Townships
Ormskirk

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Victoria County History

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William Farrer & J. Brownbill (editors)

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1907

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261-264

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'Townships: Ormskirk', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3 (1907), pp. 261-264. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=41331&strquery=gillibrand Date accessed: 31 July 2014.


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ORMSKIRK

Ormeskierk, 1202; Ormeskirk, 1366; Ormiskirk, 1554.

This township, surrounding the parish church, has an area of only 572½ acres. (fn. 1) The boundary on the west is the Mere Brook dividing it from Aughton.

The fine old market-town of Ormskirk, noted for its gingerbread, lies on sloping ground on the side of a ridge, whose highest point is 254 ft. above sea-level. The small amount of open ground consists of pasture and cultivated fields, bare and almost destitute of trees. Two large water-works on Greetby Hill are prominent features, but hardly add to the beauty of the neighbourhood. The geological formation is similar to that of the adjacent townships. The town has grown up along the great road going north-west to Preston, named at this point Aughton Street and Burscough Street. At the market cross two other main roads branch out; Church Street leads north to the church, and turning round its east end branches off towards Scarisbrick and Halsall; while Moor Street, leading east, soon divides into roads leading to Bickerstaffe and Skelmersdale. The population in 1901 numbered 6,857.

The Liverpool and Preston Railway, opened in 1849, runs parallel to and on the east of the firstnamed highway. The station stands in the other main street of the town—Derby Street—parallel to and on the north of Moor Street. The houses have spread out to the east of the railway. A branch line of the London and North-Western Railway connects the town with St. Helens.

The market is held in Moor Street and Aughton Street. A clock tower was built here in 1876, (fn. 2) and the Corn Exchange was erected in 1896. In Moor Street is a statue of the earl of Beaconsfield, erected in 1884. The Savings Bank dates from 1822; a library was formed in 1854, and a working men's institute in 1867. Public pleasure grounds were opened in 1894.

The soil is chiefly mossy and sandy, and the subsoil sand and clay.

The town is thus described by Leland, who visited it about 1535:—'Ormskirk, a four miles or five miles from Liverpool, and about a two miles from Lathom; a parish church in the town; no river by it, but mosses on each side.' (fn. 3) Camden, writing fifty or sixty years later, merely says that it was 'a market town, famous for the burial place of the Stanleys, Earls of Derby.' (fn. 4) A more vivid account of its state in 1598 is contained in one of the pleadings in the Duchy Court, as follows:—'Ormskirk is a great, ancient, and very populous town, and the inhabitants are very many, and a great market is kept there weekly besides two fairs every year; and the Quarter Sessions are held there twice a year, whereunto, as also to the church there on Sundays, holidays, and other days to divine service, weddings, christenings and burials, and also upon other great occasions, great multitudes of people continually thither repair.' (fn. 5)

The Quarter Sessions were held in Ormskirk from the time of Henry VIII onward until 1817, when they were transferred to Liverpool. (fn. 6) The ancient market and fairs were conveniently situated for the district, and have continued to the present day; the weekly market being held on Thursday, and the fairs on Whit Monday and Tuesday and on 10 and 11 September.

During the Civil-War period Ormskirk was the head quarters of the Parliamentary forces. At the Restoration Charles II was twice proclaimed at the market cross by John Entwisle, a prominent lawyer and justice of the peace. (fn. 7) Sir William Dugdale stayed here in 1664, when engaged upon the work of his visitation. References to it in the eighteenth century show that it was a miniature capital for the district, where public and private business could be transacted and social meetings and entertainments arranged. The Aughton races must have contributed to enliven its social life. There was also a cockpit in the town. (fn. 8) There yet remain, as inns, shops, or the like, some of the eighteenth-century town houses of the families who lived in the neighbourhood, plain but of good proportion and detail, and often containing fittings belonging to their better days. A good instance is the Wheatsheaf Inn, formerly belonging to the Rad-cliffes.

At the beginning of last century the place was described as 'a clean, well-built market town.' Cotton-spinning obtained a 'footing' here, but was abandoned, and about 1830 silk-weaving also was attempted. (fn. 9) About the same time hat-making was an important industry, but this also has decayed. (fn. 10)

In 1635 Ormskirk was a seat of the glove trade. (fn. 11)

Roperies and breweries are now the principal industries, and there is an iron foundry; while there are market gardens around the town. (fn. 12)

The ducking-stool formerly stood in Aughton Street, near the Mere Brook, but was removed in 1780. The dungeon and pillory were in the same street. The stocks were kept in the tower of the parish church, and when required for use were erected by the church gates, or by the fish-stones in Aughton Street. (fn. 13)

A number of books were published here early last century. (fn. 14) A newspaper, The Advertiser, was established in 1853, and continues to be issued weekly on Thursday.

The more noteworthy natives of the place include Austin Nuttall, author of the Dictionary; Alexander Goss, Catholic bishop of Liverpool; (fn. 15) and Robert Harkness, a geologist. (fn. 16) Of minor note was William Hill, who discovered a mad-dog medicine which made Ormskirk famous. (fn. 17) What is known as the Ormskirk watch escapement was invented about 1700 by Peter de Beaufre; these watches were extensively made in the town, and thence came the trade name. (fn. 18)

Several tokens were issued by tradesmen here in the seventeenth century. (fn. 19)

'In the old coaching days Ormskirk was a centre of great activity, the coaches on the turnpike road between Liverpool and Preston halting in the town for a "change" both for man and beast, and to set down and pick up passengers.' (fn. 20) The Directory of 1825 enumerates twenty-seven inns here, and a list of nine coaches passing through the town daily, or starting from it.

'The Curfew bell is rung at nine in summer and eight in winter . . . Within recent years there was also continued to be rung, for six weeks before Christmas and six weeks after, the bell known as the "Prentice Bell."' (fn. 21)

The market cross of Ormskirk stood on the site of the present clock tower. Outside the town to the north was Stockbridge Cross, the pedestal of which remains. (fn. 22)

The legend as to the two sisters and the tower and spire of the church is well known. (fn. 23)

There are two sundials in the churchyard, one against the south wall, the other on a pillar by the porch.

The head of a pike was dug up in the churchyard in 1879. (fn. 24)

The plague or sweating sickness is said to have visited the town several times during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the last occurrence being in 1647. 'God's providence is our habitation' is carved on the front of a house to the east of the town, as a commemoration of the escape of its dwellers at that time. (fn. 25)

The churchwardens' accounts of 1665 and 1666 record a number of small payments for repairs to the church and its fittings; also for the destruction of 'vermin,' including orchants (hedgehogs), pianets (magpies), gels (jays), and maulderts (moles). (fn. 26)

MANOR

When about 1189 the church was given to the new priory of Burscough the description used, 'the church of Ormskirk with all its appurtenances,' (fn. 27) suggests that there was here a rectory manor, subordinate to Lathom, but having distinct limits which probably coincided with those of the present township. (fn. 28)

In 1286 the canons obtained from the king and from Edmund, earl of Lancaster, the grant of a weekly market on Thursday at their manor or town of Ormskirk, and an annual fair, to continue for five days, commencing on the eve of the Decollation of St. John Baptist (29 August). They were to pay to the earl, by the hand of his bailiffs of Liverpool, a mark of silver every year, in lieu of the stallage or toll payable to the earl. (fn. 29) An additional fair, on Whit Tuesday, was granted by Edward IV, in 1461. (fn. 30)

BOROUGH

These charters were followed or accompanied by the creation of Ormskirk into a free borough; Warin, prior of Burscough, and the canons granting that the burgesses and their heirs should have a free borough there for ever, as also 'all right customs and liberties as is more fully contained in the King's Charter.' Each burgess was to have an acre of land to his burgage, with appurtenances, and to pay 12d. a year; his corn was to be ground at the canons' mills; he might sell or grant his burgage as he pleased, provided that the service due to Burscough was secured; and the court of pleas called Portman mote was to be held every three weeks. The holder of a toft within the borough was to pay 6d. a year for it. (fn. 31) Many of the gentry of the surrounding country possessed burgages in the town, notably the lords of Lathom and Scarisbrick and the canons of Burscough themselves, the inhabitants—mercers, glovers, and other tradesmen—holding under them. (fn. 32) In 1357 Thomas de Sutton and Godith his wife purchased from Hugh the Cloth-seller and Quenilda his wife, and Richard the Stringer and Margery his wife, a messuage here; (fn. 33) and other similar acquisitions are recorded. (fn. 34) The borough seems to have become extinct before the sixteenth century.

The Crosse family had lands in Ormskirk at an early date, (fn. 35) and among other holders may be mentioned Croft, (fn. 36) Standish, (fn. 37) Gerard, (fn. 38) Scarisbrick, (fn. 39) and Parr. (fn. 40) A rental of 1524, compiled for the prior of Burscough, gives a list of tenants in Ormskirk, (fn. 41) and there is a list of tenants at will dated 1522. (fn. 42) After the suppression of the priory an annual account was rendered to the king by his bailiff, giving full details of tenants and services. (fn. 43) The subsidy rolls also supply lists of the inhabitants. (fn. 44)

The manor of Ormskirk, with its appurtenances, the windmill called Greetby Mill, another windmill and a water-mill, the new vicarage, and some other tenements were in July, 1603, granted by James I to William, earl of Derby, for £480; (fn. 45) and from that time the manor descended with the earldom.

The town was governed by the court-leet, which held its meetings in the old town hall in Church Street. (fn. 46) A local board of health was established in 1850, (fn. 47) and its authority displaced that of the court-leet, which was dissolved in 1876. (fn. 48) The market tolls were purchased by the local board in 1876 from Lord Derby for £1,000. (fn. 49) By the Act of 1894 the board became an urban district council; the town is divided into four wards, (fn. 50) each electing three members. The council owns the water supply, but gas is supplied by a private company established in 1833.

The West Lancashire Rural District Council meets at Ormskirk.

While the crown held the manor disputes arose as to the rights of the mills. (fn. 51)

Court rolls of the manor have been preserved for the period during which the manor was vested in the crown; the courts seem to have been held in conjunction with those of Burscough. (fn. 52) There are other court rolls at Knowsley.

The following, as 'Papists,' registered estates here in 1717: Thomas Bradshaw, maltster; Hugh Bulling, of Lathom; Edward Spencer, of Scarisbrick, and Lawrence Wilson. (fn. 53)

The parish church has already been described.

The Wesleyan Methodists built a chapel in 1810 in Chapel Street, but in 1878 removed to the new Emmanuel Church, near the railway station. (fn. 54)

In connexion with the Congregationalists the Itinerant Society of Ministers began preaching here in 1801. The services were not continuous. In 1826 part of a silk factory in Burscough Street was secured for a chapel, and a church was formed two years later. In 1834 the present church was built in Chapel Street, but the cause has never been very prosperous. (fn. 55)

The Presbyterian meeting-place had its origin in the ministrations of the ejected vicar of 1662. In 1689 his son and successor, Nathaniel Heywood, used Bury's house in Ormskirk as a meeting-place. (fn. 56) A chapel was built in 1696 in Chapel Street. (fn. 57) In 1755 the income of a sum of £10 was to be devoted to the benefit of the minister who should officiate at the chapel or meeting-house at Ormskirk; it seems to have been bequeathed by Alice Lawton. Henry Holland, in 1776, left £100 as an endowment for the Protestant Dissenting minister officiating in Ormskirk. A few years later (1783) land was acquired in Aughton Street on a 999 years' lease, and more in subsequent years, on which a minister's house was erected fronting the street, with a chapel and chapel-yard behind, 'for religious worship for Protestant Dissenters, usually nominated Presbyterians.' (fn. 58) Trustees were from time to time appointed, the last in 1881; and in 1890 they applied to the Charity Commissioners for power to sell the chapel and house, stating that these had been entirely disused for four years, (fn. 59) and that for thirty years there had been no congregation, the Unitarian body being practically extinct in Ormskirk and district. (fn. 60)

The adherents of the Roman Catholic Church have always been numerous, and in the times of persecution would be able to worship at some of the neighbouring mansions, as Scarisbrick and Moor Hall. (fn. 61) A house in Aughton Street, next to the Brewer's Arms, was known as the 'Mass House.' (fn. 62) The use of it probably continued until the chapel in Aughton was built, a short distance outside the Ormskirk boundary. (fn. 63)

Footnotes

1 574, including 1 acre of inland water, according to the Census Rep. of 1901.
2 It contains the old fire bell, given to the town by the earl of Derby, in 1684.
3 Leland, Itin. vii, 47.
4 Camden, Brit. (ed. 1695), 749.
5 Duchy of Lanc. Pleadings, Eliz. clxxxvii, A. 43.
6 Duchy of Lanc. Deposns. Hen. VIII, xlviii, R. 2; Kenyon MSS. (Hist. MSS. Com.), 153; information of the Clerk of the County Council.
7 Par. Reg.
8 N. Blundell's Diary (1702–28) passim.
9 Baines, Lancs. (ed. 1836), iv, 258.
10 Lewis (1844) mentions a small trade in balance-making.
11 Pal. Note Book, i, 213.
12 The Directory of 1825 mentions carrots and early potatoes as the distinguishing agricultural produce of the neighbourhood.
13 Lea, Ormskirk Handbook, 6.
14 The publisher was John Fowler.
15 He was born in 1814, educated at Ushaw and Rome, became coadjutor to Bishop Brown in 1853, and succeeded him in 1856. He died in 1872. He had antiquarian tastes, and edited a volume for the Chet. Soc. and another for the Manx Society; Gillow's Bibl. Dict. of Engl. Catholics, ii, 535.
16 He was born in 1816, and died in October, 1878. He wrote, among other essays, an account of the geology of Ormskirk.
17 Lea, op. cit. 15. He lived at the 'Hall' in Burscough Street.
18 Information of Mr. Horne, Leyburne.
19 Lancs. and Ches. Antiq. Soc. v, 87, where six are described.
20 Lea, op. cit. 11.
21 Ibid. 52.
22 Lancs. and Ches. Antiq. Soc. xix, 148, 154.
23 Harland and Wilkinson, Legends and Traditions, 47.
24 Lea, op. cit. 58.
25 Lea, op. cit. 6.
26 Trans. Hist. Soc. xxx, 169, &c.
27 Farrer, Lancs. Pipe R. 350.
28 Some early charters concerning Ormskirk and Burscough have been preserved. Henry son of Thomas de Ormskirk released to the prior and canons the land his father had held of them, and placed himself under the jurisdiction of the archdeacon of Chester, under a penalty of 5 marks payable to the fabric of St. John's Church at Chester. Burscough Reg. fol. 12. Henry de Ormskirk, son of Alan, sometime canon of Burscough, for 5½ marks sterling released to the prior and canons the land he held from them in Ormskirk, with homages, services, and reliefs. Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxvi, App. 196. This is no doubt the land in Ormskirk and Edgeacres of which the grant to Henry is extant. Alan the clerk having become a brother of the house, Henry the prior and the convent, with the consent of Robert de Lathom, gave his land to Henry his son, for a rent of 12d. with remainder to his sister Beatrice; this grant to hold good even should the house be removed, re-dedicated, or placed in subjection to some other house. Duchy of Lanc. Anct. D. L. 270. This appears to be the original grant of the lands called Edgeacres and Ashenhead. Alice or Avice, formerly wife of Henry de Ashenhead—possibly the same Henry—released to the prior and canons her late husband's lands in Ormskirk in exchange for a grant to her and Alan her son (for life) of land in Brackenthwaite; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxvi, App. 197. Alan, the son, gave a similar release. Ibid.
Margery, daughter of Robert the chaplain of Burscough, widow, gave in free alms to the canons all her right in Gerstan (in Ormskirk), the bounds of which began by the land of Ralph son of Alexander, went down by the ditches as far as the ditch of Ashenhead (Asseneheved), and by that ditch as far as Lydeyate, thence in a straight line to the boundary of Birklands, and on to the starting place; Duchy of Lanc. Anct. D. L. 589. The seal has a fleur-de-lys, with the legend s' MARGERIE DE PARIS. Margery, widow of John de Paris, quitclaimed to the canons about 1280 all her right in her late husband's holding; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxvi, App. 204. Lydiate Lane was the old name of Derby Street.
29 The king's charter, dated 28 April, 1286, is copied in the Burscough Register, fol. 13; also Chart. R. 14 Edw. I, m. 4, n. 23, and Add. MS. 20518. The earl's Charter, 29 September, 1286, is among the Duchy of Lanc. Misc. Charters, i, fol. 45.
30 Duchy of Lanc. Royal Charters, n. 385. There was expressly added the assize of bread, ale, wine, &c., and measures and weights in the town of Ormskirk.
31 Burscough Reg. fol. 15. In 1292 the prior was called upon to show by what warrant he claimed market and fair in Ormskirk. On producing the charter it was argued that it did not justify him in claiming fines nor breach of the assize of bread and ale: the jury, however, upheld his reply that the words, 'all the liberties and free customs' of such a market and fair, were sufficient warrant. Plac. de quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 370. Subsequently Thomas, earl of Lancaster, complaining that the market and fair injured him by reducing his toll of the wapentake, secured an additional ½ mark a year from the canons. Thus in 1322 the sum of 20s. was paid by them; Dods. MSS. cxxxi, fol. 36 b. A further confirmation of the rights of the priory regarding the market and fair of Ormskirk was obtained from Henry, earl of Lancaster, in the beginning of 1339, and a more general one in 1354 from his son Henry after he had been created duke of Lancaster; Burscough Reg. fol. 14.
32 A list of seventy-one inhabitants of Ormskirk in 1366 is contained in the roll of subscriptions to a chaplain's stipend. The surnames are of all kinds—Robert de Blythe, John the Tailor, Robert Nickson, Adam Childsfather, &c.; Exch. Lay Subs. 1332 (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 109. In 1346 the prior and convent of Burscough acquired from Gilbert de Haydock a tenement in Ormskirk in part satisfaction of a licence from the king to purchase lands to the value of 20 marks yearly; it consisted of a messuage and 2 acres held of the purchasers themselves by a rent of 2s. The preliminary Inq. a.q.d. states that the prior held the tenement of Sir Thomas de Lathom as parcel of the manor of Lathom in free alms; Sir Thomas holding this manor by a service of 18s. (elsewhere 20s.) of Henry, earl of Lancaster, and the latter of the king as of the honour of Lancaster; Inq. p.m. 20 Edw. III (2), n. 59.
33 Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 154; 10 marks were paid.
34 In 1384 Richard Shacklady of Ormskirk obtained from John de Eccleston of Liverpool and Ellen his wife a messuage in Ormskirk, 10 marks being paid; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 2, m. 25. The following is a case of forfeiture:—Richard the Parker of Lathom and Alina his wife claimed 2 messuages and an acre of land in Ormskirk from Thomas, prior of Burscough, Richard de Litherland, Roger the Flecher of Ormskirk and Margery his wife, and Robert the clerk of Ormskirk. The prior's answer, which the jury accepted, was that one Henry Rauf, clerk, a bastard, had held the property, which on his death passed to his son John as heir. The latter dying without issue, his sister Alina claimed, and entered; but the prior had ejected her as born before marriage, and had lawfully taken possession; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 4, m. 17. In the cases of John de Teuland hanged for felony, and Henry the Barker outlawed for the same, their holdings—an acre and a messuage with toft—were taken into the hand of the duke of Lancaster for a year and a day; Inq. p.m. 24 Edw. III, pt ii, n. 3.
35 Thus in 1316 Emma daughter of Thomas de Ince and widow of William son of Adam of the Cross of Wigan, surrendered her dower right to lands, &c., in Ormskirk to John of the Cross of Wigan; Towneley MS. GG. n. 2384. John de Ince, who died in 1428, held in Ormskirk a messuage and field called Selerfield and half a messuage, of Hugh, prior of Burscough. These descended to the Aughtons of Aughton; Lancs. Inq. p. m. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 23.
36 Thomas Croft of Ormskirk in 1437 gave to his son John and heirs burgages, lands, and tenements in the town and townfields of Ormskirk; with remainders to Nicholas, Benedict, Hugh, and Joan, brothers and sister of John, and to John, Robert, and Elizabeth, children of Thomas Oliver; Towneley MS. DD. n. 210. The will of John Croft, dated 6 August, 1492, after giving 20s. to Brother Lawrence Brown, of the Grey Friars of Chester, for celebrating for his soul, left all his lands, &c. to the children of his son Robert in succession—Godfrey, John, and Margaret; and in default of heirs to the heirs of the testator's son Richard. Alice wife of the son Robert, and Godfrey Hulme were appointed executors; ibid. n. 348.
37 In May, 1481, Evan Standish of Warrington, son of William Standish deceased, surrendered to Hugh Standish of Ormskirk all his right in the lands, &c. which the latter held in Ormskirk and Newburgh. Twenty-one years later these lands were in the possession of Gilbert Standish, who settled them upon his son Robert and his heirs by Margaret daughter and heir of Robert Croft. Towneley MS. DD. 60, 234.
38 Gilbert Gerard of Ormskirk, draper, in 1482 obtained from Thomas Ayscough of Aintree, a burgage in Burscough Street; Towneley MS. DD. n. 57. The tenement of Gilbert Gerard was in 1498 granted by the prior of Burscough to Thomas (son of Gilbert) Gerard and Margery his wife, and Gilbert son of Thomas, at a rent of 14s. and the accustomed services; for a heriot at death the second best animal or 6s. 8d. was to be given; Gilbert Gerard, senior, and Joan his wife were still living; Duchy of Lanc. Mins. Accts. bdle. 136, n. 2198, m. 7. The properties of Croft, Standish, and Gerard were afterwards acquired by the Heskeths of Rufford.
39 The Scarisbrick Deeds (Trans. Hist. Soc. New Ser. xii and xiii) contain some references to Ormskirk. The earliest is an undated grant by Adam de Edgeacre to Richard son of Molle of Eggergarth, conveying 2 acres lying in length between the road to Wigan and the moss, and in width between lands of William de Wakefield and John Todd; there was a rent of 2s. to the prior and canons of Burscough; n. 30. By another, (n. 104), Richard de Penwortham in 1369 demised lands and buildings to John son of Alice, daughter of Geoffrey de Ormskirk; and in the following year Richard son of Alan del Greve granted to Henry de Scarisbrick lands which had descended to him after the death of John son of John de Ormskirk; n. 109. In 1402 Robert Bradshagh acquired from John le Ring and Joan his wife a burgage and a half burgage by the churchyard; n. 149. In the rental of 1524 James Bradshagh was holding lands in the town by the rents of 12d. and 6d. The Scarisbricks also had in 1492 burgages near the church; n. 179.
40 In the reign of Edw. III Robert son of Henry de Parr by his marriage with Cecily daughter of John Whitehead of Lathom, became possessed of lands in Lathom and Ormskirk, which descended with the other estates of the family; Ct. of Wards D. box 13a, n. FD 14, and n. 47, m. 5.
41 Duchy of Lanc. Rentals, bdle. 5, n. 16; some erasures have been made and fresh names substituted. The list is headed by the earl of Derby, who had six different parcels, the rents in all amounting to 15s. 1d. Thomas Halsall, Thomas Scarisbrick, James Scarisbrick, Ralph Standish, Peter Gerard, chaplain, James Bradshagh, Matthew Clifton, the widow of Robert Standish, Roland Shacklady, and others follow, including 'the priest of Lady Perpitte ("St. Mary-land" in later rental) and Thomas Croft for Morelydyate.' The rents are often very small, 3d., 6d. and 12d. being common. The names of the sub-tenants are given, and in many cases those of former holders or field names.
42 Duchy of Lanc. Rentals, bdle. 4, n. 8. The last name is Roger (corrected to Thomas) Fairclough for a brewhouse 3s. 4d. and for a tavern 2s.
43 Duchy of Lanc. Mins. Accts. bdle. 136, n. 2198, m. 6; this is the account for 1535–6, the first rendered. Several charters by the priors and convent of Burscough are recited in full, including one for the 'new vicarage'; this included various tithes, also the altarage and sacristanship of the church. Eight shops, let at yearly rentals, produced 14s. 8d.; ten stallages in the Booths were farmed for 22s., nine at 2s. each, the other at 4s.; and 6s. 8d. was the profit of the market and of two fairs held at Pentecost and at St. Bartholomew's (sic).
44 One for 1525 is in Lay Subs. R. bdle. 130, n. 84.
45 Pat. R. 1 Jas. I, pt. v, m. 6; Lancs. and Ches. Recs. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 264. The original grant was to William, earl of Derby, and Elizabeth his wife and the heirs male of the body of the earl.
46 On the Wednesday in the week after Michaelmas Day; Baines, Lancs. (ed. 1836), iv, 237.
47 Lond. Gaz. 16 July, 1850.
48 Lea, op. cit. 10, 18, 19. The courtleet was revived in 1890, but its functions are merely ornamental. The regalia are preserved: (1) Constable's staff, 5 ft. 6 in. high, of heavy wood, with massive silver knob; dated 1703. (2) Walking staff, 4 ft. with silver knob, 1790. (3) Two mounted javelins, 7 ft. 6 in. high, in oak, with brass spears, 1798. (4) Two spears with brass spikes. The constable used to have a special seat in the church; on the back was carved 'The constable's seat, 1688.' Ibid. 10.
49 Lea, op. cit. 7.
50 Aughton, Knowsley, Lathom, and Scarisbrick.
51 Thomas Such, who farmed them, complained early in the reign of Elizabeth that certain of the inhabitants of Ormskirk had recently taken their corn to other mills, at the persuasion or command of Edward Scarisbrick and Gabriel Hesketh, lords of adjacent manors. These in reply stated that besides the queen's mill, called Greetby Mill, she had another adjacent called Our Lady's Mill, in the tenure of Sir George Stanley of Cross Hall; there were others called Whinbreck Mill, Cross Hall Mill, and Bradshaw Mill, of which Ormskirk people had been accustomed to make use. There were complaints against the miller that the corn was not so well ground by him and that he took, or lost, an excessive proportion of the flour; Duchy of Lanc. Pleadings, Eliz. lxxiv; S.19. It appears from the document next quoted that Greetby Mill was in a ruinous state.
It was perhaps to remove these and other objections that Thomas Such built a new mill at the Knoll; but in 1567, he had again to complain of withdrawal of custom; ibid. lxxiv, n. 26. In 1591 he once more drew attention to his grievances. Richard Fletcher, 'a great occupier of malt and seller and utterer of a great quantity of ground malt and meal,' had erected a horse-mill of his own and withdrawn his custom. In answer it was stated that the existing mills were quite inadequate for the people, some having to use hand-mills, while others took their corn to water-mills seven or eight miles off; ibid. clix, S. 1.
The dissatisfaction on both sides continued, and in 1598 Lawrence Ireland and others, having erected a water-mill and a windmill in Aughton, close to the border of Ormskirk, were accused of persuading the people of this place that there was no obligation on them to have their corn ground at the old mills; in this way they had induced a number of Ormskirk people to use the new mills, as more conveniently placed. The royal farmer (Roger Sankey) consequently obtained an injunction forbidding Lawrence Ireland and his partners from receiving and grinding any corn from the tenants of Ormskirk; ibid. clxxix, A.25; clxxxvii, A.43; Duchy of Lanc. Decrees and Orders, Eliz. xxii, fol. 287, 301, 361. The land in Aughton on which the new mills were built had been the property of Robert Bootle, from whom Lawrence Ireland bought it. The latter in his defence mentioned Tawd Mill among others.
52 Duchy of Lanc. Ct. R. bdle. 79, nn. 1060 to 1070; from 29 Hen. VIII to 42 Eliz. It was the duty of the tenant of a house to repair the pavement up to the middle of the street. In 1539 it was ordered that 'no tenant shall dig flae turves for more than two days on Ormskirk moss under pain of 6s. 8d.' (n. 1061). In 1545 the inhabitants were ordered to repair their pavement 'next the Lydeyate' (n. 1064). In 1549 it was commanded that Thomas Hesketh, 'commonly called the Bell man,' was to clean the market place once in each week (n. 1066).
53 Estcourt and Payne, Engl. Cath. Nonjurors, 109, 126, 127. Wilson appears at Altcar also.
54 Lea, op. cit. 19.
55 Nightingale, Lancs. Nonconf. iv, 198, &c.
56 Kenyon MSS. (Hist. MSS. Com.), 231; O. Heywood's Diaries, i, 38; iv, 308.
57 Nightingale, op. cit. iv, 187.
58 The first minister was a Calvinist, the second an Arminian, the later ones (three) Unitarians; Lea, op. cit. 20.
59 Henry Fogg, the last minister, died in 1886. He had been there for sixty-two years; ibid.
60 End. Char. Rep. 1899 (Ormskirk), 54. The property was sold for £400, and the trustees hold a further £300. The income is given to the Liverpool Dist. Miss. Assoc.
61 The following entry occurs in the Ormskirk Reg. 30 September, 1613, against the burial of Katherine Jump, widow: 'Note, that she was a recusant, and buried without consent of the vicar.' In 1626 there were 111 recusants or noncommunicants resident in the parish; Lay Subs. Lancs. bdle. 131, n. 318. The roll of 1641 records a number of recusants living in Ormskirk; Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), xiv, 233. In the return for 1767 at the Chest. Dioc. Reg. the number of 'Papists' in the whole parish is shown to have increased from 358 in 1717 to 1086; but only two resident priests are named—at Scarisbrick and Lathom; Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), xviii, 215.
62 Lea, op. cit. 9. It had been the residence of John Entwistle. There is a Latin inscription on the gable.' I am told by one of the oldest Protestant tradesmen that when he was a boy he remembered a big room at the top of the house with "strange arrangements"; but he had never heard that it had been a place of Catholic worship, or that it was called a Mass house'; Abbot O'Neill, O.S.B. of Aughton. In 1701 the Jesuit Fr. Gillibrand is said to have 'helped' at Ormskirk; Foley's Rec. S. J. v, 320.
63 See the account of Aughton. Dr. John Fletcher, born at Ormskirk, was a professor at St. Omer's when the French Revolution broke out, and suffered imprisonment for some years; Gillow, Bibl. Dict. of Engl. Cath. ii, 298.