A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 8. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1914.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
HEATON WITH OXCLIFFE
This township lies on the right bank of the Lune, which here flows west and then south. The greater part of the surface is low and flat, but in the southern half a rising tract, running north and south, stands above the 50-ft. level. On the river side of it is situated the hamlet of Heaton; on the inland side is Great Swart Barn. Oxcliffe stands on a little bluff to the north-east, at the point where the river bends, and Ovangle occupies a similar piece of higher land on the border of Skerton. The hamlet of Oxcliffe in the north has an acreage of 716½, Heaton in the south having 1,319½, giving a total of 2,036 acres (fn. 1); of this 166½ is salt marsh, the hamlets named containing 76 and 90½ acres of it respectively. The population in 1901 was 165.
The principal road is that going from Skerton near the river bank, through Ovangle, Oxcliffe and Heaton to Overton; south of Oxcliffe Hall it passes the riverside inn called 'Snatchems.' At the north end of the road a branch goes off west to Heysham, and at the south end another turns towards Middleton. The railway line to Heysham Harbour crosses the north-west corner of the township.
In 1066 Earl Tostig held both Heaton, assessed as four plough-lands, and Oxcliffe, assessed as two, as members of his lordship of Halton. (fn. 2) After the Conquest the two were separated and held by different tenures, and the assessments were reduced by half.
HEATON was placed in the barony of Penwortham, and was again divided; one moiety was by Warine Bussel given in marriage with his daughter to Randle son of Roger de Marsey, (fn. 3) while the other was similarly given to Hamon le Boteler. (fn. 4) Another grant of the whole manor seems to have been made early to the Grelleys of Manchester, who gave to Roger son of Orm, (fn. 5) ancestor of the Kirkby Ireleth family, but no trace of this mesne lordship appears in the deeds. The other moieties became reunited in the same immediate lord, though held by different tenures. Roger son of Randle de Marsey before 1180 granted his moiety to a different Roger son of Orm, who was to render 10s. rent and pay 12d. sake fee, (fn. 6) and the grantee quickly transferred fo Augustine son of Waldeve in exchange for a third part of the manor of Hutton in Leyland. (fn. 7) Hamon's moiety descended to his grandson Adam de Hoghton, who granted it to the same Augustine son of Waldeve, who was to hold it by doing the service due from the ninth part of a knight's fee. (fn. 8) John Count of Mortain in 1189 confirmed this second moiety to Roger son of Augustine de Heaton. (fn. 9) The double tenure was recognized in 1262, when after the death of Roger's son Roger de Heaton it was found that he had held one plough-land in Heaton of Geoffrey de Chetham by 10s. rent and the other of Adam de Hoghton by 19½d. rent. (fn. 10) His son and heir William, who was thirty years of age, did homage and had livery the same year. (fn. 11) It appears that William married Christiana sister of Henry son of Adam de Hest, receiving with her a burgage in Lancaster, (fn. 12) and that he had two sons, Roger and William. The former dying before 1283, leaving a daughter and heir Christiana, the father (fn. 13) in that year settled his manors of Heaton and Burn upon the other son, William, Christiana daughter of Roger putting in her claim. (fn. 14)
In 1302 William de Heaton was recorded to hold the fourteenth part of a knight's fee in Heaton of the Earl of Lincoln. (fn. 15) The manor descended in this family (fn. 16) till the death of a later William de Heaton, and in 1387 one-third part was held as dower by his widow Katherine and the rest by Richard de Westby and John de Brockholes in right of their wives Margery and Katherine. (fn. 17) The estates were afterwards divided, (fn. 18) and the manor of Heaton was included in the Brockholes share. (fn. 19) It has since descended in the same way as Claughton in Garstang, (fn. 20) Mr. William Joseph Fitzherbert-Brockholes being lord of the manor. (fn. 21) Records of courts held from time to time since 1759 are in his possession. The clearing of the watercourses was the most important matter enforced. (fn. 22)
During the sequestrations suffered by the Brockholes family in the Commonwealth time some of the tenants took the opportunity of complaining of the harsh dealing, as they described it, of John Brockholes, the deceased lord. (fn. 23) Thomas, his younger brother, had an estate in Heaton, which was forfeited and sold. (fn. 24)
OXCLIFFE was one of several estates in and near Lancaster granted out in serjeanty, (fn. 25) and in 1212 Hugh de Oxcliffe held the plough-land there by being carpenter to the king at Lancaster Castle and elsewhere. (fn. 26) He had granted out a fourth part, but the remaining three parts continued to be held by the Oxcliffe family for many generations. (fn. 27) Before 1500, however, the manor had disappeared and the family also. The Hollands of Denton later had land in Oxcliffe. (fn. 28) A farm-house known as Oxcliffe House is dated 1644.
OVANGLE was perhaps the chief part of the 2 oxgangs of land granted by the above-named Hugh to Walter de Sparham in marriage with his sister. (fn. 29) This fourth part of the manor, after being subdivided, (fn. 30) was in 1297 held by Sir William de Dacre, (fn. 31) and in 1323 by William de Slene, (fn. 32) who died soon afterwards, leaving a son William, aged seven. (fn. 33) Later by co-heirs it came to Gardiner and Southworth (fn. 34); the former moiety was acquired by Harrington, (fn. 35) and so came to Lord Mounteagle, (fn. 36) while the latter descended with Highfield in Lancaster. (fn. 37)
The inclosure of the chapel of St. Cuthbert of Heaton was the subject of dispute between Sir William de Heaton and Ralph de Truno, who was Prior of Lancaster between 1266 and 1290. The agreement, made to define its bounds, mentions the new and old houses of Brother William Hermit; the prior had his grange there. (fn. 38) Nothing further is known of any public chapel in Heaton, for that named in 1387 seems to have been at the hall. (fn. 39)