Warland is a tiny hamlet, ancient and charming, bridging the border between Walsden and Blatchinworth & Calderbrook. The infant Walsden Water, more commonly, and erroneously, called the River Calder by the locals, runs through the hamlet and is the borderline between the two old Townships. Nowadays it is the border between Lancashire and Yorkshire.


A lady living in a cottage situated a few yards inside the Lancashire border showed us her ancient outside toilet shed, which is over the border and in Yorkshire. When her son was about to start school she wanted him to go to school in Walsden (Yorkshire). The authorities said: "No, he must go to Littleborough (Lancashire) as that is where you live." The lady then pointed out to the authorities that her toilet was in Yorkshire. On this basis, he was allowed to go to school in Walsden!


Calflee Clough

The area was and still is heavily wooded, with Walsden Water tumbling down the craggy slopes in a narrow ravine between the trees, known as Calflee Clough. The water, artificially dammed to create a waterfall, flows swiftly over and round a great number of boulders. Abraham Scholfield, about 1830, commented that most of the year he could bridge the river at Warland with his clog.
Purchased by the Fielden family during the 1600's, the estate provided employment for the few families who lived there. The farm, quite a large house for its time, bears the initials of Joshua Fielden and the date 1665. The farm had the usual attached cottages for family and workers.

Warland Farm


Ruins of Warland Mill

John Fielden was the farmer in the late 1700's, paying rent of 10s.9d. to John Ingham, who may have been a tenant himself. The lease passed to his son, also John, on his death in 1807. The speed of the flow of Walsden Water made a perfect power source for a waterwheel, so John built himself a small spinning mill next to the stream at the bottom of the hill. He became a fustian manufacturer as well as shepherd. The yarn was prepared and spun at the mill before being put out to local hand weavers.

A person who used to work for him on a Saturday, taking in the woven cloth and packing it into bundles ready for market, said they always loaded the bundles on a Sunday morning when Veevers boat came up from Todmorden, and that after this was done, John would get ready to attend St. Mary's church in the afternoon.


John married late in life, taking Hannah daughter of John Fielden of Platts House for a wife. She was a bouncing young woman and on one occasion when being teased about the advanced age of her husband, said, "When John buys a carriage, he means to ride". He certainly did, for he was still fathering children after he was 60.

For a long time John had pleaded poverty to all who would listen, announcing he was lucky to get sixpence a cut for his cloth, but somehow managed to earn enough to buy the estate. On hearing this, his brother Nicholas said, "Well, our John has laid out those sixpences well".

There was other potential on the Warland estate and this was the stone. John let a piece of land to Robert Stevenson who set to work to open a quarry. Robert, or Bob, arrived in Walsden from Scotland to work on the construction of the canal in the late 1790's. He married Hannah Fielden, daughter of John Fielden of Bottomley. They settled at BOTTOMLEY where they had 5 children, and Bob raised his 4 sons to become stone masons like himself.

Warland Quarry, now a

rock climbing base


Warland Quarry was opened in 1823 and was successfully worked by Robert Stevenson and his eldest son John for many years. Large quantities of stone were quarried and sent away by canal boat to various parts of Lancashire for engine-beds, churches etc.

The excavations and the destruction of trees by tipping refuse amongst them completely changed the landscape of these once finely wooded slopes.


Warland Quarry

Coinciding with the opening of the quarry, the Turnpike Road from Todmorden to Rochdale was altered. The original road over Calderbrook was by-passed, and the new road was laid along the valley floor. The lane at Warland met the new road by the old farm gate. John Scholfield of CALFLEE FARM, a joiner by trade, built a row of cottages in 1824 at this junction, calling them Warland Gate End.

Warland Gate End

John and his family occupied one of them where he opened a shop and carried on with his joinery. John Stevenson, son of old Robert, lived in one with his growing family.

The Bird In Th' Hand as seen

from the canal towpath

The hamlet was developing, but was lacking an alehouse for the thirsty labourers (and their bosses). There had been an inn on the old highway, but as the traffic now used the new road it became redundant. This was the BIRD IN TH' HAND, run by Henry Rogers. The inn was taken down and rebuilt about 1825 on the new road almost opposite Warland Gate End. When Henry died, the lease was taken on by his son William, and stayed in the family until the 1880's.
John Stevenson was the next to build housing in the area. He started with a cottage for himself, building it in 1831 at the bottom of the hill and right onto the canal towpath by the lock bridge. When that was finished, he tacked another on to the side, and then 3 more, the last one in 1835.

Quarry Cottages

Old Bob moved from Bottomley to live in one, John left Gate End to occupy another, and was followed by his brothers James and Alexander. The five cottages were known as Quarry Cottages. The end one bears the date 1835, and also boasts a large stone engraved with the words "Thomas Stevenson - Engraver on Stone - 1835". The Stevensons lived there for two or three generations.
Not to be outdone, in 1834 John Scholfield added another cottage to the end of the row at Gate End, cornering onto the new road, and two more at the canal end of the row. All the cottages are still standing. John lived at number 1 where he raised 10 children by 2 wives.

The corner house at Gate End from the road,

built 1834 and occupied by John Scholfield


So we now have the cast. The families who came to Warland and turned it into a community. The Fieldens; landowners and members of St. Mary's Church, the Stevensons; of Scottish origin, craftsmen and merchants; the Scholfields; master joiners. John Stevenson and John Scholfield were close friends. Not only that, but they were first cousins with a common grandfather, John Fielden of Bottomley (not closely related to the one at Warland), through their mothers, who were sisters.

Grandfather John Fielden was born and brought up as a Quaker. He was well known in the vicinity as "Little Quaker" and was the last in the family to follow that particular faith, and he was waining towards the end. He started a small Sunday School in his home at Bottomley where, no doubt, the two cousins were class mates. John Stevenson lived in his grandfather's home at BOTTOMLEY FARM before moving to Warland. Before long, "Little Quaker" gave a piece of his land at Bottomley Lane Foot for a purpose built Sunday School and Chapel to be run by the Wesley Methodists but to be open to children of all denominations. This was in 1818 and was the beginning of LANEBOTTOM CHAPEL.


Lanebottom School and Chapel

built 1818

Both Johns were elected Trustees of the school in 1818 along with their grandfather and others. In 1848 when the school was enlarged, they were both involved in the building work and John Stevenson was asked to lay the memorial stone. Their brothers and sons were also staunch supporters of this chapel.

Old John Fielden, the farmer at Warland, died in 1836 leaving the farm to his 5 children; Mary, John, Ruth, Samuel and Thomas Fielden. Shortly afterwards, Mary married John Haigh of the Moorcock on Inchfield Moor, and together they took over the running of the 69 acre farm. John Haigh remained the farmer at Warland for the next 23 years, raising ten children there. Life continued much as one would expect in these remote and desolate parts. One moment of excitement occurred in December 1855 when the big barn burnt down, but there is no record of further incidents.

Old Bob Stevenson died in 1838 at Quarry Cottages. The quarry continued to be leased to John Stevenson who ran it successfully for many more years with his brothers James and Alexander. No doubt there was many an accident in the quarry. One notable one occurred to William Rigg in the winter of 1851 when he fell, breaking his leg.

But who were the other families at Warland? In 1841, there was James and Hannah Lord and children. James was a chair-bottomer. There was Abraham and Jane Newell - Jane being another granddaughter of "Little Quaker". At Gate End, there was Charles and Betty Mitchell and their children. Charles worked on the canal. There was old Abraham Stansfield, a much travelled man, with his wife Betty, both handloom weavers. Then there was old Sam Greenwood, a widower with four sons and a daughter who looked after the men folk.

One of these sons was Thomas, a stone cutter in the quarry. On July 22nd 1841 he went to Rochdale and enlisted in the army. He was assigned to the 26th. Regiment of Foot, (The Cameronians). He took his oath the day after, and on the 28th he was sent to Chatham. On December 1st. he set off for China. This would seem to be to fight in the 1st. Anglo-Chinese War. (British traders had been illegally exporting opium to China, and the resulting widespread addiction was causing serious social and economic disruption in the country. The Chinese attempted to suppress the opium trade with the result that British forces were sent in and war broke out.) A far cry from Walsden for a young quarry worker.

The red uniforms of the 26th (The Cameronian)
Regiment of Foot

In 1843 the whole of Walsden and Todmorden was surveyed, with each property being measured and detailed on a map. Warland Gate End was measured at 12 perches. As 3 perches was about average for a weaver's cottage, there must have been 4 cottages at that time. John Scholfield is recorded as being the owner, with Charles Mitchell and others being the occupiers. Warland Estate was measured at 27 acres, 3 rods and 35 perches, with the quarry listed as 1 acre and 12 rods. The owners were the Executors of John Fielden and the occupier was John Haigh. As some of the estate was outside the Township of Todmorden and Walsden, it may be that this portion of the land was not included in the survey. Quarry Cottages do not rate a mention as they were wholly within Blatchinworth & Calderbrook.

The track, now all grass, leading from Quarry Cottages up to the quarry

When his father died in 1857, John Haigh of Warland Farm inherited a share of his land, which included 150 acres at TOP OF ALL FARM on Inchfield Moor. This last outpost of civilisation is where John was born, and maybe he felt he wanted to return. The family packed their bags and moved across the valley in time for the birth of their eleventh child. Warland Farm by then was sold to Messrs H. Kelsall and William Bartlemore of Rochdale.

Hannah Fielden, John's widow, remained in the cottage at Warland with her son and granddaughter, Alice Haigh. Hannah was an old lady by this time, and probably refused to move ... hence Alice was commandeered to look after her. She died there in 1867.

A reminder of the times can still be seen on a boulder in the river by the side of the bridge. On it are engraved the words "PEACE 1856", celebrating the end of the Crimean War.

Gate End cottages on the left, Quarry Cottages

facing the lane, and the quarry overlooking them all


Warland Lock looking towards Walsden

The new owners of the farm leased it out to Martha Dawson, widow of Abraham. Martha was another grandchild of "Little Quaker", being the daughter of his son, Samuel, and therefore first cousin to John Stevenson, John Scholfield and Jane Newell. So we now have 4 cousins at Warland

Martha farmed the land whilst her son worked in the quarry for the Stevensons. In 1860 she was involved in a local court case. A man was caught damaging one of her cows. Just how he was damaging it isn't recorded, but he was taken into custody, brought to trial on 23rd July and sentenced to 2 months' imprisonment.

The quarry continued in the hands of the Stevensons, with John having retired before 1851, but now the family branched out into cotton manufacture, taking over the lease of the land round the old mill and building a weaving shed. This became known as QUARRY MILL.

There had been no building of additional houses since 1835 until the 1860's when a terrace of double-decker cottages were built part way up the hill side between Quarry Cottages and the farm. The row was named Claremont Terrace, the back of which overlooked another new building, Claremont House. The extended Stevenson family took over three of the cottages in the terrace. Warland now had 18 households.

Claremont Terrace. The bottom storey cottages face the lane, whilst the upper cottages are accessed from behind the terrace


In 1887 the estate again changed hands, being purchased by Alderman Thomas Whittaker of Accrington. Charles Hetherington was the farmer then. The estate was divided into Lots to be sold at auction on 10th. February 1887 at the Reed Hotel, Yorkshire Street, Rochdale. The advertisement poster is transcribed below:


Lot 1.

Warland Farm

With dwelling house, cottage and outbuildings, partly in Walsden and partly in Blatchinworth, occupied by Charles Hetherington as yearly tenant. The quarry in the said farm. A cottage adjacent to the farmhouse. A chief rent of £1.4s.2d reserved on a lease for 999 years of a plot of land and privileges sometime portion of said farm.


Contents of above premises 47 acres, 3 rods, 5 perches statute measure.


A tract of common or waste land

Part unenclosed in Blatchinworth, near or adjoining the above described farm containing 42 acres, 3 rods, 13 perches statute measure occupied by the said Charles Hetherington ..


Lot 2

A Perpetual Yearly rent of £24 payable in respect of 2 plots of land in Walsden containing together 2 acres, 2 rods, 27 perches (parts being now the sites of a weaving shed and reservoir)

Lot 3

A Yearly Rent of £8.5s. reserved on a lease for 999 years of a plot of land at Warland forming the site of a dwelling house now occupied by Mr. J. Sadler and of several cottages within the Reversion in Fee of such plot, and the mines and minerals thereunder.


The old weaving sheds can be seen in this photo.

So Warland was completed by 1871, and apart from one house recently finished, there have been no further additions as far as we are aware. The lane is tarmac, the houses have all mod-cons and the residents have motor cars, the mill is in ruins, the quarry is redundant apart from a few rock climbers and the canal just has leisure traffic - but otherwise, little has changed.

Walking up the hill, past the farm and on towards the quarry it becomes a monument to ancient rural life. Even the farmer's pigs and cows run loose, and the sheep wander into the cottage gardens to eat the daffodils. Sheep and cows are one thing ... but pigs are quite another.

Warland Links