A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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Twysilton, 1241; Twesilton, 1300; Twyselton, 1302. These are the usual forms, but Tuyseton occurs in 1281.
Twiston occupies part of the northern slope of one of the spurs of Pendle Hill, which on Twiston Moor attains 1,134 ft. above sea level. The northern boundary is formed by Ings Beck and the western by a small brook dividing it from Downham. There are a few scattered dwellings, but nothing that can be called a village, the population numbering 43 in 1901. The area is 864½ acres. (fn. 1)
The northern end is crossed by a road leading east from Downham by Lower Gate and Ings End into Yorkshire; at the former point this is joined by a road from the south which passes through Higher Twiston.
The land is mostly in pasture, the soil being limestone and freestone.
There is a parish meeting.
The hearth tax return of 1666 shows that twentythree hearths were liable in Twiston, but no dwelling had as many as three hearths. (fn. 2)
With Mearley TWISTON was in 1102 granted by Robert de Lacy, lord of Clitheroe, to Ralph le Rous. (fn. 3) Afterwards it seems to have reverted to the superior lord, for it was held in demesne by the heir of the Earl of Lincoln in 1242 as the tenth part of a knight's fee, being of the dower of the countess. (fn. 4) Within the next seven years Roger de Notton, to whom it must have been granted, gave to Edmund de Lacy the rent of 20s. and all the services of the free men of Twiston. (fn. 5) In 1258 accordingly it was found that Twiston rendered 20s. a year to the lord of Clitheroe. (fn. 6)
Afterwards it appears to have been granted to a family who took the local name of Twiston or Twisleton, but the tenure is differently recorded at different times. In 1302 John de Twisleton was recorded as holding the eighth part of a knight's fee in Twiston of the Earl of Lincoln, (fn. 7) in 1311 Hugh son of John de Twisleton was stated to hold a plough-land in Twiston in thegnage by a rent of 20s., (fn. 8) while in 1322 he held the same by the service of the fourteenth part of a knight's fee. (fn. 9) Few particulars of the family are known, (fn. 10) and the manor, which was regarded as a dependency of Downham, (fn. 11) passed by marriage or purchase to Richard de Greenacres. (fn. 12) By marriage with two co-heirs (fn. 13) the manor became divided between the Radcliffes of Todmorden (fn. 14) and the Worsleys, (fn. 15) whose descent has been noticed in the account of Downham. (fn. 16) By a later partition (1494) Mearley was assigned to the Radcliffes and Twiston to the Worsley co-heirs. (fn. 17)
Thomas Starkie, who before 1486 married Alice sister and co-heir of the last Robert Worsley, (fn. 18) appears to have settled in Twiston, (fn. 19) but, though his descendants long resided there, there is very little known of their origin (fn. 20) or descent. William Starkie in 1564 agreed with Thomas Lister of Westby for a division of Twiston Moor. (fn. 21) The same or a later William was a freeholder in 1600. (fn. 22) Thomas Starkie died in 1607 holding a messuage and lands in Twiston of the king as duke by knight's service; his heir was his son Thomas, sixteen years of age. (fn. 23) Thomas Starkie of Twiston, his son James and three daughters contributed to the poll tax of 1660. (fn. 24) From him descended the Thomas who was vicar of Blackburn 1780–1818. (fn. 25)
The principal owners in 1788 were Thomas Lister and the Rev. Mr. Starkie. (fn. 28)
The site of a chapel is marked on the map, but nothing is known of its history except that a charge for St. Lawrence's, Twiston, occurs in the later compotus rolls of Whalley Abbey. (fn. 29)
An old burial-ground of the Society of Friends, known as the Sepulchre, was acquired in 1670. (fn. 30)