 15). The OS maps of 1850 and 1893 show it as two adjoining structures, with garden or yard enclosures and small ancillary buildings nearby (Figures 3c & 4); this depiction matches the building's appearance in an undated photograph, which shows it to be of seventeenth century date, with large mullioned and transomed windows to the ground floor and mullioned windows to the first floor, and with a single original stack to the east end, where an outbuilding adjoins (Figure A3b).
The depiction of Buckden Clough on the 1910 map suggests that by this date the eastern outbuildings had been demolished, and the house was either ruinous or partly demolished. Standing remains apparently survived until 1929 (Figure 6), but not until 1963. At present the site comprises well-defined earthwork banks on two adjacent building platforms.