Fence is a village named after the type of fenced enclosure that stags were kept in after hunting in Pendle Forest by Kings and noblemen, and its name dates back to the time of William the Conqueror.
By the inquest of 1402 to ascertain the ancient rights and customs of the inhabitants of Blackburnshire, it was declared that every tenant ought by right to have a work horse for 4d. and two beasts for 2d. agisting within 'le Fens' of Pendle between Michaelmas and the following Whitsuntide. That part of the forest known as the Fence lay in Higham, West Close and Goldshaw Booth. It was not specifically granted with the rest of the forest by the commissioners of 1507; but at the halmote of Ightenhill held at Higham 6 June 1526 the jury considered a proclamation by the General Auditor reciting that there were certain grounds called Fence within the vaccaries of Higham, West Close and Goldshaw upon which 'the herd of the stags always before the deforesting had their several living,' and inquiring if any would hold the said parcel of the King or inform the auditor and steward why the King should not make improvement from the parcel called the Fence. The verdict was that the King ought not to take the Fence to improve because Henry VII in 1507 had surrendered that parcel to the use of the tenants of Higham, West Close and Goldshaw Booth, to be held by them and their heirs for ever.
Although the precise position of the Fence is unknown, the irregular boundaries of Goldshaw Booth, Higham-with-West Close and the detached portion of Old Laund Booth for some distance round Fence Gate, Hewn Ashlar and Fence House point it out approximately.
As with other villages in the area, Fence has its own connections to the Pendle Witches, who were tried and hung in Lancaster. One of these so called witches was a Fence lady, Anne Whittle, who was also known as Old Chattox. Ashlar House (sometimes known as Hewn Atchelor), built around 1594 was the place were the Pendle Witches were taken after their arrest in 1612. On 2nd April 1612 Demdike, Chattox and Anne Redfearne were interrogated here and sent for trial, and then on 27th April 1612 Elizabeth, James and Jennet Device were also brought for questioning.
One other house associated with the 'witches' is Hoarstones, which was built around 1547 although has since undergone major structural changes in the 19th century. In 1633 a coven of 'witches' started meeting at the house led by Jennet Device, who as a child had evidence against her own family. A boy claimed he was held prisoner by them and named 17 of his captors and trials were held in 1634. Some were jailed and some sent to London, but were only saved from execution after it was discovered it was a hoax. Many of the locals' surnames are shared with the witches, the main one being the Nutter family name.
Probably the most famous 'son of Fence' was Sir Jonas Moore, who was born at White Lee on 8th February 1617, although this claim could also be made by Higham with White Lee lying between the two. He received a knighthood, membership of the Royal Society and favour of the court of Charles II, whilst devoting his career to mathematics. Probably his greatest achievement was that he was the driving force behind setting up the Royal Observatory at Greenwich. Shortly after it was opened Moore and Flamsteed set about the task of obtaining the most accurate clocks possible, which later gave rise to Greenwich Mean Time. He died in 1679 and was buried in the Tower of London, with 60 pieces of artillery being fired at his funeral. John Moore's evidence (Jonas's father) helped to convict Anne Whittle, who was hanged as a witch in 1612.
St Anne's Church
Fence has three churches. St. Anne's Church was built in 1837 for the worship of the Church of England, and became a separate parish in 1845. The Wheatley Lane Methodist chapel was built in 1824 and restored in 1867. The Inghamite church at Wheatley Carr dates from 1750. The chapel was originally built of rough unhewn stone and acquired its present appearance in 1897.
Wheatley Lane Inghamite Church
Wheatley Lane Methodist Church
For its small size, Fence has many public houses including The Fence Gate Inn, The Swan Inn, The Harpers Inn and Ye Old Sparrowhawk. It also has an Italian restaurant Barrocos (previously Forest Inn).
Bay Horse Inn
Fence Gate Inn
Ye Old Sparrowhawk
The Harpers Inn
K Melling Studio Gallery
Fence also has a village shop and a fine art gallery showcasing and selling the paintings of local artist Keith Melling.
|Walks near Fence|