A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1907.
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RIXTON WITH GLAZEBROOK
Rixton, 1212 and commonly; Rickeston, 1259.
Glazebrok, 1259, 1302, &c.; Glaseborke, 1292; Glazebrook, 1389.
This township (fn. 1) is the most easterly one of the hundred. It lies along the course of the Mersey. The Glazebrook, a fair-sized stream, forms the boundary between this and the hundred of Salford; it flows through marshy meadows, its course marked by luxuriant poplar trees, to join the Mersey.
The geological formation is triassic. A fault which traverses the township from north-west to south-east has thrown up the upper mottled sandstone of the bunter series in the south-western part. The same beds occur also in the northern angle from Glazebrook station northward. The remainder of the township, forming a triangle of which the apex extends into Risley to a point between the old and new halls, having the base along the Mersey, consists of the basement beds to the north and the waterstones of the keuper series to the south, the dividing line extending from Moss Side to Hollins Green.
There is a good deal of mossland in the township; in places peat is still cut for fuel and litter. In the south the soil is principally stiff clay with some sand. The land is given over almost entirely to farming and market-gardening, crops of corn and potatoes being the chief general produce. Occasional osier-beds in the low-lying ground by the river and brooks point to the manufacture of baskets and hampers to hold the produce of the fields and gardens. The total area is 2,988 acres, (fn. 2) of which Rixton, the western portion, has 2,213½ acres, and Glazebrook the remainder. Hollinfare or Hollins Green is a hamlet on the boundary of the two portions of the township, and gives its name to the chapelry. The population in 1901 was 998.
The principal road is that from Warrington to Manchester, running not far from the Mersey. The Cheshire Lines Committee's railway between the same places also crosses the township, with a station at Glazebrook, at which point it is joined by the line from Wigan worked by the Great Central Company. At the same point the line to Stockport diverges to the south-east. The Mersey and Irwell Navigation has a short cut through the township, and the Manchester Ship Canal also passes through it. The tremendously elevated iron bridges which span the canal at intervals are noticeable objects in the landscape.
The duke of Cumberland crossed by the ferry and passed through the township in December, 1745, in his pursuit of the Young Pretender.
A bar erected on the road in 1831 to increase the tolls was pulled down by the people. (fn. 3)
The township has a parish council.
Nothing is known of the manor of RIXTON until the beginning of the thirteenth century, when it formed one of the members of the fee of Warrington, (fn. 6) and in 1212 was held of William le Boteler by Alan de Rixton by knight's service and the payment of 1 mark; the assessment was one plough-land. As nothing is said of the origin of the tenure, which was 'of ancient time,' the Rixton family may have been in possession as early as the beginning of Henry I's reign. (fn. 7) Little can be discovered concerning them; the name Alan de Rixton occurs from 1200 to 1332, so that several successive lords of the manor must have borne it. (fn. 8)
Between 1212 and 1242 a moiety of the adjoining manor of Glazebrook was acquired and remained in the possession of the Rixtons and their successors; the combined holding was called the fifth part of a knight's fee; (fn. 9) and in the later inquisitions the service is variously stated as 20s. or 20s. 1½d., i.e. a mark for Rixton and half a mark for the moiety of Glazebrook. (fn. 10) Suit had to be done to the court of Warrington from three weeks to three weeks, but in 1300 William le Boteler conceded that for the future only one beadle need attend, instead of two. (fn. 11) The enfranchisement of the manor was obtained in 1598.
In the autumn of 1332 Alan de Rixton made a settlement of his manors and lands, his daughters Katherine, Sibyl, Elizabeth, Emma, Maud, Margaret, and Agnes, and their heirs male having the succession in turn. (fn. 12) The first of these about the same time married Hamlet, son of Robert de Mascy of Tatton in Cheshire, (fn. 13) and their descendants continued in possession down to the end of the eighteenth century. Hamlet died about 1360, (fn. 14) and was succeeded by his son Richard, who made a feoffment of the manors of Rixton and Glazebrook in 1384. (fn. 15) Other of Richard de Mascy's charters have been preserved, and he gave evidence in the Scrope v. Grosvenor trial in 1386. (fn. 16) He died before 1406, (fn. 17) leaving two sons, Hamlet and Peter, who married the daughters and coheirs of William de Horton of Hartford in Cheshire. (fn. 18)
Hamlet succeeded his father at Rixton, (fn. 19) and added to his possessions there by purchasing the lands of Richard the Smith. (fn. 20) He had several sons, of whom one, Thomas, became rector of Warrington. (fn. 21) He died 20 June, 1436, holding the manors of Rixton and Glazebrook of the Boteler trustees by knight's service and the rent of 20s.; his son and heir, William, was thirty-one years of age. (fn. 22) Little is known of William de Mascy, but by his marriage with Parnell, daughter and heir of Richard de Warburton of Burges in Cogshall, he increased his Cheshire lands. (fn. 23) Hamlet, his son and heir, was in 1438 married to Joan daughter of Sir Robert Booth, (fn. 24) and succeeded his father in 1448; (fn. 25) three years later the bishop of Lichfield granted him a licence for an oratory at Rixton. (fn. 26) In 1453 Hamlet made a settlement of his estates. (fn. 27) He died in April, 1462, leaving a widow and eight children. (fn. 28)
Of these the eldest son, Hamlet, succeeded to Rixton. He acquired lands in Warrington and Glazebrook, (fn. 29) and among other acts endowed a chantry in the chapel of Hollinfare in the latter township. (fn. 30) He married Alice, daughter of Sir John le Boteler, (fn. 31) and left two daughters, who had some of the Cheshire lands as their inheritance. (fn. 32) Rixton and the moiety of Glazebrook passed to Hamlet's younger brother John, who in 1500 was contracted in marriage to Anne, daughter of Sir John Booth. (fn. 33) John Mascy made some addition to the estates. (fn. 34) He twice compounded for refusing knighthood, (fn. 35) and was killed at Flodden 9 September, 1513, where also fell his father-in-law. William, his son and heir, then aged nine years, became the ward of Sir Thomas Boteler. (fn. 36)
William Mascy was married in 1518–19 to Anne, daughter of Richard Aston of Aston near Frodsham, (fn. 37) and died in May, 1538. (fn. 38) In the previous month he had made various settlements. (fn. 39) His son and heir Richard was then thirteen years of age, but had been married some years before to Anne, daughter of Thurstan Tyldesley. (fn. 40) He repurchased the confiscated lands of Hollinfare chantry. (fn. 41) Dying 15 July, 1579, he was succeeded by his eldest son William, then twenty-seven years of age, (fn. 42) who had married Dorothy, daughter and heir of Peter Daniell of Over Tabley. (fn. 43)
William Mascy was described in 1590 as 'in some degree of conformity, yet in general note of evil affection in religion, and a non-communicant.' (fn. 44) Two years later it was reported that he had formerly had one Peel, a recusant and an 'old priest' as schoolmaster for his children; then he took James Gardiner, a seminary priest, and afterwards Gale alias Simpson, also a priest, for the same duty, in defiance of the statutes; the informer adding that he had 'a good living, and therefore to be placed among the best.' (fn. 45) At the same time he insisted on his rights in the family chapel in Warrington church. (fn. 46) He died in 1595, (fn. 47) and was succeeded by his son Richard Mascy, who married Anne daughter of Edward Middleton of Middleton in Westmorland. (fn. 48) He purchased the enfranchisement of the manors of Rixton and Glazebrook in 1598 from Thomas Ireland, who had recently become lord of Warrington. (fn. 49) In 1615, on the marriage of his son Hamlet to Dorothy daughter of Richard Bradshagh of Haigh, a settlement of the manors was made, with remainder to uncles and cousins. (fn. 50) On the accession of Charles I he procured a general pardon, (fn. 51) probably on account of his adherence to the old religion, and four years later, as a convicted recusant, made a composition with the crown for himself, his son, and their wives. (fn. 52) His wife and his son Hamlet died about the end of 1636, (fn. 53) but he lived on until 1645, (fn. 54) his estates having been sequestered shortly before that time by the Parliament. (fn. 55) His grandson and heir Richard was then serving the king in Lord Herbert's regiment. (fn. 56) Being both a recusant and a delinquent Richard Mascy's estate—or his life interest in it—was of course sold by those in power. (fn. 57) The purchaser was Gilbert Ireland of Hale and Bewsey; after renewing the leases of most of the tenants and securing the fines, he disposed of his interest to trustees for Richard Mascy, who thus regained possession of his hereditary estates. (fn. 58) In 1662 a settlement of the manors of Rixton and Glazebrook, and lands in Warrington, Poulton, Fearnhead, and Mosscroft was made by Richard Mascy of Rixton and Hamlet, his son and heir apparent, in consideration of the marriage which had taken place between the latter and Margaret, a daughter of Sir Edward Moore, bart., deceased. (fn. 59)
Richard Mascy's chequered career closed in 1667. (fn. 60) By his first wife, Mary Plowden, he had two sons, Hamlet and Francis, and two daughters who became nuns. (fn. 61) Hamlet died before his father, leaving an only daughter Mary, who married George Meynell, of Aldborough; and their grand-daughters nearly a century later inherited the Rixton estates. Francis, the younger son, on succeeding lived quietly at Rixton, but died in 1675, leaving a widow and two young children, Richard and Anne, afterwards a nun. (fn. 62) The estates were by this time much encumbered— the confiscation by the Parliament and family charges being perhaps accountable, in addition to religious disabilities—and the long minority of Richard Mascy does not seem to have helped matters. About 1711 the mortgagee, Nicholas Starkie, entered into possession, and the nominal owner was receiving a small pension to keep him from starving. (fn. 63) He had married Jane, daughter of William Fitzherbert of Norbury, in 1697; she died seven years later, having borne him a son Francis, who in 1724 succeeded to the encumbered estates. He remained unmarried and seems to have endeavoured to pay off his father's debts. He cut off the entail in 1729, and by his will in 1741 bequeathed the manors of Rixton and Glazebrook and other estates to his kinsman George Meynell of Aldborough, son of Mary Mascy. (fn. 64)
Francis Mascy died in 1748, and the last-mentioned George Meynell and his son and heir, George, having already died, the latter George's three sisters became coheirs under the will. They were—Elizabeth, wife of Dr. Thomas Witham of Cliffe, Yorkshire; Anna Clementina, wife of Simon Scrope of Danby; and Frances Olive, wife of Stephen Walter Tempest of Broughton in Craven. The second of these took the Meynell manors to her husband; the other sisters divided the Mascy estates. Half the manors of Rixton and Glazebrook, with the old hall and the Mascy chapel in Warrington church, went to Elizabeth Witham, and were sold to Thomas Patten of Warrington in or about 1785. The other half of the manors, with the Little Hall in Rixton, the free fisheries in the Mersey and Glazebrook, and Hollins Green ferry went to Frances Olive Tempest, and most of this remained in the Tempest family until 1865, when it was sold in accordance with the will of Sir Charles Robert Tempest. (fn. 65)
The manor was held by John Wilson-Patten, Lord Winmarleigh; the present holder, for her life, being his son's widow, the dowager marchioness of Headfort. No courts are held, nor are any manorial rights exercised. (fn. 66)
Little can be said of the manor of GLAZEBROOK. It is not mentioned in 1212. One moiety of it was acquired by the Rixton family in the thirteenth century, but it is not clear whether this was by a grant from the lord of Warrington to Alan de Rixton, who afterwards granted it to a family or families using the local surname, or whether it was by purchase or repurchase from members of the Glazebrook family, whose interest was very much divided. (fn. 67) In 1300, however, it is clear that one moiety had been attached to the manor of Rixton, while the other was held by Robert de Glazebrook, to whom William le Boteler released his claim to more than one beadle to do service at his court at Warrington. (fn. 68)
There are numerous charters regarding the dealings of the Rixton and Mascy families with their portion of the manor, (fn. 69) but no account can be given of the other moiety, except that a branch of the Ashtons held it in the sixteenth century by the service of half a mark. (fn. 70) In 1598 the rights of the lord of Warrington were purchased by Richard Mascy, so that the Ashtons held of him, (fn. 71) but it does not appear what became of the family, or that they claimed any manor.
Richard Mascy and Hamlet Ashton were the only landowners contributing to the subsidy in Mary's reign, (fn. 72) and their successors were the freeholders recorded in 1600. (fn. 73) Richard Mascy alone appears as a landowner contributing to the subsidy of 1628. (fn. 74)
In 1717 the following as 'Papists' registered estates: Thomas Marsh, John Speakman, and Mary Whiteside of Rixton; Martha Clare of Glazebrook. (fn. 75)
As the ferry at Hollinfare—the 'Holly ferry'—was of ancient date (fn. 76) and the road from Warrington to Manchester passed through the place, it is probable that a chapel existed there before Hamlet Mascy built one for the chantry he founded in 1497; (fn. 77) the bishop of Lichfield licensed it in the following year. (fn. 78) It continued to be used according to the founder's wishes down to the suppression of chantries by Henry VIII and Edward VI. (fn. 79) In 1554 the confiscated lands were granted to Sir Thomas Holcroft, (fn. 80) who sold them to Richard Mascy as stated above.
For the next century the chapel was probably used but occasionally; (fn. 81) there was no endowment (fn. 82) and the chief landowner attended the statutory services only on compulsion, so that neither he nor the rector of Warrington had any inducement to keep it open. Under the Commonwealth an additional £40 was granted from the sequestered revenues of Royalists, but this would cease at the Restoration. (fn. 83) The recommendation to make it parochial was not acted upon. The building decayed and became ruinous, but soon after the Revolution the bishop of Chester found means to compel the lord of Rixton, 'a Papist,' to rebuild it and keep it in repair; and Bishop Gastrell about 1718 found that an addition of 30s. had been acquired as the interest of various benefactions. (fn. 84) The church, now called St. Helen's, is a plain brick building, restored in 1882. (fn. 85) The rector of Warrington is patron. Among the incumbents have been:
|oc.||1609||Richard Garnet (fn. 86)|
|c.||1646–50||Henry Atherton (fn. 87)|
|oc.||1689||George Hatten (fn. 88)|
|c.||1712||John Collier (fn. 89)|
|1784||James Hartley (fn. 90)|
|1798||William Wright (fn. 91)|
|1829||Peter Steele Dale (fn. 92)|
|1871||George Farrar Roberts, M.A. (Jesus Coll. Oxf.)|
|1896||Edmund Peel Wethered, M.A. (Christ Ch. Oxf.)|
|1905||Arthur Frederic White, M.A. (Dur.)|
A mission room at Rixton was built in 1894.
A school was built in Glazebrook in 1713. (fn. 93)
The Primitive Methodists and United Free Methodists have chapels at Glazebrook, and the Wesleyans one at Rixton.
In spite of the Elizabethan persecution there can be no doubt that Roman Catholic worship was continued at Rixton Hall by the priests whom the Mascys employed to teach their children. (fn. 94) No records, however, remain earlier than the middle of the eighteenth century, when a Jesuit father, Henry Smith, was in charge. (fn. 95) The Jesuits, who had charge also of Culcheth and Southworth, probably worked the three together. They continued there until 1825; (fn. 96) and shortly afterwards were succeeded by Benedictines, who built the present church of St. Michael in 1831. (fn. 97) The mission was resigned to the secular clergy in 1874. (fn. 98)