A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 7. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.
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This township has an area of 1,387 acres. (fn. 1) Wrea or Wrea Green is situated near the centre of the northern border, with Ribby to the east of it. The surface is higher and more undulating than in most of the neighbouring townships, rising to over 100 ft. above the ordnance datum in the centre and again in the north-east. There is moss land at the west end. The population numbered 475 in 1901.
Among the members of Earl Tostig's Preston fee in 1066 was RIBBY, assessed as six plough-lands, (fn. 2) so that it included the later townships or hamlets of Ribby, Wrea, Bryning and Kellamergh. It was afterwards held in demesne by Count Roger of Poitou, who in 1094 granted tithes from it to St. Martin of Sées. (fn. 3) Ribby proper continued to be parcel of the demesne of the honour of Lancaster, and is named in the Pipe Roll of 1168–9, (fn. 4) and in later accounts as contributing to various aids. (fn. 5) WREA, however, which was separately assessed as one plough-land, was granted in drengage, (fn. 6) and was in 1212 held by Richard and Gerard by a rent of 6s. (fn. 7) They were probably ancestors of the families afterwards using the local name, of whom, however, few particulars can be given. (fn. 8) Ribby, in its old form of Rigby, has also given a surname to families (fn. 9) who came into notice in a number of places in Lancashire. (fn. 10)
Ribby and Wrea were usually farmed with Singleton. (fn. 13) An extent of Ribby which was made in 1346 (fn. 14) shows that the Abbot of Vale Royal had a grange there, paying 3s. 4d. a year for it. Held in bondage were 20 oxgangs of land, each of 14 acres and paying 16s. 8d. (fn. 15) The tenants were bound to carry victuals whenever the lord journeyed from Ribble Bridge to Lancaster Castle and vice versa. In addition there were 4 oxgangs of 13 acres each and rendering 13s. 4d., held on like conditions. There were several cottages let at 12d. rent and a pinfold. The survey of Wrea (fn. 16) shows seventeen tenants—Adam del Wrea, Adam del Sharples, and others—holding land in all amounting to 3½ oxgangs and 57½ acres, doing suit to the halmote and paying double rent as relief. (fn. 17) The rental of Ribby amounted to £19 17s. 5d., and that of Wrea to £1 17s. 11d. A rental of 1509 also has been preserved. (fn. 18)
In 1623 the manors of Ribby, Wrea and Singleton were granted in fee farm to Edward Badby and William Weltden. (fn. 19) Soon afterwards Ribby-withWrea is found to be in the possession of Alexander Rigby, no doubt the owner of Middleton in Goosnargh. (fn. 20)
The principal messuage in Ribby seems to have been that called Counton or COMPTON (fn. 21); it was acquired by the Parkers of Preston and Bradkirk (fn. 22) and on the sale of their estates about 1720 passed to a descendant of the above-named Alexander Rigby (fn. 23) and then to Richard Hornby, (fn. 24) who sold it to his nephew Joseph Hornby (fn. 25); from him it has descended to his granddaughter Miss Margaret Hornby. (fn. 26)
The people of the district in 1650 desired that a chapel should be built there (fn. 29); but the first in connexion with the Church of England was that of St. Nicholas, built about 1721 (fn. 30) and rebuilt in 1848–9. An ecclesiastical parish was formed for it in 1846. (fn. 31) The incumbents, styled vicars, are presented by the vicar of Kirkham. (fn. 32)
A school was founded in 1693. (fn. 33)