A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 8. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1914.
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The township of Cockerham has for its western boundary the estuary of the Lune, into which runs the Cocker. The village, with the old parish church, lies on the north bank, with Crookhey (or Crookay) to the east in the bend formed by the river as it descends from the north and then turns west towards the sea. Marsh Houses lies on the shore side of the church, Uptown to the north-east, Laund to the north, (fn. 1) Hillam, Norbreck and Thursland to the north-west, Bank Houses to the west near the limits of the Cockersand estate. South of the Cocker lie Little and Great Crimbles, with Laithwaite to the south-east and Wrampool to the south-west near the border of Pilling; the southern portion is moss-land, only partly reclaimed. The area of the whole is 5,562 acres, (fn. 2) and in 1901 it had a population of 677.
The surface in general is low and flat, but on the eastern side between Crookhey and Laund is more elevated, at one or two points rising to 100 ft. above sea level. The principal road is that from Lancaster to Garstang, which passes southward through the township, another road branching off at the village towards Pilling in the south-west.
A fair for pedlary on Easter Monday existed about 1840. (fn. 3)
In 1066 Ulf and Machel held as two manors two plough-lands in LANESDALE and COCKERHAM, which were in 1086 recorded among the lands of Roger of Poitou. (fn. 4) The former of these manors (fn. 5) seems to have been absorbed in Cockerham, for it is not named again, and about 1154 William de Lancaster I gave two plough-lands in Cockerham to the recentlyfounded house of Austin Canons at Leicester, St. Mary's de Pré. (fn. 6) The grant was in 1156 confirmed by Henry II (fn. 7) and by the heirs of the benefactor, (fn. 8) also in later times by Thomas Earl of Lancaster and John of Gaunt as duke, (fn. 9) and the manor was held by the abbey till the Dissolution. (fn. 10) In 1301 free warren was granted. (fn. 11)
The Calvert family had long resided in the township (fn. 12) and held the manor on lease from the canons. (fn. 13) In 1560 it was demised to Thomas Calvert by Queen Elizabeth at a rent of £51 6s. for ninety years. (fn. 14) John Calvert, who was the son and heir of Thomas, had a dispute with the tenants respecting the ancient customs of the manor in 1578. (fn. 15) He received a grant of arms in 1598, (fn. 16) alleging descent from a knightly family in Yorkshire, and purchased the rectory and manor in 1602. (fn. 17) He died in 1618 holding the manor of the king by knight's service and the rectory in socage as of the king's manor of East Greenwich. Richard Calvert, his son and heir, was twenty years of age. (fn. 18) Richard was a recusant, (fn. 19) and for this reason his estate was sequestered under the Commonwealth. (fn. 20) After his death his son John's estate was declared forfeit for delinquency, (fn. 21) and sold to Samuel Foxley. (fn. 22) The manor appears to have been recovered by the Calverts, for in 1718 William Walker, Martha his wife and Thomas Calvert were in possession. (fn. 23) Afterwards it is found in the hands of the Charteris family, (fn. 24) and was in 1791 sold by Lord Wemyss to Thomas Greene, Anthony Atkinson of Lancaster, John Dent and Robert Addison of Lancaster. (fn. 25) The manor, with which the advowson of the vicarage is still connected, has descended to the present lords, the representative of the late Lieut.-Col. Charles Henry Bird of Crookhey, who had a moiety of the manor, Henry Dawson Greene (fn. 26) and Robert James Addison Clarke, each holding a fourth part. (fn. 27) Courts were held annually till recently; now only once in three years. (fn. 28)
HILLAM (fn. 29) and CRIMBLES (fn. 30) were separate manors in 1066, assessed as one plough-land each. They were acquired by the canons of Leicester, and became merged in the manor and township of Cockerham. LAITHWAITE is named in an agreement between the abbey and William de Winmarleigh. (fn. 31) NORBRECK was in 1656–8 acquired by John Cawson from John Calvert's feoffees; Cawson held other lands in the district and left a son Charles. (fn. 32) CROOKHEY was long in the possession of a family named Gardiner. (fn. 33) Lieut.-Col. Bird inherited it through his mother. (fn. 34)
The place very seldom occurs in the records, (fn. 35) but in 1446 a number of the people were summoned for keeping hunting dogs. (fn. 36) There are a few notices in the inquisitions, (fn. 37) and during the Commonwealth period several inhabitants in addition to the Calverts suffered for politics. (fn. 38)
Peter Atkinson registered his house as a Presbyterian meeting-place during the brief Indulgence of 1672. (fn. 39)