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

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'Hesketh-with-Becconsall', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6, ed. William Farrer, J Brownbill( London, 1911), British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/lancs/vol6/pp111-114 [accessed 19 July 2024].

'Hesketh-with-Becconsall', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6. Edited by William Farrer, J Brownbill( London, 1911), British History Online, accessed July 19, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/lancs/vol6/pp111-114.

"Hesketh-with-Becconsall". A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6. Ed. William Farrer, J Brownbill(London, 1911), , British History Online. Web. 19 July 2024. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/lancs/vol6/pp111-114.

In this section


Eskehagh, 1259; Eschayt, 1285; Heschath, 1288; Heskeyth, 1293; Heskayth, 1298, 1323; Heskeyt, 1301; Heskath, 1347; Hesketh, 1410. Local pronunciation, Heskett.

Bekaneshow, 1208; Bekanoshow, 1212; Bekanesho, 1246; Bekanishou, 1300; Becansaw, 1413; Becconsall, xvi cent.

This township was, like Tarleton, separated from Croston by Act of Parliament in 1821, and constituted an independent parish. (fn. 1) In early times Becconsall appears to have been the important part of the township, Hesketh being subordinate; but about 1718 Bishop Gastrell gave Hesketh Bank as an alias of Becconsall. The parish lies on the west bank of the Douglas estuary, the Ribble forming the northern boundary. In ancient times almost the only habitable part must have been the elevated patch in the south-east corner, a continuation of the Tarleton ridge, Becconsall being at the southern end of this patch and Hesketh at the north-west. The northern half of the land has in the main been reclaimed from the Ribble since 1834, chiefly through the operations of the Ribble Navigation Company. (fn. 2) The area is 4,736 acres. (fn. 3) In 1901 there was a population of 901.

The soil is chiefly a black, heavy loam overlying clay; elsewhere it is light, and in some parts sandy loam. There are now 2,394 acres of arable land, 648 acres of permanent grass and 30 acres of woods and plantations. (fn. 4) Wheat, oats and potatoes are grown. Beyond the cultivated land to the north are Hesketh sands, stretching to the stream of the Ribble, the thread of which forms the boundary of parish and hundred. It was formerly a seaside resort. (fn. 5)

The principal road is that coming north from Tarleton, which at Hesketh Bank turns sharply to the west, going to the hamlet called Hundred End and then to Southport. The line of the West Lancashire Railway, opened in 1878, and now owned by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Company, runs through the southern part of the parish with a station at the east end called Hesketh Bank and another at the west called Hundred End.

There is a parish council. Water is supplied by the Preston Waterworks.


The joint township was a member of the fee or barony of Warrington, and as one plough-land was given by Pain de Vilers to the Knights Hospitallers in alms. (fn. 6) It remained in their possession (fn. 7) till the Suppression in the time of Henry VIII, the immediate holders being the families of Beconsaw and Banastre of Bank, each having a moiety and paying a rent of 5s. (fn. 8) As in the case of other manors held in alms, little is known of its history.

The Beconsaw family held their moiety until the 16th century. (fn. 9) Edward Beconsaw recorded a pedigree in 1533, (fn. 10) and died on 19 April 1535, holding the manor of Becconsall and lands there of Sir Thomas Weston, Prior of St. John of Jerusalem in England, in socage by a rent of 5s., the clear annual value being £10. He had lands also in Lydiate, Aughton, Aspinwall in Scarisbrick and Much Hoole. His heir was his son Henry, nineteen years of age. (fn. 11) Henry left a daughter, Dorothy, whereupon the manor and lands were claimed by Adam Beconsaw, brother of Henry, as heir male. After some disputing a settlement was made, chiefly in his favour, (fn. 12) but he did not enjoy possession long, dying in December 1544, and leaving it to a son George, two years old. (fn. 13) In 1551, George having died, the manor of Becconsall and lands there and in Hesketh, Much Hoole and Aughton were settled upon Richard Beconsaw, with remainders to his wife Joan for life, and then to the issue of Richard, or in default to Richard Ashton of Croston. (fn. 14) The claim by Richard seems to have been unjust, for this moiety of the manor went to Dorothy, and was sold to Sir Thomas Hesketh of Rufford, (fn. 15) who thus gained possession of a lordship in the place from which his surname was derived. It has since descended with Rufford.

Beconsaw. Sable a cross formy argent, in the sinister quarter an escallop of the second.

The Banastre of Bank moiety (fn. 16) descended in the same way as the other estates of the family (fn. 17) until about a hundred years later. (fn. 18)

The only other local family requiring notice is that of Thornton. The landowners contributing to the subsidy of 1542–3 were Adam and Elizabeth Beconsaw, Richard and Hugh Thornton. (fn. 19) Richard Thornton died in July 1555 holding two messuages and 40 acres in Becconsall and Hesketh of Sir Thomas Hesketh and Henry Banastre of Bank in socage by a rent of 2s. a year to the former and 19½d. to the latter. Hugh, his son and heir, was forty-four years of age. (fn. 20)

Salt-making about 1560 led to disputes between the lords of the manor and their tenants. (fn. 21)

Two recusants compounded in 1628. (fn. 22) William Hodkinson of Hesketh Bank paid £10 on refusing knighthood in 1631. (fn. 23) Under the Commonwealth William Jump and John his son, holding a house and land at Hesketh Bank on lease, had it sequestered as recusants, and Henry Banastre of Bank, the owner, in 1653 petitioned for a removal of the sequestration, the tenants being dead. (fn. 24)

The hearths taxed in 1666 numbered twenty-three, but the only house of any size was that of the Heskeths (John Molyneux) with six hearths. (fn. 25) This was Becconsall Hall, which stood to the north-west of the existing chapel. The old building has disappeared and a modern farm-house stands on the site; there is still preserved, however, a stone with the inscription, 'John and Lucy Molyneux built this house, Anno 1667,' and the initials 'T.H.' The date is now very much worn and the second '6' indecipherable.

James Lumpton, Robert Banister and William Jump of Hesketh Bank registered estates as 'Papists' in 1717. (fn. 26)


The chapel of BECCONSALL was erected in 1764 and stands on slightly rising ground on the left bank of the Douglas near a bend of the river, which flows past the building on the south and east. It is a plain brick structure with a stone slated roof, consisting of a small chancel 8 ft. in depth by 15 ft. wide, nave 36 ft. 6 in. by 24 ft. and west porch. There is a small vestry south of the chancel and the west gable has a wooden bell-cote containing one bell. The east window of the chancel is of three lights, the centre one with a semicircular head and keystone, and the nave has two semicircular-headed windows on each side. The windows, however, except at the west end, are modern and inserted in 1875, at which date the ceiling was taken down and the roof lined with pitch pine. There is a gallery at the west end, with fairly good 18thcentury detail in the front, supported on square fluted wood posts with moulded caps. The gallery contains an organ given in 1907. The font is the original 18th-century plaster one of scallop pattern.

The churchyard is rather picturesquely situated close to the river, and is partly bounded by a number of fine lime trees. On the south side is a pedestal sundial dated 1776.

There is a silver chalice inscribed 'Croston, 1627,' which probably belonged originally to the mother church. The flagon and paten are modern electroplate.

The registers begin in 1745.


The origin and dedication of the pre-Reformation chapel of Becconsall are unknown. A chantry was founded there by George Beconsaw in the early years of the 16th century, and the incumbent here, as at Tarleton, was 'enforced to minister the blessed sacrament' to the people oftentimes, because the tides prevented them going to the parish church for days together. (fn. 27) The endowment was only 62s. 7d. a year, and on its confiscation by the Crown the chapel appears to have fallen into disuse and at last became a ruin. (fn. 28) The patronage continued to be claimed by Banastre of Bank down to 1640, (fn. 29) but seems to have lapsed to the rector of Croston on the rebuilding of the chapel about 1700. (fn. 30) It was rebuilt again in 1764. (fn. 31) On the separation of the township from Croston parish in 1821 it became the church of the new parish, but the rector of Croston continued to hold it till his death, and was also patron. He afterwards sold the advowson (fn. 32) to Sir T. D. Hesketh, from whom it has descended to Sir T. G. Fermor Hesketh. In 1717 there was no income beyond £2 7s. 11d., being a grant from the duchy revenues, and the chapel was 'supplied six times a year' only. (fn. 33) The value is now given as £280. (fn. 34)

The following were curates (fn. 35) :—

Robert Hesketh
1734 Matthew Worthington
1735 Thomas Ellison
1736 Streynsham Master
1740 Stanhope Ellison
1742 Roger Lea
1754 James Folds
1757 Robert Barker
1773 Benjamin Cooper
1788 William Ion
1790 Streynsham Master
1799 Thomas Whitehead

The rectors have been:—

1821 Streynsham Master, M.A. (fn. 36) (Balliol Coll., Oxf.).
1864 Richard O'Brien, M.A. (fn. 37) (T.C.D.).

There is a Primitive Methodist chapel dating from 1827. (fn. 38) Formerly there was also a Congregationalist meeting-place. (fn. 39)


There are no special charities for this parish, (fn. 40) but it receives a share of Dr. Layfield's Croston charity, which is distributed in cotton-cloth to the poor, (fn. 41) and every tenth year the Crooke and Master benefaction for religious books is received and distributed. (fn. 42)


  • 1. Act 1 & 2 Geo. IV, cap. 103.
  • 2. It is stated that 40 acres were inclosed in 1834, 700 in 1861, and 1,100 in 1881–2, Sir Thomas Hesketh being the purchaser; Lancs. Dir. In the Charities Report of 1898 it is stated that out of 435 acres inclosed before 1870 under the General Inclosure Acts an allotment of 2 acres was made to the churchwardens and overseers, and another of 5 acres for the labouring poor, charged with a rent of £10 a year to the lord of the manor. The former plot is now used as a recreation ground, and the latter is divided into allotment gardens.
  • 3. Including 2,761½ of tidal water, according to the ordnance map of 1848. The Census Rep. of 1901 gives the area as 3,662 acres (including 8 of inland water), with 79 acres of tidal water and 1,130 of foreshore. The difference, over 1,500 acres, is due to the inclosures recorded above.
  • 4. Statistics from Bd. of Agric. (1905).
  • 5. 'In the summer season Hesketh used to be a place of considerable resort for bathing and marine recreations, and the visitors were plentifully supplied with salmon and flounders taken near the mouth of the rivers. The grazing of sheep also was carried on to a great extent on the marshes. All this, however, has been changed by the new embankment' of the Ribble Navigation; Baines, Lancs. (ed. 1870), ii, 133.
  • 6. Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 6. The gift, therefore, belongs to the earlier part of the 12th century. As in the case of other Vilers manors in Leyland, Hesketh was claimed or held by Robert de Hephale in 1324; Dods. MSS. cxxxi, fol. 44.
  • 7. It is named in the list of the Hospitallers' lands in 1292; Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 375.
  • 8. About 1540 the holders were Richard Banastre for one moiety and Henry Beconsaw for the other; Kuerden MSS. v, fol. 83b.
  • 9. William son of John de Beconsaw occurs in 1246; Assize R. 404, m. 3 d. One Henry de Pool in 1292 confirmed to Robert son of Richard de Hesketh land in Hesketh adjoining that held by William son of William de Hesketh for a rent of 2d.; Towneley MS. C 8, 13, P 57. The grantor may be the Henry de Beconsaw of 1300; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 305. Thomas de Beconsaw attested a Croston charter in 1310; Add. MS. 32104, no. 66. Henry son of Adam de Beconsaw in 1318 claimed the moiety of the manor of Becconsall against Cecily daughter of Ellen de Worsley; De Banco R. 225, m. 405 d. Against Henry de Beconsaw in 1326 the prior of the Hospitallers claimed a messuage and plough-land in Becconsall, called 'a moiety of the manor' in later suits; ibid. 264, m. 114 d.; 270, m. 72 d.; 279, m. 180 d.; 293, m. 322. There was, as appears above, a Hesketh family also in the township, ancestors probably of the Heskeths of Rufford. Stephen de Hesketh occurs in 1301 (Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 310); and in 1349 William son of Stephen de Hesketh granted all his messuages and lands in the vill of Becconsall and Hesketh to Henry de Beconsaw; and William son of William de Hesketh confirmed to Henry three selions of his land in the Bankfield and a house with curtilage in the vill at a rent of 4d.; Towneley MS. HE, Edw. III, no. 14, 15. Henry de Beconsaw appears as plaintiff in 1356–7; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 5, m. 20; 6, m. 9. It was, no doubt, this Henry who by the agency of Adam vicar of Leyland made a settlement of his manor and lands in Becconsall and elsewhere, which is cited in pleadings of 1540–1, where the pedigree is traced as follows: Henry -s. Adam -s. Robert -s. Henry -s. George -s. Edward -s. Henry -d. Dorothy; Duchy Plead. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 140. Adam de Beconsaw occurs as a witness to deeds in 1380–3; Add. MS. 32104, no. 75, 1643. He is probably the Adam murdered at Rufford in 1399; see the account of Rufford. Henry de Beconsaw appears immediately afterwards, complaining, perhaps in connexion with Adam's death, of maiming, &c., by Nicholas son of Thomas de Hesketh of Rufford, Gilbert his brother, and others; Pal. of Lanc. Chan. Misc. 1/8, m. 12. The preceding pedigree is imperfect, omitting the Henry last-named, who is duly inserted as son of Adam and father of Robert in another pleading of the time; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 173, m. 8 d. Henry Beconsaw is said to have married Elizabeth daughter of Ralph de Standish (d. c. 1418), by whom he had a son Robert living in 1450; MS. Pedigree book in possession of W. Farrer. Robert Beconsaw was a surety in 1429; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 2, m. 27. Henry Beconsaw attested deeds as late as 1488; Add. MS. 32104, no. 1399. George appears ten or eleven years later; ibid. no. 1564, 22. John Beconsaw in 1504 granted to feoffees, including Robert Beconsaw, clerk, all his lands in Lancashire; Add. MS. 32107, no. 1297.
  • 10. Visit. (Chet. Soc.), 129; his sons were Henry, Adam and Robert, and there were three daughters.
  • 11. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. viii, no. 30. This recites a settlement made in 1515 in favour of his wife Elizabeth daughter of Henry Banastre of Bank, and a further settlement in 1533, to enable his feoffees (of whom Adam Beconsaw LL.D. was one) to fulfil his will. Emma widow of Henry Beconsaw and Margaret widow of George Beconsaw were living.
  • 12. Duchy Plead. ii, 140–6. Henry died in March 1538, and his daughter was born afterwards, Joan the widow being guardian. Adam was to have all the lands entailed on the heirs male.
  • 13. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. ix, no. 36. There were two windmills at Becconsall and Hesketh.
  • 14. Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 14, m. 184, 229.
  • 15. In 1555 Sir Thomas Hesketh of Rufford purchased from Anthony Browne, Chief Justice (see Foss's Judges), and Joan his wife various lands, &c., in Hesketh, Becconsall and Much Hoole; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 16, m. 173. In a later deed this is called the 'manor' of Becconsall; Towneley MS. C 8 13, B 309. A pleading of 1551 shows that George son of Adam Beconsaw had died without issue, so that Dorothy became heir of the manor and the whole estate, but a certain Richard Beconsaw claimed as heir male. It also shows that Joan wife of Anthony Browne was Dorothy's mother and guardian. See Duchy of Lanc. Plead. Edw. VI, xxviii, B 14. Another pleading shows that Joan was daughter and heir of William son and heir-apparent of Sir Henry Farington; ibid. Hen. VIII, B 18. From Ulnes Walton court rolls at Worden it appears that Joan wife of Sir Anthony Browne died before 1578, and that Dorothy wife of Edmund Huddleston was her daughter and heir. See the account of Farington. In 1561 Sir Thomas Hesketh purchased the manor of Hesketh and Becconsall and various lands from Edmund Huddleston and Dorothy his wife; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 23, m. 189. His title was thus secured, and in the inquisition after his death (1588) it is recorded that he held the moiety of the manor of Hesketh and Becconsall of the queen as of the lately dissolved house of St. John of Jerusalem in England; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xv, no. 56. In that after his son Robert's death in 1620 the 'manor' of Hesketh-cum-Becconsall is recorded, but the service is not mentioned; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), iii, 351, 356. By the will of Sir Thomas Hesketh the hall and demesne lands of Becconsall were given to his third son Richard; Add. MS. 32104, no. 1. Richard afterwards suffered as a traitor, but in 1628 one Nicholas Hesketh, a convicted recusant, was the only landowner in the township contributing to the subsidy; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 165.
  • 16. Adam Banastre in 1208 held half a plough-land (i.e. half the manor), and granted a moiety of it to Sibyl and Amiria, daughters of William, to hold by a rent of 2s. 6d. William son of Henry held part of the same half-plough-land, but the sisters' moiety was to be quite distinct from his part; Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 32. Adam Banastre confirmed to William son of Henry de Hesketh part of his land in the vill of Becconsall and Hesketh, with common of pasture and other liberties, at a rent of 12d.; Towneley MS. C 8, 13 (Chet. Lib.), B 314. John de Hesketh was a witness. Richard Banastre in 1246 claimed 4 acres in Becconsall from William son of Henry and William son of John de Beconsaw, but failed; Assize R. 404, m. 3 d. William son of Henry de Eskehagh occurs in 1258–9; Orig. R. 43 Hen. III, m. 6. Adam de Hesketh paid 2s. to the subsidy of 1332, and eight other tenants each paid 1s.; Exch. Lay Subs. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 42. Thomas son of Adam Banastre in 1279 claimed 2 oxgangs of land and 4s. 6d. rent in Becconsall and Hesketh from Adam son of Richard Banastre; De Banco R. 29, m. 27 d. John son of Adam Banastre in 1304 claimed a moiety of the manor, &c., against Richard son of Adam Banastre; ibid. 152, m. 215 d.
  • 17. In 1526 the estate is described merely as four messuages, &c., in Becconsall and Hesketh; but in 1555 as the moiety of the manor, together with the advowson of the chapel, held of the queen as of the late priory of St. John in socage by the rent of 5s.; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. vi, no. 34; x, no. 37. Henry Banastre in 1597 purchased a messuage, &c., in Hesketh and Becconsall from Ralph Rose, Elizabeth his wife, William Leatherbarrow and Elizabeth his wife; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 58, m. 181.
  • 18. Six messuages, &c., the advowson of the chapel and a free fishery in the waters of Ribble and Asland in Becconsall and Hesketh were held by Henry Banastre, who died in 1641, by the old rent of 5s.; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xxix, no. 15. It is possible that this moiety also was acquired by the Heskeths of Rufford, as nothing further is recorded of it.
  • 19. Subs. R. Lancs. bdle. 130, no. 126.
  • 20. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. x, no. 42. Hugh Thornton sold one messuage in 1559 to John Clayton, and settled the remainder of his estate in Hesketh, Becconsall and Maghull upon his son John in the following year; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 21, m. 105; 22, m. 70. Henry Banastre claimed messuages, &c., against Hugh Thornton and others in 1561, and in 1562 and later John Thornton was plaintiff against John Clayton; Ducatus Lanc. ii, 238, 234, 304. The residence was a 'capital messuage' known as Thornton's House. John Thornton mortgaged or sold the estate, and his son Thomas attempted to recover it in 1580; Duchy of Lanc. Plead. Eliz. cxiv, T 5. Thomas Thornton died in 1615 holding three messuages, &c., in Becconsall and Hesketh of Robert Hesketh and Henry Banastre; John, his son and heir, was twenty-one years of age (perhaps in 1629, the date of the inquisition); Towneley MS. C 8, 13 (Chet. Lib.), p. 1185.
  • 21. Robert Cowdrey, tenant of Sir Thomas Hesketh, complained in 1561 that having made a little cabin on the sand by the Asland 'to well salt in the same,' he had been assaulted and his saltcote destroyed. He stated that the lords of the town had agreed that their tenants having land adjoining the salt water should take the sands for salt-making; Duchy of Lanc. Plead. Eliz. xlviii, C 6. On the other side Henry Banastre in 1565 complained that whereas he and Sir Thomas Hesketh were lords of the manor of Hesketh and Becconsall, and so were seised of a moiety of the sands as part of the waste (not divided), one of his tenants had been disturbed in his saltmaking, after gathering 'a stack of salt sand containing 500 cart loads to the value of £5'; ibid. lxii, B 1. An agreement as to the various disputes between Hesketh and Banastre was made in 1573; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 233, m. 9.
  • 22. Nicholas Hesketh compounded for the sequestered two-thirds of his estate, but no sum is named. William Jump was to pay £3 6s. 8d. a year. See Trans. Hist. Soc. (new ser.), xxiv, 177, 179.
  • 23. Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 223.
  • 24. Cal. Com. for Comp. iv, 3097.
  • 25. Subs. R. 250, no. 9 (hearth tax).
  • 26. Estcourt and Payne, Engl. Cath. Non-jurors, 107, 109. Henry Banister, usually known as Rutter, was born at Hesketh Bank in 1755 and educated at Douay. He served as a priest on the English mission till his death in 1838, and was the author of a number of theological works. See Gillow, Bibl. Dict. of Engl. Cath. v, 458; in the same work (i, 123) is a notice of his uncle Robert Banister, also a Douay priest.
  • 27. Raines, Chantries (Chet. Soc.), 170. The chaplain in 1535 (Valor Eccl. v, 232) and 1547 was Robert Smith. The endowment was derived from lands in Preston and elsewhere. The place was poorly furnished with a chalice, two vestments and mass book.
  • 28. Edmund Hodgson, 'decrepit,' appeared as curate of Becconsall at the visitation of 1563, but this seems to have been temporary only, as he disappeared before 1565. The chapel is not mentioned at all in the report compiled about 1610; Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 11. It is named in that of 1650, but no minister or endowment is recorded; the commissioners advised that a separate parish should be made; Commonw. Ch. Surv. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 110. In 1658 it was advised that Hesketh should be joined with Tarleton to form an independent parish, but this was not carried out; Plund. Mins. Accts. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 260.
  • 29. See the inquisitions above cited.
  • 30. Gastrell, Notitia Cestr. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 362.
  • 31. Ibid. in the note.
  • 32. Ibid.
  • 33. Ibid.
  • 34. Manch. Dioc. Dir.
  • 35. From the church papers in Chester Dioc. Registry.
  • 36. Also rector of Croston; he was presented a second time in 1824. In 1821 it was reported to the Bishop of Chester that there was service every Sunday, morning and afternoon, a sermon being preached in the morning. The sacrament was administered four times a year.
  • 37. Presented by H. Kirkman, trustee for Philip O'Brien.
  • 38. Hewitson, Our Country Churches, 265. The first chapel was an old cart-house; a better building was erected in 1843, replaced by a larger one in 1871.
  • 39. Nightingale, Lancs. Nonconf. ii, 36, 41.
  • 40. An official report was made in 1898, with a reprint of that of 1826.
  • 41. The share of Hesketh in 1897 was £3 6s. 11d.; the rector and churchwardens distribute it.
  • 42. See the account of Croston charities. The amount received in 1894 was £11 19s. 3d.; it was expended on Bibles, hymn-books, &c., distributed by the rector.