Townships
Mearley

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Victoria County History

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William Farrer & J. Brownbill (editors)

Year published

1911

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375-379

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'Townships: Mearley', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6 (1911), pp. 375-379. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=53135 Date accessed: 29 July 2014.


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MEARLEY

Merlay, 1241; Merlee, 1272; Merleye, 1302; Morleye, 1306.

This township lies entirely on the summit and western slope of Pendle Hill, Little Mearley being to the north and Great Mearley to the south. There is no village or hamlet, and in 1901 the population numbered forty-one. The area measures 1,509 acres, Great Mearley alone having 1,008 acres. A road from Pendleton to Worston crosses the township northwards, passing the two ancient halls.

The land is mostly used for pasture. The soil is clay, overlying blue clay.

There is a parish meeting.

In 1666 there were thirty-five hearths liable to the tax. The largest houses were those of Joshua Radcliffe with eleven hearths and Henry Standen with eight; the next in size had four hearths and the next three. (fn. 1)

Manors

A member of the Clitheroe fee, MEARLEY with all its appurtenances was in 1102 granted by Robert de Lacy to Ralph le Rous, (fn. 2) possibly an illegitimate son, and the grant was confirmed about forty years later by Ilbert de Lacy. (fn. 3) What became of the inheritance as a whole is unknown, but the Mitton (fn. 4) and Heriz (fn. 5) families seem to have been concerned in it, perhaps by descent. Mearley was assessed as three ploughlands, of which two were in Great Mearley and the other in Little Mearley.

The descent of GREAT MEARLEY may be traced through a record of the time of Edward II. (fn. 6) Jordan son of Ralph le Rous granted it to Stephen de Mearley. (fn. 7) In 1241 Agnes daughter of Stephen and Adam her son obtained a release of 14 oxgangs of land in Mearley from Eve daughter of Ralph, giving her 8s. (fn. 8) Roger Nowell the son of Adam in 1296 gave part of Mearley to his son Roger, (fn. 9) and in 1302 the two Rogers were said to hold the fourth part of a knight's fee in Great Mearley of the Earl of Lincoln. (fn. 10) In 1311 Roger Nowell held two plough-lands in Great Mearley of the earl by the fourth part of a knight's fee and 20d. rent. (fn. 11) Adam Nowell the son of Roger was in possession before 1322, (fn. 12) and occurs down to 1340. (fn. 13) He was succeeded by a son Richard, called 'the elder,' (fn. 14) living in 1357–9, (fn. 15) but dead in 1362, when his widow Alice claimed dower against his son Lawrence. (fn. 16) Lawrence Nowell (fn. 17) in 1364 granted this manor to Sir Richard de Greenacres in exchange for a moiety of Read, (fn. 18) which became the seat of the Nowells.


Nowell of Read. Argent three covered cups sable.

Sir Richard left a son Richard, (fn. 19) whose heirs were two sisters or daughters Joan and Agnes. The former married Henry Worsley, (fn. 20) who died in 1443, holding by the law of England his wife's inheritance in Great Mearley by the thirty-secondth part of a knight's fee and 10d. rent. (fn. 21) His elder son Robert having died in 1438, the whole inheritance passed to Richard Worsley, son of Henry's younger son John, who was twenty-two years of age. (fn. 22) Their part of the estate seems to have been chiefly in Downham and Twiston, where the later descents will be found. Agnes Greenacres married William Radcliffe of Todmorden, (fn. 23) and the estate, later called the manor, descended in that family, being said to be held of the king as of his duchy by knight's service and a rent. (fn. 24) In 1701 Roger Mainwaring, who had married Elizabeth, the only child of Joshua Radcliffe of Todmorden, sold the manor of Great Mearley to John Harrison. (fn. 25) After the death of John's son Allan (fn. 26) it was sold for the benefit of his creditors by order of the Court of Chancery in 1758 to Piers Starkie of Huntroyde, (fn. 27) and has since descended in that family. No manor seems now to be claimed.


Radcliffe of Todmorden. Argent a bend engrailed sable, a fleur de lis gules for difference.

Mearley Hall stands on the lower slope of Pendle Hill, about the middle of the township, but is a modern farm-house of no interest. The old hall was pulled down about 1886, and only the tall gate piers with ball ornaments and the high fence wall now remain. An account of the building (fn. 28) as it then stood, written in 1883, describes the ground plan as nearly complete 'with central portions and two projecting wings.' Part of the house had been restored and over the door was a stone with the arms of Radcliffe of Todmorden. The eastern wing, described as the most interesting part of the house, was then partly roofless and in ruins. A winding staircase which led from the large south-east room on the ground floor had been completely wrecked, and the oak panels of the wainscot lay broken among the debris. The masonry, however, was still compact and firm. The chief architectural features of the house, which seems to have belonged to the 16th century and faced north, were its gables, chimneys, and long projecting stone gargoyles.

The younger Roger Nowell in 1296 obtained, as above stated, a part of Great Mearley from his father (fn. 29) ; this he gave in 1305 to Richard de Morley and Elizabeth his wife. (fn. 30) Richard was killed at Mearley in 1320–1. (fn. 31) The estate continued for many generations in the family of Morley of Wennington; it was held of the king as duke by knight's service, sometimes defined as the sixth part of a knight's fee. (fn. 32) It was sold about 1570. (fn. 33)

One or two other landowners occur. (fn. 34)

The formation and descent of LITTLE MEARLEY are obscure. In 1242 William the Marshal held the tenth part of a knight's fee there, and Hugh de Mearley held the fifty-sixth part of a fee. (fn. 35) It appears that John de Lacy, who died in 1241, had granted to William Nowell, who must be the same as the Marshal, the whole of Little Mearley to be held by the twelfth part of a knight's fee. (fn. 36) In 1243 the earl's action was complained of as unjust, and Margery widow of Ellis de Snelleshou sought to recover against William Marshal the third part of 2 oxgangs of land as her dower. (fn. 37) In 1311 William de Heriz held one plough-land in Little Mearley by the eighth part of a knight's fee and 9½d. rent, (fn. 38) but in 1349 his heirs were stated to hold the twelfth part of a fee. (fn. 39) In 1355 the heirs of Hugh de Mearley were found to hold his fraction, while Marshal's part was held by John de Morley, Richard Nowell and John de Greenacres, (fn. 40) and a similar record occurs later. (fn. 41)

The Nowells, probably related to the Great Mearley family, appear to have acquired nearly the whole of this part of the township, (fn. 42) but little is known of them (fn. 43) till the time of Henry Nowell, who was in possession in 1470. (fn. 44) He died in 1504 or 1505 holding the manor of Little Mearley of the king as duke by the tenth part of a knight's fee. (fn. 45) The manor descended in the male line (fn. 46) until about 1670, and since then by female descents to the late Thomas PrestonHolt of Worston. (fn. 47)


Morley. Sable a leopard's face or jessant de lis argent.

LITTLE MEARLEY HALL stands in a pretty situation on the slope of Pendle Hill about half a mile to the north of Mearley Hall on what Dr. Whitaker called a 'lingula of land formed by the rocky channels of two torrents.' (fn. 48) It is now a farm-house, and though much repaired and modernized retains some of its ancient features. The building, which is of stone and of two stories, is 58 ft. in length and 35 ft. wide, the longer sides facing east and west and the south end projecting on the west side 8 ft. as a gabled wing. The east side facing the hill is built of rough stone partly rough-cast and retains for the most part its original low mullioned windows, one of which in the upper floor has round-headed lights. The north end of the house, however, seems to have been rebuilt and the windows are modern, and on the east side the roof is covered with modern blue slates, the rest retaining the original ones of stone. The doorway on the east side has a four-centred arch with square hood mould and moulded jambs and head above which is a stone panel dated 1590 with the arms of Nowell quartering Walmesley and the initials of Christopher Nowell and Elizabeth (Walmesley) his wife. The date is probably that of the greater part of the building, though the west side has been refronted with large square stones and has squareheaded barred sash windows. The gable, however, retains its mullioned windows on each floor. But the most interesting architectural feature of the house is the semi-octagonal bay window at the north end of the west front, which was brought here from Sawley Abbey after the Dissolution. (fn. 49) The detail is late and the window belongs probably to the early 16th century, but the tracery has been cut away (fn. 50) and wooden sash frames inserted, the rest of the stonework, however, being well preserved. At each angle is a buttress, square below and octagonal above, on two of which are shields, one with a lion rampant and the other a crescent within the horns of which are two smaller crescents addorsed. Another shield held by an angel at the termination of the hood mould at the north end has five fusils on a chief. The richness of the detail of the stonework is in great contrast to the rest of the house on that side, and the effect is extremely good. The south end of the building, which is built in the same rough stone as the east front partly rough-cast, has three built-up mullioned windows, an external chimney and a larger square projection. At the south-west angle the wall appears to have been originally carried further south or to have been intended to be so. A small garden on the west side is inclosed by a low stone terrace wall, the ground sloping down to a small stream. Various fragments of late Gothic stonework lie about, and from the terrace there is a fine view across the Ribble Valley.

In 1552 some Clitheroe men were fined for fishing in the king's waters in Little Mearley, taking 'keper trowttes' there contrary to the statute. (fn. 51)

In 1590 Richard Greenacres, on behalf of the tenants of Worston, complained that the lords of the adjacent Downham and Mearley had claimed part of the moors and other common pastures of Worston. The bounds were defined only by plain crosses, meres or marked stones, and they desired a perambulation. The lords of Mearley—Henry son of Charles Radcliffe, Christopher Nowell and the daughter and heir of John Hoghton—defended their title. Nowell, who was interested in both manors, having a large copyhold estate in Worston, asserted that Langley Ditch was the boundary, (fn. 52) and this seems to have been agreed upon in 1593. (fn. 53)

The land tax returns of 1789 show that Le Gendre Starkie and Mrs. Townsend were the chief owners.

Footnotes

1 Lay Subs. Lancs. bdle. 250, no. 9.
2 Farrer, Lancs. Pipe R. 385. The grant included Twiston, 2 oxgangs in Clitheroe, Great Mitton, Aighton, and other lands to be held by the service due for the moiety of a knight's fee.
3 Ibid. 386. Downham, or part, was added.
4 See the account of Aighton. In 1242 Ralph de Mitton held the fourth part of a knight's fee in Aighton, Mearley and Livesey; it pertained to the dower of the countess; Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 150. Ralph and Jordan were names used in the Mitton family. Richard Nowell was among the tenants of the same fourth part in 1355; Feudal Aids, iii, 88.
5 This name occurs at Clitheroe, Mearley, Twiston and Downham.
6 Inq. p.m. 20 Edw. II, no. 43. Adam Nowell of Mearley alleged that Jordan son of Ralph le Rous was formerly lord of the lands and chase of Blackburnshire; that he granted to Stephen de Mearley, great-grandfather of the plaintiff, the manor of Great Mearley, with liberty to take wood for burning and building from the woods of Sabden and Pendleton, and with liberty of chase within the manor, viz. between Sabden Brook and Remingden Brook. The demesne heys were excepted, but animals might be followed into them, though without bow and arrow, as far as a horn could be heard. After the forfeiture of Thomas Earl of Lancaster in 1322, Adam's rights had been interfered with, and on his complaint the king directed an inquiry in 1326. The descent is then given thus: Stephen -s. and h. Adam Nowell -s. and h. Roger -s. and h. Adam, the plaintiff. The jury found for the plaintiff, stating that the service due for the manor and chase was 20d. for ward of Lancaster Castle, finding a plough to plough for one day in Lent in the demesne of Standen, and a reaper to reap one day in autumn; the ploughmen to have 4d. for their day's food and the reaper 1½d.
7 Ralph le Rous, the original grantee, was living about 1140, so that if he was the same as the Ralph father of Jordan the gift to Stephen de Mearley may be dated about the time of Richard I.
8 Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 82. A Ralph de Mearley, who may have been the father of Eve, about the same time attested a grant by Alexander the chaplain of Clitheroe to Geoffrey son of Jordan of land in Mearley, which he had received from the Lady Agnes de Mearley; a rent of 8d. was to be paid on St. Oswald's Day; Add. MS. 32104, fol. 140b. From this it appears that Agnes held in her own right, so that the Adam her son may be the Adam Nowell described in the above-cited petition as son and heir of Stephen de Mearley. If so he would be grandson, not son, and this would make the descent more probable.
9 Final Conc. i, 181. Roger Nowell married Elizabeth daughter and co-heir of Richard Fitton; see the account of Great Harwood. A Robert Nowell occurs at Clitheroe in 1274; Coram Rege R. 12, m. 72.
10 Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 318.
11 Ibid. ii, 13. In the same year he made a claim against William son of Alice de la Green (in Colne) for waste in a tenement in Great Mearley. William had pulled down a chamber, grange and ox-house, and the jury awarded £20, as treble damages; De Banco R. 187, m. 41 d.; 195, m. 203 d.
12 This appears from his claim of 1326 already cited.
In 1302 Adam Nowell obtained a messuage and the moiety of a mill in Great Mearley from (his father) Roger Nowell; the remainder, in default of issue, was to Adam's brother Roger; Final Conc. i, 199.
13 Adam Nowell in 1327 granted half his manor of Great Mearley to Richard his son and Joan his wife; Towneley MS. DD, no. 591. Adam Nowell and Richard his son occur in 1341; ibid. no. 607. In 1342 Robert son of Sir Adam de Clitheroe gave to Adam Nowell Thistleridding in Mearley at a rent of 6s. 8d.; ibid. no. 920. This may be the Thistleridding in Clitheroe afterwards held by the Radcliffes of Todmorden.
14 In 1331 Adam son of Roger Nowell gave a rent of 4s. to his son Richard 'the elder'; ibid. no. 606. In the following year Richard surrendered to Adam his father 2 acres by a deed to which Richard son of Roger Nowell was a witness; ibid. no. 610. This may be the Richard 'the younger' whose existence is implied by the former deed. One Richard Nowell complained in 1331 of depasturing in Mearley by John Hitchcock; De Banco R. 284, m. 64. Richard and William Nowell were indicted for disturbing Clitheroe market in 1350; Assize R. 430, m. 2.
15 Richard appears in 1357; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxii, App. 336.
16 De Banco R. 411, m. 54; the estates were in Great Mearley, Harwood, Church, Worston, Rishton and Tottleworth.
17 In 1364 a jury found that Lawrence Nowell had free chase in his manor of Mearley; Kuerden MSS. ii, fol. 260.
Lawrence (son of Richard) Nowell and Katherine his wife are named in 1353; Assize R. 435, m. 11. Lawrence son of Richard Nowell in 1351 made a grant to Roger son of Adam son of Stephen del Rodes; Dunkenhalgh D. His wife Katherine was a daughter and co-heir of John del Clough of Read; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 3, m. 6.
18 Final Conc. ii, 169. A number of deeds about the exchange have been preserved by Towneley; Add. MS. 32104, fol. 156; DD, no. 593, &c. The transactions lasted until 1368. Lawrence's relationship to Richard is not stated in these deeds. John son of Lawrence Nowell in 1378–9 released all actions against Sir Richard de Greenacres; ibid. no. 608.
19 In 1377 Sir Richard had two sons John and Richard; ibid. no. 592. His wife was Joan daughter of John del Clough, and she afterwards married Roger de Edelston, who was 'of Mearley' in 1385–6; Cal. Pat. 1385–9, pp. 31, 55.
20 Henry son of John Worsley occurs in 1418; Final Conc. iii, 74.
21 DD, no. 1473; this refers to Great Mearley only. Joan is here called one of the daughters and heirs of Sir Richard Greenacres.
22 Ibid. no. 1475; this refers to Twiston and Downham. Richard Worsley died in 1463 holding a third part of the manor of Great Mearley of the king as Earl of Lincoln by knight's service and 6d. rent; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 75, 76.
23 The statement of descent is that given by Dodsworth from a declaration by Richard Radcliffe in answer to a writ of Quo Warranto concerning his free chase in Great Mearley; Pal. of Lanc. Writs Proton. 13 Hen. VII. The pedigree runs thus: Sir Richard Greenacres -s. Richard -dau. Agnes, mar. William Radcliffe -s. William -s. Richard, 1498; Dods. MSS. cxlix, fol. 109b.
William Radcliffe in 1434 gave a rent of 40s. a year from his manor of Mearley to his son William; Add. MS. 32104, no. 724. The Radcliffe feoffees in 1438 gave to William Radcliffe the younger of Todmorden and Agnes his wife all the lands in Twiston and Mearley; ibid. fol. 176b, no. 740. William Radcliffe in 1451 made a feoffment of all his share of the manor of Great Mearley; ibid. no. 723.
In the same year Richard Worsley of Mearley and William Radcliffe of the same, seised of the manor of Great Mearley, agreed as to closes called Oxhey, the Vyners, &c.; ibid. no. 658 (fol. 153b). The heirs of Worsley in 1494 released to Richard Radcliffe all their right in Great Mearley; ibid. no. 747.
A petition is extant from William Radcliffe the younger and his cousin Worsley of the parish of Clitheroe addressed to the Bishop of Winchester, Cardinal of England, and complaining of an assault upon them by Thomas son of Sir Thomas Radcliffe and a number of armed men. It seems that Thomas was killed; Towneley MS. RR, no. 90. This must be dated 1426, when the Bishop of Winchester (Beaufort) was cardinal and chancellor.
In 1499 Richard Radcliffe and Charles his son and heir granted Butterley in Great Mearley to John Radcliffe, a son of Richard, for ninety-nine years; ibid. no. 52. An arbitration as to this lease was made in 1540; DD, no. 636. Butterley was an approvement made in the time of Edward III; ibid. no. 614.
24 For the descent see the account of Todmorden. Richard Radcliffe died in 1502 holding twenty-two messuages, &c., in Great and Little Mearley of the king as duke by the fourteenth part of a knight's fee; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iii, no. 94. His son Charles in 1536 held by knight's service and 12d. rent; ibid. viii, no. 35. His grandson Charles in 1590 held by the fortieth part of a knight's fee and 2d. rent; ibid. xv, no. 24; see also xvii, no. 45. Charles Radcliffe had in 1572 assigned the Great Oxhey and three wheatfields in Great Mearley to the use of his son Henry; Add. MS. 32104, no. 661; see also Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 34, m. 7; 57, m. 43.
25 Whitaker, Whalley, ii, 111. The following are references to later recoveries and fines: Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 451, m. 2 (Elizabeth Radcliffe, 1690); 461, m. 7 (1695); 473, m. 8 (1701). This last refers to the manors of Great Mearley and Pendleton, the deforciants to the fine being Roger Mainwaring the younger, Elizabeth his wife, Savill Radcliffe and Mary his wife; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 246, m. 119.
There were serious family disputes in 1680–5; Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xi, App. ii, 244.
26 Allan Harrison was vouchee in a recovery of the manor in 1738; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 546, m. 3.
27 Abstract of title.
28 Trans. Burnley Lit. and Scient. Club, iii, 125.
29 Final Conc. i, 181. Four messuages, half the mill, &c. Roger the younger had claimed them the year before; De Banco R. 110, m. 222 d.
30 Final Conc. i, 206. The remainders were to heirs by Elizabeth and to Simon de Balderston. Richard de Morley in 1306 claimed a messuage in Great Mearley against Roger son of Michael de Birkin; De Banco R. 160, m. 180. The Morleys are more closely identified with the manor of Wennington in Lonsdale, acquired by marriage about 1350.
The alienation led to disputes between the Nowell and Morley families. In 1331 Adam Nowell and his son Richard the elder agreed as to Roger son of Roger Nowell's improvements, &c., with John de Dinelay, Elizabeth Mauncel and John de Morley; DD, no. 604. Ten years later Richard the elder, son of Adam Nowell, released the rent of 6s. 2½d. due from Elizabeth widow of Richard de Morley and John the son and heir of Richard; ibid. no. 605. In 1346 Richard Nowell granted to John de Morley the moiety of the water-mill with the watercourse of Thirse Clough; ibid. no. 609. In 1357 Richard made an attempt to recover the lands which Roger had alienated; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 6, m. 3 d.; Assize R. 438, m. 14 d. He alleged that one Adam Nowell in the time of Edward I gave them to Roger Nowell and Elizabeth his wife -s. Adam -s. Richard, plaintiff.
31 Coram Rege R. 254, m. 45 d. John son of William son of Helewise was found guilty and hanged for it.
32 In 1507 the estate consisted of six messuages, &c., in Great and Little Mearley held of the king as duke by the sixth part of a knight's fee; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iii, no. 34. In the other inquisitions the tenure is similarly described. Oldfield in Great Mearley is named in one of them as a part of the estate; ibid. iii, no. 89.
33 John Hoghton and Miles Aspinall in 1574 obtained three messuages, &c., in Great Mearley from Thomas Morley, Elizabeth his wife and Elizabeth Morley, widow; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 36, m. 227. This may have referred to a mortgage leading to a sale.
John Hoghton of Pendleton died in 1583 holding two messuages in Mearley of the queen by knight's service; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xiv, no. 14.
Miles Aspinall died in 1606 holding an estate in Great Mearley by the twentieth part of a knight's fee and 3d. rent; it had first been acquired on lease to James Aspinall from Thomas Morley of Wennington in 1535 and from his son Thomas in 1562; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 40; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), ii, 73; iii, 122. In 1598 James Aspinall obtained a messuage, &c., in Great Mearley from Thomas Hoghton, Katherine his wife and Mary Singleton, widow; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 60, m. 92. Miles's son James Aspinall was aged about forty at his father's death, and died in 1635 holding a messuage in Great Mearley, and leaving daughters and their issue to inherit. These were Agnes (aged forty) late wife of John Halstead, Catherine (thirty) wife of Francis Webster, daughters of James, Thomas Rigby (twenty) son and heir of Mary daughter of James, John Ryley (fifteen) son and heir of Margaret daughter of James; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xxvii, no. 24. James Aspinall of Mearley compounded in 1631 for refusing knighthood by a fine of £13 6s. 8d.; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 217.
34 Ralph son of Peter Clough died in 1605 holding a tenement in Mearley of the king as duke by the four-hundredth part of a knight's fee. He left a son and heir Ralph, aged two; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc.), i, 41. For a Clough family dispute see Ducatus Lanc. iii, 415, 455.
The Tattersall family had a messuage, &c., in Clitheroe and Mearley in the time of Henry VII; ibid. i, 123.
The subsidy roll of 1581 names James Asmall and Christopher Nowell as paying for their lands; and that of 1600 likewise records Christopher Nowell, Elizabeth his mother, James Asmall and John Bayley as landholders; Lay Subs. Lancs. bdle. 131, no. 235, 274.
35 Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 151. It belonged to the dower of the Countess of Lincoln, like Great Mearley.
36 Harl. MS. 2077, fol. 326. The deed was in the custody of John Nowell of Little Mearley in 1652.
37 Cur. Reg. R. 130, m. 13. The jury found that Ellis had held the 2 oxgangs on the day of his marriage with Margery, and that John de Lacy had unjustly occupied the land and enfeoffed William Marshal. It was therefore ordered that Margery should be compensated out of other lands of Edmund de Lacy the heir, who was under age.
38 Lancs. Inq. and Extents, ii, 13. Heriz seems here and elsewhere to represent Ralph le Rous.
39 Lansdowne Feodary in Baines' Lancs. (ed. 1870), ii, 693.
A note in the Shireburne abstract book at Leagram, of unknown origin, states the heirs of Robert (? William) Heriz were four daughters—Elizabeth married to — Nowell, Margaret to Robert de Morley, Katherine to Robert de Gazegill (Gaskell) and Agnes to Richard de Langley. In 1344 Elizabeth daughter of William Heriz gave all her part of Little Mearley to John son of Richard de Morley; ibid. The Gazegill share appears to have been acquired by the Shireburnes of Stonyhurst (ibid.), but no tenure is recorded in their inquisitions. See note 44 below.
40 Feudal Aids, iii, 88.
41 Inq. p.m. 35 Edw. III, pt. 1, no. 122. John de Morley, Richard Nowell and John de Greenacres the tenth part of a fee in 1361. Also in 1378 John de Morley, John Nowell and John de Greenacres held the tenth part of a fee and the heirs of Hugh de Mearley the fiftysixth part; Duchy of Lanc. Misc. Bks. cxxx, fol. 20.
42 The Nowells named in the preceding note may have been of Great Mearley, but others of the name occur in the neighbourhood. Thus in 1357, in a Pendleton settlement, Agnes daughter of John Nowell of Great Mearley put in a claim; Final Conc. ii, 154. John son of Richard Nowell in 1318–19 gave to Richard de Morley, Elizabeth his wife and John their son lands in Great Mearley; Towneley MS. HH, no. 725.
William Nowell occurs in 1377–8; ibid. no. 734. In 1384–5 Robert de Henthorn gave lands in Worston to Thomas son of William Nowell, John Nowell of Read being a witness; ibid. no. 729; Farrer, Clitheroe Ct. R. i, 3 (John was another son). In 1406 Robert son of William Nowell gave his brother John Nowell all his lands in Worston; HH, no. 731. John Nowell occurs in 1396–7; ibid. 733.
43 Roger Nowell was a juror in 1425; Farrer, op. cit. 12. John son and heir of John Clitheroe in 1443–4 released to Roger son of John Nowell all his right in lands in Little Mearley, Clitheroe and Worston which his father had had by the gift of John Nowell; HH, no. 724. This John appears to be the John Nowell of Worston of the preceding note.
Roger Nowell of Mearley was defendant in 1443–5; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 5, m. 9; 7, m. 8. The feoffees in 1455–6 granted to Roger Nowell of Mearley all lands; HH, no. 722. In the same year he gave Almscroft in Clitheroe to feoffees; ibid. no. 736. He had in 1431–2 given part of a burgage in Marketgate in Clitheroe to Thomas Brown; ibid. no. 737.
In 1445–6 Thomas Booth and Agnes his wife, late wife of William Morley, held the tenth part of a knight's fee in Little Mearley; while the same Thomas and Agnes, Roger Nowell and William Gazegill held the fiftieth part of a fee formerly Hugh de Mearley's; Duchy of Lanc. Knights' Fees, bdle. 2, no. 20.
44 Letters of fraternity with Walsoken Hospital were in 1470–1 granted by the warden, brethren and poor men thereof to Henry Nowell and Joan his wife; Towneley MS. GG, no. 993. In 1480 Henry Nowell gave a moiety of his land in Little Mearley to his son Roger, on his marriage with Ellen daughter of Christopher Lister; HH, no. 726, 728. In 1486–7, on a partition of messuages and lands in the township, the inheritance of Robert Harris (Heriz) was sought by Henry Nowell, Robert Morley, John Morley and William Gazegill; Pal. of Lanc. Writs Proton. 2 Hen. VII. In 1504–5 Sir Richard Shireburne gave to Henry Nowell the elder all the lands in Little Mearley which had lately belonged to William Gazegill; HH, no. 742.
45 Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iv, no. 65, 76. Roger the son and heir was forty years old in 1508. Roger died in 1530 holding the manor of Little Mearley of the king by the tenth part of a fee and 9½d. rent. His son Christopher, who married Juliana, was forty years of age; ibid. vi, no. 35. In 1513 Joan daughter of Roger Nowell married John son and heir of John Goodday of Aighton; GG, no. 970. In 1516 William Dinelay of Downham agreed with Roger Nowell, Ellen his wife and Christopher his son respecting the marriage of his daughter Anne with Christopher's son William; ibid. no. 969. Lawrence Nowell, another son of Roger's, is also named; ibid. no. 980. Roger Nowell held 2 oxgangs of land in Worston; Farrer, Clitheroe Ct. R. i, 78, 90.
46 Christopher Nowell died in 1546 holding the manor of Little Mearley and Morley Hey in Great Mearley in socage by 9½d. rent. His heir was a son Roger, aged twenty-two, so that William named above must have died. Roger's wife Elizabeth and another son Alexander are named; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. vii, no. 20. Roger Nowell complained of trespass in 1550; Ducatus Lanc. i, 242.
A pedigree was recorded in 1567; Visit. (Chet. Soc.), 33. Roger Nowell and Elizabeth his wife made a feoffment of the manor, &c., in 1575; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 37, m. 162.
Roger's son Christopher was contracted to marry Eleanor daughter of Hugh Shuttleworth, but she died, and Sir Richard Shireburne was arbitrator in later disputes; GG, no. 937, 949, 977. Christopher was in 1576 engaged to marry Elizabeth daughter of Thomas Walmesley of Showley; ibid. no. 938, 947, 951. Roger's daughter Anne was in 1578 to marry George son of Nicholas Talbot of Carr; ibid. no. 941–3. Another daughter Mary married William Walter; ibid. no. 976. John Nowell son of Roger is also named; ibid. no. 945.
Roger Nowell died in 1579 holding the manor of Little Mearley by the tenth part of a knight's fee; also messuages and a mill in Great and Little Mearley. His son Christopher was thirty years of age; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xiv, no. 79. Soon afterwards Christopher made agreement with Elizabeth Nowell, the widow; Ducatus Lanc. iii, 98; GG, no. 939 (wrongly dated), 944. The will of Roger Nowell of Mearley (dated 1579 and proved 1580) is printed in Wills (Chet. Soc. new ser.), i, 71.
In 1586 Christopher Nowell made an agreement with Richard and Robert Walmesley respecting land in Little Mearley; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 48, m. 37. Warrant was given to admit him to land called Mearley Bank; Lancs. and Ches. Rec. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 265, 242. A deed by Christopher Nowell in 1600 mentioned his wife Elizabeth and his children William, Henry, Alexander, Charles, Anne, &c.; GG, no. 936. Whitaker's pedigree gives two Christophers in succession.
Christopher died in 1628, and his son William, then forty-nine, died in 1637, leaving three sons: Thomas, aged twentyfour, Charles and William; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xxvii, no. 60; xxix, no. 44. In 1631 William Nowell and Thomas his son had granted the capital messuage of Little Mearley to feoffees; GG, no. 973. In 1642 there is mention of John Nowell of Little Mearley and Anne widow of John Nowell of Gazegill in Rimington; ibid. no. 987. Captain Nowell of Mearley, a Parliamentarian, led several foot companies of Blackburn Hundred at the attack on Preston in 1643; Civil War Tracts (Chet. Soc.), 74. John Nowell of Mearley was in 1651 a claimant for the manor of Mellor in right of his wife Elizabeth daughter and co-heir of Thomas Southworth; Cal. Com. for Comp. iv, 2621. In 1664 John Nowell of Mearley was erroneously said to have married Elizabeth daughter of Richard Walmesley of Showley and granddaughter of Thomas Southworth; Dugdale, Visit. (Chet. Soc.), 328; Abram, Blackburn, 662. Allegations and depositions respecting the will of William Nowell of Mearley 1664 are preserved in the Diocesan Registry at Chester.
47 The pedigree in Whitaker (Whalley, ii, 113) is inaccurate for the 17th century. It shows a daughter of the Nowells to have married William Appleton, leaving a son Nowell Appleton (will, 1698), who left a daughter Margaret Sheppard (will, 1757), childless. The inheritance then went to a cousin Anne (daughter of William son of William) Appleton, wife of Thomas Preston, whose great-grandson William Preston took in 1840 the additional surname of Holt, and left in 1857 a son Thomas Preston-Holt to inherit. See notes ibid. 112.
Ann Townsend, widow, held the manor in 1794; Preston Guard. Loc. Sketches, no. 1126.
48 Whitaker, Whalley (ed. 4), ii, 111.
49 Probably from the abbot's lodgings.
50 Some of it now forms the window of an outhouse.
51 Farrer, op. cit. 175.
52 Duchy of Lanc. Plead. Eliz. cliii, G 7. Nowell asserted that in addition to his right as a copyholder in the commons of Worston he had common in right of Mearley because of vicinage, and his cattle used to go from the waste and moor of Great Mearley to the waste and moor of Worston without let or disturbance.
53 Lancs. and Ches. Rec. ii, 274, 277; Towneley MS. GG, no. 1654.