Townships: Heapey

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

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'Townships: Heapey', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6, ed. William Farrer, J Brownbill( London, 1911), British History Online [accessed 22 July 2024].

'Townships: Heapey', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6. Edited by William Farrer, J Brownbill( London, 1911), British History Online, accessed July 22, 2024,

"Townships: Heapey". A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6. Ed. William Farrer, J Brownbill(London, 1911), , British History Online. Web. 22 July 2024.

In this section


Hepay, 1260.

This township has an area of 1,464 acres, (fn. 1) and in 1901 there was a population of 543. The surface is hilly, rising at the eastern edge to over 1,000 ft. above sea level. In the valleys are brooks and reservoirs. The hamlet of Heapey is in the northwest corner.

Through this hamlet goes the road from Chorley to Blackburn, and from it branches off a road leading south-east to Heapey station, on the Chorley and Cherry Tree branch of the Lancashire and Yorkshire and London and North Western joint railway. The Leeds and Liverpool Canal passes through the north-west corner. The Thirlmere aqueduct also passes through.

The soil is mixed, with subsoil stone; grass is the chief crop. There are bleaching works.

The township is governed by a parish council.

Ancient earthworks are known near Heapey, and Roman coins have been found there. (fn. 2)

The hearth tax return of 1666 shows that the houses were all small, only two having as many as three hearths chargeable. The total number was thirty-four. (fn. 3)


In the 12th century HEAPEY was a portion of Gunolfsmoors, (fn. 4) and on the partition among the co-heirs of William son of Alan became part of the share of Richard de Ollerton, husband of the eldest daughter. (fn. 5) As a township it was long joined with the adjoining Wheelton. (fn. 6) As a manor it was divided, part descending, like Ollerton in Withnell, in the family of Hoghton, being merged in their holding, (fn. 7) and part being granted by Richard de Ollerton to Orm or Ranulf de Heapey. (fn. 8) This part, which seems to be the manor or moiety of the manor of iater records, was in 1300 sold to Hugh de Standish, (fn. 9) ancestor of the Standish of Duxbury family, and descended like Duxbury, (fn. 10) being still, it would appear, retained in the heirs of the Standish family. Sir Frank Standish was sole landowner in 1783. (fn. 11) This manor was formerly said to be held of the king as Duke of Lancaster by the sixth part of a knight's fee. (fn. 12)

Standish. Sable three standing dishes argent.

The Hospitallers at one time had land in Heapey. (fn. 13) The place occurs very seldom in the records, but lands were held by the families of Green, (fn. 14) Haydock, (fn. 15) and Molyneux. (fn. 16) Roger Haydock of Heapey in 1649 compounded 'for delinquency in the first war, in adhering to the forces raised against Parliament.' (fn. 17)


A chapel may have existed at Heapey from an early date, but the earliest notice of it is about 1553, when, having been seized by Edward VI, it had been valued at 25s. 8d., and apparently sold to the people of the district. (fn. 18) It is unlikely that services of any kind were regularly maintained there, (fn. 19) for there was no endowment, and in 1610 it was reported to be an old chapel, without a curate. (fn. 20) During the Civil War period the Parliament placed John Wigan in charge, paying him £1 a week out of the sequestrations of Royalists in Leyland Hundred. In May 1644, however, he fled before the approach of Prince Rupert, and settled at Birch, the people not desiring his return. (fn. 21) By 1650 an 'allowance from the state' of £40 had been secured, (fn. 22) but this was not considered a competency, and there were frequent changes of ministry. (fn. 23) The Commonwealth surveyors recommended that it be made a parish church. (fn. 24)

The old arrangements would return with the Restoration, but a new chapel—now known as St. Barnabas'—is said to have been built about the end of the century and enlarged in 1740 and more recently. About 1717 Bishop Gastrell found that the income was £7 9s., the interest on various donations, and that the vicar of Leyland or his curate supplied the cure. (fn. 25) The vicar of Leyland presents to the incumbency. The registers begin in 1833.

The following have been curates and vicars (fn. 26) :—

1671 James Threlfall
1692 Thomas Sollom, B.A. (Emmanuel College, Camb.)
1706 Farrand Hodgson (fn. 27)
1716 John Smyth, B.A. (Jesus Coll., Camb.)
1723 Richard Walmsley, B.A. (fn. 28) (Christ's Coll.,Camb.)
1729 William Farington
1731 John Armetriding
1736 James Sugden, B.A.
1737 Allanson Hollinshead, B.A. (Brasenose Coll., Oxf.)
1744 Henry Young, B.A. (Brasenose Coll., Oxf.)
1746 Benjamin Cooper, B.A. (Brasenose Coll., Oxf.)
1764 John Wilson
1769 Thomas Baldwin, LL.B.
1802 Thomas Rebanks (fn. 29)
1832 John Fisher (fn. 30)
1871 Isaac William Milner (fn. 31)
1874 Octaviusde Leyland Baldwin, B.A. (fn. 32) (Brasenose Coll., Oxf.)
1891 John Wood, L.Th. (Durh.)


  • 1. 1466 acres, including 31 of inland water; Census Rep. 1901.
  • 2. Watkin, Rom. Lancs. 223–4, 234.
  • 3. Subs. R. 250, no. 9.
  • 4. See the account of Hoghton.
  • 5. Whalley Coucher (Chet. Soc.), iii, 830.
  • 6. For example in 1332; Exch. Lay Subs. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 47. Again in 1628; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 171.
  • 7. See the inquisitions of Sir Alexander Hoghton, 1498, and later; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iii, no. 66, &c. The Hoghton part of Heapey does not seem to have been considered an independent manor.
  • 8. Richard de Ollerton granted Orm de Heapey a booth in Gunolfsmoors, and later Richard released to Ranulf de Heapey the service of 5s. due for 4 oxgangs of land; Kuerden MSS. ii, fol. 145b. Cecily widow of Richard de Ollerton in 1260 claimed dower in an oxgang in Heapey against Ranulf; Curia Regis R. 169, m. 12. Ranulf de Heapey and Peter his son were witnesses to a Withnell charter about the same time; Whalley Coucher, iii, 860. Peter de Heapey obtained various grants; Kuerden, loc. cit.; while to Richard his grandson he gave part of his land in Heapey, together with a third part of the waste in Wheelton; ibid. Peter and Robert de Heapey occur in 1291; Whalley Coucher, iii, 867.
  • 9. Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 190. The vendor was Robert son of Robert de Heapey; he then held two-thirds of the manor, the other third being held in dower by Margery wife of Richard de Haydock. Robert de Heapey in 1337 claimed the manor from Richard de Standish; De Banc. R. 309, m. 266.
  • 10. See the account of Duxbury. Sir Christopher Standish died in 1495 holding a moiety of the manor, with eight messuages, 200 acres of land, &c., by the sixth part of a knight's fee; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iii, no. 107. In 1599 the manor and lands were stated to be held by the twentieth part of a knight's fee; ibid. xvii, no. 54.
  • 11. Land tax returns at Preston.
  • 12. See the Inq. p.m. above quoted; also Duchy of Lanc. Misc. Books, cxxx, fol. 21 b. The proportion of a knight's fee was unknown in 1623; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), iii, 399.
  • 13. Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 375.
  • 14. A settlement of the succession to two messuages and 17 acres of land in Heapey and Chorley was made by Thurstan and William Green in 1470; Final Conc. iii, 135. Somewhat earlier a Richard Green of Heapey had been accused of coining; see the account of Chorley.
  • 15. Richard son of Richard de Haydock of Heapey occurs in 1347; Cal. Close, 1346–9, p. 49. In 1555–6 Richard Haydock, as executor of Richard Green, who had died without heirs, claimed Green Hall in Heapey against Lord Mounteagle, who asserted that it had escheated to him; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), ii, 186. Afterwards James Haydock as son of Richard claimed land in Heapey against William Haydock as cousin and heir of Richard; ibid. ii, 243, 311. Ewan and then Simon Haydock in 1530 and later complained of a trespass at Shakerley in Heapey by James Standish; ibid. ii, 41; i, 206; ii, 101. In 1560 a settlement of land in Shakerley and Heapey was made by Simon Haydock and Evan his son; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 22, m. 96. Simon Haydock died in 1632 holding a messuage and land in Heapey of Thomas Standish as of his manor of Heapey; his heir was his son, aged eleven years in 1639; Towneley MS. C 8, 13 (Chet. Lib.), p. 500. It should be noticed that Shakerley was also described as in Wheelton; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 6, m. 2 d.
  • 16. The tenure is not stated. The land may have been that formerly held by the Hospitallers. See Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), iii, 388–90; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xxvii, no. 59.
  • 17. Royalist Comp. Papers (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), iii, 137.
  • 18. Raines, Chantries (Chet. Soc.), 277.
  • 19. Henry Elberton (?) was curate in 1563, but does not occur in other visitation lists of the time. John Horrocks is said to have been at Heapey in 1594; note by J. P. Earwaker. A marriage licence was granted to Hugh Pincock and Margaret Whitehead in 1576, available for Leyland or the church of Heapey; Pennant's Acct. Book, Chester.
  • 20. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 11.
  • 21. Plund. Mins. Accts. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 58, 251. At that time Wigan was 'a godly and orthodox divine.'
  • 22. Commonw. Ch. Surv. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 103–4. John Bradley, then the incumbent, was 'an orthodox, godly, preaching minister,' who 'came into that place by the general consent of the whole chapelry.'
  • 23. A Mr. Booker was there 1654–6; Plund. Mins. Accts. ii, 160. John Breres became minister in 1657, only £30 being then allowed; ibid. ii, 203.
  • 24. Commonw. Ch. Surv. ut sup.
  • 25. Notitia Cestr. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 386. Sir Richard Standish of Duxbury gave £60, Henry Hoghton £50, R. Croston £20, and others £19. There was an endowment of £80 in 1687; ibid. note by Canon Raines.
  • 26. From the Diocesan Registry papers, Chester. Benjamin Cooper seems to have been the first permanent curate; he stayed till his death.
  • 27. He was schoolmaster of Leyland and wished to be ordained. There was £6 yearly belonging to Heapey, at which chapel the late schoolmaster had officiated once in three weeks.
  • 28. The vicar of Leyland in giving him a title to orders nominated him to Heapey, being 'moved the rather to it at this time because if I could [he writes] I would put a bar to Sir Thomas Standish collating thither, and to assert my own right and title as vicar of Leyland to it.'
  • 29. In a return made to the Bishop of Chester in 1821 it was reported that about 200 persons usually attended; there were no free sittings. The books and solitary surplice were in bad condition; otherwise the fabric, repaired by a rate on the chapelry, was in good order. Services were held on Sunday morning and afternoon, but no sermon had been usual; also on Wednesday and Thursday in Passion Week and Good Friday. The Sacrament was administered four times a year.
  • 30. He published two sermons. He resigned in 1871.
  • 31. Afterwards of Newcastle.
  • 32. Vicar of Leyland.