Holcombe Moor Heritage Group

Local History on the edge of the West Pennine Moors

HMHG logo




Holcombe Moor Heritage Group also do other desk based research on the area. We find old maps, documents and photographs of the area and use these as part of our research. We have also worked closely with each University Archaeological Group that have researched the Moor. These include Oxford Archaeology North, Greater Manchester Archaeology Unit and The Centre for Applied Archaeology Salford.


If this is more your thing - please get in touch. we can always do with new enthusiastic members.

The Documented History Team research the past occupants of buildings on Holcombe Moor and the surrounding area. The documents we look at are wills, probate, surrender, court rolls [which normally require transcribing from middle english] birth, marriage, death records, Maps, trade directories.  We also look at maps, photographs and other research documents and books that have been published.


For hundreds of years, Holcombe Valley, was home to a myriad of farms, cottages and homes to the countless families that lived there – and we believe are the roots of many local people who are living in the area today.


Partly because there is no through route and also because the land is owned by the MoD, remains of many buildings can still be seen. As a group we are researching the area through archaeology and examination of historic documents to bring the valley to life:



Who lived where?

How was property passed on?

What did wealth look like?

Which local families have roots in the valley?

What is a wimble?



The original documents are generally located in Archive's at Preston, Bury or Bolton although somewhat surprisingly, about 90% of what we need is available on line, or we have photographed, so we have digital images and therefore most research can be done at home. This allows people to be involved in the group without needing to be based locally.


We have regular ad hoc and less regular formal meetings either at a local pub (in the evening) or at Ramsbottom Library (in the afternoon) to discuss our findings, organise trips to find more documents, offer assistance to each other on the more difficult material and have a drink and a chat. It's quite informal and friendly - new members are welcome.


We are currently researching what the link is between our land and the Monk Bretton Priory.


So if you fancy getting involved why not come along and see what we do. And if you like it, you can pay your £10.00 subs for the year's membership (Or £15.00 for a Household). This also entitles you to come on the archaeological digs and other activities HMHG organise.


Some of the information we uncover will be posted on this website, but much more will be made publicly available through forthcoming talks that are being organised and pamphlets and books that we hope to have available sometime soon.

1929 OS


Who do You think you are?!


Is your family name one of the following?:


Kay, Duckworth, Brandwood, Higgin, Rostron, Elton, Meadowcroft, Hampson, Walsh, Taylor, Jackson, Brownlow, Haslam, Copperthwaite, Shaw, Wood, Holt, Lomas, Barlow, Bridge, Hoult, Ainsworth, Worthington, Boardmen, Brooke,


Your ancestors possibly lived in HOLCOMBE VALLEY.


Join our group and find out more - help research the past inhabitants of Holcombe Moor

The latest wills being transcribed are as follows:

John Duckworth

John Holt 1775

Thomas Barlow 1777

Ralph Bridge 1711

Thomas Kay 1744.                            

further meadows 1907 (640x449) (640x449) nook 50's poss

Above: Further Meadows

Below: Nook

A Plea to all locals:

We are very keen to find any old photographs (preferably before the mid-1980's) of the buildings on the moor. Photographs of these farms still standing would help our research tremendously! If you have any - please contact us.


We are also keen to record the Oral History of anyone that lived on the moor in one of the properties that we are researching.

Do you know anyone that might be willing to take part?


Thank you.



West Mont

(courtesy of Mr Paul Fielden)

herbert and maggie 1 (807x1280) Holcombe Head late 1960's (1280x916)

We are very happy to say that through this website we have been contacted by a set of ancestors of Holcombe Head Farm. They are currently helping us with our research and have kindly shared these photos with us - more news as we get it.

Left, are Herbert & Maggie. Right, is the ruin of Holcombe Head Farm in the late 1960's.

img028 (640x485) img029 (1280x868)

Above Left and Right: "Spot the difference". Clarke's Tenement in the 1980's and the 1990's.

(photos courtesy of Margaret & Richard Bragg)