Feniscowles has a long recorded history.
It's name was chronicled as 'Feinycholes' in documents as early as 1276. By the 12th century, it had become known as Feniscowles from the Old English word 'fennig' meaning marsh, muddy, dirty' and the Old Norse word 'Skali' meaning 'hut in marshy land'. It is probable that the original settlement was closer to the river, which helps to structure it's landscaped character.
Move on to the late 18th century. In 1798, Sir William Feilden of Witton Hall, Blackburn, purchased the hamlet of Feniscowles, approximately 3 miles S.W. of Blackburn, from Thomas Ainsworth (died 1804). In 1832 Mr. Feilden was elected as one of the first M.P's for Blackburn. After re-election in 1835, 1837 and 1841 he retired from Parliament in 1847 at the age of 75. During 1812, he built Feniscowles New Hall (pictured below) at the foot of a steep bank, living their until his death in 1850.
The hall's gallery contained a valuable collection of paintings. Also originally held a collection of natural history objects. In about, 1854 his son Sir William Henry Feilden, complained bitterly about the polluted water in the River Darwen which ran close by the hall, at its convergence with Moulden Water. He lost a costly and prolonged dispute with the Corporation & Over Darwen Health Board in 1877 when legal proceedings failed. Soon after he left the hall, and died two years later in 1879.
The hall was offered for sale at auction in 1903, but was unable to find a buyer. After this it was used for functions for a short period of time, but became dilapidated. In the 1930's, it was left to decay. The property declined and deteriorated during WW II. The lead was eventually removed from the roof for the war effort causing further deterioration.
Just over the bridge by Immanuel Church, on the Pleasington Road , is the dilapidated and abandoned smithy gate house, which still guards the entrance to this once opulent property. Another ruined gatehouse, deserted, stands by the bridge at the bottom of Moulden Brow on the Blackburn to Preston Old Road, opposite a small modern housing development. This development was built on land once occupied by the now demolished Sun Paper Mill.
There was substantial employment in Feniscowles when the 'Sun' and 'Star' paper mills were opened in 1874 and 1875 respectively. There is now only the Star Paper Mill surviving. 'The Cherry Tree Jam Works' stood beside the old Feniscowles railway station in Stockclough Lane, also known as 'Jam Pot Lane'. More recently this became 'Nightingales'. The company manufactured illuminated signs, and in later years, an auto electrical company named 'Parbro' managed by younger members of the Park family. The Park family originally manufactured car batteries at Ordnance St. & Canterbury St. in Blackburn. Adjacent to the canal beside an oil distributor once stood a 'Buffer Depot' which stored emergency food supplies for such periods as wartime. Opposite Immanuel Church on the banks of the River Darwen stood a corn mill known as 'The Moon' however a disastrous fire gutted the mill in 1864. Apart from one or two smaller operations the only other industry in Feniscowles was the 'Eclipse Mill' not far from the, now demolished, three arches railway viaduct.
Whilst Feniscowles has changed over the years, the good agricultural land has not been desecrated, and developed for the benefit of the exploiter, who have little or no consideration for this beautiful country that we live in.
Feniscowles New Hall