Townships: Kirkland

Pages 313-315

A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 7. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.

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Kirkelund, 1246; Kyrkelund, 1254; Kyrkelond, 1292; Kyrkeland, 1331.

This township is bounded on two sides by the Wyre, which flows south and then turns sharply to the west at a point where it is joined by the Calder from the east; on its north bank is situated the old parish church, nearly two miles south of Garstang. The hamlet called Churchtown adjoins. The hall is somewhat to the north of it, and Humblescough lies in the north-west corner. The area measures 974½ acres, (fn. 1) and in 1901 there was a population of 274.

The principal road follows the course of the river from Garstang to St. Michael's; there is a bridge somewhat to the west of the bend named above, by which there is a connexion with the main road to Preston. The surface is in general level and lies low, the highest ground, about 50 ft. above the ordnance datum, being near the eastern edge.

The dead-wood of 'Kirkelund' is mentioned in a charter made before 1245. (fn. 2) There is now very little wood in the township, the land being mostly in pasture. The soil is gravelly, with subsoil of sand and clay.

A large boulder stone lying about half a mile from the church is called Crappencrop. It is said to have been thrown from the church tower and to turn round when the bells ring. The spot was considered haunted. (fn. 3)

The township is administered by a parish council.

The village cross has a sundial. (fn. 4)

Sir Edward Frankland, a distinguished chemist, was born at Churchtown in 1825. After a long and brilliant career he died in Norway in 1899. (fn. 5)


This formed part of the lordship of Nether Wyresdale. All his land of KIRKLAND was by William de Lancaster III granted to Robert the Tailor and his heirs, (fn. 6) with other land adjacent and free fishery in all waters within his demesne of Wyresdale. (fn. 7) The Tailors were sometimes styled 'de Kirkland.' The manor descended regularly (fn. 8) to William de Kirkland, who died in 1361 holding various lands of that moiety of the manor of Wyresdale which had belonged to William de Coucy by the service of 1d. or half a pound of cummin yearly. He had three daughters, and his wife Margaret was pregnant at his death, (fn. 9) but the child if a son must have died early, as Kirkland passed with the eldest daughter Alice to her husband John Boteler and their issue. (fn. 10) The descent is not clearly established, (fn. 11) but William Boteler died in 1505 holding the manor of Kirkland and various lands, &c., of Margaret Countess of Richmond by the service recorded in 1362. His son and heir Thomas was six years of age. (fn. 12)

Thomas Butler died in 1526 holding the manor of the king and John Rigmaiden as of the lordship of Goberthwaite in socage. (fn. 13) He left a daughter and heir Margaret, aged eight, but the manor went to his brother John, who died in possession in 1543 holding of the king by a rent of 2d. and other service not known. The heir was his son John, aged ten. (fn. 14) This John Butler recorded his pedigree in 1567, (fn. 15) and his son and heir John made a settlement in 1591, including the capital messuage called Kirkland Hall in the town of Garstang, forty messuages, water-mill, &c., and a parcel of meadow called Bolon-wray; he died a few days afterwards, leaving a son James, only four years old. (fn. 16) James Butler died in 1600, during his minority, and his younger brother John, aged nine, succeeded him. (fn. 17)

John Butler, who recorded a pedigree in 1613, (fn. 18) lived on until 1659. Though he compounded for recusancy in 1632 (fn. 19) the estates do not appear to have been molested by the Parliamentary authorities during the Civil War. (fn. 20) His son John fought for the king and took part in the burning of Lancaster (fn. 21); he was killed at Marston Moor, 1644. (fn. 22) His son Thomas, aged twenty-nine in 1665, succeeded his grandfather and recorded a pedigree. (fn. 23) By this time the family had probably become Protestant, but Thomas's son Alexander is said to have been a Jacobite. (fn. 24) He died in 1747, (fn. 25) and his son Thomas in the following year, leaving a son Alexander Butler high sheriff in 1767, (fn. 26) and constable of Lancaster Castle. Through his mother Dorothy Cole he acquired Beaumont Cote, near Lancaster. He had no children and bequeathed his estates, with an obligation to take the surname of Cole, to his brother Thomas's grandson Thomas, (fn. 27) who on succeeding in 1811 was sixteen years old.

Thomas Butler Cole, an eccentric man, (fn. 28) died in 1864, having bequeathed Kirkland to Major Thornton for life, with remainder to Captain Clarke, maternal uncle, with remainder to his second son and male issue; failing issue it was to revert to the heirs of the Butler family. (fn. 29)

Kirkland Hall stands about half a mile to the north of Churchtown village and has a plain 18th-century brick front facing south, three stories in height, with cornice, wide pediment, and sash windows retaining their original wood bars. On the pediment are the Butler arms and over the porch is the date 1760 with the initials of Alexander Butler. The oldest part of the house, however, is at the back, a stone at the north-west corner bearing the date 1668 and the initials of Thomas Butler and Elizabeth (Fleetwood) his wife. Another stone in a gable near to this has the same initials and the date 1679, and on the north-east side is a good I7th-cen tury doorway with moulded jambs and hood mould, the ornamental head of which is dated 1695 and has the initials of Alexander Butler and Elizabeth (Parker) his wife. The door, which is the original one, with ornamental iron hinges and ring handle, is panelled and profusely studded with nails.

The whole of the land in this township except the glebe has long belonged to the Butlers, so that there is little or nothing to record of minor families. (fn. 30) At one time Leicester Abbey owned the pasture called Bolon-wray mentioned above. (fn. 31) Robert White of Garstang compounded in 1631 for declining knighthood. (fn. 32) In the Civil War he took the king's side; his lands in Garstang, Kirkland and Catterall were declared forfeit, (fn. 33) and were purchased by John White his son. (fn. 34) It is noteworthy that 'burgages' are mentioned in the White possessions in Kirkland and the neighbourhood.

The history of the parish church has already been given. There is no other place of worship in the township.

The school was formerly considered a grammar school. It was founded, according to Bishop Gastrell, by the representatives of Walter Rigmaiden of Wedacre in 1602, and certainly existed in 1624, when an inquiry was made as to its funds. (fn. 35) The Butlers of Kirkland gave £100 for endowment, and this was augmented later. (fn. 36)


  • 1. 975 acres, including 11 of inland water; Census Rep. 1901.
  • 2. Cockersand Chartul. (Chet. Soc), i, 280.
  • 3. Hewitson, Our Country Churches, 449.
  • 4. Lancs, and Ches. Antiq. Soc. xx, 203. The bases of the churchyard cross and Hagwood cross remain; ibid. 200, 204.
  • 5. Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • 6. Dods. MSS. lxii, fol. 89.
  • 7. Ibid. William de Lancaster died in 1246 and among the gifts he made on his death-bed was one of 56 acres of arable land in the townfields of Kirkland (worth 18s. 8d. a year) and of the wood of Kirkland (worth 20s.); Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 165. In 1253–4 Hilda widow of Robert the Tailor claimed dower in Kirkland against Agnes widow of William de Lancaster and in Ravenmeols against William del Well; Curia Regis R. 154, m. 10.
  • 8. John de Kirkland in 1253–4 gave the king 20s. for an assize of mort d'ancestor; Orig. R. 38 Hen. III, m. 10. John son of Robert the Tailor paid 1 mark for an assize in 1269; Excerpta e Rot. Fin. (Rec. Com.), ii, 490. John the Tailor was defendant in 1278; De Banco R. 23, m. 62. William son of Alan de Cathirton in 1285 released to John son of Robert le Tailor of Kirkland all claim in forty pigs which of right he should have in the wood of Kirkland by inheritance; Dods. MSS. lxii, fol. 90. John son of John the Tailor about 1285 confirmed a charter granting the dead-wood of Kirkland to the abbey of Cockersand, for which they allowed him and his successors to approve parcels of wood, waste and pasture in Garstang within the bounds of Kirkland; one piece lay between Ounespool and Pilling Moss and between Humblescough and the Wyre; another 4 acres lay in parcels from John's manor-house to the gate called the Lodyat, leading to Howath Budge, also 6 acres by his manor in the Hallhursts. Rights of way were allowed to the canons, including one within Kirkland Wood to Fildingford and thence to Pilling Moss; Cockersand Chartul. (Chet. Soc), i, 269–71. Oak trees are named as growing in the wood. Ounespool seems to be the brook falling into the Wyre a quarter of a mile west of Garstang Church. Sir Henry de Lea was then sheriff; Dods. MSS. lxii, fol. 90b. In 1292 John the Tailor of Kirkland was non-suited in a claim for common of pasture in Garstang against Ralph de Catterall; Assize R. 408, m. I d. This appears to have been the elder John, for John son of Robert the Tailor was plaintiff in 1294; Assize R. 1299, m. 16, 16 d. In 1298 William de Wedacre complained that John son of Robert the Tailor had taken his goods at Kenandesaker and did not perform a covenant about messuages, &, in Garstang; De Banco R. 122, m. 141, 113 d. In 1306 John the Tailor of Kirkland released to William le Gentyl common of pasture; Dods. MSS. lxii, fol. 90b. The monks of Leicester in 1327 demised to John the Tailor of Kirkland—perhaps the same or a son—Margaret his wife and William his eldest son a messuage and land situate partly in Boulandwra by Kirkland; Dods. MSS. lxx, fol. 161. John and William had previously granted a release of the same; ibid, cviii, fol. 115. John the Tailor held of William de Coucy by knight's service in 1346; Inq. p.m. 20 Edw. III (2nd nos.), no. 63. In 1349 the feoffees granted the manor of Kirkland to John the Tailor and Margaret his wife with remainders to William de Kirkland and his brothers John, Nicholas, Lawrence and Robert; Dods. MSS. lxii, fol. 90. At the same time the feoffees gave lands to three younger brothers in Woodslac, Gildouscroft, Halecroft, &, Kuerden MSS. iv, K19. It appears safe to assume that the William son of John the Tailor of 1327 was the William de Kirkland of 1349.
  • 9. Inq. p.m. 36 Edw. III, pt. 1, no. 102. He had a messuage and 60 acres in Kirkland, worth 60s. a year; also 10 marks rent from tenants at will. He had given his manor, &, to trustees for his wife (for her life) and then for his daughters in succession—Alice, Joan and Katherine. The trustees made a grant accordingly; Kuerden, loc. cit. Various inquiries as to the descent of the manor were made in 1365 and later. From these it appears that Margaret the widow married John Boteler, that the daughters were aged five, three and one respectively at the father's death, and that the charter granting the manor to the widow was suspected but proved good; Memo. R. (Q.R.) 143; (L.T.R.) 130, xxix; 131.
  • 10. A settlement of the manor of Kirkland and 16d. of rent in Garstang was made by John Boteler and Alice his wife in 1392. The remainder was to the sons of Alice, and in default to Margaret daughter of Alice and John and to her sisters Joan, Katherine, Ellen, Elizabeth and Isabel, &c. Nicholas de Kirkland was still living; Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), iii, 39. In 1397 the feoffees granted to Alan son of William de Warburton and Margaret his wife, daughter of John Boteler of Kirkland, all the lands in Claughton, with the whole demesne, which they had received from Alan, with remainders to Robert de Blackburn of Arley, to John son of William de Bradkirk, to William son of Thomas Rigmaiden, and to the right heirs of Joan de Fetherby; Dods. MSS. lxii, fol. 90b.
  • 11. The next in possession after John and Alice was Richard Boteler, at one time (1420 onward) escheator in the county, but his paternity is not stated in the notices of him; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc), i, 139. In 1400–1 Boniface IX granted a dispensation for the marriage of Richard Boteler of Kirkland with Elizabeth daughter of Sir John Boteler (of Rawcliffe); they were related in the fourth degree; Dods. MSS. liii, fol. 91b. Richard Boteler was in 1427 accused of having made false returns of the profits of his escheatorship; Add. MS. 32104, fol. 179. An inquiry was in 1433 ordered into a charge that he had held a market at Kirkhouse in Wyresdale to the prejudice of the Duke of Bedford's tenants; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xl, App. 533. In 1428 the feoffees gave to John son of Richard Boteler of Kirkland and Ellen his wife, daughter of Gilbert Barton, a messuage in Kirkland; Dods. MSS. lxii, fol. 90. Richard the father was living in 1448, when he gave land in Kirkland in the vill of Garstang to trustees for Elizabeth wife of Edward son of John son of the said Richard; Kuerden MSS. iv, K 19. A charter by John the son of Richard dated 1446 has been preserved; it gave Walkerholme and Aldfield in Garstang to trustees; ibid. Nicholas, another son of Richard Boteler, had land in Homelsco in Kirkland in 1457; Dods. MSS. liii, fol. 98b. In 1441 Richard, Thomas and Nicholas Boteler of Kirkland were charged with trespass on the fishery of Richard Catterall at Garstang and Catterall; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 3, m. 17. William Boteler and Alice Rigmaiden had an indulgence in 1482; Dods. MSS. lxii, fol. 90b. The first recorded pedigree begins with Robert father of William Boteler.
  • 12. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iv, no. 44. He made a settlement of the manor, &c., in 1501 in favour of his male issue by Alice hie wife and in default to his right heirs male. His will (1505) is recited also; it provides for his son John and other younger children. Alice, the widow, and two daughters were executors; Dods. MSS. lxii, fol. 90. Thomas, the heir, was at once contracted to marry Isabel daughter of John Brockholes. ibid.
  • 13. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. vi, no. 72. Isabel in 1528 claimed dower in the manor of Kirkland against John Boteler and others; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 142, m. 3.
  • 14. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. vii, no. 32. His will is recited. He left 20s. to the parish church; to his son John 'all things belonging to my chapel, with my velvet night-cap, my damask doublet and all the harness that I have, to the intent that the said harness with all things pertaining to my said chapel and my clock shall be left at my manor of Kirkland as heirlooms for ever.' He had in 1527 made a settlement on Elizabeth daughter of Thomas Farington, whom he was to marry; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 178, m. 3. Another, of 1538, is in Towneley MS. DD, no. 679.
  • 15. Visit, of 1567 (Chet. Soc), 43. The grant of a crest in 1560 is printed in Gregson's Fragments (ed. Harland), 267.
  • 16. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xv, no. 17; the deceased is called grandson of John Butler late of Kirkland. Kirkland Hall was held of the queen as of her manor of Nether Wyresdale in socage by the rent of half a pound of cummin; Bolon-wray was held of the queen in chief by knight's service and a rent of 4s. By the settlement recited the remainders were to James and John, sons of John Butler, and then to his brother James.
  • 17. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xvii, no. 29.
  • 18. Visit, of 1613 (Chet. Soc), 74. There was a recovery of the manor of Kirkland in 1612, John Butler and Anne his wife being vouchees; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 310, m. 4. Another settlement was made in 1636 by John Butler and John his son and heir; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 129, no. 2.
  • 19. Trans. Hist. Soc. (new ser.), xxiv, 175.
  • 20. John Butler gave certain lands to younger children—James, Elizabeth and Mary (wife of James) Anderton—and they being recusants the lands were sequestered, so that the purchaser, Thomas Cole of Cotes, had in 1651 lost possession; Royalist Comp. Papers (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 261–2. Wearingmoor, Kinsacre and Bredenham are among the field-names given. Part of the manor-house of Kirkland was in 1659 in possession of Thomas Carus, Mary his wife and Reginald Heber; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 164, m. 80.
  • 21. Cal. Com. for Comp. i, 21.
  • 22. Dugdale, Visit. (Chet Soc.), 63.
  • 23. Ibid.
  • 24. According to a local tradition reported in Hewitson, Our Country Churches, 447–8; it refers apparently to 1715.
  • 25. The remaining part of the descent has been taken from Fishwick, Garstang (Chet. Soc), 227–30, where fuller details may be read. The following recoveries of the manor of Kirkland are on record:—1696, Alexander Butler, vouchee; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 463, m. 12. 1728, Alexander Butler; ibid. 529, m. 6 d. 1762, Alexander Butler; ibid. 595, m. 3.
  • 26. P.R.O. List, 74. His monument in Garstang Church declares that 'he chose an elegant retirement as most congenial with his literary and philosophical pursuits'; Fishwick, op. cit. 94.
  • 27. The brother Thomas was rector of Bentham in Yorkshire and Whittington in Lancashire 1793–1825. His son Thomas, a custom-house officer at Liverpool, married Sarah Clarke and had a son Thomas; Fishwick. Thomas Butler was deforciant in a fine of the manor in 1826; Lanc. Aug. Assizes, 7 Geo. IV.
  • 28. Hewitson, Our Country Churches, 456.
  • 29. Fishwick. The Rev. Henry Clarke of Torquay is one of the beneficiaries, having a life interest.
  • 30. For Crombleholme of the Cross see Fishwick, op. cit. 259.
  • 31. See previous notes and Pat. 31 Eliz. Also Exch. Dep. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 5. The chartulary of the abbey (MSS. Laud. H 72, fol. 46) records a demise by the canons in 1327 to John le Taylor, Margaret his wife and William their eldest son, at a rent of 4s.
  • 32. Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 222.
  • 33. Index of Royalists (Index Soc.), 44; Robert White, described as 'of Kirkland,' was dead in 1652.
  • 34. Cal. Com. for Comp. iv, 2506. Robert White was recusant and delinquent, but John 'had been in service for the Parliament and ever well affected.'
  • 35. Notitia Cestr. (Chet. Soc), ii, 410–11. The free school was to have been erected in the churchyard, but according to Gastrell was built on a piece of the waste granted by the lord of the manor. Thomas Richardson of Myerscough died in 1637, leaving his lands, in the case of failure of issue in the heirs named, to trustees for the maintenance of the schoolmaster at the school of Garstang; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xxviii, no. 76. In 1689 a master was nominated by Dame Elizabeth Gerard as guardian of the heiress of the manor-house of Wedacre; Garstang Ch. Papers at Chester Dioc. Reg.
  • 36. End. Char. Rep. 1899.