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History
of
The County Palatine
And Duchy
of
Lancaster
By Edward Baines, ESQ. MP

Published in 1836 By Fisher, Son, & Co., London Paris and New York
Extracts published for reference only - All rights reserved
Transcript © 2002 Copyright Hubmaker
All rights reserved. Reproduction strictly prohibited.

Vol. III. Leyland Hundred
Parish of Croston

Croston was anciently the most extensive of the parishes in the hundred of Leyland. In the Valor Beneficiorum of pope Nicholas IV. compiled when this parish was in its integrity, the valuation fixed upon the living amounted to nearly as much as the revenues of all the other four parishes in the hundred. Till the seventeenth century, the parochial limits remained unaltered, but by the authority of parliament this parish has been separated into six entire and independent parishes, namely:

The parish of Croston;

of Hoole separated from Croston in 1642
of Chorley separated in 1793, at the instance of the rector, to provide livings for two of his sons;
of Rufford
of Tarleton separated in 1821, and constituted distinct parishes
of Hesketh with Becconsall

In consequence of these alterations, the parish now contains only five townships, which are immediately adjoining to the village of Croston; these are, Croston, Bispham, Bretherton, Mawdesley, and Ulnes Walton.

Croston is bounded by the parish of Hoole on the north, by Standish and Ormskirk parishes on the south, by Tarleton and Rufford on the west, and by Leyland and Eccleston on the east. The length of the parish of Croston, from the nothern limits of the township of Bretherton to the southern limits of the township of Bispham, is eight miles, and its breadth, from the Douglas on the west to the point where the Yarrow enters the XXXXXX Paganus Villers, the first baron of Warrington, held three fees in Crocstun, Bulham, and Filingham, and Robert arish of Croston on the east, is four miles, comprising in the whole area 9070 statute acres.

The Douglas, celebrated in our ancient chronicles as the scene of four great conflicts between the Britons and Saxons, in all of which, "King Arthur was leader of the war, and stood forth the victor," divides Bispham, Mawdesley, and Croston from Burscough and Rufford, and forming the western boundary of the parish, discharges its stream into the estuary of the Ribble at Hesketh Bank, on the north. Below Bretherton the Douglas receives the Yarrow, which, winding from Eccleston, bounds the village of Croston on the south and south-west, and half a mile below the village joins the Lostock, which, leaving Leyland, runs through Ulnes Walton, between Croston and Bretherton. From the point of confluence of the Douglas and the Yarrow, to the estuary of the Ribble, these waters assume the name of the Asland, and are navigable to the village of Croston, though they are not navigated. Sid Brook, a stream issuing to the south south-east of Croston, falls into the Yarrow on the east side of the village. In wet seasons, the Yarrow is subject to overflow its banks and to occasion much damage, frequently encroaching upon the village, and sometimes entering the church.

In 1201, the king gave to Hugh le Porteur, "Hug Janatori," twenty marks in Croxton in exchange for his inheritance of Corfham and Culminton, and in the same town of Croxton Saracene ten marks; and in 1204 he gave to G. Luttrell 13fs of land which had been Hugh le Porteur's in Croxton, and 10 marks of land in Crokeston which had belonged to William de St. Albins. Roger de Montebegon held the greater part of Croston parish as annexed to his manor of Hornby, and by the Testa de Nevill' it appears that he gave to John Malerbe, his brother, ten carucates and six bovates of land in Croston with their appurtenances, to be held in knight service; and to the hospitallers of Jerusalem one bovate in alms. At the same time the heir of Aumeric Pincerna, who had married the daughter of Mathew, son of Paganus Villers, the first baron of Warrington, held three fees in Crocstun, Bulham, and Filingham, and Robert Fitz Richard held of him one fee in Croxton, Fillingham, and Hiam. The heir of Aumeric Pincerna was his son sir William Boteler. In the chancery roll of 3 John, Nicholas Pincerna, or Butler, is recorded as rendering an account of 100s. in the town of Croxton for three parts of the year, probably the chief rent of his possessions. This member of the Lancashire branch of an illustrious house does not appear in the pedigrees, nor in sir William Dugdale's Baronage, though he was sherif of Lancaster for Theobald Walter in 1198. On the family of Fitton, the Bussels, barons of Penwortham, conferred large estates in this hundred, and Richard Fitton, whose grandfather was lord of the manor of Rufford, left three daughters his coheiresses, one of whom, Elizabeth, married Roger Nowell, of Read; Matilda married sir William Hesketh; and "Annabilla," according to the pedigree of Hesketh of Rufford, obligingly communicated to the author by sir Thomas Dalrymple Hesketh, married "Edmund Leigh, lorde of Crostone, 17 Edw. I. He and his wife gave their inheritence to sir William Heskayte, knt. confirmed by sir William Leigh, 22 Edw. III. 1343." The same authority states, that, "Dame Mawde, d. & coheir of Richard Fytton," who married "Sir William Heskayte," "had all the lands of the coheirs of Richard Fytton by gift." It also appears from the same document, that Isabell, daughter of sir John Dellamere, knt. lord of Crostone and Mawdesleigh, temp. Edw. II. married sir Thomas Fleming, baron of Wath; while another daughter "married Wm. Legh de Legh, of whom," says the pedigree, "Hoghton of Hoghton, and Aston of Croston." The Lansdowne Feodary mentions, that Henry duke of Lancaster holds in demesne and service two knights' fees in Croston, with its members; and one knights' fee which the heirs of sir William Fleming, esq. baron of Wath, married Thomas Heskayt; and Alice, the daughter and heiress of William Lee, married Thomas Ashton, the father of sir William Ashton, of Croston, about the reign of Henry VI. By these donations and marriages the moieties of the manor of Croston were vested in the families of Ashton and Hesketh; but remain in neither. "Ashton of Croston," says a note in lord Suffield's MS. pedigrees, "came from Ashton in Craven. This family became extinct by the matches of Anne Ashton, daughter and coheiress, with John Trafford, the fourth son of sir Cecil Trafford, of Trafford, knight, and Monacha her sister, to ------ son of Bartholomew Hesketh, of Aughton." The moieties of the manor of Croston are at present held by Thomas Joseph Trafford, esq. high sherrif of the county for this year; and by Thomas Norris, esq. who purchased the Hesketh portion about 1825 from the Rev. Streynham Master, rector of Croston, by whom it was bought of sir Thomas Dalrymple Hesketh, of Rufford, bart. Two Courts leet and baron are held at the Grapes inn in Croston for the manor of Croston by the lords twice a year, at Michaelmas and Easter.

The parish church of Croston, dedicated to St. Michael, in the deanery of Leyland, and the archdeaconry, of Chester, is a large structure, consisting of a tower, nave, side aisles, chancel, and two chapels, and is situated near the middle of the village in the vale of the Yarrow. The tower is a strong square pile, castellated and adorned with pinnacles, and contains an excellent peal of eight bells. The windows are semicircular, divided by spandrels, squares, and lozenges, and separated by buttresses. The chancel, of which the roof is arched, is divided from the nave by a tall screen of ornamented oak, surmounted by the royal arms, and is lighted on the south side by arched windows, nearly lancet shaped. On the N. and S. sides of the nave, which, as well as the aisles, is broad, are four arches resting on the columns with plain capitals. The roof is flat, and the oak beams, of which it is composed, are divided into small compartments or panels, with simple carvings. The chapels, which are merely canopied pews, are called Rufford and Becconsall chapels, and are separated from the chancel by two massive pillars. They were the property of sir T. Dalrymple Hesketh until purchased by the rector of Croston. The pulpit has a sounding board, and the font is small and octagonal, having the date 1663 upon one of its divisions. This piece of local antiquity is covered with black paint! The gallery is small. In the east window of the south or Rufford chapel are the arms of the Heskeths painted on glass, and over the vestry door carved on stone are those of the Pilkingtons. In other parts of the church the arms of Farrington of Worden, Nelson of Fairhurst, and the Asshetons and Traffords of Croston are exhibited. On one of the canopied pews are painted in Old English characters these words - "This chappel was beavtified and this seat errected [1682] by Christopher Banastre, esq. ;" and on one of the windows are the remains of another memorial - "And for ye good estate of Henry Ba--- of William Bana---" and above are the letters HBM which are probably the initials of Henry Banastre and his wife Margaret Worthington, the parents of William Banastre, all of whom were living in the middle of the 16th century. An inscription on the north side of the steeple, indistinct from its situation, purports that the curch was rebuilt in the 16th century. Subject to the inundations of the river, this was obviously not the first time of re-erection. A church existed here in the reign of the Conqueror, when Roger de Poictou, by a charter, of which a copy is preserved in the register of the Priory of Lancaster, granted to the monastry of St. Martin of Sees in Normandy, the priory of St. Mary of Lancaster with a number of dependent churches and chapels, among which is named the "ecctiam de Croston." This grant was amply confirmed by John, earl of Moreton, and again when he became king. Subsequent charters of confirmation were granted by Ranulf, earl of Chester, and sir Roger Garnet, of Halton, knight. By a charter without a date, sir John de la Ware, who styles himself lord of Croston, after confirming the previous charters, surrenders all his right in the patronage of Croston and the mediety of the chapel of Eccleston to the abbot and convent of Sees. In 1317, the rector of Croston claimed Eccleston as a chapel dependent on Croston, and considerable litigation ensued; but the bishop of Coventry terminated the dispute by a voluminous decree, in which he decides that Eccleston is an independent parish church. A memorandum without date, inserted in the Register of St. Mary, states that the church of Croston in the county of Lancaster is worth 204s. per annum, that the advowson belongs to the priory of the Blessed Mary of Lancaster, and that the dean of St. Stephen of Westminster is rector of the same. In the Valor of pope Nicholas IV., 1291, it is estimated at £33. 6s. 8d. The edifice seated on the banks of the Yarrow, and exposed to the western winds, which in this part are frequent and strong, was so decayed, that the body was rebuilt in 1767-8, at a cost of £1834, collected by brief.
stolen from hubmaker
The living of Croston is a rectory and vicarage, valued in the Liber Regis at £31. 11s. 10.5d., in the patronage of George Smith, esq. banker of London, brother to lord Carrington, who, in 1821, purchased the advowson from Le Gendre P. Starkie, of Huntroyd, esq., who purchased it from the trustees of the Rev. Streynsham Master, incumbent of the living. The following list of the rectors of Croston is compiled from episcopal registers of Chester, and other sources:-

RECTORS OF CROSTON
DATE OF
INSTITUTION
RECTORS
BY WHOM
PRESENTED
CAUSE OF
VACANCY
Jan. 24, 1504
Thomas Mawssey
Robert Beconsawe
Abbess of St. Saviour of Syon Death of Thos. Mawssey.
Thomas Bonde    
July 20, 3 and 4 Phil & Mary.
Thomas Beninge Anthony Browne Death of Thomas Bonde
July 17, 1624
John Bartlet Bp. of Chester patron, by lapse of half a year. Death of last incumbent
Apr 25, 1625
James Hyatt King Charles Death of Thos. Mawssey.
---- Lowe    
Nov 27, 1662
James Pilkington Mittons of Knightsbridge ---- Lowe ejected Aug. 24, 1662
May 25, 1683
Charles Leyfield William and Robert Pilkington, clerks Death of James Pilkington
July 25, 1683
Edmund Townley Charles II Resig. of Chas. Leyfield.
July 2, 1688
John Lowe William Pilkington Resig. of Chas. Leyfield.
Sept. 6, 1688
John Riley Bishop of Chester Resig. of Chas. Leyfield.
March 17, 1689
Robert Pickering Chas. Leyfield, and Wm. Haydocke Death of John Riley
Dec 10, 1695
Zachariah Taylor King William Simony.
Dec 28, 1703
William Pilkington Charles Leyfield Death of Robert Pickering
Oct 21, 1755
Streynsham Master Legh Master, patron for this turn Death of Wm Pilkington
May 11, 1759
Robert Master Ann Master, Wm. Banks, & Thos. Clayton, esqs & John Hargreaves, gent. Death of Streynsham Master
Sept. 28, 1798
Streynsham Master, present incumbent Elizabeth Master, patron for this turn Death of Robert Master.

The present registers of this parish commence March 25th, 1728, and are all that can now be consulted for legal or statistical purposes. Mr William Henry Baldwin, churchwarden in 1827-28, having removed the preceding registers from their legitimate repository. The following are the results for the two first and the two last years:

Registers of Croston Church
 
1728.
1729.
1831
1832
Baptisms
32
42
103
107
Marriages
12
11
29
31
Burials
89
128
84
83

The parish of Croston, as at present constituted, does not contain one single chapel of ease, though, as late as the year 1642, Hoole, Hesketh-cum-Becconsall, Tarlton, Rufford and Chorley, were all chapelries dependant upon it. There are two Catholic chapels in the parish, one in Croston, built about the year 1793, and another in Mawdsley; there is also in Croston a Methodist meeting room, opened in 1828.

The partition of this parish, at the request of the rector, has given rise to the inquiry, whether it might not be advantageous, both to the established church and to the parishioners, in certain extensive parishes, to encourage these partitions, inasmuch as the effect would be to place the flock of each pastor under his more immediate inspection, to equalize in some degree the church livings, and to multiply their number, without imposing any additional burdens upon the parishioners. If there be no disadvantages to counterbalance these benefits, except the chimera that "they partake of the genius of republicanism," it is advisable that the legislature should give facilities to such alterations by a general act for carrying them into effect, with the joint consent of the bishop, patron, and incumbent, reserving, if necessary, an appeal to the archbishop of the province, or to the king in council. The principle of the tithe commutation adopted by the parishes of St Michael-le-Wyre and of Lancaster, in this county, under the sanction of parliament, might be combined with these changes, if, in the mean time, a general tithe commutation bill should not pass into law.

The public charities of Croston Parish are exhibited in the XVth Report of the Parliamentary Commissioners for enquiring into public charities, from p.112 to 154, and the following is a compendious abstract of the voluminous return:-

PARISH OF CROSTON

School, erected in 1660 by the Rev. James Hyatt, rector of Croston, and endowed with rent charges amounting to £14. This income was afterwards augmented by a legacy and pew-rents to £21. 9s. per annum. The school-house is situated in the churchyard of Croston, and the sons of poor persons of the parish are admitted by ticket. The master is paid for the education of others. The number of boys is about 80, of whom more than 30 are of the ticket class.
1711. Layfields Charity. The Rev. Charles Layfield, D.D. gave to the poor of various places the fourth part of his estate, amounting to £1389. 7s. 4d., after payment of debts and legacies. The share due to Croston was £347. 6s. 10d., which, in pursuance of an order in chancery, was laid out in government securities, and produced £364. 3s. 3d. with which, and £5. 16s. 8d. advanced by the parish, a messuage and land in Ulnes Walton were purchased. The present income derived from the rent appears to be . . . .£35
Charities of the Rev. Streynsham Master, and Mrs. Anne Master. These consist of the interest of £200 for the purchase of books of devotion. Part of the interest is applied to the support of a school of industry, established by subscription in 1802, for poor girls, towards which Mrs. El. Masters gave £200
1770 Crooke's Charity. The interest of the produce of two cottages in Mawdsley, for the purchase of books of devotion according to the church of England. The annual income is . . . . £7 4

TOWNSHIP OF CROSTON

1693/1797 Croston Almshouse, and Wilson's Charity. Henry Croston bequeathed three houses, with land and gardens, for 3 poor men and women of Croston, and a rent charge of £7. 10s.; and Henry Wilson, surgeon, gave the yearly interest of £20 to the oldest person in the almshouse. On an average of five years, each alms-tenant receives yearly £5. 6s. 4.75d. besides the interest of Mr. Wilson's donation.
1663 Dandy's Charity. £50 to purchase a rent charge of 50s. to be laid out in clothes for the poor of Croston . . . . £2 10
1681 Poor's Stock. This fund commenced in 1681 with several sums amounting to £32. 10s which, in 1694, had increased to £139. 10s. besides a rent charge of £5 a year. In 1718 the principle was computed at £340, and the present annual income, employed in apprenticing children and clothing the poor is . . . . £61 10
1700 Lathom's Charity. Peter Lathom, of Bispham, left several estates in different parts of the county, in trust, to bind apprentices, and to the poor of Lathom, Bispham, Mawdsley, Ormskirk, Newburgh, Burscough, Dalton, Rufford, to the poor prisoners in Lancaster Castle, &c. The annual rents of this property amount in the whole to . . . . £339 10. There is also belonging to this charity the sum of £1315. 12s. 8d. lodges in the bank at Preston, for which 2.5 per cent interest is allowed, which is suffered to go to the original as an accumulating fund. The annual allotments made to the seventeen places named in the legacy amount to . . . . £156
1721 Hough's Charity. The interest of £52 to be distributed in bread to poor protestants . . . . £2 12
1740 Norris's Charity. The interest of £26 in bread to the poor . . . . £1 6
1802 School of Industry, established by subscription for the instruction of poor girls, of whom there are about thirty, taught by a schoolmistress for an annual salary of £14
1809 Jubilee Almshouses, built to celebrate the period on which George III. entered into the 50th year of his reign, on 25th October, 1809, partly with a sum raised by subscription, and partly with a legacy of £200 given by Mrs. Elizabeth Masters. The stock amounts to £548

TOWNSHIP OF BISPHAM

1675 Durning's Charity. A messuage and tenement with land, conveyed in trust to raise the yearly sum of £12, for the relief of the poor, binding apprentices, &c., the residue to be employed in raising a sum for building a school, and afterwards for the salary of a schoolmaster. The building is in good condition, and the average number of scholars is thirty-five. They are taught reading and arithmetic, finding only their own books and stationary. Formerly it was a classical school of some repute. It is to be lamented that little advantage is now derived from the establishment, in proportion to the amount of the income applicable to its support, being about £160 per annum.
Lathoms Charity. See Croston township
Ambrose's Charity. A rent charge of 3s. 4d. to the poor

TOWNSHIP OF BRETHERTON

1654 School, founded by Mrs. Jane Fletcher, and endowed with lands which produce an income of . . . . £112 5 8

TOWNSHIP OF MAWDSLEY

Lathom's Charity, See Croston Township
1657/1669 Charities of John and David Stopford. 40s. yearly to the poor of the parish and the poor of Blackmoor, which is common in this township, surrounded with cottages . . . . £2
1688 Crook's Charity. £2 per annum to the poor of Mawdsley, and £2 to the schoolmaster of the little school at Mawdsley. . . . £4
Blackburn's Charity. £50 to the poor; diminished to £30. 3s.
Durning's Charity. £5 every 7th year for apprenticing a poor child.

TOWNSHIP OF ULNES WALTON

1657 Glassbrook's Charity. The rents of 4 fields to the poor . . . . £23
1735 Waring's Gift. The profits of 2 cottages and a tenement in Ulnes Walton, including a rent charge of 40s. annually, amount to . . . . £17
1753 Annuity of 10s. The field called Dandy Land, belonging to Croston's almshouses, is subject to this charge, which is given to the poor not receiving parish relief.

Croston is a long and straggling village on the banks of the Yarrow, and, according to Leland, was a market town in the reign of Henry VIII.:- "Ther is beside Chorle," says the itinerant, "Crosseton, a Market Toune in Lelandshire. It is a iii. Miles from Chorle, and Latham is a iii. mile from hit;" but afterwards he remarks that it is "a poore or no Market." Near the centre of the village, and not far from the parish church and the rectory, is the base of an ancient cross with steps, which may have been the site of the market, and have occaisoned the appellation of the village - Cross-Town. A wake is held annually in Croston, and indeed throughout the parish, on the Sunday next to St. Michael's day. A fair, entirely for cattle, is also held yearly on the Monday preceding Shrove Tuesday, but it does not appear to be chartered. The ancient curfew bell is still rung at Croston church every evening at eight o'clock, from the 25th of March to the 29th of September, both inclusive. The old hall at Croston, built in the 17th century, and standing within living memory, has been taken down, and the present fabric erected. It is a tall building, rough cast, and consisting of a centre and wings, terminating in gables : it is seated among trees on the east of the village, and is occupied by Henry Tempest, esq. a magistrate, who married Jemima, the daughter of Joseph Thomas Trafford, esq. The rectory is a stately edifice, coeval with the old hall.

By an act of parliament, passed in 1799, commissioners were appointed to drain the low lands of Croston, Mawdesley, Rufford, Tarleton, and Bretherton, out of a fund to be raised by a rate on the landowners and tenantry. The first operations under this act were ill-conducted, and attended with much unnecessary expense, but the object was ultimately effected, to the essential improvement of the value of the lands, and the health and comfort of the inhabitants. In the early part of the last century there was a great deal of waste land in Croston, but the act of 1728, for the inclosure of Croston common, much reduced its extent.

MAWDSLEY or MAWDESLEY, is an extensive, flat, and fertile township, between Croston and Wrightington, watered by the Sidbrook. The hall, a large stone edifice erected on a foundation of rock, afforded for many generations a residence to the Mawdesley family, by whom Heskin New Hall in the adjoining township, now occupied by Miss C. Bamford, was built. Adam de Moudesley was a ward of the duchy in 35 Edward III. and Robert Mawdesley, esq. the last of this ancient race, was living at Mawdesley Hall about 1760. The estates of Heskin and Mawdesley became the property of Alexander Kershaw, esq. a military officer, who purchased them out of chancery, and they were lately enjoyed by his grandson Edmund Newman Kershaw, esq. but are now the property of Mr. Mitchell. A moiety of the manor of Maudisleigh was held in 46 Edward III. by William del Lee and Isolda his wife; and it descended with Croston to the families of Hesketh and Trafford, by whom a court leet and baron is held annually at the Black Bull, at Michaelmas. Here the Nelsons, a branch from Fairhurst, held lands as early as 1 Richard II. The celebrated naval hero, lord Nelson, expressed to Mr. Townsend the herald, during the search for his pedigree, a strong desire to establish himself as a descendant from a Lancashire family; but the name of Nelson is of considerable standing in the county of Norfolk, and to that county we are obliged reluctantly to surrender this most distinguished ornament of the British arms. Bamford House, built in the 17th century, formerly the residence of the Bamfords, is now a public house. Black Moor House, now in decay, is of a date coeval with Bamford House. Here is a large Catholic chapel, with a residence for the minister, erected by subscription in 1830. A salt or brine spring is found on the estate of Salt Pit House in Mawdesley, the property of Mr. Trafford.

BISPHAM is a small and thinly populated, but richly cultivated district, near the river Douglas, and opposite Burscough. Bispham Hall, a plain stone building on the south, erected in the 16th century, is the property of lord Skemersdale. The Stanleys, earls of Derby, have long possessed what is called the lordship, but Bispham is merely a factitious manor. The principle landowners here are the Stanleys, the Rigbys, and lord Skemersdale. In this township is the free grammar school founded by Robert Durning.

BRETHERTON is a considerable township, extending from Hoole on the north to Croston on the south, and from the Douglas or Asland on the west to Ulnes Walton on the east. Bank Hall, which existed here previous to the reign of Edward II. was for centuries the manorial residence of the Banastres or Banisters, lords of the manor of Bretherton. In 34 Edward III. a mandate was issued from the duchy court, on the death of Thomas Banastre, directing the escheater to sieze for the king and the duke the lands of Thomas Banastre, among which are named Crofton, (Croston) Farryngton, Thorpe, and Bretherton. A Thomas Banastre is mentioned in the Lansdowne Feodary, 23 Edward III., as the son and heir of sir Adam Banastre, whom Dr. Whitaker conjectures to have been of this family, and who was beheaded in the reign of Edward II. by Thomas, earl of Lancaster, for his active opposition to that powerful and factious baron. The conjecture is therefore improved to be a strong probability, if it be not advanced to absolute certainty. The descent of the Banisters of Bank is not satisfactorily traced before the reign of Henry VIII,. in whose second year died Henry Banister, of Bank.

Geneaology - Banister of Bank (632kb)

On a monument in Leyland church is an inscription, from which it would appear that Christopher, the last named, was married a second time, or that the pedigree of Banister and Ashton of Middleton are both erroneous. The inscription completes the account of this branch of a once distinguished house :- "Elizabeth, daughter & coheir of Christopher Banastre, of Bank, Esq. who was living in 1682, m. Robert Parker, Esq. of Extwistle, & had Banastre Parker of Cuerdon, born 1696. Christopher m. Anne, d. & coheir of William Clayton, of Leverpool, Esq. He was High Sheriff 1670." Bank Hall, inscribed with the year 1608 over the west door, is a stately renovated brick mansion, in the Elizabethian style, with gables, pinnacles, sah windows, and a fanciful tower in the centre, containing a clock. A gothic lodge is placed at the entrance gates, adjoining the Liverpool and Preston road. This hall was possessed, after the Banisters, by Thomas Fleetwood, esq. the first improver of Martin meer, who made it his residence in 1692 ; in the beginning of the last century he was succeeded by Fleetwood Leigh, esq. ; and its present owner is George Anthony Leigh Keck, esq. Carr house, built in the 17th century, has long been the property of the Brethertons of Hoole. In this township are two places of religeous worship; the old Methodist chapel, erected in 1824, and the Independant chapel, built in 1825. The present lords of Bretherton are George A. L. Keck, esq. and sir T. D. Hesketh, bart., by whom a court leet is held annually at the Anchor Inn.

ULNES WALTON, a small township occupied by farmers and yeomanry families, lies east of Bretherton, between Croston and Leyland. In 21 Edward III. Henry earl of Lancaster levied a fine on William de Bracebrigge and Matilda, his wife, for the manor of Vlne Walton, and fourteen years afterwards granted the site of the manor to "Richard de Hibernia, physician of the Duke of Lancaster, with liberty to be Toll free & Hoper free at the duke's mills. Thomas Molyneux had a lease of the manor of Ulneswalton from the crown, in 21 Edward IV., who afterwards granted a moiety of it to Thomas Walton. In the reign of Edward VI. the manor was transferred by the crown to sir Anthony Brown, a justice of the common pleas, and a considerable trafficker in the confiscated property of religious houses. In a miscellaneous manuscript of the Harleian collection is an article entitled "An Abstracte of all such thinges as passed the greate seale of England, &c. out of the Register kept by Thomas, Bishoppe of Ely, &c., keeper of the greate seale, the xxijth of Dec. a Dni 1551;" which contains the following memorandum :-

"A pattente of Purehas graunted to Anthonye Browne of Southweld in the Countye of Essexe Esquir of certayne manners of the Kinges maties namely the mannor of Vlneswalton, Ayland, and Kellemargh, wth theire appurtenances in the countye of Lancaster To haue and to houlde to him and his hearies of the kinges matie in Capite, paienge to the kinges grace for the same M. CCCC. LXXXIIIJ VJ VIIJ, dated quarto die Januarye and sealed the vijth daye of Januarye An 1551."

Ulnes Walton is not at present reputed a manor, but is a district inhabited chiefly by freeholders. Littlewood farm, the property of William Farrington, of Shaw Hall, esq., is the largest in the whole hundred. According to tradition, the farm called Gradwells, in the garden of which is an old well-preserved cross, was formerly a monkish cell. This estate, lately the property of Alexander Kershaw, of Heskin, esq., now belongs to Mr Mitchell.

Transcript Index | Local History

See also Bank Hall by C. Strange

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