Townships: Kenyon

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

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'Townships: Kenyon', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4, (London, 1911) pp. 154-155. British History Online [accessed 24 April 2024]

In this section


Kenien, 1212; Kenian, 1258; Keynan, 1259. Kenylow is at the border of Kenyon and Croft.

This township has an area of 1,685 (fn. 1) acres and stretches north-west from the boundary of Newton to the Carr Brook, a distance of 2½ miles. The geological formation consists mainly of the Bunter series of the New Red Sandstone. To the north-east of Twist Green the Pebble Beds give place to the Upper Mottled Sandstone of this series. The surface of the country is level, with an upper soil of clay, beneath which a stiffer red clay lies. Meadow lands alternate with fields of potatoes and corn, and a fair number of trees are sprinkled about the country. Hedges appear well-grown and trimly kept. The district is deficient in water-courses. The population numbered 329 in 1901.

The principal road is that from Lowton to Culcheth, a branch of it passing south through Kenyon village. The Liverpool and Manchester Railway of the London and North Western Company crosses the township and has a station at Kenyon Junction, whence a branch goes off to Leigh. The Great Central Company's Manchester and Wigan line also passes through the township.

Pocket Nook, Diggle Green, and Broseley occupy the north-east corner, Sandy Brow the south-west.

Bricks are manufactured.

The bronze tongue of a Roman fibula was found here. (fn. 2) There is a Bronze-age barrow. (fn. 3)


KENYON was originally part of Lowton, but about the end of the reign of Henry III William de Lawton granted to his son Jordan 'the whole vill of Kenyon,' at the rent of 1d. a year or a pair of white gloves. (fn. 4) This was confirmed shortly afterwards by Robert, lord of Lowton, son of William. (fn. 5) Jordan de Kenyon lived on until about 1300, (fn. 6) when he was succeeded by his son Adam. (fn. 7) This Adam, who was living in 1330, was followed regularly by a son (fn. 8) and grandson of the same name. The third Adam de Kenyon came into his inheritance about 1346, when a number of settlements were made. (fn. 9) Three years later his son John was contracted in marriage to Joan daughter of Gilbert de Southworth, (fn. 10) but probably died soon afterwards, as the manor descended with Adam's daughter Amery, who in 1358 was married to Richard son of Thurstan de Holland of Denton. (fn. 11) Subsequently it descended, (fn. 12) like Denton, Heaton, and the other estates of the family, to the Earl of Wilton. Lord Grey de Wilton in 1787 contributed £23 to the land tax of £29.

William son of Henry de Sankey had a grant of Windycroft and Snapecroft in Kenyon from William de Lawton; (fn. 13) he had sons William and Robert. The former died before his father, leaving a daughter Margery, who married successively Robert de Risley and William Gillibrand. (fn. 14) The Risleys appear to have secured most or all of the inheritance, but William de Sankey endowed his younger son Robert with a portion. (fn. 15)

Kenyon. Sable a cheveron engrailed between three crosses patonce or.

Egerton, Earl of Wilton. Argent a lion rampant gules between three pheons sable.

In the 14th and 15th centuries a minor Kenyon family had lands in this and the neighbouring parishes. Katherine daughter of Adam son of Matthew de Kenyon was in 1366 the wife of John Amoryson of Wigan. (fn. 16) A Matthew de Kenyon left three children, William, who died early; Agnes, who married John Eccleston; and Ellen, who married Oliver Anderton. The two daughters divided the inheritance. (fn. 17)

The Hospitallers had lands in Kenyon. (fn. 18)

A family named Woodhouse was seated here in the 14th century. (fn. 19) The Morleys of Billington long held lands here. (fn. 20)

Richard Thompson petitioned in 1653 to be allowed to compound for the two-thirds of his estate sequestered for recusancy. (fn. 21) Robert son of Richard Speakman in 1717 registered an estate as a 'papist.' (fn. 22)


  • 1. 1,686, including 4 of inland water; Census Rep. 1901.
  • 2. Lancs. and Ches. Antiq. Soc. x, 250.
  • 3. Ibid. xxi, 120.
  • 4. Harl. MS. 2112, fol. 145/181, &c., contains a collection of the Holland of Denton family deeds. The charter referred to is on fol. 146b/182b; 'R. rector of Winwick' was one of the witnesses.
  • 5. Ibid. fol. 147/183.
  • 6. In 1256 Jordan de Kenyon gave half a mark for an assize taken before P. de Percy; Orig. 42 Hen. III, m. 11. He was therefore in possession of Kenyon by that time. Two years later he and Robert de Lawton and Hugh de Hindley were defendants in a suit by Roger de Twiss, who complained that they had destroyed his chattels in Kenyon and Culcheth; Cur. Reg. R. 160, m. 6; 162, m. 6 d. In 1276 Agnes widow of Henry de Hindley claimed common of pasture in Kenyon from Jordan de Kenyon and from William de Sankey and Robert his son, an approvement from the waste having been made; but the jury found she had sufficient; Assize R. 405, m. 1 d. In 1287 Jordan de Kenyon came to an agreement with Gilbert de Southworth respecting the bounds of the waste between Kenyon and Croft; Harl. MS. 2112, fol. 158b/194b. In 1292 he was plaintiff in several cases (Assize R. 408, m. 42, 26 d. 36), and defendant in 1295; Assize R. 1306, m. 15. To Richard his son and his heirs he granted a piece of land in Kenyon, together with another piece formerly held by another son, Hugh, and the rent of Robert de Woodhouse; Harl. MS. 2112, fol. 158b/194b and fol. 160/196. John de Mosley, rector of Winwick, was one of the witnesses, so that the grant was before 1306. This Richard, mentioned with his father in the plea of 1295, was probably the father of the Jordan son of Richard de Kenyon of later deeds—1324 and 1347; ibid. fol. 157b/193b, 155/191; also Assize R. 425, m. 4. Hugh and Roger sons of Jordan de Kenyon occur among witnesses to charters about 1300; Towneley MS. GG, no. 998, 1119.
  • 7. Adam de Kenyon received a grant of land in Lowton in the time of his father Jordan; Harl. MS. 2112, fol. 151/187. He married Godith daughter of Richard son of Stephen de Lawton; Culcheth D. (Lancs. and Ches. Hist. and Gen. Notes, i), no. 3, 15. Her father had a grant of lands in Lowton from Robert Banastre; Harl. MS. 2112, fol. 147/183. Adam occurs in various ways down to 1330, when as lord of Kenyon he granted a rent-charge of £40 sterling to Adam the son of his son Adam and heirs by Maud daughter of Robert de Hesketh; ibid. fol. 155/191. Jordan his son is named in the deed and in Assize R. 1435, m. 47. His daughter Godith married Richard de Abram in 1324; Harl. MS. 2112, fol. 159/195; 151/187.
  • 8. In 1344 Gilbert de Culcheth senior received from Adam de Kenyon senior, Adam son and heir of Adam de Kenyon senior, Jordan de Kenyon, and others, £10 in part payment of £100; ibid. fol. 153/189. A similar receipt in 1346 names only one Adam de Kenyon; ibid. fol. 151b/187b.
  • 9. Margery widow of Adam de Kenyon in 1346 gave to Adam her son two-thirds of the manor of Kenyon; ibid. fol. 151/187. In the following year Adam de Kenyon granted to trustees the manor of Kenyon with wards, reliefs, and escheats; also the reversion of the lands held by his mother Margaret in dower, and by Jordan de Kenyon for life; ibid. fol. 155/191. Margaret widow of Adam de Kenyon was in 1356 summoned to answer the younger Adam concerning waste he alleged she had caused or allowed in her dower lands in Kenyon and Lowton. She had pulled down a hall and sold the timber to the value of 100s., two chambers each worth 40s., &c.; had made pits and taken marl and clay, and sold it to the value of 60s.; had cut down eight oaks in the wood, each worth half a mark, and apple trees and pear trees in the gardens worth 2s. each. Margaret denied the accusation, and said that a grange and oxhouse had fallen down through old age, and she had taken an oak for repairs; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 5, m. 7 d. In 1347 also John, Jordan, and Hugh, sons of Adam de Kenyon senior, recovered their annuities from Adam de Kenyon, Maud his wife, and their son John; Assize R. 1435, m. 14, 14 d, 16. The first of these claimants, John, was a priest, and in the pleas just cited is called 'son and heir' of the elder Adam (m. 14); he was afterwards trustee for his brother; Harl. MS. 2112, fol. 150b/186b. Jordan de Kenyon and his wife Amery, Hugh de Kenyon and his wife Alice, are mentioned in 1353; Assize R. 435, m. 18 d; 20.
  • 10. Harl. MS. 2112, fol. 155/191.
  • 11. Ibid. fol. 147b/183b, 151/187.
  • 12. Richard de Holland died in 1402 seised of the manor of Kenyon as of the right of Amery his wife; it was held of the lord of Makerfield by knight's service and a rent of 4s.; Thurstan his son and heir was over thirty years of age; Towneley MS. DD, no. 1461. In later inquisi tions the tenure is described as socage, without rent; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iv, no. 36, 58. Richard Holland died in 1619 holding the manors of Kenyon and Lowton of the lord of Newton in socage, by a yearly rent of 18s.; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 145.
  • 13. Hale D.; William de Sankey also acquired lands in Kenyon from Jordan de Kenyon and in Lowton from Robert Banastre, in Croft from Gilbert de Southworth, in Culcheth from Robert de Kinknall, and in Dallam and Penketh from Roger son of Jordan, whose right seems to have been derived from Jordan son of Roger, grantee of Robert Banastre and William de Penketh; ibid. Henry de Sankey, father of William, had had a burgage in Warrington from William le Boteler.
  • 14. Assize R. 1306, m. 15; a suit in 1295 as to whether Jordan de Kenyon, Adam and Richard his sons, and others had disseised Robert de Risley and Margery his wife of their common of pasture in 13 acres of wood and 60 acres of moor in Kenyon; also of mast for their pigs in 50 acres of wood, and wood for housebote, heybote, and burning. It was alleged, among other things, that Robert, the younger son, when his father was lying on his deathbed, went to Jordan, chief lord of the town of Kenyon, and promised him that if he would help him to procure seisin of his father's tenements he would let him have a writing sealed with his father's seal; and that Jordan accordingly drew up a charter, then proffered in court, which Robert sealed with his brother William's seal. The jury did not pronounce on this point, but their decision was generally in favour of the claimants. Margery had been a plaintiff in 1284, when her guardianship had been unsuccessfully claimed by Jordan de Kenyon; Robert de Hindley (or Risley) was her guardian; Assize R. 1265, m. 5. See also Abbrev. Plac. (Rec. Com.), 237b; the service was that of two oxgangs of land where 9½ plough-lands made a knight's fee. From this it appears probable that the Sankey estate was two oxgangs, which Adam de Lawton gave to Robert de Kenyon to acquit himself of the office of judge; Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 73. There was, however, another estate of two oxgangs, which Ellen daughter of Aldusa daughter of William de Lawton granted to Jordan de Kenyon; Kuerden fol. MS. 363, R. Ellen's father was named Gilbert.
  • 15. See Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 44. The Risleys' chief holding in Kenyon was Broseley on the border of Culcheth. William de Sankey, after his elder son's death, seems to have regarded his younger son Robert as his heir, and this may have occasioned the lawsuits which followed. He granted to Robert his son, 'as his heir,' part of his land in Kenyon, and enfeoffed Jordan de Kenyon of certain of his lands which were afterwards given to Robert; Harl. MS. 2112, fol. 150b/186b, and Lord Wilton's D.
  • 16. Crosse D., Trans. Hist. Soc. (new ser. v, &c.), no. 56; Katherine was a widow in 1369; ibid. no. 66. See the account of Crosse under Wigan. In 1347 Adam son of Matthew de Kenyon released to Adam, lord of Kenyon, all his right, &c., in certain lands in Kenyon; Harl. MS. 2112, fol. 152/188. Agnes widow of Adam de Kenyon, and John de Liverpool and Joan his wife, were in 1374 the executors of the will of Adam de Kenyon; De Banco R. 456, m. 598 d. Joan de Kenyon widow of John de Liverpool gave a quitclaim to Richard del Crosse in 1432; Crosse D. no. 134.
  • 17. Duchy Plead. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 99. Matthew de Kenyon was the royal receiver in Lancashire in 1403 (or 1416); Towneley MS. GG, no. 2307. In 1419 Richard del Crosse, son of the last-named Katherine and one of the executors of Matthew de Kenyon, delivered to William son of Matthew the father's armour; Crosse D. no. 132; a detailed list is given. 'A pair of beads of white amber' was added. Ralph Eccleston's lands in Kenyon were in 1522 held of Thurstan Holland of Denton by a rent of 3d.; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. v, no. 46. The Ecclestons' lands seem to have been sold in 1564 and 1565 to Sir Peter Legh and others; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 26, m. 171; bdle. 27, m. 133. For a later yeoman family see Gillow, Bibl. Dict. of Engl. Cath. iv, 15. James Anderton was in 1552 found to have held lands in Kenyon of Edward Holland in socage, by a rent of 2s. 4½d.; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. ix, no. 14. His son Hugh Anderton and Alice his wife sold them to John Urmston in 1556; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 17, m. 100.
  • 18. Plac. de Quo War. (Rec. Com.), 375. In 1332 the prior of St. John claimed a messuage and land in Kenyon from Peter de Risley; De Banco R. 292, m. 354 d.
  • 19. John son of Adam del Woodhouse (or Woodhouses) was defendant in 1292 respecting land in Kenyon, and lost the case by default; Assize R. 408, m. 18 d. Robert del Woodhouse was a defendant in 1295; ibid. 1306, m. 15. Henry son of Robert del Woodhouses in 1309 had a release of their claim on lands in the Woodhouses granted by John son of Adam son of Henry to his sister Ellen, wife of Henry Nightegale; Lord Wilton's D.; Final Conc. ii, 6. A grant to John son of Adam del Woodhouses is in Harl. MS. 2112, fol. 147b/183b. Henry del Woodhouses, Agnes his mother, and Richard his son occur in deeds up to 1347; ibid. fol. 147/183; 156/192. In 1421 Nicholas son of Ivo del Woodhouses was contracted to marry Katherine daughter of John son of Robert de Worsley; ibid. fol. 147/183. William Leyland in 1467 seems to have bought the lands from Otwell Woodhouse and Margaret his wife; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 6, m. 2.
  • 20. Final Conc. ii, 176. Richard and Nicholas, sons of Richard Morley, had lands in Billington, Dinkley, and Kenyon in 1448–9; Towneley MS. DD, no. 1923. In 1528 it was found that Ughtred Morley had held a messuage and lands in Kenyon of the lord of Newton by the rent of a grain of corn; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. vi, no. 67. His son Robert Morley held them in 1586; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 48, m. 58.
  • 21. Cal. of Com. for Compounding, iv, 2176. He and his wife appear on the Recusant Roll of 1641; Trans. Hist. Soc. (new ser.), xiv, 245.
  • 22. Estcourt and Payne, Engl. Cath. Nonjurors, 117.