Townships: Wilpshire

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

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'Townships: Wilpshire', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6, (London, 1911) pp. 334-336. British History Online [accessed 19 April 2024]

In this section


Wlipschyre, 1246; Wlipshire, xiii-xiv cent.; Wylpshire, 1396.

The township was anciently united with Dinckley to form one vill, but has been reckoned a separate township for over two centuries. The land rises from 240 ft. above the ordnance datum at the northern corner where the township boundary meets those of Billington and Salesbury to the summit of Wilpshire Moor 770 ft. above mean sea level. A spur of this hill extends towards the south-west and slopes down steeply to Showley Brook, the boundary against Ramsgreave. In the south-eastern half of the township the subsoil consists of the Millstone Grit, in the north-western half of the Yoredale Rocks; the soil is of clay. The land consists of meadow and pasture with bent grass and heath on Wilpshire Moor. (fn. 1) The area is 1,002 acres, and the population in 1901 numbered 594 persons. (fn. 2)

The main road from Blackburn to Clitheroe passes through the township, and to this is due the erection here of many good residences belonging to people engaged in business in Blackburn. The Bolton, Blackburn and Hellifield line of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company also intersects the township with a station called Wilpshire in the southern and residential district. There are no manufactories, the population other than the residential part of it being engaged in agriculture. The links of the Wilpshire and District Golf Club occupy the south-western spur of Wilpshire Moor.

The township is governed by a parish council and was included in the district chapelry of St. Peter, Salesbury, in 1872 (fn. 3); the village is distant about half a mile from the church. The Blackburn Orphanage, erected in 1891 and enlarged in 1896, will now accommodate sixty-five children.

Anciently the township, including the hamlet of Dinckley, was rated as a plough-land, of which 4 oxgangs of land lay in the hamlet. In 1332 the township paid 9s. 2½d. upon the collection of a fifteenth and tenth; in the 17th century 8s. was paid for the fifteenth.

The hearth tax return of 1666 records only one house with as many as four hearths; there were twenty-three hearths taxed. (fn. 4)


At the commencement of the 13th century the manor was held by two thegns, Siward and Swain, by the service of 4s. Richard son of Siward de Wlipscire was living in the time of John de Lacy, constable of Chester (1213–32), and was the father of Adam called 'Le Louerd,' one of the free tenants of the town who in 1258 were parties to an arbitrament with the free tenants of Salesbury touching the boundaries between the two places. (fn. 5) Richard son of Adam, called de Fernihurst, appears to have predeceased his father without issue, and the estate passed to his kinsman Henry son of Gilbert son of Simon son of Siward, being held of Robert de Bolton, ancestor of the Boltons of Loveley Hall in Salesbury, who at this time did suit at the court of Clitheroe as chief tenant of a fourth part of the manor. (fn. 6) Gilbert son of Simon was one of the free tenants party to the arbitrament of 1258 and had a numerous progeny holding lands here, parts of which were afterwards acquired by the Clitheroe family, whilst half an oxgang of land which Siward had given to his son Simon father of Gilbert appears to have passed to Bernard de le Hacking, who held such a tenement of the Earl of Lincoln in 1311. This probably descended with the estate of Hacking in Billington in the family of Shuttleworth. (fn. 7)

Swain de Wilpshire, who held another portion of the manor, was the father of Robert, eldest of five sons. To him Richard son of Siward gave lands here before 1246 bearing 10d. yearly thegnage rent. (fn. 8) His lands passed to Adam son of his brother Henry, which Adam was one of the free tenants of the manor in 1258 and died without issue, having given land to Stanlaw Abbey of which the 'Hore-stone' and a 'rene' adjoining his 'wayne-gate' were two of the boundaries named. (fn. 9) Part of his estate was acquired by the Bolton family, of whom it was held by the Dewhursts. At the death of the Earl of Lincoln in 1311 the thegnage service of 4s. was rendered by Henry de Braddyll 15d., John son of Walter de Braddyll 12d., Henry de Bolton 12d., and Bernard de le Hacking 9d. (fn. 10)

The HALLHEAD (now Hollowhead) estate and lands, which formed part of the Loveley Hall demesne, descended in the Boltons (fn. 11) and their heirs general the Parkers (fn. 12) like the mesne manor of Loveley, in Salesbury, and now form part of Mr. E. A. Le Gendre Starkie's estate. (fn. 13)

DEWHURST was the residence of a family bearing that name who were seated in this township for more than four centuries. Robert de le Deuhihurst was settled here at the beginning of the reign of Edward I and was impleaded in 1277 with his neighbours by David de Wilpshire for trespassing on his lands. (fn. 14) He died before 1281, leaving sons Roger and Henry, who both died without male issue before 1320. Their kinsman Adam de Dewhurst contributed to the subsidy levied in 1332 and was in 1335 holding his estate here of Henry son of John son of Walter de Braddyll with 15d. free rent, when the latter gave certain tenements and this service to Robert son of Adam de Clitheroe, kt., in exchange for tenements here called Couhillands and Blakeflatt. (fn. 15) Roger del Dewehirst paid poll tax in 1379. In 1447 John Dewhurst of Dewhurst, gent., and Henry his brother were fined for taking too active a part in the Talbot and Hoghton disputes mentioned in the account of Salesbury. (fn. 16) John Dewhurst of Dewhurst died in 1547, leaving issue William the father of John Dewhurst, who married Grace daughter of John and heir to her grandfather Henry Boys of Boyshouse in Ribchester (fn. 17) and conveyed his estates in Wilpshire, Salesbury and Clayton-le-Dale to trustees in 1574. (fn. 18) William Dewhurst petitioned in 1646 to compound for his delinquency in arms, having surrendered to Lord Fairfax. In 1649 he recovered possession of his estates by payment of a sixth of the value amounting to £186. (fn. 19) His successor John Dewhurst in 1662 paid a free rent of 13½d. to the lord of Clitheroe for lands called Dewhurst. Representatives of the family are still living in the district, but the estate is now the property of the Chorlton and Manchester Joint Asylums Committee, who have an epileptic colony at Langho in the next township.

CARR HALL.—This messuage formed part of the estate of the Cunliffes of Cunliffe in Billington and passed after the death of Roger Cunliffe temp. Henry IV to his daughter and heir Ellen, the wife of Peter Talbot, a younger son of Richard Talbot of Slaidburn. Their descendant Stephen Talbot, living in 1481, was grandfather of Nicholas, who died in 1547 seised of lands in Wilpshire, Billington, Salesbury, Mitton and Tadcaster. His estate in Tadcaster descended to his daughter Margaret by his first wife Agnes daughter of Lawrence Shuttleworth of Gawthorpe. She married Robert Aspden. The remainder of the estate including Carr descended to his son George Talbot by a second marriage, who died in 1629, aged eighty-eight. (fn. 20) His son John married Dorothy daughter of Edward Braddyll of Portfield, by whom he had Edward Talbot, who probably sold the estate. George Talbot's estate at Carr was sequestered for 'delinquency' by the Parliament in the Civil War. (fn. 21) In 1662 John Braddyll paid 3d. free rent for his lands called Carr. (fn. 22) The estate is now the property of Mr. G. E. A. H. Petre of Dunkenhalgh.

A Wesleyan chapel was built in the village in 1887.


  • 1. The agricultural returns give arable land 1½ acres, permanent grass 822 acres, woodlands 4 acres.
  • 2. New survey 1,004 acres, of which 1 is inland water; Census Rep. 1901.
  • 3. Lond. Gaz. 20 Sept. 1842.
  • 4. Lay Subs. Lancs. bdle. 250, no. 9.
  • 5. Towneley MS. DD, no. 2113, 1131. With David de Wilpshire he defended a plea in 1284 brought by Henry de Bolton; Assize R. 1265, m. 4 d.
  • 6. Towneley MS. DD, no. 2122, 2125. Adam enfeoffed Gilbert of his lands (ibid. 1123), and confirmed his grandfather's gift of ½ oxgang and 10 acres in Fernyhurst under 9d. thegnage rent to his son Simon father of Gilbert.
  • 7. Ibid. no. 1121. Henry son of Gilbert gave land in Fernyhurst to Adam son of Hugh de Clitheroe and Roger son of the same. Henry in 1316 gave the service of 6d. of Robert del Hey, whose daughter Alice released her estate to Robert de Clitheroe in 1364; ibid. no. 1112, 1124, 2102. In 1316 Robert brother of the same Roger gave to Adam de Clitheroe lands lying between Halleheved and Staneyerd in width, and between Hesemore and Wlypshiregge in length; ibid. 1115, 2056.
  • 8. The land adjoined (east) Robert's ridding, (west) Ralph's ridding, (south) the croft of Henry son of Swain and (north) land of William de Bradil; ibid. 1119. Henry son of Swain gave to his brother Robert land bounded by (west) Romisike, (east) Egginsike. Alan the clerk, then seneschal of John de Lacy constable of Chester, attests the grant; ibid. 2113.
  • 9. Whalley Couch. (Chet. Soc.), i, 128.
  • 10. Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 12. John son of Walter de Braddyll died before 1329 holding a messuage in Wilpshire. His heir was his son Walter, aged thirty-four; Inq. p.m. 3 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 37.
  • 11. Robert son of Gilbert the Miller of Wilpshire released lands, &c., in Wilpshire to Nicholas son of Richard de Bolton and Richard his brother; Kuerden fol. MS. 256. The estate of Henry de Bolton and Ellen his wife was in 1313 settled on Henry's heirs; Final Conc. ii, 17.
  • 12. Richard Parker of Salesbury was in possession of Hallhead, in right of inheritance, in 1568; Duchy of Lanc. Plead. Eliz. xxxvii, T 8. The depositions taken in 1570 show that there was a dispute with John Talbot respecting the Smithy Croft in Wilpshire and other parts of the Hallhead estate as Parker alleged. William Clayton of Little Harwood, aged ninety-eight, said he had known Smithy Croft for sixty years; before that it had been called Calf Croft. Richard Bolton had owned it and it had been assured to Margaret Clayton (sister of deponent), who married Richard Bolton's son and heir. Robert Bolton of Halifax, aged sixty-two, said his father was a smith and built the smithy which afterwards gave the name to the croft; deponent had been born at Hallhead and knew that his father paid the rent to a sister of William Clayton, who had married a Bolton and afterwards married Thomas Rishton. The Talbots alleged that James Halsall and Elizabeth his wife (to which Elizabeth lands came by descent from the Boltons) were tenants of land in the manor of Salesbury, and that she and her son Richard Parker accepted allotments in compensation for inclosures; Duchy of Lanc. Dep. 12 Eliz. no. 17. It was afterwards ordered that Richard Parker should hold Calf Croft until the defendant could produce better evidence; Decrees and Orders, xvi, 12–16 Eliz. (17 May 1571).
  • 13. In 1662 John Parker, gent., paid free rents to the lord of Clitheroe for his lands in Wilpshire called Loveley 8d., and for lands called Hallhead 18d. In 1331 Joan relict of William de Balderston gave lands in Clayton and Salesbury which she had of the gift of Richard son of Robert de Bolton and a tenement in Wilpshire called 'Halleheved' to Robert son of Richard de Bolton; Towneley MS. HH, no. 437.
  • 14. Ibid. DD, no. 1122, 1236; De Banco R. 18, m. 25.
  • 15. Towneley MS. DD, no. 1164, 1291; Exch. Lay Subs. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 84.
  • 16. Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 9, m. 8, 11 d.
  • 17. Kuerden folio MS. (Chet. Lib.), fol. 37.
  • 18. Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 36, m. 247.
  • 19. Cal. Com. for Comp. ii, 1089.
  • 20. Dods. MSS. cxlii, fol. 153. Thomas Talbot a younger son of George entered the English college at Rome in 1591 and joined the Society of Jesus in 1598. He was ordained and served on the Lancashire Mission, dying in 1652. He translated and published a Method of Prayer; Gillow, Bibl. Dict. of Engl. Cath. v, 537; Foley, Rec. S. J. vi, 187.
  • 21. Cal. Com. for Comp. iv, 3129.
  • 22. Clitheroe rental penes W. Farrer.