Brownroads is the first farm you come to after climbing to the top of Inchfield Road and turning left over the cattle grid onto the moor. It faces the moor, which stretches as far as the eye can see, interrupted only by rising hills. The back overlooks the sloping meadows that stretch downwards towards Ragby and Ramsden. Immediately next-door is Thornsgreese. The farm is unusual for a hill top farm in that it stands alone with no attached or associated cottages.

From the style of stonework on part of the existing farmhouse, it is certain it was built in the 1700's. However, the name Brown Roads does not appear anywhere in the parish records prior to 1823. It is possible, and highly likely, it was originally an outbuilding or barn situated in a meadow by the name of Dick Meadow, belonging to the Strines Farm estate. On Saturday October 29th 1814, the following advertisement appeared in the Leeds Mercury:

To be sold by auction at the house of Mr. Patchet, the White Lion Inn, at Hebden Bridge, in the County of York on Tuesday 29th November, 1814, at three o’clock in the afternoon

In the County of Lancaster-Freehold

Lot 5

All those outbuildings and lands, (part of a farm called Strines) in Inchfield, consisting of three closes of land called Dick Meadow, Knowl Field and Higher Rough, containing 6 acres 9 perches, with eight beast or cattle gates, upon Inchfield Ox Pasture, in Inchfield, in possession of John Eastwood, subject to a lease granted thereof for lives, one of whom only, namely John Eastwood, aged 64 years, is now living; and to a proportion of the yearly rent of £18 9s reserved and made payable for the whole of the premises comprised therein.

Lot 6

All that messuage, outbuildings, cotton factory and lands, called Strines, in Inchfield (other part of the said farm called Strines), containing 27 acres 2 roods 21 perches, in possession of the said John Eastwood, subject to the same lease, and to the payment of a proportion of the said yearly rent of £18 9s.

Lots 5 and 6 are tithe free, and situated near the highway about 6 miles from Rochdale, and 3 from Todmorden.

John Haigh the Elder of neighbouring Pastureside Farm bought the above Lot 5 from Robert Townley Parker and John Collinge. The land, previously in the occupation of John Eastwood and then Robert Jackson, came with 8 cattle gates and 50 sheep gates on Inchfield pasture. It is thought that John Haigh converted the outbuildings to the farmhouse that later became known as Brown Roads.

The above mentioned Robert Jackson was the owner-occupier of Thornsgreese, next door to Brown Roads, and it seems that following the death of John Eastwood, the previous tenant, he rented the land as it was adjacent to his own.

John Haigh was the person responsible for collecting the Chief Rents from the farmers on Inchfield, and he kept a record of this. For 1826, he records that Dick Coat is owned by John Haigh and occupied by Samuel Jackson, chief rent being 6 shillings. In this book, for the same year, he records Samuel Jackson as being at Brown Roads with a rent of 6 shillings. Samuel Jackson was the son of Robert Jackson of Thornsgreese, so it seems reasonable that he should move in next door to his father.

The relevant pages from the Chief Rent records kept by John Haigh

John Haigh died in 1832 and left a will, devising his farm called Dick Coat to his son Reuben of the Moorcock. In the will, Dick Coat is described as situated on Inchfield Pasture and in the occupation of Samuel Jackson.

Samuel Jackson and his wife Sarah remained at Brown Roads for the rest of their lives. Samuel died in 1848 and Sarah in 1853. The farm was then taken over by Joseph Haigh, son of Reuben of the Moorcock.
Joseph lived there with his wife Sarah for several years between 1854 and 1868, although in the 1861 census he is shown as being at the Moorcock. However, the parish registers show he was farming at Brownroads throughout this period.
When their son, Joseph junior, was 21 years old in 1877, he enlisted in G Company of the 24th Warwickshire Regiment. After two years he gained promotion to Lance Sergeant and was posted to Zululand in South Africa. He was killed in action during the gruesome Battle of Isandlwana. His effects and Zulu medal were returned to his widowed mother. His full story can be read from the link below.
Joseph and Sarah were replaced at Brownroads by his nephew, John Fielden Haigh, in 1869. The farm had just 6 acres of land, which John farmed for in excess of 25 years before his untimely death in 1886. He was unfortunate to succumb to smallpox and was taken to the small Isolation Hospital at Sourhall dying there a few days later. His daughter Mary died two weeks previously, possibly from the same disease. His widow left the farm and moved down to Calfhey.

It is known that in 1881 Brown Roads had 6 acres of land and about 1890, it had 8 cattle gates on Inchfield Pasture, which coincide with the earlier descriptions of Dick Coat.


For these reasons, it seems highly likely that Dick Coat and Brown Roads are one and the same. If anyone knows differently, please let us know!


In 1893, the Haigh family sold off some of their many Walsden properties. On 14th September 1893 Brownroads was offered for sale by auction but was withdrawn at £475.