Blacko is on the old turnpike road to Gisburn (A682) and from its lofty position affords views towards Boulsworth Hill (south-east), Nelson to its south and Pendle Hill to its west. Blacko, which was held by Richard de Marsden in 1323 at a rent of 20s, was at that time called Blackay - the hey about it had been made in 1296. In 1338 the King released all payment of rent, because Richard had promised to pay 20 marks towards the expenses of the King's passage to parts beyond the sea.
The family at the centre of the witchcraft allegations (Alizon, Elizabeth and James Device and Demdike) lived at Malkin Tower, the precise location of which seems to have been lost over time. Numerous books and authors writing about the Lancashire witches place Malkin Tower as being at either Malkin Tower Farm (on Blacko hillside) or at Sadlers Farm, Newchurch (in an area called Malkin Field). Walter Bennett, in his book The Lancashire Witches was of the opinion that the latter was the site, the tower being some 500 yards away from Bull Hole Farm. The general consensus is that the building was an old barn or farm outbuilding, which has long since been demolished. A very important meeting took place at Malkin Tower on Good Friday in 1612. The meeting, believed to have been a witches sabbat, was described to the authorities by James Device, and many of those who attended it were later hanged.
The Independent Methodists built a chapel at Blacko in 1867 on Gisburn Road, and it remains the only place of worship in the village.
Independent Methodist Chapel
Blacko war memorial
Blacko ('Stansfield') Tower
Overlooking Blacko is Stansfield Tower (also known as Blacko Tower), which was built in the 1890s. A local grocer, Jonathan Stansfield, built this circular rough stone tower to provide himself with a view over Ribblesdale from the top, but Weets Hill in between was too high. There are several versions of the story about why Richard Stansfield wanted to build a tower here, and most involve his trying to see all the way to where his lover lived. But the answer is that no-one really seems to know why he built the folly, only that he has left Blacko with a landmark that is visible for miles around. Stansfield upon realising the tower would never be tall enough left it unfinished, and that was how it remained until a group of scouts from Colne built the final round of stone, and cemented the tower as it looks today. The tower is privately owned and cannot be visited. A Bronze Age axe, believed to be 3,500 years old, was found near the tower in 1952.
One of Blacko's more famous inhabitants from 1922 to 1935 was Jimmy Clitheroe, who had his own BBC radio show from 1958 to 1972 called The Clitheroe Kid. At the height of its success it had more than 10 million listeners. He also appeared on TV and on stage. James Robinson Clitheroe was born in Clitheroe in 1921, but never grew after the age of 11 due to a thyroid problem and remained at 4ft 3in. He was brought up in Blacko at Spout Houses, named after the nearby spout that 'never runs dry' and at one time was the only source of water supply in the village.
During the 1930s Blacko was also the home of the comedian Tommy Trafford (affectionately known as Mr Southport), who performed many summer seasons in the Lancashire seaside resort of Southport between the 1960s and 1980s.
Blacko Primary School
Blacko now has a population of 595 (2001 census) and has a small village store, a primary school and three pubs, The Rising Sun, the Moorcock Inn (past Blacko Tower on the A682), the Cross Gaits Inn (on the Beverley Road), which is reputed to have been a pub for over 1,000 years.
Cross Gaits Inn
The Rising Sun
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