A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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This extensive parish, having an area of 19,265½ acres and a population in 1901 of 17,940, appears from its irregular shape to be a remnant of a larger district, from which at various times other parishes have been cut off. At one time the townships of Hoghton, Withnell, Wheelton and Whittle-le-Woods formed a district or lordship bearing the special name of Gunolfsmoors. This part includes most of the hilly country in the eastern half of the parish; in the Leyland or western half the surface becomes comparatively level.
The township was anciently divided into four 'quarters,' viz. Leyland, Euxton, Cuerden with Clayton and Whittle, and the Moors, each of which paid equally to the county lay fixed in 1624. (fn. 1) To the fifteenth the various townships paid thus:—Leyland, £1 0s. 2d.; Euxton, £1 5s. 7d.; Cuerden, 15s. 8d.; Clayton, £1; Whittle, 17s. 4d.; Hoghton, 6s. 9d.; Withnell with Roddlesworth, 7s. 8d.; Wheelton with Heapey, 11s.; a total of £6 4s. 2d., when the hundred paid £30 12s. 8d. (fn. 2)
The agricultural land in the parish now amounts to nearly 16,000 acres, and is occupied as follows:— Arable, 2,530 acres; permanent grass, 12,454 acres; woods and plantations, 726 acres. (fn. 3)
Although Leyland stood upon one of the ancient roads to the north, and gave a name to the hundred, there is little distinction about its history. The principal family, that of Hoghton, long had possessions outside the hundred which seem to have been more attractive, as at Lea and later at Walton; the Faringtons became the principal residents in the western part of the parish about 1560, and have maintained their pre-eminence. (fn. 4) The Reformation left a large number of the minor gentry and people faithful to the Roman Catholic religion. (fn. 5) The Commonwealth sequestrations involved the principal families, as well as many smaller ones, in disaster, for the Faringtons were bound up with the Earls of Derby, and the Andertons were zealous Royalists; the Hoghtons were divided, a Parliamentarian succeeding his Cavalier father.
The church, which is dedicated in honour of ST. ANDREW, (fn. 6) is situated on elevated ground at the south-east end of the village, and consists of chancel with north vestry and organ chamber, nave and west tower. Only the chancel and tower, however, are old, the nave having been pulled down in 1816, and the present structure, which is in the Gothic style of the day, erected in the following year. (fn. 7) When the old walls were demolished their foundations were left in below the floor of the new building, but the width of the nave being increased 9 ft. on each side, they are now wholly invisible. (fn. 8) Some alterations in the south-east corner in 1852, which necessitated the entire removal of the old foundations in that part, showed them, however, to be composed of fragments of a still earlier church, portions of 12th-century masonry, together with incised slabs and parts of stone coffins, being found. (fn. 9) Of this earlier structure, however, nothing is known, and the rebuilding of 1817 makes it impossible to say anything definitely as to the development of the plan. The chancel is of 14th-century date, the roof being of high pitch with overhanging eaves and covered with stone slates, but the north side is now hidden externally by a modern vestry and organ chamber. The tower belongs to the late 15th or early 16th century, and is centrally placed with the nave.
The chancel, which is built of gritstone, is 39 ft. 3 in. long by 18 ft. 4 in. wide inside, and has a three-light pointed east window with plain chamfered mullions crossing in the head, and two smaller but similar windows in the south side with a priest's doorway, now built up, and a modern two-light window further west. The jambs of the doorway and windows on the south side are moulded, but those of the east window are chamfered like the mullions, and may indicate a later insertion. (fn. 10) A string course with the scroll moulding runs round the chancel both inside and out below the sills, and level with the springing of the arch of the priest's doorway, and it is continued round the buttresses, which terminate in triangular heads. The interior of the chancel is faced with stone and preserves its ancient ritual arrangements. The sedilia are triple under semicircular arches with moulded labels dying into the underside of the string above. The three seats are on the same level, and the piscina, which has two floriated bowls, is part of the composition, being under an arch similar to the other three and adjoining them to the east. At the east end of the north wall is a new two-light window now opening into the vestry, and below it an aumbry. (fn. 11) West of this, at a distance of 9 ft. from the east wall, is a low side window, the opening of which to the chancel is 9 in. in width by 16½ in. high, with a 1½-in. chamfer all round. The window is now filled with a wood door and opens into the vestry, where it is splayed to a width of 4 ft. 3 in., the splay being equal on each side. The sill is 3 ft. 6 in. from the ground, and the opening has a segmental arched head 2 ft. high. The plinth of the chancel is visible in the vestry, showing that the opening was originally in an outside wall.
The western half of the north side of the chancel is modern and is open to the organ chamber by two pointed arches of two orders on a modern shafted pier with moulded cap, the arch mouldings dying into the walls at the sides. The roof is of framed spars, plastered between, with curved pieces at the wall plate and near the apex. The chancel arch and arch between the organ chamber and nave are modern, and there is a modern Gothic oak chancel screen.
The nave is 73 ft. long by 52 ft. 6 in. wide, but extends 4 ft. further west on each side of the tower. The roof is one wide span, with four plain framed principals ceiled between, and there are five windows of three lights on each side. There are galleries on the north and south sides, but since the erection of the organ chamber and the consequent piercing of the north-east wall of the nave the gallery on the north side stops short some distance from the wall. The southeast corner of the nave is occupied by the Farington chapel, which marks the site of the chantry of St. Nicholas and preserves an ancient right confirmed by Bishop Chaderton in 1591. (fn. 12) A board in the gallery records that the chapel was repaired, a vault made, and seats erected by William Farington of Worden in 1746. The chapel is now inclosed by a modern screen and measures 20 ft. by 17 ft. It contains a small brass 18th-century chandelier. On the wall above in the gallery are five hatchments belonging to the Farington family. The chapel had originally a window at its east end, but when the nave was widened a door was substituted. The walls of the nave are plastered and there are doors at its western end on both north and south, that on the north side, however, being built up.
The west tower, which is 16 ft. 6 in. square inside, is open to the church and has a vice in the south-west corner. The tower arch is lofty and of two chamfered orders dying into the walls at the springing. There is an ascent of five steps from the floor of the tower to that of the nave, which gives to the building when entered from the west door a certain sense of dignity which it would not otherwise possess. The whole of the east wall of the tower, which including the buttresses is 35 ft. 6 in. in width, is exposed to the nave and of bare stone. Above the arch is an opening 4 ft. high from the bell-ringing chamber, and the marks of the former high-pitched roof are clearly visible, the extreme apex only being hidden by the modern ceiling. Externally the tower has a moulded plinth, with diagonal buttresses of four stages on its west side and square ones on the east, going up to within a short distance of the string course below the embattled parapet, the angle pinnacles of which are an early 19th-century addition. The string course has two stone gargoyles on each side except on the east, where there is only one, and the battlement has a shield in the middle merlon on each side, while on the west side the string course has a curious carving of a bird together with a four-leaved flower. (fn. 13) The belfry windows are of three lights under a four-centred arched head, and the west door has moulded jambs and head, with hood mould. The west window is of three lights under a low pointed head, with new mullions, sill and tracery, but the jambs are the original ones. Above the window is a small niche with moulded jambs and head, and above these again a small semicircular-headed opening. The lower portion of the second stage of each of the western buttresses has also a semicircular-headed niche with moulded heads and jambs. The north and south sides of the tower are plain in the lower part, but have a niche at the same level as that on the west side and a small glazed single light to the ringing chamber above. There is a clock-face on the north, south and west sides.
The fittings, including the font and pulpit, are all modern, but there are some fragments of 16th-century glass in the middle window in the south side of the nave, (fn. 14) and on the sill of one of the adjoining windows are preserved in a glass case copies of Foxe's Acts and Monuments, Jewell's Apology, and A Preventative Against Popery in two volumes.
There is a ring of eight bells, two being added in 1897 to the original peal of six cast by Abraham Rudhall of Gloucester in 1722. The new bells are by Taylor of Loughborough. Three of the old bells appear to have been recast during the last century. (fn. 15)
The curfew is rung at 8 p.m. from Michaelmas to Lady Day, and at 9 p.m. from Lady Day to Michaelmas. There is also a morning bell formerly rung at 5.55 a.m., now at 7 a.m. throughout the year. (fn. 16)
The plate consists of a chalice, paten and flagon (fn. 17) of 1758 with the maker's mark C B; a paten of 1716, inscribed 'The gift of Eliz. Farington of Worden, widow, Aug. 7, 1716'; two almsdishes of 1770, 'The gift of Samuel Crook of Leyland, gentleman, 1773'; and a two-handled cup of 1801 inscribed, 'A gift to Leyland Church by Mary Lang, third wife to Robert Lang of Leyland Lanc, 1805.' There is also a silver bread box given by the Rev. Leyland Baldwin in 1903.
The registers of baptisms and burials begin in 1653, those of marriages in 1655. The first volume (1653 to 1710) has been printed, (fn. 18) with a few earlier transcripts from 1622 to 1641.
The churchyard, which is almost entirely surrounded by fine lime trees, lies chiefly on the south and east of the church, the chief entrance being at the north-west corner under a stone gateway by a flight of steps from the road, which passes close to the building on the north side. It contains a number of sepulchral slabs, most of them with incised crosses, and on the south side of the church is a curious stone with the rudely-cut figure of a man, to the memory of one William Walker, 'bachelor of Musicke and Clarke of the Parish,' who died in 1588. Above the figure is the motto 'Musica mentis medicina macstae,' and below 'Nulla dies sine linea.' East of the chancel are two 17th-century stones with long Latin inscriptions, (fn. 19) now much worn, marking the place of burial of Robert Charnock (d. 1670), and of Roger Charnock (d. 1632) and Ann his wife (d. 1659), the second stone bearing the Charnock arms. The churchyard has been considerably extended on the south side in recent years by the addition of ground given by the Rev. Leyland Baldwin.
The church of Leyland was given to Evesham Abbey by Warine Bussel, baron of Penwortham, and the gift was enlarged by Richard Bussel, his son, in the first half of the 12th century. (fn. 20) Two oxgangs of land were given later. (fn. 21) The grant was of little benefit to the monks, as they received only 2 marks from the church, (fn. 22) and in June 1330 they procured the king's licence for the appropriation of the rectory. (fn. 23) Pope John XXII also granted their request, ordering the Bishop of Lichfield at the next vacancy in the rectory to allow the abbot possession, and to ordain a vicarage. (fn. 24) At the beginning of 1332 the bishop accordingly annexed the church of Leyland to the abbey, decreeing that the vicar to be appointed should have for his residence half of the rectory house and 1 oxgang of land in the vill, tithe free; and should also receive the tithes of wool, hay, &c., of the whole parish, altarage dues, Peter pence, and oblations. The vicar, however, was to pay synodals, procurations, and Peter pence, and 40s. to the abbot and convent, who were responsible for all charges not expressly mentioned. (fn. 25) From this time the abbot and convent of Evesham presented vicars. After the suppression the advowson of the vicarage was, with other Evesham properties, in 1543 granted by the Crown to John Fleetwood of Penwortham. (fn. 26) In 1748 the advowson was purchased by Thomas Baldwin, the vicar, from the executors of Henry Fleetwood, (fn. 27) and has since descended in his family, the present patron being Colonel Robert Baldwin.
The value of the church was in 1291 estimated to be £10 yearly. (fn. 28) The same sum was the value of the ninth of sheaves, wool, &c., in 1341. (fn. 29) The estimated value of the rectory in 1535 was £48 2s., which formed part of the revenues of the abbey's cell of Penwortham (fn. 30); while that of the vicarage was £11 net. (fn. 31) By 1650 the revenues of the rectory had been divided among several lay owners, and the vicar's endowment consisted of his house, lands, &c., worth about £6 a year, and the small tithes, estimated at about £14. (fn. 32) The confiscated estate of Leyland Hall was in 1690 given to the vicar, (fn. 33) and this considerably augmented his income, which amounted to £100 a year about 1720. (fn. 34) The present income is given as £900. (fn. 35)
|Instituted||Name||Presented by||Cause of Vacancy|
|c. 1190||Sweyn (fn. 38)||—||—|
|oc. 1220||Thomas Bussel (fn. 39)||—||—|
|oc. 1246||William [de Meols] (fn. 40)||—||—|
|15 Jan. 1303–4||Mr. William de Cruce Roys (fn. 41)||Evesham Abbey||—|
|9 Nov. 1308||John de Bohun (fn. 42)||"||—|
|21 June 1322||Mr. Thomas de Astley (fn. 43)||"||d. J. de Bohun|
|22 Sept. 1331||John le White (fn. 44)||Evesham Abbey||—|
|22 Sept. 1339||Robert de Preston alias Woodward (fn. 45)||"||exch.|
|13 Oct. 1350||John de Halsnead (fn. 46)||"||res. R. le Woodward|
|27 May 1357||Adam Wylot de Meols (fn. 47)||"||d. J. de Halsnead|
|Thomas de Aston||—||—|
|27 Oct. 1369||John le Serjeant (fn. 48)||Evesham Abbey||d. T. de Aston|
|13 Sept. 1394||John de Alston (fn. 49)||"||res. J. le Serjeant|
|10 Mar. 1402–3||John Weston (fn. 50)||"||d. last vicar|
|16 Oct. 1411||John Walton (fn. 51)||"||res. Mr. J. Weston|
|16 Oct. 1433||Ralph Farington (fn. 52)||"||—|
|23 Jan. 1457–8||Humphrey Farington (fn. 53)||"||res. R. Farington|
|6 Nov. 1461||Thomas Awton (Cocks) (fn. 54)||"||d. H. Farington|
|3 Nov. 1463||Thurstan Shorrock (fn. 55)||"||res. T. Cocks|
|30 Apr. 1488||Ralph Blacklache (fn. 56)||"||d. T. Shorrock|
|11 Sept. 1494||Seth Woodcock (fn. 57)||"||d. Ralph Blacklache|
|28 Apr. 1516||Edward Molyneux (fn. 58)||"||d. S. Woodcock|
|||Mr. Thomas Powell||—||—|
|17 June 1538||Charles Wainwright (fn. 59)||Evesham Abbey||res. T. Powell|
|11 Feb. 1562–3||Thomas Buckley (fn. 60)||T. Gwent||d. C. Wainwright|
|21 July 1570||John Shireburne, B.D. (fn. 61)||John Fleetwood||d. T. Buckley|
|31 May 1595||John White, M.A. (fn. 62)||—||[d. J. Shireburne]|
|27 Oct. 1604||Thurstan Breres, B.D. (fn. 63)||Ric. Floetwood||res. J. White|
|27 Jan. 1611–12||James Langley, M.A. (fn. 64)||"||d. T. Breres|
|c. 1650||William Rothwell, M.A. (fn. 65)||—||d. J. Langley|
|25 July 1677||John Rishton, M.A. (fn. 66)||Edw. Fleetwood||d. W. Rothwell|
|17 Feb. 1684–5||George Walmesley, M.A (fn. 67)||"||d. J. Rishton|
|21 Oct. 1689||Thomas Armetriding, B.A. (fn. 68)||"||d. G. Walmesley|
|25 Jan. 1719–20||Christopher Sudell, M.A. (fn. 69)||Henry Fleetwood||d. T. Armetriding|
|6 Nov. 1733||Edward Shakespear, M.A. (fn. 70)||"||res. Chr. Sudell|
|21 Apr. 1736|
|15 June 1748||Thomas Baldwin, M.A. (fn. 71)||Robert Harper, &c.||d. E. Shakespear|
|13 June 1753||Thomas Baldwin, M.A. (fn. 72)||John Baldwin||d. T. Baldwin|
|24 June 1802||Thomas Baldwin, LL.B. (fn. 73)||Thos. Baldwin||d. T. Baldwin|
|5 July 1809||Nicholas Rigbye Baldwin, M.A. (fn. 74)||N. R. Baldwin||d. T. Baldwin|
|29 Dec. 1824||Gardner Baldwin, M.A. (fn. 75)||G. Baldwin||d. N. R. Baldwin|
|1852||Thomas Rigbye Baldwin, B.A. (fn. 76)||T. R. Baldwin||d. G. Baldwin|
|1891||Octavius de Leyland Baldwin, B.A. (fn. 77)||R. Baldwin||d. T. R. Baldwin|
The list of rectors and vicars does not call for comment. The change from non-resident rectors to resident vicars was no doubt an advantage to the people at first, but in course of time the vicars too sometimes evaded residence. Before the Reformation there appears to have been a staff of six or seven priests serving the parish church, (fn. 78) with its chantry, and the chapels at Euxton and Heapey. Five of them, including the vicar, appeared at the visitation of 1554, and though only three are recorded in the list of 1562, (fn. 79) five names appear in the following year, headed by the recently appointed vicar. (fn. 80) In 1565, however, the vicar and his curate were the only clergy there, (fn. 81) and when the vicar was resident he does not always seem to have considered a curate necessary. (fn. 82) The chapels of Euxton and Heapey were probably served only irregularly, if at all, until the time of the Commonwealth. In recent times, of course, great changes have been made. In 1782 Richard Balshaw gave a capital sum of £200 for the vicar or other minister to read the morning prayers of the church service and to read a lecture or sermon in the parish church every Friday morning. The income, about £27, is still paid to the vicar. (fn. 83)
An altar of St. Nicholas existed in the church for a long time, (fn. 84) and there was also an altar before the rood. (fn. 85) At the former in 1524 Sir Henry Farington endowed a chantry for 'an able and welldisposed priest daily to say and do masses . . . and other divine service daily to say and do there for ever.' The chantry priest was also to be ready to assist in his surplice at matins, mass and other service 'daily done with note' in the church among the other priests and clerks. The founder gave certain church ornaments and plate for use at the altar, but still regarded them as his private property. (fn. 86) The priest had also 'to keep one free grammar school in the church.' (fn. 87) The endowment consisted of a number of tenements in Leyland, Cuerden, Ulnes Walton and other adjacent townships, and amounted to £4 5s. 9d. at the suppression. (fn. 88) The first priest seems to have been Thurstan Helde or William Walton, but in 1535 Thurstan Taylor was doing service, (fn. 89) and he remained until 1547, 'celebrating and keeping school according to his foundation.' (fn. 90)
The chantry school was threatened with destruction by the confiscation of the endowment at the Reformation, but £3 6s. 8d. a year was granted by Queen Elizabeth for the revival of it, and other endowments were added. (fn. 91) It is now closed.
An official inquiry as to the charities of the parish was made in 1899. (fn. 92) The endowments for education produce nearly £500 a year, and over £50 is devoted to church purposes.
For Leyland township £20 for the poor is available from the Balshaw school endowment. (fn. 93) More important are the almshouses founded by William Farington in 1661, (fn. 94) and by John Osbaldeston in 1665, (fn. 95) with revenues of £80 and £194 respectively; there are also a bread charity (fn. 96) and a dole for poor widows. (fn. 97) A number of ancient gifts have either been lost or merged in those mentioned. (fn. 98)
For Euxton the gifts of Richard Hodson and others produce nearly £15 a year, distributed in linen or calico, bread, or money gifts. (fn. 99) Euxton is also entitled to share in the benefits of Goosnargh Hospital in Kirkham. At Cuerden £5 6s. 8d. is distributed in money. (fn. 100) For Clayton-le-Woods the benefaction of John Clayton produces £16 18s. 8d., applicable to the general benefit of the poor under a scheme made by the Charity Commissioners in 1887. (fn. 101) There is another small fund. (fn. 102) A trifling money distribution is made at Wheelton (fn. 103); and for Whittle-le-Woods there are an almshouse and an income of about £10, partly for the occupant of the house, but chiefly given to the poor in kind. (fn. 104)
An apprenticing fund given by Samuel Crooke in 1770 for the townships of Leyland, Euxton and Clayton, Cuerden and Whittle-le-Woods is now given to the poor. (fn. 105)