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The conservation and display of the Centenary Banner of the Downham Benevolent Society.

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DOWNHAM HALL GARDENS OPEN

by KIND PERMISSION of The Hon Mr and Mrs Ralph Assheton

SATURDAY 22nd and SUNDAY 23rd JULY

2.00 to 4.00 pm

Saturday Clitheroe Town Band
Sunday Barnoldswick Brass Band
Magical performances in the Rose Garden
Plant, food and craft stalls and amusements
Teas
In aid of two local charities

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The Assheton family is responsible for keeping the village and surrounding well managed estate, including the farms and some of the houses in neighbouring Twiston, in its present unblemished condition. None of the properties on the estate is privately owned. The manor has been in the family’s ownership since 1558 and has passed through a direct male line of the Assheton’s since 1680.

Settlers came to the Downham area over 1000 years ago, probably in the 8th or 9th century, although the village does not get a mention in Domesday. Place names suggest early settlement and a reference to the village elder or lord, Aufray [Alfred] the Saxon in early records suggest a settled community at the time of the Norman Conquest. Two ancient roads passed by taking travellers across this area of the Ribble Valley: the well known route of the Roman road from Ribchester to llkley passes along Downham Green to the north of the village merging beyond Downham with a much older route, probably part of the Irish Gold Road, which passes the south end of the village.

Its long history makes Downham one of the foundation villages of Pendle; the manor court rolls record a Halmote [local court] held here since the 14th century. A much larger community some 200 years ago, it has a typical Pennine village history of agriculture and handloom weaving. In 1816 a Wesleyan chapel [now the village hall] was built on the ridge at the end of the village opposite the church. Most of the present stone cottages were built on older sites between the reigns of the ‘great’ queens Elizabeth I and Victoria. The oldest [Tudor] house is dated 1580.

As well as a constant flow of tourists and walkers the village is attractive to film makers because of the lack of apparent modernity. The absence of aerials makes it ideal for historical drama and many films have been shot in the village and its surroundings. Most recently the 1950s production ‘Born and Bred’ was filmed in Downham [2001-3]. At an earlier date a shot from ‘Wuthering Heights’ was taken on church brow and other films have been made here. One of the most famous films [although this one did have TV aerials in view!] was the 1961 ‘Whistle Down the Wind’ starring Hayley Mills and Alan Bates, shot largely at Worsaw End Farm and including local children from Downham and Chatburn schools in the roles of many of the children in the film.

Downham History Group page