Townships: Golborne

A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.

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'Townships: Golborne', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4, (London, 1911) pp. 148-150. British History Online [accessed 11 April 2024]

In this section


Goldeburn, 1187; Goldburc, 1201; Goseburn (? Goleburn), 1202; Goldburn, 1212; Golburne, 1242. The d seems to have dropped out finally in the 15th century; Golborne, Gowborne, xvi cent.

This township stretches northwards for about 2½ miles from the boundary of Newton to the Glazebrook. Millingford Brook, coming from Ashton, crosses the township and afterwards forms part of the eastern and southern boundaries. The area is 1,679 acres. (fn. 1) The surface is highest near the centre, reaching about 150 ft. The population in 1901 numbered 6,789.

There is land sufficiently fertile to produce potato and wheat crops, whilst in the south there are clumps of woodland about Golborne Park, continuing all along the western boundary, so that from these quarters Golborne appears to be bowered in foliage. In the north, however, the country presents the characteristic bareness of the other coal-mining districts of the hundred. The Pebble Beds of the Bunter series of the New Red Sandstone cover the entire surface of the township.

The village of Golborne is near the centre of the township, on the north side of the brook. A road from Warrington to Wigan passes through it, and is there joined by another from Newton; there are also cross-roads between Ashton and Lowton. The London and North Western Company's main line from London to the north passes through the township, and has a station at Golborne; at the southern end is a junction with the loop-line connecting with the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. The St. Helens and South Lancashire Railway (Great Central) crosses the northern part of the township, and has a station called Golborne.

Lightshaw is at the northern extremity; Edge Green on the Ashton boundary, and Golborne Park, a seat of the Legh family, at the southern end.

Cotton-spinning and fustian-making were carried on early last century. There are now cotton-mills, a paper-staining factory and a colliery. A 'glass man' named Hugh Wright appears on the Recusant Roll of 1626. (fn. 2)

Some interesting field-names occur in a suit of 1553, e.g. Pillocroft, Bromburhey, Pennybutts, and Parpount hey. (fn. 3)

Golborne is now governed by an urban district council of twelve members.


At the inquest of 1212 it appears that GOLBORNE was held of the baron of Makerfield in moieties; one half was held by the lord of Lowton, the other by a family using the local surname. (fn. 4) As in the case of Lowton itself the former moiety reverted to the lords of Makerfield, and no one else claimed any manor there. (fn. 5) In the latter moiety there may have been a failure of heirs, and a new grant in socage to the Hollands; but one heiress of the Golbornes (fn. 6) appears to have sold her right to Thurstan de Holland, (fn. 7) whose descendants continued to be regarded as its lords. (fn. 8)

Thurstan, however, granted all or most of his moiety to his son Simon, (fn. 9) whose descendant Amice carried the manor of LIGHTSHAW in marriage to Nicholas de Tyldesley. (fn. 10) From this family by another heiress, it passed to the Kighleys of Inskip, (fn. 11) and from these again at the end of the 16th century, to William Cavendish, first Earl of Devonshire, and Thomas Worsley, in right of their wives, the Kighley coheirs. (fn. 12) The former of these secured it, and it descended in the Cavendish family for over a century, (fn. 13) but there is no further mention of Lightshaw as a manor. The estate was purchased by Peter Legh of Lyme in 1738 from the Duke of Devonshire, and is now the property of Lord Newton. (fn. 14)

The Hospitallers had lands here. (fn. 15) Cockersand Abbey had a tenement called Medewall, (fn. 16) for which the free tenants, a family named Langton, paid a rent of 2s. 6d. (fn. 17)

The Hoghtons of Hoghton were landowners in Golborne from an early date, (fn. 18) and the Haydocks also, (fn. 19) with other of the neighbouring families. (fn. 20) Elizabeth Kighley and Ralph Haselhurst were the landowners contributing to the subsidy in Mary's reign; (fn. 21) Edward Bankes was the only freeholder recorded in 1600. (fn. 22) The Pierpoint family occur in Golborne and the neighbourhood from an early time. (fn. 23) Henry Pierpoint died in or before 1642 holding land here; (fn. 24) and another of the same name in 1654 petitioned the Parliamentary Commissioners for the discharge of the two-thirds of his inheritance sequestered in 1643 for the recusancy of his father Richard, deceased; he himself was 'conformable.' (fn. 25)

Kighley of Inskip. Argent a fesse sable.

Cavendish, Duke of Devonshire. Sable three bucks' heads cabossed argent.

The Inclosure Award for Golborne Heath, with plan, is preserved at the County Council Offices, Preston.

For the Established Church St. Thomas's was built in 1850; the benefice is a rectory, in the patronage of the Earl of Derby.

The Primitive Methodists have a chapel. The Baptists began a meeting in 1894.

The Congregationalists have a church originating in occasional visits from preachers in 1821 onwards; a chapel, still existing in part, was built in 1830, replaced by the present one in 1860. (fn. 26) The Welsh Congregationalists also had a place of worship.

For Roman Catholic worship (fn. 27) the church of All Saints was erected in 1863. (fn. 28)


  • 1. Including 10 of inland water.
  • 2. Lay Subs. Lancs. bdle. 131, no. 318.
  • 3. Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), ii, 117.
  • 4. Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 73–4; two plough-lands were held with Lowton and two by Thomas de Golborne.
  • 5. It thus descended, like Newton, from the Langtons to the Fleetwoods and the Leghs of Lyme; see Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc.), i, 138; ii, 96–9; ibid. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 105. According to an extent made 1324–7 one half of Golborne was held by knight's service, and the other in socage; Dods. MSS. cxxxi, fol. 33. In 1599 Thomas Langton, baron of Newton, took action against certain tenants of Golborne for encroachments on the waste and withholding suit and service at the courts; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), iii, 402.
  • 6. The Golborne family held the third part of a knight's fee of the lords of Makerfield. This consisted of the three plough-lands necessary to make up the nine and a half in the knight's fee; two of these appear to have been in Golborne (Lightshaw), and one in Lowton (Byrom), probably that held by Richard de Winwick in 1212. The earliest member of the family recorded is Augustine de Golborne, who gave three oxgangs to William son of Hamon in the time of Henry II; Inq. and Extents, i, 74. His son Thomas paid 33s. 4d. as relief in 1186 on succeeding, and contributed to the scutage in 1206; Farrer, Lancs. Pipe R. 64, 216. As already stated, he was in possession in 1212. His son may have been the Ralph de Golborne whose daughter Levota sold her right to Thurstan de Holland. That there was a new grant by the lord of Newton to Thurstan de Holland seems proved by the change of tenure; see note below. Though the principal family thus early disappeared, others bearing the local surname appear from time to time. Adam de Golborne had a messuage and an oxgang and a half of land in 1374, but being outlawed for felony the king took possession; Inq. a.q.d. 48 Edw. III, no. 19.
  • 7. In 1292 Hugh son of Richard de Woolston, and Quenilda his wife, sought against Simon son of Thurstan de Holland certain lands in Golborne asserted to be the right of Quenilda, to whom they should have descended from her grand-mother Levota, the daughter of Ralph de Golborne. Levota had a son and heir Richard, whose son Henry dying without issue, Quenilda his sister succeeded. It was, however, proved that Levota had released all her right to Thurstan, father of Sir Robert de Holland, and that Thurstan had granted the disputed land to Simon de Holland the defendant; Assize R. 408, m. 38; see also m. 25.
  • 8. There is but little to show the connexion of the Holland family with Golborne. In 1278 Juliana daughter of John Gillibrand, mother of the Simon de Holland of the last note, complained that Robert de Holland and others had disseised her of a messuage, croft, seven oxgangs of land, and half the site of the mill; Assize R. 1238, m. 31; 1239, m. 39; also R. 408, m. 70 d. 77 d. After the death of Simon de Holland an inquisition was taken in 1325, when it was found that he had held nothing of the Crown, but had held a certain tenement in Golborne as of the manor of Holland (in the king's hands) by the service of a pound of cummin. There were a messuage worth 12d. a year; 20 acres of arable land worth 9s., &c. He had also held an alder-grove in Abram, of Richard de Abram, by the service of 2s. 3d. and a wood called Brookhurst in Pennington. His son Simon, then twenty-four years of age, was the heir; Inq. p.m. 18 Edw. II, no. 33. Twelve oxgangs were in dispute in 1345; De Banco R. 342, m. 89 d. In the inquisition taken after the death of Maud widow of Sir Robert de Holland it was described as half the manor of Golborne, held of Robert de Langton in socage by a service of 6d.; Inq. p.m. 23 Edw. III, pt. i, no. 58. Thus the moiety of the manor was held by the Hollands of Upholland by a service of 6d.; and of them was held by Simon de Holland and his heirs by the service of a pound of cummin.
  • 9. See the previous notes. The descent of Simon de Holland's manors has not been clearly ascertained; see the account of Byrom in Lowton.
  • 10. At Pentecost 1352 Alice widow of Simon de Holland claimed dower in twelve messuages, windmill, water-mill, &c., in Golborne, from Nicholas de Tyldesley and Amice his wife, the latter being the heiress; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 2, m. 3 d.; also (July) m. 1 d. She claimed dower in the manor of Lightshaw from Joan widow of Hugh de Tyldesley; m. 2 d. This Simon was probably the Simon son and heir of Simon, 1325. Amice appears to have married, secondly, William son of Roger de Bradshagh; her sister and co-heir Joan married Henry de Bradshagh, and in 1367 they claimed from Thurstan son of Sir William de Holland, and Richard son of William de Holland, six messuages, mill, and land in Golborne by virtue of the grant of Thurstan de Holland to Juliana Gillibrand; De Banco R. 429, m. 99.
  • 11. See the account of Tyldesley and Inskip. An agreement was made in 1396 between Richard son of Henry de Kighley and Nicholas Blundell of Little Crosby, who married a daughter of Nicholas de Tyldesley, as to the manor of Lightshaw, the latter resigning his claim; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. (Proton. Rec.), bdle. 8, no. 1. In 1416 the Kighley tenements in Golborne were said to be held of Sir John de Holland of Begworth in socage by the rent of 1d. a year; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc.), i, 116. In a settlement on the marriage of Henry Kighley and Elizabeth daughter of Alexander Osbaldeston in 1532 it is stated that William Kighley was the tenant of Lightshaw. In the will of Elizabeth's sister, Anne widow of Edward Langton, proved in 1566, the testatrix is described as of Lightshaw; she left 40s. to the repair of the church at Winwick, and a chain of gold and 10 marks to her god-daughter Anne Kighley; Add. MS. 32106, nos. 1065, 1058. Lightshaw was in 1555 said to be held of 'the heirs of Thurstan de Holland by the service of a pound of cummin'; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. x, no. 40.
  • 12. The manor of Lightshaw seems in 1589 to have been allotted to Anne wife of William Cavendish; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 51, m. 174.
  • 13. In 1738 a private Act was passed 'for vesting the manor of Golborne, part of the settled estate of William, Duke of Devonshire, in the county of Lancaster in the said duke and his heirs'; 11 Geo. II, cap. 2.
  • 14. Information of Mr. Arthur C. Leslie.
  • 15. The holding is not mentioned in 1292 among the Hospitallers' lands. About 1540 their rental shows 12d. from a messuage held by the heirs of Sir Thomas Gerard, and 12d. from one held by Richard Pierpoint; Kuerden MSS. v, fol. 84.
  • 16. Land in Golborne called Medewall was, in 1347, in dispute between Banastre and Byrom; Assize R. 1435, m. 19.
  • 17. Cockersand Chartul. iv, 1242, 1251.
  • 18. Their estate perhaps came from three oxgangs granted as above to William son of Hamon, the latter being identified as the Hamon le Boteler who was ancestor of the Hoghton family. In 1500 the service was unknown; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 127; also Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iii, no. 66. Another origin, however, is suggested by the grant of a rent of 40s. in Golborne, given by Robert Banastre to William de Lea and Clemency his wife, daughter of Robert; Add. MS. 32106, no. 543.
  • 19. Robert Banastre, lord of Makerfield, in the latter part of the 13th century granted to Richard de Halghton or Houghton and Robert his son land, the bounds of which began in the north by Meurickys Ford and passed by Herniys Croft to the brook; also another plat by the land of Elias son of Robert, the rent to be 3s. 4¼d.; Raines MSS. (Chet. Lib.), xxxviii, 395. Robert de Halghton afterwards gave them to his brother Elias, who was to pay a rent of 12d. for one portion and of 26d. for the other to the lord of Newton; ibid. The latter of these was given by Elcock son of Richard de Halghton to his son Roger, and this Roger in 1333 sold the whole to Gilbert de Haydock; ibid. 395, 397. Roger afterwards claimed land from William son of Cecily de Haydock, and Robert son of William; De Banco R. 292, m. 28 d. This may have been a continuation of Roger's suit in 1315 against Maud and Cecily, daughters of his brother Richard; De Banco R. 212, m. 342. Richard de Halghton and Hawise his wife did not prosecute the suit they brought against Thurstan de Holland in 1276; Assize R. 405, m. 1. Matthew de Haydock, father of Gilbert, had in 1296 purchased land in Golborne from Elias son of Thurstan de Holland and others; Raines, loc. cit. 395, 397. Elias son of Thurstan had been enfeoffed by Thomas Clynkard, whose son John afterwards tried to recover, but failed; Assize R. 408, m. 23 d. and Raines, loc. cit. 395, where are given the grants by Thomas Clinkard and the release by his widow Mabel. William son of William Clinkard of Golborne occurs in 1356; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 5, m. 4 d. The Feodary in Dods. MSS. cxxxi, fol. 34b, has some entries partly explained by the foregoing: Roger son of Robert holds [in Lightshaw] a messuage and land by the service of 16d.; Roger de Snythull a messuage and land by 6d.; Elias son of Richard a messuage and land by 27d. (22d.). Another son of Richard de Halghton, named William, had land in Golborne—an oxgang and a half. Being very ill, and wishing to benefit his nephew Roger son of William son of Hugh de Haydock, he granted him the tenement, putting him in seisin by delivering to Roger the door of the house by the hasp. William died next day, and his niece Eva, daughter of his brother Henry, claimed in 1294, but was defeated; Assize R. 1299, m. 16 d.
  • 20. Margery widow of Robert de Kinknall claimed dower in Lowton and Golborne in 1277 against Elias de Golborne and various others; the estate was two oxgangs, &c.; De Banco R. 20, m. 15 d., 26, 26 d. Later she claimed against Robert de Holland and others, the estate being now called three oxgangs and five oxgangs; ibid. R. 21, m. 44 d. 51 d. Robert de Holland called Henry de Sefton to warrant him, probably as bailiff of Makerfield; ibid. R. 23, m. 51. In 1350 a dispute between members of the Clayton family shows that John de Clayton and his wife Agnes held a messuage and lands in Golborne. He gave them to his son John, and on the latter's death without issue his three sisters became tenants—Agnes wife of John son of Simon Alotson; Alice widow of Robert Wilkeson, and Ellen. The elder John married a second wife Cecily and had a son Richard, who made a successful claim to the estate; Assize R. 1444, m. 6 d. Anthony Green, who had lands also in Turton, purchased cottages and land in 1562 from Thomas Houghton; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 24, m. 57; also bdle. 31, m. 91. This was no doubt the origin of the estate of Ralph Green of Turton, held of the heirs of Richard Fleetwood in 1611; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 193. The Crosses of Liverpool held lands of the lord of Newton by a rent of 3s. 8d.; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. vi, no. 18; see also Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 57, m. 120. Nicholas Huyton of Blackrod died in 1527 holding a tenement in Golborne of Thomas Langton by a rent of 6s. 3¾d.; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. vi, no. 53.
  • 21. Mascy of Rixton D. Ralph Haselhurst was one of the free tenants of Richard Langton in 1502, paying a rent of 2s.; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iii, no. 101.
  • 22. Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 241. Henry Bankes and James his son had lands in Golborne and Charnock Richard in 1548; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 13, m. 130. Other fines relate to the estate of Henry Bankes and Katherine his wife between 1562 and 1570; ibid. bdle. 24, m. 37, &c.
  • 23. See e.g. the account of Ince in Makerfield. In the Legh deeds in Raines MSS. xxxviii the family is often mentioned, chiefly in Newton, where Richard le Perpont had a grant of land about the end of the 13th century; loc. cit. 117. He occurs as witness in 1316; ibid. 129. Contemporary with him was William son of Robert le Perpount of Newton; Add. MS. 32106, no. 1550. John son of Richard le Pierpoint follows in the time of Edward III; Raines, loc. cit. 145; and Simon le Pierpoint in that of Henry VI; ibid. 167, 169, 401. In Jan. 1430–1 Clemency daughter of Simon le Pierpoint was contracted to marry Thomas son and heir of William de Houghton in Winwick; Towneley MS. HH, no. 1565. An account of the family in Lancs. and Ches. Hist. and Gen. Notes, iii, 15, 20, 36, gives the succession of the Golborne Pierpoints from 1550 to 1700, when their estate was sold to John Johnson of Westhoughton, whose son John in 1710 sold it to Peter Legh of Lyme. The descent seems to have been—Richard, Henry the elder, Henry the younger, Richard, Henry, Richard.
  • 24. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xxix, no. 47. This would be the 'Henry the younger' of the last note; Richard his son and heir was of full age. Richard Pierpoint, Elizabeth his wife, Henry Pierpoint and Anne his wife, were among the recusants in 1641; Trans. Hist. Soc. (new ser.), xiv, 245.
  • 25. Cal. of Com. for Compounding, v, 3201.
  • 26. Nightingale, Lancs. Nonconformity, iv, 61–7.
  • 27. The Ven. James Bell, priest, was early in 1584 'condemned according to the statute for saying mass in Golborne upon St. John's Day in Christmas last'; Foley, Rec. S.J. ii, 136, quoting S.P. Dom. Eliz. clxvii, 40. He suffered at Lancaster in April.
  • 28. Liverpool Cath. Ann. 1901.