The parish of Croston

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

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, 'The parish of Croston', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6, (London, 1911) pp. 81-91. British History Online [accessed 28 May 2024].

. "The parish of Croston", in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6, (London, 1911) 81-91. British History Online, accessed May 28, 2024,

. "The parish of Croston", A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6, (London, 1911). 81-91. British History Online. Web. 28 May 2024,

In this section


Croston; Mawdesley; Bispham; Bretherton; Ulnes; Walton

The parish of Croston, now containing five townships and an area of 10,740 acres, (fn. 1) was formerly much more extensive. Much Hoole, with two townships, was separated in 1642, the detached township of Chorley, 4 or 5 miles to the east, became an independent parish in 1793, while the townships to the west of the Douglas or Asland River—Rufford, Tarleton, and Hesketh-with-Becconsall—were separated in 1793 and 1821. The existing parish lies on the east bank of the Douglas, which forms the boundary for nearly 6 miles as it flows north to the Ribble estuary, and receives the Yarrow from the east. On the north bank of the latter stream, almost in the centre of the parish, stands the ancient church of Croston. Generally speaking, the surface is level, about a third being below the 25-ft. level, but in the south-east and south there are hills. The population in 1901 was 4,752. (fn. 2)

There are now in the parish 3,855 acres occupied as arable land, 5,579 as permanent grass and 203 as woods and plantations. (fn. 3)

To the ancient fifteenth the various townships of the complete parish paid thus: Croston and Mawdesley, each 17s. 4d.; Ulnes Walton, £1 2s.; Bretherton, £1 3s. 4d.; Much Hoole, 15s. 4d.; Little Hoole, 10s.; Chorley with Bispham, £1 4s. 7d.; Rufford, £1 1s. 3d.; Tarleton, £1 2s. 2½d.; Hesketh-with-Becconsall, 11s., giving a total of £9 4s. 4½d., when the hundred paid £30 12s. 8d. (fn. 4) For the county lay of 1624 the townships were arranged somewhat differently, in the following four quarters: 1, Croston and Rufford; 2, Tarleton, Much and Little Hoole; 3, Mawdesley, Bispham, and Hesketh-with-Becconsall; 4, Bretherton and Ulnes Walton. Each of these quarters paid equally, contributing a total of £22 4s. 7d., when £100 was required from the hundred. (fn. 5)

The landowners of the undivided parish contributing to the subsidy in 1525 were Robert Hesketh, Thomas Ashton, Henry Banastre, Edward Beconsaw, Roger Dalton, Bartholomew Hesketh, Henry Charnock and William Chorley. (fn. 6)

The history of the parish shows little of interest to record. The principal resident families were those of Ashton of Croston and Banastre of Bank. In 1533 one of the priests living near Croston, James Harrison, had the boldness to express the general feeling of the people as to the king's repudiation of Katherine of Aragon, on which an inquiry was made there. (fn. 7) Some compositions for recusancy were made in 1630–2. (fn. 8)

Map of Croston Parish (Ancient)

In 1800 an Act was obtained for draining the low lands of Croston, Mawdesley, Bispham, Bretherton, Rufford and Tarleton.


The church of ST. MICHAEL (fn. 9) is situated at the south end of Croston village close to the River Yarrow, which bounds the churchyard on the south side, and consists of a chancel 41 ft. 6 in. by 14 ft. 6 in. with north and south aisles and north vestry, nave 49 ft. by 15 ft. 6 in. with north and south aisles, south porch, and west tower 16 ft. 3 in. square, all these measurements being internal. The tower stands almost entirely within the church, its west front projecting only 4 ft. beyond the end walls of the north and south aisles, and is open to the building on all three sides under lofty pointed arches. The oldest parts of the church other than the piscina mentioned later seem to be the east end of the chancel and the lower part of the tower, which are probably of 15th-century date, at which period the church may have been built on the present plan, and to which date some other portions of the building may belong. There was so much rebuilding and restoration, however, in the following three centuries, of which no exact record has been kept, that it is now very difficult to assign the actual date to the greater part of the building. It seems, however, to be largely 16th-century work on a 15th-century basis, altered in the 17th, partly rebuilt in the 18th, and restored in the 19th century.

Baines (fn. 10) states that an inscription in the north side of the steeple purports that the church was rebuilt in the 16th century, but this, if it existed, is no longer visible. The Banastre chapel in the north aisle was 'beautified' in 1682, and there were rebuildings of parts of the structure in 1708, 1710, 1715 and 1768. (fn. 11) In 1823 a new roof was erected and the whole church 'beautified,' but a more thorough restoration took place in 1866–7, when the 18th-century galleries were removed, the chapels done away with, (fn. 12) a chancel arch erected, and the north chancel aisle entirely rebuilt. The east wall of the south chancel aisle is also said to have been pulled down and rebuilt at this time, (fn. 13) but, however that may be, the whole of the outer walls of this aisle were afterwards taken down and rebuilt in 1875. If Baines's statement about the 16th-century building is correct, it may be surmised that the present nave and aisles belong substantially to that date, together, perhaps, with the upper part of the tower. (fn. 14) A detached vestry and parish room were built on the north side of the church in 1903, connected with it by a glazed passage leading from the old vestry door.

The external walls are largely faced with red sandstone with the later additions in gritstone, and the roofs are covered with stone slates, except those of the new south chancel aisle, where modern blue slates are used. There is no clearstory, the roof over the nave and aisles being of one wide span. The chancel roof is lower than that of the nave, with overhanging eaves and a lean-to over the south aisle. The north aisle, which is 6 ft. wider than the aisle of the nave, is under a separate gabled roof. The nave aisles have embattled parapets erected in 1823.

Plan of Croston Church

The east end of the chancel projects 12 ft. 6 in. beyond the aisles, the angle on the north side, however, being occupied by a low embattled vestry, and has a five-light pointed window with the mullions crossing in the head, apparently of 16th-century date. The smaller square-headed three-light window on the south side seems to belong to the 15th-century church and is now the only window in the building with good original detail. The lights have cinquefoiled heads with perpendicular tracery above, and the jambs and head are square chamfered, the mullions having hollow chamfers, and there is no external label. The east gable has been rebuilt at the top in gritstone, and has a plain moulded coping and apex cross. The chancel is inclosed on both sides for a length of 15 ft. 6 in. from the east end, beyond which it is open to the north and south aisles by an arcade of two pointed arches. In the south wall below the window is a double piscina of 13th-century date which was discovered in 1866 on the removal of the plaster from the walls. (fn. 15) It is in two stones under a square-headed opening, the top of which is immediately below the sill of the window. The opening is 2 ft. 11 in. wide and 18 in. high and has a through stone at the top with a carved capital at the front, but there is no central shaft or any trace of the base of one below. It is possible the piscina may be made up from portions of an older building. The bowls, which are plain and retain their drains, are contained within the wall, the depth of the opening being 12 in. On the opposite side is a square-headed aumbry 1 ft. 9 in. wide, 13 in. high and 17 in. deep, the door of which has gone, beyond which, at a distance of about 10 ft. from the east wall, the old masonry ceases. On the south side the old wall extends some 13 ft. 6 in., and immediately to the west of the window is a recess 3 ft. 9 in. wide with splayed jambs and segmental arched head. The recess commences about 3 ft. above the floor and has a plain sill forming a seat which is made up of pieces of 18th-century gravestones. (fn. 16) The top of the arch is about 8 ft. from the floor and the whole of the west portion of the masonry, including the respond of the arch beyond, is modern. The wall here has been so much interfered with in the last and perhaps earlier restorations that its original aspect and the meaning of the recess are difficult to determine. (fn. 17) There appears to have been a narrow pointed window in part of the space occupied by the recess, the western jamb of which can be seen in the north-east corner of the south aisle, the rest being now covered up by the aisle wall. If the south aisle covers the same area as the chantry chapel erected by Thomas Hesketh, c. 1500, he appears to have put his east wall against this window, (fn. 18) but how far west the south chancel wall was originally an external one can only be surmised. The arches of the chancel arcade are low, and the piers, which are octagonal with moulded caps and bases, are of different heights. (fn. 19) On the south side the lower part of the arches has been cut away, altering their proportions, and the pier has been rebuilt and raised. (fn. 20) Originally the distinction between the chancel and the nave was marked only by the difference in the arcade and the wider built-up piers at the junction, the roof being continuous. The modern chancel arch, which is merely an insertion, is of two orders, the inner hollow-chamfered and the outer moulded, and springs from circular shafts with moulded caps. A Jacobean screen which existed when Glynne visited the church in 1859 has disappeared.

The north chancel aisle, which represents the Becconsall chapel or chancel, (fn. 21) is 30 ft. by 20 ft. and has two three-light windows on the north side and one in the east wall. There is an external door in the north-west corner, and in the south-east a door to the vestry. The east end of the aisle is now occupied by the organ, which before 1866 was in the west gallery, and the west end is seated with old oak benches.

The south chancel aisle, formerly the chantry chapel of St. John the Baptist, is 29 ft. long by 11 ft. in width and has two three-light pointed windows on the south side and one at the east end, the mullions continued and forming pointed heads to the lights. West of the second window from the east, in the south-west corner, is a priest's doorway with fourcentred head. The chancel aisles having both been rebuilt offer no points of antiquarian interest.

The nave arcade consists of four pointed arches on each side, of two chamfered orders springing from octagonal piers with moulded caps and bases. The caps, however, except to the responds, have apparently been so much damaged in the 18th century, consequent on the erection and removal of the galleries, as to have necessitated their being cut down to or replaced by a single round and hollow moulding, and the arches are cut away at the springing to fit them. (fn. 22) The roof is of flat pitch and divided into six bays, plastered between the roof timbers. The aisles are 67 ft. 6 in. long, extending at the west end nearly 20 ft. beyond the east face of the tower. Externally the nave is divided into five bays by buttresses of three stages, and diagonal ones at the angles, the first bay from the west on the north side being occupied by a four-centred arched doorway with square hood mould, moulded jambs and head and carved spandrels. Above the door is a low four-light window with fourcentred head and hood mould terminating in carved heads. Over the door and immediately below the sill of the window is a shield with the arms of the Heskeths of Rufford and their connexions, (fn. 23) and on either side of the window at the level of the sill are shields with the arms of Ashton quartering Leigh on the east, and Dalton quartering Fleming on the west. (fn. 24) On the battlement above the window is inscribed: 'This church was new roof'd and beautify'd A.D. 1823.' The windows are alike on both sides, with double hollow-chamfered jambs and heads and hollowchamfered mullions under pointed arches, almost semi circular in form, and with hood moulds terminating in blank shields. (fn. 25) The mullions are crossed in the head with a square in the centre. The window at the west end of the north aisle is new with a wide middle mullion and geometrical tracery, the original jambs and hood mould alone remaining. The aisles are 14 ft. wide and separated from those of the chancel by stone arches. (fn. 26) At the east end of each is a piscina in the north and south walls respectively. The east end of the north aisle was apparently the Banastre chapel, by the evidence of the arms carved on the shield outside, and some fragments of glass in the window on which a portion of a 17th-century inscription still remains. (fn. 27) The second bay from the west on the south side is occupied by the porch, which being on the side away from the village is no longer used. It has a plain gable without coping, diagonal buttresses, straight parapets at the sides, and an outer pointed arch of two hollow-chamfered orders without label. The inner doorway has a four-centred arch with hollow moulded head and jambs.

The tower is externally 26 ft. square at the base, with walls 5 ft. thick and has a vice in the south-west angle. Internally the arch to the nave springs high above the crown of the arches of the nave arcade, and is of three chamfered orders. The north and south arches to the aisles are the same height as those in the nave, but of three orders, the two inner plain chamfered and the outer with a hollow moulding. The inner order springs from stone corbels and the two outer are continued to the ground. The south arch, on account of the vice, is 2 ft. 6 in. narrower than those on the north and east, which are 12 ft. 6 in. wide. Externally the tower, which appears exceedingly heavy and massive, rising apparently out of the church roof on three sides, has diagonal buttresses of six stages its full height, an embattled parapet with angle and intermediate pinnacles, and a flat lead-covered roof. The west door is pointed and has moulded jambs with three small shafts divided by hollows on each side, and a hood mould terminating in carved heads. The door is modern. Above is a four-light window with straight-sided four-centred head and moulded jambs, apparently of 16th-century date, with the original mullions and tracery cut away, and later stonework similar to that in the nave windows substituted. The belfry windows are of three lights, the mullions crossing in the head under a pointed arch and hood mould. Below the belfry on the north and south sides is a clock, (fn. 28) and at the same level on the east and west a small square window to the belfry chamber stage. The bells are rung from the floor of the church.

The font is at the west end of the south aisle, and is hexagonal in shape with panelled sides, and dated 1663. It stands on a six-shafted stem and has a modern wood cover.

The pulpit and all the seating and fittings are modern, the old square pews having been removed in 1866–7. The first three seats of the nave preserve an old carved inscription stating that 'These three seates doe appertaine to William Farington of Worden Esqre 1708 by a faculty dated 1585.'

At the east end of the nave in front of the chancel steps is the grave of the Rev. Jas. Pilkington, rector, who died in 1683, with an inscribed flagstone. On the north wall of the chancel is a small brass with Latin inscription to the memory of the Rev. James Hyett, rector (d. 1663), and on the opposite wall a brass to Maria Foxcroft, born Butler, wife of the Rev. Richard Foxcroft, rector of Hoole, who died in 1686. In the recess on the south side of the chancel are two Pilkington brasses, one with a long Latin inscription setting forth the virtues of the family, and the other to the memory of Alice wife of the Rev. Wm. Pilkington, rector, who died 12 September 1747, in her eighty-third year. (fn. 29) The chancel also contains tablets to the memory of the Rev. Streynsham Master, rector (d. 1759), and to other members of the Master family, and in the south chapel is a tablet to the Rev. Robert M. Master, rector (d. 1867). There is also a tablet in the south chapel to Alexander Kershaw of Heskin, who died in 1788 in his ninety-fourth year.

There is a ring of eight bells by John Rudhall of Gloucester, three dated 1787, three 1806, and one 1822. The seventh bell was recast and the others rehung by Taylor of Loughborough in 1898. (fn. 30)

The plate consists of two chalices inscribed ' Croston Church 1743,' two flagons inscribed 'Croston Church,' a large paten, two small patens, and an almsdish.

The registers of marriages and burials begin in 1538 and those of baptisms in 1543, (fn. 31) but the earliest volume preserved at the church begins with the year 1728. In 1828 the churchwardens allowed the first two volumes to get out of their possession and the books were lost. (fn. 32) One of the missing volumes (1538–1685) was discovered in 1899 in the De Trafford estate office, Manchester, where it still remains, but the second has not been recovered.

The churchyard lies chiefly on the south and east sides of the building, the entrance from the village being on the north-west corner. There are no inscribed stones of ancient date. To the east where the churchyard is open to the rectory grounds and adjoining fields the view is one of much rural beauty. The rectory house, a 17th-century building with three gables to the front and stone slated roofs, was in the main erected by the Pilkingtons, but was refronted and the entrance rearranged by the Masters, probably soon after 1755. Their coat of arms is over the door. The front is now stuccoed and the gables hidden behind a high parapet which follows their rake in curved lines at the ends. On a stone in an outbuilding at the back of the house are the initials of the Rev. James Pilkington, B.D., and the date 1663, which is probably the year of the erection of the rectory.


The church of Croston was granted by Count Roger of Poitou to the abbey of St. Martin at Sees, (fn. 33) and the Prior and convent of Lancaster accordingly presented the rectors, receiving an annual pension of 6 marks from the church. (fn. 34) During the wars with France in the time of Edward III and later the kings, as was usual, usurped the patronage as belonging to an 'alien priory,' and, though the frequent changes of rectors at that time show how insecure the title was considered, the Priors of Lancaster seem at length to have acquiesced, (fn. 35) and the advowson was granted by Henry V to his new monastery of Syon. (fn. 36) The church was appropriated also, and a vicarage was ordained. (fn. 37) The Abbess of Syon presented down to the suppression of the monasteries, after which time the course of events is not clear. (fn. 38) In 1551 the 'advowson of the vicarage,' including, it would seem, the rectorial tithes, &c., was granted by the Crown to Sir Thomas Darcy, to be held by the service of one knight's fee and the rent of £29 12s. 6¾d. (fn. 39) From 1594 the incumbency has usually been styled the 'rectory and vicarage, (fn. 40) and a rent was payable to the Crown. (fn. 41) This rent was sold in the time of Charles II, and about 1790 was due to the representatives of the Hon. Mrs. Dashwood. (fn. 42)

In 1661 a grant of the advowson of the vicarage was made to the Bishop of Chester and his successors, (fn. 43) but must for some reason have been invalid, as the patronage has remained in private hands, (fn. 44) and has since about 1753 been held by the Master family, several of whom have been rectors. (fn. 45) The present patron is the Rev. A. Master-Whitaker.

Master. Azure a fesse embattled between three griffins' heads erased or.

In 1291 the income of the rector was estimated as £33 6s. 8d., (fn. 46) the benefice being the most valuable in Leyland Deanery. Fifty years later the ninth of sheaves, &c., was estimated at 10 marks less, the revenues pertaining to the altarage of the church being now excluded. (fn. 47) The gross value of the rectory was in 1534 estimated at £94 10s. 6d., of which £53 6s. 8d. was paid to Syon. (fn. 48) The Commonwealth surveyors in 1650 estimated the revenues as nearly £300 a year, after Hoole had been separated (fn. 49); and sixty or seventy years later the rectory was reported to be worth about £400, with 61 acres of glebe and seven cottages. (fn. 50) At the present time the income is given as £629, but large parts of the old parish have been cut off. (fn. 51)

The following is a list of incumbents:—

Instituted Name Patron Cause of Vacancy
c. 1160 Liulph (fn. 52)
oc. 1191 Nicholas (fn. 53)
c. 1230 Stephen (fn. 54)
c. 1240 Geoffrey
oc. 1246–60 Philip (fn. 55)
oc. 1291–5 Walter de Langton (fn. 56)
1303 Mr. Walter de Clipston (fn. 57)
2 Feb. 1310–11 Mr. William de Lancaster (fn. 58) Lancaster Priory d. W. de Clipston
22 Nov. 1318 Mr. Ralph de Tunstall (fn. 59) " d. last rector
1 Mar. 1333–4 Richard de Wamberge (fn. 60) " d. R. de Tunstall
18 Jan. 1344–5 William de Exeter (fn. 61) The King d. R. de Wamberge
oc. 1362 William de Huntlow (fn. 62)
25 July 1387 William Glynn (fn. 63) The King res. W. de Huntlow
Oct. 1398 Robert de Faringdon (fn. 64) exch. W. Glynn
19 Feb. 1404–5 Henry Kays (fn. 65) John Wakering d. R. de Faringdon
5 Apr. 1405 Richard Kingston (fn. 66) exch. H. Kays
22 Oct. 1408 William Lochard (fn. 67) The King res. R. Kingston
14 Aug. 1409 Nicholas Slake (fn. 68) " res. W. Lochard
4 Sept. 1418 Thomas Fishburne (fn. 69) W. Kenolmarsh
Instituted Name Patron Cause of Vacancy
19 May 1421 William Abraham (fn. 70) Syon Abbey
16 Sept. 1435 John Occleshaw (fn. 71) "
1 Aug. 1439 Richard Dalton (fn. 72) " res. J. Occleshaw
oc. 1443 Thomas Tarleton (fn. 73)
11 Aug. 1453 Christopher Holme (fn. 74) Syon Abbey d. T. Tarleton
3 Feb. 1475–6 Roger Haslingden, B.D. (fn. 75) " d. Chr. Holme
8 Jan. 1477–8 Thomas Mawdesley, D.D. (fn. 76) " d. R. Haslingden
24 Jan. 1504–5 Robert Beconsaw, D.D. (fn. 77) " d. T. Mawdesley
1526 Thomas Bond, B.D. (fn. 78) "
20 July 1557 Thomas Leeming (fn. 79) Ant. Browne d. T. Bond
17 Sept. 1594 Robert Whittakers (fn. 80)
1607 George Comey (fn. 81) d. R. Whittakers
23 Mar. 1623–4 John Bartlett, M.A. (fn. 82) Bishop of Chester d. G. Comey
18 Aug. 1625 James Hyett, B.D. (fn. 83) The King
28 Oct. 1662 James Pilkington, B.D. (fn. 84) " exp. J. Hyett
25 May 1683 Charles Layfield, B.D. (fn. 85) W. Layfield, &c. d. J. Pilkington
4 Oct. 1688 John Ryley (fn. 86) Chas. Layfield res. C. Layfield
14 Mar. 1689–90 Robert Pickering, D.D. (fn. 87) C. Layfield & W. Haydock d. J. Ryley
10 Dec. 1695 Zachariah Taylor, M.A. (fn. 88) The King depr. R. Pickering
1696 Robert Pickering, D.D.
27 Dec. 1703 William Pilkington, LL.D. (fn. 89) Chas. Layfield d. R. Pickering
21 Oct. 1755 Streynsham Master, D.D. (fn. 90) Legh Master d. W. Pilkington
11 May 1759 Robert Master, D.D. (fn. 91) Anne Master, &c. d. S. Master
28 Sept. 1798 Streynsham Master, M.A. (fn. 92) Eliz. Master d. R. Master
1864 Robert Mosley Master, M.A. (fn. 93) d. S. Master
1867 Oswald Master, M.A. (fn. 94) Rev. G. S. Master d. R. M. Master
1894 Atherton Gwillym Rawstorne, M.A. (fn. 95) " res. O. Master

The more distinguished of the early rectors and vicars were probably non-resident, but the rise of chapels at Chorley, Rufford, Tarleton, Becconsall and perhaps Hoole also, shows that the parish was before the Reformation suitably provided with clergy. In 1535, in addition to the vicar, who if non-resident would be represented by a curate, there were eight priests serving the chantries in the then undivided parish, of which three were in the parish church itself. (fn. 96) The Clergy List of 1541–2 (fn. 97) shows that the vicar paid two priests and Richard Cliff paid another. There would thus be five or six resident clergy in the central portion of Croston, and quite as many more in Chorley and outlying parts. The Visitation List of 1548 records twelve names, and in addition there were four priests at Chorley. The effect of the change of religion is shown by the sudden drop to five names in 1554 and to two only, one being the decrepit curate, in 1562; there was also one at Chorley. In the following year the vicar and two curates are recorded, while in 1565 the vicar was supposed to have one curate, whose name, however, was unknown. (fn. 98) It was inevitable, therefore, that several of the chapels fell out of use for the time, the only ones named in the list of 1610–12 being those at Chorley and Rufford. (fn. 99) The vicar in 1622 was assisted by a lecturer, (fn. 100) and in the survey of 1650 the chapels of Chorley, Rufford and Becconsall are named, as also a new church at Tarleton and a proposed one at Mawdesley; Hoole had then become independent. (fn. 101) After the Restoration the staff probably declined again, and in 1691—a time of change, however—the only clergy at the visitation were the rector and the curates of Chorley and Rufford. (fn. 102) These chapelries became independent rectories in 1793, and in more recent times many new churches have been built.

Schools were founded in the latter half of the 17th century at Croston, Bispham, Bretherton and Mawdesley. (fn. 103)

There were, as stated, three regularly endowed chantries in the parish church. (fn. 104) That at the altar of St. John the Baptist was founded about 1500 by John Todd, the chaplain of Rufford. The priest was to celebrate for the souls of the founder and his predecessors, and he also assisted the curate in the administration of the sacraments. The income at the suppression of these endowments in 1547–8 was £5 2s. 8d., derived from lands in Mawdesley, Bispham and elsewhere. (fn. 105) The chantry at the altar of the Trinity was founded, probably about 1530, by Katherine Tarleton, widow, for a priest to celebrate for the souls of herself and her ancestors. The income was only 59s. 8d., derived from lands in Thornton in the Fylde. (fn. 106) The chantry at the Rood altar, or altar of the Crucifix, was founded before 1527 by Christopher Walton for a celebrant for the souls of the founder and all Christian souls. The endowment of 62s. 4d. a year was derived from lands in Hoole, Howick and Mawdesley. (fn. 107) None of the chantries had any plate of their own. There was also a Becconsall chapel. (fn. 108) The chapels were about a century ago purchased from Sir T. D. Hesketh by the rector of Croston. (fn. 109)


The charitable endowments for the parish of Croston have an income of over £1,000 a year, but nearly half is applicable to education only. (fn. 110) The benefaction of Dr. Layfield, formerly rector, produces £27 18s. 4d. for the poor of the whole parish. (fn. 111) The charity founded by Peter Lathom of Bispham, by his will of 1700, (fn. 112) now has over £380 a year for the townships of Croston, Mawdesley, Bispham and Ulnes Walton. In accordance with a scheme made by the Charity Commissioners in 1879 the trustees are authorized to distribute the income in a great variety of ways, including subscriptions to cottage hospitals or dispensaries, or to the funds of provident clubs or friendly societies, gifts of money, clothes, bedding, tools, food, medical aid, &c., and also fees and prizes for education, and the provision of school libraries and evening classes. (fn. 113) In the township of Croston there are funds for almshouses, (fn. 114) and about £94 a year for the poor derived from the old Poor's Stock, a gift by Thomas Norris in 1852, and other sources; it is distributed in kind. (fn. 115) Mawdesley has some small endowments for the poor, (fn. 116) and shares to a small extent another sum with Bispham. (fn. 117) For the poor of Ulnes Walton the gifts of James Glassbrook and others yield over £25 a year. (fn. 118)


  • 1. In addition are 23½ acres of tidal water.
  • 2. Census Rep. 1901.
  • 3. Statistics from Bd. of Agric. (1905).
  • 4. Gregson, Fragments (ed. Harland), 19.
  • 5. Ibid. 17, 22. Rules were made as to the subdivision of the quarter's contribution among the various townships; thus when Mawdesley paid 8d. Bispham paid 4d. and Hesketh-with-Becconsall 2d.
  • 6. Subs. R. Lancs. bdle. 130, no. 86.
  • 7. Ellis, Orig. Letters (Ser. 1), ii, 41–5; Ch. Goods (Chet. Soc.), 68.
  • 8. These were for the two-thirds of their estates legally sequestered for religion. In Croston Thomas Ashton compounded by £18 a year, Thomas Werden by £4 0s. 4d.; in Mawdesley Henry Finch by £3 and Michael Nelson by £2 13s. 4d.; Trans. Hist. Soc. (new ser.), xxiv, 173–8.
  • 9. The invocation was St. Michael as early as 1291. See Cal. Papal Letters, i, 525.
  • 10. Hist. of Lancs. (ed. 1836), iii, 398.
  • 11. The following extracts from the parish books, now at the rectory, have been communicated by the Rev. W. G. Procter. They will show the extent of the various works:— 1708, Aug. 3. It was agreed that the arch that leads into the Rufford chancel, being dangerous and visibly decayed, should be repaired by William Bellingham, esq. In 1710 'the body of the church up to the chancel being in a very ill and dangerous manner as to the foundations of the pillars falling in by the frequent burying in the body of the church and by floods piercing the earth and filling up the graves, it was concluded and agreed upon that new earth should this year be brought in and the flags new laid upon the new earth and rightly levelled to a due and suitable height.' 1715. 'The arch that goeth into the channcel called Becconsall channcel' was taken down and rebuilt at the cost of the parish, and the 'adjoining arches' were also taken down and rebuilt by the rector. 1768. It was unanimously agreed that the two small pillars next the steeple be wholly taken down and rebuilt and the two large pillars of the steeple be properly underpinned. In 1770 at a meeting of the parishioners it was resolved that 'the whole of the expense of all the pillars lately taken down and rebuilt be defrayed out of the money collected by Brief and that the sum of £106 12s. 5¾d. be allowed out of the Brief money to defray the expense incurred.' This seems to indicate that the rebuilding of the nave arcade extended into the year 1769. Baines (Lancs. [1836], iii, 398) states that part of the nave was rebuilt in 1767, but this is probably an error for 1768–9.
  • 12. The chapels north and south of the chancel were described as being 'merely canopied pews'; Baincs, op. cit. (ed. 1836), iii, 398.
  • 13. Canon Atkinson's notes to Glynne's Churches of Lancs. 69 (Chet. Soc. Publ. new ser. xxvii), where it is stated that the east wall was pulled down 'so as no longer to extend beyond the east wall of the chancel itself.' But this seems to be a mistake.
  • 14. Possibly the whole of the tower was at this time rebuilt, the only evidence of older work being in the jambs and heads of the west door and window, but these may have been used up in the later rebuilding from the older work.
  • 15. 'On removing the plaster from the walls of the chancel in the parish church of Croston a small niche on the south side was laid bare. In it are two stoups, or small stone basins, which had evidently been separated in front by a thin orna mental stone pillar, a piece of stonework projecting from the upper part of the back of the niche being finished by a well-executed "rose" (sic) at the point where it had joined the pillar. The basins are each provided with an outlet at the bottom to drain off the contents'; Gent. Mag. 1866, ii, 471. The aumbry in the north wall was laid bare at the same time.
  • 16. The course of stone immediately below the sill is modern; the old masonry below is 2 ft. 2 in. in height above the floor.
  • 17. It may mark the space occupied by sedilia.
  • 18. This is supposing the present east wall of the aisle occupies the position of the original one. Compare, however, Canon Atkinson's statement already cited, which would imply that before 1866 the south aisle extended further eastward than the chancel itself, which is very unlikely. The blocked-up window is 5 ft. 6 in. in height, and the sill is 5 ft. 6 in. above the floor of the south aisle.
  • 19. The arches on the north side are probably those 'adjoining' the Becconsall chapel rebuilt by the rector in 1715. See note ante.
  • 20. The caps of the piers and responds on the south side are 7 ft. 8 in. from the floor, and are above those of the nave arcade. On the north side the caps are lower than those of the nave, the difference in height between the caps of the north and south chancel arcades being 2 ft. The piers are 20 in. in diameter and the width of the arch above 2 ft. 6 in., the caps having a wide projection.
  • 21. The Fleming coat-of-arms is cut in the stone over the archway between the chapel and the north aisle of the nave facing west. It was discovered under the plaster in 1866. This arch was rebuilt in 1715, but whether the arms were in the same place before that date can only be conjectured.
  • 22. The two westernmost piers and the arches between them and the tower were taken down and rebuilt in 1768. See note ante.
  • 23. Procter in Trans. Hist. Soc. Lancs. and Ches. (new ser.), xxiv, 4. The shield is quartered: (1) Hesketh; (2) Banastre; (3) Minshull; (4) Twenge.
  • 24. Ibid. These three shields bearing the armorials of three families holding property in the parish may have reference to the benefactions of those families in the rebuilding of the church. The heraldry, however, seems to point to the end of the 15th century, while the fabric here is assumedly of 16th-century date. The first shield has the arms of Ashton (Argent a cheveron between three garlands gules) quartering Lea (Argent three bars sable). The second bears Dalton (Azure crusilly a lion rampant guardant argent) quartering Fleming (Barry of six argent and azure in chief three lozenges gules). The third bears the Hesketh coat (Argent on a bend sable three garbs or) quartering Banastre (Argent a cross patonce sable), Minshull (Sable three mullets issuant from as many crescents argent), and Twenge or Doddingfell (Argent a fess gules).
  • 25. The second window from the east on the south side has no shields, but the ordinary returned label, and the easternmost window on the north side has the Banastre arms on one of the shields.
  • 26. Both rebuilt in the 18th century.
  • 27. It reads as follows ' . . . and for y[e] good estate of Henry Ba . . . . of Willia . . Bana . . .' with the initials B HM.
  • 28. The clock and chimes were given in 1882 in memory of Margaret and Penelope Master.
  • 29. She is described as 'a Remarkable and Hospitable Œconomist, a generous Rewarder of those that had done her any office of Civility. As she always spoke her mind, her aversion was very much against Flattery, Compliments and Hipocresy. Her Visits to the Rich were Rare, but Frequent to the Poor.'
  • 30. The inscriptions on the bells are as follows: 1, 2 and 4, 'John Rudhall, Glocester, feet. 1816.' 3. 'Come away make no delay, 1787.' 5. 'This peal was cast at Glocester by J. Rudhall, 1787.' 6. 'The Rev. Streynsham Master, rector; R. Farrington, churchwarden, 1822.' 7. 'Ring clearer than before God's praises evermore; cast by J. Rudhall, 1787. Renewed, remainder of peal rehung by J. Taylor, 1898. The Rev. A. G. Rawstorne, rector; M. Hackforth, T. Whittle, churchwardens.' 8. 'I to the church the living call and to the grave do summon all.'
  • 31. The earlier volumes (1538–1685 and 1690–1727) have been transcribed and edited by Col. Fishwick for the Lancs. Parish Reg. Soc. in two vols. (vols. vi and xx, 1900 and 1904), recourse having been had to the episcopal transcripts at Chester for the entries 1690–1727.
  • 32. In this volume there are large blanks during the reigns of Mary and Elizabeth, e.g. scarcely any baptisms from 1556 to 1578, no weddings from 1560 to 1569, and no burials from 1560 to 1600. In the year 1644 is interpolated the note, 'There is many that is unregistered by reason of Prince Rupert's coming into Lancashire and this book being hid for fear of the enemy taking it.'
  • 33. Farrer, Lancs. Pipe R. 290. The demesne tithes of Croston were included. The charter was several times confirmed; ibid. 296, 298. About 1240 Sir John de la Mare, lord of Croston, released to the monks any claim he might have had to the advowson; Lanc. Ch. (Chet. Soc.), i, 24.
  • 34. Ibid. i, 113, 115. In 1318 the Prior of Lancaster established his right to the pension, which William de Lancaster, then rector of Croston, had for some years withheld; ibid. ii, 502; De Banco R. 223, m. 150.
  • 35. See the list of rectors.
  • 36. The confirmation by Martin V, dated 1418, is printed in Mon. Angl. vi, 543, and a charter by Edw. IV in 1461 in Parl. R. v, 553; Cal. Pat. 1461–7, p. 145.
  • 37. The Bishop of Lichfield in 1420 ordained the vicarage, of which the Abbess and convent of Syon at Isleworth were patrons. The value of the rectory being estimated at 130 marks, it was ordered that the vicar should pay the convent 80 marks and keep the other 50, and any additional revenue, paying all ecclesiastical burdens and 10s. a year to the poor. Sec Gastrell, Notitia Cestr. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 353; Lich. Epis. Reg. ix, fol. 129.
  • 38. The king is named as rector in the 1548 visitation list.
  • 39. Pat. 5 Edw. VI, pt. iv.
  • 40. See the accounts of the rectors for the variations in style. The pre-Reformation vicars had received all the dues, paying a pension only, and this system may have continued afterwards. In the detailed description in 1650 James Hyett was called 'rector and incumbent,' and he had received the tithes, a lease by him of the tithe corn of Bispham and Mawdesley made about 1638 being mentioned; yet the benefice is called a vicarage; Commonw. Ch. Surv. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 108, 109.
  • 41. A pension of £53 6s. 8d. was in 1670 paid to the Crown by William Hyett for the rectory of Croston; Pat. 22 Chas. II, pt. ii. This, as will be noticed, was the old rent payable to Syon Abbey; but before 1670 it had been reduced by one-seventh paid by Hoole, as appears by a note below.
  • 42. Information of Rev. W. G. Procter. Richard Dashwood was vouchee in a recovery of the 'rectory of Croston' in 1821; Pal. of Lanc. Assize, Lent, 2 Geo. IV.
  • 43. Pat. 13 Chas. II, pt. xvi; to Brian Walton, Bishop of Chester. The bishop's petition for the vicarage is printed in Manch. Guardian N. and Q. no. 1169. The rent payable to the Crown was stated to be £45 14s. 6d.
  • 44. Rector James Pilkington is said to have purchased the advowson about 1680 in the name of his father, William Pilkington, and others; Local Glcan. Lancs. and Ches. ii, 282. In a fine of 1665 respecting the rectory of Croston and the advowson of the vicarage the deforciant was Henry Hudlestone and the plaintiffs were Sir Thomas Foster and Anthony Knightbridge; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 175, m. 34. The deforciants in later fines were Dr. Charles Layfield (Mar. 1712) and John Layfield and Benjamin Culme, clerk (Mar. 1724); ibid. bdles. 268, m. 31; 291, m. 57. An indenture of 1706 respecting the advowson is enrolled in the Com. Pleas Trin. 1707, R. 8.
  • 45. Streynsham Master, clerk, and Margaret his wife were in possession of the advowson in 1753; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 576, m. 13 d. Canon Raines states: 'In the year 1755 the patronage became vested in Legh Master, esq., M.P., whose son the Rev. Robert Master, D.D., was afterwards rector, and whose grandson Streynsham Master, D.D., is the present (1851) rector. Dr. Master sold the advowsons to Le Gendre Nicholas Starkie of Huntroyd, esq., who in the year 1821 again conveyed them by sale to George Smith, esq., M.P., brother of Lord Carrington'; Notitia Cestr. ii, 354. The sales named were perhaps family arrangements. For pedigree see Burke's Landed Gentry —Master of Barrow Green House.
  • 46. Pope Nich. Tax. (Rec. Com.), 249.
  • 47. Inq. Nonarum (Rec. Com.), 39. The townships were valued as follows: Croston and Ulncs Walton, each 44s. 6d.; Bretherton, 4½ marks; Mawdesley, £6 2s. 3d.; Bispham, £2; also (now separated) Chorley, £3 11s. 1d.; Rufford, 28s. 11d.; Tarleton, 35s. 4d.; Becconsall, 22s. 3d.; Great Hoole, £2; Little Hoole, 24s. 6d.
  • 48. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v, 231. The glebe land brought in £5 7s. 10d., tithes £72 9s. 4d., Easter roll, &c., £16 13s. 4d. It will be noticed that the convent of Syon received 80 marks, as ordered a century before. The 10s. was still paid to the poor. The net value was £38 5s. 10d. The vicar agreed to pay £4 a year to the (acting) parish priest and 4 marks to the curate of Chorley, thus reducing his taxable income to £31 11s. 6d. See note 9, p. 88.
  • 49. Commonw. Ch. Surv. 108.
  • 50. Gastrell, Notitia, ii, 353. Some details are given in Raines' notes as to the leasing of the tithes in the 17th century.
  • 51. Manch. Dioc. Dir.
  • 52. As 'Lidulf priest of Croston' he attested charters made between 1153 and 1160; Lancs. Pipe R. 323, 325.
  • 53. 'Nicholas de Croston' occurs in and about 1191; Whalley Coucher (Chet. Soc.), i, 40; Lanc. Ch. (Chet. Soc.), i, 112. From his position among the witnesses it may be assumed that he was rector.
  • 54. Stephen is named as Philip's predecessor 'in the time of the king who now is,' and Geoffrey as his ' immediate predecessor,' in the plea quoted in the next note.
  • 55. Philip rector of Croston in 1246 claimed an oxgang of land and a third as belonging to 'two-thirds of the church,' against Peter le Fizle, chaplain, who claimed it as his lay fee. It appeared that Geoffrey, the preceding rector, had granted it to Peter for life; Assize R. 404, m. 1 d. One-third of the church must at that time have been held by someone else, perhaps as a pension. Philip attested several charters of the same period, one being dated 1260; Lanc. Ch. i, 23, 29, 45; ii, 431.
  • 56. He was also rector of Manchester (q.v.). For the dispensation to retain Croston together with other benefices see Cal. Papal Letters, i, 525, 529, 550, 559. He was engaged in the king's service and the churches were served by deputies. He became Bishop of Lichfield in 1296; Le Neve, Fasti; Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • 57. He was prebendary of Tarvin in Lichfield Cathedral; Le Neve, Fasti, i, 630. In 1303 Boniface VIII allowed the Bishop of Lichfield to grant a dispensation to his nephews Walter and Robert, sons of Robert de Clipston, aged respectively twelve and ten years, and only in minor orders, to hold a benefice apiece; Cal. Papal Letters, i, 611.
  • 58. Lich. Epis. Reg. i, fol. 58b; he was a priest. He had been rector of Eccleston.
  • 59. Ibid. fol. 86; a chaplain. He also had been rector of Eccleston for a time. Tunstall may have forfeited the church for a time, as there is a note in the register (ibid. iii, fol. 44) that Croston became vacant on 31 Aug. 1329.
  • 60. Ibid. ii, fol. 108b; a priest. At the institution he is called Robert de Wamberge. He had been rector of Eccleston in 1319–20.
  • 61. Ibid. fol. 118. The presentation was in the king's hands by reason of the war with France; Cal. Pat. 1343–5, p. 346. For the claim see Memo. R. (Q.R.) 122, m. 277; De Banco R. 341, m. 19d.; Cal. Close, 1343–5, p. 483. John de Winwick had been presented by the king in the previous June, but does not seem to have been instituted; Cal. Pat. 1343–5, p. 300. William de Exeter was rector of Croston as late as 1353 and 1354; Assize R. 435, m. 33; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxii, App. 331. He allowed the rent due to the Prior of Lancaster to fall into arrears; De Banco R. 349, m. 208. A William de Exeter was about that time physician to Queen Philippa. He resigned the precentorship of Lincoln in 1344. See Dict. Nat. Biog.; Le Neve, Fasti, ii, 92; Cal. Papal Letters, ii, 328, &c.
  • 62. Huntlow was rector as early as 1362; Lich. Epis. Reg. v, fol. 45. He occurs in numerous suits from that time onwards; De Banco R. 416, m. 20 d., &c. He was prebendary of Hereford in 1395; Le Neve, Fasti, i, 511. It seems to have been reported that Huntlow had died, for Hugh de Cottingham, clerk, was presented by the king as true patron, and instituted 18 Mar. 1382–3; Cal. Pat. 1381–5, p. 234; Lich. Epis. Reg. iv, fol. 93b.
  • 63. Ibid. vi, fol. 53; in minor orders. The king was patron 'for this turn.' In 1393 a licence was granted to Rector Glynn to hear the confessions of his parishioners; ibid. vi, fol. 129b. For some reason not stated the king presented Simon Bache to the rectory in 1389; Cal. Pat. 1385–9, p. 535.
  • 64. Ely Epis. Reg. Fordham, fol. 60b; William Glynn, rector of Croston, exchanged with Robert de Faringdon (or Farington), rector of Doddington in Cambridgeshire. The latter had been rector of Wrotham in Kent. See also Cal. Pat. 1396–9, p. 375. In Dec. 1399 Faringdon, described as 'king's clerk,' obtained a ratification by Henry IV of his estate in the church of Croston and prebends at York (Le Neve, Fasti, iii, 200, 219) and Dublin; Cal. Pat. 1399–1401, p. 135. There are many references to him as a public official in Cal. Pat. 1401–5. His executors were his brother, William de Farington, D.D., Robert de Hothersall, D.D., and Henry Malpas, canon of Lichfield; Towneley MS. CC (Chet. Lib.), no. 422.
  • 65. Lich. Epis. Reg. vii, fol. 93; a clerk. The register states that John Wakering, clerk, had the right of presentation by grant of the Prior of Lancaster in August 1401. This was confirmed by the king in 1402; Cal. Pat. 1401–5, p. 39. Kays was a royal official and became canon of Hastings; Cal. Pat. 1422–9, pp. 5, 322, &c.
  • 66. Lich. Epis. Reg. vii, fol. 93; he had been rector of Fakenham Dam, to which Henry Kays went. The king presented or concurred in the exchange, 'on account of the war with France'; Cal. Pat. 1401–5, p. 494. Kingston held canonries at Hereford, &c.; Le Neve, Fasti, i, 497, &c. He became Dean of Windsor in 1402; Cal. Pat. 1401–5, p. 107.
  • 67. Lich. Epis. Reg. vii, fol. 97; the king is called 'true patron.' Lochard was promoted to other benefices, canonries, &c.; he died in 1438. See Cal. Pat. 1401–5, pp. 247, 478; Le Neve, Fasti, iii, 384; i, 486.
  • 68. Lich. Epis. Reg. vii, fol. 98; a chaplain. He held various ecclesiastical offices and became Dean of St. Stephen's, Westminster; Le Neve, Fasti, iii, 221, &c.; Lanc. Ch. ii, 528.
  • 69. Lich. Epis. Reg. viii, fol. 20; a chaplain. The qualification of the patron for that turn is not recorded.
  • 70. Lich. Epis. Reg. ix, fol. 111; a chaplain. Thomas Tarleton, chaplain, was one of the executors of the will of William Abraham, late vicar of Croston, in 1435–6; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxiii, App. 36.
  • 71. Lich. Epis. Reg. ix, fol. 123; a deacon.
  • 72. Ibid. fol. 124b; a priest.
  • 73. Thomas Tarleton, as vicar, acknowledged the reception of a relic of St. Lawrence at Chorley in March 1442–3; Notitia Cestr. ii, 355. On the other hand Richard Dalton, vicar of Croston, occurs in pleadings as late as 1448; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 6, m. 2b; 11, m. 3b. An indenture of Tarleton's time as to the tithes of Croston is in Lich. Epis. Reg. x, fol. 37.
  • 74. Ibid. xi, fol. 36; a chaplain. In 1467 Christopher Holme, vicar of Croston, was among those charged with breaking the free warren of Thomas Ashton in Croston and Mawdesley; Pal. of Lanc. Writs Proton. 7 Edw. IV.
  • 75. Lich. Epis. Reg. xii, fol. 110.
  • 76. Ibid. fol. 111b. He was educated at Cambridge; Grace Book A (Luard Memorial), 86, &c.
  • 77. Act Bks. at Chester. Robert Beconsaw, D.D., was president of Queens' Coll., Camb., almoner to Queen Katherine, canon of Lincoln and Windsor, &c., and as he died 21 Jan. 1525–6 may be identified with this vicar of Croston; Cooper, Athen. Cantab. i, 33; Le Neve, Fasti, ii, 101; iii, 391; L. and P. Hen. VIII, i, 3487. Baines' Lancs. (ed. Croston), iv, 125, &c., gives full accounts of the modern rectors.
  • 78. Mr. Thomas Buynde, vicar of Croston, is named in 1525–6; Exch. Aug. Off. Misc. Bks. xxxiv, no. 82. In a return made to the Crown in 1527 Thomas Bond, B.D., is stated to have held the vicarage for two years, by the presentation of the Abbess of Syon; Duchy of Lanc. Rentals, bdle. 5, no. 15. Bond appears as vicar in the Valor and the Visitation Lists of 1548 and 1554. In a lease of the rectory by him and the Abbess of Syon in 1538 he undertook to pay the 'parish priest' of Croston £4 as usual, and the sub-curate or chaplain of Chorley 4 marks; Raines MSS. (Chet. Lib.), xxv, p. 292.
  • 79. Church Papers and Act Bks. at Chester. Leeming was made an acolyte in 1542, and appears to have been curate of Penwortham in 1554. He gave bond as vicar 15 July 1557 (Raines MSS. xxii, 34), and occurs in 1562 and later, being there in 1575 and 1584. He refused to appear at the Visitation of 1559 (Gee, Elizabethan Clergy), but must have conformed to the new order subsequently. The name of the patron is given by Bishop Gastrell, Notitia, ii, 357. The vicar of Croston was 'no preacher' in 1590; S. P. Dom. Eliz. xxxi, no. 47.
  • 80. First-fruits were paid for the 'rectory and vicarage' on 23 Nov. 1594; Lancs. and Ches. Rec. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 411, where other such payments are recorded. The institutions are printed in Lancs. and Ches. Antiq. Notes, from the Institution Books, P.R.O.; but this 'vicar' is miscalled Walter Whittakers. He was resident in 1598, but had no curate, and ministered the communion without any service; Raines MSS. xxii, 180. He was buried at Croston 14 Dec. 1606.
  • 81. First-fruits paid 7 July 1607 for 'rectory and vicarage.' The vicar was described as 'a preacher' about 1610, when the patron and farmer of the rectory was Sir Edmund Huddleston; Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 11. Mr. Charnock was 'rector' in 1622; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 67.
  • 82. The bishop collated by lapse to the 'rectory and vicarage'; no payment of first-fruits is recorded. See Gastrell, loc. sup. cit. The Act Bks. at Chester give 31 May 1624 as the date of collation. It appears that the king also presented Bartlett, by reason of the outlawry of the patron for that turn; Cal. S. P. Dom. 1640–1, p. 340.
  • 83. Act Bks. at Chester. The king presented by lapse or resignation. Firstfruits paid 17 Feb. 1626–7 for ' vicarage,' but Hyett is styled 'rector' about 1624; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 81. The king in 1637 presented Dr. Edward Morton by lapse, but this did not have effect. Hyett had been vicar of Childwall, and was a strong Puritan, taking part in the establishment of the Presbyterian discipline in 1646, and signing the 'Harmonious Consent' in 1648. He was deprived in 1662 under the Act of Uniformity, and did not long survive, being buried at Croston 8 Apr. 1663 without the Prayer-book service, the new rector protesting but giving way; Newcome's Diary (Chet. Soc.), 176. Hoole became a separate parish in 1642.
  • 84. He was instituted to the 'vicarage,' and on 9 Jan. following Ralph Wittie was instituted to 'rectory and vicarage ' on the king's presentation. John Kay also was presented on 15 Dec. 1662; Pat. 14 Chas. II, pt. ii, no. 27. It was alleged that Pilkington had committed simony; Loc. Gleanings Lancs. and Ches. ii, 281. The first presentation must have held good, for James Pilkington is described as 'rector and vicar' on 31 Jan. 1663–4 in the parish register, and was buried as 'parson' on 25 Apr. 1683. He purchased the advowson. He is said to have been descended from the Pilkingtons of Salford, but was son of William Pilkington of Wigan. He was educated at St. John's Coll., Camb., of which he was a fellow; M.A. 1657, B.D. 1664, and incorporated at Oxford; Foster, Alumni Oxon.
  • 85. Act Bks. at Chester. The patrons were William Layfield, Robert Pickering and William Haydock. He was educated at St. John's Coll., Oxf.; M.A. 1674, D.D. 1692; and was rector of Wrotham 1677, Croston 1683, Buriton 1688 and Chilbolton 1699–1715; Foster, Alumni Oxon. Dr. Layfield was a benefactor of the parish. On 25 July 1683 Edmund Townley, M.A., was instituted on the king's presentation (Act Bks. at Chester) by lapse or simony, but Layfield retained the benefice. He became prebendary of Winchester in 1688; Le Neve, Fasti, iii, 34.
  • 86. John Lowe, B.A., was presented by William Pilkington of Wigan on 2 July 1688, but nothing further is known of him. John Ryley was probably of Jesus Coll., Camb.; B.A. 1682. He was 'conformable' in 1689; Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 229.
  • 87. He was also rector of Eccleston (q.v.). He was deprived for simony, but appears to have been restored, or may have refuted the charge. No second institution is recorded. He signed the registers as rector in 1695 and later, and held the rectory till his death, being buried at Croston 4 Dec. 1703.
  • 88. The king presented on account of simony by Pickering. Zachary Taylor was son of the ejected curate of Rochdale of the same name (1662); he was educated at Jesus Coll., Camb. (M.A. 1678), and incorporated at Oxford. He had been vicar of Ormskirk 1679 to 1692, and was a king's preacher. He acted as curate-incharge of Wigan. He was known as the 'Lancashire Levite,' and wrote tracts on the 'Surey Demoniac.' There is a notice of him in Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • 89. He was son of a preceding rector (James P.); educated at St. John's Coll., Oxf.; rector of Greatham, Hants, 1699; Foster's Alumni. He was also of Emmanuel Coll., Camb.; LL.D. 1728. He purchased or repurchased the advowson, and it passed with his daughter and heir Margaret, wife of the succeeding rector, to the Master family.
  • 90. He was the son of Sir Streynsham Master (see Dict. Nat. Biog.).
  • 91. Nephew of the preceding rector. Educated at Balliol Coll., Oxf., and fellow of All Souls'; M.A. 1753, D.D. 1763. In his time Chorley and Rufford were made independent parishes.
  • 92. Eldest son of the preceding rector. Educated at Balliol Coll., Oxf.; M.A. 1791. He fell into financial difficulties about 1820, and had to leave the country for a time; see End. Charities Rep. Hesketh and Tarleton were separated from Croston in 1821, becoming independent parishes, held, however, by the then rector of Croston till his death in 1864.
  • 93. Eldest son of the preceding rector. Educated at Balliol Coll., Oxf.; M.A. 1818. Perpetual curate of Burnley 1826– 55, where his principal work was done, Hon. Canon of Manchester 1850, archdeacon 1854.
  • 94. Educated at Brasenose Coll., Oxf.; M.A. 1852.
  • 95. Educated at Corpus Christi Coll., Oxf.; M.A. 1882. Formerly incumbent of Oulton, Yorks. In 1909 he was appointed assistant to the Bishop of Manchester, with the title of suffragan Bishop of Whalley, the rectory of Croston being retained.
  • 96. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v, 231.
  • 97. Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), iii, 17.
  • 98. These details are from Visitation Lists in Chester Dioc. Reg. For the 'ornaments' of the church in 1552, including a Bible, see Ch. Goods (Chet. Soc.), 126.
  • 99. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 11.
  • 100. Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 67.
  • 101. Commonw. Ch. Surv. 108–15.
  • 102. Visitation List at Chester.
  • 103. Gastrell, Notitia, ii, 358–60. John Duke of Lancaster in 1372 granted one John de Bradley leave to open a grammar school at Croston; Duchy of Lanc. Misc. Bks. xiii, fol. 53b. The trustees of Croston School are named in a fine of 1644–5 among the parish church deeds; note by Rev. W. G. Procter. The school is named in another deed, of 1668; ibid.
  • 104. Depositions respecting chantries at Croston in 1569 show that there were four chapels in the church, known by the names of the proprietors—Beconsaw, Hesketh, Ashton and Banastre. The two former were repaired by the owners, the two latter by the parish. The chantry priest of St. John Baptist used to say service sometimes in Hesketh chapel (which was on the south side of the church) and sometimes at Rufford; Duchy of Lanc. Special Com. 183. It was stated that Sir Thomas Hesketh had taken away glass from the windows, showing that John Todd, clerk, was founder, and had put his own arms there.
  • 105. Raines, Chantries (Chet. Soc.), 166. In the notes it is stated that John Clifton was appointed to this chantry in 1509. This was perhaps done in error, for Henry Todd was 'chaplain of the chantry of SS. John Baptist and Thomas of Canterbury in the parish church of Croston' in 1505 (Towneley MS. DD, no. 349), and Henry Todd (no doubt the same) was chaplain in 1527, when this was the only chantry at Croston returned as regularly founded; Duchy of Lanc. Rentals, bdle. 5, no. 15. In the Valor Eccl. (v, 231) of 1535 John Smith is named as chaplain, but the foundation is ascribed to Thomas Hesketh, who died in 1523, and whose will (1521) mentions the chapel lately built by him on the south side of the chancel of Croston Church; Towneley MS. HE (9 Hen. VIII). Smith was still the priest in 1547 and was sixty years of age. He had a pension of £5 in 1553. The lands of this chantry were in 1590 granted to Edmund Downing and others; Pat. 32 Eliz.
  • 106. Raines, op. cit. 167. Richard Clarke was the chaplain in 1535 (Valor Eccl.) and also in 1547, when he was seventy-four years of age, and had another benefice. He had a pension in 1553.
  • 107. Raines, op. cit. 169; Cockersand Chartul. iii, 1085. John Walton was the chaplain in 1535 (Valor Eccl.) and in 1547, when he was about eighty years old. In the Visitation List of 1548 the word mortuus is placed against his name, so that he probably died about that time. This chantry also is named in the will of Thomas Hesketh above quoted, so that it existed as early as 1521. A rent of £1 2s. 1d. was paid to the Crown for the lands of this chantry in 1858 by Messrs. Pollard and Tyrer.
  • 108. Anthony Browne having sold to Sir Thomas Hesketh the manor of Becconsall, also transferred to him a 'chapel standing in the churchyard of Croston, called by the name of Becconsall chapel,' and formerly used by the lords of that manor; Towneley MS. C 8, 13, B 309.
  • 109. Raines in Notitia Cestr. ii, 355.
  • 110. An inquiry as to the charities was made in 1898, and the report, issued the following year, includes a reprint of that made in 1826. The following notes are derived from it. Bishop Gastrell's account of the charities existing about 1720 is printed in Notitia Cestr. ii, 360–1.
  • 111. By his will of 1710 he left the fourth part of his residuary estate for the poor of Winchester, Chilbolton, Wrotham, Croston and Tewin. In 1761 the estate called Sumner's of the Fold in Ulnes Walton was purchased from Margaret Thornton for £470 for the charity. This was much more than the share of the Layfield estate, but the balance was procured by loan and repaid out of rent. The rent now amounts to £40 10s. 8d., and this sum is distributed among the townships which constituted the parish in 1710 according to a scheme made in 1897; it is usually spent on clothing, bedding, &c., for the poor. The Rev. Streynsham Master, formerly rector, and his wife gave £200 for books of devotion for the poor and other uses. Samuel Crooke in 1770 gave two cottages (sold for £160), also for books of devotion, and the two benefactions have been combined, the interest (£11 19s. 10d.) being spent on such books for the children of the National schools. Each township in the old parish shares in rotation.
  • 112. He is supposed to have been a descendant of the Lathoms of Parbold and to have lived by begging, the townships benefiting by his gifts being those in which he had made his rounds. They are Bispham, *Mawdesley, Ormskirk, *Newburgh, Burscough, *Dalton, Rufford, *Wrightington, *Parbold, Ulnes Walton, Croston, Welch Whittle, Scarisbrick, *Skelmersdale, Bickerstaffe, Eccleston and *Heskin. *Lathom has since been added to the townships participating. The lands of the charity are in the townships marked with an asterisk. In 1828 the rental amounted to £339 10s. and there was also money in the bank, but the development of coal mines on the estate, especially during the last forty years, has caused a vast increase in the sum available, the income being about £1,500 in 1897. The founder directed his trustees to give the income to the poor in gifts of cloth (linen or woollen), corn, if it should be dear, or such like charitable acts, but no public officer or overseer of the poor was to be employed in the distribution. A gift was also to be made to poor prisoners of Lancaster Castle.
  • 113. For full details see the report quoted, pp. 40–8. The charitable expenditure in 1897 was:—To Lancaster Castle prison charities, £6; various hospitals, £25 4s.; poor of eighteen townships, £1,409 5s. 7d. In Croston, out of about £78 received, £49 was given in money doles, the rest chiefly in medical aid, school prizes and gifts of coal. In Mawdesley about £48 was given in bedding and clothing, £4 to a poor man towards buying a pony, and the rest to the school children. In Bispham the chief expenditure was on clothing, bedding and coal. In Ulnes Walton £60 was given in food and clothing and £20 in school prizes (part of a previous balance being spent).
  • 114. Henry Croston founded this charity in 1693 by giving land and three houses, with a rent-charge of £7 10s. a year for expenses and gifts to the inmates. Each of the three was to have yearly a brown cloth gown or coat, with the letters H.C. in red cloth on the right arm. Henry Wilson, surgeon, in 1797 left £20, the interest to be given to the most aged person in the houses. Changes were made in the lands held for the charity, and the annual income is now £14 12s. 2d. There are three inmates, all women, and each receives £4 5s. at Christmas. In case of a vacancy candidates must be residents in Croston township. The brown gown is not now worn. On a tablet is the inscription: 'These almshouses erected by Henry and Isabel Croston, An. Do. 1692.' The Jubilee Almshouses were founded in 1809 to commemorate the fiftieth year of the reign of George III, a legacy of £200 by Mrs. Elizabeth Master and subscriptions being used to build a house with accommodation for four poor persons. Other gifts have been added, and about 1870 rooms for three more beneficiaries were added by the late Thomas Norris. The endowment now amounts to about £440, and the interest is applied to providing the inmates with coals and maintaining the buildings. Candidates for a vacancy must be sixty years of age and inhabitants of the township.
  • 115. William Dandy in 1663 bequeathed £50 towards buying clothes for indigent persons of the township, who had no other provision for their relief. The rector was always to be one of the trustees. A rent-charge of £2 10s. was accordingly purchased in 1668, and it continues to be paid, being now (1898) received from the executors of Miss Farington of Worden. The Poor's Stock, the accumulation of a number of gifts, can be traced back to 1681, when it amounted to £32 10s. Soon afterwards it was augmented by a gift from William Hesketh, shoemaker— £175, according to Bishop Gastrell—and otherwise increased, and land was purchased by the trustees of this and other charities, the rents amounting to £41 10s. in 1828. The net income is now a little less than this. John Hough in 1721 left £52 for a dole of bread every Lord's day at the parish church of Croston, to poor persons (Protestants), decayed housekeepers, &c. George Norris in 1740 gave £26 for a bread dole to poor persons of Croston attending divine service. These capital sums were united with the Poor's Stock, and allowances are accordingly made from the rent of the land in respect of them, £4 10s. 10d. a year being now reserved for bread distributed in church every Sunday afternoon by the rector and churchwardens. Thomas Norris, named in the text, left a net sum of £1,350 to augment the Poor's Stock; this has been invested in consols and produces £50 7s. 8d. The income of all the above, together with the township's part of Dr. Layfield's charity, but excepting the £4 10s. 10d. for bread, is applied by the trustees in the purchase of clothing or materials for it. A distribution is made on the Monday after Christmas Day; in 1898 the recipients numbered 266, viz. 45 men, 84 boys (each boy having a suit of clothes), 62 women, and 75 girls. All the Croston charities, by a scheme sanctioned in 1897, are controlled by the same body of trustees, the objects of the several benefactions not being interfered with. A school of industry for girls was founded in 1802 and continued till 1870. The income of the endowment is now given in prizes, &c.
  • 116. John Stopford in 1657 and his son David Stopford in 1669 left rent-charges of 40s. and 10s. respectively for the poor of Mawdesley; but 6s. 6d., part of the charge, had been lost before 1828, and more recently another part, 35s. 6d., has been withheld by the owner of the land charged. Thomas Crook in 1688 charged his estate with £2 a year for the same. Margaret Blackburn in 1718 left £50 for money cloth, or other necessaries for the poor, 'poor Catholics to be preferred before others'—a request still respected. The income of the above is given in small money doles.
  • 117. Richard Durning in 1691 gave £12 a year for the poor, repairing the roads, binding children apprentices, and providing a preaching minister in Douglas chapel. He also founded a school at Bispham. The scheme of 1878 provides that £4 shall be given to the poor inhabitants of Bispham, £2 to the vicar of Douglas, 15s. to the necessitous kindred of the founder, and £5 to helping poor boys and girls of Bispham, Parbold, Wrightington or Mawdesley to learn a suitable trade. It is stated that there is no demand for the last part of the charity, and so the £5 has never been paid. One John Ambrose left for the poor a rent-charge of 3s. 4d. on land called Bispham meadows, but the tenant in 1828 had refused to pay, and the gift was lost.
  • 118. James Glassbrook in 1653 left money invested in the purchase of the Millholme and other closes in Ulnes Walton for the use of the poor of the township. The rent is now £17 a year, and the net income is distributed at Christmas by tickets for food. Ellen Waring in 1735 gave £40 (or 40s. a year) for the poor. This was invested in cottages and land in Euxton which in 1826 were producing £15 a year. Now, however, there is only one cottage standing in a little croft, and producing £5 a year. The decline is explained by the prosperity of the handloom weavers who a century ago occupied the cottages and could afford to pay high rents. The rent, increased by interest from £54 in the bank, is now expended in repairs and an occasional gift to some poor person. An annuity of 10s. has long been paid to the poor from 'Dandy land,' a field belonging to Croston's almshouses. A sum of £40 was deposited in the savings bank in 1825 for the poor of Ulnes Walton. The interest was withdrawn at irregular intervals, and after the death of the trustee in 1869 the whole was allowed to accumulate until in 1896 £77 was available. The parish council thereupon applied to the Charity Commissioners, who sanctioned a scheme for the administration of the Unknown Donor's charity. The income, £1 19s. 8d., may be given in money, or in clothes, tools, medical aid, &c.