Townships
Cronton

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Victoria County History

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Author

William Farrer & J. Brownbill (editors)

Year published

1907

Pages

392-394

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'Townships: Cronton', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3 (1907), pp. 392-394. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=41353 Date accessed: 18 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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CRONTON

Croynton, 1292; Croenton, 1348; both common. Variants are Grewinton (? 1200), and Crouwenton, 1333.

Cronton, measuring 1,153½ acres, (fn. 1) is situated on ground undulating in the north, and gradually sloping to quite a flat surface in the south. The village is situated about the centre of the township, and is a favourite resort for cyclists and picnic parties, both from Liverpool and Widnes, on account of a public recreation ground on Pexhill. This hill, rising to only 200 ft. above sea level, is covered with heather and gorse, and on the top are the Widnes Corporation reservoirs, formed in 1868. There are but few plantations, but the most part of the country is occupied by arable fields, where good crops of turnips, wheat, oats, and barley are grown in a loamy soil. There are decidedly fine views of the surrounding country to be had from Pexhill. The township lies upon the two lower beds of the bunter series of the new red sandstone, the lower mottled sandstone in the western and southern portions, the pebble beds in the north-eastern. The principal roads cross at the village, one going north and south to Rainhill and Ditton, and the other east and west to Farnworth and Huyton.

In 1901 the population was 583.
Watchmakers' tools are made here.

The remains of a cross—pedestal and part of the shaft—may be seen near the hall; the stocks remain, being in the village. Formerly there was a well close by dedicated to St. Anne, but known as the Stocks Well; it is now filled up. Pexhill Cross was destroyed in 1868. (fn. 2)

There is a parish council.

MANOR

CRONTON appears to have been one of the original members of the Widnes barony, being associated with Appleton in an assessment of 1 hide of 6 plough-lands. (fn. 3) In 1212 it was still part of the demesne of the barony, and is not mentioned in the survey of that year. (fn. 4) Before 1190, however, part at least must have been granted out, for one Matthew son of William had given land there to the Hospitallers, which they in that year granted, with other lands in the district, to Richard de la More. (fn. 5)

The township was about 1250 (fn. 6) given in alms, with his body, by Edmund de Lacy to Stanlaw Abbey, with all his land and rights there, including the farm of the mill. (fn. 7) The mill had been erected on Pexhill by Adam the Carpenter of Upton, by an earlier grant from the same Edmund. (fn. 8) Cronton was named in the inquiry of 1291 among the manors of Widnes lordship. (fn. 9)

The abbot proceeded to make improvements of the waste, and this in 1284 brought him into conflict with one of his tenants, Richard de Shaw. (fn. 10) Forty years later a further agreement was made with Richard de Shaw—either the same person or his heir—by which he resigned his rights in the easements and wastes of Cronton and also in its lanes and roads except two. (fn. 11)

But little is known of the internal management of the township. (fn. 12) Towards the middle of the fourteenth century the abbot was involved in various boundary disputes with his neighbours in Rainhill, and after several years appears to have established his rights in the main. (fn. 13) An inquisition as to the boundaries between Cronton and Upton in Widnes had been made in 1336. (fn. 14)

After the suppression it was found that the town had been leased out in 1537 for a rent of £19 0s. 1d. (fn. 15) Cronton was, with other monastic manors, sold to Thomas Holt of Gristlehurst. (fn. 16) The manor is mentioned in a family settlement of 1578, as part of the property of Francis Holt, (fn. 17) by whom it was sold in 1587 to Thomas Brooke. (fn. 18) Shortly afterwards it was re-sold to Thomas Ireland, (fn. 19) from whom it passed in 1598 to James Pemberton of Halsnead in Whiston. (fn. 20)

About this time a number of freeholders in Cronton held by knight's service, their tenure probably arising from purchases from the Holt and Pemberton families. (fn. 21) In 1628 the following paid to the subsidy for lands—William Parr, William Wright, Edward Orme, and Thomas Wyke or Whike; (fn. 22) and fractions of the manor were held by others. (fn. 23) Of these the Wright family (fn. 24) are said to have possessed the hall of Cronton for generations, until in 1821 they sold it to Bartholomew Bretherton of Rainhill; (fn. 25) Mr. Stapleton-Bretherton is the present proprietor. No manorial rights exist in connexion with it. (fn. 26)

John Atherton was the principal contributor to the land tax in 1785.

At the school chapel of the Holy Family, mass is said on Sundays and holidays by one of the priests of the Rainhill mission. (fn. 27)

There is also a Wesleyan Methodist chapel.

Footnotes

1 1,126, including 5 of inland water, according to the census of 1901. Cronton Heys, a small detached part of the township, was transferred to Tarbock in 1877 by L.G.B. order 7401.
2 Lancs. and Ches. Antiq. Soc. xix, 204–6; where may be read the local story of Pexhill, the name being traced to a Peg Pusey, whose ghost haunted the place.
3 See the note on Appleton above.
4 Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 43.
5 Birch Chapel (Chet. Soc.), 189. The place is called 'Grewinton Halfsnede'; so that Halsnead, now in Whiston, was perhaps the other half of a manor originally spreading into both Cronton and Whiston. A grant of the lands by Richard de la More is printed in Ormerod's Ches. (ed. Helsby), i, 675. It appears to be the Hospitallers' Shacht or Shaw of the Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 375, and the 'Crompton Shaw' of their sixteenth-century rental, held by the heir of Robert Awty for a rent of 12d.; Kuerden MSS. v, fol. 84. Henry Awty in 1469 demised a moiety of Shaw Field in the lordship of Widnes to Ellen widow of Richard Bold, he having received it of Sir Henry Bold; Bold D. (Hoghton), n. 14.
6 It was still in demesne in 1242; Inqand Extents, 148. Its value was 22s. 8d.; ibid. 157.
7 Whalley Coucher (Chet. Soc.), iii, 811. The conjunction of Cronton with Appleton is shown by the mention of the liberties and easements being 'within the vill of Cronton and outside it.'
8 Whalley Coucher, iii, 812. With the permission to erect the mill was given an assart which William de Cronton, son of Ingrit, formerly held. A rent of 11s. covered all dues except pannage.
9 Plac. de Quo Warr. 381.
10 Whalley Coucher, iii, 813. The compensation amounted to 4¼ acres situate between the land Richard already held and the hedge of Cockshootleigh and Sikeman Sty, going down towards Tarbock; a rent of 12d. was payable.
11 Ibid. The excepted roads were—one by the easement (per baysiam) or 'lidyate' of Cockshootleigh as far as Cronton; and the other from the house of Richard's mother, Margery, to the New Outlane, having a width of 30 ft. After Margery's death this road was to be restricted to a sufficient footpath leading to Farnworth church through the Roughead. The Shaw family were probably tenants of the Hospitallers.
12 The abbot in 1292 defeated a claim for freedom made by two bondmen; Assize R. 408, m. 33 d. Two charters are preserved among the Norris deeds (B.M.), n. 932, 933. By the first John de Pexhill granted 2 acres in the Middlesnape, with housebote and heybote in Cronton, to Maud daughter of Richard de Pilothalgh; and this was, in 1332, with her consent granted by her husband Thomas son of Roger Maggeson de Bradley, to John the Clerk, of Cronton.
Richard the Clerk, of Cronton, had in 1246 resisted a claim for an oxgang put forward by Richard son of Richard the Ferryman; Assize R. 404, m. 8 d. Richard the Clerk, of the Hermitage, was a witness to the two charters of Edmund de Lacy.
13 Several suits were with John son of John de Lancaster of Rainhill concerning 15 acres which the abbot alleged to be in Cronton, and the defendant in Rainhill; De Banc. R. 352, m. 537 d.; 358, m. 95 d. &c. to Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 2, m. v d. The abbot lost this case, but immediately made claim for 6 acres, which he recovered by instalments; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 3, m. ix; 4, m. 16; Assize R. 438, m. 14 d.
14 The bounds were declared to begin at Philip's Cross towards Ditton, and to proceed to Waspestub, to the syke, along this to Holywell Brook, and so to the Mill Brook; thence by the middle of the wood to Combral by Longley, by Longley Brook to Wiglache, following this to the Cartgate (way) going to Ridgate, and along the Cartgate to the Church Shaw, to the Mersappletree, and to Richard's Cross; hence by the road to the Chester Road through Sutton as far as the syke running through the middle of Cranshaw, and so to Sleeper's Green, towards the chapel of Farnworth; Whalley Coucher, iii, 815–17. Thus it would appear that Cronton then extended further to the east than the present township.
15 Whalley Coucher, iv, 1215. The lessees were Thomas Torbock, John Winington, James Haworth, George Cross, and others of the town of Cronton. In 1291 the assised rent of Cronton had been £5 13s. 4d.; Pope Nich. Tax. (Rec. Com.), 259. In 1534, when it was worked in conjunction with Aigburth and Garston, the assised rent of the demesne was £18 4s.; Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v. 229.
16 Pat. 35 Hen. VIII, 1 Aug.; and Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xi, n. 46. For this and Stayning a rent of £5 0s. 11½d. was payable to the crown; this was sold with a number of such rents in 1680; R. 1, pt. 2.
17 Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 40, m. 137.
18 Ibid. bdle. 49, m. 18. Francis Holt and Ellen his wife and Thomas Holt, son and heir apparent, and Constance his wife were the vendors. The property is described as the manor of Cronton, with 20 messuages, 2 mills, 500 acres land, &c. Thomas Brooke had a year before purchased part of this from Thomas Holt; ibid. bdle. 48, m. 202.
19 Ducatus Lanc. iii, 377. The Ireland family had held lands here previously and continued to hold some.
20 Pal. of Lanc. Feet. of F. bdle. 60, m. 284. Yet in 1615 Thomas Sutton is stated to have held his lands in Cronton of Thomas Brooke; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 18.
21 Sales by the Holts are recorded to Richard Hawarden; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 43, m. 118; to Thomas Parr and others, ibid. bdle. 45, m. 22; to John Gleast, ibid. bdle. 46, m. 130; to Robert Burgess and others, ibid. bdle. 46, m. 217. In Sept. 1598, James Pemberton and Katherine his wife, and James Pemberton, junior, the son and heir of the former, sold various lands to George and Hugh Gresse, Richard Wright, Thomas and John Parr, James Lawton, Thomas Parte, William Norman, Edward Deane, and Edward Orme; ibid. bdle. 60, m. 115.
Thomas Parte died in 1605; it appears that he had had a lease of the premises from Francis Holt in 1583; at his death he held them of the crown in chief, by the hundredth part of a knight's fee, and his heir was his son John, aged seventeen; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 37.
John Gleast's land was at his death in 1607 found to have been held in the same manner; his heir was his daughter Margaret Lea, aged thirty-five; ibid. i, 102.
Thomas Whike, Thomas Linacre, John Parr, Francis and John Windle also held lands in chief by similar fractions of a knight's fee; ibid. i, 110; ii, 7, 182, 234, 285. John Parr had two mills in Cronton, a windmill and a horse-mill.
William Stock died in 1596 holding lands in Cronton of the queen by the two-hundredth part of a knight's fee; his heir was his sister Elizabeth, who in 1599 was wife of John Cross, and seventeen years of age; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xvii, n. 64. In 1628 Peter Stock held lands here, leaving as heir a son William, aged twenty-five; ibid. xxvi, n. 28.
22 Norris D. (B.M.). William Parr was the son and heir of the John Parr just mentioned; he was born in Oct. 1608; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs and Ches.), ii, 184.
Thomas Wyke was the son and heir of the Thomas Wyke mentioned in the last note, who was the son and heir of Edward Wyke, and aged twelve years in 1588. Edward's lands were held in chief by the two-hundredth part of a knight's fee; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xiv, n. 38. A claim was made in 1594 by John Wyke, minister of Avington in Hampshire, against Thomas and Elizabeth Wyke; Ducatus Lanc. iii, 319. The younger Thomas was fourteen years of age at his father's death in July, 1608; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc.), i, 111.
23 James Lawton died in July, 1616, seised of a fourth part of the manor, held, like the rest, in capite by the hundredth part of a fee. His son and heir was Henry, only two years of age at his father's death; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (ut sup.), ii, 34.
Among the manors of Richard Bold Cronton is enumerated in 1600; but it does not appear how it was acquired or how lost; it is not named in the inquisition after the death of Sir Thomas Bold in 1613; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 62, m. 112; 63, n. 170; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 254. It was, however, in cluded in the settlement made in 1608; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 73, n. 41.
Robert Burgess also had a manor of Cronton in 1640; ibid. bdle. 137, n. 10. He was probably a descendant of the Robert Burgess already mentioned among the purchasers from the Holts in 1584. This Robert died the same year (his land being held by the hundredth part of a fee) and at subsequent inquisitions it was found that his son Thomas, aged eleven years, was heir, but the land had been given to a younger son Richard; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xiv, n. 59. Robert Burgess of Hale and Elizabeth his wife occur in the recusant roll of 1641; and in 1717 Robert Burgess, son of Thomas and brother of James Burgess, as a 'Papist,' registered a small estate in Cronton; Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), xiv, 243; Engl. Cath. Non-jurors, 97.
24 William Wright was the second son of Richard Wright of Cronton, who died in June, 1621, seised of a quarter of the manor, held in chief by the hundredth part of a knight's fee. The eldest son John had died before his father, leaving a son Richard, aged thirteen in 1621. Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 246. He died 31 Jan. 1635–6, leaving a son and heir John, ten months old; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xxviii, n. 25. This John was probably father of the John son of John Wright of Cronton, whose guardianship was in 1677 granted to Edward Williamson of Tarbock, John being then fourteen years of age; Act Book of Chest. 1676–84.
A William Wright's will (at Chester) was made in 1652 and proved in 1654, Richard being his son and heir; the latter dying in or before 1665, administration was granted to Thomas Wyke, husband of Jane, a daughter of William Wright. A John Wright of Ditton, yeoman, whose will was made in 1718, and proved at Chester a year later, was perhaps of this family; he had Marsh Green House in Ditton, which he left to his brother Francis's children, John Wright and Mary Sankey; the executors were 'Tremuli, anglice Quakers.'
The next Wright of Cronton appears to have been the Thomas whose will was dated 10 May, 1747, with a codicil of a year later. He had lands in Cronton, Rainhill, Liverpool, West Derby, and Wavertree. He had a brother Ralph. By his wife, Jane Clayton, he had four sons—Richard, the heir; Henry, who married Elizabeth, and had a daughter Elizabeth; Thomas, who married Mary, and had a son and daughter named Clayton and Jane; and John, who died before his father, leaving a daughter Anne by Martha his wife.
Richard who was living in 1771, died before 1775, when his son and heir Thomas became administrator of his grandfather's will. These particulars are taken from this will, and that of Jane Wright, made and proved in 1771; both at Chester. Thomas Wright contributed a ninth part of the land tax in 1785.
25 Baines, Lancs. (ed. 1836), iii, 719.
26 Ex inform. Mr. Stapleton-Bretherton. In Sherriff's map, 1823, Richard Wright is named as owner of the hall.
27 Liverpool Cath. Ann. There were in 1628 thirteen persons fined as recusants in Cronton; Lay Subs. 131/138.


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