THE PARISH OF FENISCOWLES
Feniscowles which was recorded as 'Feinycholes' in 1276 but by 1300 had become 'Feniscowles' from the Old English word 'fennig' and the Old Norse word 'Skali' meaning 'hut in marshy land', I can only assume that this original settlement must have been closer to the river, as most of Feniscowles is built on extensive sand deposits which help create its special landscape character.
The majority of housing in the area is post 1960 with developments off Livesey Branch Road and Preston Old Road, where a number of popular well maintained terraced houses can also be found. The population of Feniscowles has increased substantially since the 1960's as people migrated from the towns to a more rural aspect. A true village atmosphere is maintained by an adequate supply of shops and businesses catering for every need. The area also has two public houses, the Horden Rake as well as the more traditional Feilden Arms.
Education is also well catered for in Feniscowles, the original 1832 school was re-established on a new site in 1902 and became known as Feniscowles County Primary School, and as the population increased the school was enlarged in 1974. The architecturally renown St. Paul's Roman Catholic School and church was built in 1973.
In 1798 Sir William Feilden of Witton Hall, Blackburn purchased the hamlet of Feniscowles some 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. being re-elected in 1835, 1837 and 1841 retiring from Parliament in 1847 at the age of 75. He went on to Build Feniscowles New Hall at the foot of a steep bank, in 1812, and lived their until his death in 1850. The hall originally held a collection of natural history objects, its gallery containing a valuable collection of paintings. Around 1854 his son Sir William Henry Feilden, complained bitterly over the polluted water in the River Darwen which ran close by the hall, at its confluence with Moulden Water. He lost his costly and protracted conflict with the Corporation & Over Darwen health Board in 1877 when litigation failed. He left the hall and died two years later in 1879. In 1903 the house was put up for auction but did not find a buyer. It was used for wedding functions etc for a short period of time but fell into disrepair in the 1930's and was left to decay. The decline of the property was exacerbated during WW II when the lead was removed from the roof for the war effort. On the Pleasington Road just over the bridge by Immanuel Church, sits the derelict smithy gate house, still guarding the entrance to this once fine property. Another ruined gatehouse sits by the bridge at the foot of Moulden Brow on the A674 Blackburn to Preston Old Road opposite a recent small housing development, erected on land once occupied by the now demolished Sun Paper Mill.
Originally Feniscowles had substantial employment prospects when the 'Sun' and 'Star' paper mills were opened in 1874 and 1875 respectively, both have now been demolished. In Stockclough Lane also known as 'Jam Pot Lane' beside the old Feniscowles Railway station stood 'The Cherry Tree Jam Works' in more recent times this became 'Nightingales' workshop manufacturing illuminated signs and later an auto electrical distribution company named 'Parbro' run by junior members of the Park family, who 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 three arches railway viaduct.