The parish of Ormskirk: Introduction, church and charities

A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1907.

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'The parish of Ormskirk: Introduction, church and charities', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3, (London, 1907), pp. 238-246. British History Online [accessed 12 June 2024].

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. "The parish of Ormskirk: Introduction, church and charities", A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3, (London, 1907). 238-246. British History Online. Web. 12 June 2024,

In this section



The parish of Ormskirk comprises six townships anciently arranged in four quarters, paying equally to the county lay; viz. (i) Ormskirk and Burscough, each paying equally; (ii) Lathom, (iii) Scarisbrick, (iv) Bickerstaffe and Skelmersdale; each quarter paid £2 1s. 8d. when West Derby hundred paid £100. (fn. 1) To the ancient fifteenth Burscough and Ormskirk paid nothing, Lathom £2 19s. 4d., Scarisbrick £3 9s. 1¼d., Bickerstaffe £1 2s. 6¼d., and Skelmersdale £1 11s.—in all £9 1s. 11½d., when the hundred paid £106 9s. 6d. (fn. 2)

The parish is over nine miles in length from north-west to south-east, and about five miles in width from Ormskirk to the River Douglas. The area is 31,009½ acres. The land is occupied as follows: Arable, 23,578 acres; permanent grass, 3,702; woods and plantations, 961. A ridge rising about 240 ft. above the Ordnance datum crosses it from east to west; on the southern slope lies Bickerstaffe, all the rest to the north. The River Tawd and Eller Brook flow northwards through Lathom to join the Douglas; the Mere Brook, which derives its name from being for a while the boundary between Ormskirk and Aughton, formerly ran into Martin Mere, on the northern boundary of the parish, now drained. Several brooks flow south through Bickerstaffe, to join the Alt or the Mersey. Originally both northern and southern boundaries were formed by a series of mosses; but these have now been drained.

The parish derives its name from the church. (fn. 3) The present boundaries indicate Ormskirk township area to have been taken from Lathom and Burscough; so that some early lord of Lathom was perhaps the founder of the church, his name being preserved by it. (fn. 4)

The part of the parish lying on the northerly slope of the ridge running westward from Upholland to Aughton was before the Conquest included in the privileged three-hide area, (fn. 5) while the portion which lay upon the ridge and to the south of it—Skelmersdale and Bickerstaffe—was outside it. This distinction did not endure; all the northern portion was granted to the lords of Lathom in thegnage, the southern townships being held by others as part of the forest fee, or in thegnage. It is interesting to notice that the earls of Derby, descendants of the Lathoms, are still the most prominent personages in the parish, holding a fragment of the original lordship—Newburgh; while another part—Burscough and Ormskirk with the advowson— was regained after the suppression of the priory, and Bickerstaffe has been acquired by marriage.

It is difficult to find how far the religious changes of the sixteenth century affected the district, apart from the suppression of Burscough Priory. The third earl of Derby was long opposed to Protestantism, and the adherents of the Roman Church have always been numerous, but no open opposition was made to the re-establishment of the Edwardian services and doctrines by Elizabeth, though the vicar was disaffected. Ormskirk is named in 1586 as one of the places which had entertained John Law, a seminary priest, (fn. 6) but the number of 'convicted recusants' in the parish appears to have been insignificant even before the more indulgent days of the Stuarts. In 1590 the Scarisbricks and Gorsuches were of evil note in religion, and Stanley of Bickerstaffe indifferent; in 1628 there seem to have been only three of the landowners convicted of recusancy, and paying double, but the lists of minor recusants and non-communicants in 1626 and 1641 are of great length. (fn. 7)

Besides the manorial lords—the earl of Derby, Scarisbrick, and Stanley of Bickerstaffe — the freeholders in 1600 numbered nineteen. (fn. 8)

The confiscations of the Parliamentary authorities in the Civil War period affected several families in the neighbourhood, the principal being, of course, that great 'delinquent' James earl of Derby. In Ormskirk itself a small case was that of Ellen wife of John West. (fn. 9) In Bickerstaffe besides the Mossocks, Peter Cropper and John Gore were victims. (fn. 10) Anthony Beesley of Burscough, aged ninety-eight years, and 'like to be turned out' of his house and 2½ acres of land, 'and to go a-begging,' asked to be allowed to rent it, as it had been sequestered. This was granted. (fn. 11) Cuthbert Halsall, yeoman, had not borne arms against the Parliament, but being a recusant his house and lands were sequestered; in 1650 he conformed to the Established religion, took the oath of abjuration of Popery, and afterwards asked for the restoration of his property. (fn. 12) Alexander Breres of Lathom had been within the garrison of Lathom House; he, however, took the National Covenant in March, 1644, and at the second siege showed himself friendly to the attacking force. In 1647 it was ordered that 'a fifth of his estate, except the demesne of Croston, should be allowed to so many of his children as should be brought up in the Protestant religion.' (fn. 13) At Scarisbrick the two families—Scarisbrick and Gorsuch — suffered for their political and religious disagreements with the ruling powers. Skelmersdale seems to have escaped notice, except as involved in Lord Derby's estates.

On the Restoration Lathom ceased to be the chief residence of the earls of Derby, a change which must have had a considerable effect on the district.

The hearth tax return of 1666 (fn. 14) gives some indication of the prosperity of the parish; the list for Ormskirk town seems to be missing. In Burscough there were four houses with three hearths and above, James Starkie's having twelve; in Lathom twentytwo; (fn. 15) in Scarisbrick eleven; (fn. 16) in Bickerstaffe eight; (fn. 17) and in Skelmersdale nine. Nonconformity made its appearance at Ormskirk and Bickerstaffe, while at the latter place a Quakers' meeting-place had been established. The Oates Plot caused some renewal of persecution of the adherents of the Roman Catholic faith. (fn. 18)

The revolution seems to have been welcomed in the district, the earl of Derby taking the side of the Prince of Orange. The rising in 1715 brought suspicion upon Robert Scarisbrick, who on trial was acquitted, and upon one or two others in the parish. (fn. 19) At the consequent 'registration of Papists' estates,' a considerable number of properties were enrolled. The rebellion of 1745 had no such ill results in the parish. More provision for education was attempted at this time, and material prosperity was advanced by the making of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in the latter part of the century, and of the railway in the next; also by the opening of coal mines in the Skelmersdale district about fifty years ago. Apart from these, however, the main occupation of the people has been farming, the industries which from time to time have flourished at Ormskirk not being on a large scale.

Pennant in 1773 passed through the parish, and from his description the following portions are quoted to serve as an introduction to the more detailed accounts to be given: 'Four miles further [than Lydiate] lies Ormskirk, a neat little town with four well-built streets crossing each other. Its only trade is the spinning of cotton for the Manchester manufactures and thread for sail cloth. It has long been in possession of a fair and market… . The church is seated at the upper end of the town, and is remarkable for its two steeples, placed contiguous, the one a tower the other a squat spire… . At about two miles distant from Ormskirk I turned into a field to visit the site of the priory of Burscough… . Nothing is left of this pile but part of the centre arch of the church, and instead of the magnificent tombs of the Stanleys, which till the Reformation graced the place, a few modern gravestones peep through the grass, memorials of poor Catholics who fondly prefer this now violated spot… . At a little distance east of Burscough, on an eminence, stands Lathom Hall, a palace built by Sir Thomas Bootle, knight, chancellor to Frederick, late Prince of Wales. He was bred to the law, and raised by his profession vast wealth. He, dying a bachelor, left his estates to his brother, who had been captain of an East India ship, whose only daughter transferred them into the honourable house of Wilbraham, by marrying with Richard, son of the honest advocate Randle Wilbraham, a cadet of the house of Townsend of Nantwich, who had raised a large fortune with a most unblemished character. Lathom is placed on a most barren spot, and commands a view as extensive as dull… . (A) singular anecdote is preserved, serving to show the pride of high lineage and the vanity of low. The late earl of Derby had on sale a place near Liverpool called Bootle, which Sir Thomas was particularly desirous of, through the ambition of being thought to have been derived from some ancient stock. The earl refused to part with it to this new man, who with proper spirit sent his lordship word— Lathom being then to be sold—that if he would not let him be Bootle of Bootle he was resolved to be Bootle of Lathom… . From Lathom I descended and passed over Hosker Moss, leaving on the right some beautiful hills wooded and well cultivated; crossed the River Douglas at Newburgh… .' (fn. 20)


The church of St. Peter and St. Paul (fn. 21) consists of chancel with a large south chapel and north vestry, nave with north and south aisles, tower and spire at the west end of the south aisle, and a second tower at the west of the nave. It is finely placed on high ground to the north of the town, the land sloping down from all sides of the site, the steepest slopes being to the west and north. (fn. 22)

The earliest part of the building is the north wall of the chancel; its date is about 1170, and it forms the only remaining fragment of a church consisting of a chancel with probably aisleless nave, whose internal dimensions were approximately, chancel 30 ft. by 18 ft., and nave 65 ft. by 24 ft. No evidence as to its western termination can be deduced from the plan, and the chancel may have been shortened from its original size. No doubt this building passed through the regular process of enlargement by the addition of aisles and chapels, but little positive evidence of this remains. In 1280 or thereabout a chapel was added on the south of the chancel, opening into it by two arches. No fourteenth-century work is to be seen in the church, but to the fifteenth century belong the south-west tower and spire, the east wall of the chancel, part of the west wall of the north vestry, and probably the walls of the Scarisbrick chapel. The south-west tower gives the key to a great deal of the history of the church. Looked at in connexion with the present plan it seems to stand awkwardly, especially with regard to the south arcade of the nave. But an inspection of the north face of its north-east pier shows that when it was built the south arcade of the nave was not on its present line, but further south, and the tower was built against the southern side of either the first pillar from the west, or the western respond, of this arcade; the north-east angle of the tower pier, projecting beyond the sight-line of an arch of the arcade, being cut back to that line to avoid the partial blocking otherwise caused. Now if the plan of the present church be examined, it will be seen that the centre line of the nave is not the same as that of the chancel, but roughly speaking a foot to the north of it. But over the eastern arch of the large western tower is the weather moulding of a roof which preceded the present nave roof, and its centre line is exactly that of the chancel, or in other words, that of the twelfth-century church. Taking this line for a centre, it will be found that the present north arcade, and the former south arcade, against which the south-west tower was built, are equidistant from it, which means that they occupy the line of the nave arcades of the church in its earlier condition, and according to the usual process of development the line of the walls of the twelfth-century nave. So that the dimensions of the early church can be laid down with some accuracy.

Again, on the east face of the south-west tower is a gabled weather-moulding which, taken in conjunction with a straight joint in the masonry of the east face of the south-east pier of the tower, gives the width of the south aisle of the nave at the time the tower was built. Whether it was coeval with or earlier than the tower cannot now be determined; the fact of its being out of centre with the tower arch would suggest that it was not built at the same time, and the existence of a south arcade earlier than the tower demonstrates the existence of an earlier aisle. Later than the tower it cannot be, as the weathering is part of the original masonry and not an insertion.

As has already been said, the weathering shows that the aisle roof was gabled, and not a lean-to; and this raises the question of what was its east end, and how did it abut on the late thirteenth-century south chapel at the east of the church. The form of roof of this chapel cannot now be known, but the height of the arches in the south wall of the chancel makes it probable that it was a lean-to roof, and not gabled. But whichever it was, a little calculation will show that its pitch could not have been the same as that of the aisle roof, and that therefore the two roofs could not have run in one line from east to west. No decisive argument can be based on this, but the existence of a south transept is at least suggested, and further evidence is available on the point. The present nave arcades, which are entirely modern, replace an arcade of four bays of sixteenth-century date, whose east pier on the south side was level with the west wall of the Scarisbrick chapel, and between it and the western respond of the thirteenth-century arcade in the south wall of the chancel was an arcade of two bays of a totally different character from the rest. In the north arcade there was a corresponding eastern pillar, but as it was a complete pillar, and not a respond, it is clear that the arcade ran further eastward, and that consequently there was no north transept, at any rate after the building of the arcade. But any argument based on the positions of these arcades is weakened, as far as it refers to the earlier history of the church, by their late date, which will shortly be referred to.


In the sixteenth century a great deal of building was undertaken, as may be shown both by documentary evidence and by actual remains. (fn. 23) The great west tower may be dated from 1540–50. The fact that on the eastern face of this tower the apex of the weather-moulding is on the centre line of the early nave shows that at this late date the nave arcades were almost certainly in their original position, and that the south arcade did not occupy its present site till after the building of the west tower. But it must have been built almost at once after this, and the words of John Bochard's bequest evidently point to other work than the tower being in hand. The plan shows that the old south arcade would give a very lopsided effect with the newly built west tower arch, and that the obvious remedy for this would be to rebuild it further north, on the line of the south wall of the chancel; and this is exactly what happened. Whether any sort of transeptal arrangement remained at this time is not clear, but the evidence given above suggests that it did, on the south side at any rate. In the late restoration both arcades and the whole of the north aisle were rebuilt, and any further light they may have had to throw on the history of the church is finally destroyed. The south-east or Derby chapel is, with the exception of the eighteenth-century south aisle wall, the latest piece of work in the church, the window mouldings showing distinct Renaissance detail, and it seems that the windows of the Scarisbrick chapel were altered about the same time, i.e. in the second half of the sixteenth century. (fn. 24)

The church is built throughout of wrought stone, which has been considerably renewed from time to time, (fn. 25) and the chancel contains no trace of mediaeval ritual arrangements. The twelfth-century window in the north wall is 2 ft. 10½ in. wide inside, with a recessed opening flanked by jamb shafts with bases and scalloped capitals, both modern, carrying a semicircular arch moulded with a keeled roll between hollow chamfers. It is 10½ in. wide at the outer face with a small bevel at the external angle. The south arcade of the chancel, of late thirteenth-century date, has octagonal shafts with moulded capitals and bases and arches of two plain chamfered orders. In the vestry north of the chancel is a single squareheaded light of the fifteenth century, looking westward into the north aisle, and retaining its original iron stanchions and saddlebars. It has never been glazed, and was always internal, as now, and probably belonged to the mediaeval vestry. The south-east or Derby chapel is enclosed on the north and west by a plain seventeenth-century wooden screen with turned balusters and wrought-iron cresting of fleursde-lis. It has a large east window of seven lights, with a low four-centred arch and a transom at the springing line, and plain uncusped lights in the head. In this chapel are three effigies, placed here at a recent restoration, and said to be those of Thomas, first earl of Derby, and his two wives.

The Scarisbrick chapel, west of the Derby chapel, retains no ancient features; the two windows on the south show detail similar to those in the Derby chapel, while their tracery is of an earlier type, but in both the stonework is modern.

The south aisle wall, of eighteenth-century date, retains its plinth and parapet, and the jambs of a blocked doorway at the east end; the three windows are modern three-light insertions in fifteenth-century style. The north aisle is completely modern, though apparently following the lines of an older building. A few fragments of old work are built into the inner face of its north wall; a piece of a crocketed sixteenthcentury label, and what looks like part of the coarsely worked base of a clustered pier. (fn. 26) Both nave arcades are modern, of fifteenth-century style, and replace the sixteenth-century arcade with octagonal pillars mentioned above.

The two towers standing together at the west end of the church form an unusual and not altogether happy composition. The south-west tower is of a type found elsewhere in the neighbourhood, and stands in point of date between the similar towers of Aughton and Halsall. In plan somewhat irregular, as having been fitted to the lines of an existing building, it is, roughly speaking, a square of 18 ft. at the base, with buttresses of 4 ft. projection at the external angles and a high moulded plinth. There is a vice in the south-west angle. The entrance doorway is on the south side, and is now covered by a modern porch; the north and east sides have open arches toward the church. Over the entrance doorway is a two-light window of original date with a quatrefoil in the head. The second stage of the tower forms the transition from square to octagon, and the third or belfry stage is octagonal with two-light windows with quatrefoils in the head in the four cardinal faces, surmounted by a plain parapet, from within which rises the plain octagonal stone spire. The second or western tower is exceedingly massive, 38 ft. square at the base with walls 6 ft. 6 in. thick. It is said to have been built to contain the bells from a suppressed religious house, probably Burscough, and its date (1540–50) and great size go some way towards confirming the tradition. It is clear that about this time a tower larger than the existing south-west tower was needed, whether for taking a large ring of bells lately acquired, or for some other reason; and as the south-west tower was not pulled down, the new one could not be built in the normal position of a west tower, i.e. with its axis on the centre line of the nave, unless its diameter were to be greatly reduced. This was, as it seems, impossible, which suggests that the size was determined by some pre-existing cause, and therefore the tower was built as far to the south as might be, its south wall close up to the north-west buttress of the older tower, and its eastern arch springing with no respond from the inner face of the south wall, quite out of centre with the square of the tower; but in spite of this the north aisle was overlapped to half its width. The details of the work are coarse, as might be expected; there is a high moulded plinth, cut away on either side of the west doorway in a manner which suggests that there has been at one time a wooden porch over the entrance. The west doorway has continuous mouldings. In the ground stage of the tower are three-light windows on north and south, the mullions of the north window being modern. There is a vice in the north-east angle, entered from the east, which is the original arrangement; but before the last restoration there seems to have been an entrance from the west through the jamb of the north window. In the belfry stage are two three-light windows on each face, with mullions intersecting in the head; a plain embattled parapet completes the elevation.

There are a Scarisbrick brass (fn. 27) and some Stanley monuments; also monuments of John Ashton of Penketh, who died in 1707, and Alice wife of the Hon. and Rev. John Stanley, who died in 1737, and others. The registers date from 1557. (fn. 28)

There is a peal of eight bells. (fn. 29) It is supposed that some or all of them came from Burscough Priory, but that the inscriptions have been lost in re-casting, with the exception of that on the treble. Nos. 4 to 7 are the work of Abraham Rudhall of Gloucester, and 2, 3 and the tenor of Thomas Rudhall. In the spire is a small bell, supposed to be a re-cast in 1716 of the old Saints bell.

Two of the chalices are dated 1633, and a silver chalice and paten 1674; and there is other plate of the eighteenth century. (fn. 30)

The churchyard was several times enlarged and improved during the last century. (fn. 31)


The first express mention or the church is in the confirmation charter of Burscough Priory, in 1189 or 1190, by which Robert lord of Lathom conferred on the new house 'the church of Ormskirk with all its appurtenances.' (fn. 32) This was ratified by successive bishops of Lichfield and by Pope Gregory IX in 1228. (fn. 33) But little is known of the early incumbents; the church is so near to the priory that it is probable the canons themselves took turns in serving it. It was not very long, however, before the bishops of Lichfield intervened. William de Cornhill, bishop from 1215 to 1220, judged it unfit that canons regular should meddle with temporal matters, and, allowing them not only the two-thirds of the revenues they already had, but the other third also, in compassion of their poverty, ordered that they should appoint a suitable vicar to have charge of the church, answering to them in respect of temporalities, but to the bishop as to spiritualities. (fn. 34) In 1285 Bishop Roger de Meulent modified this, by allowing that on the resignation or death of the vicar then holding, one of the canons, being a fit and honest priest, might be presented, seeing that Burscough was so near to the church. (fn. 35) Alexander de Wakefield, appointed vicar in 1339, seems to have been dissatisfied at the provision made for him, and appealed to the bishop, who on inquiry found that the preceding vicar had had a competent manse and 4 acres of land assigned to him, besides a stipend of £10, all liabilities being discharged by the prior and canons. This the bishop confirmed, (fn. 36) and the new vicar and his patrons accordingly came to an agreement, which was many years afterwards ratified by Pope Innocent VI. (fn. 37)

At the valuation made about 1291 by authority of Pope Nicholas IV Ormskirk was found to be worth 20 marks a year. (fn. 38) At the inquiry of 1341 the ninth of sheaves, fleeces, and lambs was found to be worth 24 marks, Lathom answering for 12 marks, Hurleton with Scarisbrick 6, and Bickerstaffe with Skelmersdale 6. (fn. 39)

The valuation in 1534 made the rectory worth £31 13s. 4d. from tithes and offerings of all sorts; the vicar received the £10 stipend fixed 200 years before. (fn. 40)

After the suppression of the priory of Burscough the £10 was continued to the vicar (Robert Madoke) and his successors, with the profits of the house and land attached; and as the size of the parish rendered an assistant priest necessary, a grant of 20s. towards the tenth payable to the king was made. (fn. 41) The rectory was leased out by the crown (fn. 42) until, in 1610, it was granted to the earl of Salisbury and others, apparently as trustees for the earl of Derby. (fn. 43) It was sequestrated with the rest of the family estates during the civil war, and in 1650 the vicar had the profits of the vicarage house and glebe, about 4 acres, valued at £5 a year, and £1 a year bequeathed by James Blackledge of London; the old stipend of £10 increased to £21, payable by the crown, and beyond this, £50 out of the sequestrated estates in the hundred. (fn. 44)

A 'review' of the possessions of the vicarage made in August, 1663, describes the house as 'old'; it had a small barn and shippon, a garden, and about 4 acres of land, worth £5 or £6 a year. (fn. 45) Bishop Gastrell, about 1720, found the value of the vicarage to be £44, including the £21 pension from the duchy. There were six churchwardens, the jurors in the several township courts appointing one for each. (fn. 46)

The rectory appears to have been part of the dowry of Amelia, daughter of James the seventh earl of Derby, who married the earl of Atholl; in 1713 it was held by John earl of Dunmore. (fn. 47) 'The rectorial tithes were some time since,' wrote Gregson in 1817, 'the property of Colonel Francis Charteris, of infamous character, whose grandson, the late Lord Elcho, sold them to various impropriators.' (fn. 48)

The right of presentation to the vicarage was purchased by the earl of Derby in 1549 from Sir William Paget (fn. 49) and has remained with his successors to the present time.

The bishop of Chester in 1593 sanctioned a division of the body of the church into four equal parts, each appropriated to one of the quarters of the parish. The central alley and the main cross alley leading from the south door were to be 7 ft. wide, the minor alleys 5 ft. wide. It was found on measurement that the body of the church contained 218½ yds. 7¼ ft., and a little over 54½ yds. was accordingly the allowance for each quarter. Edward Scarisbrick, the earl of Derby (two), and Henry Stanley of Bickerstaffe then agreed upon the division. (fn. 50)

There was a stormy scene in the church about 1540, when Thomas Gorsuch caused the arrest of Richard Gillibrand, the collector of the Easter roll, to be made within the building, during the celebration of high mass on Easter Day, and while most of the inhabitants 'were diligently preparing themselves to receive the most Blessed Sacrament.' The accused retorted with charges of intention to 'murder, maim, or evil intreat' him, which made it necessary for him to apply for the warrant. (fn. 51)

The following is a list of the vicars of Ormskirk:—

Instituted Name Patron Cause of Vacancy
c. 1190 Henry the Chaplain (fn. 52)
c. 1275 Gervase (fn. 53)
15 Dec. 1298 William de Lutton (fn. 54) Pr. and Conv. of Burscough
30 Dec. 1306 Robert de Farnworth (fn. 55) "
1 May, 1309 Henry de Lichfield (fn. 56) " res. R. de Farnworth
Henry de Melling
6 Dec. 1311 Richard de Donington (fn. 57) " d. H. de Melling
28 Mar. 1339 Alexander de Wakefield (fn. 58) " d. R. de Donington
31 Dec. 1341 William de Bolton (fn. 59) " d. of A. de Wakefield
3 April, 1384 John Spink (fn. 60) " d. of last vicar
16 Mar. 1422–3 Richard de Lancaster (fn. 61) " res. J. Spink
Thomas Bolton (fn. 62)
12 Mar. 1454–5 John Marke (fn. 63) Pr. and Conv. of Burscough [depr. T. Bolton]
1 Nov. 1467 Richard Ince (fn. 64) " d. J. Marke
2 Oct. 1489 William Ambrose (fn. 65) " d. R. Ince
Hugh Hulme (fn. 66) "
10 Aug. 1506 Henry Hill (fn. 67) " d. H. Hulme
John Devyas (fn. 68) "
15 Nov. 1530 Robert Madoke (fn. 69) " d. J. Devyas
28 Jan. 1537–8 Eliseus Ambrose (fn. 70) The king d. last incumbent
19 Feb. 1571–2 Richard Ambrose (fn. 71) Thomas Hopford, etc. depr. Eliseus Ambrose
21 May, 1613 William Knowles, M.A. (fn. 72) Hugh Hesketh, etc. d. of R. Ambrose
31 Mar. 1615 Henry Ambrose, B.A. (fn. 73) Earl of Derby res. W. Knowles
29 April, 1628 John Broxoppe, M.A. (fn. 74) Lord Strange d. H. Ambrose
— 1643 William Dunn (fn. 75) d. J. Broxoppe
7 Aug. 1656 Nathaniel Heywood, M.A. (fn. 76) Dowager countess of Derby
4 Oct. 1662 John Ashworth, B.A. (fn. 77) " depr. N. Heywood
29 Jan. 1662–3
9 Mar. 1679–80 Zachary Taylor, M.A. (fn. 78) Earl of Derby res. J. Ashworth
12 April, 1692 Archippus Kippax, M.A. (fn. 79) " res. Z. Taylor
21 Aug. 1718 Christopher Gibson, B.A. (fn. 80) " d. A. Kippax
26 Dec. 1727 William Knowles, M.A. (fn. 81) " d. C. Gibson
10 Feb. 1780 Randal Andrews, M.A. (fn. 82) " d. W. Knowles
17 Dec. 1800 James Stanley, M.A. (fn. 83) " d. R. Andrews
30 Oct. 1812 Geoffrey Hornby, LL.B. (fn. 84) " d. J. Stanley
7 June, 1813 Edw. Thos. Stanley Hornby, M.A. (fn. 85) " res. G. Hornby
9 Dec. 1818 Joshua Thomas Horton, M.A. (fn. 86) " res. E. T. S. Hornby
3 Jan. 1846 Edw. Jas. Geoffrey Hornby, M.A. (fn. 87) " d. J. T. Horton
26 July 1850 William Edward Rawstorne, M.A. (fn. 88) " res. E. J. G. Hornby
13 Sept. 1853 Joseph Bush, M.A. (fn. 89) " res. W. E. Rawstorne
8 Nov. 1870 Richard Vincent Sheldon, M.A. (fn. 90) " d. J. Bush
5 Sept. 1884 John Edwin Woodrow (fn. 91) " d. R. V. Sheldon

It will be noticed that most of the pre-Reformation vicars were canons of Burscough Priory. In 1366 the parishioners subscribed the stipend of a chaplain to minister at the parish church at the altar of Our Lady. (fn. 92) In 1541–2 besides the vicar and the three regular chantry priests there were six others stationed in the parish, one paid by the vicar; two by Peter Stanley of Bickerstaffe; one by James Stanley of Cross Hall; and two by the earl of Derby. Some of these would be domestic chaplains, and others would celebrate at the parish church. (fn. 93) In 1554 there was a nominal staff of eleven priests, including the vicar, his curate, and three who had been chantry priests. (fn. 94) At the visitations of 1563 and 1565 none of them put in an appearance except the vicar; his curate, the only other name recorded, was Hugh Brekell. (fn. 95) The old staff of ten or eleven priests had quickly been reduced to two. At the visitation of 1592 there were none presented for recusancy; but Judith Whitstones was reported to have prayed upon beads. (fn. 96)

There were three endowed chantries in the church. The most ancient of them was founded in the latter half of the fifteenth century by Thomas the first earl of Derby, and others, at the altar of Our Lady. (fn. 97) The rental amounted to 78s. 6d., derived from lands in Aughton and Ormskirk; out of this 4s. 5d. was paid to the king in right of Burscough Priory and 6d. to Richard Whitstones. (fn. 98) The second chantry was at the altar of Our Lady of Pity, founded by Thomas Atherton of Bickerstaffe, for a priest to sing and celebrate for the souls of himself and his ancestors. The priest had an annual rent of 7 marks from the heirs of the founder, charged upon their lands in Aughton, Bickerstaffe, and Sutton. (fn. 99) The third chantry was that at the altar of St. Mary Magdalen, founded by Peter Gerard, clerk, brother of Miles Gerard of Aughton. The stipend of 46s. was derived from tenements in Aughton and Formby. (fn. 100) Afterwards the Gerards endeavoured to secure the property of the chantry on the ground that it was not founded in perpetuity. (fn. 101) None of the chantry priests had other benefices. The lands of the Gerard and Atherton chantries were leased in 1583 to Henry Stanley of Bickerstaffe, but making default in his payments he forfeited the lease, and it was transferred to Nicholas Dickson in 1599. (fn. 102) Six years later the chantry of St. Peter was leased to Robert Caddick for twenty-one years, (fn. 103) but shortly afterwards transferred to George Johnson. (fn. 104) It appears to have been finally disposed of by the crown in 1670. (fn. 105)

The grammar school was founded about 1612, and the charity school, now incorporated with the national schools, in 1725.

The charities of the parish, in addition to the schools, are numerous and valuable. Bishop Gastrell records many as existing in 1720. (fn. 106) Details elicited at the inquiry in October, 1898, are given in the notes. (fn. 107)


  • 1. Gregson, Fragments (ed. Harland), 22.
  • 2. Ibid. 18.
  • 3. So also do the parishes of Eccles and St. Michael's on Wyre; but there there are no townships so named.
  • 4. As it is rare in England that a founder gives his name to a church it has been suggested by the Rev. John Sephton that Orm was a recluse who built an oratory here and acquired some local celebrity.
  • 5. V.C.H. Lancs. i, 273.
  • 6. Lancs. Lieutenancy (Chet. Soc.), ii, 188, quoting Harl. MS. 360. John Law or Low was a Douai priest, banished in 1586 after two years' imprisonment. He soon returned to England; Douai Diaries, p. 211, &c.
  • 7. Lay Subs. Lanc. bdle. 131, No. 318; Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), xiv, 233–5. About ten families are named in Ormskirk; a much larger number in each of the other townships, except Skelmersdale, in which only three distinct names appear.
  • 8. Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 238–43. Inquisitions relating to several of them will be found in the same society's volumes of Inquisitions post mortem; Humphrey Golborne, ii, 185; Hugh Gillibrand, i, 130; William Rigby, i, 19; Richard Cropper, ii, 213. For a clerical impostor (John Cropper) of this last family see Pal. Note-bk. ii, 273. Other printed inquisitions concern Peter Mason of Lathom, i, 214; Richard Moorcroft of Burscough, i, 191; Henry Parker of Burscough, ii, 208; and Cuthbert Sharples of Lathom, ii. 116.
  • 9. Royalist Comp. P. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), iv, 91. She was 'in all things conformable to law and to the Government,' but her father, Nicholas Leigh, had been a recusant, and twothirds of his property had been sequestrated in consequence; she sought for the restitution of lands in Ormskirk, which should descend to her as the heir of her mother Alice. Nicholas Leigh died at Garstang about 6 February, 1651–2; Alice his wife had died twenty-one years earlier.
  • 10. The particular delinquency of Peter Cropper does not appear; his estate was sequestered in 1645, discharged two years later, but afterwards 'secured' again; his widow Cecily in 1652 made petition for its restoration to her; ibid. ii, 89. John Gore was a recusant, and his small property, let at 64s. a year, was therefore sequestrated; ibid. iii, 87. See also Cal. Com. for Comp. iv, 2840, 3096.
  • 11. Royalist Comp. P. i, 159.
  • 12. Ibid. iii, 145. The minister and churchwardens certified that he 'did come unto the parish church of Ormskirk the 27th day of January 1649 and there did decently behave himself at the time of divine service and sermon, and hath continued ever since a constant churchman.' Other Burscough cases were those of John Fletcher, who had sold his tenement there to Richard Holland of Lathom, but two-thirds had been sequestered for the recusancy of Fletcher and his mother Anne, so that the purchaser could not obtain possession (ibid. iii, 240); Katherine Wignall, who died in 1654, having had two-thirds of her small estate in Ormskirk and Burscough similarly sequestrated (Cal. Com. for Comp. v, 3220); Ralph Whittington, whose estate had been sequestered for alleged recusancy, but who had taken the oath of abjuration (ibid. iv, 2873); Henry Walker, who himself 'always conformable,' petitioned for the restoration of his recusant father's estate (ibid. iv, 2956).
  • 13. Royalist Comp. P. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 234; iii, 50. Alexander was the son of John Breres. Breres or Briers Hall in Lathom takes its name from the family. Martin Hall was also held by them. Administration was granted to the estate of John Breres of Lathom in 1646, and to that of Alexander Breres in 1671. Some minor Lathom sequestrations took place. William Bower, who had been in arms in 'the first war,' was in 1649 allowed to compound (ibid. i, 213); Richard and Thomas Nelson, husbandmen, were accused of different delinquencies; it was suspected that the latter was Thomas Nelson of Wrightington, and the order was that his estate might be discharged if he were a different person and took the oath of abjuration; ibid. iv, 210, 211; See Cal. Com. for Comp. iv, 2974, 3007.
  • 14. Lay Subs. Lanc. 250–9.
  • 15. These included the earl of Derby's house with seventeen, an increase of fifteen since the previous assessment, so that some rebuilding had taken place; Cross Hall eight, Mrs. Sharples and Mr. Breres five each, Mr. John Wycliffe and Mr. Richard Worthington each four.
  • 16. The hall had eighteen, James Halsall (perhaps at Hurleton) eleven, Gorsuch nine, William Smith six, Gabriel Heskin and Robert Hesketh five each.
  • 17. The hall had eleven, Henry Mossock eight, and Henry Houghton five.
  • 18. The result was that some abandoned it and conformed to the Established religion; the churchwardens' accounts for 1679 show that 6d. was 'paid for a roll of parchment about enrolling Popish submitters'; Trans. Hist. Soc. xxvi, 13.
  • 19. John Ashton of Lathom is named in the list in the Dep. Keeper's Rep. v; Lancs. Forfeited Estate Papers, 2 L.
  • 20. Tour to Alston Moor, 51–61. Pennant notes that the arms assumed by the Boctles were those of Ponsonby, earl of Bessborough. They have been varied.
  • 21. For a description of its condition in 1845 see Glynne, Lancs. Churches (Chet. Soc.), 8; for the font, Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), xvii, 63. Reminiscences of it as it was about 1830 are printed in Lea's Ormskirk Handbook, 66–9. It was called All Saints' in 1342; Coram Rege R. 329.
  • 22. A raised platform with buttressed retaining wall runs north and south across the west front of the church, level with the sill of the west doorway, and was probably in the first instance made for the convenience of processions.
  • 23. Miles Gerard, 1518, left £100 towards the building of a new aisle on the south side of Ormskirk Church; P.C.C. 29 Mainwaring. No work at present remaining can be attributed to this bequest. In 1528 Peter Gerard, priest, left £20 towards the building of St. Mary Magdalen's Chapel, but nothing of this date can now be identified. John Bochard, clerk, in 1542 bequeathed £60 towards the building of the steeple and church of Ormskirk; P.C.C. 20 Spert.
  • 24. Sir Stephen Glynne (op. cit. 9) gives the date 1572.
  • 25. Part of an early cross-shaft is built into the outer face of the east wall of the chancel, towards the north side.
  • 26. Near these is a brass plate with an inscription of 1661, recording the use of part of the aisle as a burial-place of the Mossock family for 385 years; a similar plate is to be seen in the north aisle of Aughton Church.
  • 27. Thornely, Lancs. Brasses, 81.
  • 28. A volume containing the entries from 1557–1626 has been printed by the Lancs. Parish Register Soc.
  • 29. The inscriptions are as follows: Treble, I S de B armig et E ux me fecerunt in honore Trinitatis R B 1497; also the date of re-casting, 1576; 2, 1774; 3. Peace and good neighbourhood, 1774; 4. Wm. Grice p'sh clerk A R 1714; 5. Mr. Henry Helsby (? Welsby) A R 1714; 6. Archippus Kippax rector (vicar) A R 1714; 7. Beni Fletcher, Thos. Moorecroft, Thos. Aspinwall, Churchwardens 1714; Tenor, Thomas Rudhall, Glocester, Founder 1774.
  • 30. Glynne, Lancs. Churches, 10.
  • 31. The Earls of Derby gave land for this purpose in 1825, 1837, 1861, and 1897.
  • 32. Lancs. Pipe R. 350.
  • 33. Burscough Reg. fol. 68b, 69, 63.
  • 34. Ibid. fol. 108b; Duchy of Lanc. Anct. D. LS108.
  • 35. Burscough Reg. fol. 107.
  • 36. Lich. Epis. Reg. iii, fol. 80b.
  • 37. Burscough Reg. fol. 106b.
  • 38. Taxatio Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 249.
  • 39. Inq. Nonarum (Rec. Com.), 40.
  • 40. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v, 222, 223.
  • 41. Duchy of Lanc. Mins. Accts. bdle. 158, n. 15. From the accounts of Thomas Dawtrie, the king's bailiff in 1535–6, it appears that the tithe barns had been leased out by the prior for small rents— Newburgh £4, Skelmersdale £4 and the best beast as heriot, Bickerstaffe £4, Scarisbrick £2, Snape 66s. 8d., the tithes of the last being paid alternately to Halsall and Ormskirk; Burscough and Lathom 115s., belonging to the sacristan of the priory; Ormskirk £4, leased to Robert Madoke the vicar. Other tithes amounted to 126s., and the Easter offerings, &c., to £10 3s. 4d.; 14s. 8d. arose from altarage and sacristy dues at Ormskirk.
  • 42. By letters patent dated 14 July, 1537, the rectory was leased for twentyone years to Hugh Huxley, late prior of Burscough, Humphrey Hurleton, and Robert Birkhead, at a rent of £40 11s. 2d. They had some difficulty in collecting the tithe in the lands of Sir James Stanley of Cross Hall—who had been steward of the priory (Derby Correspondence, Chet. Soc. New Ser. p. 129)—and made complaint to the chancellor of the duchy concerning him; Duchy Pleadings (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 125–128. In 1550 the parishioners of Ormskirk petitioned that the 'curate's' stipend, which was only £10 a year, might be increased, and another £10 was added out of the farm of the rectory; Baines's Lancs. (ed. Croston), v, 255, quoting Harl. MS. 352, fol. 91 a.
  • 43. Pat. 8 Jas. I (30 May), pt. lvii. On the marriage of James Lord Strange the rectory was part of the property assigned to his wife Charlotte de la Tremouille; and after his execution she claimed the rectory and, being allowed to compound, held it till her death. It was then worth £300 a year, with tithe barns in Newburgh, Bickerstaffe, and Scarisbrick; Royalist Comp. P. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 187.
  • 44. Commonwealth Ch. Survey (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 89; Royalist Comp. P. ii, 215; the £50 had been granted in 1645; see Plund. Mins. Accts. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 8, 25. This was to come out of Lord Derby's estates, with £40 more for an assistant. It does not seem to have been paid regularly; ibid. p. 128.
  • 45. Add. MS. 22655, Plut. clviii, G. fol. 31; from the Registers.
  • 46. Notitia Cestr. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 196, 198.
  • 47. Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 498 (recovery, Aug. 12 Anne).
  • 48. Fragments (ed. Harland), p. 240. For the grant and restoration to Francis Charteris, see Pat. 4 Geo. II (27 Nov.) pt. 2a, n. 15. Gastrell, Notitia, ii, 196.
  • 49. Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 13. m. 81.
  • 50. Dioc. Reg. Chest. The seating space was to be arranged thus, crossing from the south wall: 6 ft. 8 in.; alley, 7½ ft., 7½ ft.; middle alley, 8½ ft., 9 ft.; alley, 9 ft. A length of 13 ft. seems to have been taken from the chancel at the same time, and filled with seats, the central aisle being maintained at 7 ft. wide. Edward Scarisbrick had both sides of the south aisle and a small piece at the lower end of the nave; the earl of Derby had all the rest of the nave, a portion of the chancel, and also of the north aisle; Henry Stanley of Bickerstaffe had the remainder of the north aisle, at the end of which was his chapel.
  • 51. Duchy Pleadings (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 243, 128. For another dispute between the same parties see Duchy of Lanc. Depositions, Hen. VIII. xxxiv. H 4. Among the Scarisbrick D (n. 162) is the record of a denial made publicly at high mass in Ormskirk Church on 10 July, 1446, concerning a feoffment of property. The prior of Burscough and all his canons were there, and many others of note in the district; and an oath was sworn to the truth of it.
  • 52. 'Henry the Chaplain of Ormskirk' was witness to a charter of Henry prior of Burscough, which may be dated between 1189 and 1192; Duchy of Lanc. Anct. D. L270. 'Ralph the clerk of Ormskirk' was witness to several charters of the earlier half of the thirteenth century; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxvi, App. pp. 199, 201, and 199 (?). There is nothing to show he had charge of the parish.
  • 53. 'Gervase, vicar of Ormskirk,' attested several charters about 1275; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxix, App. pp. 198, 202.
  • 54. Lich. Epis. Reg. i, fol. 1b. He paid half a mark.
  • 55. Ibid. i, fol. 10b. He was a priest, and was ordered to reside within the vicarage.
  • 56. Ibid. i, fol. 57; a priest. His stay must have been very short, even if he be identical with the Henry de Melling who died in October, 1311.
  • 57. Ibid. i, fol. 60; a priest.
  • 58. Ibid. ii, fol. 113b; canon of Burscough.
  • 59. Ibid. ii, fol. 115; priest and canon of Burscough. In Jan. 1365 the bishop appointed him penitentiary for the four deaneries of South Lancs. the reserved cases excepted; Ibid. v, fol. 12b. This was confirmed in Jan. 1367; Ibid. v, fol. 15.
  • 60. Ibid. iv, fol. 94b; priest and canon of Burscough. A John Spink was rector of Aughton and Standish, dying in 1424.
  • 61. Ibid. ix, fol. 112b; canon of Burscough.
  • 62. Ibid. xi, fol. 55; Thomas Bolton, canon of Burscough and vicar of Ormskirk, was deprived on account of his share in the necromancy of the prior. He was absolved in Feb. 1454–5; Ibid. xi, fol. 55b.
  • 63. Ibid. xi, fol. 11; canon of Burscough. The presentation was made by the sub-prior and convent.
  • 64. Ibid. xii, fol. 103b; canon of Burscough.
  • 65. Ibid. xii, fol. 123; canon of Burscough.
  • 66. James Meadowcroft, priest, living in Ormskirk in July, 1506, speaks of a Richard Hulme as his curate in 1499; Duchy Pleadings (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.) i, 30.
  • 67. Ibid. xiii-xiv, fol. 54b; canon of Burscough. The Act books at Chester give the date of induction as 5 Mar. 1505–6; they also are the authority for the cause of vacancy.
  • 68. John Devyas was vicar in 1527; Wills (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), p. 166. 'Sir Henry and Sir John Ainsworth' are named as 'late vicars' in 1530; Duchy of Lanc. Mins. Accts. bdle. 136, n. 2,198, m. 6d.
  • 69. Lich. Epis. Reg. xiii–xiv, fol. 66b; canon of Burscough. He was vicar in 1534; Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.) v, 223, and at Easter, 1537; Duchy Pleadings (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 126.
  • 70. Ibid. xiii–xiv. fol. 36b; one of the king's chaplains. He was son of Henry, the brother of Robert Ambrose, father of Elizabeth Ambrose, who died in or before 1572; Duchy of Lanc. Pleadings, 14 Eliz. lxxxv, A4. He refused to appear at the Elizabethan visitation in 1559 (Gee, Eliz. Clergy), but must have conformed afterwards. Buried in the church 1 June, 1572. The proceedings recording his deprivation are stated to be among the York Consistory records.
  • 71. The patrons were T. Hopford, Ric. Ambrose, and Hen. Webster. Ambrose in 1610 was described as 'no preacher'; Kenyon MSS. (Hist. MSS. Com.), p. 13. An abstract of his will is printed in Fishwick's Garstang (Chet. Soc.), p. 158. Buried in the chancel 7 Feb. 1612–3.
  • 72. Baines' Lancs. (ed. Croston), v, 255. The Act books at Chester give the date as 23 March, 1612–3, and the patrons as Hugh Hesketh and John Birchall, 'by grant of William earl of Derby.' William Knowles was one of the king's preachers, and was at Ormskirk in 1609; Raines MSS. (Chet. Lib.), xxii, 298. He resigned on 28 March, 1615, and was buried in the chancel 2 Oct. 1617.
  • 73. Act books at Chester. He was buried in the chancel 25 April, 1628.
  • 74. Act books at Chester. He seems to have been Archdeacon of Man; Le Neve's Fasti, iii, 329. Previously lecturer at Huyton. A king's preacher. Buried in the chancel 23 Dec. 1642.
  • 75. Appointed in 1643, according to a minute in the grammar school minute book. Signed the 'Harmonious Consent' of 1648. He was described as a 'painful preaching minister' in 1650, and was transferred to Bromborough in 1657; Plund. Mins. Accts. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 195.
  • 76. Brother of Oliver Heywood; educated at Trinity College, Camb.; expelled in 1662, though he had welcomed the Restoration. Afterwards licensed to preach at Bickerstaffe (in Lady Stanley's house) and Scarisbrick, but silenced. Buried in the Bickerstaffe chapel in Ormskirk church on 18 Dec. 1677. Ancestor of Sir T. P. Heywood, bart. See the account of him by James Dixon in Trans. Hist. Soc. xxx, 159. Facsimile of his presentation to Ormskirk in O. Heywood's Diaries, ii, 48.
  • 77. For this and later institutions see Lancs. and Ches. Antiq. Notes, i and ii; from the Inst. Books P.R.O. Ashworth was presented twice. Instituted by the archbishop of York on 29 Jan. 1662–3; visit. books at Chester. He was of St. John's College, Oxf. B.A. 1649; Foster's Alumni Oxon. Master of Great Crosby School, 1662–77. King's preacher. Being non-resident the charge of the parish practically devolved on the ejected vicar; Nightingale's Lancs. Nonconf. iv, 187. John Ashworth was appointed master of Macclesfield School at the end of 1676; afterwards he became preacher in the parish church. He was buried at Macclesfield in 1689; Earwaker, East Ches. ii, 521, 505, 506.
  • 78. Visit. and act books at Chester. Described as 'conformable' in 1689; Kenyon MSS. (Hist. MSS. Com.), p. 229. He was afterwards rector of Croston.
  • 79. Of Clare College, Camb.; M.A. 1685. Archdeacon of Man 1696–1700; Le Neve's Fasti, iii, 330. Buried at Ormskirk 6 May, 1718, and has a monument in the church.
  • 80. Act books at Chester. Educated at St. John's College, Camb.; B.A. 1706. See Admissions, St. John's Coll. Camb. ii, 166. Was king's preacher. Buried at Ormskirk 16 Aug. 1727.
  • 81. Visit. books at Chester. He had previously been curate. Educated at Camb. (Sidney Sussex College); M.A. 1742. He was a king's preacher, and a benefactor to the church. Buried in the chancel 31 Dec. 1779.
  • 82. Act books at Chester. Educated at Worcester Coll. Oxf.; M.A. 1776; Foster's Alumni. Died 27 Nov. 1800.
  • 83. Act books at Chester. Probably the James Stanley of Peterhouse, Camb.; M.A. 1801.
  • 84. Act books at Chester. Son of Geoffrey Hornby, rector of Winwick. Afterwards became rector of Bury.
  • 85. Act books at Chester. Younger brother of the previous vicar. Educated at Oxf. (Fellow of All Souls); M.A. 1809; Foster's Alumni.
  • 86. Act books at Chester. Had leave of absence in 1826 on appointment as chaplain to H.M.S. Gloucester; Misc. in Dioc. Registry at Chester. Was of Trinity Coll. Camb.; M.A. 1811. In 1830 he succeeded to the paternal estates at Howroyde in Yorks.; for pedigree see Burke's Commoners, i, 283.
  • 87. On the presentation by the earl of Derby was endorsed a certificate by the Eccles. Com. that the benefice was worth £300 to £400 a year; Act books at Chester. Youngest son of Geoffrey Hornby, formerly vicar of Ormskirk. He was afterwards rector of Bury.
  • 88. Afterwards vicar of Penwortham.
  • 89. Misc. in Dioc. Registry at Chester. On the presentation was endorsed a certificate that the benefice was of less value than £300; Act books at Chester. Had been chaplain to the county asylum at Rainhill. Of Wadham Coll. Oxf.; M.A. 1853; Foster's Alumni.
  • 90. Misc. in Chest. Dioc. Registry. Previously incumbent of St. Matthias', Liverpool, and of Hoylake. Educated at Camb. (Queens' Coll.); M.A. 1864. Honorary canon of Chester 1875; rural dean, 1876. He began the restoration of the church.
  • 91. Misc. in Chest. Dioc. Registry. Formerly beneficed in the West Indies (1871–80).
  • 92. Exchequer Lay Subs. 1332 (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 109–121.
  • 93. Clergy List (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 16. The first four of the above answered the call at the visitation of 1547; Raines, Chantries (Chet. Soc.), 103, quoting from the Visit. books at Chest. For the plate and vestments of the church remaining in 1552 see Church Goods (Chet. Soc.), 113. They included 'a pair of organs bought of the king'—i.e. probably from Burscough.
  • 94. Visit. books at Chester. Of the old clergy John Dolland was buried in the church 30 July, 1558; Reg.; Gilbert Shurlacres 21 Aug. 1558; Humphrey Jackson 29 May, 1567.
  • 95. Visit. books at Chester. Hugh Brekell had been ordained by Bishop Scott in 1558, being made priest in Dec.; Ordination Book (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 103, 108, 115.
  • 96. The churchwardens and others were excommunicated for showing their contempt either by not coming or by leaving without showing their presentments; and several persons were excommunicated 'for standing in the street at service time and giving the churchwardens evil words.' A fornicator condemned to public penance on three successive Sundays in Ormskirk church in linen clothes humbly asked for a commutation; he was therefore ordered to pay 13s. 4d. to the vicar and churchwardens, to be applied to the use of the poor, or other pious purposes. See Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), x, 183.
  • 97. Raines, Chantries (Chet. Soc.), 103–5; Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v, 223. The latter names the founders thus:—The earl of Derby, Hamlet Atherton of Bickerstaffe, Thomas Hesketh of Ormskirk and Joan his wife, Godfrey Hulme, Hugh Standish, Otwell Aughton, Thomas Huyton, and Ellen Shakerley. Peter Prescot was the priest there in 1534 and 1547; in the latter year he was forty-six years of age and celebrating, according to his foundation, for the souls of the earl of Derby and his ancestors.
  • 98. Raines, Chantries, loc. cit. In the Valor loc. cit. a third payment is mentioned— 18d. to the rector of Aughton. In the Duchy of Lanc. Mins. Accts. (bdle. 168, n. 2682) this is erroneously called 'the chantry at the altar of B. Mary Magdalen.'
  • 99. Raines, Chantries, 101–3. Roger Burscough was the celebrating priest in 1534; Valor, loc. cit.; and Humphrey Jackson in 1547. The latter was fifty-four years of age; he had in 1553 a pension of £3 18s. Chantries, loc. cit. In the Mins. Accts. loc. cit. this is called the 'chantry at the altar of St. Peter.' From a dispute in the time of Elizabeth (1596) it appears that both names—Our Lady of Pity and St. Peter—were in use; Duchy of Lanc. Pleadings, Eliz. clxxvi, A. 4.
  • 100. Raines, Chantries, 100–1; Valor, loc. cit. The priest of this chantry in 1534 and 1547 was Roger Shaw; he was fifty years of age. In the Mins. Accts. loc. cit. this is called 'the chantry at the altar of B. Mary.'
  • 101. Duchy of Lanc. Pleadings, Eliz. cxc, W. 12. See the account of Aughton.
  • 102. Duchy of Lanc. Books, Leases, 37a, fol. 82b.
  • 103. Duchy of Lanc. Draft Leases, bdle. 57; Pat. 3 Jas. I, pt. ix (2 Decr.).
  • 104. Pat. 5 Jas. I, pt. i, 1.
  • 105. Pat. 22 Chas. II, pt. ii, 1.
  • 106. Notitia, ii, 199, &c.
  • 107. End. Char. Rep. 1899, in which is reprinted the report of 1828. The following is an abstract:— The Blackleech charity was founded in accordance with the will of James Blackleech (or Blackledge) of London, dated 1631, by which £5 a year was to be paid to the churchwardens of Ormskirk (or trustees) for the benefit of the poor, and £1 to the maintenance of a weekly lecture. The £6 a year is now charged on premises in Burscough owned by the War Office; £5 is distributed to the poor of the township of Ormskirk, and £1 is paid to the vicar, whose weekly sermon is supposed to be equivalent to the 'lecture' of the will. Henry Smith in or before 1641 gave to trustees the manor of Longney in Gloucestershire with the impropriate rectory, the income to be divided among twenty-four parishes in different proportions, Ormskirk receiving 9/264 of the whole. In 1828 this share was about £21, but in 1897 only £9 was received, the churchwardens distributing this in calico or flannel to poor persons in Ormskirk, Burscough, and Scarisbrick; half the income is devoted to the first-named township, and a quarter to each of the others. The charity founded by Peter Lathom (1700) will be described under Croston. In consequence of the development of the coal mines the income has greatly increased, amounting in 1897 to £1,486. Of this the townships of Ormskirk, Scarisbrick, Burscough, Bickerstaffe, and Skelmersdale, and the hamlet of Newburgh in Lathom used each to receive one-seventeenth share, amounting to £17 10s. in 1828, distributed chiefly in linen, calico, or cloth; but in 1879 the Charity Commissioners made a new scheme, by which Lathom (excluding Newburgh) was admitted to participate, and the share of each was reduced to one-eighteenth, amounting in 1897 to £78 5s. 10d. The trustees are now allowed to distribute the money in a large number of ways, including subscriptions to hospitals, education, libraries, tools and other outfit, as well as in money and goods. Thus in Ormskirk in 1897 £6 was given to the District Provident Society, £7 6s. to the Dispensary, and £6 to the Ladies' Charity; £7 for prizes at the national schools; and the rest in coals or food, rarely in money, to nearly 200 persons. Jane Brooke, widow, having given an organ to the church, by will dated 1737, left £300 to the earl of Derby, the interest to be paid to an organist to be chosen by him. The net income, £10 3s., is paid to the organist, who is appointed by the vicar. Catherine Brandreth, widow, by her will of 1827, bequeathed £200 for the benefit of the poor of Ormskirk parish. The money was given by the executor to the Dispensary, but it being held that this was an improper use, the subscribers in 1842 repaid the £200; this was invested, and now produces an income of £6 18s. 8d., distributed in flannel to widows and others in Ormskirk, Lathom, Burscough, and Scarisbrick. The Dispensary is said to have been founded in May, 1705. Dr. Brandreth, a physician in Liverpool at the beginning of the last century, took a great interest in it, having been born in Ormskirk, and the £200 left by his widow was, as already stated, applied by their son to the purchase of a house for it. The scheme was generally approved, and a dispensary built in 1831 in Burscough Street, for the benefit of the sick poor of Ormskirk and the neighbourhood. In 1896 a cottage hospital was erected on a site in Hants Lane, and further buildings and a nurses' home in 1898, after which the former house was sold. In addition to annual subscriptions the invested funds amount to about £6,860, yielding a gross income of £231. Besides the preceding general charities there are a number limited to particular townships or classes. Catherine Crosby, widow, in 1741 left £30 for a chalice for the parish church, £10 each for the charity school and the grammar school, and £46 for the benefit of poor widows and for a monthly distribution of bread at the church. The capital purchased £100 consols. The income is now £2 15s., and is administered by the churchwardens together with Crane's Charity, eighteen loaves being distributed every Sunday afternoon; attendance at the service is not obligatory. Elizabeth Kippax, granddaughter of a former vicar, before 1800 left £100 for bread for the poor of Ormskirk; this is now represented by £170 18s. 10d. consols in the hands of the official trustees, and the interest, £4 14s., is distributed in bread. Mary Fairclough, by will in 1830, bequeathed the residue of her effects to the poor of Ormskirk, the interest to be laid out in blankets. The capital sum is £233 con discharge of all obligations in respect of this charity. For Scarisbrick there are several charities besides the school. Henry Culshaw, by will dated 1761, left £80 for an annual gift of cloth to the poor; Edward Tatlock in 1815 bequeathed £200 for the poor, which was utilized in conjunction with the previous bequest; Robert Watkinson in 1816 founded another cloth charity, giving £200, the interest on which was to be shared equally between the hamlet of Snape and the remainder of the township. Snape also benefited by the bequests of William Sutch (see the account of Aughton) and of James Edwardson, who in 1732 left £20 to the poor. The Commissioners in 1827 found all the benefactions in operation. Now, however, the Tatlock and Edwardson bequests have been lost; the capital was spent on the township school, but the payment of interest had been discontinued before 1859. Elizabeth Watkinson, by her will of 1743, bequeathed £100 for a flannel charity. This and the other funds above mentioned are still in existence, and additional sums are derived from the foundations of Henry Smith and Catherine Brandreth. The annual receipts are £16 5s. and are distributed once a year in doles of flannel, etc. by the churchwardens and overseers of the township. For Skelmersdale the principal charity is the school. One of the benefactors of the school also left land in Upholland, called Naylor's Hey, the income from which was to be given in bread to the poor of Skelmersdale. In 1702 Richard Moss gave a piece of land in Dalton, called the Pickles, for binding poor children as apprentices. It was only about an acre of land, but had a house upon it. In 1818 it was leased to the township of Dalton, and other cottages had been built out of the profits of the charity. The commissioners reported in 1828 that these charities were badly managed, and recommended a change. New trustees seem to have been appointed in 1851, but it was found difficult to spend the whole amount of the income on the objects intended by the original donors, and the working of coal under the land further increased this difficulty. Hence a considerable surplus accumulated, and in 1886 a scheme was sanctioned by the Charity Commissioners whereby the endowment was vested in the official trustees, and the income is disbursed by local trustees. They may use it for the benefit of the poor of the township by subscribing to a cottage hospital or dispensary or provident society, by granting annuities or small payments, or by providing outfit, clothing, or similar objects; also for educational purposes. The endowment now consists of Naylor's Hey, Pickles, and another piece of land with house and shop; also £1,190 consols; the gross income being £69. By the enclosure award of 1781 a claypit in White Moss Road was appropriated to the township. The material has long since been worked out, and the land is now let by the overseers, the rents going in relief of rates. In 1898 Richard Jervis, superintendent of police at Ormskirk, gave £150 to the district council of Skelmersdale, part of the surplus of money collected to relieve the sufferers by the Tawd Vale Colliery disaster of the previous year, the income to be disbursed about Christmas to sick and poor persons employed at the coal mines, or their widows and children.