Townships: Billinge

Pages 83-87

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

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In this section


Bulling, 1212 and commonly in xiv cent.; Billinge, 1284; Bollynge, 1292; Bullynth, 1292.

This township, which originally included Winstanley, has long been divided into two halves regarded as separate townships and known as Chapel End and Higher End. They form the south-west corner of the parish.

The position of Chapel End township—the eastern one—is bleak and open, and the country bare except in the south, where there are more trees and green fields about the neighbourhood of Carr Mill Dam, a fairly large sheet of water. In the middle of this lake the boundaries of three townships meet. In the north there are sandstone quarries on the highest point of the hill. There are fields where potatoes, wheat, and oats are grown, besides pastures nearer the base of the hillside. The soil is sandy, over a substratum of gravel and sandstone rock. The chapel lies near the centre of the boundary between Chapel End and Winstanley on the north. The village, with its long straggling street and stone houses, spreads from it along the road from Wigan to St. Helens, which is the principal thoroughfare. About the middle of the township it is crossed by another road which runs eastward from the chapel to Ashton in Makerfield. The south-western boundary is formed by Black Brook, near which lies Birchley; and the south-eastern by the Goyt, its affluent, on which is Chadwick Green. Two detached portions of Winstanley lie on this side. The surface rises from the two streams, a height of nearly 600 ft. being attained at the northern border. Here stands Billinge Beacon, (fn. 1) from which fine views can be obtained. The area of Chapel End is 1,161 acres, (fn. 2) and the population in 1901 numbered 2,068.

Billinge Higher End, on the north-west side of the former township, has an area of 1,571 acres. (fn. 3) The population in 1901 numbered 1,600. (fn. 4) Near the centre, by Brownlow, a height of 560 ft. is attained, the surface falling away somewhat quickly to the south-west boundary, which is formed by Black Brook, and also to the west and north. This ridge of high ground, known as Billinge Hill, is visible for miles around. There are extensive quarries of sandstone and a gritstone used for making mill-stones. In the north of the district there are one or two unimportant coal-mines. In this part the hill is not entirely bare in spite of its exposed situation, for there are plantations of small pine trees and some larger deciduous trees. The west side of the township is occupied by cultivated fields where wheat, oats, and potatoes are grown in a rich sandy soil. On the west lies Billinge Hall; to the north are Bispham Hall, Gautley, and the Great Moss. On the east a brook divides the township from Winstanley; Longshaw lies here, with the village adjacent, on the road from Billinge chapel to Upholland. The main roads are macadamized; others set with square blocks of native sandstone; they are protected by walls in the upper parts and hedges in the lower parts of the township.

A local board for Billinge was formed in 1872, (fn. 5) the district including both the townships and also part of Winstanley. This was succeeded in 1894 by an urban district council of twelve members.


The present townships of BILLINGE (Higher End and Chapel End) and WINSTANLEY were originally but one manor, rated as half a plough-land, and probably forming one of the berewicks of Newton before the Conquest, just as they constituted members of the Newton barony after it. (fn. 6) The inquest of 1212 shows that this extensive manor had long been divided into three portions, almost equal. The lord was Adam de Billinge, holding of 'ancient feoffment' by the service of 10s. rent and the finding of a judge at the Newton court. (fn. 7) The two subordinate manors were held by Simon and by Roger de Winstanley; each was considered an oxgang and a third, but the services due are not recorded. Roger's share soon became independent. Yet another tenant, Uctred Leute, held a ridding, and paid 16d. rent. (fn. 8) Adam had made grants to Cockersand Abbey and to the Hospital of Chester. (fn. 9)

No satisfactory account can be given of the descent of these manors, through lack of evidence. Adam de Knowsley had lands here in 1246; (fn. 10) and six years later he and his wife Godith seem to have had the lordship. (fn. 11) Henry de Huyton, the son of Adam, was in 1292 lord of two-thirds of the manor, the other third being Winstanley. (fn. 12) Billinge, however, did not descend with Huyton; Robert, son of Henry, becoming lord of it, either by special grant or in right of his mother. His daughters were his heirs. (fn. 13) In 1374 the manor is found to have been divided into four parts, which seem to have been held by Eves, Heaton, Billinge and Winstanley. (fn. 14) The Eves share descended to the Lathoms of Mossborough; (fn. 15) and one of the parts was later held by the Bispham family.

The Heatons also held BIRCHLEY in Chapel End, the service to the lord of Newton being 3s. 2d. rent. (fn. 16) This manor of Birchley was acquired in the 16th century by the Andertons of Lostock, a younger son settling here. (fn. 17) It is now owned by Lord Gerard. (fn. 18)

Anderton of Lostock. Sable three shackbolts argent.

Gerard, Lord Gerard. Argent a saltire gules.

Higher End contains Bispham Hall and Billinge Hall, named after the lords of other portions of the manor. The share of the Bispham family (fn. 19) was described as a fourth part even in the 18th century, when it passed by marriage to Thomas Owen of Upholland, (fn. 20) and then by his two daughters to Holt and Edward Leigh. (fn. 21) From Holt Leigh it has descended like Orrell to Mr. Roger Leigh, of Hindley Hall, Aspull.

Leigh. Gules a cross engrailed argent between four lozenges ermine, a canton or.

The shares of the Billinge (fn. 22) and Winstanley (fn. 23) families cannot be traced satisfactorily.

One of the quarters of the manor was acquired by the family of Bankes of Winstanley. (fn. 24)

Bispham. Sable a saltire between four harts' heads cabossed erminois.

Thomas and John Winstanley and Thomas Bispham, (fn. 25) as landowners of Billinge and Winstanley, contributed to a subsidy levied about 1556. The freeholders in 1600 were: Anderton of Birchley, Thomas Bispham, Richard Billinge, William Atherton, and John Wood. (fn. 26) In 1628 the landowners, contributing to the subsidy were: Roger Anderton, William Bispham, William Blackburn, Edmund Wood, and Edmund Bispham. The first and last of these, as convicted recusants, paid double. (fn. 27) Those who contributed for lands to the subsidy of 1663 were James Anderton of Birchley, Thomas Bispham, Peter Parr, Geoffrey Birchall, and Alexander Leigh. (fn. 28) In 1717 the following, as 'papists,' registered estates here: John Gerard of Ashton, John Howard, Richard Mather, and Robert Rothwell of Winstanley. (fn. 29) The principal landowners in 1787, according to the land tax returns, were William Bankes, Edward Leigh, and Sir Robert Gerard, contributing together about half of the sum total raised.

The Inclosure Award, with plan, is preserved in the County Council offices at Preston.


A chapel of ease was built here in the time of Henry VIII at the cost of the inhabitants, who also paid the priest's wages. (fn. 30) At the beginning of Mary's reign James Winstanley of Winstanley, 'minding utterly to destroy the same chapel for ever, out of very malice and hate that he had and bore towards the service of God, which he perceived the Queen's majesty was minded to advance and set forwards,' assembled a band of twenty 'evil-disposed persons,' and forcibly carried off the chalice and paten and other ornaments, broke the windows, turned out forms and chairs and the like furniture, and made it a barn, keeping his hay and corn there by force. (fn. 31) There was 'no preacher' at Billinge in 1590. (fn. 32) Eight years later the building was found to be out of repair; there were no books but a Bible, the curate was 'no minister, but one licensed to read.' No attempt had been made to collect the 1s. a week fine for absence from the legal services, nor were there any collections for the poor. Very few came to the communion thrice yearly; the parishioners could not say the Catechism, and many did not know the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and commandments. (fn. 33)

The Commonwealth surveyors recommended that the chapel should be made a separate parish church, but this does not seem to have been carried out. (fn. 34) The minister in charge was ejected in 1662. (fn. 35) The old building was demolished and rebuilt in 1717–18. (fn. 36) The church has been of late considerably enlarged under the direction of Mr. T. G. Jackson, R.A. The oldest part of the building dates only from 1717, and before the additions was a plain rectangle in plan, 57 ft. by 37 ft., with a small eastern apse. The elevations are very plain, divided on north and south into four bays by shallow pilasters, with a round headed window in each bay, each window subdivided by mullions into three lights. The walls are crowned with an embattled parapet, with urns at intervals on the parapet, and in the west front is the doorway, with a window of semi-Gothic style over it. All the work is very good of its kind, of wrought stone without, and the fittings of oak, while a fine brass chandelier hangs from the ceiling. Galleries put up in 1823 have now been taken away. It has lately been dedicated to St. Aidan. In 1765 the patronage was disputed, but the rector of Wigan established his right, and is the present patron. (fn. 37) The church became parochial in 1882. (fn. 38)

The curates in charge and vicars have been as follows (fn. 39) :—

1609 Richard Bolton (fn. 40)
1625 Edward Tempest
1626 Peter Travers
1646 John Wright (fn. 41)
c. 1686 Nathan Golborne (fn. 42)
1699 Edward Sedgwick
1704 John Horobin
1708 Humphrey Whalley
1749 Edward Parr
1763 Thomas Withnell
1776 Richard Carr
1813 Samuel Hall, (fn. 43) M.A. (St. John's Coll. Camb.)
1833 John Bromilow
1853 Howard St. George, M.A. (T.C.D.)
1898 Francis Broughton Anson Miller, M.A. (Trinity Coll. Camb.)

There is a Wesleyan Methodist chapel at Higher End, built in 1845, and a Primitive Methodist one in Chapel End.

If Billinge has afforded some evidence, though questionable, of the existence of a vigorous Protestantism in this part of the county as early as 1550, it also affords evidence of the vitality of the ancient faith, the Andertons of Birchley sheltering the missionary priests. One of the earliest to labour here was the Jesuit Roger Anderton, who served from 1645 until his death fifty years later. (fn. 44) The present church of St. Mary was built in 1828. A manuscript preserved in the presbytery contains the Forma Vivendi of Richard Rolle of Hampole. (fn. 45)


  • 1. It was erected as a sea mark, about 1780; Baines, Lancs. (ed. 1836), iii, 565.
  • 2. 1163, including 9 of inland water, according to the census of 1901.
  • 3. 1573, including 3 of inland water; census of 1901.
  • 4. Including King's Moss, &c.
  • 5. Lond. Gaz. 17 Dec. 1872.
  • 6. V.C.H. Lancs. i, 286. See Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc.), i, 138; ii, 99; ibid. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 105.
  • 7. Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 76. Adam de Billinge contributed half a mark to the scutage in 1201 and later years; Farrer, Lancs. Pipe R. 152, 179, 205.
  • 8. Inq. and Extents, loc. cit. Uctred Leute's holding may have been in Crookhurst, a family taking its name from this place. Richard son of Richard de Crookhurst was a defendant in 1302; Assize R. 418, m. 10 d.
  • 9. To Cockersand Abbey Adam de Billinge gave all Falling and Ruhlow, the boundaries beginning at Kidsay Brook, going to Blackley, to Walley Clough, by this to Wetcroft Lache, and so by Little Ruhlow to the starting point. Further he gave half of Crookhurst, the bounds being from Swinepit Clough to Birchley Brook and Blackley Brook, and so to the start; Cockersand Chart. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 665, 666. William son of Simon de Bulling granted the same abbey a part of his land called Leyerich Ridding, within the carr and Hennecroft; also his portion of Crookhurst, the bounds being named with great minuteness; 'the ford next the house of Thomas Cert which was burnt' is among them; ibid. ii, 667. From the charter last quoted 'the Hospital' is identified as that outside the north gate of Chester. The Abbey's lands in Crookhurst were in 1461 held by Henry Atherton of Bickerstaffe, and descended with this estate; ibid. ii, 668; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iv, no. 68. The rent paid was 18d. William de Falling, probably the tenant of the Abbot of Cockersand, in 1308 held lands under the lord of Winstanley; Assize R. 423, m. 2. A later bearer of the name forfeited his lands for felony, but those he held of Cockersand were given up to the abbot in 1384; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxii, 356, 357. The Cockersand lands here, as in other places, were granted to Thomas Holt; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), ii, 288.
  • 10. Christiana widow of Henry son of Quenilda sued Hugh de Crookhurst for dower in 12 acres; it was found that Adam de Knowsley held the land; Assize R. 404, m. 13. Crookhurst was the subject of an agreement in 1256 between William son of Hugh and Emma his wife, and Adam son of Hugh and Agnes his wife; Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 127. William son of Hugh is called William de Rainford in a suit of 1292; Assize R. 408, m. 61.
  • 11. Final Conc. i, 114.
  • 12. In 1278 William de Billinge complained that Henry de Huyton had destroyed one of his ditches in Billinge; Assize R. 1238, m. 35. Six or seven years later Adam de Billinge complained that Henry de Huyton and another had disseised him of his free tenement in Billinge; Assize R. 1268, m. 19 d. In 1290 it was Henry de Huyton who was plaintiff, regarding two-thirds of certain wood and moor, and iron mineral; Assize R. 1288, m. 12, 13. The defendants were Roger de Winstanley and Henry son of Ralph de Billinge; they made an exchange of lands in 1283, to which Hugh son of Ralph de Billinge was one of the witnesses; Cockersand Chart. ii, 659. Richard de Crookhurst in 1292 complained that Henry de Huyton, Adam de Billinge, and Roger de Winstanley had deprived him of estovers in 100 acres of wood for housebote and haybote—i.e. for burning, fencing, and building—pannage for his pigs, &c. Henry, in reply, said he was chief lord of two-thirds of the vill, and Roger of one-third; as chief lords they had approved from the waste, and the complainant, who was Henry's tenant, had sufficient estovers outside the approvement. He was non-suited; Assize R. 408, m. 12 d. Adam de Billinge's right in the manor is not here defined; it appears that he was the representative, and no doubt descendant, of the Simon of 1212. He should, therefore, have had a moiety of Henry de Huyton's two-thirds, and from another suit of 1292 it appears that he claimed the moiety of 50 acres of moor and wood from Henry de Huyton, here called de Rycroft, and others; ibid. m. 25. Nine years later the suit, or a similar one, appears in the rolls, Adam claiming the moiety of 60 acres of wood and waste. Henry de Huyton, the principal defendant—the others were William Bird and Alan son of Eva de Billinge—replied that he was lord of the two-thirds of Billinge and Adam of one-third; and they had agreed that the 60 acres should pertain to Henry, and another portion of the waste, called Catshurst, should belong to Adam. The jury found that Catshurst was only 12 acres, and that Henry had approved 40 acres, a share of which should be given to Adam; Assize R. 1321, m. 5 d. In the following year Adam de Billinge and Henry de Huyton were chief lords, the complainants being William de Huyton and Robert his brother; Assize R. 418, m. 10 d. A possible solution is that Winstanley, having become detached, paid 3s. 6d. rent to the lord of Newton; that the remaining 6s. 6d. was shared between Henry de Huyton and Adam de Billinge in the ratio of two to one, while they divided the land equally.
  • 13. Robert and William de Huyton were among the defendants in a suit of 1309 affecting the boundaries of Billinge and Winstanley, Henry de Huyton and Adam de Billinge being also joined; Assize R. 423, m. 2. Four years later Robert de Huyton recovered from Henry de Huyton the manor of Billinge; Assize R. 424, m. 1 d. In 1321 William son of Robert de Huyton settled messuages and lands upon Robert de Huyton the elder for his life; Final Conc. ii, 41. The pedigree of the Huyton family is not clear; but Robert de Huyton the elder was probably a brother of Henry. Robert son of William brother of Henry de Huyton and Robert son of Henry de Huyton were last in the remainders of a settlement made by Ellen de Torbock in 1332; Croxteth D. Z, i, 4. In the same year Robert de Huyton and William de Billinge contributed to the subsidy; Exch. Lay Subs. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 26. Six years later Robert de Huyton of Billinge acquired some land in Ashton; Final Conc. ii, 108. Robert de Huyton of Billinge, probably a descendant, complained in 1348 of the damage which William Dawson of Billinge had done to property while he had it on lease; he had pulled down a hall worth £10, and two chambers worth £5 each, and cut down twenty apple-trees worth 20s. each, &c.; De Banco R. 355, m. 21; 356, m. 234 d. Four years later certain lands were held jointly by Alan the clerk of Rainford, whose wife was Agnes, and Robert son of Matthew de Huyton; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 2 (Pent.), m. 2. Another defendant in the case was Isolda, widow of Roger de Winstanley and daughter of Roger (? Robert) de Huyton. Richard de Huyton appears in 1357; ibid. R. 6, m. 5.
  • 14. By charter of June 1331 Robert de Huyton and Mary his wife granted an estate in Billinge to trustees, with remainders successively to their children, Henry, Richard, Isolda, Agnes and Avice. By 1363 Robert and Mary were dead, and Henry and Richard had died without issue; Isolda was the wife of William the clerk of Wigan, and her estate having been taken into the king's hands for some default of Eustace de Cottesbech, for whom her father had been a surety, she petitioned for restoration; L.T.R. Memo. R. 128, m. 5. Isolda seems to have been the widow of Roger de Winstanley; in 1363 Hugh de Winstanley sued William the clerk of Wigan and Isolda his wife for waste; De Banco R. 416, m. 299 d. It appears from the following that there was another daughter who shared the inheritance. From a plea of 1372 it is clear that the manor of Billinge, i.e. the Huyton half as previously explained, had become divided among four co-heirs and their issue; for Geoffrey de Wrightington and Ellen his wife, executors of the will of Robert de Winstanley (Ellen being the widow), in that year claimed dower from Henry de Scarisbrick as guardian of the land and heir of Robert de Billinge, from Richard de Heaton and Isolda his wife; and from Alan the Barker and Agnes his wife, each of the defendant parties holding a fourth part of the manor; De Banco R. 447, m. 184 d.; 454, m. 141. Alan the Barker may have succeeded Alan de Rainford, who, with Agnes his wife, had a quarter of a moiety of the manor in 1366, when it was settled upon them for their lives, with remainder to Robert del Eves and his heirs; Final Conc. ii, 172. It may be conjectured that this Robert was the son of Agnes by a former marriage. Thus the four coheirs were in 1374 represented by Winstanley, Billinge, Heaton and Eves, and each quarter would pay a rent of 1s. 1d. to the lord of Newton. Some further light on the descent is given by claims for debt made by the executors of the will of Sir John de Dalton in the next year against Geoffrey de Wrightington and Ellen his wife, executrix of the will of Robert de Win stanley; Geoffrey de Urmston, executor of the will of Joan, who had been wife and executrix of Robert de Billinge; Alan the Barker of Billinge, executor of the will of Margery, who was the wife and executrix of Robert de Staverley; and Robert de Huyton, executor of the will of Agnes, who was the wife of Alan de Rainford; De Banco R. 457, n. 186. 341 d.
  • 15. Agnes de Rainford being dead, as appears in the last note, Robert del Eves came into possession, and was defendant in 1375; De Banco R. 459, m. 162. He died in or before 1398; having held Galfhey (?Gautley) in Billinge of Ralph de Langton, baron of Newton, in socage by the rent of 13d.; Nicholas, his son and heir, was twenty-four years of age; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc.), i, 68. The heiress of this family married a Lathom of Mossborough; Visit. of 1613 (Chet. Soc.), 106; and in 1620 Henry Lathom died, holding messuages and lands in Billinge of the barony of Newton by a rent of 13d.; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc.), ii, 205; see also Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. x, no. 2.
  • 16. The rent appears to be made up of 2s. 2d. due by the heir of Adam de Billinge, and 1s. due from the quarter of the manor inherited from the Huyton family. In a later inquisition the rent is given as 3s. 3d.; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xxx, no. 7. What is known of the Billinge family has been stated in previous notes. A member of the family married one of the Huyton co-heirs, while the heiress of the main branch appears to have married William de Heaton, son of the Richard de Heaton who held another quarter of the Huyton share. In 1398 a dispensation was granted for the marriage of Joan de Billinge with William de Heaton; Raines MSS. (Chet. Lib.) xxxvii. B, 61; Dods. MSS. vii, fol. 326. In 1422 a settlement was made of the manor of Birchley and messuages and lands in Billinge, &c., the holders being William de Heaton and Joan his wife; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 5, m. 9. In 1530 Richard Heaton gave the manor of Billinge, and his messuages, mills, and lands there and in Birchley to trustees, for the benefit of his son William; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 151, m. 8.
  • 17. In a fine of 1581 relating to Birchley and a quarter of the manor, James and Thurstan Anderton, sons of Christopher, were plaintiffs, and William Heaton and his sons Ralph and Richard, deforciants; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 43, m. 133. Previously, e.g., in 1542, the manor of Birchley had been included in the Heaton settlements; ibid. bdle. 12, m. 66, &c. James Anderton, of Lostock, died in 1613, seised among other properties of the capital messuage called Birchley Hall, and of various houses and lands in Billinge, held of the Baron of Newton, in socage, by a rent of 3s. 2d.; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc.), ii, 26, 27. Roger, his younger brother, had Birchley by arrangement with his brother Christopher, of Lostock; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 94, m. 3, and note of Mr. Ince Anderton. In 1631 he paid £10 on refusing knighthood; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 213. He was buried at Wigan, 1 Oct. 1640, and Anne, his widow, on 14 Sept. 1646. His son, James Anderton, of Gray's Inn, took arms for the king in the Civil War, and joined in the attack on Bolton. Though comprised within the articles of Ludlow he forebore to compound within the time fixed, being a recusant, though not convicted. In 1649 he petitioned to be allowed to compound. His estates were, however, confiscated, and included in the third act of sale, 1652; Index of Royalists (Index Soc.), 41; and Thomas Wharton purchased Birchley in the following year. Soon afterwards, however, a composition was arranged, the fine of £800 being reduced to £650 3s. 4d., and further afterwards; Royalist Comp. Papers i, 75–81. Captain Thurstan Anderton, another of the family, was wounded at the battle of Newbury, and died at Oxford, in Sept. 1643: Castlemain, Cath. Apology. Early in 1654, in a fine concerning the 'manor of Billinge,' James Anderton, Thomas Wharton, and Joseph Rigby were deforciants; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 153, m. 81. James Anderton died in 1673; Cavalier's Note Bk. 305. His only child was a daughter Elizabeth, who married John Cansfield of Cantsfield. A pedigree was recorded in 1664; Dugdale, Visit. 5.
  • 18. Mary, the daughter and heir of the above John Cansfield, married Sir William Gerard, and in 1692 her lands were settled as the manors of Robert Hall and Cantsfield, and a fourth part of the manor of Billinge, with messuages and lands in these places, including Birchley; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 229, m. 109.
  • 19. No pedigree was recorded. The earliest of this family known is Thomas Bispham, who in 1552 was one of various persons charged with destroying timber in Galtly Wood, and who early in 1558 made a settlement of three messuages, and other lands in Billinge and Rainford; Ducatus, i, 242; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 20, m. 112. Henry and Thomas, jun., appear in a fine of 1571; ibid, bdle. 33, m. 39. Two years later, Thomas Bispham (probably the younger, on succeeding), made a settlement of 4 messuages and lands in Billinge and Rainford; ibid. bdle. 35, m. 19. In 1600 he was among the freeholders of the township. William Bispham, who appears in 1628, on refusing knighthood paid £20 in 1631: Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 212. He died 10 Oct. 1639, holding lands in Orrell and Billinge, the latter of the Baron of Newton by a rent of 13d., the regular rent for a fourth part of the manor; his son and heir, Samuel, was of full age; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xxx, no. 97. William Bispham of Billinge married a niece of Bishop Bridgeman's; Wigan Ch. 348. See also Fun. Certs. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 198, for further particulars of the family; Samuel Bispham was one of King Charles's physicians in ordinary, and had a son and heir, Thomas, aged 18 months at his grandfather's death. In 1641 the manors of Orrell and Billinge, and messuages, windmill, and lands there were the subject of a settlement by Samuel Bispham, esq.; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 139, n. 32. Thomas Bispham died 22 Sept. 1677, aged 40; Wigan Ch. 746; and another of the same name followed, for Frances Bispham, widow of Thomas, and Thomas Bispham were vouchees in a recovery of the manors in 1703; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 477, m. 6. Frances died at the end of the same year; Wigan Ch. loc. cit.
  • 20. Thomas Bispham had an only daughter and heir Margaret, who about 1731 married Thomas Owen; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 532, m. 7; Feet of F. bdle. 307, m. 8; Wigan Ch. 746.
  • 21. Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdles. 368, m. 64; 371, m. 137; Plea R. 599, m. 12; the 'manor or lordship of Orrell, a fourth part of the manor or lordship or reputed manor or lordship of Billinge, with lands, &c., in Orrell, Billinge, Upholland, Rainford, and Wigan.' Holt Leigh died 11 March 1785, aged 55, and was buried at St. Clement Danes, London; his widow Mary died 28 Nov. 1794, aged 53; Wigan Ch. 745, 746. Bispham Hall was about 1850 the property of John Holt; Raines, in Gastrell's Notitia, ii, 254.
  • 22. A pedigree, imperfect, was recorded in 1665; Dugdale, Visit. (Chet. Soc.), 30. John Billinge was in 1590 reported as 'soundly affected in religion' Lydiate Hall, 246. He was a trustee in 1573, and Richard Billinge was a freeholder in 1600. His grandson, another Richard, recorded the pedigree, being then 52 years of age. As a 'papist' two-thirds of his estate fell into the hands of the Parliamentary authorities, and in 1652 the whole was sequestered; on inquiry it was found that his estate in Wigan parish had been sequestered for recusancy, and that in Ormskirk parish for recusancy and delinquency. Afterwards he petitioned to be allowed to compound; Royalist Comp. Papers, i, 173; Cal. of. Com. for Compounding, iv, 3102. His son John was aged 17 in 1665, and in 1691 Frances Bispham, widow, purchased from John Billinge and Margaret his wife, and Margery Billinge, widow, the fifth part of the manor of Billinge, with houses, windmill, dovecote, and lands in Billinge and Rainford; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 226, m. 44. This 'fifth part' of the manor is named in a later fine, Holt Leigh being possessor; ibid. bdle. 368, m. 64.
  • 23. This family may be the Winstanleys of Blackley Hurst, a detached part of the township of Winstanley.
  • 24. In a recovery of the fourth part of the manor of Billinge in 1729 Hugh Holme was vouchee; this was before his marriage with the Bankes heiress; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 528, m. 8. It has since descended like Winstanley; ibid. Aug. Assizes, 1803, R. 10.
  • 25. Mascy of Rixton D.
  • 26. Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 240, 243. John Wood in 1570 acquired lands in Billinge, Windle, and Winstanley from Richard Cowper, and ten years later made further purchases from Ralph and Richard Heaton; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 32, m. 51; 42, m. 143. The Orrells of Turton held lands, as appears by various suits recorded in Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), i, 242. For a Molyneux family, holding under Fleetwood, see Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc.), ii, 128.
  • 27. Norris D. (B.M.).
  • 28. List in possession of W. Farrer, containing also a catalogue of the charterers.
  • 29. Engl. Cath. Nonjurors, 124, 125, 151. The son of Richard and Elizabeth Mather is described as a Protestant. In addition, Francis Estcourt of Birchley registered an annuity of £33 from a house in Ashton in Makerfield; ibid. 151.
  • 30. The documents referred to are printed in Canon Bridgeman's Wigan Ch. 749–57. The dedication of the chapel is unknown. In the earliest record, 1539–40, the priest in charge is called the vicar of Billinge; op. cit. 750. Nothing but 'one little bell' belonged to it in 1552; Ch. Gds. (Chet. Soc.), 75.
  • 31. Wigan Ch. 751. It is possible that the chapel was not used in the time of Edward VI, there being no 'ornaments' in 1552, and that James Winstanley had acquired some title to the building, or claimed a chief rent. As to his opponents, it is obvious that they would use the argument most likely to move the queen. In the will of James Winstanley of Winstanley, made 12 Mar. 1555–6, and proved at Chester 19 Dec. 1557, he expressed a desire to be buried 'within the holy sepulchre in the parish church of Wigan.'
  • 32. Gibson, Lydiate Hall, 348; quoting S.P. Dom. Eliz. ccxxxv, 4. A similar report was made about 1610; Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 13.
  • 33. Wigan Ch. 754; Raines MSS. (Chet. Lib.), xxii, 184.
  • 34. Commonw. Ch. Surv. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 62; the salary was £50. An augmentation of stipend to the amount of £30 was granted in 1656; Plund. Mins. Accts. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 145.
  • 35. Wigan Ch. loc. cit.
  • 36. Ibid. Bishop Gastrell about this time found the income of the curate to be £34 0s. 8d., of which £6 was paid by the rector, and the remainder was the interest of various benefactions, £15 coming from Eddleston House, an estate bequeathed by John Eddleston in 1672, and containing a stone delph set for £2. A chief rent of £1 was payable to Mr. Blackburn. One warden was appointed; Notitia Cestr. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 253.
  • 37. Wigan Ch. 755.
  • 38. Ibid. 756; Lond. Gaz. 8 Dec. 1882.
  • 39. Wigan Ch. 756, 757. The first who was formally licensed to the cure was Humphrey Whalley, in 1708. Most of the earlier ones, therefore, except during the Commonwealth, were probably curates of Wigan who read the service at Billinge on Sundays.
  • 40. He was merely a 'reader' in 1609 (Raines MSS. xxii, 298), but contributed to the subsidy of 1622 as curate; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 65.
  • 41. He was a 'very honest, godly minister, and of good life and conversation, but kept not the fast day appointed by Act of Parliament'; Commonw. Ch. Surv. 63.
  • 42. There is probably some error in Canon Bridgeman's list at this point, as Humphrey Tudor's name does not appear in Bishop Stratford's visitation list of 1691. In 1689 Nathan Golborne was 'minister' at Billinge, and was 'conformable'; Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 228. In Stratford's list he is described as curate of Wigan, ordained in 1686. He is probably the Goulburn of Canon Bridgeman. He was buried at Warrington 12 Mar. 1691–2.
  • 43. While at Billinge he renounced Calvinism, became a Universalist, and left the Established Church. He died in 1858; Axon, Manch. Annals, 275. Later he returned to the Church, but was not again beneficed.
  • 44. In 1717 the families in the chapelry numbered 178, ten being 'papists' and fourteen Dissenters (ten Presbyterian and four Quakers). There were ninety-four 'papists' in 1767. See Gastrell, Notitia, ii, 253; Trans. Hist. Soc. (new ser.), xviii.
  • 45. The details in this paragraph are chiefly from the Liverpool Cath. Annual, 1901.