Townships: Howick

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

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'Townships: Howick', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6, ed. William Farrer, J Brownbill( London, 1911), British History Online [accessed 14 July 2024].

'Townships: Howick', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6. Edited by William Farrer, J Brownbill( London, 1911), British History Online, accessed July 14, 2024,

"Townships: Howick". A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6. Ed. William Farrer, J Brownbill(London, 1911), , British History Online. Web. 14 July 2024.

In this section


Hocwik, 1202; Hoghwyk, 1279; Howyke, 1284; Houghwick (xvi cent.).

This wedge-shaped township has an area of 754 acres, (fn. 1) of which about a third lies on the southern shore of the Ribble, below the 25-ft. level. The inland part, about 60 to 80 ft. above sea level, is flat and featureless. The population in 1901 numbered 101.

The road from Penwortham to Ormskirk crosses the middle of the township, and from it a road leads north-west to the village or hamlet, situate on the higher land overlooking the Ribble. The West Lancashire Railway crosses the extreme south-east corner.

There were only eighteen hearths taxed in 1666; the largest house had four. (fn. 2)

The pedestal of an ancient cross is still to be seen by the roadside. (fn. 3)

The soil is mixed, with clay subsoil. The land is chiefly in pasture.


The manor of HOWICK was part of the lands held by Roger of Poitou, and before 1100 he gave it to Evesham Abbey (fn. 4); thus it was the earliest gift to the abbey in Lancashire. Very soon afterwards Abbot Maurice agreed with the four brothers who occupied the land —Wolfgeat, Swein, Ralph and Liulph—as to their claim, he paying 28s. as compensation and giving Liulph a portion of the land for the rent of 100 good salmon yearly. (fn. 5) The abbots seem to have regarded Howick as part of Farington, (fn. 6) the whole being at one time considered a single township. (fn. 7) The manor has descended in the same way as Farington to Mr. Lawrence Rawstorne. (fn. 8)

The immediate holder in the 12th century appears to have been known by the local name, and soon after 1200 the manor was divided. Adam son of Mary and Denise his wife in 1202 claimed a plough-land in Howick as their inheritance, and Richard de Howick, then tenant, gave them a moiety to hold independently of him by performing the service due to the Abbot of Evesham as chief lord. (fn. 9) The other moiety was in 1210 claimed from Richard by Sabina de Howick, and her right being acknowledged she gave it to him, retaining 2 oxgangs of land (i.e. a moiety) and 10 acres; she and Richard were each to hold of the abbot. (fn. 10) She was living in 1256, when she sold 10 acres to Alan de Howick. (fn. 11)

Adam son of Mary, who was a benefactor of Cockersand Abbey, (fn. 12) had a son Simon, who appears as plaintiff as late as 1284. (fn. 13) Richard son of Simon in 1292 claimed a tenement in Howick against the Abbot of Evesham, (fn. 14) while in 1317 William son of Richard de Howick made a settlement of his moiety of the manor. (fn. 15) Richard son of William de Howick in 1346 made a grant of land to his brother John. (fn. 16)

Sabina, as daughter of Roger de Howick, granted a fourth part of Nutshaw to Roger son of Gamel for a rent of 12d., (fn. 17) and appears to have married one Robert de Bower. (fn. 18) Gamel was the founder of the Nutshaw family, (fn. 19) for long the principal residents, whose estate was in 1503–6 sold to the Heskeths of Rufford. (fn. 20) Thus in 1523 the 'manor or capital messuage of Howick,' with various lands, was held by Thomas Hesketh of the abbey of Evesham by a rent of 2s. 8d. (fn. 21) About sixty years ago Howick Hall was sold to—Rothwell of Hoole, who sold it to John Gorst of Preston. (fn. 22)

The township is rarely mentioned in the records, (fn. 23) and but few of the early landowners are known through the inquisitions. (fn. 24)

In 1786 the principal contributors to the land tax were James Barton,—Hesketh and Thomas Loxham. (fn. 25)


  • 1. 745 acres; Census Rep. 1901. There are also 7 acres of tidal water and 3 of foreshore.
  • 2. Subs. R. 250, no. 9.
  • 3. Lancs. and Ches. Antiq. Soc. xvii, 8.
  • 4. Evesham Chron. (Rolls Ser.), 75; 'this we hold of the king.' Later it is said that Penwortham and Howick were granted to the abbey in the time of Abbot Walter, 1077–86; ibid. 97. Ranulf Earl of Chester, in confirming the possessions of Evesham, expressly allowed the abbot to have his court in Howick as the earl had his in Penwortham; Kuerden fol. MS. (Chet. Lib.), p. 74.
  • 5. Penwortham Priory (Chet. Soc.), 8. Maurice was abbot from 1096 to 1122.
  • 6. Howick and Farington were given out to farm by Adam, abbot from 1160 to 1191; Evesham Chron. (Rolls Ser.), 101. The Abbot of Evesham in 1366 and again in 1378 claimed a fishery in the Ribble at Howick; De Banco R. 425, m. 542 d.; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxii, App. 350. In 1382 it was alleged that the abbot had acquired 15 acres in Howick without the royal licence; Q.R. Memo. R. 159.
  • 7. See, e.g., Exch. Lay Subs. 1332 (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 43— Howick with Farington. The latter place soon became the principal; thus in 1346 Howick was called a hamlet, and in 1373 described as 'in the vill of Farington'; Towneley MS. DD, no. 273, 339, 347. In 1420 it was called a 'vill'; ibid. no. 344.
  • 8. See the account of Farington.
  • 9. Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 16. The grant comprised 2 oxgangs of land held by Amabel daughter of John, 1 oxgang held by Orm de Howick, and 1 by Roger de Howick.
  • 10. Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 36. The oxgangs retained by Sabina were one tenanted by Albin son of Sired and another by Richard son of Warine, with the messuage of Roger Briton; the 10 acres lay between the marsh of Howick and Smeleden, and Roger son of Gamel held nine of the acres by a rent of 18d. Roger was present and acknowledged that he owed such service. He was of the Nutshaw family, as will be seen.
  • 11. Ibid. i, 120.
  • 12. He gave a piece of land in Hutton; Cockersand Chartul. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 442.
  • 13. In 1279 Simon de Howick claimed an oxgang of land held by Adam de Howick and 2 oxgangs held by Adam son of Roger de Howick; De Banco R. 31, m. 32 d. In 1284 he claimed 10 acres against Alice widow of Adam de Howick; Assize R. 1268, m. 12. As Simon son of Adam son of Mary he gave half an acre in Howick to William son of Robert at 6d. rent, Henry de Howick and Adam his son being among the witnesses; Towneley MS. DD, no. 354.
  • 14. Assize R. 408, m. 20 d. Richard claimed by inheritance, but was nonsuited. He acquired half an acre in the Bottoms; Towneley MS. DD, no. 286.
  • 15. Final Conc. ii, 25. By this Simon son of Richard de Howick granted the moiety of the manor to William son of Richard and Beatrice his wife, with successive remainders to their sons Richard, John and William. The Abbot of Evesham put in his claim. Richard son of Henry de Howick in 1338 granted half an acre to Richard son of William de Howick; DD, no. 297.
  • 16. Ibid. no. 285. In the following year the father, William son of Richard de Howick, gave his son John land which the said Richard had had of the feoffment of Robert son of Hugh de Howick; ibid. no. 295. There were various families surnamed Howick. Warine de Howick granted to Richard Marshal and Alice his wife lands in Horpultre and the Townfield; in 1312–13 he gave to John son of Richard de Howick 2 acres, comprising 4 ridges in Harapebore (? Harapeltre), 4 in Cardales and 6 more in the same. These lands seem to have passed from Marshal of Preston to John Breton of Preston, living in 1420. See the deeds in Kuerden MSS. ii, fol. 224; other deeds (Bradley family) are at fol. 226. Richard son of Henry de Howick in 1350 gave his daughter Ellen a house and land upon Hacapultree, between land of William de Howick and William de Budworth. A rent of 7d. was due to the Prior of Penwortham; Kuerden fol. MS. p. 188. In 1383 to 1406 Henry de Howick of Farington and Alice his wife held lands in Farington, Howick and Longton; Piccope MSS. (Chet. Lib.), xiv, 54, 56. Henry son of Ralph Howick and Katherine his wife in 1448 entrusted to Sir Richard Hoghton four deeds relating to their estate; Towneley MS. DD, no. 310. The father was the Ralph Jenkinson or Ralph son of John Johnson of earlier deeds; no. 101, 278, 338.
  • 17. Ibid. no. 287.
  • 18. Robert de Bower (Camera) and Sabina his wife gave land there to Robert son of Hugh; Adam son of Mary, Roger and Henry de Nutshaw were among the witnesses, so that the deed belongs to the first half of the 13th century; ibid. no. 352. For the Bower family see the account of Penwortham.
  • 19. Roger de Howick, no doubt the father of Sabina, granted an oxgang of land in Howick to Gamel de Nutshaw at a rent of 2s.; Gerald de Clayton was a witness; ibid. no. 283. The above-cited gift of Sabina to Roger son of Gamel follows. The same Roger also obtained from Richard son of Warine (holding 1 oxgang of land in 1210—see above) all his land in Howick, to be held by a rent of 20d.; ibid. no. 353. Richard son of Warine de Farington (perhaps the same as 'de Howick') gave to the abbey of Evesham all his lands in Howick in return for 20s. given him in his dire need; his tenants included John Blund, Henry son of Alan, Roger son of Gamel and Robert de Bradford; Kuerden fol. MS. (Chet. Lib.), p. 132. Richard son of Warine gave land called Bradford, &c., to Robert son of Henry, who made a grant to his mother Emma; Kuerden MSS. iii, H 12, 13. Roger son of Gamel de Nutshaw released to the canons of Cockersand all his right in the fourth part of the mill of Bradford and Wimode within the bounds of Hutton, and Roger son of Roger did likewise; Cockersand Chartul. ii, 441. The mill was probably on the brook dividing Howick from Hutton. The next to appear is John de Nutshaw, who attested several charters; Towneley MS. DD, no. 1647, &c. Thomas de Nutshaw in 1320 agreed with the Prior of Penwortham as to a road through Nutshawhead which he had obstructed by inclosure; Penwortham Priory, 20. He paid to the subsidy in 1332; Exch. Lay Subs. 43. In the same year Robert the Cookson and Maud his wife claimed 10 acres in Howick against Thomas son of John de Nutshaw; De Banco R. 290, m. 356. Joan daughter of Master Robert de Liverpool, clerk, released all her claims against John de Nutshaw in 1345; Towneley MS. DD, no. 345. Godith meadow in Nutshaw, in the hamlet of Howick, was in the following year granted to John son of Thomas de Nutshaw and Agnes his wife and Jordan ridding in 1347; ibid. no. 339, 273. In 1373 Robert de Horsford and Cecily his wife granted to John de Nutshaw tenements in the vills and fields of Hutton and Bradford; ibid. no. 275. Cecily was perhaps the heiress of one of the Howick families, for in the same year she and her husband released to William de Denwall of Longton and Amery his wife (and the latter's heirs) the third part of a messuage and lands in Howick; Final Conc, ii, 185. The remainder was in 1374 claimed by the Denwalls against John de Nutshaw, Thomas son of Robert de Midgehalgh, and Agnes widow of Adam de Broughton; De Banco R. 453, m. 394 d. John seems to have had a brother Roger, for in 1348 John de Howick claimed fulfilment of a covenant as to a messuage and 5 acres in Howick against Roger son of Thomas de Nutshaw; De Banco R. 355, m. 190. John and Agnes had two sons—Ralph and Thomas—as appears by a grant of lands made to them in 1354 by Richard son of Thomas the Carpenter; Towneley MS. DD, no. 288. Ralph appears again in deeds of 1396 and 1420; ibid. no. 279, 344. In 1357 Thomas son of John de Nutshaw received a messuage in Howick from his father's feoffee; ibid. no. 270. Cecily widow of Robert de Horsford released to him lands in Hutton in 1413; ibid. no. 358. He appears again in 1420; ibid. no. 309. He seems to have left three children —Thomas, James and Margaret—for in 1434 Thomas Nutshaw made a feoffment of lands in Howick, Hutton and Longton, and in 1437 James son of Thomas Nutshaw received certain lands for life, with remainders to his brother Thomas and his sister Margaret; ibid. no. 342, 290. Ralph son of Thomas Nutshaw occurs in 1437, when lands in Longton and Hutton were given to him; ibid. no. 1755. He was probably son of the younger Thomas, for Joan Cunliffe, widow of Ralph Nutshaw, was living in 1511, and their son John is also named; ibid. no. 320, 333. A grant of Nutshaw Hall in Howick was in 1500 made to Charles Sherdley, Margery his wife and their issue; ibid. no. 350.
  • 20. It was Richard the son and heir of Ralph Nutshaw who sold the estate; Final Conc. iii, 159, 162. There are many deeds relating to the transaction in Towneley MS. DD, no. 294, 303, 305, &c. The lands were acquired by Richard Hesketh and others, perhaps acting for Thomas. In 1505 Richard Nutshaw sold land called the Bottoms to William Forshaw of Penwortham; ibid. no. 277.
  • 21. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. v, no. 16. The 2s. 8d. rent may be made up of the 12d. due for the fourth part of Nutshaw and the 20d. for Richard son of Warine's oxgang of land. Thomas's brother Richard Hesketh had in 1518 exchanged land in Bedford for some in Howick belonging to Sir William Leyland; Towneley MS. DD, no. 324, 327. Richard's will, 1520, names his brothers Hugh, Bishop of Man, and Bartholomew; ibid. no. 326. In 1623, when George Hesketh was in possession, the tenure of the Hesketh 'manor' was not known; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), iii, 351–7. It is named in later Hesketh of Rufford settlements. Sir Thomas Hesketh in 1557 granted land in Howick to John Fleetwood of Penwortham; Towneley MS. DD, no. 336. In 1562 in conjunction with Henry Farington he gave a messuage and land, with dovecote and windmill and a fishery in the Ribble, to Henry's son Francis (and Alice his wife) for life, with reversion to Sir Thomas; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 24, m. 208. Francis Farington of the Middle Temple in 1581 asserted that as appurtenant to his capital messuage called Howick Hall he had always enjoyed a several 'mossdale' or turbary in Hutton in a place called Wimot moss, but 'two very lewd and evil-disposed persons' had a little before entered the mossdale and had kept possession with the aid of long pikes and staves, and were taking away the turves; Duchy of Lanc. Plead. cxvi, F 8.
  • 22. Penwortham Priory, 20, note.
  • 23. William de Budworth and Cecily his wife held land in Howick in 1345, when they and Thomas the son of William were defendants to a claim for 10 acres made by Adam de Catterall of Longton; Assize R. 1435, m. 35. Richard Budworth of Howick was defendant in 1442; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 4, m. 3b. There are but few references to the place in the Ducatus Lanc.
  • 24. Thomas Farington of Little Farington (1508) held land in Howick of the Abbot of Evesham by a rent of 7s.; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iv, no. 41. The Singletons of Shingle Hall held their lands in Hutton and Howick of the abbey of Cockersand; ibid. viii, no. 9; xiii, no. 16. George Midgehalgh of Barton in 1557 held his messuage in Howick of Thomas Hesketh; ibid. x, no. 22. George Kirkby of Up Rawcliffe held land in Howick in 1560 of John Fleetwood of Penwortham by a rent of 6d.; ibid. xi, no. 8. In the cases of Shireburne of Stonyhurst, Charnock and Banastre the tenures are not stated. William Walton and John his son and heir in 1593 made a settlement of six messuages and various lands in Howick, Hutton and Longton; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 55, m. 209. John Walton of Howick died in 1620 holding messuages and lands of Richard Fleetwood as of his manor of Howick by a rent of 3s.; William his son and heir was twentythree years of age; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 209. For a note concerning this family (1576) see Lancs. and Ches. Antiq. Notes, i, 155.
  • 25. Land tax returns at Preston.