Townships: Twiston

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

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'Townships: Twiston', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6, (London, 1911), pp. 558-560. British History Online [accessed 16 June 2024].

. "Townships: Twiston", in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6, (London, 1911) 558-560. British History Online, accessed June 16, 2024,

. "Townships: Twiston", A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6, (London, 1911). 558-560. British History Online. Web. 16 June 2024,

In this section


Twysilton, 1241; Twesilton, 1300; Twyselton, 1302. These are the usual forms, but Tuyseton occurs in 1281.

Twiston occupies part of the northern slope of one of the spurs of Pendle Hill, which on Twiston Moor attains 1,134 ft. above sea level. The northern boundary is formed by Ings Beck and the western by a small brook dividing it from Downham. There are a few scattered dwellings, but nothing that can be called a village, the population numbering 43 in 1901. The area is 864½ acres. (fn. 1)

The northern end is crossed by a road leading east from Downham by Lower Gate and Ings End into Yorkshire; at the former point this is joined by a road from the south which passes through Higher Twiston.

The land is mostly in pasture, the soil being limestone and freestone.

There is a parish meeting.

The hearth tax return of 1666 shows that twentythree hearths were liable in Twiston, but no dwelling had as many as three hearths. (fn. 2)


With Mearley TWISTON was in 1102 granted by Robert de Lacy, lord of Clitheroe, to Ralph le Rous. (fn. 3) Afterwards it seems to have reverted to the superior lord, for it was held in demesne by the heir of the Earl of Lincoln in 1242 as the tenth part of a knight's fee, being of the dower of the countess. (fn. 4) Within the next seven years Roger de Notton, to whom it must have been granted, gave to Edmund de Lacy the rent of 20s. and all the services of the free men of Twiston. (fn. 5) In 1258 accordingly it was found that Twiston rendered 20s. a year to the lord of Clitheroe. (fn. 6)

Afterwards it appears to have been granted to a family who took the local name of Twiston or Twisleton, but the tenure is differently recorded at different times. In 1302 John de Twisleton was recorded as holding the eighth part of a knight's fee in Twiston of the Earl of Lincoln, (fn. 7) in 1311 Hugh son of John de Twisleton was stated to hold a plough-land in Twiston in thegnage by a rent of 20s., (fn. 8) while in 1322 he held the same by the service of the fourteenth part of a knight's fee. (fn. 9) Few particulars of the family are known, (fn. 10) and the manor, which was regarded as a dependency of Downham, (fn. 11) passed by marriage or purchase to Richard de Greenacres. (fn. 12) By marriage with two co-heirs (fn. 13) the manor became divided between the Radcliffes of Todmorden (fn. 14) and the Worsleys, (fn. 15) whose descent has been noticed in the account of Downham. (fn. 16) By a later partition (1494) Mearley was assigned to the Radcliffes and Twiston to the Worsley co-heirs. (fn. 17)

Thomas Starkie, who before 1486 married Alice sister and co-heir of the last Robert Worsley, (fn. 18) appears to have settled in Twiston, (fn. 19) but, though his descendants long resided there, there is very little known of their origin (fn. 20) or descent. William Starkie in 1564 agreed with Thomas Lister of Westby for a division of Twiston Moor. (fn. 21) The same or a later William was a freeholder in 1600. (fn. 22) Thomas Starkie died in 1607 holding a messuage and lands in Twiston of the king as duke by knight's service; his heir was his son Thomas, sixteen years of age. (fn. 23) Thomas Starkie of Twiston, his son James and three daughters contributed to the poll tax of 1660. (fn. 24) From him descended the Thomas who was vicar of Blackburn 1780–1818. (fn. 25)

Various other estates in Twiston come under notice in the records, (fn. 26) but no 'manor' is spoken of, except in conjunction with Downham, (fn. 27) after the middle of the 16th century.

The principal owners in 1788 were Thomas Lister and the Rev. Mr. Starkie. (fn. 28)

The site of a chapel is marked on the map, but nothing is known of its history except that a charge for St. Lawrence's, Twiston, occurs in the later compotus rolls of Whalley Abbey. (fn. 29)

An old burial-ground of the Society of Friends, known as the Sepulchre, was acquired in 1670. (fn. 30)


  • 1. 861 acres, including 1 acre of inland water; Census Rep. 1901.
  • 2. Lay Subs. Lancs. bdle. 250, no. 9.
  • 3. Farrer, Lancs. Pipe R. 385. The grant was afterwards confirmed by Ilbert de Lacy; ibid. 386–8. Here as elsewhere the Heriz family appear later, probably as successors (in part) of Rous.
  • 4. Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 150. It had been assigned to the countess, widow of John de Lacy, in 1241 (ibid. 148), being then called the fourteenth part of a knight's fee.
  • 5. Duchy of Lanc. Anct. D. L 1214. The grant or release was attested by Simon de Heriz, then steward, Roger, Dean of Whalley (dead in 1249), and others.
  • 6. Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 217.
  • 7. Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 318.
  • 8. Ibid. ii, 13.
  • 9. Ibid. 135.
  • 10. Adam son of Hugh de Twisleton gave an oxgang of land in Twiston to Hugh son of Hugh de Twiston; Towneley MS. DD, no. 1180. In 1281 Hugh de Twisleton claimed half an oxgang from Ralph son of Hugh de Mearley, the fourth part of an oxgang from Robert de Bogland (Beland) and Cecily his wife, another fourth part from Robert son of Peter de Twisleton and a messuage from Lawrence son of Hugh [de Mearley]; De Banco R.38, m. 4 d. Walter son of Hugh de Twisleton complained in the same year that Robert son of Peter had taken goods of his; ibid. 41, m. 54. In the former suit the plaintiff recovered his lands; ibid. 43, m. 93; Cal. Close, 1279–88, p. 115. Alice widow of John de Twisleton in 1303 claimed dower in 5 oxgangs of land, a mill, &c., in Twiston, against Simon de Balderston, who had them on lease from her late husband. To warrant him Simon called Hugh son of John, who was a minor and in his mother's custody; De Banco R. 149, m. 19.
  • 11. The Heriz family had some lordship in both. In the suit of 1281 above cited John de Heriz was called to warrant the defendants; De Banco R. 41, m. 35 d. In 1292 Cecily widow of John de Heriz claimed dower in Walter son of Hugh de Twisleton's tenement, but was non-suited; Assize R. 408, m. 15. In 1349 John de Dinelay held in demesne and service one plough-land in Twiston by the fourteenth part of a knight's fee; Lansdowne Feodary in Baines' Lancs. (ed. 1870), ii, 693. Dinelay did not become lord of Downham till 1354, but he may have held Twiston in conjunction with his half plough-land in Downham.
  • 12. Richard de Greenacres in 1323 acquired a messuage, &c., in Twiston from John de Dinelay and Margaret his wife; Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 56. In 1327 a settlement was made by which John de Dinelay gave to Richard the capital messuage in Twiston, watermill, &c., which he had by gift of the said Richard and of Hugh son and heir of John de Twisleton, the remainders in default of issue being to Robert, William and Margery, brothers and sister of Richard de Greenacres, to Adam Nowell and to John de Dinelay; DD, no. 620, 621. In 1338 a further settlement was made, the estate being described as the manor of Twiston. After the death of Richard de Greenacres and Margaret his wife the manor was to go to his son Richard and heirs male; other sons were John, Robert, Henry, Thomas, Lawrence, Gilbert, Adam and William. Alice daughter of John son of Hugh de Twisleton put in her claim; Final Conc. ii, 107. Richard de Greenacres held the tenth part of a knight's fee in Twiston in 1355; Feud. Aids, iii, 88.
  • 13. See the account of Mearley. It was probably the younger Richard who in 1361 held the tenth part of a knight's fee in Twiston of the Duke of Lancaster; Inq. p.m. 35 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 122. Agnes and Joan his daughters or granddaughters married respectively William de Radcliffe and Henry de Worsley. In 1445–6 the tenth part of a knight's fee in Twiston was held by William son of William Radcliffe and Richard son of John Worsley; Duchy of Lanc. Knights' Fees, bdle. 2, no. 20. In 1386 pardon was granted to Sir Robert de Greenacres for the ravishment of Margery daughter of Richard de Ravensholme at Twiston; Cal. Pat. 1385–9, p. 139.
  • 14. In 1481 in a marriage agreement between Richard Radcliffe of Todmorden and Edmund Ashton of Chadderton the lands of the former in Twiston, Mearley and Downham were named; DD, no. 2245.
  • 15. In 1443 Robert Worsley was said to hold half the vill of John Dinelay, and his nephew Richard in 1464 was said to hold half the manor in socage by rendering a red rose yearly; ibid. no. 1475; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 75.
  • 16. Lawrence Shuttleworth and Elizabeth his wife in 1504 made a settlement of her part of the Worsley estate in Twiston; Final Conc. iii, 155. This part was in 1527 sold by the Shuttleworths to Thomas Lister; Lord Ribblesdale's D, T 8, 9; Dods. MSS. clv, fol. 131. The Aghton share was in 1531 sold to John Lambert of Skipton, who in 1534 sold it to Lawrence son of William Lister of Middop as the fifth part of the manor; Lord Ribblesdale's D. T 11–15; Dods. ut sup. This seems to be the last time the 'manor' is named. This Lawrence Lister had a son Anthony named below; ibid. T 16. John Dean was said to hold his lands in Twiston of the king as duke; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. vii, no. 12. As already stated Sir Thomas Langton in 1536 purchased the Dean share of the estate; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 163, m. 1. A John Worsley appears to have asserted a claim to Twiston in 1528; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), i, 141.
  • 17. Lord Ribblesdale's D. T 1 (note by Mr. Anderton).
  • 18. Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 62, m. 10 d. A writ of diem clausit extremum was issued in 1520 after the death of Alice Starkie; Towneley MS. CC, no. 827.
  • 19. Thomas Starkie was one of the defendants to John Worsley's claim in 1528. Thomas Starkie, gent., and John his son were witnesses to a Whalley decree in 1514; Act Bk. of Whalley (Chet. Soc.), 31, 35. A William Starkie occurs in 1528; ibid. 71. Thomas Starkie of Downham gave evidence in a tithe case in 1533; Duchy Plead. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 37.
  • 20. According to a note by Christopher Towneley, Thomas was a brother of Edmund Starkie, the first of Huntroyde; OO, no. 1643. Thomas Starkie contributed to a subsidy in 1524 and Edmund in 1543.
  • 21. Lord Ribblesdale's D. T 25. William Starkie took part in various disputes in the time of Elizabeth. In 1564 he and others disputed the title to common, pasture and turbary called Twiston Moor, and actions for trespass had been begun in Clitheroe Court; Ducatus Lanc. ii, 296 He was the owner of land there called Chapel Flat; ibid. He was plaintiff again in 1573; ibid. iii, 10. In the Clitheroe Court Roll of 26 & 27 Eliz. (1584–5) the jury presented that certain persons had been 'accustomed to uphold and make the hedge that lieth between Twiston stakes and a place called Robert Lye afore that Twiston pasture was divided,' but now that a division had been made they could not say who was liable.
  • 22. Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 235. An old pedigree of unknown origin states that Ellen daughter of Thomas Ryley of the Green married William Starkie of Twiston; Visit. of 1567 (Chet. Soc.), 125. See also Whalley Reg. (Lancs. Par. Reg. Soc.).
  • 23. Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 100. The younger Thomas is named in N. Assheton's Journal.
  • 24. Lay Subs. Lancs. bdle. 250, no. 4. In 1667 licence was granted for the marriage of James Starkie of Twiston and Sarah Robinson, widow; note by Mr. H. Ince Anderton. Thomas Starkie was buried at Downham in 1688, aged (as was believed) 104; Reg. He was about ninetyseven.
  • 25. See the account of the vicars of Blackburn; also Whitaker, Whalley, ii, 155. Dr. Laycock gives the following as the descent: Thomas Starkie, d. 1688 -s. James -s. Thomas, d. 1741 -s. James, d. 1761 -s. Rev. Thomas, vicar of Blackburn.
  • 26. Thomas Lister in 1564 obtained eight messuages, &c., from Anthony Lister and Anne his wife; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 26, m. 33. Thomas Lister, probably his son, died in 1608 holding six messuages, &c., of the king as duke, and leaving a son Thomas, aged sixteen, who married Jane daughter of Thomas Heber; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc.), i, 117. This Thomas died in 1619 holding the same lands and leaving a son Thomas, aged three years; Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccclxxiii, 55. See pedigree of Lister of Gisburn in Whitaker, Craven (ed. Morant), 54. Edward Braddyll in 1575 bought four messuages, &c., from Miles Aspenhaugh, John Houghton and Agnes Houghton his wife; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 37, m. 185. The estate (augmented) was sold to Lawrence Duxbury in 1579; ibid. bdle. 41, m. 96. The purchaser died in 1619 holding of the king as duke and leaving a son Nicholas, aged thirty-seven; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc.), ii, 167. Nicholas died in 1628, leaving a son Lawrence, aged twenty-three, to inherit the estate; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xxvi, no. 26. Richard Grimshaw of Moorhiles in Pendle died in 1608 holding his messuage in Twiston of the king as duke by knight's service. His estate was divided among his four daughters or their representatives; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc.), i, 137, 146. The Grimshaw estate was probably obtained from Assheton, who had purchased from Sir Thomas Langton; Duchy of Lanc. Plead. xlv, G 10 (note by Mr. Anderton).
  • 27. The manors of Downham and Twiston are named in the grant to Richard Assheton in 1615.
  • 28. Land tax returns at Preston.
  • 29. Whitaker, Whalley, ii, 155.
  • 30. Quaker Char. Rep. 1905.