FIVE Thursdays in the month again, so time once more to look at one of our ancient townships, this time Bold.

Consider the number of local pubs named after “The Griffin”. Note this creature appears on both past and present Borough Coats-of-Arms. We have to go back to the Dark Ages and maybe even further back for a tale that has been passed orally down the centuries.

Once upon a time, in a lair in the rocky outcrop on which the ruins of Halton Castle stand to this day, there lived a Griffin. It flew around and hunted food in the tidal and wide Mersey estuary below. On the border of Cuerdley Marsh (where the cooling towers of Fiddler’s Ferry now stand), there lived a blacksmith and armourer called Robert Byrch, or Robert of the Marsh.

To sum up this epic story, Robert built a metal cage and covered it with the hide of a cow. He hid inside and when the Griffin swooped down and flew back to its lair with it, he stabbed and killed the Griffin.

The king of his region (England was still a collection of kingdoms) declared that henceforth his name would be BOLD and he could have as much land as he could perimeter plough in a day. This area was Royal Forest and the king’s to give, and that became the ancient perimeter of Bold.

The earliest written record of Bold is found in a survey of 1212 when it was held by Adam son of Richard; and that Adam's great-grandfather was Tuger the Elder.

Richard's widow, Waltania, who was of the king's gift, married Waldern de Reynham. “Two minor manors had been created, or perhaps preserved from more ancient times, viz., La Quick and another unnamed, each of half a plough-land.”

The Hospitallers had a close in Quick Hill held by Richard Bold about 1540 at a rent of 12d. I also read somewhere that when Elizabeth I was preparing for the expected invasion from Spain, she contacted all her lords etc., to find out how big an army she could gather to resist the invaders.

In the North West, the largest number of troops would come from the Earl of Derby, the Stanley family. The second largest in the whole of the North West would come from the Bold family.

The estate stayed within the family through inheritances and marriages, but when Mary died in 1824 without issue, the estate. passed to her sister Dorothea, who married Henry Hoghton, afterwards baronet.

He subsequently assumed the name of Bold in addition to his own surname.

Their son, Henry Bold-Hoghton, sold the Bold estates in 1858 and later, and in 1862 discontinued the use of Bold as part of his surname.

The purchaser of Bold Hall, William Whitacre Tipping, died intestate in March, 1889, the estate passing to the next of kin, Mrs. Wyatt, then of Hawley Parsonage, Hampshire. About ten years later, after various attempts had been made to dispose of the estate, it was purchased by a syndicate, registered under the style of the Bold Hall Estate Limited.

The hall, much dilapidated, was taken down. Tipping seems to have been quite a character. He was a Wigan cotton-spinner, and is said to have paid £120,000 for the hall and some farms.

A contemporary account of him describes: “Tipping was unmarried; he lived in about four rooms, and generally neglected the whole place. He was an eccentric character, rough in manners and in dress, uneducated, and without taste.

“Like Bold-Hoghton before him, who kept five hundred fighting cocks, Tipping's chief pleasures lay in the barbarous sport of cock-fighting, in card-playing, and in visits to the Tipping Arms on the Warrington road.

“He preserved the hall, however, in which there were two Vandyck full-length portraits of Charles I and his queen, a royal gift to one of the Bold family; two Claudes, and a Holy Family by Rubens.

“The stories of Tipping's eccentricities are legion. He appeared to hoard up money in the shape of buckets of sovereigns which got discoloured and mildewed with age, but he also had a fancy for going down to the Tipping Arms with a thousand pounds or so in his pockets.”... 150 years on and I would love to go out for the night with a £1,000 in my wallet!

The Victoria County History refers to “Bold Old Hall and Barrow Old Hall two picturesque buildings, surrounded each by a moat, situated respectively in the centre and far south east of the township.”

It adds: “Cambal Wood lay in the south-east corner; on the south was Bold Heath, with Crow Heath and Lunt Heath on the borders of Cuerdley and Widnes. In the south-west corner was Cranshaw Hall.”

And now for a twist. The Bold Family’s nearest Chapel was the Chapel, now Church, at Farnworth.

Here the family had a distinctive family pew with a canopy. In the 1870s the canopy collapsed and a relic hidden on the top fell to the ground.

The newspapers of the time say it was the untanned hide of a cow, with curious clawed markings...