Brief history of the Poor Marsh

The site of the new Hesketh Bank Allotments has always been known locally as The Poor Marsh. There is no definitive documented history relating to The Poor Marsh or indeed the name itself although it is thought it got its name either because it was used to provide food for the poor people of the village or because of the poor state of the soil way back when its proximity to the tidal waters of the River Ribble was much greater than it is today.

Hesketh Bank Poor Marsh SignThe land was once owned by Lord Hesketh and leased by the Parish Council until the Hesketh Family ‘Great Sale’ in September 1915 when, as far as can be established, it was purchased by a local lady who continued to lease the land to the Parish Council.  It appears that upon her death it was bequeathed to Blackburn Hospital in trust and the Parish Council continued to lease the land and use it as allotments.

In 2004, whilst looking through papers passed on to him by his predecessor, the current Clerk to the Council discovered that no rent had been paid to the hospital for a number of years and enquiries were made with Blackburn Hospital who could find no record of the bequest.  Consequently, the Parish Council applied to the Land Registry for possessory rights to the Poor Marsh site which was subsequently granted giving Hesketh with Becconsall Parish Council ownership and control of the Poor Marsh which has been used as allotments  since before ‘The Great Sale’ 95 years ago.  What has yet to be established is how long the site was leased from the Hesketh Family before they sold it!

If anyone reading this can shed any further light on the history of the Poor Marsh or has any recollections, photos, or any other snippets of information, please contact us. We want to learn as much as we can so that it can be documented for posterity.