Townships: Wheelton

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

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'Townships: Wheelton', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6, (London, 1911), pp. 49-50. British History Online [accessed 20 June 2024].

. "Townships: Wheelton", in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6, (London, 1911) 49-50. British History Online, accessed June 20, 2024,

. "Townships: Wheelton", A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6, (London, 1911). 49-50. British History Online. Web. 20 June 2024,

In this section


Quelton, 1276; Whelton, 1292: these are the usual forms; Quilton, 1313; Wheleton (xv cent.).

Wheelton stretches south-east from the valley of the Lostock, the north-west boundary, over a hill rising to 650 ft. above sea level, across the valley in which Brinscall lies, and up to very near the summit of the Great Hill, 1,200 ft., on the border of Anglezarke in Bolton parish. The total area is 1,696 (fn. 1) acres, and the population in 1901 numbered 1,375. The village lies by the Lostock, in the north-west corner, and has the hamlet of Wheelton Stocks to the north-east.

The principal road is that through the village, going from Chorley to Blackburn. The Leeds and Liverpool Canal goes near it, through the Lostock valley. The railway from Chorley to Cherry Tree runs north-east through the centre of the township.

The soil is partly light and clayey, the subsoil rocky; wheat and barley are grown. The excellent stone quarries have long been known and worked. There are large cotton mills and bleaching and calico printing works.

Forty-one hearths were charged for the hearth tax in 1666; the largest house, that of Henry Hoghton, had eight. (fn. 2)

The township is governed by a parish council.

Daniel Henry Haigh was born at Brinscall Hall in 1819, his father being a calico printer. Intended for the Anglican ministry he was influenced by the Tractarian movement and received into communion with the Roman Church in 1847, being afterwards ordained. He became the chief English authority on Runic inscriptions, and was the author of numerous antiquarian essays. He died at Erdington, near Birmingham, in 1879, being the founder of the Benedictine house there. (fn. 3)


WHEELTON was formerly a part of Gunolfsmoors, (fn. 4) and held by the lords of Hoghton as part of their moiety of a knight's fee. (fn. 5) They acquired lands in the township from the Wheelton family, (fn. 6) but do not seem to have accounted their estate to be a separate manor. Roger de Stanworth by his marriage with one of the co-heirs of Withnell acquired also a large part of Wheelton, (fn. 7) and this seems to have been given to Stanlaw Abbey. (fn. 8) Thus at the suppression of Whalley Abbey the 'manor of Wheelton' was among its possessions, and was in 1539–40 sold to Sir Richard Hoghton, (fn. 9) after which it was enumerated in the list of Hoghton manors, but no separate tenure is recorded. (fn. 10) It appears to have been sold in the 18th century, and to have descended with Withnell.

John de Clayton is said to have granted to Edmund de Lacy, lord of Clitheroe, the services of his tenants in Wheelton. (fn. 11) Henry de Lea in 1288 held an oxgang of land in Wheelton of Edmund Fitton by a rent of 2d. yearly. (fn. 12) In 1284 he had obtained a charter of free warren in his demesne lands of Wheelton upon Gunolfsmoors. (fn. 13) In 1321 Richard de Hoghton and Sibyl his wife required John Fitton as mesne lord to acquit them of the service demanded for Withnell and Wheelton by the Earl of Lancaster. (fn. 14)

Whalley Abbey. Gules three whales hauriant, from the mouth of each the head of a crozier issuant or.

The place occurs very rarely in the records, and no family of importance appears to have resided within it. (fn. 15) The tenant of the Whalley Abbey land about 1538 was Thomas Haydock. (fn. 16) A messuage called the Ford was in 1566 held by Hugh Swansey of Whittle of Thomas Hoghton by a rent of 12d., (fn. 17) and later by John and Oliver Pearson. (fn. 18) Other landowners occurring in the inquisitions are Browne (fn. 19) and Chorley. (fn. 20) The Andertons of Lostock (fn. 21) and Liveseys of Livesey also had land there about 1600. (fn. 22)

The estate of John Whittle the elder was confiscated under the Commonwealth. (fn. 23) William Blacklidge, yeoman, and James Critchley, linen-weaver, as 'Papists,' registered small estates in 1717. (fn. 24) In 1783 the chief contributors to the land tax were John Wilcock, widow Blacklidge and Edward Simpson, who together paid over a third of the tax. (fn. 25)

The Free Church of England has a school-chapel, St. Paul's, in Wheelton village; it was built in 1871, as the result of a dispute between the vicar of Heapey and a portion of his congregation.

A Wesleyan chapel was built in 1842.


  • 1. 1,625 acres, including 12 of inland water; Census Rep. 1901. Part of the township was added to Withnell in 1899; Loc. Govt. Bd. Order 39579.
  • 2. Subs. R. 250, no. 9.
  • 3. Gillow, Bibl. Dict. of Engl. Cath. iii, 84; Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • 4. See the account of Hoghton.
  • 5. Feud. Aids, iii, 86.
  • 6. Among the Hoghton charters in Add. MS. 32106 occur the following undated grants to Adam de Hoghton: Gilbert son of Richard son of Amabel de Wheelton, release of half an oxgang of land (no. 918); John son of Gilbert de Wheelton, an oxgang of land held of Adam (no. 785); Robert son of John de Wheelton, release of an oxgang held of Adam (no. 396); Henry son of John de Wheelton, all his land in the township (no. 908); Siegrith widow of John de Wheelton and mother of Robert, an oxgang of land once held by Amabel daughter of Aldrit de Wheelton (no. 27); Richard son of Adam de Wheelton half his land with the services of Warine de Lea, Henry de Wheelton and Adam de Legh (no. 371—(?) 1275); Adam son of Henry de Wheelton, or 'de Legh of Wheelton,' Kilncarr and Croylanhurst (no. 25, 644); Alice daughter of Richard de Wheelton all right in land which her father (? brother) Alexander de Wheelton gave in free marriage to her late husband Roger son of Richard de Goldene, and in a messuage and 'land' given by Adam son of Henry de Wheelton (no. 641); Richard son of Henry de Withnell gave Sir Adam two parts of the third of an oxgang of land in Germonshalgh (no. 864, 921); Richard son of Roger de Lever also gave a release (no. 912). Sir Richard de Hoghton in 1319–20 gave three-fourths of Whithill in Wheelton to Robert son of Adam de Rivington; ibid. no. 737. In 1337 he granted land approved from the waste, called Kilncarr, to Thomas son of Hugh de Stanworth; ibid. no. 717. Adam de Hoghton in 1374 gave the Whithill to William del Green and Richard son of John Henryson for their lives; ibid. no. 738. A moiety of the manor of Wheelton is named in a Hoghton settlement of 1313; Final Conc. ii, 14. A water-mill at Wheelton was part of the Hoghton estate in 1510; Kuerden's fol. MS. p. 387, S.
  • 7. His share or his wife's was Brinscall, Mounsill (Monkshill), Wallcroft and Brightfold; Whalley Coucher, iii, 830.
  • 8. Adam de Withnell gave to Stanlaw an oxgang of land called Brinscall (Brendscholes), the bounds going from Windygates down to Wellsyke, and up this syke and by the old ditch round to the startingpoint; Whalley Coucher, iii, 835. John de Westleigh and Richard son of John de Westleigh of Stanworth (nephew of Adam de Withnell, and the same as Richard de Ollerton) confirmed the grant; ibid. iii, 837. Richard son of John de Westleigh gave the monks an oxgang of land called Mounsill (Monkeshulles) for a rent of 12d.; and Henry son of Adam de Rixton gave a release of his right in both the above lands; ibid. iii, 838. Margery daughter of William son of Alan (de Withnell) gave to her nephew Thomas son of Adam an oxgang of land in Wheelton called Wheelcroft, the bounds beginning at Catshawsyke, going down to Burton Brook and as far as Rutingsyke, thence going up to Crowhaw and so to Blacklache and the starting-point, at a rent of 9d. The same Thomas de Withnell gave the land to Stanlaw, the monks to pay the 9d. to Henry son of Margery; ibid. iii, 839–41. A number of releases by various persons followed (ibid.), including one by the tenant, Victor son of Roger son of Austin about 1280; ibid. iii, 843. Richard de Wheelton in 1276 complained that the Abbot of Stanlaw had disseised him of common of pasture, but a verdict for the abbot was recorded; Assize R. 405, m. 4 d.
  • 9. See the grant quoted above in the account of Withnell. Sir Richard Hoghton in 1553 gave his manor of Wheelton to his younger son Thomas for life, the grant including lands in Withnell called Brandwood, &c.; Add. MS. 32106, no. 712.
  • 10. e.g. in 1590; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xv, no. 39. Wheelton is named among the Hoghton manors in a recovery in 1711; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 493, m. 6. Brinscall was sold in 1602 to Sir Edward Brabazon of Nether Whitacre; Raines D. in Chet. Lib.
  • 11. Duchy of Lanc. Misc. Books, cxxx, fol. 21b. The tenants were Alexander son of Henry and Roger son of John, and their service was for 9 oxgangs of land. There is nothing to show how John de Clayton obtained this mesne lordship.
  • 12. Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 273. Henry de Lea probably held in right of his wife, for their son William afterwards gave to his brother (or half-brother) Henry de Lea all his land in Wheelton in Gunolfsmoors, being his mother's marriage portion; Add. MS. 32106, no. 400. There was a local Lee or Legh family mentioned in a preceding note. William de Lea in 1250 gave an oxgang of land in Wheelton for ten years at a rent of 5s. to Henry son of John de Lea (Legh); ibid. no. 389. Adam Goulding son of Alexander de Wheelton gave to the same Henry son of John half an oxgang of land, a rent of 5½d. being payable to Hugh son of the said Alexander; ibid. no. 569.
  • 13. Charter R. 77 (12 Edw. I), m. 2, no. 8.
  • 14. De Banc. R. 237, m. 91 d.
  • 15. In 1359 Ellen widow of Richard de Hogh claimed dower in Wheelton against Cecily daughter of John de Darwen, and next year Alice daughter of Richard was plaintiff; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 7, m. 3 d.; 8, m. 14.
  • 16. Whalley Coucher, iv, 1233; he had a house, 20 acres of arable land, &c., with meadow called Brandstock, and paid a rent of £2. Nicholas and William Haydock had other lands known as Rigby land, paying 9d. each.
  • 17. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xi, no. 29. See also the account of Whittle. Robert the son of Hugh Swansey in 1572 sold the messuage, &c., in Wheelton to John Clayton, Edward son and heirapparent of Robert joining in the sale; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 34, m. 26. A Thomas Clayton died in 1591 holding a tenement in Wheelton of Richard Hoghton; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xv, no. 3. Two years later Benjamin Clayton sold a messuage, &c., in Wheelton to John Pearson; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 55, m. 187.
  • 18. John Pearson, 'yeoman,' probably the purchaser named in the preceding note, died in 1627 holding the Ford (Furth), with lands, of Sir Richard Hoghton as of his manor of Wheelton; his son and heir was Oliver, over sixty years of age; Towneley MS. C 8, 13 (Chet. Lib.), p. 968. Oliver Pearson, 'gentleman,' died in 1638 holding the same and leaving a son John, thirty years old; ibid. p. 964.
  • 19. See the account of Withnell.
  • 20. William Chorley of Chorley died in 1586 holding a messuage, &c., in Wheelton of Thomas Hoghton by a rent of 4d.; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xiv, no. 58.
  • 21. Christopher Anderton in 1580 purchased two messuages, &c., in Wheelton from John Parr and Ellen his wife; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 42, m. 113. In 1597 John Hulton or Hilton purchased the same from James Anderton of Lostock; ibid. bdle. 58, m. 39.
  • 22. Ducatus Lanc. iii, 130; Lancs. and Ches. Rec. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 258. James Livesey of Livesey had land there in 1602; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 64, no. 96; 65, no. 78.
  • 23. Index of Royalists (Index Soc.), 44 d.; Cal. Com. for Comp. iv, 3095. John Whittle the son was allowed to compound for the estate. A John Whittle in 1580 procured messuages, &c., in Wheelton and Whittle from Richard Whittle; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 42, m. 75.
  • 24. Estcourt and Payne, Engl. Cath. Non-jurors, 130.
  • 25. Land tax returns at Preston.