Slaidburn

St Andrew's Church, Slaidburn, circa 1910


Last updated 19 December 2014

Chris Spencer, Geneaologist and Local Historian, Slaidburn and Bowland

Personal Profile

I graduated with a 2.1 degree in physics from Imperial College, South Kensington, London in 1982 and taught for just over three years in Finchley, before returning to Preston, and thereafter teaching in Lancashire.

I have over thirty five years' experience in genealogy, family history, local history and palaeography. I specialise in Slaidburn genealogy and local history and have built up a very large collection of material relating to the parish of Slaidburn (Yorkshire pre 1974, but now Lancashire) but also the wider Bowland area, encompassing West Bradford and Grindleton in particular. I also have extensive experience of family history and local history research across much of West Yorkshire and the whole of Lancashire. I am a regular researcher at the Lancashire Archives in Preston.

In 1994 and 1998, Reg Postlethwaite and I transcribed and published in hardback two volumes of the parish registers of St Andrew's Church, Slaidburn, covering the years 1600 to 1837/52. There are available in many Lancashire libraries. I am currently transcribing (and translating from Latin pre 1733) all 280 of the court rolls for the Manor of Slaidburn.

From 1994, I was a committee member of the Friends of Lancashire Archives, and eventually membership secretary, vice chairman and then chairman for a couple of years until 2002. Since retiring, I have re-joined the Committee of the FLA as Vice-Chairman from October 2014.

I have published numerous research materials concerning the local history of Slaidburn, including a transcript of the 1841 census, an index to Slaidburn wills, four volumes of will abstracts and three volumes of transcripts of the court rolls of the Manor of Slaidburn. More publications are in the pipeline.

Postcard c1905 of Slaidburn Green and the New Bridge

Some years ago, I was fortunate enough to purchase a large archive of original documents relating to the parish of Slaidburn, which I am gradually cataloguing and then depositing in the Lancashire Archives in Preston (see their online catalogue, reference DDX 2480).

Recent papers and articles which I have co-authored include:

'The Slaidburn Poor Pasture: changing configurations of popular politics in the eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century village' by Professor R W Hoyle and C J Spencer, published in 'Social History' Vol. 31 No. 2 May 2006

'The Lordship of Bowland' by C J Spencer & S W Jolly, published in the 'The Escutcheon', the Journal of the Cambridge University Heraldic and Genealogical Society, 2010

'Courts of the Lord King of Bowland and His Court House' was the title of a well-attended talk I gave in October 2012 at the 'Hark to Bounty' in Slaidburn in the old Court Room upstairs; the history of this building is significantly under-estimated and parts of the right-hand portion I believe to date from c1577 when the Court House for the Manor of Slaidburn was moved to this site near the Cross.

'The Politics of the chancel screen: Samuel Moore, Slaidburn, and the parochial dynamics of Laudianism' by James Mawdesley & Chris Spencer, published in 'The Seventeenth Century' in November 2014. This paper won the first prize in the 2014 Beresford Competition for The Yorkshire History Prize, sponsored by The Yorkshire Society, and can be downloaded free of charge by clicking here.

Details of my transcriptions of Slaidburn and Bowland genealogy and local history material available for sale are detailed here on this website. I can also offer professional research services for local history, genealogy and document transcription and Latin translation. I have considerable expertise in palaeography and can offer expert advice and assistance with reading and interpretating difficult handwriting, abbreviated Latin in documents pre 1733, etc.