This is an area of Walsden situated on the western hills above the valley, reached by a narrow lane that climbs and twists at alarming gradients and angles until it flattens out on a plateau and follows the line of the valley bottom southwards towards Reddishore Scout. The lane was an original packhorse trail linking Walsden with Calderbrook.
It was replaced by the turnpike road that followed the valley bottom. Prior to that, the lane over Allescholes was the only route out of Walsden to Littleborough, Rochdale and beyond.
There are amazing views from this spot across the valley to the farms on the eastern slopes.

Allescholes boasts two separate farms, each with its own land and cottages. Both farms are ancient, and records show us they were there by 1475, farmed by a Geoffrey and Bernard Butterworth. In 1605 and onwards in that century the Crossley name appears in connection with it, and early in the eighteenth century it was leased to the Fieldens and was passed to their descendents. A Kershaw family owned the land until after 1790, and each farm was always tenanted.

Lower Allescholes Farm


This had a date stone inscribed RH 1715. This is possibly Richard Howard who also owned Moorhey Farm further alng the lane.


John Fielden, a Quaker who lived at Todmorden Hall, was a tenant of Lower Allescholes Farm, but he never lived there himself. When he died in 1734 he left his tenement at Allescholes to his nephew, Thomas Fielden. Thomas lived there and farmed the land as well as making a lot of money from his woollen manufacturing business, probably run direct from the farm.

The next known occupiers of Lower Allescholes were Butterworths, the grandparents of Martin Holt. Martin was brought up by his grandparents at Allescholes and learnt the art of handloom weaving. However, Martin was no farmer or weaver. He began work as a picker maker and was the founder of the town's best-known picker making family. Their story can be read by following the link below.

Higher Allescholes Farm

At Higher Allescholes Farm the Baron family held court. They were there in 1688 and still there in 1860, 112 years later. Brothers James and Thomas Baron originally were tenants of Higher Allescholes, but sometime after 1790 they purchased the land and both of the Allescholes farms.

They lived at Higher Allescholes, renting out the lower farm. They were known as Old Jim and Tummy O'Baron's. In the early days of newspapers, they were expensive. Groups of literate people would gather at a particular place to share at a newspaper and discuss the contents at great length. Allescholes was one of these places.
Old Jim and Tummy, along with neighbours Edmund Crossley, William Kershaw and John Cryer, clubbed together to share the weekly news. They would gather together on a Sunday afternoon and learn about national affairs, no doubt sharing a jar or two of ale at the same time. The Barons had both died by 1841, but the other readers were still there.
James Baron married but had no children from this marriage. After his wife died, he took up with Hannah Fielden, a lady considerably younger than he. They never married but lived together openly and she bore him 3 children. The two sons became known as Samuel Baron Fielden and James Baron Fielden.

These boys were still very young when their father died in June 1819 at the age of 73, leaving his sons all his many properties in the Walsden and Todmorden area. His will seems to show there were two separate farms at Higher Allescholes, one occupied by James and the other by John Howarth.

Samuel was bequeathed: "all that my messuage, farm, barn and outbuildings at Higher Alescoles, with the closes, or parcels of land following. That is to say, the Far Rough, the Nearer Rough, the New Meadow, the Langfield, the Hyde Park and the top part of the White Slack Field, as the same is now divided and in the occupation of John Howarth, or his undertenants."

James received: "Also all that my messuage or tenement, barn and outbuildings at Higher Alescoles as aforesaid, now in my own occupation, with the closes, inclosures or parcels of land, those also in my occupation, with a cottage there in the occupation of Edmund Crossley, (??? except one chamber in the said messuage called the Kitchen Chamber, or New Chamber, which I give to my brother Thomas Baron during his life, for his own occupancy only when he shall think proper to reside there.)"

Their mother remained with them at Higher Allescholes, and 4 months later married their father's brother Thomas Baron.

Thomas had never married but had two children, Peggy Greenwood and Mary Kershaw, who he supported financially throughout his life. The girls were both married and settled when he married Hannah Fielden and took on her two sons by his brother. When he died, Thomas left his estate to Samuel and James Baron Fielden.
James Baron Fielden never married, but carrying on with family tradition, he fathered two illegitimate children, a son and a daughter, to whom he left his properties at Lanebottom and Waterstalls. He was a wealthy country farmer and gentleman, inclined to field sports.

He continued to live at Higher Allescholes, farming his 22 acres until he died at Higher Allescholes in 1851 aged 41. His tombstone at St. Peter's church carries the following inscription:


Our life is but a winter's day

Some only breakfast and away

Others to dinner stay and are well fed

The oldest man but sups and goes to bed

Large is his debt, who lingers out the day

Who goes the soonest has the least to pay

His brother Samuel Baron Fielden did marry, and had a daughter Mary who carried on the name of Baron Fielden. His wife pre-deceased him by many years, and he moved to live with his brother, living the life of a country gentleman. He died at Higher Allescholes in 1860.

Apart from the two farms, which each seemed to be over 20 acres, they both had attached cottages. Cotton workers occupied these in the main. They would make the trek up the hill every day to the mills in the valley bottom. By 1891 these cottages were uninhabited. The enumerator has made the comment that there are several empty houses occupied as hen roosts!