Townships
Abram

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Victoria County History

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William Farrer & J. Brownbill (editors)

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1911

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111-115

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'Townships: Abram', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4 (1911), pp. 111-115. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=41389 Date accessed: 25 July 2014.


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ABRAM

Edburgham, 1212; Adburgham, 1246, and common; Abraham, xvi cent.; Abram, xviii cent. Pronounced Abbram.

Abram is situated in the centre of a coal-mining district; the surface of the country is flat except in the south, where it is very slightly undulating. The surroundings are characteristic of a coal-producing district, distinctly unpicturesque, dingy grass-fields alternating with collieries, pit-banks, and railway lines. Some fields are arable and produce crops of wheat and oats. There is much pasture land. Trees are in the minority, and stunted and blackened with smoke. The hawthorn hedges which divide the fields are low and spare. The soil is a stiff clay which holds a quantity of water on its surface, for besides occasional 'flashes' caused by mining, the fields appear to be slightly flooded at most seasons of the year. It is a district of sett-laid roads and cinder-paths. In the northern part of the township the geological formation consists of the Coal Measures. At some distance from the southern boundary this formation dips under the New Red Sandstone and the intervening Permian Beds.

The area is 1,982 acres, (fn. 1) and in 1901 the population numbered 6,306. Part of the western and nearly all of the southern boundary is formed by a brook running through Hindley, and called successively Eye Brook and Glazebrook; by it Bamfurlong, (fn. 2) in the extreme west, is cut off from the main portion of the township.

Abram village lies in the north-western corner, where the road from Wigan to Warrington by Golborne crosses the township, meeting at the village other roads from Ashton on the south-west, and from Leigh on the east. Bickershaw (fn. 3) lies by the lastnamed road, near the eastern boundary. Plank Lane is a hamlet in the south-eastern corner, situate on the road from Leigh to Newton. Dover is a hamlet on the south-west border.

The London and North Western Company's railway from Warrington to Wigan crosses the western corner of the township, with a station called Bamfurlong; a branch of its Wigan and Manchester line has a station at Plank Lane; the Great Central Company's Manchester and Wigan line passes north through the middle of the township, with two stations called Westleigh and Bedford, and Bickershaw and Abram. The Leigh branch of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal passes through near the southern border.

Coal-mining began about sixty years since.

A local board was formed in 1880. The township is now governed by an urban district council of twelve members, elected by four wards.

MANOR

Before the Conquest, as after, ABRAM appears to have been a member of the manor and fee of Newton. (fn. 4) Henry II gave it to Warine son of Godfrey, and his descendants, assuming the local name, held it to the 17th century. This Warine confirmed a grant by his nephew, William de Occleshaw, to Cockersand Abbey, for the souls of King Henry and others. (fn. 5) His son Richard was a benefactor to the same house, granting Bernegrenes, on the south of Walter's Pool, with other lands and liberties. (fn. 6) Richard de Abram was in possession in 1212, holding the manor as 4 oxgangs by a rent of 4s.; a third part had been given in alms. (fn. 7) John son of Richard confirmed the previous grants to Cockersand and added a ridding by Glazebrook. (fn. 8) Warine Banastre granted an oxgang of his demesne to the same canons, (fn. 9) and Robert son of Robert Banastre gave a general confirmation about 1250. (fn. 10)

The family pedigree cannot be traced satisfactorily. (fn. 11) A Gilbert Abram died about 1470 leaving two daughters as heirs; Constance married Henry Byrom and Isabel married James Holt; (fn. 12) and the later holdings of these families probably represent the inheritance of the daughters. (fn. 13) The manor, however, continued in the male line (fn. 14) to Thomas Abram, who died in 1606, also leaving two daughters to divide the property. (fn. 15) The elder, Susan, married Henry Lance, of a Cornish family, (fn. 16) and the manor was assigned to her; the younger daughter, Mary, married Philip Langton of the Lowe in Hindley. (fn. 17) All adhered to the ancient religion, and suffered accordingly under the persecuting laws in force. (fn. 18) In 1652, however, Abraham Lance, the son and heir of Henry and Susan, being 'conformable,' petitioned for the removal of the sequestration of his mother's lands, and on condition that he abjured his religion they were allowed to him. (fn. 19) It does not appear whether he actually regained possession or not, but the ruin of the family, several members of which fell in the Civil War fighting as Royalists, could not be averted. (fn. 20)


Abram. Azure a sun in splendour or.

Shortly afterwards William Gerard and Anne his wife were in possession, (fn. 21) and sold the manor to Richard Hilton, (fn. 22) with whose daughter Abigail it descended to her children by her husband Thomas Crook. (fn. 23)

The new owner it appears was a zealous Protestant, and his son Richard Crook was the builder of the Nonconformist chapel at Hindley, after the existing one had been recovered by the Bishop of Chester. (fn. 24) Richard died without issue in November 1727, and the inheritance, which, besides Abram, included lands in Walton le Dale and elsewhere in the county, (fn. 25) passed to his five sisters as co-heirs. (fn. 26) The manor of Abram seems to have been the portion of the second sister, Anne, who married John Darbyshire of Warrington, and her only child, Abigail, married Thomas Clayton, M.D., of Little Harwood. (fn. 27) Their grandson, Thomas Clayton, in 1785 sold the manor to Peter Arrowsmith of Astley, who in 1828 sold it to John Whitley, and his son Henry Jackson Whitley, of Biggleswade, succeeded. (fn. 28) His son, Mr. John Henry Arthur Whitley, of Bourton, Salop, is the present owner; but no manorial rights are claimed. (fn. 29)

The portion called OCCLESH AW, as has been seen, was granted to Cockersand Abbey, (fn. 30) and was occupied by the Urmston family; (fn. 31) after the Dissolution it came into the possession of the Earl of Derby. (fn. 32) The Occleshaw family long continued to hold an estate in the township; (fn. 33) this eventually passed into the hands of Abigail Crook, and became part of her Abram estate. (fn. 34)

BAMFURLONG

BAMFURLONG was the possession of the Ashton family for a long period (fn. 35) ; it then passed to a junior branch of the Gerards, described as 'of Brindle' (fn. 36) ; and probably by sale to the later Gerards of Ince, and has descended with the Westwood property. (fn. 37)

Nothing definite can be stated about the descent of BICKERSHAW, formerly called a manor. (fn. 38) In the 16th century it was owned by the Holcrofts, and sold by them to Richard Ashton in 1599. (fn. 39) Ralph Ashton about thirty years later sold it to Frances widow of Robert Dukinfield of Dukinfield near Stockport. (fn. 40) It descended in this family until 1760, when it was sold to Richard Clayton of Adlington; and it was again sold in 1790 to Edward Ackers of Newton, surgeon. The trustees of Abraham Ackers, who died in 1864, are the owners; it is leased to the Abram Coal Company. (fn. 41)

A branch of the Culcheths were long seated in Abram. (fn. 42) The inquisition taken after the death of John Culcheth in 1586 shows that he had held lands in Abram of Thomas Abram by a rent of 1d., and in Hindley of John Culcheth of Culcheth by a rent of 6d. (fn. 43) A pedigree was recorded in 1664, (fn. 44) but the family afterwards migrated to Warwickshire, and in 1750 sold the property. (fn. 45)


Culcheth. Argent an eagle sable preying upon a child swaddled gules.

Adam Bolton, (fn. 46) John Occleshaw, John Southworth, Roger Culcheth, Cecily Ashton, and Nicholas Huyton, were the landowners contributing to a subsidy collected about 1556. (fn. 47) The Corless, (fn. 48) Lithgoe, (fn. 49) and Leyland (fn. 50) families were long resident here.

A plot of land in Park Lane, known as the Morris Dancers' ground, is popularly supposed to be held by them on condition that a morris dance be celebrated there once in twenty years. (fn. 51)

The church of St. John was erected in 1838 for the accommodation of members of the Established Church. (fn. 52) The rector of Wigan is patron of this, but trustees present to the new church of St. James and St. Elizabeth, Bickershaw.

A Congregational chapel was built in 1897.

A school was founded at Lowe in 1632 by Mrs. Mary Abram. (fn. 53)

Footnotes

1 1,984, including 26 of inland water; Census of 1901.
2 Banforthlang, 1448.
3 Bykershagh, 1365.
4 V.C.H. Lancs. i, 286.
5 Cockersand Chart. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 661.
6 Ibid. 663. The first of his charters names 'the deep lache which was the boundary between Abram and Occleshaw.'
7 Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 77. How King Henry came to have Abram in his hands is unknown. The third part in alms probably refers to the Occleshaw and other gifts recorded in the text.
8 Cockersand Chart. ii, 664. In 1246 John de Abram quitclaimed his right in 200 acres of land to Peter de Burnhull; Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 98.
9 Cockersand Chart. ii, 660.
10 Ibid, ii, 643. The following were the abbey tenants in 1501: John Ashton, 12d.; William Culcheth, 12d.; Richard Atherton and Robert Bolton, in Bickershaw, each 6d.; Cockersand Rental (Chet. Soc.), 4.
11 Adam de Abram occurs in 1246; Assize R. 404, m. 13d. In 1270–1 Robert de Abram and Robert and Adam his sons were defendants; Curia Regis R. 201, m. 15d. From one of these may descend the John son of Richard son of Robert de Abram mentioned in 1342; Towneley MS. GG, no. 2670.
Richard de Abram, probably the head of the family, was a juror in 1288; Inq. and Extents, i, 273. John son of Richard de Abram was a defendant in 1301; Simon de Holland was plaintiff; Assize R. 419, m. 4 d.; 418, m. 2. John de Abram seems to have died soon after his father, for in 1305 the defendants in a case concerning land were Richard son of John de Adburgham, Agnes widow of John, Maud widow of Richard (probably the grandfather), Henry de Huyton, William and Roger de Bradshagh, Simon de Holland, John Gillibrand, and William son of Roger de Ashton; the plaintiff was Richard son of Adam del Lache. This list probably includes all or most of the freeholders; Assize R. 420, m. 8. Many years later, in 1324–5, Richard del Lache claimed common of pasture from Richard de Abram; Assize R. 426, m. 9. In 1324 an agreement was made between Adam de Kenyon and Richard de Abram that the latter should marry Adam's daughter Godith, her portion being £40; Harl. MS. 2112, fol. 159–95.
William de Abram was a juror in 1387; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc.), i, 25. Soon afterwards there are several references to Gilbert de Abram, who was a juror in 1416; ibid. i, 116. In 1419 a proclamation was issued forbidding armed men to go about to the peril of the king's peace, with special reference to Gilbert de Abram and his sons John and William, who had entered the lands of Richard del Lache at Abram; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxiii, App. 17.
John de Abram, probably the son of Gilbert just mentioned, appears to have died about the beginning of 1446, when the writ Diem clausit extremum was issued; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxix, App. 533. William de Abram, gentleman, and Joan daughter of John de Abram, occur in suits of 1445; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 8, m. 1, 6.
12 In the time of Edward IV there was made a settlement of his estate, or part of it, in favour of his two daughters; Towneley MS. CC, no. 651. It is described as seven messuages, 124 acres of land, &c. John Abram was the deforciant. Possibly he was the heir male; in which case Gilbert must have been dead at that time. In the Visitations the father's name is given as John.
About 1500 James Holt with Isabel his wife and Constance Byrom a widow, as cousins and heirs of Hugh Boydell and daughters and heirs of Gilbert Abram claimed a right of toll from all who crossed the Mersey between Runcorn and Thelwall; Duchy Plead. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 39–41. In Ormerod's Ches. (ed. Helsby), i, 596, it is stated that Isabel, one of the sisters and co-heirs of Robert Boydell, was married to John Abram as early as 1405; Gilbert was the son and heir; a few years later she was the wife of Nicholas Langton. The other sister, Margaret, married Hugh Reddish. See also op. cit. ii, 723.
13 Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xi, no. 46; Thomas Holt of Grislehurst. In the inquisition taken after the death of Henry Byrom in 1613, it was found that he had held lands in Abram, &c., of the lord of Newton, but the service was not known; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 273; ii, 12.
14 a Thomas Abram seems to have been lord about 1500 and John Abram in 1528; Duchy Plead. i, 162, 163. In 1540 Thomas Abram was defendant in a claim to messuages, &c., in Abram put forward by Gilbert Hindley and Elizabeth his wife; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), i, 163.
15 In 1567 Thomas Abraham, the last of the family, was deforciant of the manor of Abram, and lands in the township; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 29, m. 68; and again, in conjunction with Mary his wife, in 1600; ibid. bdle. 62, m. 275. The remainders in the former settlement are thus stated: To Peter brother of Thomas, Sir Thomas Gerard, Thomas and George, sons of the late Richard Abraham of Westleigh; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 223, m. 18. Thomas Abraham, in October 1606, was buried at Wigan, as 'father-inlaw to Mr. Henry Lance of Abram'; Wigan Reg. He was on the recusant list of 1599–1600; Gillow, Bibl. Dict. of Engl. Cath. iv, 112.
16 Visit. of Cornw. (Harl. Soc.), 124. The story of the marriage is curious. 'Abram of Abram, a gentleman of £100 land in Lancashire, put his daughter and heir unto my lady Gerard of the Brynn. Sir Thomas and my lady being here in London, one Dwelles, a fencer near Cecil house, and his wife, by indirect means—being of kin to the girl—did invite all my lady's children and gentlewomen unto a breakfast. They came thither, and at their coming the youths and serving men were carried up to the fence school. My lady's daughters and gentlewomen must needs play at the cards, will they nill they. The girl Abram, by the wife of the house, was conveyed into a chamber and shut the door after her and there left her. The girl found in the chamber four or five tall men. She knew them not. And immediately the girl fell into a great fear, seeing them to compass her about. Then began an "old priest" to read upon a book. His words she understood not, saving these words: "I Henry take thee Susan to my wedded wife," etc. This done they charged the wench never to discover this to anybody living; and so sent her down to her fellows. And dinner being done the wench told to her fellows very lamentably what had been done; and they over to Sir Thomas and my lady.' The date of this deposition is 1583. Quoted in Leyland's Abram from Ellis's Original Letters (Ser. 1), ii, 292.
17 By an indenture of 10 Dec. 1598 the estate was secured to Mary wife of Thomas Abram for life, with reversion to Henry Lance and Susan his wife, eldest daughter of Thomas Abram, and their heirs; in default, to Philip Langton and Mary his wife, younger daughter of Thomas Abram; Leyland, op. cit. 11. Mary Abram gave £90 to the school at Hindley.
18 An informer gave evidence that Abraham Lance and Abraham Langton—so named from their mother's family—were 'present at a meeting of some of the leading Catholics of the county, held at the house of Widow Knowles in Ashton the day before Newton Fair, 30 July 1623, at which Sir Thomas Gerard is asserted to have made a treasonable speech. In 1626 Abraham Lance, of Abram, gent. and Emma his wife are found in the recusant rolls'; Gillow, op. cit. iv, 112.
In 1628 Henry Lance the father, as a convicted recusant, paid double to the subsidy; Norris D. (B.M.). He was buried at Wigan, 7 Jan. 1629–30.
19 Cal. Com. for Compounding, iv, 2967; Royalist Comp. Papers (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), iv, 55. No reason is assigned except the recusancy of the petitioner's mother, who was buried at Wigan 9 Sept. 1648, as 'Old Mrs. Susan Lance of Dalton.' Emma wife of Abraham Lance was buried at the same place 17 Mar. 1651–2.
20 Abraham Lance certainly had issue, for a son Henry was baptized at Wigan in 1619, and another was buried in 1620; Wigan Reg. Hence the Captains Abraham and Robert Lance stated by Lord Castlemain to have been slain at Rowton Heath may have been his sons; John Lance was another of the family, killed at Islip; Gillow, loc. cit. A Captain Lance was taken prisoner 6 Mar. 1643–4; Civil War Mem. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.) 125. Abraham married again, Elizabeth daughter of Richard Mascy of Rixton, and afterwards wife of George Mascy, being his second wife; Dugdale, Visit. (Chet. Soc.), 194.
21 In 1649 Abraham Lance appointed William Gerard of Garswood, son and heir apparent of Sir William Gerard of Brynn, receiver for behoof of Abraham Lance and his wife and their heirs, with remainder to the use of the said William Gerard; a bond, signed by William Gerard in 1667, mentions that Abraham Lance had died about seven years before without male issue. See J. Leyland's Abram, 12, for fuller abstracts of these and other deeds.
Fines relating to the above are Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdles. 146, m. 111; 180, m. 17.
22 On 16 Sept. 1667 the estate was conveyed to Richard Hilton of Westleigh, yeoman, for £1,505; it included two pews in Wigan Church; also the following fee-farm rents: 'William Leyland, 5s.; John Anderton, 3s. 4d.; late Frances Dukinfield, 11d.; Richard Occleshaw, 13d.; James Wreast, 3s. 5d.; Thomas Holland, 1s. 6d.; Roger Culcheth, 2d.; John Lithgoe, 1d.;' see Leyland, op. cit. 12, 13. Richard Hilton died at the beginning of 1690.
23 Ibid. 14. Thomas Crook is described as of Hoole, Lancashire. He was the founder of numerous charities, and left money 'to the preaching Protestant minister of Hindley chapel.' He expressed a desire to be buried with his mother (Margaret Green) and brother in Standish parish church; Leyland, op. cit. 14, 118–21; also Local Glean. Lancs. and Ches. i, 147. An accusation of coin clipping, probably false, was made against William Crook and Thomas his brother in 1684; Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 173, 175.
24 Leyland, Hindley, 65.
25 The will of Thomas Crook already quoted mentions estates at Bretherton, Much Hoole, Mawdesley, Walton le Dale, Billinge, Euxton, Ulnes Walton, Leyland, Farington, Alston, and Whittingham.
Richard had an elder brother Caleb, who also died without issue.
Abigail Crook, the widow, died about 1705; an abstract of her will is printed in Local Glean. ii, 231, in which volume is much information as to the Crook family. Several documents about their properties are in the possession of W. Farrer.
26 Ibid. ii, 231, 237. The eldest sister, Lydia, married Thomas Yates of Whitchurch; the second, Anne, married John Darbyshire of Warrington; the third, Abigail, married in 1707 John Andrews of Bolton le Moors; the fourth, Margaret, married (1) John Percival of Liverpool and Allerton, and (2) Thomas Summers of Liverpool; the fifth, Isabel, married (1) —Danvers, and (2) Rev. Thomas Heys of Rainhill.
27 In 1734 all the heirs joined in a lease of the manor of Abram, viz.—Thomas Yates and Lydia his wife, Thomas Clayton and Abigail his wife, John Andrews and Abigail his wife, Thomas Summers and Margaret his wife, Thomas Heys and Isabel his wife. There is an account of the Clayton family in Abram's Blackburn, 556–61.
28 Leyland, Abram, 15, 16.
29 Information of Mr. Whitley and Mr. William Valiant of Newton.
30 'The whole land of Occleshaw' was granted by William de Occleshaw to the canons of Cockersand about the end of the 12th century. The bounds are thus given: 'From where Deep lache runs down from Bageley head, by the lache to Glazebrook, up this brook and Occleshaw brook, to Rushy lache and so to Bickershaw, then up the lache to the Slavi-lache, by this to within Bageley wood Eves, and so to Deep lache;' Cockersand Chart. ii, 660, 664. William de Occleshaw is called William Gillibrand in the confirming charter; and John Gillibrand had the land as the canons' tenant in 1268 at a rent of 12d.; ibid. 643, 661. Other Occleshaws occur in Hindley and Aspull. The spelling of the Chartulary is Aculuesaue or Aculuesahe; in 1292, Okeleshawe.
31 Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iii, no. 30; John Urmston of Westleigh, 1507.
32 Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 433; Richard Urmston, 1624. The rent payable was 12d., as paid by John Gillibrand.
33 In 1292 William del Platt unsuccessfully claimed right of way beyond the lands of Thomas and Roger de Occleshaw in Abram; Assize R. 408, m. 65 d. The same William demanded lands in Abram and Ince from William Gillibrand, Margery his wife, and others in 1305; it was agreed that he should receive a rent of 5d. for them; Assize R. 420, m. 3d. A fine between Beatrice daughter of Thomas de Occleshaw and her father in 1303 settled a messuage and lands upon her; Final Conc. i, 200. Richard Gillibrand and Cicely his wife; Roger Gillibrand; and Margery and Lucy, daughters of Adam son of William Gillibrand, occur in various suits of 1365; De Banco R. 419, m. 192, 108d.; 420, m. 17.
John Occleshaw of Abram, gentleman, was a trustee in 1531; Add. MS. 32105, no. 912. Thomas Occleshaw in 1568 held four messuages, &c. in Abram; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 30, m. 111. In 1600 John Occleshaw was a freeholder and Henry Occleshaw in 1628; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 240; Norris D. (B.M.).
34 A mortgage by Richard Occleshaw and Thomas his son in 1698 seems to have prepared the way to a sale, the release being granted 3 Apr. 1700; the purchase money was £590. In 1713–14 an indenture was made between Thomas Occleshaw and Elizabeth his wife, and Thomas son of Thomas and the representative of Abigail Crook. From abstract of title in possession of W. Farrer.
35 It is possible that this was the oxgang of land held by Alan de Burton in 1212, rendering yearly 12d. in fee-farm; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 77.
William son of John de Ashton was a defendant in 1305; Assize R. 420, m. 8.
Amota daughter of Robert de Ashton by his wife Emma was with Robert del Coran and Eva his wife and Jordan de Rixton and Agnes his wife a plaintiff in 1329 respecting lands in Abram; De Banco R. 278, m. 31d.; 281, m. 76. Another suit of the series is recorded under Hindley; the defendant in the Abram cases is called William de Ashton instead of William the Fisher. William de Ashton contributed to the subsidy of 1332; Exch. Lay Subs. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 13. Richard de Ashton of Abram attested a Newton charter in 1373; Raines MSS. (Chet. Lib.), xxxviii, 146. Richard de Ashton of Abram in 1388 granted to his son Roger and another lands in Sankey and Penketh acquired from Margaret widow of Simon de Langtree; ibid. 87.
The name occurs in 1445 in a complaint by Katherine the widow and Gilbert the son of William de Ashton, as executors, against Richard de Ashton of Abram and others, respecting the seizure of cows and other property; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 8, m. 6. In the following year there were cross-suits between Katherine the widow and Oliver, Gilbert, and James the sons of William de Ashton, and Richard, also son of William de Ashton of Abram, Hindley, and Ince; ibid. R. 9, m. 13b, 14, 14b. In 1448 William son of Richard de Ashton of Bamfurlong was charged with breaking into Sir John de Byron's close at Atherton; ibid. R. 12, m. 6.
In 1478 a marriage was agreed upon between Oliver son and heir of Thurstan Anderton and Margaret daughter of John Ashton of Bamfurlong; Duchy Plead. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 92, 97.
John Ashton, about fourteen years of age and in ward to Roger Anderton of Bickershaw, being son and heir of Gilbert Ashton, in 1552 made complaint that various servants of Sir Thomas Gerard had prevented his viewing Bamfurlong Hall and its lands, Sir Thomas apparently asserting that a Richard Ashton was the true heir; ibid. iii, 124, 125. At the same time John Ashton and Richard his son alleged their title to Bamfurlong against Richard, Cecily, and Anne Ashton, Roger Anderton, Gilbert Lee, Gilbert Houghton, and Ralph Anderton; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), ii, 114.
John Ashton of Bamfurlong, senior, and his son and heir were in 1590 among the 'comers to church but no communicants'; Gibson, Lydiate Hall, 246, quoting S.P. Dom.Eliz. ccxxxv, 4. In 1598 as an avowed recusant he was called upon to pay £10 for 'her Majesty's service in Ireland'; ibid. 262, from S.P. Dom. Eliz. cclxvi, 80.
John Ashton, claiming by inheritance from Richard Ashton, deceased, demanded in 1594 an estate in Bamfurlong, &c., from Adam Hawarden, Margaret Ashton, and Lawrence Bispham; Duchy Plead. iii, 293. In that year Richard Ashton of Bamfurlong had died holding nothing, as the inquest found, and leaving a son Richard who was but sixteen in 1609; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 130. At the Visitation in 1613 (Chet. Soc. 17) Richard was said to be twenty years of age; his father Richard was son of John Ashton of Bamfurlong. John Ashton had died in 1603, being buried on 30 July at Wigan; Reg. Richard Ashton, being a convicted recusant, paid double to the subsidy in 1628; Norris D.(B.M.).
36 This family recorded a pedigree in 1664, in which they are already described as 'of Bamfurlong'; Dugdale, Visit. (Chet. Soc.), 118. It is not clear how they obtained possession. In 1684 John Ashton called for an inquiry as to the title of Henry Gerard, son of Henry Gerard, a solicitor, deceased, to the hall of Bamfurlong, a water corn-mill, and various lands, formerly the property of Richard Ashton and his daughter Mary, deceased; Exch. Depos. (Rec. Soc.), 65. There is a charge of 'dishonest contrivances' against the elder Henry.
37 See Gillow, Bibl. Dict. of Engl. Cath. ii, 431; Leyland, Abram, 18, 19. From the latter it seems that Henry Gerard the son in 1681 married Cecily West, who in 1717 (now Cecily Howett) as 'a papist' registered an annuity of £80 derived from her first husband; Engl. Cath. Nonjurors, 128. Henry's brother Ralph, a priest, served the domestic chapel at Bamfurlong.
38 Sir Thomas Holcroft held Bickershaw manor of James Browne by a rent of 6d. in 1558; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. x, no. 13. There was a large amount of disputing about it at the time, as will be seen by a reference to the Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), i, 145, 150; ii, 56, 194. Hugh Bradshaw and Constance his wife were in possession in 1535, but Thomas Holcroft's title was allowed.
39 William Holcroft and Elizabeth his wife were vendors; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 61, m. 139.
40 It was purchased from Edward Bolton in 1671, according to the statement in Leyland's Abram, 20; but was acquired by Frances Dukinfield in 1633 or 1634 from Ralph Ashton and Katherine his wife; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 124, m. 18.
The later succession is described in Leyland, 21–8. See also Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 362, m. 129.
41 Leyland, op. cit. 23, 24; and information of the secretary to the company. Nothing of the old house remains.
42 Some deeds concerning the family have been preserved by Towneley, Add. MS. 32105, no. 906–23. The other information is given in the Culcheth papers published in Lancs. and Ches. Hist. and Gen. Notes.
In 1392 John son of Thomas de Culcheth had lands in Abram and Hindley; his son Roger had married Ellen daughter of Henry son of Robert de Blackrod; Add. MS. 32105, no. 915.
William Culshaw in 1531 arranged for the marriage of Roger, his son and heir, with Janet daughter of John Richardson; his own wife was named Margery; ibid. no. 911, 912, 919. The lands in Hindley were called Occleshull and Taleor, and in Abram, Longfield.
43 Ibid. no. 909. The holding in Abram was two messuages, two tofts, two gardens, two orchards, 40 acres of land, 20 acres of meadow, and 20 acres of pasture. Roger Culcheth was his son and heir, and six years of age.
44 Dugdale, Visit. (Chet. Soc.), 92. Roger Culcheth was still living, aged eightyfour; his son George recorded the pedigree. His two eldest sons had been slain at Newbury, and a younger son in Wirral in the Civil Wars; Thomas, the third son, aged forty-four, was the heir.
45 See Lancs. and Ches. Hist. and Gen. Notes, ii, 228, for a continuation of the pedigree by Mr. J. P. Rylands. Roger Culcheth of Wottenbury in Warwickshire, by his will of 1701, left his estate in the parish of Wigan to his brother Thomas of Studley in Warwickshire, tanner; ibid. p. 120. This Thomas left a son William, who seems to have been the last of the family connected with Abram; ibid. i, 275, 276. See also Payne's Engl. Cath. Rec. 26. Part of their land is now the property of the trustees of Abigail Crook's charities.
Roger Culcheth of Abram, as a 'papist,' registered his estate in 1717, the value was £64 15s. 4d.; Engl. Cath. Nonjurors, 124. The name of the family had constantly appeared on the Recusant Rolls; Gillow's Bibl. Dict. Engl. Cath. i, 608.
46 Adam, son and heir-apparent of Robert Bolton, was a surety for William Culcheth in 1531; Add. MS. 32105, no. 912. The father and son were engaged in numerous disputes as to their property, called Blackfields, Mossheys, Lower House, New Earth, etc.; see Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), i, 166, &c. It appears that Robert Bolton died in 1552 or 1553; his wife's name was Elizabeth Holden. Another Robert Bolton is mentioned in 1583 (ibid. iii, 149), and the inquisition after the death of Edward Bolton in 1587 is in Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xv, no. 48. The tenure is not recorded; Edward's heir was his son William, twenty-three years of age.
William Bolton was a freeholder in 1600 and Edward Bolton in 1628; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 239; Norris D. (B.M). This is perhaps the Edward Bolton who sold Bickershaw Hall in 1671. Deeds relating to Bolton House in Abram and other properties of the family are printed in Lancs. and Ches. Hist. and Gen. Notes, ii, 39, 47.
47 Mascy of Rixton D.
48 Richard Corless as a landowner contributed to the subsidy of 1628; Norris D. (B.M.).
49 Nicholas Huyton of Blackrod in 1528 held lands in Abram of the heirs of John Abram by a rent of 5s.; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. vi, no. 53. In 1628 John Lithgoe contributed to the subsidy 'for Huyton's lands'; Norris D. (B.M.).
50 William Leyland was a trustee in 1626; Add. MS. 32105, no. 906. Their connexion with the township ceased about 1780; but John Leyland of Cheetham House (afterwards called the Grange) in Hindley represented them down to his death in 1883; his accounts of Hindley and Abram, published in 1873 and 1881, have been used in these notes. A grant of arms was made to him in 1863; Lancs. and Ches. Hist. and Gen. Notes, iii, 34.
51 Leyland, op. cit. 114; the custom was observed in 1880. Mr. William Valiant informs us that this is still kept up.
52 Leyland, Abram, 29–35. The tenures of the second and third of the incumbents appear to have been shortened by their parishioners' objection to what was called 'ritualism.' The district chapelry was formed in 1843; Lond. Gaz. 1 Aug. and 3 Oct. 1843.
53 Gastrell, Notitia, ii, 256.


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