A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
This township was separated from Croston in 1821, and made an independent parish by Act of Parliament. (fn. 1) The River Douglas or Asland, as it is here called, flowing north to the Ribble, forms the eastern boundary for some 3 miles. The low-lying level surface stretches west for about the same distance to reach the borders of what was Martin Mere, now drained. A stretch of slightly higher land lies all along the river bank, and about the centre of it is the village of Tarleton; at the south end is the hamlet of Sollom. On another slightly elevated piece of land on the west is the hamlet of Holmes, with Mere Brow to the south. A large part of the area is moss-land—Tarleton Moss on the north and Sollom Moss on the south. The area is 5,534½ acres, (fn. 2) and the population in 1901 was 1,800.
The principal road is that running north from Rufford parallel with the river and along the higher land described. To the south of the village it turns to the east—the northward continuation being known as Hesketh Lane — and crosses the Douglas by a bridge, near Bank Hall in Bretherton, and so goes on to Preston. A western branch, Blackgate Lane, leads from the village to Mere Brow and Crossens. The Leeds and Liverpool Canal branch goes north near the Douglas, which stream it joins to the north of the village.
The Ram's Head Inn, a long, low, yellow-washed group of buildings at the south end of the village, was a house of some importance in the coaching days, and, though much modernized, still presents a somewhat picturesque appearance. Over the door is the inscription 'H. L. 1640,' and in one of the out-buildings facing the road is a stone with the initials 'H. L.' and the date 1714.
The soil is loam and moss overlying clay; wheat and potatoes are grown. There are 3,209 acres of arable land, 1,995 of permanent grass and 154 of woods and plantations. (fn. 3)
Charters for fairs were procured in 1700, and later for fairs in April and in September and October, but these have not endured. (fn. 4)
St. Helen's Well existed near the old chapel of that name, and as late as the 17th century was 'very much resorted to by the devotees of those times.' (fn. 7)
What was in later times called the manor of TARLETON was, like Croston, part of the Montbegon or Hornby fee, and with Croston was given to John Malherbe. (fn. 10) The whole appears to have been assessed as two ploughlands, and one moiety, Tarleton proper, seems to have been granted to one of the Banastres of Bretherton, for in later times it was part of the Bank estate. In 1298 the right of John son of Adam Banastre to 8 oxgangs of land in Tarleton was assured by fine. (fn. 11) Henry Banastre of Bank, who died in 1526, held his messuages and land in Tarleton of the heir of Roger Montbegon by a rent of 8s. yearly, (fn. 12) and a like service is that recorded in later inquisitions. The 'manor of Tarleton' is named in 1555. (fn. 13) Lord Lilford is the present owner. (fn. 14)
The other moiety or plough-land was granted by Roger de Montbegon to Roger de Douay, who transferred it to Gilbert de Notton, (fn. 15) and Gilbert gave to Cockersand Abbey one plough-land of his land in Tarleton, viz. a moiety of the whole vill, with all its appurtenances in pure alms, but the service due to John Malherbe was to be rendered, namely, that of the fourteenth part of a knight's fee. (fn. 16) This portion seems in later times to have taken a name from Holmes, another part of Tarleton held by the Cockersand canons by grant of the Cluniac priory of Thetford in Norfolk. (fn. 17) It was afterwards acquired by the Heskeths of Rufford, (fn. 18) and continued to descend with this estate. (fn. 19) This moiety of the manor of Tarleton was sold by Sir T. Hesketh to Lord Lilford about 1886, by whose heir the whole manor is now held. Courts are held yearly. (fn. 20)
Holmes Wood Hall
HOLMES WOOD HALL (fn. 21) stands close to the former northern shore of Martin Mere in the southwest corner of the township. It is now a farm-house and retains little or nothing of the original structure. The house proper is a tower-like whitewashed brick building of three stories, measuring externally 25 ft. by 23 ft., with a gabled roof behind brick battlements, and having a large projecting chimney on the south side. There is a later addition with a lean-to roof on the west. In the east wall is a stone with the Hesketh sheaf and the initials and date T. H. (for Thomas Hesketh), 1568, but this probably was placed here in a comparatively late rebuilding. The date of the present building is difficult to determine, for, though modern, it may incorporate some parts of an older erection. The walls are 2 ft. thick, but the house possesses no architectural features, the windows all being new and of wood. On the north side, at a distance of about 15 ft., is a brick barn, with a stone and brick extension at its west end, and in its east wall a four-light mullioned window with hood mould, apparently in its original position, and in the gable above is a stone with the Hesketh double-headed eagle and initials and date as before. This end wall of the barn at least apparently belongs to some portion of the old house. The present buildings, however, whatever they represent, are but a fragment, the original building, which was restored by Sir Robert Hesketh in 1539, having entirely disappeared.
About 1324 Walter the Demand or Judge held an oxgang of land in Tarleton, doing suit to the three weeks' court of Leyland for Robert son of Robert de Hephale. (fn. 22)
Tarleton gave a surname to one or more families in the district, (fn. 23) but they do not appear to have had any lordship in this township.
Richard Sutton of Tarleton occurs in 1444, (fn. 24) and William Dandy a century later. (fn. 25) A family described as Norris 'of Tarleton' recorded a pedigree in 1664. (fn. 26) John the Ferryman's son is named in 1345. (fn. 27)
In the 16th century there were several disputes about the fishery. (fn. 28)
William Banastre contributed to a subsidy in 1542–3 for his lands in Tarleton. (fn. 29) The hearth tax return of 1666 records seventy-three hearths, but only three dwellings had as many as three hearths. (fn. 30) The land tax return of 1798 shows that the land was much divided; Charles Croft, William Bamford and the heirs of Peter Legh were among the chief contributors. (fn. 31)
The old chapel of ST. MARY (fn. 32) is situated at the south-east end of the village on high ground not far from the bank of the Douglas, opposite to Bank Hall. It is supposed to stand on the site of the earlier chapel of St. Helen. The building is the one erected in 1719, (fn. 33) and is a plain parallelogram 47 ft. 9 in. by 21 ft., with a semi-octagonal apsidal east end 12 ft. by 8 ft. There is a small belfry tower and cupola at the west end, together with a vestry and porch, these apparently having been added at the beginning of the last century, the stonework of the tower bearing the date 1824. The building is of brick and has a stone slated roof. The walls were originally roughly plastered externally and the plaster yet remains attached in places, but the brickwork is now generally exposed. There are four semicircular-headed windows on each side and two in the apse, the east wall of which, however, is blank. Between the windows are small triangular brick projections answering to buttresses and the end gables have stone copings and urn ornaments. Though very plain and simple the design is not without a certain merit. The apse has a dentilled cornice and on the wall between the windows is a good spout head with the arms of Banastre of Bank and the date 1719. Internally the building preserves all its original features, though much dilapidated. There is a gallery with well-designed front on the south and west sides, approached by a good staircase at the west end and supported by square fluted wood posts. The seating consists of rough benches at the west end and square pews 4 ft. high at the east. The floor is flagged and the roof partly ceiled. The reading desk is in the middle of the north wall, but a modern oak pulpit has been erected at the cast end. The chancel arch is semicircular and without moulding, and there is a good 18th-century circular font on a fluted pedestal. There is a brass in the floor to Eliza Cook, d. 1768. Service is held in the chapel only once a year, the building being used ordinarily as a mortuary chapel. There were originally two bells in the turret, but one of them has been removed to the new church. The one remaining is dated 1824.
The new church of the HOLY TRINITY was built in the centre of the village in 1886 and consists of chancel, nave with north and south aisles, and west tower. The tower, however, is incomplete and roofed with the nave. The building is of stone with blue slated roofs and in 14th-century Gothic style. The plate consists of a chalice, inscribed 'T. H. 1744—This chalice is given by Thomas Harrison of Tarleton for the use of Tarleton Chapel'—a chalice dated 1836, and a paten and large flagon of 1883. There are also a silver-plated paten and four silverplated almsdishes of 1886.
The registers begin in 1719. The burials are complete to the present time, but the baptisms are wanting for the year 1757 (fn. 34) and the marriages from 1756 to 1821.
There was at Tarleton an ancient chapel, known as St. Helen's, (fn. 35) in which a priest named George Dandy about 1525 founded a chantry for his soul and all Christian souls. (fn. 36) There being 'an arm of the sea' between Tarleton and the parish church the priest was often compelled to minister the blessed sacrament to the people there. The endowment, derived from lands in Tarleton, Bretherton, Ulnes Walton and Longton, was £4 11s. in all, but 20s. 4d. was in reversion at the date of confiscation. (fn. 37) In the chapel yard was a hermitage, occupied at that time by one Hugh Dobson, who had been professed hermit of the order of St. Anthony about 1530, when fifty years of age, at Tadcaster before Dr. Bainbridge, suffragan of the Archbishop of York. (fn. 38)
The chapel was sold to Sir Thomas Hesketh, who at once pulled it down, (fn. 39) and Tarleton remained without a place of worship until the time of the Commonwealth, when a small building was erected by the Presbyterians. (fn. 40) On the Restoration it became episcopal, but was little used and went to ruin. (fn. 41) In 1719 Mrs. Legh of Bank gave land for St. Mary's for the worship of the Church of England, others of the people subscribing towards the building. (fn. 42) She and her heirs were to have the nomination of the curate, with the approbation of the rector of Croston. There was no endowment at that time. (fn. 43)
The patronage seems to have been acquired by the rector absolutely, for in 1821, when Tarleton was made an independent parish, the Rev. Streynsham Master, the rector, held it and gave it to his son, the Rev. R. M. Master; it was afterwards sold to the Rev. M. Fletcher, whose son, the present rector of Chorley, is now patron. The value of the benefice is returned as £530. (fn. 44)
|1720||William Charnley, B.A. (fn. 45) (St. John's Coll., Camb.)|
|1722||William Tomlinson, B.A. (fn. 46)|
|1746||George Barber, B.A. (fn. 47)|
|1765||George Chamberlaine, M.A. (fn. 48)|
|1795–1800||Edward Master, B.A. (fn. 49)|
|1821||Streynsham Master, M.A. (fn. 50) (Balliol Coll., Oxf.)|
|1864||Matthew Fox Fletcher, B.A. (fn. 51) (T.C.D. and Oxf.)|
|1875||Robert Crompton Fletcher, M.A. (fn. 52) (Sidney Sussex Coll., Camb.)|
|1908||Christopher Cronshaw (fn. 53)|
A school was founded in 1706. (fn. 57)
Charities (fn. 58)
Hannah Leadbetter in 1757 bequeathed £100 for cloth for the poor. The money was invested in land in Hesketh, which produces £15 10s. a year, spent in gifts of calico. (fn. 59) The township has a share of Dr. Layfield's Croston charity, £5 17s. 7d. a year, used in a similar manner, (fn. 60) and twice every ten years receives the Crooke and Master charity for religious books, £11 18s. 6d. (fn. 61)