Townships: Croston

Pages 91-96

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

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In this section


Croston, 1212, and generally; Croxton, 1237; Croxston, 1259.

The central township has an area of 2,361 acres, (fn. 1) and the population numbered 2,102 in 1901. The old course of the Douglas forms the western boundary, the straighter artificial course being within the township. The River Yarrow flows west to join the Douglas, and receives the Lostock brook coming from the north-east. The greater part of the surface is moss-land, below the 25 ft. level (fn. 2); the more habitable land, with the village and church, is chiefly in the north-east.

The principal road is that from Wrightington and Mawdesley going north-west through the village towards Bretherton and Hoole; a road to Rufford branches off to the west with bridges over the old and new courses of the Douglas, and another road goes east to Chorley. The Lancashire and Yorkshire Company's railway from Liverpool to Preston, formed in 1848–9, crosses the township and has a station called Croston at the north-west end of the village.

There are four bridges over the Yarrow, one of which, west of the church, is called Castle Bridge. Dob Cross lies on the northern boundary and Highfield in the north-east. Part of the market cross remains. (fn. 3)

The wake was held on the Sunday next to St. Michael's Day; it now begins on the Monday following this feast. Cattle fairs are held on the Monday before Ash-Wednesday and on the Monday after 12 October.

The curfew bell is rung from March to September.

Croston is governed by an urban district council of nine members. There is a police station, with court room.

In 1666 there were 113 hearths recorded for the tax. The principal house was that of John Trafford, with thirteen hearths; the rector's house had five. (fn. 4)

The commons were inclosed by an Act passed in 1724. (fn. 5)

The soil is mostly clay and peat. Wheat, oats and potatoes are grown, also quantities of fruit. There is a cotton factory, and bricks and tiles are made.


Ten plough-lands and 6 oxgangs of land in CROSTON were by Roger de Montbegon, lord of Hornby, given to John Malherbe his half-brother to be held by knights' service. (fn. 6) This knight's fee included not only the township of Croston, but Mawdesley, which went with it, Bispham, Chorley and Tarleton. John Malherbe dying without issue, Croston reverted to Sir Roger de Montbegon, who enfeoffed John de la Mare of this knight's fee. (fn. 7) William de la Mare followed. (fn. 8) By about 1300 the manor had descended to the two daughters and co-heirs of John de la Mare, whose relationship to William de la Mare is uncertain. (fn. 9) Their moieties for nearly six centuries descended in distinct lines, but have now been reunited.

Sir John le Fleming, of Wath in Yorkshire, who married Isabel, one of the sisters, made a settlement of the manor of Croston in 1318, the remainder, however, being to 'the right heirs of John.' (fn. 10) This moiety descended regularly (fn. 11) to William Fleming of Wath, who died about 1470, leaving two daughters as co-heirs, both named Elizabeth. (fn. 12) One Elizabeth married Richard Dalton, lord of the neighbouring manor of Bispham, and her fourth part of the manor of Croston descended like Bispham until 1558, when it was sold to Sir Thomas Hesketh of Rufford, who held the other fourth by inheritance. (fn. 13) The other Elizabeth had married his ancestor Thomas Hesketh, but though the marriage was annulled, and she united herself to one Thurstan Hall, Hesketh appears to have acquired the Lancashire part of her inheritance, including this fourth share of the manor. (fn. 14) From 1558 the reunited moiety descended in the same way as Rufford (fn. 15) until about 1800, when it was sold by Sir T. D. Hesketh to the Rev. Streynsham Master, rector of Croston, who in 1825 sold it to Thomas Norris of Howick Hall. (fn. 16) In 1874 the Norris trustees sold it to John Randolphus de Trafford, lord of the other moiety. (fn. 17)

Fleming of Wath. Azure two bars argent on a chief of the second three lozenges gules.

Isabel's sister Maud married William de Lea, and their grandson William (fn. 18) and Isolda his wife in 1372 made a settlement of their moiety of the manor of Croston and other lands. (fn. 19) Their daughter and heir Alice married Thomas Ashton, whose son Sir William Ashton was in possession in the first half of the 15th century. (fn. 20) The Ashtons and their successors the Traffords were for three centuries the chief resident family. Sir William Ashton son of Thomas in 1434–8 obtained a divorce from his wife Alice, daughter of John Lacy, (fn. 21) and was still living in 1466. (fn. 22) His son Thomas succeeded. (fn. 23) The same or possibly another Thomas Ashton (fn. 24) dying in 1496 left a son Thomas, a minor, as heir. The moiety of the manor of Croston and Mawdesley was held of Sir Edward Stanley (lord of Hornby), afterwards Lord Mounteagle. (fn. 25) The heir's wardship was granted by the king to William Smith, who afterwards transferred it to Hugh Ashton, a kinsman, and a man of some distinction. (fn. 26) Hugh afterwards sold the wardship to Ralph Standish. (fn. 27) The manor of Croston and other lands were in 1518 granted by the feoffees to Thomas son and heir of Thomas Ashton. (fn. 28)

Ashton of Croston. Argent a cheveron between three chaplels gules.

Trafford of Trafford. Argent a griffin segreant gules.

The younger Thomas enjoyed possession for a short time only, dying about 1528 and leaving a young son Richard as heir. The moiety of the manor of Croston and Mawdesley was held of Lord Mounteagle by the rent of half a pound of pepper. (fn. 29) Richard Ashton died in December 1582 holding the manor by the same service; the heir was his son Thomas, thirty-five years of age. (fn. 30) Thomas, who secured a grant of arms in 1588, (fn. 31) died in 1622, about six months after his eldest son Richard, and he was succeeded by Richard's son Thomas, seventeen years of age. (fn. 32) Again there was but a brief tenure, Thomas Ashton being succeeded in 1632 by his younger brother Richard. (fn. 33) The family seem for a time to have avoided conviction for recusancy, (fn. 34) but Thomas and Richard Ashton were avowed Roman Catholics, and Richard's estates were of course sequestered under the Commonwealth, he being charged with both recusancy and delinquency in spite of his assertion that he had 'lived peaceably at home during these troubles.' (fn. 35) John Ashton son of Thomas was also a 'delinquent,' and in 1650 his wife Bridget petitioned for a fifth part of the annuity due to him from Croston. (fn. 36)

Richard Ashton recorded a pedigree in 1664. (fn. 37) His heir was his daughter Anne, then wife of John, a younger son of Sir Cecil Trafford of Trafford. Their son John Trafford married Katherine daughter and heir of Thomas Culcheth, thus increasing the family inheritance. (fn. 38) In 1717 as a 'Papist' he registered his estates—moieties of the manors of Croston, Mawdesley, Pilling, &c.—entailed, with remainders to his sons Thomas and Humphrey, and subject to an annuity of £10 to his brother Richard. (fn. 39) Humphrey, the younger son named, eventually succeeded to the manor, and on his death in 1773 was followed by his son John, (fn. 40) who six years later succeeded also to the principal family manors of Trafford and Stretford, near Manchester. John's son, Sir Thomas Joseph de Trafford, who died in 1852, made a partition of the estates, by which Croston Manor became the property of his younger son John Randolphus de Trafford. As above stated, he purchased the other moiety of the manor in 1874, and thus became sole lord. He died in 1879, and was succeeded by his son, Mr. Sigismund Cathcart de Trafford, who resides at Croston Hall. A court leet is held annually. (fn. 41)

Croston Hall is a modern brick building which replaced one earlier house, if not more, on the same site.

In 1283 William de la Mare procured a charter for a weekly market at Croston on Wednesdays, and for a fair on the eve, day and morrow of St. Wilfrid; also free warren in his demesne lands in Croston, Mawdesley and Longton. (fn. 42) About the same time probably a borough was created, traces of which remained in the burgage tenure of certain messuages in the town. (fn. 43) As the Castle Place, Castle Hill and Castle Yard are named in 16th-century deeds, there may have been a castle there in earlier times. (fn. 44)

In addition to the lords of the manor other landowners appear in the pleadings and inquisitions. In 1564 Richard Ashton and Henry Croston, as landowners, contributed to the subsidy. (fn. 45) The Radcliffes and Bartons (fn. 46) of Smithills and Leghs (fn. 47) held probably as heirs of the Ulnes Walton family. Several families took a surname from the township, (fn. 48) but it is not possible to give a connected account of them. William Croston died in 1590 holding two messuages, lands, right of turbary, &c., in Croston and Mawdesley of Robert Hesketh by a rent of 8s. 4d.; also lands in Rainford and Bickerstaffe. His son Henry came of age in 1593. (fn. 49) The Knights Hospitallers (fn. 50) and the priory of Burscough had lands in Croston, (fn. 51) as also had Cockersand Abbey. (fn. 52)

The freeholders recorded in 1600 were Thomas Ashton, Henry Croston and John Banastre, (fn. 53) and in 1628 Thomas Ashton and William Croston were the landowners contributing to the subsidy, the latter being a convicted recusant. (fn. 54) Several of the people had their estates sequestered or confiscated under the Commonwealth for religious or political reasons. (fn. 55) In 1717 a number of 'Papists' registered estates. (fn. 56) In 1783 the principal owners were John Trafford, the heirs of Thomas Hesketh and Dr. Master, the rector. (fn. 57)

Finney is several times mentioned. (fn. 58)

The parish church has been described above.

There are Wesleyan and Primitive Methodist churches; the former dates from 1823. (fn. 59)

Nothing appears to be known of the provision for worship made by Roman Catholics after the Reformation (fn. 60); but in 1701 the Jesuits are found in charge of the Croston Mission, (fn. 61) and in 1750 the priest, who had a stipend of £14, reported fifty general confessions and 'customers' or worshippers numbering 170. (fn. 62) Later the mission appears to have been given up, but a private chapel was built at the hall in 1793, replaced by the present one, Holy Cross, in 1857.


  • 1. The Census Rep. of 1901 gives 2,347, including 6 of inland water; there are also 11 acres of tidal water.
  • 2. For a plan of low lands in Croston and Rufford see Lancs. and Ches. Rec. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 56. By an Act passed in 1799 commissioners were appointed to drain the lowlands out of a fund to be raised by a rate. 'The first operations under this Act were illconducted, and attended with much unnecessary expense, but the object was ultimately effected'; Baines, Lancs. (ed. 1836), iii, 404.
  • 3. The pedestal and three steps remain. The stocks and pump adjoined. See Lancs. and Ches. Antiq. Soc. xvii, 10–13 for the crosses and the meaning of Hob and Dob.
  • 4. Subs. R. Lancs. bdle. 250, no. 9.
  • 5. 11 Geo. I, cap. 5.
  • 6. Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 62. The service is afterwards stated to be that of one knight's fee. Later it was changed to socage, a rent of 1 lb. of pepper being paid. The dependence on Hornby continued to be recognized down to the 17th century, as will be seen from the inquisitions quoted later. Thus also Sir Robert de Nevill was charged with 20s. in 1378 as due from a knight's fee in Croston and Mawdesley (Harl. MS. 2085, fol. 421, &c.), and in 1445–6 Thomas de Harrington held ten plough-lands and 6 oxgangs of land in Croston and Mawdesley for one knight's fee, the relief being 100s.; Duchy of Lanc. Knights' Fees, bdle. 2, no. 20. Lord Mounteagle afterwards held Croston as a member of Hornby; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xi, no. 1. It is probable that Crosion and Mawdesley together were assessed anciently as six plough-lands, Chorley as two plough-lands and Bispham as 6 oxgangs. Tarleton was two plough-lands. John Malherbe seems to have died at the end of 1215; Rot. Lit. Claus. (Rec. Com.), 244, 247. For the pedigree see Pontefract Chartul. (Yorks. Arch. Soc.), ii, introd. A Thomas Malherbe acquired lands in Croston in 1316; Add. MS. 32104, no. 29, 1414.
  • 7. Lancs. Inq. and Extents, 1, 145. The grant may have been made because Mabel, one of the sisters and co-heirs of John Malherbe, married William de la Mare, kinsman of John. John de la Mare is described as 'lord of Croston' in a Tarleton charter, which speaks nevertheless of fourteen plough-lands forming a knight's fee, instead of 10¾; Cockersand Chartul. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 460. He is styled 'Sir' in Burscough charters; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxvi, App. 197–202. John de la Mare appears in the records in 1237 and 1256; Orig. R. 21 Hen. III, m. 10; 38 Hen. III, m. 11. In the latter year he had a dispute with Warine de Walton and others respecting a tenement in Croston; Close, 68, m. 4 d. In 1259 Hugh de Meynil claimed that John de la Mare, Reyner de Croston, Robert son of the Priest and others should hold to an agreement respecting 100s. rent in Croston, Chorley, Tarleton and Much Hoole (?); Curia Regis R. 162, m. 20 d.
  • 8. a William de la Mare was probably the son of John. He granted to John de la Mare, his 'cousin,' the field in Croston called le Thennay (Finney) at the water of Douglas and forest of Mawdesley, at a rent of £3 2s. a year. Jews were excepted from common of pasture; Raines MSS. (Chet. Lib.), xxv, p. 293. As stated in the text, he in 1283 procured a charter for a market and fair.
  • 9. In 1302 the 'heirs of John de la Mare,' holding of the fee of Hornby, had one knight's fee in Croston and its members; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 315.
  • 10. Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 26. Reyner le Fleming, probably father of Sir John, was in 1292 non-suited on claiming a tenement in Croston against John de Walton and others; Assize R. 408, m. 22. An inquiry made in 1324 shows that a mesne lordship of Croston had been given to Sir Robert de Holland, for John le Fleming in that year held the moiety of the manor 'of the king in chief by reason of the lands of Robert de Holland being in the king's hands,' by the service of half a knight's fee; Inq. a.q.d. file 74, no. 2 (18 Edw. II). Sir John Fleming and Isabel his wife with Sir William de Lea and Alice his wife were plaintiffs in 1347 in a suit regarding 100 acres of turbary in Croston, John de Burscough of Rycroft and other Mawdesley people being defendants; Assize R. 1435, m. 17 d. Isabel widow of Sir John was defendant in 1356; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 4, m. 7. In 1346–55 the heirs of Sir William de Lea and of Sir John Fleming held one knight's fee in Croston of the Duke of Lancaster, which John de la Mare formerly held of the manor of Hornby; Feud. Aids, iii, 90. William Ashton and William Fleming held the same in 1431; ibid. 93.
  • 11. The pedigree is thus traced in a pleading of 1472: John le Fleming and Isabel -s. Thomas -s. Thomas -s. John -s. William -s. William; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 39, m. 14 d. There is a pedigree of the family in Foster's Yorks. Visit. 358. There are a large number of Croston and Mawdesley deeds in Towneley's MS. BB (Add. MS. 32104). The following are given as illustrating the connexion of the Fleming family with the township: Sir John le Fleming in 1316 granted to Reyner son of Gervase de Croston and Maud his wife land called the Fairland, &c.; also to Richard de Kirkham, clerk, and his lawful issue a messuage in Croston formerly held by Amery the Clerk, an oxgang of land formerly held by Thomas le Fleming, &c., a rent of 12s. being payable; ibid. no. 1432, 13. In 1322 Sir John released to William de Rufford all his right in lands, &c., formerly belonging to Alice daughter of Amery the Clerk in Croston, viz. a house in the Drinkhouses, an acre and half-virgate in the Mossacres, a burgage in Caynok-lache Street, and 4 acres in Hordorne; a rent of 2s. was to be paid; no. 98. He made a further release of a messuage near Paddock lache in 1328; no. 1430. Isabel le Fleming, as widow of Sir John, in 1352 made a grant to Robert son of Warine de Bispham, Alice his wife and others; no. 1428. Thomas Fleming in 1371 granted a house, &c., in Croston to Richard the Smith and Margaret his wife; and in 1377 gave a house with garden, an acre of meadow in Osmondsleigh, and the moiety of his water-mill at Croston to Roger Bond the miller, at a rent of 2½ marks; no. 3, 4. Sir Thomas Fleming, lord of Croston, in 1386 granted a messuage and lands in Croston to Richard Smith and Richard his son; Towneley MS. RR (Add. MS. 32108), no. 633. In 1403 Sir Thomas demised to Lawrence del Hermitstead (Armitstead) a place called Capelhedheus; ibid. BB, no. 1424. The will of a Thomas Fleming, dated 1412–13, was among the Hesketh deeds; he desired to be buried at Croston, and mentions a son Gilbert and a daughter Joan; Piccope MSS. (Chet. Lib.), iii, p. 34. Richard son and heir of William Fleming released to his father in 1451 all his right in the manor of Croston, &c.; Towneley MS. BB, no. 1440. William son of William Fleming was in possession in 1468; no. 1433. In 1464 a jury was summoned to recognize if William Fleming father of William and formerly the husband of Anne then wife of John Nevill had been seised of forty messuages, a water-mill, &c., in Croston, Mawdesley and Longton; Pal. of Lanc. Writs of Assize; 13 Aug. 4 Edw. IV.
  • 12. In June 1472 John Wombwell, as trustee of John Fleming, granted to Elizabeth late wife of William Fleming and then wife of Roger Coton various lands, &c., in Worth, Melton and Crampton for her life, with remainder to Elizabeth and Elizabeth, daughters and heirs of the said William; Add. MS. 32104, no. 1503.
  • 13. The descent of the manor to Hesketh and Dalton is stated in the plea of 1472 above cited; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 39, m. 14 d. In 1482 Robert Dalton claimed a moiety of the manor of Croston, with twenty messuages, &c., in Bispham, Mawdesley and Dalton, against Margaret Dalton widow, Richard Dalton, esq., and Elizabeth his wife; ibid. 55, m. 8. Richard Dalton was in possession of the moiety of the manor in 1500; ibid. 90, m. 5. In the same year Roger son and heir of Richard Dalton granted to Bartholomew son of William Hesketh the reversion of messuages, &c., in Longton and Croston, including the fourth part of a water-mill in Croston, and the third part of lands, &c., called Selynhurst in Croston and Mawdesley; ibid. 92, m. 1. In 1477 Richard Dalton and Elizabeth his wife conceded to John son of William Fleming an annuity of 46s. 8d. charged on lands, &c., in Croston and Mawdesley; Towneley MS. BB, no. 1638. Richard and his wife in 1478 released to Thomas Hesketh and Elizabeth his wife all their interest in the lands of William Fleming; no. 1547. They made a feoffment of their estate in 1482, with remainder to Roger son of Richard; no. 1551. Disputes between Thomas Hesketh and Richard and James Dalton were in 1489 referred to arbitration; Add. MS. 32107, no. 1162. Again in 1500 Roger son of Richard Dalton granted various lands, &c., in Croston and Mawdesley, reserving only, it would seem, the manor and demesne lands; Towneley MS. BB, no. 1538. See also Dep. Keeper's Rep. xl, App. 554. Roger Dalton and William his son and heir-apparent gave an acquittance for money owing by Thomas Hesketh in 1520; Towneley MS. BB, no. 1542. William Dalton in 1533 demised to Thomas Hough an acre on the hill and half an acre in the town meadow in Croston; no. 1475. Robert Dalton of Bispham and Joan widow of William Dalton in 1558 sold to Sir Thomas Hesketh the fourth part of the manor of Croston with all other their hereditaments there; no. 1555; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 19, m. 29.
  • 14. See the preceding note and the account of Rufford. Thomas Hesketh and Elizabeth his wife were tenants of half the manor of Croston, &c., in 1486; Final Conc. iii, 142. Hugh Hesketh was the feoffee. In 1487 Thurstan Hall and Elizabeth his wife, daughter and co-heir of William Fleming, agreed to abide the award of Thomas Earl of Derby and others as to their disputes with Thomas son and heir-apparent of Robert Hesketh, concerning manors, messuages, lands, &c., in Wath, Clifton, Rathmell and Dalton in Yorkshire, also in Croston, Mawdesley and Longton in Lancashire; Towneley MS. RR, no. 622. The wife, as Elizabeth Fleming, had shortly before this ratified the estate of Hugh Hesketh son of Robert and brother of Thomas in the moiety of the manor of Croston, and lands, &c., in Croston, Mawdesley and Longton; no. 636. Hugh Hesketh in 1490 and 1498 released his right in the same to Thomas Hesketh; no. 621, 637. See Final Conc. iii, 152; also Dep. Keeper's Rep. xl, App. 540, 543. The Halls retained the Yorkshire manors. The Heskeths had long been landowners in Croston and Mawdesley, having purchased several small holdings, as appears from their charters. In 1503 Thomas Hesketh purchased lands in Croston, Ulnes Walton and Bretherton from Thomas Banastre of Wigan; Final Conc. iii, 154. George Hesketh of Kirkham (1572) held lands in Croston and Mawdesley of Sir Thomas Hesketh and Roger Croston; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xiii, no. 15.
  • 15. In 1623 the Hesketh moieties ofCroston and Mawdesley were stated to be held of the lords of Leylandshire; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), iii, 356.
  • 16. Baines, Lancs. (ed. 1836), iii, 397. The manor of Croston had been regularly named in Hesketh settlements; e.g. Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 237, m. 52 (1696).
  • 17. Information of Mr. S. C. de Trafford, present lord. The manorial rights of this moiety were considered to be attached to a farm known as Manor House Farm in Croston.
  • 18. In a pleading of 1346 the plaintiff Sir William de Lea is called son and heir of Maud de la Mare, seised of a tenement in Croston in the time of Edward I. She had married one John de Walton, who demised the tenement to Benet de Mawdesley, by whom the defendants entered; De Banco R. 346, m. 88 d.; 349, m. 118. William son of William de la Lea in 1325 granted lands in Croston to William son of Warine de Golborne and Nichola his wife for a pound of wax yearly; Raines MSS. (Chet. Lib.), xxv, p. 256. The seal shows a shield bearing three bars. In the same year he granted a burgage in Croston to Walter son of Henry de Croston; Towneley MS. BB, no. 1619. William de Lea of Croston was defendant in 1325, and in the following year is called William son of William de Lea; De Banco R. 258, m. 436 d.; 264, m. 276 d. He is called Sir William de Lea in 1331; ibid. 286, m. 16. In 1344 Sir William purchased a messuage and land from John de Birkin and Alice his wife; Final Conc. ii, 119. Sir William de Lea and Alice his wife were plaintiffs in 1347 in a plea already cited; Assize R. 1435, m. 17 d. A grant of land in Croston by Maud de la Mare before her marriage is mentioned in Towneley MS. BB, no. 1498.
  • 19. Final Conc. ii, 183. The estate comprised the moiety of the manor of Croston and Mawdesley and the fourth part of the manors of Longton and Litherland. The remainders were to the issue of William and Isolda, to the issue of William, to Sir Adam de Hoghton for life and his son Richard. See also Raines MSS. xxv, p. 258. William son of William de Lea and Isolda his wife were defendants in 1374; De Banco R. 453, m. 77 d. Sir Robert de Nevill of Hornby, the younger, in 1375 charged Sir Adam de Hoghton with abducting Alice daughter and heir of William de Lea, under age, at Lea by Preston; and soon afterwards he made a similar charge against Robert son of John de Standish and Isolda his wife; ibid. 460, m. 300 d.; 462, m. 330 d. Isolda was no doubt the widow of William de Lea. Alice was in 1390 the wife of Fulco de Standish; Cal. Pat. 1388–92, p. 184. As widow of Thomas de Ashton she appears in 1409; Raines MSS. xxv, pp. 264–5.
  • 20. The pedigree was stated by Thomas Ashton in 1468, when claiming a moiety of the manor of Croston and Mawdesley, and a fourth part of the manors of Longton and Litherland. William de Lea and Isolda his wife had a daughter Alice, whose son William was father of Thomas Ashton the plaintiff; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 33, m. 7 d., 12 d.; 34, m. 18. At the same time it was stated that Thomas Ashton was lord of one moiety of Croston and William Fleming of the other; ibid. m. 28. The Ashtons were related to the Winwick family, who held the rectories of Wigan and Walton-on-the-Hill and founded the chantry at Huyton. It was no doubt through this connexion that Thomas de Ashton, 'esquire of King Henry and formerly lord of Croston,' came to be buried in Lincoln Cathedral; Peck, Desiderata Curiosa, bk. viii, no. 63. He died 17 Oct. 1407.
  • 21. Raines MSS. xxv, p. 274. The ground alleged for annulling the marriage was a pre-contract of Sir William and one Alice Brackley. William de Ashton was in 1413 found to have held one moiety of the manor of Croston and Mawdesley of Sir Robert de Nevill of Hornby, the other half being held by feoffees. The annual rent was 1 lb. of pepper. Sir Robert held of the king by one knight's fee; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc.), i, 100. In 1420 it was agreed that Thomas son and heir-apparent of William de Ashton of Croston should marry Ellen daughter of Thomas de Urswick; D. in possession of Mr. J. S. Earle. This Thomas may have been the lord of the manor in 1468, but can scarcely be identical with the Thomas who died in 1496. In 1455 Sir John Boteler and other feoffees granted lands in Croston, Mawdesley, Longton and Litherland to Sir William Ashton and his wife Anne, daughter of Richard Millington, with remainders to Thomas, son and heirapparent of Sir William, and to Ralph and William, sons of William and Anne; and other children are named; Raincs MSS. xxv, p. 272.
  • 22. Raines MSS. xxv, p. 277; grants from N. Millington to Sir William Ashton, and from Sir William to his son Richard. Alice Ashton, alias Alice widow of Sir Robert Tempest, made a grant of her lands in Longton to Thomas Ashton in 1465; ibid. p. 276. She was probably the repudiated wife of Sir William.
  • 23. His claim in 1468 has been named above.
  • 24. Thomas in 1492 set apart certain messuages, &c., for the benefit of his bastard son Richard; ibid. p. 286.
  • 25. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iii, no. 93, 105; iv, 79. His son was only six months old at Thomas's death; the widow was named Margaret. In the second of the inquisitions his will is recited. He desired to be buried in Croston Church, and his executors were to find an able priest—George Dandy being named—to sing for him for twentyone years at a stipend of 6 marks. Such feoffments as he had made for the benefit of Margaret his wife, Richard Ashton his son, and William Banastre were to hold good for their lives, and his wife was to have all the lands, &c., that had come to him by the death of Dame Anne Millington.
  • 26. The feoffees of Thomas Ashton the father complained that William Smith had put them out of the manors and lands, on the strength of his patent; Duchy of Lanc. Plead. Hen. VIII, xvii, A 3. For a complaint by Thomas Ashton the son about the feoffees' delay in putting him into possession see ibid. xx, A 3. There is a notice of Hugh Ashton in Dict. Nat. Biog.; he held a number of ecclesiastical preferments, including the archdeaconry of York and the rectory of Grasmere, and died in 1522. He was one of the benefactors of St. John's College, Cambridge, in its early difficulties, bequeathing money and plate and desiring to be buried there. His tomb is in the college chapel. He had a brother Master William Ashton, and nephews James Ashton and Thomas Mawdesley; Will, P.C.C. 4 Bodfelde. For a dispute as to his land in Mawdesley called Cooke's House see Duchy Plead. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 172.
  • 27. Raines MSS. xxv, p. 288.
  • 28. Ibid. p. 290.
  • 29. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. vi, no. 8. Richard was seven years old. Livery of his lands was made to the heir in 1542. The value was returned as follows: Moiety of the manor of Longton, £8 12s.; moiety of the manor of Croston and Mawdesley, £43 17s. 6d.; tenements in Litherland, £4 18s.; in Huyton, 9s.; rent of the manor of Chorley, 10s.; rent of land in Tarleton (?), 8s.; Raines MSS. xxv, p. 295. Agnes widow of Thomas Ashton had an annuity of £25. Richard son of Thomas son of Thomas Ashton claimed messuages, &c., in Croston and Mawdesley against Seth Worsley and Anne his wife in 1555; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 199, m. 5. In the following year he purchased a messuage, &c., in Croston and Mawdesley from Joan Dalton, widow, Robert Dalton and Anne his wife; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 17, m. 125.
  • 30. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xiv, no. 17.
  • 31. Visit. of 1613 (Chet. Soc.), 95. In 1602 a settlement of the manors was made by Thomas Ashton; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 64, no. 24.
  • 32. Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), iii, 330–3. Croston was held of Lord Mounteagle.
  • 33. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xxix, no. 6. The manor was held of the heirs of Lord Mounteagle by the service of half a pound of pepper yearly. Thomas Ashton paid £10 on refusing knighthood in 1631; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 214.
  • 34. See Gillow, Bibl. Dict. of Engl. Catholics, i, 74.
  • 35. Royalist Comp. Papers (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 96–112. The estate of Richard Ashton, 'Papist and delinquent,' was in 1652 let as follows: Demesne lands, mill and kiln at Croston, £84 11s. 4d.; messuage called Durning House, £2 5s.; tenements in Croston, Mawdesley, &c., £58 10s. 11d. Hilary Ashton, a merchant beyond seas, petitioned for the annuity given him by his grandfather Thomas Ashton (d. 1622). It was alleged for the sequestrators that Richard Ashton had lived in 'the enemy's quarters' during part of the war, and many witnesses deposed to his having seized cattle and also the persons of the agents of the Parliament when in 1644 the king's cause for a short time prevailed in the district, in order to recover his losses by the sequestration. The marriage contract of Richard Ashton and Dorothy daughter of John Whitmore of Thurstaston, dated 1638–9, is in Raines MSS. xxv, p. 308.
  • 36. Royalist Comp. Papers, i, 91, 100, 101. John Ashton, like Richard and Hilary, was a grandson of Thomas Ashton. His 'delinquency' is not stated.
  • 37. Dugdale, Visit. (Chet. Soc.), p. 11.
  • 38. See the account of Culcheth in Winwick. A marriage settlement, dated 2 March 1692–3, is in Raines, op. cit. p. 311. Anne the mother of the younger John Trafford was living. John was nephew of Edmund Trafford of Trafford, deceased. See also Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 230, m. 38.
  • 39. Estcourt and Payne, Engl. Cath. Non-jurors, p. 113.
  • 40. For the later descents see Stretford Chapelry (Chet. Soc.), iii, 100, 147, where it is shown that John Trafford died in 1727 and was succeeded by a son John, who died in 1760; his son and heir of the same name dying in the following year, Humphrey Trafford came into the estate, as stated in the text.
  • 41. Information of Mr. De Trafford.
  • 42. The charter is known from an 'inspeximus' of 1390; Cal. Pat. 1388–92, p. 184. The heirs of William de la Mare at that time were Sir Thomas Fleming and Alice daughter of Sir William de Lea and wife of Fulk de Standish. See also Fine R. 213 (9 Hen. IV), m. 3. A confirmation was in 1467 granted to Thomas Ashton and William Fleming; Cal. Pat. 1467–77, p. 17.
  • 43. The burgages or burgage plots have been mentioned in deeds referred to in foregoing notes. In 1325 Alice daughter of Amery the Clerk (see note 4, p. 92) gave her brother William de Croston, clerk, all her title in a burgage with an acre of land thereto appurtenant in the vill of Croston, lying in the Drinkhouses, &c.; Towneley MS. BB, no. 1587. In the same year William son of William de Lea gave to Walter son of Henry de Croston a burgage in the vill of Croston, lying in Caynoc-lache, with 3 roods of land; no. 1619. William son of John de Brotherton, dwelling in Rufford, in 1330 granted to Roger son of Richard de Fulwood two burgages in Croston, which he had received from Sir John Fleming and Thomas son of John de Croston, also a messuage and land; GG, no. 1401. Maud daughter of Sir John de Hesketh, as a widow, gave her brother Sir William a burgage with the house built thereupon, in 1340; it stood on the north side of John Cook's burgage; Towneley MS, BB, no. 1415. The burgages are named down to the 16th century.
  • 44. Joan widow of William Dalton in 1545–6 claimed a close called Castle Place against Henry Croston; also lands called the Paradise, Oldfield, Westhead, Withens and Hillfield; Pal. of Lanc. Assize R. 25. In 1559 the lands of William Nelson of Mawdesley included a close of land called Castle Hill, lying in Croston; Towneley MS. BB, no. 54. Thomas Nelson of Chaddleworth in Berkshire in 1590 had a capital messuage and tenement called Castleyard, which was soon afterwards sold to Robert Hesketh of Rufford; no. 1632, 1607, 117. See also Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), iii, 224, 340. It is noteworthy that there was a street called St. Marygate in Croston in 1371, when Richard the Miller gave his wife Alice for life a burgage in that street, lying between burgages of John de Croston and Cecily Primrose; Towneley MS. BB, no. 89. Adam de Redeley and Cecily his wife, daughter of William Primrose, are named in 1364; no. 1634. The Town Meadow was in 1539 the free tenement of Sir Robert Hesketh; Pal. of Lanc. Writs of Assize, bdle. 18, Lent, 31 Hen. VIII.
  • 45. Subs. R. Lancs. bdle. 131, no. 210.
  • 46. The lands in Croston are grouped with other parts of the inheritance, the tenure not being recorded; see Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iii, no. 12; iv, no. 82; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 211.
  • 47. Sir Peter Legh died in 1528 holding an annual rent in Croston of the king in socage; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. vi, no. 63. In 1634 the estate is called 2 acres of land, but the tenure is not given; ibid. xxviii, no. 32. Among the pleadings occurs the claim of Joan daughter of William Waringson, who claimed a messuage and lands in Croston against Gilbert de Ince and Alice his wife, John de Goldburn and Adam de Orrell, and recovered against Goldburn; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 2, m. 2 d. It was shown that Gilbert and Alice claimed nothing but the service of 16 lb. of wax yearly by which the lands were held. See also ibid. 8, m. 6. In Croston was part of the Balderston estate (Lancs. Inq. p.m. Chet. Soc. ii, 63), afterwards held by Edmund Dudley (1509), Radcliffe of Winmarleigh (1521, &c.) and Gerard (1593); Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iv, no. 13; v, no. 3, &c.; xvi, no. 2. It was held of Osbaldeston; ibid. viii, no. 1. William Dicconson of Eccleston (1604) held his lands in Croston of the king as of the late priory of St. John of Jerusalem (12d. rent), of Robert Hesketh (2s. 4d.) and Thomas Ashton (4d.) as of their manors of Croston; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 18. Henry Rowe held a cottage of Hesketh and Ashton, lords of Croston, in 1608; ibid. 93. William Stopford of Ulnes Walton (1617) held a messuage, &c., of Thomas Ashton by 6d. rent, and another of Robert Hesketh; ibid. ii, 73. Matthew Clifton in 1472 held a messuage and lands in Croston claimed by Thomas Hesketh, Elizabeth his wife, Richard Dalton and Elizabeth his wife in right of the wives; Pal. of Lanc. Writs of Assize, 4 Aug. 12 Edw. IV. In 1545 Matthew son and heir of Christopher, brother and heir of Matthew Clifton, deceased, conveyed to Joan Dalton widow and Robert her son, heir of William Dalton, deceased, a messuage called Keyhouse with land in Croston; also a close of pasture called Castlepool Hey in Mawdesley; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 181, m. 9. Thomas Mercer and Thomas his son and heir held messuages and lands in Croston and Mawdesley in 1548; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 13, m. 205.
  • 48. Some members of them have been mentioned in preceding notes. Nicholas the Carpenter in 1297 confirmed to John son of Olot of Croston an acre on the Hill; Towneley MS. BB, no. 36. Godith and Margery daughters of Roger son of Henry de Bretherton in 1298 gave the same John all their land with houses, &c., lately their father's; no. 37, 1578. Henry de Croston about the same time gave to John son of Alice de Croston (perhaps the same person) an acre on Wildmarflat; no. 1596. Reyner le Fleming attested this grant. John son of Robert son of John son of Dowe de Croston confirmed to his sister Cecily an acre in the Drinkhouses in 1324; no. 6. William son of John Olotson occurs in 1330; no. 61. The same William and Alice de Bispham his mother made a feoffment of their lands in Croston in 1349; Kuerden MSS. vi, fol. 68. There were other Williams at the same time; thus in 1347 William son of Robert son of John de Croston made a grant on the marriage of his son Robert to Maud; ibid. ii, fol. 134b. In 1379 William de Croston secured right of turbary in the mosses of Croston and Mawdesley from Sir Thomas Fleming; Towneley MS. BB, no. 75. In 1407 Katherine widow of Thomas de Croston made a grant of lands in Rainford and Bickerstaffe; Kuerden MSS. vi, fol. 71. A year later the feoffees of William de Croston returned to him and Joan his wife tenements in Croston, Eccleston and Howick, with remainders to Thomas son of Thomas de Croston, William brother of 'the said Thomas' (? the younger), Henry, Elizabeth and Joan, brother and sisters; ibid. fol. 69b. William son of Thomas de Croston in 1409 had licence to attach sufficient water of the Yarrow within Eccleston to supply a fuller's mill; ibid. fol. 70b. William Croston the elder occurs in 1418, and William Croston (perhaps the grandson) in 1429; ibid. fol. 71b, 72b. Edmund (? Edward) son of William Croston and Sibyl his wife in 1447 received messuages and lands in Bickerstaffe and Rainford; ibid. fol. 73. Edward Croston and Cecily his mother, widow of William Croston, occur in a settlement of her dower in 1469; Towneley MS. BB, no. 66. Edward Croston in 1461 granted to Thomas Wright a parcel of land in Cowhey in Drinkhouses for the erection of a dwelling-house, also two pieces of arable land and common pasture in Finney; no. 1574. Next occurs Hugh Croston, in 1502; and then Henry, his brother and heir, in 1511; Kuerden MSS. vi, fol. 72; ii, fol. 134b. Richard Croston son and heir of Henry in 1519 and 1520 sold various lands in Croston to Thomas Hesketh; Towneley MS. BB, no. 21, 18. Henry's widow Elizabeth married again by 1524; ibid. DD, no. 102, 103. In 1529 Richard Croston and Joan his wife made a feoffment of lands in Rainford and Bickerstaffe; Kuerden MSS. ii, fol. 134b. In 1547 Henry Croston was summoned to render to his mother Joan £10 due to her; he had a son Hugh; Pal. of Lanc. Writs Proton. 1 Edw. VI. Three years later (in 1550) Joan widow of William Dalton claimed a tenement in Croston against Henry son and heir of Richard Croston; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 189, m. 3. Henry Croston in 1567 sold a piece of land in Croston to Sir Thomas Hesketh; Towneley MS. BB, no. 1592. The plea rolls furnish but few references. Walter son of Henry de Croston claimed a messuage, &c., in 1278 against Alice daughter of Robert son of the chaplain; De Banco R. 27, m. 38. John de Croston was a defendant in 1281; ibid. 41, m. 30 d. Peter son of Peter de Croston claimed land against William de la Mare in 1283; ibid. 50, m. 5. Robert son of Peter de Croston was plaintiff in 1292; Assize R. 408; m. 71 d. Roger son of Robert the Potter claimed the third part of a messuage, &c., against William son of John Olotson in 1337; De Banco R. 309, m. 313. William son of Peter occurs in 1355; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 4, m. 24 d. There are a number of Croston deeds in Towneley's MS. BB, above cited. Some other notes on the family may be seen in Baines' Lancs. (ed. Croston), iv, 121–3.
  • 49. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xvi, no. 31.
  • 50. Roger de Montbegon (before 1212) gave them an oxgang of land here in alms; Inq. and Extents, i, 63. Croston appears in the list of the Hospitallers' lands in 1292; Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), p. 375. In 1329 the prior claimed a messuage and land against Robert son of William son of John de Croston; De Banco R. 279, m. 180 d. About 1540 the tenant was John Banastre, who paid a rent of 20d.; Kuerden MSS. v, fol. 83b. Margery Banastre in 1546 claimed a messuage, &c., on Windle Hill against George Nelson; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), i, 179. For a later Banastre dispute see Duchy Plead. iii, 19–25.
  • 51. John de la Mare, lord of Croston, gave the prior and canons land here; Burscough Reg. fol. 53b. Adam the Serjeant's oxgang of land is named in this charter. In 1536 Thomas Ferrer seems to have been tenant at a rent of 6d.; Duchy of Lanc. Rentals, bdle. 4, no. 6a and b.
  • 52. Cockersand Chartul. (Chet. Soc.), iii, 1260–1; the tenants' names are given as William Croston in 1450 and 1461, Edward Croston in 1501 and 1537.
  • 53. Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 244.
  • 54. Ibid. 165.
  • 55. The troubles of the Ashtons have been recited above. Jane Dandy, widow, had had twothirds of her tenement sequestered for recusancy, and in 1653 desired to compound; Royalist Comp. Papers (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 117. Elizabeth widow of William Finch had her life tenement sequestered for recusancy and 'adhering to the king's party.' She petitioned in 1649, but died in 1654, apparently before restitution. Her daughters, heirs to the property, were living—Margaret wife of Thomas Worsley, and Ellen wife of William Hoghton. Ellen was a Protestant; ibid. 315–19. William Naylor, a 'Papist,' who held a lease of Haresnapes tenement and Oldfield Heys, had it sequestered for recusancy; it was afterwards confiscated and sold; ibid. iv, 206–9; Index of Royalists (Index Soc.), 43. Michael Rutter, of Quinton, Gloucestershire, for at first adhering to the king, had houses, &c., in Croston sequestrated and sold; Cal. Com. for Comp. iii, 1843; Index of Royalists, 44. Ellis Wright's tenement was sequestered for his recusancy and sold; Cal. Com. for Comp. iv, 2778; Index of Royalists, 41.
  • 56. Besides John Trafford there were the following: Joseph Bolton, Thomas Dalton, William Dandy, Richard Langtree and Jenet Worsley; Estcourt and Payne, Engl. Cath. Non-jurors, 109, &c.
  • 57. Land tax returns at Preston.
  • 58. Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), iii, 303, 505; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 283, m. 24. In the Piccope MSS. (Chet. Lib.), iii, 3, is an abstract of title to the estate called Finney House.
  • 59. Baines, Lancs. (ed. 1836), iii, 401.
  • 60. There were not many recusants in 1628; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 173.
  • 61. Foley, Records S. I. v, 320. Edmund Smith, the priest, had a stipend of £5; he died in 1727.
  • 62. Ibid. v, 321. Richard Leckonby seems to have been in charge from about 1730 till his death in 1771.