A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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This township consists of two portions. The main part, that to the east of the River Lostock, here flowing south to join the Yarrow, has an undulating surface rising gradually from 50 ft. above sea level to over 200 ft. at the eastern border. Leyland Moss, the smaller part, to the west of the river, is flat and does not rise much above the 50 ft. level. The village or small town of Leyland lies in the centre of the township, with the hamlets of Turpin Green in the north-east and Earnshaw Bridge and Straits in the north-west. To the south of the village lies Worden, with its park of 300 acres. There are also hamlets at the Moss and Midge Hall to the west of the Lostock. The township measures 3,725½ acres, (fn. 1) and in 1901 had a population of 6,865.
Three principal roads go through the township from south to north. Of these the central one passes Worden and winding through the village of Leyland by the church goes north-east and north to Farington and Preston. To the east is part of the road from Wigan to Preston. To the west another road, lined with dwellings, goes from south to north near the Lostock, crossing this stream at Earnshaw Bridge. Two other roads cross from east to west; of these the southern one passes through Leyland village by the church, and goes through the Moss to Cocker Bar; while the northern one goes through Turpin Green and Earnshaw Bridge to Midge Hall. The London and North Western Company's main line from London to Scotland runs through the eastern side of the township, and has a station named Leyland, a mile or more to the north-east of the parish church. On the west side the Lancashire and Yorkshire Company's line from Liverpool to Preston passes through, with a station at Midge Hall.
The ancient village cross was restored in 1887 as a Jubilee Memorial, (fn. 2) and a drinking fountain was erected.
The hearth tax of 1666 records a total of 218 hearths; the principal houses were those of William Farington, with 23, and of Roger Charnock, with 9. (fn. 5)
A local board was formed in 1863 (fn. 6); this has now become an urban district council of twelve members, chosen by four wards—St. Andrew's, St. Ambrose's, St. James's, and St. John's. The place is supplied with water from Clayton Green, and with gas by a private company. There is a public hall in Towngate.
The soil is sandy, overlying gravel and clay; wheat, oats, beans, barley and potatoes are grown. The cotton manufacture was introduced about 1830, and there are now several mills and bleach works. There are also gold thread works and a large indiarubber manufactory. Fairs are held on 24 March and 26 October.
King Edward held Leyland in 1066. (fn. 7) The whole of the township appears to have been assessed anciently as three plough-lands, and was soon after the Conquest included within the fee or barony of Penwortham. (fn. 8)
More than a third was granted out in alms to the Hospitallers and to Evesham Abbey, and some part of the remainder may have been held in demesne or given in small parcels, but most was included in the grant of two plough-lands and 2 oxgangs in Longton and Leyland made to Robert Bussel by Roger de Lacy about 1206, (fn. 9) and the part of this gift lying within Leyland constituted what was afterwards called the manor of LEYLAND. It was held by knights' service. (fn. 10)
Robert Bussel was the tenant in 1212 and in 1242, (fn. 11) but soon afterwards his estates seem to have been divided among co-heirs. One moiety of the manor descended through a daughter to the Farington family. (fn. 12) The other moiety was acquired, possibly by purchase from another co-heir, by the Waltons of Ulnes Walton (fn. 13); being like their other manors purchased by Henry Earl of Lancaster in 1347, (fn. 14) it descended with the duchy (fn. 15) until 1551, when it was sold to Anthony Browne, (fn. 16) whose wife Joan, as heir of Sir Henry Farington, held the other moiety. (fn. 17) The whole, by gift and by inheritance, descended to Dame Browne's heirs, the Huddlestons, (fn. 18) and was in 1617 sold by them to William Farington, then the principal representative of his family. (fn. 19) It has since descended like the following estate.
WORDEN was part of 9 oxgangs of land granted to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem by Roger de Lacy, but the right of the actual tenant was left undisturbed, Hugh Bussel holding in 1212. (fn. 20) Worden (fn. 21) is later found in possession of a branch of the Andertons, (fn. 22) with whom it remained till 1534, being then acquired by Sir Henry Farington. (fn. 23) Sir Henry gave it to William his son by his second wife. (fn. 24) William Farington was trained to the law, became an active magistrate in Lancashire in the time of Elizabeth, served as steward of the household to three Earls of Derby, and maintained and enlarged his inherited estate. (fn. 25) In religion he was externally a conformist to the Elizabethan settlement, but reputed to be in secret its bitter enemy. (fn. 26) His descendants have remained Protestant.
William Farington died in 1610 (fn. 27) and Worden was left to his grandson William, whose father, said to have been a spendthrift, was still living. (fn. 28) The younger William, as stated, purchased the manor of Leyland in 1617. He was sheriff of the county in 1636 (fn. 29) and on the outbreak of the Civil War took the king's side, as an official of the Earl of Derby, and is distinguished from his namesakes as 'the Royalist.' He was at once appointed a commissioner of array and reported by the opposite side as one of 'the most busy and active,' his servant, William Sumner, taking possession of the stock of powder at Preston in 1642. He accompanied Lord Strange to the siege of Manchester in the same year. He was the principal adviser of Lady Derby at the first siege of Lathom in 1644. His name was removed from the list of magistrates and his estates sequestered by the Parliament at the beginning of the war. (fn. 30) He was again a prisoner in 1646, after which he compounded for them, taking no further part in the struggle. (fn. 31) Dying in 1658 he was succeeded by his son William, also a Royalist sufferer, (fn. 32) and he by his son Henry (fn. 33) and grandson William, high sheriff in 1714. (fn. 34) The lastnamed William dying in the same year without issue, Worden and the manor of Leyland went to his cousin William Farington of Shaw Hall in Leyland, (fn. 35) whose son George succeeded in 1717, and held the estates till his death in 1742. (fn. 36) Shaw Hall is now called Worden.
The eldest son and heir was William, sheriff of the county in 1761, (fn. 37) and made a knight that year; he died without issue in 1781, when James Farington, a younger brother, came into possession. His son William succeeded him in 1800, and was high sheriff in 1813. (fn. 38) He was followed in 1837 by his only surviving son James Nowell Farington, whose heirs, on his death without issue in 1848, were his sisters Susan Maria and Mary Hannah, who never married. The former lady, who survived her sister about six years, died in 1894. She was esteemed for her charitable disposition and her literary and antiquarian tastes; she edited a volume of Farington Papers for the Chetham Society, and otherwise assisted its work. After her death in 1894 the manor and family estates were held by her trustees for the benefit of Mr. William Edmund Farington, then a minor. He was the son of William James. Farington and came of age in 1907, married the following year, and died 28 February 1909. (fn. 39) His only child being a daughter, the manor and estates devolved upon Colonel Richard Atherton Farington, who died 15 October 1910, and is succeeded by his son Henry Nowell. Courts were held till recently. (fn. 40)
Worden Hall is a modern building on the site of and incorporating parts of the older house known as Shaw Hall. The old building was enlarged and altered by Sir William Farington soon after 1742 and is described in 1836 as a 'large irregular stuccoed pile, containing a suite of apartments used as a museum stored with natural curiosities, busts, marbles, &c., and a collection of paintings, some of them frescoes found in the ruins of Herculaneum and brought from Italy by Sir William, under whose direction the principal room, 66 ft. long by 33 ft. wide in the centre, was erected.' (fn. 41) The house was largely rebuilt and entirely refronted in stone in 1840–5 by Mr. J. N. Farington from the designs of Anthony Salvin.
Worden Old Hall, now a farm-house, is situated in the extreme south-east of the township, and is apparently only a fragment of a former house. It has, moreover, been much altered, and the principal front, which faces north, has been rebuilt in modern times in brick. The older portion, which is said to have been originally erected in 1509, (fn. 42) is on plan a parallelogram about 62 ft. long by 20 feet wide, and is built of stone to a height of 10 ft. with 2-in. bricks above. The roof is covered with stone slates. The original north front was apparently of timber, portions of which yet remain in position at the east end inside the house, and are visible over the door in the porch. At some later date the building has been extended about 9 ft. on this side, and the present brick front with four gables erected, the porch and small gable over probably belonging to the old front. The brickwork is now whitewashed and the gables painted to represent timber and plaster work. The windows are all modern. Under the small gable over the porch is inserted a stone with a large cross and the emblems of the Passion, and over the middle gable is a dilapidated wooden turret containing a bell. The door is the original one of oak, nail studded, and with iron hinges and ring handle. One of the bedrooms and part of a room on the ground floor are panelled in oak, but otherwise the interior is uninteresting and modernized. One of the chimneys is original, with diagonally set brick shafts, but the others have been rebuilt.
To the north of the hall is a barn about 60 ft. by 20 ft. constructed of oak timbers, now filled in with brickwork, and on a stone base. The roof is covered with stone slates, and the upper part of the building slightly overhangs, the sill being supported by five carved oak brackets, four of which have shields with the arms of (1) Farington of Worden quartering Farington of Farington; (2) Farington impaling Talbot; (3) Farington impaling Benson. The fourth shield is indecipherable. The barn was probably built by Thomas Farington of Worden in the latter half of the 16th century.
Another part of the Hospitallers' land was named Brex, and it gave a name to the tenant. (fn. 43)
Two oxgangs of land in Leyland were granted by Albert Bussel to Evesham Abbey or its cell at Penwortham, (fn. 44) and after the Dissolution were acquired together with other estates by the Fleetwoods. (fn. 43)
One or more families took a surname from the place, and in 1301 there was a dispute between Robert and John, sons of Adam de Leyland, respecting a messuage and an oxgang of land there. (fn. 46) In 1345 John de Blakelache (or Blacklidge) and Margery his wife claimed a messuage and land against John de Leyland of Preston. (fn. 47) The same or another John son of Thomas died soon afterwards, leaving a daughter Cecily as heir. (fn. 48) The pedigree cannot be traced. There is frequent mention of the Bussel family. (fn. 49)
BLACKLACHE HOUSE was afterwards known as Leyland Hall. (fn. 50) In the 17th century it was held by the Charnocks, formerly of Cuerden. (fn. 51) William Charnock died at Leyland in 1598, leaving a son Roger, eleven years old. (fn. 52) Roger Charnock, as a convicted recusant, paid double to the subsidy in 1626. (fn. 53) At his death in 1633 he had a messuage in Leyland, tenure not recorded, and possessions in Farington, Cuerden, Longton, Hutton, and Howick; his son William was twenty-five years of age. (fn. 54) William, a convicted recusant in 1628, (fn. 55) was succeeded by a younger brother Thomas, (fn. 56) of very doubtful history, whose estates were sequestered by the Parliament. (fn. 57) Leyland Hall afterwards descended to another brother, Robert, a priest, (fn. 58) who endeavoured to secure it to the use of the secular clergy. But in 1686 this purpose was made manifest on trial, and the Hall was declared forfeit, as devoted to 'superstitious uses,' and was after the Revolution given to the vicar of Leyland to increase his endowment. (fn. 59)
Leyland Old Hall, the former residence of the Charnocks, and sometimes called Charnock Hall, is now a farmhouse and consists of two wings at right angles, respectively west and south, with a porch in the inner angle. It is situated between the railway station and the church, facing east, and is architecturally almost without interest, being a small two-storied brick building with stone quoins and with half-timber work in one of the gables and in the north side of the south wing. The brickwork is now either whitewashed or covered with rough-cast, and a stone over the porch with the arms of Charnock, and the initials and date, r.c. 1660, is almost illegible. The south side retains a five-light mullioned window with diamond quarries on the upper floor and traces of a six-light window below; there are also several other mullioned windows now built up, but most of the windows are modern. The roofs are covered with stone slates, except at the back where blue ones are used. The building was restored in 1884, when several 'hiding places' were reported to have been discovered. (fn. 60)
The Radcliffes and Bartons of Smithills, perhaps as heirs of the Walton family, long held an estate in the township. (fn. 61) This may have been the Leyland Hall which in 1688 was part of the lands of Thomas Crook of Abram. From his heirs it was purchased by Barton Shuttleworth, and sold to the Rev. Thomas Baldwin, vicar of Leyland, by Edmund Shuttleworth about 1750. (fn. 62)
Other families occur in pleadings and inquisitions as holding land in the township, among them being Shireburne of Stonyhurst, (fn. 63) Banastre, (fn. 64) Clayton, (fn. 65) Knoll, (fn. 66) Ayscough, (fn. 67) Hesketh, (fn. 68) Moly neux, (fn. 69) Stopford, (fn. 70) Sumner, (fn. 71) and Werden. (fn. 72) The inquisitions supply some further names. (fn. 73) In addition to Farington and Charnock there were some minor sequestrations in Leyland by the Parliament during the Civil War, but for religion only. (fn. 74) Mawdesley of Leyland recorded a pedigree in 1664. (fn. 75) Three small estates of 'Papists' were registered in 1717. (fn. 76) The principal contributors to the land tax in 1783 were the executors of Sir William Farington, paying over a fifth; among the smaller ones were James Barton, the Rev. Mr. Baldwin, and John Park; in 1798 Alexander N. Kershaw (of Heskin) had about the same as these. (fn. 77)
The parish church has been described above. St. James's, Moss Side, was built in 1855, the south aisle being added in 1872; it is in the gift of the Farington trustees, having been built by the family. St. Ambrose's, built in 1885 as a chapel of ease to the parish church, became an independent parish in 1898. The vicar of Leyland presents.
A day school was founded at Moss Side by Samuel Crook in 1770. (fn. 78) The Balshaw school at Golden Hill was founded in 1782.
There is a Wesleyan Methodist chapel at Golden Hill, near the village, built in 1814, and another at Midge Hall, built about 1870. (fn. 79) There are also two Primitive Methodist chapels; one of them, dating from 1859, represents work begun in a barn about 1830, (fn. 80) the other was built in 1902.
The Congregational Church in Hough Lane was erected in 1877, succeeding a small chapel in Towngate, built in 1843–4. (fn. 81)
After the confiscation of Leyland Hall little is known of the existence of Roman Catholic worship in the township, (fn. 82) but the chapel at Euxton Hall was probably used. St. Mary's, near the parish church, was opened in 1855, and is served by the English Benedictines, the mission having been begun in 1846. (fn. 83) Here is preserved a mediaeval chalice, bearing the inscription 'Restore mee to Leyland in Lankeshire.' It is imagined to have belonged to the parish church or one of its chantries, and to have been repurchased or rescued from destruction by Roman Catholics; on the opening of St. Mary's it was 'restored' accordingly. The inscription, in a late 17th-century style, probably shows that it then belonged to the chapel in Leyland Hall. (fn. 84)