Townships: Ribbleton

A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 7. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.

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, 'Townships: Ribbleton', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 7, (London, 1912) pp. 105-108. British History Online [accessed 20 May 2024].

. "Townships: Ribbleton", in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 7, (London, 1912) 105-108. British History Online, accessed May 20, 2024,

. "Townships: Ribbleton", A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 7, (London, 1912). 105-108. British History Online. Web. 20 May 2024,

In this section


Ribleton, 1200; Ribbleton, 1202; Ribbelton, 1226; Ribilton, 1251; Rybelton, 1292.

This township has an area of 757 acres, including the 108 acres of Ribbleton Moor. As the hamlet of Brockholes in the adjoining township had rights in the moor, this was formerly regarded as a semi-independent district, and its L-shaped form divided Ribbleton proper into three distinct parts—northeast (in which is Ribbleton Hall), north-west (Scales), and south (in which is Farington Hall). A large part was taken into the borough of Preston in 1880 and has been incorporated with that township since 1894, (fn. 1) so that the present township of Ribbleton, the eastern part of the historical township, has an area of only 305 acres. The population of the reduced township in 1901 numbered 66. (fn. 2)

The surface is elevated but comparatively level; on the south it descends very sharply to a plot of low-lying ground in a bend of the Ribble. The principal roads are those from Preston to Blackburn on the south side and from Preston to Longridge on the north. The railway between the last-named places crosses the north-west corner. Preston cemetery, formed in 1855, lies on the west side of the township on the Blackburn road. There are also some pleasure-grounds opened in 1885; they are now called Farington Park. This side is becoming residential, being served by the electric tramways.

The Royal Cross Training School for Deaf and Dumb Children, opened in 1894, stands on the Blackburn road. (fn. 3)

There was formerly a cross on the moor and another in Ribbleton Lanc on the Preston boundary. (fn. 4)


The story of the manor of RIBBLETON is obscure. Before the Conquest it seems to have been part of the great lordship of Preston held by Earl Tostig, and is not separately named in Domesday Book. (fn. 5) In later times its assessment was one plough-land, and it was held in thegnage, by a rent of 8s. Henry de Ribbleton died possessed of it in or before 1201, leaving a son, who was a leper, and a daughter. Henry son of Alan de Holland of Downholland purchased the wardship and marriage of the daughter, (fn. 6) and by 1212 Ribbleton had become incorporated with the Holland manors and had been granted out to Roger de Leicester for an annual service of 8s. and four arrows. (fn. 7) Roger in turn in 1202 gave it to Henry de Fishwick and Maud his wife, a rent of 10s. being payable, but the agreement was varied in 1224. (fn. 8) The mesne lordship of the Hollands was not long recognized. (fn. 9)

In 1324 Roger de Elston held the vill by the rent of 8s. and doing suit to the county and wapentake. (fn. 10) Again in 1346 William de Elston and Roger his brother were said to hold four plough-lands in Ribbleton, Preston and Elston of Henry Earl of Lancaster by knight's service and 18d. for castle ward (fn. 11); but in the same year Thomas Travers and William Lawrence held between them one plough-land in Ribbleton in socage, rendering 8s. a year at the four terms. (fn. 12) The latter record is confirmed by later testimonies, (fn. 13) but nothing is known as to the source of their right. (fn. 14)

The estate was not usually called a manor. The Travers moiety descended like Nateby (fn. 15) until 1579, when it was sold to John Shireburne. (fn. 16) The other moiety (fn. 17) was in 1524 held by Robert Lawrence, who died on 27 March holding his part of Ribbleton of the king in socage by the rent of 4s. His heirs were two daughters, Margaret and Agnes, aged seventeen and fourteen respectively. (fn. 18) The elder daughter married Hugh Farington of Hutton, (fn. 19) and their descendants were seated in Ribbleton for some time, recording pedigrees at the visitations of 1567, 1613 and 1665. (fn. 20) The younger daughter's share (fn. 21) seems to have gone to Evan Browne, who died in 1545 holding a capital messuage called Ribbleton and messuages, lands and windmill there in socage, by a free rent of 2s. (fn. 22) His son and heir Richard (fn. 23) dying without issue, the six sisters made a partition in 1559 by which Ribbleton Hall became the property of Robert Shuttleworth and Jane his wife. (fn. 24) The Farington estate is said to have been sold to the Heskeths of Rufford about the end of the 17th century. (fn. 25)

Farington. Argent a cheveron gules between three leopards' faces sable.

John Shireburne, already named, married one of the daughters and seems to have acquired the shares of two others. (fn. 26) His grandson of the same name recorded a pedigree in 1613, (fn. 27) and being a recusant and Royalist his estates were sequestered under the rule of the Parliament. (fn. 28) His son Henry seems to have removed to Lincolnshire. (fn. 29) The Shireburne estate is said to have been sold to Richard King in 1656; his descendants sold to Thomas Birchall, whose son, also Thomas, built the present Ribbleton Hall not far from the old house. (fn. 30) The estate is reported to be owned at present by Mr. R. R. Rothwell of Sharples, by bequest of the late Mrs. Birchall.

The freeholders recorded in 1600 were Hugh Farington, John Shireburne and Richard Whalley. (fn. 31) The 'manor' appears no more in the records.

The Elston family, at one time described as holding the vill, (fn. 32) continued to be considerable landowners there, (fn. 33) and in 1454 their estate was described as a manor. (fn. 34)

A Ribbleton family appears at times, (fn. 35) and the Haydocks once held a large part (fn. 36); names of other landowners are recorded. (fn. 37) In the 18th century a family named Brewer had Ribbleton Lodge, the domestic chapel there serving the Roman Catholics of the district. (fn. 38) Several 'Papists' registered estates in 1717. (fn. 39)

The Knights Hospitallers had some land in Ribbleton, (fn. 40) afterwards owned by the Shireburnes of Stonyhurst. (fn. 41)

A dispute in 1564 as to the lordship and moor of Ribbleton gives the bounds on the Fulwood side as follows: From Jackson Hey and Clough north-east to the mere hills, five in all, on the south-west side of a close called the Park Falls in Fulwood. (fn. 42) The moor was inclosed in 1870. (fn. 43)

In connexion with the Church of England St. Mary Magdalene was consecrated in 1889; a district had been formed for it in 1883, (fn. 44) and services began about that time. The patronage is in the hands of trustees.


  • 1. Loc. Govt. Bd. Order 31607.
  • 2. The Census Report gives as part of Preston an area of 645 acres (including 9 of inland water), with a population of 936 in 1901. This refers principally to the part of Ribbleton now in the borough.
  • 3. The founder was Mary Cross, the late Archdeacon Rawstorne contributing. It depends partly on voluntary contributions.
  • 4. Lancs. and Ches. Antiq. Soc. xx, 172.
  • 5. V.C.H. Lancs. i, 288a.
  • 6. Farrer, Lancs. Pipe R. 132. Henry (de Holland) gave 10 marks for the wardship, undertaking to provide all necessaries for the brother and reasonable dower for the mother. The daughter's name is not known. Robert de Preston and Richard his brother had offered 100s. for the grant, and promised 16s. instead of the old 8s. service for the plough-land in Ribbleton; Rot. de Oblatis (Rec. Com.), 115, 123,
  • 7. Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 49. Roger de Leicester was seneschal of Amounderness under Theobald Walter; Farrer, op. cit. 143,169.
  • 8. Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 21; an assize of mort d'ancestor had been summoned between them, but the descent of the parties is not recorded. Roger de Leicester had a wife Alice; ibid, i, 43. In 1224 Maud, described as 'daughter of Henry,' complained that Roger son of Roger de Leicester had not kept the agreement made by his father, and she received 3 oxgangs of land for a rent of 2s., Roger to warrant her; 011 the other hand she renounced all claim to the rest of the plough-land; ibid, i, 45.
  • 9. Henry de Holland paid the thegnage rent of 8.s. in 1226; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 140. In 1297 the vill paid is. to the earl, the tenants not being named; ibid, i, 289.
  • 10. Dods. MSS. cxxxi, fol. 39. Some grants to Roger de Elston are recited in a later note; his estate seems to have been acquired by a number of separate purchases.
  • 11. Inq, p.m. 20 Edw. III (2nd nos.), no. 62. In 1342 the feoffee granted to William son of Roger de Elston and Roger his brother various lands in Ribbleton and Brockholes; Harl. MS. 2042, fol. 169.
  • 12. Surv. of 1346 (Chet. Soc), 48. The same partners also held a moiety of Ashton at the other side of Preston. In both cases the right seems to have descended through Haydock, as below. In 1331 Thomas son of Lawrence Travers had lands in Ribbleton; Kuerden MSS. iv, G 2b.
  • 13. Thomas Travers and Robert Lawrence in 1415 granted Roger Elston the younger for his life right of way through a field called Riddings to Roger's field called Newhey in Ribbleton; Add. MS. 32107, no. 2986. In 1445–6 Thomas Travers and Robert Lawrence held the plough-land in Ribbleton, rendering 8s. yearly; Duchy of Lanc. Knights' Fees, bdle. 2, no. 20.
  • 14. A large number of Ribbleton deeds (Farington family) are in Piccope MSS. (Chet. Lib.), iii, 17–29. None are so early as 1346, and the first relating to Lawrence is of 1412, as will be seen below.
  • 15. John Travers was in 1362 found to have held 36 acres in Ribbleton in socage by a rent of 4s.; Inq. p.m. 36 Edw. III (2nd nos.), no. 52. William Travers died in 1524 holding lands in Ribbleton of the king as duke by the annual service of 4s.; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. v, no. 62. A similar record was made in 1559; ibid, xi, no. 68.
  • 16. Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 36, m. 262. The vendors were Richard Travers and Grace his wife: the estate is described as four messuages, &c., in Ribbleton and Fulwood.
  • 17. In 1354 William Lawrence and Alice his wife made a settlement of their estate in Thornton, Great and Little Layton, a moiety of the manor of Ribbleton and a fourth part of the manor of Ashton. The remainders, after their children (John and others), were, so far as Ashton was concerned, to the right heirs of Alice; and as to Ribbleton to Joan daughter of Geoffrey de Cuerdale for life, and then the same as Ashton; Final Conc. ii, 141–2. The fine proves that Lawrence held in right of his wife. Joan de Cuerdale was then wife of Thomas de Molyneux, and much of her estate went to the Osbaldeston family. John Lawrence died in 1398, having made a settlement of his estate on his wife Margaret in 1368. He left a son William, aged eighteen; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc), i, 72. Roger de Elston of Ribbleton in 1412 demised to Robert son of John Lawrence a messuage in Ribbleton for life, and in 1438 John Elston and William his son and heir granted land in Ribbleton fields to Robert Lawrence; Piccope MSS. iii, 27. Robert Lawrence, as above recorded, was a partner in the manor in 1445–6 and Edmund, the son and heir of Robert, in 1448; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 11, m. 1b. Robert seems to have been still living in 1459, when John son of Henry Compsty granted land in Ribbleton to him, while to Edmund son of Robert Lawrence a quitclaim was given by William son of John Compsty in 1475; Piccope MSS. loc. cit.
  • 18. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. v, no. 57. Robert Lawrence is described as 'of Claughton in Amounderness'; his lands were in Layton, Ribbleton and Thornton. A feoffment made in 1513 is recited, giving the following details: A messuage in Ribbleton called the Maiden's House, with closes named the Town Field and Fishwick Banks, with other closes called Blackearth, Over and Nether Crooked Riddings, Oxhey, Wall Banks, Moor Furlong, Little Furlong, with the orchard, and the orchard about the hall. By an award of the same time Isabel widow of Robert Lawrence and their two daughters were to pay 26s. 8d. a year to James Walton of Preston and provide a man horsed and harnessed for the king's service; Piccope MSS. iii, 17. Richard Walton in 1579 released to Richard Farington all his interest in lands in Ribbleton; ibid. 21.
  • 19. Visit. of 1567 (Chet. Soc), 45. Some notes on this family will be found in the account of Longton in Penwortham. An inquisition after the death of Richard Farington was made in 1596. He held land in Ribbleton of the queen in socage by a rent of 10d., and his heir was his son Hugh, aged thirty-six; Piccope MSS. iii, 29. Hugh Farington died in 1637 holding a messuage and land in Ribbleton of the king. His heir was his son Charles, aged thirty-seven; Towneley MS. C 8, 13 (Chet. Lib.), 423–4. A settlement was made by Hugh Farington and Charles his son in 1620; Piccope MSS. iii, 23. Deeds by Richard Farington, the son of Charles, may be seen in the same collection; he appears to have sold or mortgaged the estate in 1672; ibid. 23, 25, See also p. 206 for a sale to John Winckley.
  • 20. Printed by the Chetham Soc.: 1567, p. 45; 1613, p. 103; 1664–5, p. 106. The descent from Hugh and Margaret is thus given: -s. Richard -s. Hugh -s. Charles (d. c. 1650) -s. Richard -da. Jane. Jane married a Southworth and was living in 1695; Piccope MSS. iii, 25. John Farington founded a charity in 1670 for the poor of Elston and Farington, at the discretion of Richard Farington of Ribbleton or those who might be owners of Richard's estate.' In 1824 James Pedder and Thomas Walmesley were trustees for the charity, their fathers and grandfathers having acted before them; End. Char. Rep.
  • 21. About 1550 a division of the Lawrence estates was arranged. By this Margaret, widow of Hugh Farington, and Richard their son and heir were to have a moiety of Ribbleton and all the land in Goosnargh, while Henry Smith, Agnes his wife and William their son and heirapparent were to have lands in Ribbleton and all the estate in Layton and Stainall; Piccope MSS. iii, 19. William Smith and Mary Smith, widow, had this estate in 1593; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 55, m. 139.
  • 22. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. vii, no. 24. Evan Browne probably acquired Agnes's share by purchase, though the date in the preceding note causes a difficulty, but he had an estate in Elston by inheritance. Thus James Browne in 1479 gave land in Ribbleton to the younger John Elston and his wife on their daughter's marriage with his son William Browne; Add. MS. 32108, fol. 288. (There was a remainder to William Elston and Catherine his wife, so that the land may have been part of the Elston estate.) Then in 1503–4 Ewan or Evan son and heir of William son and heir of James Browne (living) was contracted to marry Elizabeth daughter of John Singleton of Shingle Hall; ibid. Evan's widow Elizabeth is named in the inquisition, and seven daughters Anne, Alice, Jane, Katherine, Laura, Ellen and Bridget. Laura does not occur again. Evan Browne had a number of scattered properties, including two burgages in Preston and a messuage in French Lea.
  • 23. Evan Browne, Richard and James his sons were out-burgesses of the guild of 1542; Preston Guild R. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 18. Richard was six years old at his father's death.
  • 24. Towneley MS. C 8, 13, S 125. Of the other daughters, Anne married Richard Shireburne of Bailey; Alice (dead in 1559), Hugh Jones; Katherine, John Shireburne; Ellen, Richard Shireburne the younger; and Bridget, Thomas Whittingham. In 1559 a settlement of a sixth part of the manor of Ribbleton, with dovecote, windmill, &c., was made by John Shireburne and Katherine his wife, the remainder in default of issue being to her son (by her first husband) Richard Elston; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 21, m. 3. Hugh Shireburne in 1594 sold messuages and lands in Ribbleton and Haighton to George Talbot; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 56, m. 48. This was another part of the Browne estate, George Talbot being the son of Anne Shireburne by a first husband; C. D. Sherborn, Sherborn Fam. 71.
  • 25. Hewitson, Preston, 388.
  • 26. John Shireburne in 1566 purchased two messuages, &c., in Ribbleton and Preston from Thomas Whittingham and Bridget his wife; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 28, m. 63. Next year he bought a messuage and land from William Woodward and Elizabeth his wife; ibid. bdle. 29, m. 99. In 1579 he purchased two messuages, &c., in Ribbleton and Fulwood from Thomas Jones and Jane his wife (presumably the heirs of Hugh and Alice Jones), and followed this in 1585 by purchasing further lands from them and the sixth part of the manor of Ribbleton; ibid. bdle. 41, m. 99; 47, m. 38. The estate of Richard Shireburne and Anne his wife (another co-heir) occurs in 1572; ibid. bdle. 34, m. 23.
  • 27. Visit. (Chet. Soc), 109. The descent is given thus; John (s. of Thomas) married Katherine Browne –s. Thomas -s. John (1613) -s. Henry (aged twelve).
  • 28. Cal. Com. for Comp. v, 3233; John Shireburne died in 1655, and a claim to land in Ribbleton put in by Thomas Parker of Browsholme was allowed.
  • 29. C. D. Sherborn, Sherborn Fam. 87–90.
  • 30. Hewitson, loc. cit.
  • 31. Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 233. Richard Whalley in 1574 purchased a messuage, &c., from John and Katherine Shireburne; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 36, m. 155. Similar estates were Bold to Edward Belshaugh, John Ridley and Richard Tomlinson; ibid. m. 178, 184, 259.
  • 32. In 1346 as above. Various Elston families occur in Brockholes, Ribbleton and the neighbouring townships. Thus John de Haighton gave 3 acres in Haighton to Roger son of William de Elston and Paulin his brother; Kuerden MSS. iii, H 2. Adam son of Roger del Scales gave to the same brothers land in the Scales in Ribbleton; Add. MS. 32107, no. 2959. Roger de Elston granted Paulin de Elston land in Haighton and 1 acre in Ribbleton Scales; Kuerden, loc. cit. John son of William de Haighton in 1327 gave land in Haighton to William son of Paulin de Elston; ibid. Richard son of Henry de Brockholes gave land in Ribbleton Scales, descending from his mother Maud, to Roger de Elston; Kuerden fol. MS. fol. 50 B. Richard son of William Drury gave Roger de Elston a release of his claim to lands in Ribbleton, attested by William and Paulin de Elston, Henry and Simon de Ribbleton; Add. MS. 32107, no. 2961. In 1316–17 Henry de Ribbleton and Agnes widow of Richard de Brockholes released to Roger de Elston their rights in Ribbleton; ibid. no. 2965, 2967. The date of the former deed may be fixed approximately by a claim for dower in 1269 by Amery widow of William Drury v. Robert son of Richard Drury; Cur. Regis R. 195, m. 35 d. William son of Roger de Elston obtained from William de Methop (son of Robert the Harper) in 1333 a release of a rent of 2s. 9d. from Ribbleton, and in the same and later years he obtained further grants and releases from Adam son of Henry de Ribbleton (1333), Gilbert de Knaresborough and Alice his daughter (1336), Adam de Compsy, Alice his wife, and Robert de Claughton of Ribbleton (1342); Add. MS. 32107, no. 2968, 2970, 2971–2.
  • 33. John de Elston the younger in 1369 made a grant to William the Tailor; ibid. no. 2975. In 1379–80 he obtained a quitclaim from Robert le Sagher of Ribbleton; ibid. no. 2977.
  • 34. Kuerden MSS. vi, fol. 80; John Elston gave his manor of Ribbleton to feoffees. In 1461 William Elston gave lands in the same place, &c., to feoffees; ibid. fol. 74. John Elston of Ribbleton obtained an exemption from jury service in 1504–5; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xl, App. 544.
  • 35. Ralph son of William de Ribbleton released to Henry son of Robert de Ribbleton his right in all land in the Musifield in Ribbleton; Add. MS. 32106, no. 666. Henry, the grantee, gave all his land in the same field to John de Grimsargh and his heirs for the rent of an arrow; ibid. no. 678. Robert de Ribbleton granted land in Ribbleton and Brockholes in 1325–6 to Henry de Ribbleton and Agnes his wife; Kuerden MSS. iii, B 14. Thomas Kendal, cousin and heir of William Ribbleton, had in 1407 lands in Preston and Ribbleton; ibid, ii, fol. 224. Tunnock daughter of Robert son of Vivian de Ribbleton Scales and Adam her son granted all her land to the west of a certain hedge to Master William de Preston, clerk; Towneley MS. OO, no. 1095, 1164. In 1303 Robert de Ribbleton Scales gave land there, received by the gift of his brother Roger, to Roger his younger son; Kuerden MSS. ii, fol. 224. Robert de Ribbleon son of Adam de Ribblescales in 1313–14 granted his son Robert the moiety of a messuage in Preston; ibid, iii, P 7.
  • 36. From the fine of 1224 above cited it appears that Maud de Ribbleton had 3 oxgangs of land. The other 5 oxgangs seem to have been held about 1280 by the Haydock family, for in 1285 Joan widow of John son of Henry de Haydock claimed dower in messuages and lands in Ribbleton, &c., afterwards described as eleven messuages and 5 oxgangs of land; De Banco R. 59, m. 3; 64, m. 122. The defendant was Henry de Haydock, whose widow Alice in 1290 claimed against the said Joan and her daughters Alice and Aline; ibid. 86, m. 174. It seems most probable that the Travers and Lawrence inheritance descended from these daughters.
  • 37. Forfeited lands of the Yorkist, Sir James Harrington, probably inherited with Balderston, were granted to the Earl of Derby in 1489, but the tenure is not stated in 1521; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. v, no. 68. Thomas Radcliffe of Winmarleigh, also through Balderston, held lands in Ribbleton in 1521, but the tenure is not separately stated; they descended to Sir Gilbert Gerard; ibid, v, no. 3; xvi, no. 2. Edmund Dudley had another part of the Balderston inheritance; ibid, iv, no. 13. Sir Alexander Osbaldeston had another part; ibid, viii, no. 1. Sir Thomas Botelerof Bewsey in 1522 held lands in Ribbleton in socage; ibid, v, no. 13. John de Elston in 1370 granted 2 acres in Ribbleton to John de Walton; Add. MS. 32107, no. 2976. In 1559 William Walton of Preston died holding a messuage, &c., in Ribbleton of Richard Browne in socage by 1d. rent, and his son Richard Walton apparently held the same in 1593; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xi, no. 27; xvi, no. 42. But Richard Walton seems to have mortgaged or sold it to Richard Farington in 1579 and to Hugh Farington in 1589, so that it probably became incorporated with the Farington estate; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdles. 41, m. 35; 51, m. 67. A purchase by John Ridley has been recorded. He died in 1599 holding a messuage, &c., in Ribbleton of the queen in socage, and leaving a son Richard over fifty years old; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc), ii, 162. This son died four years afterwards, his son and heir John being twenty-two; ibid, ii, 163. John Ridley died in 1637 holding the same estate; his son and heir Richard was twentyfour years old; ibid, ii, 165. He was perhaps the in-burgess of Preston appearing in 1662 and 1682; Preston Guild R. 135, 174. Sir Thomas Walmsley of Dunkenhalgh had land in Ribbleton in 1612; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 250.
  • 38. Gillow, Bibl. Dict. of Engl. Cath. i, 291, giving notices of two Benedictines, members of the family.
  • 39. John Gregson, Richard Bolton (also at Catterall), John Ridley, Adam Helme, Thomas Kellet, Richard Kendal, Edward Parkinson; Estcourt and Payne, Engl. Cath. Non-jurors, 91, 138–40.
  • 40. It is named among the Hospitallers' lands in 1292; Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 375.
  • 41. Kuerden MSS. ii, fol. 132; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xxvi, no. 4. Another part of the Hospitallers' land was held in 1603 by Thomas Barton of Barton by 6d. rent; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 10.
  • 42. The depositions are printed in Fishwick, Preston, 345–6.
  • 43. Stat. 24 & 25 Vict., cap. 1. In the award a parcel of 5½ acres was granted to the overseers as a recreation ground; End. Char. Rep. (Preston 1905), 102.
  • 44. Land. Gaz. 23 Aug. 1883.