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, over 4 miles from east to west and about 1½ miles across, is bounded on the west by the River Douglas, here flowing north to join the Ribble; the latter river is touched by the extreme north-west boundary. Some of the land on the west is below the 25-ft. level, but the surface rises eastward, till at the boundary of Farington 90 ft. above sea level is attained. The area is 3,659½ acres, (fn. 1) and in 1901 there was a population of 1,707.
The principal road through the township is that from Preston to Ormskirk, passing south-west and south through the centre, and entering Hoole at Walmer Bridge. Another road comes from the east, entering at White Stake, and goes along not far from the northern boundary to the low-lying ground by the Douglas. On this has been formed the village of Longton, agreeably with its name, for it straggles along for over 2½ miles. On reaching the low land the road turns south to Hall Green, and then east, along the southern boundary, passing through Walmer Bridge and eventually reaching Leyland. The West Lancashire Railway (of which the last portion, from Longton to Preston, was opened in 1882) of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Company crosses the township and has stations named Longton Bridge (near the village) and Hutton and Howick (in the northeast).
In 1666 there were eighty-nine hearths to be taxed; the largest house was that of Alice Sudell, widow, with six. (fn. 4)
The history of the manor or manors of LONGTON is obscure. It was a member of the fee of Penwortham and was granted out to a number of tenants and to the Hospitallers, the abbey of Evesham and the priory of Burscough. In 1212 the only feoffments recorded were those of 6 oxgangs of land to Evesham, (fn. 5) and of others to Robert Bussel as part of his lordship in Longton, Leyland and Euxton. (fn. 6) This was probably an imperfect account, and nearly a century later Longton was found to be held in four equal portions, 8 oxgangs of land each being held by the abbey of Evesham or priory of Penwortham, Peter and Gilbert de Risley, William de Hesketh and Maud his wife, and Reyner le Fleming, by the law of England, as the estate of his late wife.
Before this, however, a mesne manor had been created by Henry de Lacy, and in 1274 was given to William de la Mare in exchange for Tottington. (fn. 7) This manor descended in exactly the same way as Croston, one moiety to Lea, Ashton and Trafford in succession, (fn. 8) and the other to Fleming and Hesketh. (fn. 9)
The inferior manor, as already stated, was in 1306 stated to be held equally by four lords. (fn. 10) The 8 oxgangs attributed to the Prior of Penwortham can be traced to grants by the Bussels, formerly lords of the fee (fn. 11); after the Suppression this fourth part was granted to John Fleetwood. (fn. 12) The Risley portion is traced to marriage with Ellen, said to have been a daughter of Robert Bussel (fn. 13); it descended to Howick and Farington of Little Farington, (fn. 14) and becoming divided among co-heirs sank out of view. (fn. 15) The Hesketh part was perhaps, like Rufford, the inheritance of Maud; there is no distinct record of it, and it seems to have become merged in the moiety of the superior lordship, which also came to this family. The Fleming part may have descended with the same family's moiety of the superior manor, and so would, with it, be transferred to the Heskeths, or may be the source of the Shireburne Manor.
Other considerable estates were those of Boteler of Rawcliffe, which seems to have been dispersed in the time of Elizabeth, (fn. 16) and Shireburne of Stonyhurst, this last being called a 'manor.' (fn. 17) So doubtful, how ever, was the lordship that when about 1580 Sir Richard Shireburne, Sir Thomas Hesketh, John Fleetwood and Richard Ashton proposed to hold a court at Longton the claim for joint lordship put forward by John Kuerden and William Charnock, as heirs of Peter Farington, was enough to prevent any court being held. (fn. 18)
In 1611 Richard Fleetwood, Thomas Ashton, Robert Hesketh and Richard Shireburne were said to be lords of the manor. (fn. 19) There were 'five lords of the manor' about 1719. (fn. 20) In 1806 Sir T. D. Hesketh, Thomas Weld, John Trafford and John Moss as lords of the manor granted a piece of waste ground in the village as a school site. (fn. 21) From this it appears that John Moss held the fourth part formerly belonging to Evesham. The Weld share seems to have been sold to the Stricklands. In 1833 the lords of the manor were represented by Robert Moss, one of them. (fn. 22) In 1870 the names of the lords were given as Sir T. G. Fermor Hesketh, J. R. de Trafford, William Moss and — Strickland (fn. 23); at present as Messrs. Thomas Richard Wilkins, William and Richard Strickland and Alfred Moss BreakellMoss.
Among the ancient families those of Bussel or Bushel, (fn. 24) Longton, (fn. 25) Pluket or Ploket, (fn. 26) How, (fn. 27) Loxham, (fn. 28) Hurleton (fn. 29) and Midgeall (fn. 30) may be named. As the lords of the manor were non-resident, the minor immediate tenants come more prominently into view, but little can be said of them. (fn. 31) Some other names appear in the inquisitions, many of them having lands in neighbouring townships: Huyton of Blackrod, (fn. 32) Banastre, (fn. 33) Farington, (fn. 34) Hesketh, (fn. 35) Kirkby of Rawcliffe, Sherdley, (fn. 36) Taylor, (fn. 37) Walton (fn. 38) and Wilding. (fn. 39) In other cases the tenure is not recorded.
John Moore, Henry Sherdley and William Walton contributed for their lands to the subsidy of 1542–3 (fn. 42) and Thomas Sherdley and John Moore to that of 1564. (fn. 43) In 1783 the principal landowners were Thomas Weld, representatives of Thomas Hesketh, Robert Moss and John Trafford; by 1798 John Moss was the chief contributor to the land tax. (fn. 44)
Inclosure awards were made in 1760 and 1824. (fn. 45)
There was probably a chapel at Longton from an early date; perhaps it succeeded that in Hutton of which there is evidence. (fn. 46) In 1517 William Walton, priest, founded a chantry therein, and provided for a school, the origin of the present grammar school of Penwortham. He seems to have been the first priest there, and by will appointed John Walton to serve until Robert son of Richard Farington should come of age (about 1533). (fn. 47) The lands of the foundation appear to have escaped confiscation by Henry VIII and Edward VI, (fn. 48) and to have come into the possession of Christopher Walton, his heir, who used them to found the grammar school in 1552. Ralph Garstang was appointed to the chantry before 1548, and in 1555 sought for restitution of the chantry lands. (fn. 49) He continued at Longton till about 1563, (fn. 50) after which the chapel probably ceased to be used regularly, the incumbent of Penwortham being the only minister in the parish. The chapel is not named at all in the list of 1610, (fn. 51) but in 1622 a Mr. Barker was 'lecturer' there. (fn. 52) In 1650 the Parliamentary surveyors recommended that it should be made parochial, though there was no endowment and at that time no incumbent. (fn. 53) Later £50 was given by one W. Loxham, and the lords of the manor having given lands to the value of £250, (fn. 54) a grant from Queen Anne's Bounty was secured in 1719, apart from which the income was about £14. (fn. 55) The income is now £194. The old chapel was rebuilt in 1770 (fn. 56) and again in 1887, the present dedication being St. Andrew. The registers begin in 1813. The patronage has descended with that of the parish church, (fn. 57) Mr. Lawrence Rawstorne being the present patron.
The following have been perpetual curates (fn. 58) :—
|oc. 1671||James Threlfall|
|oc. 1730||Timothy Corless (fn. 59)|
|1751||William Smith, B.A. (fn. 60) (Emmanuel Coll., Camb.)|
|1753||Peter Berry, B.A. (fn. 61) (Brasenose Coll., Oxf.)|
|1779||William Loxham, M.A. (fn. 62) (Brasenose Coll., Oxf.)|
|1809||James John Hornby|
|1820||Robert Tonge (fn. 63)|
|1827||Ralph Barker, B.A.|
|1831||Robert Atherton Rawstorne, M.A. (fn. 64) (Brasenose Coll., Oxf.)|
|1852||Lawrence Preston, M.A. (Queens' Coll., Camb.)|
|1869||Charles John Astbury, M.A. (fn. 65) (Brasenose Coll., Oxf.)|
|1873||John Johnson, B.A. (Queens' Coll., Camb.)|
|1905||William Henry Norris, B.A. (fn. 66) (St. John's Coll., Camb.)|
A Wesleyan chapel was built in 1807 and enlarged in 1833 (fn. 67); the present was built in 1872, and the Primitive Methodists have two chapels—at Longton (1837) and Whitestake. The Congregationalists had a licensed meeting-room in 1821. (fn. 68)