A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1907.
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HUYTON WITH ROBY
The original township of Huyton has been united with Roby to form the township of Huyton with Roby. To them in 1877 was added Thingwall, (fn. 1) part of the parish of Childwall. The area of the amalgamated townships is 3,054 acres, (fn. 2) and the population in 1901 numbered 4,661. The country is somewhat undulating in the north, but flat in most places. This is quite a residential district with the dwellers in the city of Liverpool, for pleasant country houses with gardens and shrubberies are seen on all sides. Beyond the houses are open fields, some pastures, others where corn, potatoes, and turnips are generally cultivated. The soil is sandy, with a solid base of red sandstone. At Huyton Quarry the character of the country varies; coal mines begin to indicate their presence by shafts and ventilators. The Huyton Quarry mine is the nearest to Liverpool of the South Lancashire mines. To the east of Huyton village the geological formation consists of the gannister beds towards the north-east and the coal measures to the south-east; in the western half of the township the three beds of the bunter series of the new red sandstone are successively represented from north-west to south-east. In Roby the same three beds occur respectively in (a) the north, (b) the centre, and (c) the western half and eastern corner.
Huyton proper has an area of 1,819 acres. There is no well-defined boundary between it and Roby to the south-west. On the eastern side it is separated from Whiston by a brook which runs through Tarbock to join Ditton brook.
The main road from Liverpool to Prescot passes through the northern part of the township, the South Lancashire system of electric tramways running along it from the Liverpool boundary to St. Helens and beyond. The principal road for Huyton, however, is that from Liverpool through Broadgreen and Roby. The London and North-Western company's line from Liverpool to Manchester passes through the centre, and just to the eastward of the village a line branches off towards Prescot and St. Helens; there are stations at the western and eastern ends of the village called Huyton and Huyton Quarry respectively.
The Hazels or Red Hazels and Hurst House are in the north-eastern corner of the township; Wolfall Hall near the northern boundary, Dam House on the border of Roby, and Huyton Hey to the south of the railway near the station.
A local board was formed in 1877, and now the united townships of Huyton, Roby, and Thingwall (fn. 3) are governed by an urban district council of twelve members under the Act of 1894.
About 1830 wire-drawing for the watch-making industry was engaged in, and there was a colliery. (fn. 4) The flagstone quarry at the south-east of the township is now closed. There is a brewery.
A halfpenny token was issued by Thomas Hodgson of Huyton in 1666. (fn. 7)
At the death of Edward the Confessor, the manors of HUYTON and Tarbock were held by Dot. The assessment was one hide, quit of all customs except the geld; there was land for four ploughs, and the value beyond the customary rent was 20s. (fn. 8) Afterwards it became part of the fee of Widnes, and was reckoned as a member of Knowsley, with the Lathom family as lords.
A subordinate manor was created or grew up about the beginning of the thirteenth century. Robert son of Henry de Lathom took to his second wife Amabel, daughter of Simon, who was known as the canon of Burscough. Robert died about 1198, leaving three sons by this marriage, Richard, Adam, (fn. 9) and William, who took their surname from Knowsley or Huyton indifferently. (fn. 10)
The eldest brother (fn. 11) seems to have settled at Wolfall, and his descendants took their name from it, while Adam, though usually called 'de Knowsley,' became possessed of Huyton proper—unjustly as was afterwards alleged (fn. 12)—and his descendants were accordingly 'de Huyton.'
In 1258 Richard de Huyton (fn. 13) claimed from Adam de Knowsley one-third of the manor of Huyton; except the advowson of one-third of the church, and a third of the mill, and of two oxgangs of land which Richard when under age demised to him. When Adam appeared, the justices found that he was not of sound mind or good memory and could not speak, and adjourned the matter. (fn. 14) Three years later Henry de Knowsley, as assignee of Adam de Knowsley— probably his son and heir—demanded from Nicholas, then prior of Burscough, that he observe the covenant regarding the mill at Huyton which his predecessor Prior William had made with Adam. (fn. 15)
The next step in the pedigree is not clear. It would appear that Adam had several sons—Henry, (fn. 18) Robert, and William, whose descendants held or claimed the manor on a title said to be derived from Adam de Knowsley. Henry de Huyton, if identical with Henry de Knowsley, has been mentioned already as the assignee of Adam in 1258. In 1292 he claimed an acre of meadow from the prior of 'Burcho,' and the person summoned triumphantly replied that he was prior of 'Burscho.' (fn. 19) Henry was still living in 1307 when the prior of the Hospitallers complained of his felling trees in Little Woolton. (fn. 20) In Billinge he and Adam de Billinge were chief lords in 1291, in right either of his wife or his mother; here his manor descended to his son Robert, among whose daughters or grand-daughters it was divided, (fn. 21) but Huyton went to another son William, (fn. 22) who in 1306 had also been summoned for cutting trees and doing other damage in Little Woolton. (fn. 23) William de Huyton died about 1328, leaving a son and heir Robert, who being a minor became the ward of Sir Thomas de Lathom as lord of Knowsley. (fn. 24) He died about 1345, and his daughter Katherine similarly became the ward of Katherine, formerly wife of Sir Robert de Lathom, and their son Sir Thomas.
A considerable amount of litigation followed; indeed there had been some already. (fn. 25) At the beginning of 1349 John le Norreys, younger brother of Henry, lord of Speke, married the heiress, Katherine de Huyton, and at once brought actions against Emma de Newton and against Margery widow of Robert de Huyton, on pleas that they were making waste, &c., in the houses, woods, and gardens which they severally held as dower in Huyton, and which were Katherine's inheritance. (fn. 26)
Shortly afterwards (1350) Sir Thomas de Lathom put forward his claim to the manor of Huyton as against Margaret, then wife of John son of Richard the Tailor of Warrington. (fn. 27)
In 1354 Henry de Walton, archdeacon of Richmond, purchased two-thirds of the manor from John le Norreys of Speke. (fn. 28) The remaining third was sold in 1357 to William de Walton by Avice de Brettargh and William de Brettargh. (fn. 29)
There were cross suits between the Waltons and the Lathoms as to title. The archdeacon alleged that Sir Thomas held of him, by virtue of his purchase, messuages, land, &c., by an annual service of 6s. 8d. Sir Thomas on the other hand asserted the disseisin done to his great-grandfather, Richard son of Robert son of Henry de Lathom, and claimed the manor. (fn. 30) The suits went on for many years, but in the end the Lathom claim seems to have prevailed. (fn. 31) In 1366 Sir Thomas de Lathom the elder claimed from Richard de Causay, chaplain, the manor of Huyton; two years later he claimed it from Robert son of Robert de Standen, certainly a Walton trustee; in the next year the latter prosecuted Robert de Huyton for cutting down trees at Huyton. (fn. 32) In 1371 Gilbert de Ince of Aughton, in a deed made at Huyton, released William son of John de Walton and the above Robert Standen from all actions. (fn. 33) After this the Walton connexion with the place seems to have ended absolutely. (fn. 34)
The next Sir Thomas Lathom and his wife Joan, after the recovery of the manor, made a settlement of it in 1382; the remainders were thus stated: To Margaret daughter of Thomas and Joan, and her heirs male; to Isabel sister of Margaret; to Cecily sister of Isabel; and to Katherine sister of Cecily; then to Joan and her heirs for ever. (fn. 35) After Sir Thomas's death his widow Joan, as wife of Roger de Fazakerley, had a grant of one-third of the manor of Huyton, pending the duke of Lancaster's claim to it. (fn. 36)
Joan afterwards married Sir Nicholas de Harrington of Farleton, and by fine in August, 1397, she remitted to the above-named Margaret de Lathom and her heirs the moiety of the manor of Huyton. (fn. 37) Margaret is said to have married (fn. 38) Nicholas de Harrington, a younger son of Sir Nicholas by a former wife; from them descended the Harringtons of Huyton Hey. In 1400 Sir Nicholas, the father, made an agreement with Thomas de Hornby and Margery his wife concerning the marriage of their daughter and heir Sibyl with his grandson John son of Nicholas; for this he would pay them 40 marks of silver, and suitable settlements were to be made for John and Sibyl. It appears that John was then under seven years of age. (fn. 39)
John, succeeding his father, occurs in 1442–3. (fn. 40) His son and successor is said to have been Nicholas Harrington, (fn. 41) father of Hamlet (Hamo) Harrington, who died 15 January, 1527–8. He was found to have held the manor of Huyton, with lands, &c., in Huyton and Knowsley, of Edward earl of Derby by the fifth part of a knight's fee and a rent of 17½d. He had also held the manor of Akefrith in Farleton, and other lands. His heir was Percival Harrington, son of his brother John, then aged twentyeight years. (fn. 42)
The heir very quickly arranged for his marriage. He espoused Anne the only daughter of Henry Norris of Speke, lately deceased; and assigned for her benefit his manor of Akefrith in Farleton and the Red Hazels in Huyton. (fn. 43)
Percival Harrington enjoyed his manors but a short time, dying 24 January, 1534–5. (fn. 44) His son and heir was John Harrington, aged only five years. The boy's marriage was at once arranged by Sir William Norris and others. (fn. 45) John was succeeded by his son Percival (fn. 46) and he by his son John, (fn. 47) who died during the Commonwealth period, being buried at Huyton in 1653. His eldest son Robert having died before him, he was followed by his grandson John, born about 1627. John was twice married. By his second wife, Dorothy Tarleton of Aigburth, he had a son and heir Charles. Together they obtained in 1713 an Act of Parliament (fn. 48) to enable them to settle their estates and to dispose of some of them for the payment of their debts. Charles, though twice married, died without issue in 1720, (fn. 49) and Huyton Hey went to the descendants of his aunt Elizabeth, who had married Richard Molyneux of New Hall, West Derby, and Alt Grange in Ince Blundell. (fn. 50)
After the Tarleton marriage the family seem to have ceased to reside at Huyton. (fn. 51) Richard Molyneux of New Hall did not long enjoy the Huyton estates, dying in February 1734. His widow lived on till 1790. Their only son Richard died unmarried a fortnight after his father, leaving his sister Frances sole heir. She married in 1745 Thomas Seel of Liverpool, and by him had four daughters. (fn. 52) The eldest, Amelia Maria, married Owen Wynne of Llanseck in Denbighshire, but died childless; (fn. 53) the two youngest daughters, Margaret and Alice, died unmarried in 1819 and 1797, and the second daughter Frances was thus eventually sole heir. Thomas Seel the father had increased the estates by purchasing from William Wolfall the manor of Wolfall in Huyton, and entailed the estate on his grandson.
This grandson was Thomas Unsworth, son of Frances Seel by Thomas Unsworth, whose father, a Liverpool merchant, had purchased a moiety of the manor of Maghull, including the manor house. Thomas the heir in 1814 assumed the name and arms of Molyneux-Seel in accordance with his grandfather's will, and on his aunt Margaret's death took possession of Hurst House, and the estate and manor of Huyton Hey. (fn. 54) He had a son and heir, Edmund Thomas, born in Paris in 1824, and still surviving, also two other sons, Charles William and Henry Harrington. He sold Wolfall to the earl of Derby about 1828 and died at Huyton Hey in 1881. Most of the remaining family estates have also been sold, but Huyton Hey remains in the family. (fn. 55) The house so called, now a farm-house, is still occupied. The site of a moated hall is adjacent.
The Harringtons after the Reformation appear to have adhered to the Roman Catholic religion, but to have avoided convictions for recusancy, probably by occasional attendances at church in Elizabeth's reign. Thus, in 1590, 'Harrington of Harrington in Huyton parish, esquire,' was returned among others who showed 'some degree of conformity, yet (were) in general note of evil affection in religion.' (fn. 56) In 1641 Robert Harrington (fn. 57) and his wife for this reason paid to the subsidy. (fn. 58) As one of the more notable recusants in Lancashire, John Harrington was in 1680 marked for banishment by the Parliament. (fn. 59) Their alliances were with the Roman Catholic families of the district, and their successors—Molyneux, Seel, and Unsworth—have been of the same faith.
WOLFALL (fn. 60) was another manor in Huyton, (fn. 61) of which mention has already been made. Robert son of Henry de Lathom, who died in 1198, granted it to a Robert son of Richard for a rent of 12d. payable at St. Bartholomew. (fn. 62) It is possible that it reverted to the grantor, for his own younger son, Richard de Knowsley, appears to have settled there, and to have had sons who took Wolfall as a surname. Thus Richard de Wolfall, son of Richard de Knowsley, granted land called Huyton Rawe to Henry de Huyton. (fn. 63) In 1245 Richard de Wolfall granted to Burscough Priory his millpool in Wolfall. (fn. 64) Several sons are mentioned—Richard, John, William, and Adam. (fn. 65)
An early charter by Robert de Lathom granted to Richard son of Richard del Wolfall 52/3 oxgangs (fn. 66) of land and half the wood and waste of Huyton with the homage of Adam de Wolfall, William the Prophet, Henry de Derby, and others enfeoffed by Richard de Wolfall the elder. (fn. 67)
In 1292 Richard de Wolfall sued Robert de Lathom for release from the services which Henry de Lacy, as lord of Widnes fee, demanded from the plaintiff; but when the case came for trial Richard was unwilling to make any statement, and therefore there was an adjournment sine die. (fn. 68) He had also complaint to make as to John de Wolfall, whose annual service of 20d. and a pair of gloves had not been rendered for three years. (fn. 69) A little later, in 1307, John son of Adam de Wolfall occurs granting to Adam de Waverton and Alice his wife all his lands in Huyton. (fn. 70)
For a long period, though there are numerous references to the family, the exact descent of the manor is uncertain. (fn. 71)
In 1354 Adam son of Henry de Wolfall released to John de Ashton the messuage which had descended to him, and Thomas de Wolfall of Huyton and Joan his wife released their right in the same. (fn. 72) One Cecily daughter of Ellen, who had been wife of Nicholas de Huyton, gave to Roger de Shuttleworth her lands in Wolfall in 1349; (fn. 73) and shortly afterwards Thomas de Wolfall and Joan his wife, with Richard de Pennington and Cecily his wife (probably the above Cecily), claimed from Adam son of Henry son of Roger de Wolfall certain lands which they alleged had been forfeited because of a felony committed by the grandfather Roger, though they admitted that Roger had continued to hold the lands after the felony. (fn. 74)
In 1383 Robert de Wolfall, who was son of Thomas, enfeoffed two chaplains of all his lands in Huyton, and they appeared in the court of Widnes in April, and made fine with the lord of Halton for 12d. (fn. 75) Robert's son and heir was John de Wolfall, (fn. 76) who in the early years of Henry IV's reign made settlements of his lands; the remainders were to Alice and Margaret, daughters of John; then to his brother Thomas; to his brothers Nicholas and Thomas, and others. (fn. 77)
In 1511–12 Thomas Wolfall granted lands in Huyton to William Wilbraham, and a little later purchased three crofts from Hamlet Harrington; his mother Joan in 1515–16 released to him her lands in Huyton and Wolfall. (fn. 78) The succession is not clear. (fn. 79) Thomas Wolfall was a freeholder in 1600; (fn. 80) his son Thomas married Mary, daughter of Richard Moly neux of Cunscough. (fn. 81) On the accession of Charles I Thomas Wolfall received a general pardon, chiefly required perhaps for recusancy, the family being adherents of the Roman Catholic religion. (fn. 82) He had two sons, William and Thomas, and four daughters, and the estates descended to his great-grandson William Wolfall, (fn. 83) born in 1643. This William mortgaged the estates in 1674, and he and his wife Mary, daughter of Thomas Carus, both died at the beginning of 1686, leaving three sons, Richard, William, and Henry, and two daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret. Richard Wolfall made other mortgages in 1688 and 1694; he married Anne, daughter and heir of Edward Stanley of Moor Hall, but on his dying childless in 1718 (fn. 84) the estates passed in succession to his brothers William, who died in 1720, and Henry. (fn. 85) Henry's son and heir William (fn. 86) in 1744 sold lands in Wolfall to the earl of Derby, and in 1755, after many mortgages, sold the manor of Wolfall, Wolfall Hall, half the manor of Huyton, &c., to Thomas Seel of Liverpool, (fn. 87) whose descendant and heir, as above stated, sold Wolfall to the earl of Derby in 1828.
Another estate in Huyton, but not considered manorial, was Deyne or DAM HOUSE, (fn. 88) which in 1664 was held by Thomas Wolfall, son of Thomas Wolfall, also of the Dam House, who was, as stated, the younger son of Thomas Wolfall of Wolfall. (fn. 89) This estate had previously been held, at least for a time, by the Tyldesley family, as to whom deeds preserved by Kuerden supply much information. (fn. 90)
Nicholas Tyldesley occurs in Elizabeth's reign. (fn. 91) A feoffment of the property was made, the remainders being to Michael, Thomas, George, William, and Francis, brothers of Nicholas, and to Anthony Tyldesley. (fn. 92) Nicholas Tyldesley died in 1603 holding lands and rents in Huyton and Wolfall (Dam) of William earl of Derby; Henry his son and heir was twenty-six years of age. (fn. 93) His son Henry is mentioned in various bonds, and he and his sister or daughter Ellen occur in 1627, about which time he appears to have sold Dam House. (fn. 94)
The Red Hazels, already mentioned as part of the lands of Burscough Priory, became the property of the Ogles of Whiston, from whom it passed by marriage to the Cases; one of the latter sold it to Joseph Birch, created a baronet in 1831, whose son Sir Thomas Birch, M.P. for Liverpool 1847–52, afterwards lived there. (fn. 95)
The Mossocks of Allerton and Cunscough, as heirs of John Norris of Woolton (who was also described as 'of Roby' or 'of Huyton'), held lands here in the fifteenth century. The title was derived from grants by the Wolfalls to the Ford family, whose heirs sold to John Norris. (fn. 96)
Other families whose names occur in suits or deeds are Lathom, Moss, (fn. 97) and Lyon. (fn. 98) Thomas Lathom of Wolfall is named in a list of the gentry of the hundred made in 1512. He died in April, 1515, holding a capital messuage and various lands in Wolfall of Thomas Wolfall by knight's service and the rent of 15d. per annum; also in Rainford, Aspull, Wigan, Whiston, Glest, Ormskirk, and Eggergarth. His widow Joan held these lands for nine years, and on her death the son Thomas entered into possession, although he was only nineteen years of age. (fn. 99) The younger Thomas Lathom died in 1546, holding his father's lands; his son and heir was another Thomas, then only three years of age. (fn. 100) The last-named, whose wife's name was Frances, sold his lands between 1573 and 1580. (fn. 101)
Richard Ogle, watchmaker, as a 'Papist' registered in 1717 an estate here and at Rainhill, of the value of £64 a year. (fn. 102)
The parish church and its chapel of ease have already been described. William Bell, the vicar ejected in 1662, afterwards ministered in Huyton, but does not seem to have formed a permanent congregation.
The Methodists attempted services about 1800, but were driven out by the mob. (fn. 103)
William Alexander of Prescot, an Independent minister, occasionally preached here early last century, and a chapel was opened in 1836. The work failed, and 1856 is given as the date of the founding of the Congregational church, which was at first a branch from Crescent Chapel, Everton. A small chapel, now used as a schoolroom, was opened, and was succeeded in 1890 by a larger church, with a prominent spire. (fn. 104)
What provision was made from time to time after the Reformation for those who adhered to the Roman Catholic religion is unknown, except that at one time a priest resided at Wolfall Hall. This, however, ceased about the middle of the eighteenth century. (fn. 105) A new mission was begun at Huyton in 1856 in a temporary chapel near the station, a resident priest being appointed in 1859. The present church of St. Agnes at Huyton Quarry was built in 1861. (fn. 106)
The principal road is that from Liverpool to Prescot by Broadgreen; this goes eastward through the centre of the township, having the residences called Court Hey and Roby Hall on the southern side of it. The London and North-Western company's main line from Liverpool to Manchester runs along an embankment to the north of the road; there is a station called Roby. Court Hey was the seat of the late Robertson Gladstone, brother of the statesman, and himself a prominent personage in Liverpool.
In the time of Edward the Confessor ROBY was one of the six manors of Uctred, and as it is placed first in the list was no doubt the chief of them, Knowsley coming next. (fn. 109) The two together were assessed at one hide, and in later times Roby was usually said to be of two ploughlands. (fn. 110) After the Conquest it lost its pre-eminence and seems to have had no special manorial rights, being a member of Knowsley and held in demesne. To a subsidy levied by Henry III Roby contributed 12s. 2d. (fn. 111) but later than this its contributions are always joined with those of Huyton.
On two occasions its immediate lords, the Lathoms, endeavoured to raise its standing. In 1304 Robert de Lathom procured from the king a charter allowing a market and fair at Roby, and free warren there. The market was a weekly one, on Fridays; and the fair annual, on the eve, feast, and morrow of St. Wilfrid. (fn. 112) In 1372 Sir Thomas de Lathom granted a charter making his vill of Roby a free borough for ever. To each burgess he gave a rood of land as a burgage for which 12d. in silver was to be paid the lord every year. A burgess might dispose of his burgage, paying the lord 4d. when he quitted it. Though the burgesses were to be free of toll, terrage, and stallage, they were to bring their corn to the lord's mill to grind, to the sixteenth measure, and render services like other tenants of the vill, having at the same time similar liberties of pasture and turbary. (fn. 113)
These attempts to 'improve' the position of Roby appear to have met with no success, and there does not seem to be any further allusion to the borough or fair. The market is mentioned casually in an assize roll of 1332, when John de Grelley, Simon son of Simon de Bickerstath, Adam de Wolfall, and others, were accused of having wounded Hugh and Thomas, sons of Adam de Hake, in the market at Roby on the Friday after St. James, in the year named. (fn. 114)
The place had already appeared on these rolls in 1246, for Hawe del Moor of Roby having been found burnt in her own house there, her son Adam, the first finder, was attached by Roger del Moor and Adam de Knowsley, to give evidence. (fn. 115)
A suit brought by Sir Thomas de Lathom against William son of Roger the Walker, concerning a messuage and 18 acres in Roby, introduces the questionable title of the Huyton family to their lands. Sir Thomas asserted that the defendant had no right except by the disseisin wrongfully made by Henry de Huyton in the time of Edward I against his father, Robert de Lathom. The defendant, however, asserted that the premises were in Woolton, and not in Roby. (fn. 116) In another case William de Whethill charged Roger son of Adam de Longworth with taking a horse belonging to him. (fn. 117)
Richard son of Robert gave to Burscough Priory land between four crosses in Roby, with mast in Roby and Huyton. (fn. 118) The Hospitallers had land here, which about 1540 was held by the earl of Derby for a rent of 12d. (fn. 119)
A 'manor' of Roby is mentioned in a fine of 1552 as held by Robert Knowl and his wife Joan, from whom it was claimed by Henry Bury. (fn. 120) From the latter, 'the capital messuage called Roby Hall' was in turn claimed, perhaps as trustees, by Richard Sanderson and William Spencer in 1568. (fn. 121) In 1569 John and Elizabeth Bury, claiming by descent, sought a messuage, &c., in Roby, from George Stockley, who alleged a conveyance from William Bury. (fn. 122)
The present Roby Hall was built by John Williamson of Liverpool (mayor 1761), who left three daughters coheirs. One of these, Mary, in 1794 married General Isaac Gascoyne, for many years a member for Liverpool, and they resided here. (fn. 123) Afterwards William Leigh, a Liverpool merchant, son of William Leigh of Lymm, purchased it. (fn. 124)
George Childwall of Roby, gentleman, who died in 1593, had held of the earl of Derby a messuage and 8 acres by fealty and 2s. 4d. rent. Edward his son sold this in 1611 to Thomas Wolfall, who resold it to Henry Johnson of Roby. (fn. 125)
Hugh Holland of Roby registered an estate in 1717. (fn. 126) The land-tax returns of 1785 show the principal owners to have been the earl of Derby, Madame Stanley, and Madame Williamson.
Roby is called Comberley in 1328, perhaps by some mistake of the clerk. (fn. 127)
For the adherents of the Established Church St. Bartholomew's was built in 1850, and rebuilt in 1875. There is a burial-ground attached. An ecclesiastical parish was formed in 1853. (fn. 128) The earl of Derby is patron.