A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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Hocwik, 1202; Hoghwyk, 1279; Howyke, 1284; Houghwick (xvi cent.).
This wedge-shaped township has an area of 754 acres, (fn. 1) of which about a third lies on the southern shore of the Ribble, below the 25-ft. level. The inland part, about 60 to 80 ft. above sea level, is flat and featureless. The population in 1901 numbered 101.
The road from Penwortham to Ormskirk crosses the middle of the township, and from it a road leads north-west to the village or hamlet, situate on the higher land overlooking the Ribble. The West Lancashire Railway crosses the extreme south-east corner.
There were only eighteen hearths taxed in 1666; the largest house had four. (fn. 2)
The pedestal of an ancient cross is still to be seen by the roadside. (fn. 3)
The soil is mixed, with clay subsoil. The land is chiefly in pasture.
The manor of HOWICK was part of the lands held by Roger of Poitou, and before 1100 he gave it to Evesham Abbey (fn. 4); thus it was the earliest gift to the abbey in Lancashire. Very soon afterwards Abbot Maurice agreed with the four brothers who occupied the land —Wolfgeat, Swein, Ralph and Liulph—as to their claim, he paying 28s. as compensation and giving Liulph a portion of the land for the rent of 100 good salmon yearly. (fn. 5) The abbots seem to have regarded Howick as part of Farington, (fn. 6) the whole being at one time considered a single township. (fn. 7) The manor has descended in the same way as Farington to Mr. Lawrence Rawstorne. (fn. 8)
The immediate holder in the 12th century appears to have been known by the local name, and soon after 1200 the manor was divided. Adam son of Mary and Denise his wife in 1202 claimed a plough-land in Howick as their inheritance, and Richard de Howick, then tenant, gave them a moiety to hold independently of him by performing the service due to the Abbot of Evesham as chief lord. (fn. 9) The other moiety was in 1210 claimed from Richard by Sabina de Howick, and her right being acknowledged she gave it to him, retaining 2 oxgangs of land (i.e. a moiety) and 10 acres; she and Richard were each to hold of the abbot. (fn. 10) She was living in 1256, when she sold 10 acres to Alan de Howick. (fn. 11)
Adam son of Mary, who was a benefactor of Cockersand Abbey, (fn. 12) had a son Simon, who appears as plaintiff as late as 1284. (fn. 13) Richard son of Simon in 1292 claimed a tenement in Howick against the Abbot of Evesham, (fn. 14) while in 1317 William son of Richard de Howick made a settlement of his moiety of the manor. (fn. 15) Richard son of William de Howick in 1346 made a grant of land to his brother John. (fn. 16)
Sabina, as daughter of Roger de Howick, granted a fourth part of Nutshaw to Roger son of Gamel for a rent of 12d., (fn. 17) and appears to have married one Robert de Bower. (fn. 18) Gamel was the founder of the Nutshaw family, (fn. 19) for long the principal residents, whose estate was in 1503–6 sold to the Heskeths of Rufford. (fn. 20) Thus in 1523 the 'manor or capital messuage of Howick,' with various lands, was held by Thomas Hesketh of the abbey of Evesham by a rent of 2s. 8d. (fn. 21) About sixty years ago Howick Hall was sold to—Rothwell of Hoole, who sold it to John Gorst of Preston. (fn. 22)
In 1786 the principal contributors to the land tax were James Barton,—Hesketh and Thomas Loxham. (fn. 25)