The parish and township of Aughton
Introduction and church

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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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284-291

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'The parish and township of Aughton: Introduction and church', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3 (1907), pp. 284-291. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=41335 Date accessed: 22 July 2014.


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AUGHTON

Acheton, Dom. Bk.; Acton, 1235, common; Hacton, occasionally; Aghton, 1330, and common to sixteenth century; Aighton and Auton also occur. Aughton appears in the sixteenth century. Local pronunciation is Aff'n.

Literland, Dom. Bk.; Uplitherlond, 1199; Litherland, 1212, and common; Uplederland, 1226; Uplytherlond, 1297; Lytherlond, 1322.

This parish consists of a single township of the same name. The area is 4,609½ acres. (fn. 1) The population in 1901 was 3,517.

The southern and south-western boundary is formed by the Sudell Brook. The hilly ridge, over 200 ft. high, stretching west through the neighbouring parish of Ormskirk, comes to an end in the central portion of the township, a height of 260 to 270 ft. being attained at the Devil's Wall; there is a fine view from this point. Gaw (fn. 2) Hill is a little to the south. (fn. 3)

Aughton proper is on the south-western slope of the hill. Here is the church, with the old hall to the north-west, and water-mill and windmill formerly adjacent. Further to the north-west is Walsh Hall. A mile east of the church is Town Green, with Moor Hall still further to the east. Holt Green is south-east of the church, and has the Mickering a little to the south. From near the last-mentioned farm the Cock Beck flows west to Sudell Brook, and in the angle between the confluence is Brookfield, to the south of which, on the border of Maghull, was formerly a water-mill. Beckington or Bickiston Brook rises, or rose, by the church, to flow west to the Sudell. Gerard Hall and Bowker's Green lie in the south-eastern corner.

The north-western slope of the hill is properly Litherland, (fn. 4) formerly a separate manor. The New Hall, (fn. 5) almost on the northern boundary, is called Aughton New Hall. Aughton Moss is on the top of the hill. The greater part of the country is flat, and divided into cultivated fields, where wheat, oats, potatoes, and other root crops are successfully raised. There are also extensive market gardens, which give employment to the villagers. The northern portion of the district is bare and open, with very few trees, but on the south there are clumps of trees, and good hawthorn hedges divide the fields. The upper mottled sandstone of the bunter series (new red sandstone) occurs throughout the parish except on Cleave Hill, where a narrow strip of the lower keuper sandstone extends for a mile and a half along the western side of the road leading to Halsall, and another small strip three-quarters of a mile north-east of Aughton village. The soil is light and sandy, with clay in some places. There are now in the parish 3,407 acres arable land, 357 in permanent grass, and 7 of woods and plantations.

The principal roads are those from Liverpool to Ormskirk; one passing northward through Melling, the other north-eastward through Lydiate and Aughton village. There are numerous intersecting roads and footpaths; one of the latter connects Town Green and the parish church. The Lancashire and Yorkshire Company's railway from Liverpool to Preston, opened in 1849, goes through the parish northward; there is a station at Town Green.

Being easily accessible from Liverpool numerous residences have sprung up in recent years, particularly on the high ground. In the same district is Whimbrick Mill, formerly a windmill, but now worked by steam. Excellent sand for casting purposes is found here. A quarry is also worked. There is a brewery near the Ormskirk boundary.

Formerly there were races, known as 'the Ormskirk Races,' held on Aughton Moss; they are mentioned as early as 1705 and continued until 1815. In 1813 an Act for the enclosure of the common was passed, (fn. 6) and the racing was stopped.

A perambulation of the boundaries took place in 1876; it was discovered that a small plot of ground had escaped rates for many years.

Pace-egging is kept up on Good Friday; a troop of boys go round acting a degenerate version of St. George and the Dragon, and asking for eggs (or money). (fn. 7)

Holt Green, a triangular piece of ground, still remains open; the other four greens have been enclosed, viz., Town Green, Codpiece Green, Bowker's Green, and Hollinhurst Green.

There were within recent times traces of seven ancient crosses; the pedestal of one remains on Holt Green, and two other pedestals stand at the junction of Mill Lane with the Liverpool and Ormskirk Road, and in Green's Lane. (fn. 8) Sundials exist at Island House (1719), the churchyard (1736), and Walsh Hall (1738). It is said the parish clerk used formerly to read out notices from the sundial in the churchyard. (fn. 9)

Pudding Street is an interesting name; it has been renamed Brookfield Lane. Brats, duding-strings, muckindalf (handkerchief), and barmskin (leather apron) are words occurring in the overseer's accounts. (fn. 10)

The church bell used to be rung at eight and one o'clock on Sundays.

The wakes were held on the first Sunday after Michaelmas Day, and lasted most of the following week. (fn. 11)

Two items of folk-lore may be mentioned; one concerns the building of the church, averring that what was done in the day was overthrown in the night until the proper site was fixed upon; (fn. 12) the other describes the building of the Devil's Wall. (fn. 13)

The open ground on the hill is said to have been used as a training ground for the forces assembled in anticipation of the Spanish Armada in 1588. With the exception of the battle in 1644 the history of the parish has been quite peaceful. Aughton paid £2 17s. 6¼d. to the fifteenth; (fn. 14) and to the county lay a quarter of what Ormskirk paid, viz. £2 1s. 8d. towards a contribution of £100 payable by the hundred.

The Reformation entailed persecution on the Heskeths and some others who adhered to the Roman Catholic faith. In 1592 the churchwardens were ordered to levy the 12d. of 'the absents.' (fn. 15) In 1606 Jane, wife of Gabriel Hesketh, Edward Stanley and Bridget his wife, Elizabeth Gerard, widow, Margaret Hesketh, Gabriel Shaw, Jane Moorcroft, widow, Alice wife of Barnaby Molyneux, Margaret wife of James Burscough, Richard Wolsie and his wife, and a number of others were named to the bishop as 'not coming to church.' (fn. 16)

In 1628 the landowners who paid the subsidy were Bartholomew Hesketh, Henry Starkie and Mary Starkie (widow), Peter Stanley and Bridget his mother, Thomas Gerard and Mary Rigby, Robert Walsh, James Burscough, and the heirs of James Rainforth. (fn. 17) The Sankeys also were landowners at this time. (fn. 18)

The Civil War affected the parish directly. The principal landowner, Bartholomew Hesketh, tried to preserve a strict neutrality; but Gilbert Burscough was killed at Newbury fighting for the king in 1644, while Edward Starkie served on the side of the Parliament. A somewhat important engagement took place in Aughton itself, known as the 'battle of Ormskirk.' A body of Cavaliers were retreating from the Fylde district, when, on 20 August, 1644, they were overtaken by Major-General Meldrum on the hill to the south-west of Ormskirk. They stood in battalia, but upon the first charge of the Parliament's musket-men, fled, and were then routed by the horse; three hundred prisoners were taken, and Lord Byron and Lord Molyneux were forced to leave their horses and hide in a cornfield. Had it not been late in the evening there would probably have been a greater victory for Meldrum; as it was, the scattered fragments of the defeated party made their escape into Cheshire. (fn. 19) Barnaby Molyneux had been deprived of two-thirds of his tenement for recusancy; but his son, Thomas, who was 'a Protestant and conformable,' applied for its restoration to him. (fn. 20)


Plan of Aughton church

The hearth tax of 1666 found a total of 181 hearths in Aughton. (fn. 21)

The defeat of the Young Pretender, whose march through Wigan had brought terror to the people of the district, was hailed with great delight, the churchwardens paying 16s. 'for ringing night and day for good news about vanquishing the rebels,' and 2s. 6d. more for ringing when the news of Culloden came. (fn. 22)

The following 'Papists' registered estates here in 1717: John Bamber, Peter Butchard, James Halsall, Christopher Ince, Thomas Leatherbarrow, and Thomas Molyneux, of Lydiate. (fn. 23) The land tax return of 1798 shows that there were then a large number of freeholders, the principal being Charles Stanley and Catherine Stanley, Thomas Plumbe, and the executors of Julia Clifton.

In 1774 the first stage coach, running between Liverpool and Preston, passed through the parish. (fn. 24)

Aughton is governed by a parish council.

CHURCH

The church of St. Michael consists of chancel with north chapel and vestry, north tower and spire, and nave with south porch and a large north aisle, and stands on a fairly level site some way to the west of the station, at the junction of two roads. (fn. 25) The south wall of the nave is the earliest part of the building, the blocked south doorway and the walling for some fifteen feet westward being what remains of a probably aisleless nave and chancel church of the middle of the twelfth century. The internal dimensions must have been about 50 ft. by 21 ft. for the nave, and perhaps 25 ft. by 18 ft. for the chancel; of the latter no traces now remain. In the thirteenth century the nave was lengthened westward to approximately its present size, the eastern part of the south wall rebuilt, and a chapel added to the north of the chancel. Other work, such as the building of a north aisle, may have been done at this time, but no evidence remains on the point. To the fourteenth century belongs the tower, built at the west of the north chapel. A north aisle to the nave was built, or rebuilt, at this time, but has in its turn given place to a later building. In the fifteenth century the chancel was rebuilt or remodelled, the south nave doorway blocked, and a new doorway with a porch over it inserted farther to the west, as the thirteenth-century extension of the nave westward had made the old south doorway seem inconveniently far to the east, and the west wall of the nave refaced or rebuilt. The north arcade was rebuilt about the same time. The large north aisle dates from the middle of the sixteenth century, and about the same time the north chapel was lengthened eastward to the line of the east wall of the chancel. The vestry north of the chapel seems to be of seventeenth-century date. In recent years the chancel has been completely rebuilt in fifteenth-century style, a copy of the twelfth-century doorway of the nave inserted in the north wall of the north chapel, the roofs, except that of the nave, renewed, and the west window and part of the south porch rebuilt. The church is faced with the wrought stone of local origin, of much the same quality throughout; the best masonry is to be seen in the tower, but the material does not admit of elaborate workmanship.

Of ancient ritual arrangements no trace exists, though the sixteenth-century canopied niche on the east jamb of the south-east window of the nave may have been connected with the south nave altar. (fn. 26) The chancel, having been completely rebuilt in 1876, is of no archaeological interest. The east window is of five lights, and there are three four-light windows and a doorway on the south. An arcade of two bays opens into the north chapel, and in the eastern part of the north wall is a recess containing a monument. The disproportionately large corbels of the modern roof perpetuate the memory of some interesting carvings in the roof of the old chancel, which disappeared at the rebuilding. The chancel arch is of two orders, with engaged shafts with octagonal capitals and bases. The north chapel (fn. 27) is of two dates, the western part being the earlier. Its north wall between the tower and the vestry shows masonry similar to that in the south wall of the nave, and is probably of the same date, the first half of the thirteenth century. On the east face of the tower is the weathering for a steeppitched roof which formerly covered the chapel, but has long been replaced by one of a lower pitch. No architectural features of original date remain, and the eastern part of the north wall is hidden by the vestry, so that its exact termination in this direction is unknown; it was, perhaps, some ten feet short of the east wall of the chancel. Coming to the present east wall of the chapel it will be noted that at the south end of its east face, where it abuts on the modern chancel, there is a length of old plinth with projecting footings, apparently of the fifteenth century, against which the plinth of the east wall of the chapel stops. The footings and plinth have belonged to a buttress running north from the chancel wall, and show that in the fifteenth century the eastern part of the chancel stood free on the north side, or in other words that the north chapel did not extend as far east as the chancel. But at a later date, which from the character of the work may be the second half of the sixteenth century, the chapel was lengthened eastwards to its present size. Its east window is square-headed, of three trefoiled lights, which seem to be old work re-used, of late fourteenth century date, and perhaps formed part of the east window of the chapel before its extension.

The tower, which stands to the north of the nave, between the north chapel and the north aisle, is of three stages, square below and octagonal above, with an octagonal spire. It is of the type of the neighbouring towers of Halsall and Ormskirk, but earlier than either, being of the first half of the fourteenth century. The octagonal spire has two tiers of spire lights, those in the upper tier being single trefoiled openings under a crocketed gablet, and those in the lower having two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in the head and a crocketed gablet as in the upper tier. At the base of the spire is a plain parapet set out on moulded corbel-courses. The octagonal belfry stage has four two-light windows, trefoiled, with a quatrefoil in flowing tracery in the head and a moulded label. The next stage below forms the transition from octagon to square, and has a single trefoiled light in the north face. On the east and west faces are weather-mouldings for steep-pitched roofs long since destroyed. The lowest stage of the tower is square, with a window in the north face, once of two lights, but now without tracery, two massive buttresses at east and west of the same face, and a fine moulded plinth of three stages, which stops without a return against the wall of the north chapel, the evidence being clear that the chapel wall is older than the tower. Internally the tower has open arches of two plain chamfered orders, without capitals or shafts, on the south, west, and east, and a vice in the north-west angle. In the north wall below the window is a recess 18 in. deep with a cusped and moulded arch, with a label of the same date as the tower. Its floor is considerably above the level of that under the tower—which has been lowered some six inches from its original level—and though probably sepulchral, it shows no trace of a slab or monument of any kind.

The nave retains in its south wall the only remaining part of a probably aisleless church of about 1150. The blocked south doorway, of this date, is of two plain orders, with jamb-shafts with scalloped capitals and moulded bases. The blocking dates from the fifteenth century, at which time a doorway was inserted in the twelfth-century wall to the west of the original doorway. Walling of the first date exists on both sides of the blocked doorway, stopping in the one direction a little to the west of the south porch, in the other below the east jamb of the window next the doorway. The plain weathered plinth of the first date stops at this point, and another plinth of slightly different section runs eastward at a higher level to the buttress at the eastern angle of the nave. This plinth and the walling above it belong to a rebuilding, partly with the old materials, in the thirteenth century; the same type of walling continues westward from the end of the twelfth-century masonry to within eighteen inches of the west wall of the nave, and contains a blocked lancet window, now almost completely hidden by a sixteenth-century buttress. The whole length of the south wall has been thrust outwards, probably by an insufficiently tied roof, and the upper part has been rebuilt or heightened, and set back to the vertical line, while a buttress has been added, as has been said, in front of the lancet window in the sixteenth century, and another at a later date against the blocked south doorway. The present south doorway is of the fifteenth century, with continuous mouldings, and is covered by a porch of perpent ashlar of the same date, whose outer arch and wall have been rebuilt. The windows in the south wall are of the poorest description, having lost all tracery and everything but their outer order; they are now filled with plain glazing. From the shape of their arched heads they should not be later than the fifteenth century, but they have lost all characteristic features. High in the wall are two small three-light square-headed windows which have formerly lighted a gallery.

The west wall of the nave is considerably thicker than those adjoining it, and though now faced with fifteenth-century masonry and buttresses is probably in part of earlier date. The west window is modern, of three-lights in fifteenth-century style. The gable shows signs of rebuilding in the upper portion. The face of the wall has bulged considerably, and this has been corrected by the simple expedient of chipping back the stone face to something nearer a vertical line. The north arcade of the nave is of four bays with octagonal columns and coarsely-moulded capitals and bases, with pointed arches of two chamfered orders, poor work of fifteenth-century date, probably coeval with the facing of the west wall. The nave roof appears to be of the end of the sixteenth century, with arched braces plastered on the under-side and shaped pendants hanging from the apex. The north aisle seems to have been built in the time of Brian Moorcroft, rector 1528–48, and the north arcade may be of the same dale. (fn. 28) Its four north windows are of three lights under a semicircular head with tracery of intersecting mullions without cusps, all of the simplest detail, with plain chamfers and no mouldings. A blocked four-centred doorway occurs between the first and second windows from the west. The west window is of four lights with a four-centred head and the same plain detail; outside the tracery is modern. In the gable is an ancient stone carved with two sunk quatrefoils.

A little original coloured glass remains in the western window of the four on the north side, consisting of a canopy of very late style and two sets of initials. At the east end of the aisle, across the western arch of the tower, is a beam painted with the names of some eighteenth-century churchwardens, which is locally said to be the rood-beam; but if so, it has been considerably altered. The remains of a west buttress of the tower, projecting into the aisle, give the probable line of the wall of a fourteenthcentury north aisle, the weathering of whose roof is to be seen above the west arch of the tower. The font, which stands under the tower, is of the fifteenth century, octagonal, with a moulded and embattled cornice to the bowl, which is 18 in. deep, the faces being each 10½ in. wide. (fn. 29)

There are brass plates commemorating Edward son of Hugh Dicconson, of Wrightington, who died in 1661; and the Mossocks (1686); this being a replica of the plate at Ormskirk.

The new church (Christ Church) on the hill at the highest point of the road to Ormskirk, begun in 1867 but not consecrated until 1877, is a chapel of ease. In 1888 the Cottage Lane Mission Room was opened.

The parish registers begin in 1541, but up to 1601 are copies. The entries from 1653 to 1657 are in a separate book; and there is a defect in the baptisms from 1608 to 1626, and in the burials between 1747 and 1753.

The churchwardens' accounts date from 1737.

ADVOWSON

The curious fact that the right of presentation to the church was supposed to reside in the lordship of Uplitherland is probably due to some decision of the lords of this place, who also held a third of Aughton; Litherland being their dwelling place, they attached to it the advowson, derived from their ownership of a portion of the other manor. (fn. 30) The right has regularly descended with Litherland to the present time, Sir Tristram Tempest-Tempest, baronet, now being patron.

In 1291 the church was omitted from the Taxatio of Nicholas IV as too poor to pay anything; in 1341 the value of the ninth of the sheaves and fleeces was returned as 100s. (fn. 31) The inquiry of 1534–5 found the annual value to be £15 9s. 8d. (fn. 32)

The Commonwealth surveyors of 1650 describe the parish as having a parsonage-house with barns and outbuildings, and about 3 acres of glebe in the incumbent's hands, worth 50s. a year; other portions of the glebe, with cottages upon it, were let out at small rents, but worth 36s. in all. The tithes were then worth £95 a year. (fn. 33)

About 1717, according to Bishop Gastrell, the income reached £120. There were two churchwardens. (fn. 34) The gross value is now given as £780, including £40 as that of the new church.

The following is a list of the rectors:—

Institution Name Patron Cause of Vacancy
oc.1246 Robert Blundell (fn. 35)
oc.1292 Henry [le Waleys] (fn. 36)
26 June, 1303 Thomas le Waleys (fn. 37) Richard le Waleys not stated
oc.1317 Gilbert le Waleys (fn. 38)
20 Jan. 1318–9 John le Waleys (fn. 39) Richard le Waleys
3 Nov. 1337 Henry (son of Ric.) le Waleys (fn. 40) Richard le Waleys d. of J. le Waleys
27 Sept. 1369 John (son of Ric.) le Walsh (fn. 41) Thomas de Formby, &c. d. of H. le Waleys
17 Nov. 1382 John de Bradshagh (fn. 42) Roger de Bradshagh and Maud his wife d. of John Walsh
22 Mar. 1418–9 John Spink (fn. 43) res. of J. Bradshagh
16 Apr. 1424 William de Litherland (fn. 44) Maud de Bradshagh d. of J. Spink
1 Oct. 1489 William Bradshagh (fn. 45) Thomas Bradshagh d. of W. Litherland
17 Dec. 1512 William Bradshagh (fn. 46) James Bradshagh d. of Roger Bradshagh
14 July, 1528 Brian Moorcroft, B. Decr. (fn. 47) Sir W. Leyland, &c. res. of W. Bradshagh
18 May, 1548 Edward Moorcroft (fn. 48) [Barth. Hesketh] d. of B. Moorcroft
8 Nov. 1548 Thomas Kirkby [Geo. Kirkby, &c.] do.
[The crown]
? Nov. 1554 [do.]
(?) 1559 Edward Moorcroft (fn. 49) [exp. T. Kirkby]
17 June, 1577 John Nutter, B.D. The queen
25 Aug. 1602 Samuel Hankinson, M.A. Gabriel Hesketh d. of J. Nutter
28 July, 1607 Nicholas Banastre, M.A. (fn. 50) The king depr. of S. Hankinson
11 Apr. 1646 James Worrall, M.A. (fn. 51) Edward Stockley d. of N. Banastre
6 Mar. 1651–2 Peter Stananought, B.A. (fn. 52) Barth. Hesketh d. of J. Worrall
27 Oct. 1662
27 June, 1674 Alexander Baguley, B.A. (fn. 53) Henry Farington d. of P. Stananought
Gabriel Hesketh
16 May, 1679 John Brownsword, M.A. (fn. 54) The king depriv. of A. Baguley
7 Oct. 1700 Christopher Sudell, M.A. (fn. 55) Alex. Hesketh d. of J. Brownsword
21 Nov. 1700 Alex. Hesketh and Rt. Scarisbrick
6 Jan. 1700–1 Robert Hindley, M.A. (fn. 56) The king depriv. of C. Sudell
13 July, 1721 Thomas Atherton, M.A. (fn. 57) Thomas Heys d. of R. Hindley
20 Feb. 1734–5 Thomas Plumbe, B.A. (fn. 58) John Plumbe d. of T. Atherton
20 Dec. 1769 William Plumbe, B.A. (fn. 59) Thomas Plumbe d. of T. Plumbe
6 June, 1786 George Vanbrugh, LL.B. (fn. 60) Thomas Plumbe d. of W. Plumbe
15 Aug. 1834 William Henry Boulton, M.A. (fn. 61) R. Boulton res. of G. Vanbrugh
4 Aug. 1885 Charles Warren Markham, M.A. (fn. 62) Sir R. Tempest-Tempest d. of W. H. Boulton
24 Nov. 1896 Roger Francis Markham, M.A. Sir R. Tempest-Tempest d. of C. W. Markham

The story of the rectory in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries is of some interest. Brian Moorcroft, presented in 1528 by the administrators of the estate of James Bradshagh, found his title challenged by Master Thomas Donington, (fn. 63) who alleged a presentation by William Browne and others, in virtue of a deed of James Bradshagh's dated 1515. Another dispute occurred after Brian's death, for in 1535 William Bradshagh had granted the next presentation to George Kirkby of Aughton and others, and less than a year afterwards he sold the patronage to Bartholomew Hesketh, who also became lord of the manor; (fn. 64) and Thomas Kirkby was presented by the former and Edward Moorcroft by the latter. (fn. 65)

In 1541–2 the clergy at Aughton, besides the rector, who may have been non-resident, were his curate and two others, paid by Thomas Starkie and Alice Hervey. (fn. 66) At the visitation in 1554 Edward Moorcroft was still rector, and Thomas Walsh was his curate; the other priests had disappeared. Immediately afterwards it appears as if Moorcroft lost the rectory. From his later history he seems to have been a Protestant, and was perhaps already married, but his removal was due to the right of patronage reasserted on behalf of the crown. (fn. 67) Kirkby received the benefice, but Moorcroft must have been reinstated on the accession of Elizabeth. (fn. 68)

In 1563 the same names occur as in 1554, but Rector Moorcroft was at Windsor, and the curate being ill had to be excused. The rector made his appearance in 1565, but the curate was again sick, (fn. 69) and he was buried in the following February. (fn. 70)

John Nutter, rector of Sefton, &c., was presented by the queen in February, 1576–7; (fn. 71) probably he paid little attention to this small parish. In 1592 it was reported at the visitation that there was no 'sufficient' Bible; the first tome of the Homilies and Jewell's Apology and Reply were lacking; there were no perambulations, and no collectors for the poor. (fn. 72)

The right of the Heskeths having been vindicated in the suits with William Bradshagh, (fn. 73) Samuel Hankinson was presented by Gabriel Hesketh, at the request of Sir Cuthbert Halsall, to whom he had been recommended by the bishop for the mastership of Halsall school. Again, however, a dispute occurred. The new rector was accused of simony, and the king intervened in consequence, presenting Nicholas Banastre, who was instituted in 1607. (fn. 74)

The parliamentary authorities appear to have made no objection to the appointment of James Worrall, who had indeed just been approved of as curate of the chapel of Maghull. (fn. 75) He joined in the 'Harmonious Consent' of 1648.

Peter Stananought, his successor, was expelled from Oxford by the parliamentary visitors in 1648, and for a time taught in a school at Sevenoaks in Kent. Here he began a correspondence with Dr. Henry Hammond. (fn. 76) In 1651 he conformed to the Presbyterian discipline established in the Church of England, becoming one of the ministers in the garrison at Liverpool; he relinquished this duty on appointment to Aughton. In 1660 he seems to have welcomed the restoration of episcopal government, conforming and receiving a new institution. He was also made one of the king's preachers for the county. (fn. 77)

His successor, Alexander Baguley, was very soon deprived for simony, (fn. 78) and the king presented the next rector. Christopher Sudell, on John Brownsword's death, was presented by Alexander Hesketh, but resigned six weeks afterwards to be presented a second time by Alexander Hesketh and Robert Scarisbrick. Three weeks later the benefice was declared vacant for simony. (fn. 79) The king for this reason again presented to Aughton.

The new rector, Robert Hindley, purchased the next presentation of the rectory for his son, who, however, died before him. (fn. 80) 'The old parsonage being extremely ruinous and upon inspection found incapable of tolerable repairs,' was in 1711 rebuilt by him at his own cost. (fn. 81)

From a list made it is evident that the furniture of the church a little later was of the simplest kind; the vestments consisted of 'two surplices'; at the communion table were a velvet cloth and cushion, a table cloth, a napkin, and two bosses (to kneel on); and the plate consisted of a silver chalice, two pewter tankards, and a salver. There were a pitch pipe and figured boards for the singers in the gallery. (fn. 82)

The Long Lane Baptist Mission began in 1872; the wooden building then erected was replaced by a stone-fronted building about 1887. (fn. 83)

There are two Roman Catholic churches within the parish. Formerly the chaplain of Moor Hall, (fn. 84) for whom an endowment of £300 had been given in 1728 by Mrs. Wolfall, served the mission. Simon George Bordley, an able but eccentric priest, had charge for many years, keeping a school also; but on some of the Stanley family coming to reside there, he in 1784 removed to New House, close to Gerard Hall. His successor built St. Mary's in 1823. (fn. 85)

St. Anne's, the church of the Ormskirk mission, is situate on the high road a little way outside that town. In 1729 Mr. Lancaster of Ormskirk gave £100 to the Benedictines in order to have mass said once a month at Ormskirk during his life and that of his wife. Fr. Anselm Walmesley of Woolston discharged this duty until 1732, when Fr. Bertram Maurus Bulmer came to reside here, and built a house which served as residence and chapel. (fn. 86) 'After the Jacobite rising of 1745 the chapel and mission house were attacked and partially burnt down by the mob. (fn. 87) In 1784 Bishop Gibson confirmed 94 persons here, at which time the communicants numbered 260.' (fn. 88) In 1795 a chapel dedicated to St. Oswald was built, adjoining the priest's house. St. Anne's replaced this in 1850. The Benedictines have continued to serve the mission to the present time. (fn. 89)

CHARITIES

There was in 1721 an annual distribution of £6 1s., the result of gifts by several persons. (fn. 90) Various additions have been made from time to time, as well as benefactions for other purposes, but the principal charity is the almshouses founded by the Rev. George Vanbrugh. (fn. 91)

Footnotes

1 The census of 1901 gives 4,612 acres, including two of inland water.
2 Otherwise Gall or Goe.
3 Cleave Hill is a spur to the west.
4 It was called Uplitherland to distinguish it from Litherland in Sefton—Down-litherland. The name is now disused, except in some field names; but Uplitherland Hall, or its successor, is still standing.
5 This name goes back to the sixteenth century.
6 53 Geo. III, cap. 100. In the same session (cap. 151) an Act was passed relating to the tithes.
7 Newstead, Ann. of Aughton, 39–40; the verses sung are printed.
8 It is on record that a century ago Roman Catholic funeral processions stopped on arriving at the remains of the crosses, the mourners alighting and reciting De Profundis on their knees.
9 Lancs. and Ches. Antiq. Soc. xix, 165–8; and Newstead, op. cit. 107.
10 Ibid. 128.
11 Ibid. 110–11.
12 Cheshire Sheaf (Ser. 3), ii, 117.
13 Landreth, Legends of Lancs. (1841), 91–154.
14 When the hundred paid £106.
15 Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), x, 184. At the same time, Eleanor, wife of Richard Holden, was excommunicated for having her child baptized 'not at her parish church, but supposed contrary to Her Majesty's laws.'
16 Visit. Book at Chester. One Thomas Cocketh appeared for his wife Elizabeth (a Bickerstath); he had married her at North Meols in the house of Nicholas Bank, curate there, without licence or banns, and in the night time, but in the presence of witnesses; she was then a recusant, but 'now she doth dutifully repair to church and shall do hereafter.'
The recusant roll of 1641 shows a long list of names, including Rowson, Taylor, Burscough, Buchard, Hulme, and Moorcroft; Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), xiv, 235.
17 Norris D. (B. M.). John Rainford, in 1583, bought land in Uplitherland from Thomas Molyneux, of Hawkley, and Sibyl his wife; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 45, m. 139; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xvii, n. 65.
18 Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 276. Their interest was acquired by purchase from William Bradshaw; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 44, m. 142.
19 Civil War Tracts (Chet. Soc.), pp. 204–6; Lancs. War (Chet. Soc.), p. 58. Some relics of the battle are preserved in the district and some in the British Museum. Trenchfield, near the place, was a place of encampment about that time for the troops besieging Lathom house; Newstead, op. cit. pp. 13–15.
20 Royalist Comp. P. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), iv, 143.
21 Lay Subs. Lancs. 250–9. The most considerable houses were those of Gabriel Hesketh and Edward Stanley, eight hearths each, Rector Stananought, six, Edward Starkie, Thomas Gerard, William Aspinwall, and Mr. Crosse with five each, and Thomas Walsh, Richard Hesketh, and Robert Charles four each; there were five houses of three hearths, and fifteen of two.
22 Newstead, op. cit. p. 105.
23 Estcourt and Payne, Engl. Cath. Nonjurors, pp. 110–12, 126. James Halsall had a son George a Jesuit; John Bamber had lands also at Carleton and Bispham.
24 Newstead, op. cit. p. 23.
25 A view of the church about 1816 is given in Gregson's Fragments (ed. Harland), p. 214. There is a description in Glynne's Lancs. Churches (Chet. Soc.), p. 36. For the font see Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), xvii, 64.
26 An altar of St. Nicholas is mentioned in 1526; Piccope, Wills (Chet. Soc.), i, 6.
27 Called the 'Little Chancel' or Plumbe chapel. Information from Rev. W. A. Wickham.
28 In the inventories of church goods, 1552 (Chet. Soc. cxiii, 110), is a note of the pledging of two chalices and a cope to Sir Brian Moorcroft, the money being bestowed on the building of 'the Ile in the body of the same church.'
The editors are indebted for this reference to the Rev. W. A. Wickham, of St. Andrew's, Wigan.
29 A faculty was in 1601 granted to Sir Richard Molyneux for a seat or pew (5 ft. by 4 ft.) on the north side of the church, formerly belonging to the Becconsalls, and the ground between this pew and the chancel (6 ft. by 6 ft.); Croxteth D.
30 This appears to be brought out quite clearly in the earliest mention of the matter, in 1235. The superior lords—Roger Gernet and Quenilda his wife, Thomas de Beetham, and Avice de Millum—allowed the right of Richard le Waleys, Bleddyn de Aughton, and Madoc de Aughton to present to the benefice, which was then vacant; Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 63–5. These three were the lords of Aughton, and as Bleddyn and Madoc had no rights in Uplitherland it follows that any title they might have was derived from their lordship in Aughton; whence it seems clear that Richard le Waleys' right had the same origin. Nevertheless, the presentation was afterwards the sole right of the lord of Uplitherland, possibly by purchase from his partners in Aughton.
31 Inq. Nonarum (Rec. Com.), 40.
32 Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v, 223. The glebe land brought in only 5s. a year; the tithes of corn, wool, &c. amounted to an average of £11, while Easter payments came to £4 4s. 8d.
33 Commonwealth Ch. Surv. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 94.
34 Notitia Cestr. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 161. The custom of tithing at that time, according to a terrier in the church, was to take the eleventh shook or rider of corn, or in default the eleventh sheaf; from 6d. to 2s. 6d. the acre for hay; 8s. the acre for potatoes, or 6d. the bushel setting; 1½d. cow and calf, and (when not taken in kind) 2s. for every tithe lamb, pig, &c., and 6d. for every tithe pig. For the Easter roll there was given 5d. a house yard and offering.
35 See the account of the manor.
36 Assize R. 408, m. 97 d. Henry was one of several complainants against his brother Thomas and others, but the jury acquitted the accused. He was son of John le Waleys (Kuerden MSS. ii, fol. 262, n. 32), and became rector of Standish in 1301.
37 Lich. Epis. Reg. i, fol. 9b. In Cal. Pap. Letters, ii, 41, 62, Walter de Bedewinde, treasurer of York, &c. is called rector of Aughton in 1308, but his benefice was probably in Yorks.
38 Lich. Epis. Reg. i, fol. 85. On 20 June he obtained licence to study for a year.
39 Ibid. i, fol. 86. The rectory had been vacant since 18 Nov. 1318. On the ensuing Easter eve John was ordained subdeacon, priest in 1320; fol. 135b, 138.
40 Ibid. ii, fol. 111b. On 28 Feb. 1365–6 the bishop granted him leave to choose a confessor; ibid. v, fol. 13. He died on 18 Sept. 1369; ibid. iv, fol. 85. Henry le Waleys occurs frequently in the local charters and suits; e.g. De Banc. R. 346, m. 166.
41 Lich. Epis. Reg. iv, fol. 85. The patrons were the guardians of Richard le Walsh, viz. Thomas de Formby, Henry le Walsh, Roger son of Richard de Bradshagh of Pennington, and Cecily daughter of Richard le Walsh. The new rector was ordained subdeacon in April, 1370 (ibid. v, fol. 98), deacon in June, and priest in Oct. (ibid. fol. 98b, 99b). He died 7 Nov. 1382; ibid. iv, fol. 93b.
42 Ibid. iv, fol. 93b. In the following January John had leave of absence (ibid. v, fol. 35b), and was not ordained subdeacon till June (ibid. v, fol. 128b) and priest in the following June (ibid. fol. 129).
43 Ibid. viii, fol. 19b. This was an exchange, John de Bradshagh becoming rector of Freshwater in place of John Spink. The change had been made 14 May, 1418. John Spink was also rector of Standish.
44 Ibid. ix, fol. 113b. William de Litherland was a trustee for the Maghull family; Harl. MS. 2042, fol. 46, 46b.
45 Lich. Epis. Reg. xii, fol. 123. The name of this or the next rector should be Roger Bradshagh, but the register has been followed. Aughton is erroneously called a vicarage. In a list dated 1527 Roger Bradshagh is given as the rector's name, and he is said to have been there twentyfour years; Duchy of Lanc. Rentals, 5/15.
46 Lich. Epis. Reg. xiii-xiv, fol. 58.
47 Ibid. fol. 64; the patrons, by grant of James Bradshagh, were Sir William Leyland, Edward Molyneux, clerk, and Richard Cholmondeley.
48 For institutions and firstfruits of the later rectors see Lancs. and Ches. Rec. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 408–14; Lancs. and Ches. Antiq. Notes, where are printed the institutions from the P.R.O. Books; Foster, Index Eccl.; Baines, Lancs. (ed. Croston), v, 241–4.
49 Edward Moorcroft was in Jan. 1559– 60 appointed to a canonry at Windsor, which he retained until his death in or before May, 1580; Le Neve, Fasti, iii, 395, 397. The will of Edward Moorcroft, canon of Windsor, made 28 Feb. 1579–80, and proved 17 April, 1580 (P.C.C. 14 Arundell), shows that he had married a Morell. His son George, then under fifteen, was to be sent to Oxf. or Camb. with a total allowance of £20 a year. He made a considerable number of bequests, the places in which he was interested being Aughton, Ormskirk and Sefton, Windsor and Eton, Tillingham and Dengie in Essex, and Hereford, to the poor of which places he left money. To his wife's brother Roger Morell he left St. Augustine's works 'in six great volumes.' Anthony Moorcroft was among the beneficiaries; and he, in his will (1594, P.C.C. 49 Dixy), desired to be buried in St. Stephen's, Walbrook, 'in the chancel there under the stone where Edward Moorcroft, late canon of Windsor, was buried.' He, too, left money for the poor of Tillingham and Dengie in Essex.
50 Educated at Brasenose Coll. Oxf.; M.A. 1605; Foster, Alumni. He was 'no preacher'; Kenyon MSS. (Hist. MSS. Com.), 13. In 1609 Banastre and a reader were included in the Visit. List; Raines MSS. (Chet. Lib.), xxii, 298.
51 Of Brasenose Coll. Oxf.; M.A. 1633; Foster, Alumni Oxon.
52 Educated at Westminster and Christ Church, Oxf.; B.A. 1646; ibid.
53 Educated at Brasenose College, Oxf.; B.A. 1672. He became rector of Burton with Coates in Sussex in 1692, and of Up Waltham in 1705; ibid.
54 Educated at Queen's Coll. Oxf.; M.A. 1676; ibid. He was 'conformable' in 1689: Kenyon MSS. 228. He was buried at Aughton, 25 June, 1700; administration with inventory at Chest. 1700.
55 Afterwards vicar of Leyland and rector of North Meols.
56 Educated at Jesus Coll. Cam.; M.A. 1700. See Pal. Note-book, iii, 268.
57 Thomas Heys, executor of the last rector, presented Thomas Atherton, vicar of Chipping, who resigned that benefice. The rector was buried at Aughton 15 Nov. 1734; will proved at Chester 1734.
58 Thomas Plumbe was the second son of the patron. He was of Brasenose Coll. Oxf.; B.A. 1723; Foster, Alumni Oxon. He was buried in the church 2 Dec. 1769. He was also rector of Mobberley, Cheshire, from 1733 till his death.
59 William Plumbe, brother of the patron, was also educated at Brasenose; B.A. 1767; ibid. In 1785 a certificate was issued for the sequestration of the rectory for a debt of £840, which James Clegg had recovered against Mr. Plumbe; Newstead, Aughton. A suit in which the rector was plaintiff (1777) seems to be commemorated by some verses, 'The luxuriant Plumb-tree lopp'd,' in the same volume; p. 59, &c. In 1776 the rector bought a Presbyterian chapel standing in Temple Court in Liverpool, known as the Octagon; he named it St. Katherine's, and officiated there till his death, being a popular preacher; Brookes, Liverpool, 350–1. He died 25 May, 1786, at Fareham, Hants.
60 George Vanbrugh, of Queens' Coll. Camb. (LL.B. 1783), became one of the king's preachers in 1812, and prebendary of Wells in 1825; he was also chaplain to the duke of Gloucester and the bishop of Bath and Wells. He resigned this rectory in 1834, 'feeling that he could not conscientiously retain the emoluments of a benefice the duties of which he was unable, through advancing years, adequately to perform . . . affording in this act an instance of disinterestedness and of personal sacrifice to principle in strict accordance with the liberality and benevolence by which his whole life had been distinguished.' The parishioners presented him with a silver vase as a token of their esteem; Liverpool Courier, 25 Feb. 1834. Another eulogy is contained in a poem called 'The Pastor,' by Thomas Garrett, the incumbent of Altcar. Mr. Vanbrugh died in 1847. His benefaction is described among the charities.
61 Richard Boulton, of Olive Mount, Wavertree, as patron for this turn, presented his son William Henry. The new rector was educated at Trinity Coll. Oxf.; M.A. 1834. In 1840 he added a piece of the glebe to the churchyard. In 1867 Christ Church was founded, being built largely by the money provided by Mr. Boulton and his friends. He was an Evangelical in his views, of a genial and benevolent disposition, and the parishioners, on the completion of his fifty years' ministry, subscribed for a new clock for the church tower and a silver communion service for the church. He was a justice of the peace for the county. He died in April, 1885.
62 Charles Warren Markham, of Magdalene Coll. Camb. (M.A. 1860), had held the benefices of Owston, Tong, and All Saints, Saxby, in succession. He was also a justice of the peace for Lindsey in Lincolnshire. He died in 1896. The present rector, of Trinity Coll. Camb. (M.A. 1894), is his son.
63 Thomas Donington, B. Decr. was canon of York and Southwell; he died in 1532. See Le Neve, Fasti, iii, 189, 442.
Donington was formally instituted to Aughton by Cardinal Wolsey, as legate 'a latere,' and had, it would appear, obtained possession, but on the Feast of the Assumption, when prepared to say mass and preach the word of God, was ousted by Brian Moorcroft. The latter was chaplain of Edward Molyneux, rector of Sefton, described as a great 'ambrasiater' of inquests and juries, and a 'right troublous man, meddling more to worldly matters and causes than ghostly,' and a maintainer of Moorcroft in this affair. The defence was that Donington was an intruder, and that his agent, Thomas Halsall, had a particular grudge against the rectors of Sefton and Aughton: 'if a dog had a matter against them he would take part with the dog!' See Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 146, m. 5; Sessional Papers, 20 Hen. VIII, bdle. 2; and Assumption, 21 Hen. VIII, bdle. 3.
Brian Moorcroft was aged fifty-seven in 1542, according to depositions in the Starkie case.
64 Aughton D. (Patchett), n. 44; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 162, m. 2, 15.
65 The Caveat to the bishop on behalf of the Heskeths is entered in the Lichfield registers, xiii-xiv, fol. 8.
The king also intervened, presenting Thomas Kirkby on a claim that the patronage belonged to the duchy of Lancaster, and that Henry VI had presented one Thomas Litherland to the rectory; Duchy of Lanc. Lib. Edw. VI, n. 23, m. 1d.; Duchy of Lanc. Pleadings, Edw. VI, xxiv, K. 2; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 188, m. 9. No hint is to be found in the Lichfield registers of this right, or of the existence of Thomas Litherland.
Thomas Kirkby is no doubt the chantry priest of Sefton who occurs in several lawsuits; Raines, Chantries (Chet. Soc.), i, 113 n.
66 Clergy List (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), p. 17.
For the ornaments of the church in 1552 see Ch. Goods (Chet. Soc.), pp. 110–12.
67 Lib. Pat. Edw. VI and Mary, xxiii, fol. 1b. The cause of vacancy was stated to be the death of Brian Moorcroft, the claim of Edward being ignored.
68 Moorcroft, however, is said to have 'refused to appear' at the Visit. in 1559; Gee, Eliz. Clergy. Perhaps he had not been actually reinstated.
69 Visit. Lists at Chest.
70 Aughton Reg. Thomas Walsh was aged 45 in 1553.
71 The reasons for the vacancy and the presentation by the crown are not given; a resignation by Edward Moorcroft seems a probable cause for the former.
72 Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), x, 184.
73 See the account of the manor of Litherland.
74 Samuel Hankinson, who became vicar of Huyton, in a letter from Lathom chapel, 11 June, 1607, released his title to the rectory, owing to the controversy between him and Mr. Banastre, and requested the bishop to institute the latter; Aughton Ch. Papers.
75 Plund. Mins. Accts. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 10.
It was reported in 1650 that he was 'an orthodox divine of godly life and conversation,' observing the Lord's days and days of humiliation and thanksgiving appointed by Act of Parliament; one, however, he had omitted, 'in regard he was visited with sickness and not able, neither had notice as was given to others whereby he might have ordered for that day'; Commonwealth Ch. Surv. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), p. 95. His will was proved in 1653; Breat 98.
76 Pal. Note-book, iii, 110.
77 His eagerness in the matter—it was but a month or two after Charles's return—gave great offence to his neighbour Nathaniel Heywood, vicar of Ormskirk.
By his will, dated 7 June, 1673, and proved 23 June, 1674, he left his tenements in Appley in Wrightington to his wife, but 'half only if she marry or miscarry.' She afterwards married Thomas Marsden, vicar of Walton. To the poor of Aughton he left £10. His property was valued at £228, including a library worth £40, and silver plate £12.
78 According to Oliver Heywood (Diaries, ii, 265) 'Mr. Hesketh, a papist and profligate gentleman,' lost the presentation at cards to Mr. Banastre of Bank. The relatives of 'young Baguley' obtained it by giving £100 to Mr. Banastre, hoping to evade the law of simony by calling this sum the price of a horse they bought. The bishop refusing to institute except on a presentation by the true patron, the latter was induced to agree by a present of 20 guinea pieces. 'At last Mr. Brownsword's son sued them at the assizes for simony . . . and Brownsword hath got possession, but there's no choice, he living as ill as the other.' The case has a record in the Exch. of Pleas, 31 Chas. II, Trin. m. 107; and 10 June, 33 Chas. II.
79 Aughton Ch. papers.
80 Baines, Lancs. (ed. Croston), v, 243.
81 Terrier at Aughton.
82 Newstead, op. cit. 62.
In 1775 a meeting was called to consider means of raising money to buy 'decent vessels for the celebration of the Lord's Supper,' the old ones being so decayed as to be unfit for use; ibid. 58, 59.
83 Newstead, 32. The mission is an offshoot of Myrtle Street Baptist Chapel in Liverpool.
84 John Blackburne was the priest in 1703; N. Blundell's Diary, 9.
85 Gillow, Bibliog. Dict. and Liverpool' Cath. Ann. 1892.
86 Information of Abbot O'Neill, O.S.B.
87 Pal. Note-book, i, 213, mentions one of Fr. Bulmer's books showing signs of fire.
88 Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), xiii, 156–7, where a list of the priests in charge is given.
89 Newstead, 26; Liverpool Cath. Ann.
90 Gastrell, Notitia, ii, 162.
91 The following details are taken from the End. Char. Rep. for this parish, issued in 1901, in which a reprint of the report of 1828 is included:—
The Commissioners of 1828 found that William Sutch had in 1703 given two closes called Long Hey and Little Hey in Aughton for the benefit of the poor of this place and also of the township of Snape, 5s. being allowed for the entertainment of the distributors. The trustees first appointed died, and no new ones were appointed, but the rector, churchwardens, and overseers managed the estate, which was producing £14 10s. a year, besides the interest on a sum of £21 9s. derived from the sale of marl from one of the fields. In addition, a sum of £60, of unknown origin, belonging to the poor of the parish, was secured upon the tolls of the turnpike road from Liverpool to Preston; this was paying 4½ per cent. The whole amount was distributed on the Monday after Christmas and Good Friday.
At the inquiry held in April, 1901, it was found that a parcel of moss land had been added (due to enclosures) to the original lands of Sutch's charity, and the whole (10 acres) was let for £25, out of which taxes and repairs had to be paid. No tithes were demanded from this land. The Poor's Money of £60 could be traced back to 1787; it is probably the fund referred to by Bishop Gastrell, and may include the £10 bequeathed by Rector Stananought. It has been increased by sales of marl and from other sources, and now amounts to £161, invested in a Mersey Dock bond. A further addition has been made by Alexander Wotherspoon, of Sandfield, Wallasey, who by his will (proved 1809) left £50 to the rector of Aughton, the interest to be given in bread to the poor. This is invested with the above sum, and all three are administered as one, under the title of the 'United Charities.' The rector and the parish council having agreed upon a scheme, it was sanctioned by the Charity Commissioners in Sept. 1898. The trustees are the rector, three nominees of the parish council and one of the rector. There are so few poor in the parish that it is difficult to find objects for the charity without having recourse to those in receipt of outdoor relief.
The Rev. George Vanbrugh bequeathed £3,000 as a memorial of himself, 'which might be beneficial to some of the poor inhabitants of a place where his duties were so long a labour of love.' His suggestion was that almshouses should be built. The lord of the manor granted a site, the Church field, and seven almshouses were built. One of the houses is occupied by the parish nurse. There is a sum of £2,000 belonging to this charity, producing £84 a year; 15s. a month is paid to each of the almspeople, and other gifts are made; funeral expenses also are defrayed. The beneficiaries are usually women and must be members of the Church of England, according to the founder's desire.
Margaret Williams, widow, in 1878, left £100, the interest to be applied to the sick poor in Christ Church district.
Catherine Bland of Aughton, by her will (dated 1893 and proved 1899), devised her land in Bold Lane, with 'an earnest request' that it should not be sold or built upon, and that out of the rent £12 should be paid to the churchwardens for distribution among twelve elderly persons of the parish church district. The request has been acted upon by the legatee.