The Brandlesome Greenhalgh's

In 1877 a James Greenhalgh was elected Mayor of Bolton. To celebrate the occasion a J.D. Greenhalgh wrote a series of articles which were published in the Bolton Weekly and Daily Chronicles in November 1877. I have a transcript of these in both full and concise versions. I have not checked his sources. Also the original articles made no genealogical links between the people referred to and the new mayor - or any other Greenhalgh's of the time. The style of the articles would prove tiresome to many modern readers which is why I produced a concise version which omitted much superfluous material. Some of the main points are reproduced below. The material of the first few paragraphs is summarised in a family line at the end.

That John Greenhalgh, of Greenhalgh, in Tottington, parish of 
Bury, in the reign of Edward III (1327 - 1377) married the 
daughter and heiress of Thomas Blakelou of Blakelou, (now 
Blackley near Manchester).

They had issue Henry, who married Alice, daughter and heiress of
Richard Brandlesome of Brandlesome, in Elton, parish of Bury, 
after which the family became possessed of the ancient mansion, 
Brandlesome Hall, that still "retains the name, although it 
presents nothing more to the view than an unsightly pile of 
ruinous buildings" (in 1841) "tenanted by two farmers and a 

John Greenhalgh, 1st of Brandlesome, son and heir of Henry by 
Alice his wife, daughter of Richd. Brandlesome, married Joanna, 
daughter of John de Urmstone, 11th of Henry IV 

These had issue Henry the 2nd of Brandlesome, who married the 
daughter of Edmund Prestwich Esq of Hulme, 6th of Henry VI.

Their issue was Edmund the 3rd of Brandlesome, who married 
Alice, daughter of Robert Pilkington Esq, 34th of Henry VI.

Their son, Thomas, married the daughter of William Heaton Esq.

They left issue John, who married Anne, daughter of ?

They left a son Thomas, the 8th of Brandlesome, who married the 
daughter and co-heiress of Robert Labray, Serjeant-at-Armes to 
King Henry VII, and had two daughters Anne, who married 
Bradshaw of Bradshaw, the other to (?) Banister Esq of Altham 
near Blackburn. 

This Thomas Greenhalgh, the 8th of Brandlesome, married for 
his second wife the daughter of Devenport of Devenport, 
Co. Chester.

By her he had issue, John the 9th of Brandlesome, who married 
Alice, daughter and co-heiress of Robert Holt of Stubley, near 
Rochdale (ie ancestor to James Maden Holt, MP 1877 for North 
Lancashire) and left issue one son and three daughters. 

Thomas Greenhalgh, the son, the 10th of Brandlesome, married 
Mary, daughter of Robert Holt Esq of Ashworth near Bury, had 
issue one son, John, succeeding the death of Thomas the 
10th of Brandlesome. His (Thomas's) widow became the wife of 
Sir Rich. Assheton of Middleton, to whom she was second wife, 
whose descendants married Lord Suffield and the Earl of Wilton 
and who inherited the Middleton estates. 

John Greenhalgh, the 11th of Brandlesome, only son of Thomas 
the 10th. Married first Alice, daughter of the 
Rev Wm Massey, BD, rector of Wilmslow, Co. Chester. Issue 
three sons and four daughters. He married secondly Mary, 
daughter of Assheton Esq of Clegg. Thirdly to Alice daughter 
of (?) Chaderton of Lees, Co. Lancashire. 

Richard the 12th of Brandlesome, married Alice, daughter of 
Edward Rawsthorne, of Newhall near Bury. 

Thomas the 13th of Brandlesome, married Elizabeth, daughter of 
Dr John Bridgeman, Dean of Chester and Bishop of Sodor and 
Man - 1671 to 1682 - son of John, Bishop of Chester, ancestor 
to the Earl of Bradford.

The following extract relating to John Greenhalgh, the 11th of Brandlesome, is from "Remains, Historical and Literary, Connected with the Palatine Counties of Lancaster and Chester", published by the Chetham Society:-

"John Greenhalgh was a gentleman, well born, being the son of Thomas Greenhalgh Esq of Brandlesome Hall in the parish of Bury, and his wife Mary, daughter of Robert Holte Esq of Ashworth Hall. He lost his father in the year 1599, when he was two years of age, and his mother afterwards marrying Sir Richard Assheton, of Middleton, Knt, he seems to have been brought up in that family. His education was carefully attended to, and he appears to have had the advantage of foreign travel. In 1616 he succeeded to the Brandlesome property, which Lord Derby called "a good estate", on the death of his grandfather, John Greenhalgh Esq, and he "governed his affairs well". He was a Deputy-Lieutenant and Justice of the Peace for the County, and served his country in a military capacity, probably before the civil war. He had three wives - first Alice, daughter of the Rev Wm Massey BD, rector of Wilmslou, by whom he had issue three sons and four daughters; 2nd to Mary, daughter of William Clegg Esq, of Clegg Hall, Rochdale, by whom he had issue one daughter, Katherine, who became the wife of James Assheton Esq of Chadderton Hall; 3rd to Alice, daughter and co-heiress of George Chadderton Esq of Lees near Oldham, but had no issue by her. He was appointed Governor of the Isle of Man, 1640."

Elsewhere we may read that
"When James, the seventh Earl of Derby, left the Isle of Man to aid King Charles II, he took with him from the island a force of 300 royalists, including his favourite Governor, Captain Greenhalgh, who was accounted a bold and daring soldier in the field, and was present with the Earl at the battles of Wigan Lane and Worcester. At the former struggle the Earl received seven shots in his breast plate, thirteen cuts in his beaver, five or six wounds on his arms and shoulders, and had two horses killed under him. Twice he dashed through the whole body of the enemy, and on making a third attempt was overwhelmed with numbers - several officers of his force, including Lord Witherington, Sir Thomas Tyldesley, and other gentlemen being killed. The Earl having succeeded in mounting a third horse, fought his way through the ranks of the enemy in company with his faithful Governor GREENHALGH and five other officers."

At the battle of Worcester, September 3rd, 1651,
"Governor Greenhalgh in order to save the Royal Standard tore it from the pole and wrapped it round his own body, and having secured the retreat of the King, who, with the Earl of Derby and others, escaped to the celebrated retreat of Whiteladies, 26 miles from Worcester and Bocobel House, the seat of Charles Giffard Esq, situated in an obscure and retired part of the County of Salop, where Captain Greenhalgh died of his wounds received in an encounter when Major Edge made the Earl a prisoner"

On returning to the Isle of Man, at the request of King Charles the 1st about 1642-3, where disaffection against his Majesty was increasing, the Earl in his memoirs said:

"My coming proved in good time, for it was believed by most that a few days longer absence would have ended the happy peace the Island had so long enjoyed. When the people knew of my coming they were much affected with it, as all new things usually do the common sort. But this good I found, that my lieutenant, Captain Greenhalgh, had wisely managed the business by patience and good conduct, and observing the general disorder had considered that the people were to be won as your tame wild beasts, by scratching and stroking, and not by violent wrestling, lest they should turn upon you and know their strength; and who so powerful a Prince, if a multitude rise against him, being alone, or with a few, can well be able to resist them? As it is not therefore good that the common people know their own strength; so it is safe to keep them ignorant of what they may do, but rather give them daily occasion to admire the power and clemency of their lord.

From Canon Raines's memoir of James, the seventh Earl of Derby, published by the Chetham Society, the following is taken:-

"A fine portrait," it is added, "of Captain Greenhalgh, from an original picture, was published in 1842 in chromo-lithography, and dedicated to the Earl of Derby. He is represented in armour, with a crimson sash over his right shoulder, and a falling lace cravat with coloured embroidered ornaments at the ends. He has a handsome thoughtful face, light brown flowing hair, florid complexion, and appears to be about 40 years of age."

Under the portrait as above described is the following from Harrap's memoir:-

"The Earl of Derby's character of Captain Greenhalgh, and his reasons for his choice of him as governor - First, that he was a gentleman well born, and such usually scorn a base action. Secondly, that he has a good estate of his own, and therefore need not borrow of another, which hath been a fault in this country; for when governors have wanted, and be forced to be beholding to those who may be the greatest offenders against the Lord and country, in such cases the borrower becomes servant to the lender, to the stoppage, if not the perversion of justice. Next, he was a deputy-lieutenant and justice of the peace for his own country; he governed his own affairs well, and therefore was the more likely to do mine so; he hath been approved prudent and valiant, and, as such, fitter to be trusted; in fine he is such that I thank God for him, and charge you to love him as a friend."

Thomas Greenhalgh, the 13th of Brandlesome, was High Sheriff of the county 1668 and 1669. "He was qualified to be a Knight of the "Royal Oak" (ie indicative of the restoration of King Charles the 2nd to the throne of England, 1660) but persuaded his Majesty to annul the order to prevent jealousies".

In later times, the shrievality of this county was conferred on another of the name of our newly elected Chief Magistrate, in a direct line of descent with Thomas, the 13th of Brandlesome, in the person of William Greenhalgh, to whom Sir Thomas Tyldesley alluded in his diary, not long since issued by the Chetham Society thus:- "July 14th 1714. All morning at Lodge (ie Myerscough) went in the evening to see neighbour Greenhough; stayed 2 howers, soe home."

The editor of the Tyldesley Diary explains in a note that Myerscough Hall was the seat of William Greenhalgh Esq, who was High Sheriff of Lancashire, 1729. In speaking of Greenhalgh-with-Thistleton the editor goes on to say "the former village gave name to the family of Greenhalgh of Brandlesome, and the manorial rights are now vested in the representative of the late James Greenhalgh Esq of Myerscough. He rebuilt the Hall, and had issue a daughter and only child, Mary Charlotte, who married at Church Town, 4th Oct 1831, H Hall-Joy Esq, of Hathom Park, Wilts."

There is yet remaining part of a landmark, not far distant from Myerscough Hall, which identifies the name of Greenhalgh with the district. This landmark is Greenhalgh Castle, built by Thomas, 1st Earl of Derby, licence dated at Lancaster, August 2nd, in the 5th of Henry VII, about 1590, authorising him to embattle and fortify his house, and make a park. The castle was surrounded by a circular moat and garrisoned by James the Seventh, Earl of Derby, for the King 1643. It was dismantled 1649 or 1650, and little of it now remains. This Greenhalgh must be distinguished from another place of the same name in the parish of Bury, which was the original residence of the Greenhalghs of Brandlesome

"The Greenhalghs of Brandlesome (says Dr Whitaker) were hereditary bailiffs of the Manor, Honor, or Forest of Tottington". They were often given positions of public trust, or chosen to settle disputes arising out of property

John, otherwise Captain, Greenhalgh, the 11th of Brandlesome, governor of the Isle of Man, had a son John, who attended the 7th Earl of Derby all through the exciting period connected with the trial at Chester on the 10th, condemnation, mournful journey on the 14th, and execution at Bolton, October 15th, 1651, at the instance of Parliament, in those perilous and unhappy times.

Following Sir William Dugdale's visitation, dated Manchester, Sept 10th, 1664, the tide in the fortunes of the Greenhalgh family seems to have ebbed; their line of descent to have been irregular, lost dispersed, or much obscured; their broad ancestral lands to have been diminished or divided, nothing being now to be seen or heard of, the last heir male of the family being Henry Greenhalgh Esq, who died about the middle of the last century [i.e. the 1700's DG]

Canon Raines, in a private communication to the writer says "the Greenhalghs continued to reside at Brandlesome Hall until 1728, when they fell into difficulties, and the estate was afterwards sold. It is clear that Assheton Richard Greenhalgh held the estates in 1728."

Brandlesome Hall is situated a field's breadth to the left, off the main road north-west from Bury to Holcombe Brook. Baines says of it "that it is the ancient seat of the Greenhalghs with its gabled front; the older portions of the time of Henry VIII, was built in the usual ornamental style of wood, stone and brick. It was partially taken down in 1852 and rebuilt by RS Kay Esq.

Something has been said in preceeding extracts about the village of Greenhalgh, near Kirkham in the Fylde, not to be confounded with "another place of that name in the parish of Bury, which was the original residence of the Greenhalghs of Brandlesome."

According to tradition, this original residence is a farm tenement, known at this time as "Greenhalgh Moss" - situated somewhat in the interior, half a mile away from the "ancient hall" nearer Bury - a relic of the far distant past. Your correspondent made a flying visit to it a few days ago, but which he found to consist more in name than any more tangible thing remaining - an "old thatch" being well-nigh all which survives to tell of the great House of all the Greenhalghs, where, alas, the "light of other days (has long since) faded".

The notation eg "2nd" after the name means "2nd of Brandlesome". For convenience I have given the first year corresponding to the regnal year given in the text. So 1409 for 11 Henry IV has to be read as 1409 - 1410. Note that here I have summarised the information given in the first few paragraphs but it does not form part of the original.

John GREENHALGH m dau of Thomas BLAKELOU
Henry GREENHALGH m Alice dau & heiress of Richard BRANDLESOME
John GREENHALGH (1st) m Joanna dau of John de URMSTONE 
  |	               (11 Henry IV, 1409)
Henry GREENHALGH (2nd) m dau of Edmund PRESTWICH 
  |                       (6 Henry VI, 1427)
Edmund GREENHALGH (3rd) m Alice dau of Robert PILKINGTON 
  |                        34 Henry VI, 1455)
Thomas GREENHALGH m dau of William HEATON
John GREENHALGH m Anne dau of ? LANGLEY of Agecroft
Thomas GREENHALGH (8th) m dau of Robert LABRAY 
  |                  Serjeant-at-Armes to Henry VII.
  |                  [DG The text gives no reason as to why 
  |                  this is "8th" and not "6th". Perhaps 
  |                   some names are missing]
  |                   m2. Dau of DEVENPORT
John GREENHALGH (9th) m Alice dau of Robert HOLT of Stubly
  |                    d 1616
Thomas GREENHALGH (10th) m Mary dau of Richard HOLT 
  |                      of Ashworth on his death Mary  
  |                      married Richard Assheton of Middleton
John GREENHALGH (11th) m1 Alice dau of Rev Wm MASSEY 
  |			issue 3 sons and 4 daughters
  |                     m2 Mary dau of Assheton of Clegg 
  |                     m3 Alice CHADERTON of Lees
Richard GREENHALGH (12th) m Alice dau of Edward RAWSTHORNE
Thomas GREENHALGH (13th)
                       m Elizabeth dau of Dr John Bridgeman
                       Dean of Chester, Bishop of Sodor & Man
                       High Sheriff of Lancashire 1668 & 1669


Last update 19/06/2002