Farewell to historian, author and gentleman

David Clayton
David Clayton
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A historian and author who featured on BBC’s Countryfile programme has died at the age of 77.

David Clayton, who wrote Lost Farms Of Brinscall Moors, died in the early hours of Friday following months of ill health.

Today friends paid tribute to the “English gentleman”, who would “help anybody that he could.”

Richard Fairclough, 69, met David through a common interest in music, and the pair became good friends in the 1970s.

He said: “He was very much a typical English gentleman - he was very scholarly.

“He was very correct, very precise, very scholarly, but a very public-spirited person.”

Two years ago David, who lived in Brinscall, appeared on the BBC’s Countryfile 
programme talking about his book which was published in 2011.

He had spent two years researching and writing the book, which uncovered the story of how the community living on the hills and moors above Brinscall abandoned their homes in the early 20th century.

He led scores of people on walks around the ruins of the abandoned farms and also gave many talks about his book around the county.

David was born in Horwich and had lived in Brinscall since 1965. He was educated at Anderton County Primary School, Bolton School and Merton College, Oxford.

He spent much of his teaching career in Burnley and was headteacher at Habergham High School, Burnley, for 17 years.

In Brinscall, David was a member of the Great Committee which works to improve access to the Goit waterway in Brinscall and Wheelton.

He was a keen walker, both in the UK and Europe, and had walked all 214 Wainwright fells in Cumbria. Until recently, he was president of the Bolton branch of the Historical Association and had been chairman for many years.

He was also a talented singer and was a member and former chairman of the Brixi Singers chamber choir and a Rivington Music Society committee member.

David also wrote Britain And The Eastern question: Missolonghi To Gallipoli and a history of the early years of Hayward Grammar School.

The date of his funeral has yet to be decided.