Lordship of Bowland
The Lordship of Bowland, an ancient English title connected with the Forest of Bowland in the north-west of England, was once thought lost and was only recently rediscovered. It disappeared from sight in 1885 when the estates of the Towneleys, one of Lancashire’s great aristocratic families, were broken up following the death of the last male heir. For much of the twentieth century, experts thought that the Lordship of Bowland belonged to the Crown. In 1938, the Duchy of Lancaster had acquired some 6,000 acres (2,400 ha) of the Forest of Bowland, now known as the Whitewell Estate, near Clitheroe, and it was believed the Lordship of Bowland had been acquired with it.
It was only when a researcher checked the terms of the sale that the truth emerged. In fact, the 1938 purchase, while it included mineral, sporting and forestry rights, specifically excluded the Lordship of Bowland itself. Further research then revealed that the Lordship had in fact been retained by a Towneley family trust. In 2008, Charles Towneley Strachey, 4th Baron O'Hagan stepped forward on the family’s behalf to claim the title of 15th Lord of Bowland. Controversially, he then went on to auction the title. The 16th Lord of Bowland was later revealed to be a Cambridge University don who specialises in the history of Lancashire, its place names and dialects and has ancestral links to the Forest.
The ancient origins of the Lordship lie in the Forest and Liberty of Bowland thought to have been created by William Rufus sometime after Domesday and granted to his vassal Roger de Poitou, 1st Lord of Bowland, possibly to reward Poitou for his role in defeating the army of Scots king Malcolm III in 1091-2. The Forest and Liberty of Bowland, along with the grant of the adjacent fee of Blackburnshire and holdings in Hornby and Amounderness, came to form the basis of what became known as the Honor of Clitheroe.
From an early date, the Lord of Bowland was also known as Lord of the Fells, a subsidiary title reflecting the upland character of much of his demesne and analogous to the medieval Scottish title Lord of the Isles. By courtesy, the eldest son of the Lord of Bowland is known as the Master of Bowland.
Before 1095, Roger gave control of the Forest and Liberty into the hands of his neighbour Robert de Lacy, Baron of Pontefract. These lands then became part of the holdings confiscated from Robert de Lacy, as a supporter of Robert Curthose in conflicts with Henry I of England. (These supporters, who included Roger de Poitou, lost their lands and were exiled.) During the period of Robert de Lacy’s banishment, his English estates were held by Hugh de la Val until Hugh’s death circa 1130 when William Maltravers married his Hugh's widow and obtained a grant of the de Lacy estates for a term of years. King Stephen, after his accession to the throne in 1135, restored the lands to Robert de Lacy. Robert's lands were then inherited by his eldest son Ilbert II de Lacy.
In 1311, the Honor of Clitheroe was subsumed into the Earldom of Lancaster. After 1351, it was administered as part of the Duchy of Lancaster, with the Duke (from 1399, the Sovereign) acknowledged lord paramount over the Forest and the ten manors of the Liberty. As lord paramount, he was styled Lord King of Bowland.
Territorially, the Lordship of Bowland covered an area of almost 300 square miles (800 km2) on the historic borders of Lancashire and Yorkshire. It comprised a Royal Forest and a Liberty of ten manors spanning eight townships and four parishes. The manors within the Liberty were Slaidburn (Newton-in-Bowland, West Bradford, Grindleton), Knowlmere, Waddington, Easington, Bashall, Mitton, Withgill (Crook), Leagram, Hammerton and Dunnow (Battersby). Harrop was included within the Forest.
In 1661, the manors contained within the former Honor of Clitheroe, including the Forest and Liberty of Bowland, were granted by the Crown to General George Monck as part of the creation of the Dukedom of Albermarle. Monck had been a key figure in the restoration of Charles II. The Lordship of Bowland then descended through the Montagu, Buccleuch and Towneley families.
Lords of Bowland 1092-1399
- 1092-1093 1st Lord of Bowland Roger de Poitou (ceded control of lands to Robert de Lacy)
- 1093-1136 2nd Lord of Bowland Robert de Lacy, 2nd Baron of Pontefract (his lands confiscated twice, and exiled during this period)
- 1136-1141 3rd Lord of Bowland Ilbert II de Lacy, 3rd Baron of Pontefract (1st son of Robert de Lacy)
- 1141-1187 4th Lord of Bowland Henry de Lacy, 4th Baron of Pontefract (2nd son of Robert de Lacy, endowed Kirkstall Abbey)
- 1187-1193 5th Lord of Bowland Robert II de Lacy, 5th Baron of Pontefract (son of Henry de Lacy)
- 1193-1194 Lady of Bowland suo jure Albreda de Lisours, Baroness of Pontefract suo jure (granddaughter of Robert de Lacy)
- 1194-1211 7th Lord of Bowland Roger de Lacy, 6th Baron of Pontefract (grandson of Albreda de Lisours - adopted surname de Lacy)
- 1211-1240 8th Lord of Bowland John de Lacy, 7th Baron of Pontefract, 2nd Earl of Lincoln (son of Roger de Lacy)
- 1240-1258 9th Lord of Bowland Edmund de Lacy, 8th Baron of Pontefract (son of John de Lacy)
- 1258-1311 10th Lord of Bowland Henry de Lacy, 9th Baron of Pontefract, 3rd Earl of Lincoln (son of Edmund de Lacy)
- 1311-1322 11th Lord of Bowland Thomas, 2nd Earl of Lancaster (son-in-law of Henry de Lacy - executed by Edward II of England)
- 1322-1345 12th Lord of Bowland Henry, 3rd Earl of Lancaster (brother of Thomas)
- 1345-1361 13th Lord of Bowland Henry of Grosmont, 4th Earl, later Duke of Lancaster (son of Henry)
- 1361-1399 14th Lord of Bowland John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, Duke of Aquitaine (son-in-law of Henry of Grosmont)
Lord Kings of Bowland 1399-1661
Lords of Bowland 1661-1885
- 1661-1670 1st Lord of Bowland 1st Duke of Albemarle
- 1670-1688 2nd Lord of Bowland 2nd Duke of Albemarle
- 1692-1709 3rd Lord of Bowland 1st Duke of Montagu
- 1709-1749 4th Lord of Bowland 2nd Duke of Montagu
- 1749-1790 5th Lord of Bowland 4th Earl of Cardigan
- 1790-1802 6th Lord of Bowland 1st Earl of Beaulieu
- 1802-1812 7th Lord of Bowland 3rd Duke of Buccleuch
- 1812-1819 8th Lord of Bowland 4th Duke of Buccleuch
- 1819-1827 9th Lord of Bowland 5th Duke of Buccleuch
- 1827-1835 10th Lord of Bowland 2nd Baron Montagu of Boughton
- 1835-1846 11th Lord of Bowland Peregrine Towneley
- 1846-1876 12th Lord of Bowland Charles Towneley
- 1876-1878 13th Lord of Bowland John Towneley
- 1878-1885 Lady of Bowland suo jure Lucy Towneley
Lords of Bowland 1885-2008
The Lordship was in abeyance between 1885 and 2008.
Lords of Bowland since 2008
2008-2009 15th Lord of Bowland Charles Towneley Strachey, 4th Baron O'Hagan
Developments since 2008
In April 2010, it was reported that the 16th Lord had revived two ancient historic offices of the Forest of Bowland: those of Bowbearer and Chief Steward. Robert Parker of Browsholme Hall became Bowbearer. However, the appointment of Charles Bowman as Chief Steward was short-lived.
In April 2011, "William of Bowland" made an official visit to the Forest with his Bowbearer in attendance. A month later, former Steward to the Honor of Clitheroe Michael Parkinson, a partner with chartered surveyors Ingham & Yorke of Clitheroe, assumed the role of the Chief Steward, the first formal appointment since 1922. In October 2012, a ceremony was held in the Tudor courtroom at Slaidburn to revive and "make forever indissoluble" the Court of the Lord King of Bowland.
In October 2013, Bowland lent his public support to the Leap in the Park project - an academic project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund to research the history of Bowland's medieval hunting parks. In collaboration with the Forest of Bowland AONB and Slaidburn Heritage Centre, Bowland hosted a fundraising lecture at Whitewell addressed by archaeologist Nigel Neil.
In 2000, Australian writer Linden Salter published the historical novel The Major's Minion featuring the character of Lord Bowland.
In 2010, the Cambridge University Heraldic and Genealogical Society published a history of the Lordship of Bowland.
In 2013, the character of Lord Bowland featured in Elizabeth Beacon's The Black Sheep's Return, a novel in her Seaborne trilogy of historical romances.
- Forest of Bowland official website
- "Lord of Bowland title sold at auction". Lancashire Telegraph. 31 October 2009.
- "Lordship snapped up". Lancashire Evening Post. 1 November 2009.
- "Buyer of aristocratic title revealed". Lancashire Evening Post. 10 November 2009.
- "New Lord of Bowland is don at top university". Lancashire Telegraph. 13 November 2009.
- "Keeping up traditions of beautiful Bowland". Lancashire Evening Post. 22 April 2010.
- "Our Lord of the Fells". Longridge & Ribble Valley News. 8 December 2010.
- Clitheroe Historic Town Assessment Report Lancashire County Council
- Farrer, William, The court rolls of the honor of Clitheroe in the county of Lancaster (1897)
- Thomas Dunham Whitaker, "An History of the Original Parish of Whalley and Honor of Clitheroe" (Routledge & Sons: Manchester 1872)
- Interview with William, 16th Lord of Bowland
- "Ancient titles rise again". Lancashire Evening Post. 2 April 2010.
- "First Bowbearer of the Forest appointed for 150 years". Clitheroe Advertiser. 15 April 2010.
- Garstang Courier http://www.garstangcourier.co.uk/73/Ancient-titles-rise-again.6200640.jp
- Sign for the Times http://www.forestofbowland.com/node/2656
- Forest of Bowland Identity Makes a Comeback, Clitheroe Advertiser, 18 April 2011 http://www.clitheroeadvertiser.co.uk/community/forest_of_bowland_identity_makes_a_comeback_1_3299690
- "Michael Parkinson, Esq Authorised Biography – Debrett’s People of Today". www.debretts.com. Retrieved 2011-04-05
- Ingham & Yorke http://www.inghamandyorke.com
- Clitheroe Man is Chief Steward of All He Surveys, Lancashire Telegraph, 1 June 2011: http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/news/9059535.Clitheroe_man_is_chief_steward_of_all_he_surveys/
- New Chief Steward of Forest of Bowland announced, Clitheroe Advertiser and Times, 7 June 2011: http://www.clitheroeadvertiser.co.uk:80/news/new_chief_steward_of_forest_of_bowland_announced_1_3454283
- A Leap in the Park http://www.forestofbowland.com/node/3143
- Bowland AONB http://www.forestofbowland.com/contactus
- Slaidburn Heritage Centre http://www.slaidburnvillagehall.com/slaidburnlocal/site/slaidburn_archive.htm
- Nigel Neil http://www.linkedin.com/pub/nigel-neil/29/692/514
- Linden Salter, The Major's Minion (2000) http://www.salter duke.bigpondhosting.com/linden/majors_minion.htm
- C J Spencer and S W Jolly, 'Bowland: the rise and decline, abandonment and revival of a medieval lordship' The Escutcheon: Journal of the Cambridge University Heraldic & Genealogical Society 15, 2010 Download
- Elizabeth Beacon, The Black Sheep's Return, Harlequin Historical, London 2013