Townships: Worston

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

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'Townships: Worston', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6, (London, 1911), pp. 373-375. British History Online [accessed 16 June 2024].

. "Townships: Worston", in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6, (London, 1911) 373-375. British History Online, accessed June 16, 2024,

. "Townships: Worston", A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6, (London, 1911). 373-375. British History Online. Web. 16 June 2024,

In this section


Wrtheston, 1241; Wrthiston, 1258; Wurtheston, Wurston, 1301–2.

This township occupies part of the north-western slope of Pendle Hill, the altitudes varying from about 350 ft. to 1,650 ft. above sea level; and on the northern boundary there rises another hill to a height of 725 ft. The hamlet of Worston is near the western end; Angram Green lies to the southeast, and Worsaw End to the north-east. With an area of 1,090 acres there was in 1901 a population of 95.

Through Worston hamlet passes a road from Chatburn to Whalley. The land is mostly in pasture. The soil is clay, overlying rock.

There is a parish meeting.

In 1584 it was presented at the wapentake court that there were no stocks at Worston.

The hearth tax return of 1666 shows that there were thirty-two hearths liable; there were four houses having as many as three hearths. (fn. 1)


Like Chatburn WORSTON was part of the demesne of the honor of Clitheroe, and the halmote courts were held together for Pendleton, Worston and Chatburn. (fn. 2) The township was assessed as two plough-lands, (fn. 3) and at one time more than half seems to have been in the hands of free tenants. In 1241 John de Lacy had rents of 33s. 3d., a pair of gloves, and two harriers' collars from Worston (fn. 4); and the details given in 1258 show that Sir Robert de Chester held one plough-land rendering the pair of gloves, Wyot (or Guy) de Worston held half an oxgang of land rendering the two collars, and one Thomas held an oxgang paying 18d.; the rest (6 oxgangs) was held by seven other men, who paid 35s. 6d. in all. (fn. 5) Sir Robert's moiety probably reverted to the lord at his death, for in 1311 Henry de Lacy held 13 oxgangs of lands in demesne, each oxgang rendering 2s. a year, while eight free tenants, including Adam son of Wyot and Hugh son of Thomas, held 7 oxgangs of land and 18 acres; the total value was 91s. 6d. (fn. 6) The water-mill was then worth 13s. 4d. a year. (fn. 7)

By 1322 the tenures had in some cases been changed, for there were five free tenants, each holding an oxgang of land by the ninety-sixth part of a knight's fee. (fn. 8) Accounts rendered in 1324 show that the net value of the manor was £8 4s. 6½d.; rents came to £4 6s. 11½d., Adam Wyot gave his two collars, the demesne rendered £2 6s. 9½d., the watermill £1 8s. 10d., fines for entry, 4s.; and perquisites of the halmote, 11s. 11d.; while the outgoings included 13s. for two new wheels for the mill and other repairs. (fn. 9)

In a complaint as to the possession of a piece of land called Moor Butts, at the southern end of 'Worston Greyne,' in 1566, the defendant prayed 'for an inquiry by his country, viz. by twenty-four customary tenants of the queen's majesty of the old hold.' (fn. 10)

The hall having fallen almost entirely to decay was pulled down, and a small house built with the materials on its site. (fn. 11) This building has the appearance of three cottages thrown into one, with a projecting one-storied porch in front, (fn. 12) in which are built three stones with large shields said to have come from Sawley Abbey. The first bears a lion rampant, the second is quarterly France and England, and the third bears three luces. (fn. 13) Part of the front and side wall of what appears to have been a small forecourt remain, with a narrow gateway, in the head of which the date 1577 and the initials of Richard Greenacres, the builder of the house, may still be traced.

Assheton of Downham. Sable a mullet argent pierced of the field.

Much of the land being copyhold, as it still remains, there is little to be recorded of the tenants, though some of the tenements are noticed (fn. 14) in pleadings and inquisitions. The Greenacres family was of long standing there. (fn. 15) John Greenacres and John Taylor are named as the landowners in the Subsidy Roll of 1524 and the widow of John Greenacres in 1543. (fn. 16) Richard Greenacres died in 1578 holding a capital messuage in Worston, 30 acres of land, &c., of the queen as of her manor of Clitheroe in socage by a rent of 7s. 8d. His son John having died a few days earlier, the heir was Richard son of John, aged sixteen. (fn. 17) Richard Greenacres was a freeholder in 1600. (fn. 18) The estate descended to Assheton of Downham. The Shireburnes, (fn. 19) Tempests, (fn. 20) Kings, (fn. 21) and other tenants of 'oxgang land' are traceable through the court rolls. (fn. 22) Worston also occurs as a surname. (fn. 23) The abbeys of Sawley (fn. 24) and Whalley (fn. 25) had lands in Worston.

The land tax return of 1787 gives Thomas Dawson and Thomas York as chief owners.

There is a mission room in this township in connexion with Christ Church, Chatburn.


  • 1. Lay Subs. Lancs. bdle. 250, no. 9.
  • 2. For the printed rolls see the note in Chatburn. There is little of interest in the Worston entries. The township was fined for detention in 1324; Lancs. Ct. R. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 25. In 1544 various persons were fined for having built houses on their land at Worsaw and trespassed with their cattle on the west side of the moor contrary to ancient custom; Farrer, Clitheroe Ct. R. i, 141. A number of place-names can be collected, including Quatcroft, Holme, Hall Ing, Anggrome, Sholebroddes, and Trough of Hawoodhall.
  • 3. Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 216.
  • 4. Ibid. 156.
  • 5. Ibid. 216–17. Wyot's half oxgang should have been called a whole one. The charter granting it is recorded in Harl. MS. 2077. By it John de Lacy granted to Guy son of Thomas de Chorlton 1 oxgang of land in the vill of Worston with a toft and assarted land which the reeve had formerly held. The rent was to be two collars for harriers at the feast of St. Oswald. This deed was in the keeping of Richard Johnson in 1659. Ido (Wido) de Worston gave to his son Adam all his land in Worston; Towneley MS. DD, no. 420. It seems to have been held by Robert Dicconson in 1419; ibid. no. 421. Whitaker saw the charters to Guy and his son and states: 'They are contained in a small box apparently coeval with the older (and) are accompanied by two dog-collars which have evidently not been used'; Whalley, ii, 116. It is not stated whether the 'seven other men of the vill' were free tenants or not; if they were the whole of the township was then held freely.
  • 6. Lancs. Inq. and Extents, ii, 4. The free tenants, in addition to those named, were William le Heriz, 18 acres at 2s. rent; Thomas del Clough, 1 oxgang, 2s.; William son of Thomas and Hugh son of Ralph, the same; Hugyn, 1 oxgang, 3s. 6d.; Adam de Craven, 1 oxgang, 1d. There were thus 16 oxgangs (13 in the demesne and 3 held freely) which paid 2s. a year rent, and 4 others. The additional oxgangs may have been added from Chatburn or Downham. Tenants at will held 30 acres of the demesne arable land at 6d. an acre and 5 acres of meadow at 1s. each; six cottagers paid 6d. each for their cottages, and 48 acres more of arable land were held by tenants at will for 16s. in all. A list of the tenants in 1443 is printed by Farrer, op. cit. 501.
  • 7. Lancs. Inq. and Extents, ii, 4. In the 16th century the mill was held by the Waddington family; Farrer, op. cit. 24, &c. The miller was fined in 1508 because his 'multure dish' held a larger quantity than it ought to have done; ibid. 32. In 1528 the mill was in such ill repair that the tenants' corn could not be ground; ibid. 86.
  • 8. Lancs. Inq. and Extents, ii, 134. Of the five tenants four seem to be the same as four of those of 1311, viz. Hugh son of Ralph, Hugh son of Thomas, Thomas de Read (Clough) and William son of Thomas; while the other, William son of Hugh, was perhaps the son of the Hugyn of 1311. The tenures of the other free tenants had not been changed, as will be seen from the case of Adam Wyot.
  • 9. Ibid. 190; nothing had been received for merchet, lairwite or goods of natives deceased.
  • 10. Farrer, op. cit. 213.
  • 11. Raines' Notes to Nicholas Assheton's Journal, Chet. Soc. xiv (1847–8). The date of the demolition is not given, but is stated to have been 'long since.'
  • 12. Trans. Burnley Lit. and Scient. Club, ii, 120.
  • 13. Whitaker and Raines both say the stones came from Whalley Abbey and state that the lion is that of Lacy and the luces those of Whalley Abbey. But the lion is the bearing of Percy, and the three luces are the arms of Lucy which since the end of the 14th century have been quartered by the Percies. If the tradition that these sculptured shields came from Sawley is correct, the allusion that they make to William Percy the founder, although he certainly never displayed them, is obvious; and the quartered shield of France and England, though probably nothing more than the usual compliment to the reigning monarch, may perhaps be a reference to the Duke of Lancaster who was a benefactor to the abbey. See Note in Dobson's Rambles by the Ribble, i, 120.
  • 14. In 1301–2 Robert son of Adam son of Richard Kibbil of Worston claimed a messuage, &c., there against Hugh son of Ralph de Worston, but Hugh being under age the trial was deferred; De Banco R. 135, m. 97; 141, m. 127; 144, m. 273 d. Adam de Waker and Douce his wife in 1320 acquired land from Hugh son of Ralph Kibbil; Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 33. In 1342 John de Dinelay acquired a messuage from Richard del Lathes and Isabel his wife; ibid. ii, 115. Thomas Brotherton, mason, in 1502 obtained a messuage and 8 acres of land from Richard Curtes and Alice his wife; ibid. iii, 151.
  • 15. Lawrence de Greenacres in 1368 complained that various persons had cut down his trees at Worston; De Banco R. 432, m. 557 d. John de Greenacres was fined for building on a rood of land in 1377; Farrer, op. cit. i, 6. Henry de Greenacres died in 1398 holding a messuage, 10 acres of land, &c., in Worston of the duke by knight's service; also burgages in Clitheroe. His heir was a son Robert, aged eight; Towneley MS. DD, no. 1458. Richard Greenacres in 1507 held two messuages, 3½ oxgangs of oxgang-land, &c.; Farrer, op. cit. 21. John Greenacres follows; ibid. 31. He was one of the millers; ibid. 51. The sons and domestics of John Greenacres were fined in 1526 for grubbing hollies on Worston Common; ibid. 77. In 1516–17 Richard son of John Greenacres of Worston was contracted to marry Jane daughter of John Hoghton of Pendleton; Add. MS. 32104, no. 586. John died about 1528, his widow being named in 1531 (Farrer, op. cit. 94), and Richard Greenacres, later styled 'gentleman,' appears; ibid. 83, &c. He had a son and heir John in 1539; ibid. 122.
  • 16. Lay Subs. Lancs. bdle. 130, no. 82, 125.
  • 17. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xiv, no. 16; Richard had also burgages, &c., in Clitheroe and Preston. His sons were named in 1565 as John, Richard, Robert and Alexander. His will is in Towneley MS. C 8, 13 (Chet. Lib.), G 89. Richard Greenacres represented Clitheroe in the Parliament of 1571; Pink and Beaven, Parl. Repre. of Lancs. 248.
  • 18. Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 234. At Chester there are inventories for Richard Greenacres dated 1619 and for John 1622 and 1628. John Greenacres (d. 1622) left two sisters, Margaret (d. 1650) and Frances, of whom the latter became sole heiress. She married Nicholas Assheton of Downham; Whitaker, Whalley, ii, 116. The heir of Nicholas Assheton was a landowner in 1626; Lay Subs. Lancs. bdle. 131, no. 317.
  • 19. The Shireburnes had a rent in Worston in 1337; Final Conc. ii, 102. Their tenement is noticed in the Ct. rolls (Farrer, op. cit. 36, &c.), and in the inquisitions.
  • 20. Ibid. 28.
  • 21. Ibid. 15; William King held 2 oxgangs of land which passed to his son John in 1495.
  • 22. For instance, Nowell of Mearley, Pudsey, Dugdale and Dawson.
  • 23. William son of Hugh de Worston was plaintiff in 1333; De Banco R. 296, m. 194.
  • 24. Sir Richard Tempest and the Abbot of Sawley made an exchange of their oxgangs in 1529; Farrer, op. cit. 88. After the suppression of the abbey the Sawley oxgang was granted to Sir Arthur Darcy; ibid. 129; L. and P. Hen. VIII xiii (i), g. 1115(13).
  • 25. It seems to have been only a barn site, given by Hugh son of Ralph de Worston in 1340; Whalley Couch. (Chet. Soc.), i, 323. Inquiry was made and licence for alienation in mortmain was granted; Inq. p.m. 14 Edw. III (2nd nos.), no. 31; Cal. Pat. 1340–3, p. 23. The Braddyll family afterwards had some land in Worston; Towneley MS. C 8, 13, B 12.