A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 7. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.
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ALSTON WITH HOTHERSALL
This township is within the hundred of Amounderness. Its area is 3,078½ acres, of which Alston has 2,040 and Hothersall 1,038½. (fn. 1) The population in 1901 numbered 2,007. (fn. 2) The two portions, Hothersall being to the east and Alston to the west, are now considered independent townships. Norcross is in the south-west of Hothersall. The surface is hilly, the general slope being from north to south, and many brooks flow southwards through wooded valleys to join the Ribble. In the bends of this river lie areas of level land. There are no villages or noteworthy hamlets in the greater part of the area, but on the extreme northern edge lies a part of Longridge.
The principal road is one from Preston to Longridge, and there is another near the northern border from this town to Ribcheeter. The Preston and Longridge line of the London and North Western and Lancashire and Yorkshire Companies' railways runs along the north-western boundary.
At Hothersall Hall 'a demon is supposed to be "laid" under a laurel tree until he can spin a rope from the sands of the River Ribble, which runs near the house.' (fn. 3)
Before the Conquest it is supposed that Alston was a part of Dilworth. Afterwards, when Dilworth proper became part of the honor of Clitheroe, Alston and Hothersall remained in the king's hands, being held of him in thegnage.
In the survey of 1212 it was found that Thomas de Burnhull held half a plough-land in chief by the service of 4s. (fn. 4) This was ALSTON. It did not descend like Brindle, but became divided between the lords of Samlesbury and Lathom, each holding nominally a moiety, but the former paying 3s. rent and the latter 1s. (fn. 5) The original partition was probably in the ratio of the thegnage rents—into 3 oxgangs of land and 1 oxgang—for William son of Roger de Samlesbury about 1230 granted 3 oxgangs of land in Alston to Adam de Hoghton. (fn. 6) From this time onwards the Hoghtons of Hoghton were the immediate lords of a moiety of the manor (fn. 7) the mesne lordship of Samlesbury being frequently ignored (fn. 8); while the other moiety descended, like Lathom, to the Stanleys, Earls of Derby. (fn. 9) There are at Walton-le-Dale Court Rolls of Alston from 1672 to 1690. The Hoghton manor was in 1772 sold to William Shaw the younger, (fn. 10) and is now said to be held by Mr. William Cross of Red Scar.
In the 13 th and 14th centuries one or more families are found bearing the local name. (fn. 11) The Hothersalls had a share of Alston also, and this seems to have been acquired by the Hoghtons.12 Later some of the neighbouring landowners had estates in this part of the township, (fn. 12) but few other records of Alston occur. (fn. 13) Thomas Cutler died in 1604 holding a messuage, &c, of the Earl of Derby and Sir Richard Hoghton by a rent of 6s. (fn. 14) During the Commonwealth period two-thirds of the estate of Benjamin Eccles at Colland Banks was sequestered for his recusancy, (fn. 15) and Thomas Grimshaw suffered for the same cause. (fn. 16) Thomas Gregson and several others registered estates as 'Papists' in 1717. (fn. 17)
HOTHERSALL in 1212 was held by Swain son of Robert, to whom it had been granted by King John first when Count of Mortain and afterwards on coming to the throne in 1199. (fn. 20) It was assessed as 2 oxgangs of land, and a thegnage rent of 5s. was rendered. (fn. 21) Swain, living in 1226, was followed by a son Thomas de Hothersall, who died in 1256 or 1257 holding the 2 oxgangs of land in Hothersall and an oxgang and a half in Alston; Robert his son and heir was of full age. (fn. 22) The descent cannot be clearly traced, but Thomas de Hothersall held the manor in 1324 (fn. 23) and his son Robert in 1346 by the 5s. rent. (fn. 24) In 1445–6 the 2 oxgangs of land were held by the heir of Adam Hothersall by the same rent. (fn. 25)
Robert Hothersall died in 1558 holding the manor, i.e. the capital messuage of Hothersall with other messuages, lands, &c, of the queen as of her duchy of Lancaster by free thegnage and a rent of 5s. (fn. 26) John his son and heir was fifty-four years of age in 1577. John Hothersall was in 1576 reported to the Privy Council by the Bishop of Chester as one of those 'of longest obstinacy against religion,' whose resistance had encouraged many others to refrain from 'embracing the queen's majesty's proceedings.' (fn. 27) He made a settlement of his estate in 1579. (fn. 28) His successor seems to have been Richard Hothersall, who was a freeholder in 1600, (fn. 29) and died in 1610, leaving a son John, aged twenty-five. (fn. 30) John was in 1632 succeeded by his brother Thomas, (fn. 31) who recorded a pedigree in 1665, being then about eighty years of age. (fn. 32) John, his eldest son, had been killed at the siege of Greenhalgh Castle in 1645, and George, another son, lost his life at Liverpool in 1644, both fighting for the royal cause. (fn. 33)
John's eldest son Thomas succeeded to Hothersall. (fn. 34) He had several children. The eldest son, John, took part in the Jacobite rising of 1715, and was captured at Preston; escaping, he managed to elude recapture, and lived secretly with his sister Anne, wife of William Leckonby. (fn. 35) This sister and another, Margery wife of Edward Winstanley, afterwards divided the estates, the manor of Hothersall falling to the former and descending to her son Richard Leckonby. On his becoming bankrupt in 1763 the manor was offered for sale, (fn. 36) but seems to have been retained in the family till the end of the century. (fn. 37) The Hothersall Hall estate was purchased in 1852 by Jonathan Openshaw, and has since been much augmented. It is now the property of Mr. Frederick Openshaw. (fn. 38) The Hall was rebuilt in 1856 in a plain modern Gothic style on the site of the old house (fn. 39) in a low situation close to the right bank of the Ribble. No part of the former house remains, with the exception of a carved stone built into the wall of one of the outbuildings on which are the arms of Hothersall, together with the initials T.H. and the date 1695. (fn. 40)
A moiety of the manor was held by the Hoghton family. (fn. 41) It seems to have been a composite estate, formed by purchasing various portions. (fn. 42) The tenure is not stated in the inquisitions, and the 5s. thegnage rent was always paid by the Hothersalls. In 1610 it was purchased by John Dewhurst from Sir Richard Hoghton and Katherine his wife, (fn. 43) and in 1621 William Dewhurst was found to have held messuages and lands in Hothersall of the king in socage. (fn. 44)
An ancient estate in this part of the township was that of the Bradleys of Thornley, (fn. 45) descending to the Osbaldestons. (fn. 46) Some smaller estates are known, (fn. 47) and the family of Naden is distinguished by the Rev. Thomas Naden, a benefactor of St. John's College, Cambridge. (fn. 48) William Rogerson of Hothersall registered a small estate in 1717 as a 'Papist.' (fn. 49)
The chapel of ST. LAWRENCE at Longridge is of unknown foundation, but is named in the rental of the Earl of Derby's estates in 1522. (fn. 50) A few particulars of its 'ornaments' at the time of the Reformation have been preserved, (fn. 51) but it does not appear to have had any endowment. It probably ceased to be used for a time, (fn. 52) but was not destroyed or desecrated, though even in 1650 there was 'neither minister nor maintenance.' (fn. 53) One, Timothy Smith, was appointed in 1657, (fn. 54) but ejected in 1662. (fn. 55) Various small endowments were afterwards given to it, (fn. 56) and it was rebuilt in 1716. Bishop Gastrell at that time found that there was an income of £4 13s. 4d. for the minister, received by the vicar of Ribchester, who held service there once a fortnight. (fn. 57) Grants from Queen Anne's Bounty were obtained in 1730 and later. (fn. 58) The Hoghton family claimed to present, (fn. 59) but the advowson was purchased in 1829 by the Hulme Trustees. (fn. 60)
The church stands on the south side of the town of Longridge. The old chapel was rebuilt in 1716 and again in 1822, the building of the latter year being rectangular in plan with galleries and two tiers of windows at each side. A west tower containing two bells was added in 1841. A restoration, which was begun in 1899 and was completed in 1906, practically took the form of a further rebuilding, only the tower and the main walls being left standing. A chancel and vestry were added, the galleries done away with, (fn. 61) and the interior of the building was entirely remodelled. The churchyard, which slopes away from the building on the south side, was enlarged in 1878. It contains some fragments of the 18th-century church. There is a clock, given in 1892, with dials on the north and west sides of the tower. The register of births begins in 1760, that of burials in 1789 and of marriages in 1838. (fn. 62)
|1780||Robert Parkinson (fn. 65)|
|1831||Frederick Maude, M.A. (Brasenose Coll., Oxf.)|
|1843||Edward Pigot, M.A. (fn. 66) (Brasenose Coll., Oxf.)|
|1847||William Charles Bache, M.A. (fn. 67) (Brasenose Coll., Oxf.)|
|1877||Fitzherbert Astley Cave-Browne-Cave, M.A. (fn. 68) (Brasenose Coll., Oxf.)|
|1894||Thomas Martin Harrison, M.A. (fn. 69) (Brasenose Coll., Oxf.)|
For the Presbyterians Timothy Smith's house was licensed in 1672, (fn. 70) but no permanent congregation seems to have resulted. About 1717 there was a Quakers' meeting-place near Longridge Chapel. (fn. 71)
The Roman Catholic church of SS. Mary and Michael, Alston Lane, serves a mission which can be traced back to about 1700. (fn. 72) It was refounded in 1761, and the old church was built in 1765. This was replaced by the present one in 1857. (fn. 73)