A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 7. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.
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Ribleton, 1200; Ribbleton, 1202; Ribbelton, 1226; Ribilton, 1251; Rybelton, 1292.
This township has an area of 757 acres, including the 108 acres of Ribbleton Moor. As the hamlet of Brockholes in the adjoining township had rights in the moor, this was formerly regarded as a semi-independent district, and its L-shaped form divided Ribbleton proper into three distinct parts—northeast (in which is Ribbleton Hall), north-west (Scales), and south (in which is Farington Hall). A large part was taken into the borough of Preston in 1880 and has been incorporated with that township since 1894, (fn. 1) so that the present township of Ribbleton, the eastern part of the historical township, has an area of only 305 acres. The population of the reduced township in 1901 numbered 66. (fn. 2)
The surface is elevated but comparatively level; on the south it descends very sharply to a plot of low-lying ground in a bend of the Ribble. The principal roads are those from Preston to Blackburn on the south side and from Preston to Longridge on the north. The railway between the last-named places crosses the north-west corner. Preston cemetery, formed in 1855, lies on the west side of the township on the Blackburn road. There are also some pleasure-grounds opened in 1885; they are now called Farington Park. This side is becoming residential, being served by the electric tramways.
The Royal Cross Training School for Deaf and Dumb Children, opened in 1894, stands on the Blackburn road. (fn. 3)
There was formerly a cross on the moor and another in Ribbleton Lanc on the Preston boundary. (fn. 4)
The story of the manor of RIBBLETON is obscure. Before the Conquest it seems to have been part of the great lordship of Preston held by Earl Tostig, and is not separately named in Domesday Book. (fn. 5) In later times its assessment was one plough-land, and it was held in thegnage, by a rent of 8s. Henry de Ribbleton died possessed of it in or before 1201, leaving a son, who was a leper, and a daughter. Henry son of Alan de Holland of Downholland purchased the wardship and marriage of the daughter, (fn. 6) and by 1212 Ribbleton had become incorporated with the Holland manors and had been granted out to Roger de Leicester for an annual service of 8s. and four arrows. (fn. 7) Roger in turn in 1202 gave it to Henry de Fishwick and Maud his wife, a rent of 10s. being payable, but the agreement was varied in 1224. (fn. 8) The mesne lordship of the Hollands was not long recognized. (fn. 9)
In 1324 Roger de Elston held the vill by the rent of 8s. and doing suit to the county and wapentake. (fn. 10) Again in 1346 William de Elston and Roger his brother were said to hold four plough-lands in Ribbleton, Preston and Elston of Henry Earl of Lancaster by knight's service and 18d. for castle ward (fn. 11); but in the same year Thomas Travers and William Lawrence held between them one plough-land in Ribbleton in socage, rendering 8s. a year at the four terms. (fn. 12) The latter record is confirmed by later testimonies, (fn. 13) but nothing is known as to the source of their right. (fn. 14)
The estate was not usually called a manor. The Travers moiety descended like Nateby (fn. 15) until 1579, when it was sold to John Shireburne. (fn. 16) The other moiety (fn. 17) was in 1524 held by Robert Lawrence, who died on 27 March holding his part of Ribbleton of the king in socage by the rent of 4s. His heirs were two daughters, Margaret and Agnes, aged seventeen and fourteen respectively. (fn. 18) The elder daughter married Hugh Farington of Hutton, (fn. 19) and their descendants were seated in Ribbleton for some time, recording pedigrees at the visitations of 1567, 1613 and 1665. (fn. 20) The younger daughter's share (fn. 21) seems to have gone to Evan Browne, who died in 1545 holding a capital messuage called Ribbleton and messuages, lands and windmill there in socage, by a free rent of 2s. (fn. 22) His son and heir Richard (fn. 23) dying without issue, the six sisters made a partition in 1559 by which Ribbleton Hall became the property of Robert Shuttleworth and Jane his wife. (fn. 24) The Farington estate is said to have been sold to the Heskeths of Rufford about the end of the 17th century. (fn. 25)
John Shireburne, already named, married one of the daughters and seems to have acquired the shares of two others. (fn. 26) His grandson of the same name recorded a pedigree in 1613, (fn. 27) and being a recusant and Royalist his estates were sequestered under the rule of the Parliament. (fn. 28) His son Henry seems to have removed to Lincolnshire. (fn. 29) The Shireburne estate is said to have been sold to Richard King in 1656; his descendants sold to Thomas Birchall, whose son, also Thomas, built the present Ribbleton Hall not far from the old house. (fn. 30) The estate is reported to be owned at present by Mr. R. R. Rothwell of Sharples, by bequest of the late Mrs. Birchall.
The freeholders recorded in 1600 were Hugh Farington, John Shireburne and Richard Whalley. (fn. 31) The 'manor' appears no more in the records.
A Ribbleton family appears at times, (fn. 35) and the Haydocks once held a large part (fn. 36); names of other landowners are recorded. (fn. 37) In the 18th century a family named Brewer had Ribbleton Lodge, the domestic chapel there serving the Roman Catholics of the district. (fn. 38) Several 'Papists' registered estates in 1717. (fn. 39)
A dispute in 1564 as to the lordship and moor of Ribbleton gives the bounds on the Fulwood side as follows: From Jackson Hey and Clough north-east to the mere hills, five in all, on the south-west side of a close called the Park Falls in Fulwood. (fn. 42) The moor was inclosed in 1870. (fn. 43)
In connexion with the Church of England St. Mary Magdalene was consecrated in 1889; a district had been formed for it in 1883, (fn. 44) and services began about that time. The patronage is in the hands of trustees.