Habergham Hall and the Lady’s Lament
Nothing now remains of Habergham Hall which stood on the western boundary of Burnley not far from the cemetery. Ancestral home of the Habergham family, the following extract concerning traditions surrounding the last Mrs Habergham appeared in ‘Lancashire Legends’ (1873) by John Harland & T T Wilkinson.
Habergham Hall, near Burnley, was long the residence of a respectable family of the same name. In the year 1201 Alina and Sabina de Habringham litigated the possession of four bovates of land, about eighty acres, against their sister Eugenia. Roger de Lacy was on good terms with this family, and, in 1204, gave to Matthew de Hambringham two bovates of land in Hambringham. The last heir-male was John Habergham, Esq., who was born in the year 1650, and died without legitimate issue in the beginning of the last century. Where he died, and where he was buried, are not known; for during the latter portion of his life he wandered about as a vagabond, without a home, and deserted by those friends who had assisted in wasting his family estates. He married Fleetwood, daughter of Nicholas Towneley, Esq, of Royle Hall, but their union was not a happy one. She bore with her husband’s misconduct as long as possible; and on being deprived of her home, by the forfeiture of the Habergham estate, she went to reside with her friends, and dying in 1703, was buried at Padiham. Tradition states that Mrs Habergham soothed her sorrow by composing and singing the following stanzas, which are still held in remembrance, not only in the neighbourhood, but throughout Lancashire. They are here reprinted, with some verbal alterations, from Harland’s “Lancashire Ballads:”—
Love’s Evil Choice.
I sowed the seeds of love;
It was all in the spring,
In April, May, and June likewise,
When small birds they do sing.
My garden planted was with care,
With blooming wild-flowers everywhere;
Yet had I not the leave to choose
The flower I loved most dear.
The gardener standing by
Proffered to choose for me
The pink, the primrose, and the rose
But I refused all three.
The primrose I forsook
Because it came too soon;
The violet I o’erlooked,
And vowed to wait till June.
In June the red rose sprang,
But ’twas no flower for me;
I plucked it up, lo! by the stalk,
And planted the willow-tree.
The willow I now must wear,
With sorrows twined among,
That all the world may know
I falsehood loved too long.
The willow-tree will twist,
The willow-tree will twine,
I wish I was in that dear youth’s arms
That once had this heart of mine.
The gardener he stood by
And warned me to take care;
For in the midst of a red rosebud
There grows a sharp thorn there.
I said I’d take no care,
Till I did feel the smart;
And when I plucked the red rosebud,
It pierced me to the heart.
Now I ’11 make a hyssop posy.
No other can I touch;
For all the world do plainly see
I loved one flower too much.
My garden is now run wild;
Where shall I plant anew?
My bed, that once was thick with thyme.
Is now o’errun with rue.