Townships: Little Hoole

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


'Townships: Little Hoole', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6, (London, 1911), pp. 153-154. British History Online [accessed 16 June 2024].

. "Townships: Little Hoole", in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6, (London, 1911) 153-154. British History Online, accessed June 16, 2024,

. "Townships: Little Hoole", A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6, (London, 1911). 153-154. British History Online. Web. 16 June 2024,

In this section


Little Hol, 1256; Little Hole, 1292.

Little Hoole is cut off from its southern partner, Much Hoole, by a small brook running west to the Douglas, which forms the boundary on that side. Another small brook bounds it on the north. The highest land, about 70 ft. above the sea, is at the eastern end, the surface sloping very gradually to the riverside. The area is 1,223 acres, (fn. 1) and there was a population of 501 in 1901.

The road from Ormskirk to Preston crosses the township from south to north, and has a branch going west to the river. The hamlet of Walmer Bridge is in the north, where the main road goes into Longton. The West Lancashire portion of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway from Preston to Southport runs through the western part of the township, where there is a station called Hoole.

The township is governed by a parish council.

The people are chiefly employed in agriculture, but there is a large cotton mill at Walmer Bridge.


The early history of the manor of LITTLE HOOLE is very obscure. It is supposed to have been part of the Warrington fee, (fn. 2) but was very early given to the Knights Hospitallers in alms, (fn. 3) and thus remained unnoticed. The earliest immediate holders took their surname from the place, (fn. 4) but it passed by 1250 to the Botelers of Rawcliffe, (fn. 5) who held it down to the 16th century, (fn. 6) paying a rent of 6d. to the Hospitallers. By Isabel, one of the daughters and heirs of John Butler, it passed to her daughter Anne Radcliffe of Winmarleigh, who married Sir Gilbert Gerard. (fn. 7) Their second son Radcliffe Gerard died in 1596 holding the manor of Little Hoole, with windmill, &c., of the queen by knights' service, and leaving a son and heir Charles, two years old. (fn. 8) In 1624 it was sold by Sir Charles Gerard and Penelope his wife to Thomas Edge. (fn. 9) The new purchaser died before the end of the year holding the manor and mill of the heirs of John son of Augustine de Hoole in socage by 1d. rent; his son and heir Richard was ten years old. (fn. 10) By the end of the century it appears to have been divided among Richard's heirs (fn. 11) and disappears from the records. Bridget, one of the heirs, who married Samuel Fellows, seems to have had this manor, and in 1783 Rice Fellows was the sole landowner in the township. (fn. 12) He was succeeded by Rice George Fellows of Edmonton, who died about 1848. Courts were held in his time, (fn. 13) but after his death the land was sold in lots. The manor was in 1870 said to be held by John McKean, a cotton manufacturer. (fn. 14) The lordship, considered to be joined with the possession of the old manor-house and certain land, was afterwards sold to the father and uncle of the present lord of the manor, Mr. Thomas Richard Wilkins of Longton. (fn. 15)

Cockersand Abbey had lands in Little Hoole. (fn. 16)

There is a Primitive Methodist chapel. (fn. 17) Thirty or forty years ago the Congregationalists had a preaching station at Walmer Bridge. (fn. 18)


  • 1. The Census Rep. of 1901 gives 1,236 acres; there are in addition 9 acres of tidal water and 12 of foreshore.
  • 2. Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 7.
  • 3. It occurs among the Hospitallers' lands in 1292; Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 375.
  • 4. It will be observed that in 1625 the manor was traditionally held of the heirs of John de Hoole. In 1292 Margery relict of Alan of Little Hoole was nonsuited in a claim for dower against Thomas de Singleton and Joan his wife; Assize R. 408, m. 29. John son and heir of John Passavent in 1323–4 recovered a tenement in Little Hoole against Richard Prior and Alice his wife, Roger Magson and Maud his wife, William de Fishwick and Margery his wife. The wives were sisters, each holding a third part; ibid. 425, m. 5.
  • 5. Agnes widow of Robert de Hoole quitclaimed to Richard le Boteler all her dower right in her husband's tenement; Dods. MSS. liii, fol. 95. The date is about 1246, Matthew de Redmayne being sheriff. In 1256 Richard le Boteler claimed half a plough-land in Little Hoole against John de la Mare, who granted it subject to a rent of ½ mark in addition to the services due to the chief lords of the fee; Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 124. Alice widow of William de Loxum released to Nicholas le Boteler in 1299 all right to her husband's lands in Little Hoole; Dods. MSS. liii, fol. 89. Nicholas had placed his mother Joan in possession of the manor; ibid. fol. 92b. Sir Nicholas le Boteler did not prosecute a claim he made in 1356 against William son of Robert de Radcliffe and others; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 4, m. 9 d. Probably it was a boundary dispute. The manor seems to have been in the possession of Robert de Urswick and Ellen his wife in 1378 (Final Conc. iii, 5), but in 1401 John Boteler of Rawcliffe and Agnes his wife granted the capital messuage to their son Nicholas and Margery his wife, daughter of Sir Richard de Kirkby; Dods. MSS. cxlix, fol. 115. Nicholas and Margery made a feoffment of it in 1423; Final Conc. iii, 88. In 1445–6 Nicholas and John Boteler held a plough-land in Little Hoole for the tenth part of a knight's fee, the relief due being 10s.; Duchy of Lanc. Knights' Fees, bdle. 2, no. 20. Various references to Nicholas and his son John occur in the plea rolls of 1442 onward; e.g. Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 5, m. 4; 6, m. 6; 10, m. 5. In 1462 John Boteler of Rawcliffe gave to Elizabeth wife of John son of Nicholas Boteler tenements in Little Hoole for life; Dods. MSS. liii, fol. 83b.
  • 6. See the Hospitallers' Rental, c. 1540, in Kuerden MSS. v, fol. 84. It is noteworthy that in 1505 James Butler is stated to have held 'the moiety of the manor of Great Hoole' of the Hospitallers in socage; it was worth clear £13 per annum; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iii, no. 109. It is Little Hoole only in a preceding inquisition; ibid. iii, no. 43, 45. The partition between Great and Little Hoole was made in 1552; Dods. MSS. liii, fol. 93b.
  • 7. John Butler died in 1534, leaving four daughters as co-heirs; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. vii, no. 4; viii, no. 8. The heir male was Nicholas Butler, who died about 1555 holding the manors of Great and Little Hoole; ibid. x, no. 4. A settlement was made in 1564 by Richard the son and heir of Nicholas, Little Hoole Manor being included; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 26, m. 253. Henry Butler as a landowner contributed to a subsidy in 1564; Subs. R. Lancs. bdle. 131, no. 210. The division between the representatives of John Butler was made in 1572, the manor of Little Hoole being assigned to Gilbert Gerard and Anne his wife in her right; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 33, m. 79; ibid. Plea R. 231, m. 8. Settlements were made of the manor of Little Hoole and tenements there by Gilbert Gerard and Anne his wife in 1583 and 1586; ibid. bdle. 45, m. 74; 48, m. 205. Hoole is named in the inquisition after Sir Gilbert's death (1593), but the tenure is not distinctly stated; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xvi, no. 2.
  • 8. Ibid. xvii, no. 18. Anne the widow of Sir Gilbert was in 1597 living at Little Hoole. The manor was held by the 200th part of a knight's fee. For the Gerard family see the accounts of Astley and Halsall.
  • 9. Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 105, no. 20. The sale included in addition to the manor twenty messuages, a windmill, cottages, gardens, &c., land, wood, heath, moss, moor and marsh.
  • 10. Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), iii, 460. Bridget widow of Thomas Edge appears to have married Daniel Shetterton, and in 1649 Richard Edge obtained the manor of Little Hoole from Daniel and Bridget; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 146, m. 164. Thomas Edge was a London merchant and his son Richard is described as 'of Eltham, Kent'; Fishwick, Goosnargh, 152. Walter and Augustine de Hoole attested charters granted between 1232 and 1237; Croxteth D. The former was of Much Hoole.
  • 11. In 1690 Thomas Edge sought two parts of the manor of Little Hoole (into four parts divided) against Joseph Edge and Samuel Fellows and Bridget his wife; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 225, m. 49. In 1695 Thomas Wade and Susan his wife held a fourth part of the manor; ibid. bdle. 234, m. 8. Then in 1698 James Edge claimed a fourth part against John Pembroke and Elizabeth his wife; ibid. bdle. 241, m. 42. Bridget, Susan and Elizabeth were probably the daughters of Richard Edge.
  • 12. Land tax return at Preston.
  • 13. Raines in Notitia Cestr. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 377.
  • 14. Baines, Lancs. (ed. 1870), ii, 122.
  • 15. Information of Mr. Wilkins.
  • 16. Cockersand Chartul. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 448–57. Walter de Hoole gave the 'great land' on Aldfield, the 'long land' in Waldmure bridge (Walmer bridge), two 'lands' on Merefield next to those which Waltheof de Poulton gave to St. John, another 'land' on Middlefield, and many other parcels. John son of Ravenkil de Hutton released to the canons the land he held of them. Waltheof de Poulton was also a benefactor, giving land in Wride furlong, Rainbohs, Hamdlands, Waldsmoor furlong, Crookland, Wet furlong and Bean furlong. William son of Waltheof added another piece.
  • 17. The first chapel was built in 1854, the present in 1894.
  • 18. Nightingale, Lancs. Nonconf. ii, 40.