The parish of Hoole

A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.

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'The parish of Hoole', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6, (London, 1911) pp. 149. British History Online [accessed 20 April 2024]


Much Hoole; Little Hoole

This parish was separated from Croston in 1641. (fn. 1) It has an area of 2,999½ acres, (fn. 2) and the population in 1901 was 1,125. The agricultural land is at present occupied as follows: arable, 692 acres; permanent pasture, 2,117; woods and plantations, 6. (fn. 3)

The story of the place has been quite uneventful, except for the observation of the transit of Venus made in 1639 by the youthful curate or reader, Jeremiah Horrocks, which may be regarded as the startingpoint of English astronomy. Horrocks was born at Toxteth, near Liverpool, in 1619, and of Puritan training. He was sent to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, at an early age, and strongly attracted to the study of the mechanism of the heavenly bodies. He had to struggle on unaided, but found a fellow-worker in William Crabtree of Manchester. In June 1639 he was assisting at Hoole, and by calculations made by himself he found that Venus would cross the sun's disc on the following 24 November, and advised his friend to observe it. He himself observed it by the aid of the telescope he had made, and though he duly fulfilled his Sunday duties he was rewarded for his care and study by a view of the transit between the close of his afternoon service and the sunset at 3.50 p.m. He wrote an account of his observations in Venus in sole visa. He did not long survive, dying 3 January 1640–1. (fn. 4)

The hearth tax return of 1666 shows a total of fifty-seven hearths chargeable in Much Hoole and twenty-six in Little Hoole. In the former township the largest house was that of Henry Walton, having five hearths; there were two other houses having three. In Little Hoole two dwellings had four hearths each. (fn. 5)


  • 1. By the Act 16 Chas. I, cap. 6 (Private), to which the royal assent was given in July 1641.
  • 2. Including 52 acres of tidal water, according to the ordnance map of 1848.
  • 3. Statistics from Bd. of Agric. (1905).
  • 4. From an essay by G. Napier Clark in Brit. Assoc. Handbk. Southport (1903), 237–48. See also Pal. Note-book, ii, 253. A translation of Horrocks' work is appended to Whatton's Memoir (ed. 1859).
  • 5. Subs. R. Lancs. 250, no. 9.