A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1907.
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This is a composite township, Barton in early times having been separate. It lies on a very gradual slope from a slight ridge reaching 70 ft. above sea level down to fenland only 11 ft. above that level. The three villages, Downholland, Haskayne, and Barton are situated on the higher ground. The lower ground is of a marshy character, but mostly reclaimed and converted into fertile fields, drained by ditches in the lower parts and divided by spare hawthorn hedges in the higher portions of the township. There is a natural dearth of plantations and hedgerow trees in a district swept continually by sea-breezes, and what trees there are are stunted and bent by the prevalent westerly winds, whilst the many picturesque thatched cottages in the villages also seem to turn their backs to the west. The principal crops produced in the township, grown on the sandy soil, are potatoes, cabbages, wheat, and oats. The area of the township is 3,472½ (fn. 1) acres, of which Downholland has 1,378 acres and Haskayne 908. In 1901 there was a population of 692.
The principal road is that going northerly from Lydiate through the hamlets of Downholland and Haskayne in succession; a cross-road leads to Barton, which is close to the northern boundary. The Leeds and Liverpool Canal winds through the township, crossing the main road at Downholland and Haskayne; it is the principal means of carriage for the farm produce of the district. The Cheshire Lines Committee's railway crosses the mosslands north, and has a station called Mossbridge. Just at the southern boundary there is a junction with the branch line of the Liverpool, Southport and Preston Junction Railway, which has a station at Barton village.
Near this village there was 'a remarkable fountain of salt water,' a quart producing 'near half a pound of good white granulated salt.' (fn. 2) There is abundance of brine under Barton Moss, but though a company was formed to pump it, nothing was done.
An amphora of Samian ware was found here in 1712. (fn. 3)
Two thegns held six oxgangs of land for two manors in Holland, and Teos held Barton as one plough-land, at the death of Edward the Confessor, the values being 2s. and 32d. All were in the privileged three-hide district. (fn. 4) After the Conquest, HOLLAND and half of Barton were granted in thegnage together with Aintree and Ribbleton, while the other half of Barton was annexed to the Warrington fee, together with Halsall and Lydiate.
In 1212 it was found that Henry de Holland held the thegnage portion—three plough-lands and two oxgangs in all—by an annual service of 26s., an average of 1s. an oxgang. He had granted out Ribbleton, most of Aintree, and his half of Barton to undertenants, but retained all or most of Downholland, and from it the family took their surname. (fn. 5) Henry was the son of Alan de Holland, who had held these manors in the time of Henry II. (fn. 6) He had a brother Adam, and probably a sister or daughter who married Robert son of Wronou. (fn. 7)
Roger son of Henry de Holland gave Haskayne to the Hospitallers. (fn. 8) On the other hand his cousin William son of Adam de Holland resigned to 'his lord' Roger, all claim he might have to lands in Old Holland and Barton Wood, and 20 acres in Murscough. (fn. 9) Roger was followed by his son Henry, who gave to Robert son of Roger de Eggergarth land in Downholland by Oldfield. (fn. 10)
In 1297 the heirs of Roger were found to be holding Downholland and its appurtenances by the service of 18s. (fn. 11) Roger de Downholland was in 1324 lord of the place. (fn. 12) At Michaelmas 1323 the abbot of Merivale as lord of Altcar and Richard de Downholland had a dispute as to a messuage, mill, land, and wood in Downholland. (fn. 13) Richard de Holland is named in the subsidy rolls of 1327 and 1332, and he is called 'lord of Downholland' in 1337, retaining possession in 1346 and 1348. (fn. 14) The assessment is now stated at 2½ plough-lands (for two and a quarter) in Downholland, Aintree, and half Barton, and the service as the fourth part of a knight's fee, with the ancient 18s. rent. By a charter made in June, 1341, Richard de Holland granted to Alan his son and Alan's wife, Katherine daughter of Robert de Cowdray, various lands. (fn. 15) The fruit of the marriage was a daughter, and Alan dying a short time afterwards, the father in 1345 granted Downholland to his eldest surviving son, Roger, with remainders to Henry and Charles. (fn. 16)
Roger succeeded his father about 1349. (fn. 17) In 1356 he acquired from Emma, daughter of Henry son of Alan de Holland, and wife of Simon son of Robert de Wolvesegh of Litherland in Sefton, the oxgang in Holland formerly held by Alan's son Robert. Next year Roger Ford of Litherland quitclaimed to him all right in land he had held in Downholland, and in this he was joined by his wife Alice, daughter of William son of Thomas de Downlitherland. (fn. 18)
His son Thomas, contracted in 1363 to marry Joan daughter of Richard de Scarisbrick, (fn. 19) did not possess the manor more than a few years, dying on 20 May, 1387, when his son William was only ten years of age. He was found to have held two-thirds of Downholland—his father's widow no doubt having the other third—by knight's service. The manor of Aintree was dependent on it, and held by the daughter of Thomas de Nevill; and the whole paid annually to the duke 18s. The wardship and marriage of William de Holland were granted to Richard de Crooke of Whittle. (fn. 20) William did not prove his age until the spring of 1403, when his lands were restored to him. (fn. 21)
William had a son Roger, to whom he made a grant of land in 1423–4, (fn. 22) and who in time succeeded to the manor. (fn. 23) To William Holland and Isabel his wife, (fn. 24) Thurstan Holland in 1430–1 transferred all his lands, &c., in Downholland which he had had after the death of his father and mother. (fn. 25) Another William Holland (fn. 26) in 1444–5 settled lands in the same place upon Peter Holland and his wife Margaret, with remainders to Richard, Ralph, Nicholas, John, Henry, and Thomas Holland. (fn. 27)
It is no doubt this Peter who survived till 1513. He seems to have married a second wife, Ellen, in 1478, when a settlement was made, the remainders being to his son Robert and heirs male, and then to a younger son Edmund. (fn. 28) Ellen survived her husband, but some of the lands had been assigned to Alice widow of Robert, who died without male issue. Thus Edmund was heir to Downholland at his father's death, and over forty years of age. The service was the fourth part of a knight's fee. (fn. 29)
Edmund Holland very soon after his succession sold his manors to Sir Henry Halsall of Halsall. (fn. 30) He died about ten years afterwards, and in 1533–4 his son and heir William released to Sir Thomas Halsall all his claim in Downholland and Westleigh, Elizabeth, widow of Edmund, having her dower assigned some four years later. (fn. 31) From this time Downholland and the half of Barton have descended with Halsall.
Several disputes followed with the lords of neighbouring townships—Altcar and Formby—as to boundaries. (fn. 32)
HASKAYNE, as stated above, was granted to the Hospitallers in alms by Henry de Holland. (fn. 33) The hamlet of Haskayne gave a surname to a family who prospered until in the seventeenth century they were reckoned as gentry. (fn. 34) One of them was a benefactor. The Harkers of Downholland are commemorated by an inscription in the vestry. The will (1618) of Thomas Harker of Haskayne, gentleman, mentions his nephews Richard and Henry, and demises lands in Aughton and Barton. (fn. 35)
Thomas Johnson, Francis Farrer, and Richard Moore, of Downholland, registered estates in 1717 as 'Papists.' (fn. 36)
The four thegnage oxgangs of land appurtenant to Downholland were divided by 1212 between Adam the brother of Henry de Holland (fn. 37) and an unnamed sister or daughter on her marriage with Robert son of Wronou. Robert son of Wronou de Barton gave to Cockersand Abbey a selion of his land, extending from the vill towards Harewer, in pure alms, for the soul of King John in the first place, and then for his own soul and those of his relatives. (fn. 38) These two oxgangs seem to have returned into the possession of the superior lord. (fn. 39)
The Halsall family early acquired an interest in Barton and Downholland, and in 1292 Henry son of Robert de Holland claimed tenements in Barton from Gilbert de Halsall, with whom in one plea Robert son of Alan de Holland was joined. The defence, which was accepted, is noticeable: Barton was not a vill, but a member of the vill of Downholland. (fn. 40) Thus it had lost its ancient independent status.
A local family took a surname from the hamlet. In 1314 Richard son of Adam de Barton gave to his son Roger land which the grantor had previously purchased from his sister Anabel, formerly wife of Robert the clerk of Halsall, except the house which Richard's son and heir inhabited. (fn. 41) Robert son of Richard de Barton gave to Robert de Cowdray some arable land and meadow in the Flats in 1344. (fn. 42)
Roger son of Robert de Barton in 1375 gave to his son Robert and Margaret his wife and their heirs 4 acres with a chamber built in the garden. (fn. 43) About 1388 Robert son of Roger de Barton was refeoffed of his lands, with remainders to Richard the son of Robert, and then to Alice and Maud, his daughters. (fn. 44) The son appears to have died without issue, so that the inheritance came to the daughter Alice, who married Richard Fazakerley; while in September, 1404, Maud, still unmarried, quitclaimed all her right in the property to Alice. (fn. 45)
The next in possession was William Fazakerley, (fn. 46) probably the son of Alice and Richard, and his son Henry in 1495 enfeoffed Henry Molyneux, chaplain, (fn. 47) of a tenement in Barton then occupied by the grantor's brother John. (fn. 48) He had in 1491–2 arranged for the marriage of his son Robert with Cecily, daughter of John Ireland, of Sefton or Maghull, brother of Richard Ireland. (fn. 49)
The son and heir of Robert and Cecily was Thomas Fazakerley, who soon after the acquisition of the Holland manors by the Halsall family, and while still a minor, was 'pulled forth' of his holding by divers men acting by order of Thomas Halsall. Thereupon his relatives in Great Crosby and Thornton took possession of the disputed lands (including the Peck and the Hook) by force in April, 1525, and 'bette and hurted' the tenants who had been intruded therein. (fn. 50)
Thomas Fazakerley seems to have died childless, and Henry Halsall was in 1566 able to purchase (through Gilbert Halsall of Barton (fn. 51)) the share held by Alice, wife of Peter Snape of Formby, and one or the sisters and coheirs. (fn. 52)
The half of Barton held by knight's service by the lords of Warrington was by Pain de Vilers granted together with Ince Blundell, and the mesne lordship was long considered to be in the hands of the lords of this place. (fn. 55) They quickly created subordinate manors. One oxgang was granted to Simon Blundell; but this was about 1240 given to William Russel and Amabel his wife, probably as the latter's dowry. Thereupon Benedict the son of Simon made his claim in the king's court against Richard son and heir of William Blundell, and it was decided that the latter must compensate Simon by an equivalent grant. (fn. 56)
This oxgang in Barton descended regularly with the manor of North Meols. The other three oxgangs also came into the possession of the lords of North Meols, and at the inquisition after the death of William de Aughton in 1388, the jury were unable to say of whom he had held a portion of Barton rendering £2 13s. 10d. A further inquiry being ordered, at first it was found that it was held of John le Boteler of Warrington by knight's service and the service of 10d. yearly; but after yet another inquiry the mesne lord was found to be John Blundell of Ince. (fn. 57) The later inquisitions of the North Meols family describe their tenement as held of the crown, in right of the duchy of Lancaster, by knight's service, viz. the sixth part of a fee. (fn. 58)
John Waring and William Shepherd of Croxteth, as 'Papists,' registered estates here in 1717. (fn. 59)