Townships: Welch Whittle

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

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'Townships: Welch Whittle', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6, (London, 1911) pp. 203-204. British History Online [accessed 25 April 2024]

In this section


Withull, 1221; Walse Wytill, 1288; Walshe Whythille, 1292; Walshe Quithill, 1314.

The township takes its distinguishing epithet from the Waleys or Walsh family, whose principal estate was at Aughton, near Ormskirk. It has an area of 596½ acres. (fn. 1) The western boundary is formed by the Syd Brook, which flows north. The surface rises eastward from this brook, with many undulations, heights of 275 ft. being attained on the southern border and 250 ft. in the centre. There is no village; the hamlet of Whittle Green is near the north-west corner. The population in 1901 numbered 105.

The road from Wigan to Preston cuts through the edge of the township; from it Mill Lane leads west to the green, the brook and the mill. There are mineral railways, serving the collieries.

In 1666 there were twenty-four hearths chargeable to the tax; no house had more than two hearths. (fn. 2)


As a member of the barony of Penwortham WELCH WHITTLE was, with Shevington and Charnock, granted to Randle son of Roger, and descended to Ferrers and the 'lords of Leylandshire,' as described under Shevington. (fn. 3) A subordinate manor, assessed as 4 oxgangs, was held by Gilbert son of Reinfred, and descended to his son, William de Lancaster. (fn. 4) It was given as part of her marriage portion to Alice wife of Roger de Leicester, (fn. 5) and sold before 1221 to Richard le Waleys of Uplitherland. (fn. 6) Not long afterwards it was held by the Sankey family, from whom it descended to the Torbocks, (fn. 7) but was by Henry de Torbock in 1365 given to Geoffrey de Wrightington, apparently as a reward for his share in securing the verdict of the jury in the great contest for the family estates waged between Henry and Sir William Carles. (fn. 8) Later it descended like Wrightington. (fn. 9)

Torbock. Or, an eagle's leg erased at the thigh gules, on a chief indented azure three plates.

The Hospitallers had land in the township. (fn. 10)

But little appears as to the earlier residents in the place. (fn. 11) James Halsall had the hall of Welch Whittle in the time of Henry VIII. (fn. 12) The Hoghtons of Park Hall had land in the township. (fn. 13) Ownership in the soil became very much subdivided; in 1798 the principal contributors to the land tax were Peter Mawdesley, John Whalley, Robert Hervey and William Dicconson, together paying less than a third of the sum levied. (fn. 14)


  • 1. 596, including 1 of inland water; Census Rep. 1901.
  • 2. Subs. R. Lancs. bdle. 250, no. 9.
  • 3. See the account of Shevington. In this way the township comes to be named in the Hoghton inquisitions; e.g. Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 127.
  • 4. This is inferred from the fact that William, as son of Gilbert, was called to warrant Richard le Waleys in 1220; Curia Regis R. 74, m. 22; 76, m. 21.
  • 5. Roger de Leicester, with the consent of Alice his wife, of whose marriage portion it was, gave 4 acres in Whittle to Cockersand Abbey, 3 being in Withinhead and 1 in the town field; Cockersand Chartul. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 511.
  • 6. Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 43. Alice was then the wife of Adam le Arbalaster, and Richard had acquired the land by grant of her former husband, Roger de Leicester. The Waleys family had but a short tenure; in a grant of land in Aughton John le Waleys is called 'of Whittle.'
  • 7. In a plea of 1301 it was found that Jordan de Sankey had held Welch Whittle, and it had descended to his son Robert, who granted to Henry de Torbock and Ellen his wife, Robert's sister; Ellen granddaughter of Henry was the holder in 1301; Assize R. 418, m. 4 d. The charter of Robert son of Jordan de Sankey, which may be dated about 1250, is preserved in Kuerden MSS. iii, C 36 d. He granted to Henry de Torbock the whole manor of Whittle, with all his wood of Fulwood, and the services of John son of Felicia, Thomas de Pierpoint and Robert de Heskin, together with lands in Coppull. The service to be rendered was 1d., or a pair of white gloves yearly. Robert de Lathom, 'then sheriff,' was the first witness. Robert de Sankey in 1288 held Welch Whittle of William de Ferrers by a rent of 7s. 8d.; Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 270. In 1292 Robert son of Roger de Sankey claimed the manor of Welch Whittle against Henry de Torbock and Ellen his wife, but was non-suited; Assize R. 408, m. 55; see also De Banco R. 145, m. 49 d. The same Robert in 1308–9 released to Ellen Lady of Tarbock and her heirs all claim to the manor; Kuerden MSS. ii, fol. 266b. In 1313–14 Adam de Tunstall failed in his claim of a messuage and land in Welch Whittle against Ellen de Torbock and John Page; Assize R. 424, m. 1 d. The daughters of Sir Richard de Torbock in 1337 claimed it against Sir Thomas de Lathom; Assize R. 1424, m. 11 d. In 1339 Margaret and her husband Henry Russell claimed dower in the manor of Welch Whittle against Adam de Wetenhale, rector of Woodchurch, and against Emma daughter of Geoffrey de Byron; De Banco R. 318, m. 151. The manor was included in a settlement of the Torbock possessions in 1354; Final Conc. ii, 139. See the account of Tarbock.
  • 8. The grants are in Kuerden fol. MS. p. 140; and in his vol. ii, fol. 266 Henry de Torbock for life demised all the messuages, lands and tenements inherited from his father in Welch Whittle, Wrightington and Coppull to Geoffrey de Wrightington 'for his good service,' Geoffrey paying also a sum of money. Sir William Carles released all actions to Geoffrey de Wrightington in 1368; and John Carles in 1390–1, recognizing that Geoffrey was in possession of the manor of Welch Whittle and lands, relinquished all his claim. Sir Henry de Torbock in 1414 released all his claim to the manor to Robert son of Geoffrey de Wrightington.
  • 9. It is mentioned in Wrightington and Dicconson settlements. Thomas Wrightington died in 1544 holding the manor of Welch Whittle, twelve messuages, a water-mill, &c., in the same township of the Earl of Derby, Lord Mounteagle, and Sir Richard Shireburne in socage by a rent of 7s. 10d.; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. vii, no. 26. The manor is named in a settlement by John Wrightington in 1574; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 36, m. 3. Also in one by Edward Dicconson and Mary his wife in 1723; ibid. bdle. 291, m. 126. Some Wrightington pleas respecting Welch Whittle are named in the Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), i, 125, &c., in the reigns of Henry VII and VIII. John son of Thomas Wrightington in 1543 leased the Blackfields, Holms and Carrditch crofts to Thomas Johnson son of John Nicholson of Charnock; Kuerden MSS. iii, W 29, no. 3.
  • 10. Henry son of Benedict about 1270 gave an acre in Whittle lying between Black Hate Brook and Cold Hill to the hospital of Jerusalem; a rent of 6d. was to be paid; Agecroft D. 352. The estate is named among the Hospitallers' lands in 1292; Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 375. The rental compiled about 1540 shows that Thomas Wrightington held a messuage at a rent of 12d. and Thomas Gorsuch another, paying 18d.; Kuerden MSS. v, fol. 84.
  • 11. William de Sutton in 1312–13 released to Ellen de Torbock the mill and pool of Whittle; Kuerden MSS. iii, W 26b. Thomas de Sutton contributed to the subsidy of 1332; Exch. Lay Subs. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 53. These may have been ancestors of the Suttons, afterwards of Gorsuch in Scarisbrick, and then of the Gorsuch family. Gilbert Sutton, who died about 1517, held land of the Hospitallers by a rent of 12d.; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. v, no. 67 (Lancs. Tenures MS.). James Gorsuch in 1601 made a settlement of his manor and lands, including some in Welch Whittle, Coppull, &c.; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 63, no. 94. See also Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xxix, no. 58. There is a description of the Gorsuch tenement, which lay near Whittle Moss, in S. P. Dom. Interreg. G. 58 A, fol. 526; the lease to the occupier excepted 'all timber trees of oak or ash, all mines, quarries, and pits of coal, cannel, stone, slate, or any metal.' The Pierpoints occur also in Shevington. Thomas de Pierpoint in 1380–1 demised a capital messuage and land called the Wynhalgh, in Welch Whittle, to Geoffrey Almery of Wrightington for a term; Kuerden MSS. ii, fol. 266b, no. 15.
  • 12. In Pal. of Lanc. Sessional Papers, temp. Henry VIII, is a list of the lands of James Halsall at his death, beginning with the hall of Welch Whittle, with lands there, and in Shevington, Coppull, &c. This was the result of a partition in 1455–6 between John and Thomas Halsall; Kuerden MSS. iii, W 28, no. 7. James Halsall's lands were forfeited for felonies and murders; Thomas Wrightington managed to obtain possession, but the sheriff afterwards took them; Duchy of Lanc. Plead. Hen. VII, ii, W 19.
  • 13. See the account of Charnock Richard, and Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdles. 43, m. 136; 44, m. 219.
  • 14. Land tax returns at Preston.