Townships: Elston

Pages 113-115

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

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Etheliston, 1212; Echelyston, 1284; Echilston, 1285; Ethelston, 1297; Etheleston, 1301; Elston, Elleston xv cent.

This township has an area of 961½ acres, (fn. 1) and in 1901 there was a population of 59. The Ribble forms a large part of the boundary, and in a bend of it there is some low-lying level ground, but the surface in general is elevated, rising quickly till over 200 ft. above sea level is attained. There are woods overlooking the river at the eastern end, and the western boundary is formed by a small wooded clough.

The principal road runs south from the Preston and Longridge road, through the middle of the township, till it reaches the level tract mentioned; here is the hamlet of Elston.

The land is chiefly in pasture. The soil is clay, loam and alluvial, with subsoil various.

The pipe line of the Manchester water supply from Thirlmere passes through the township, and thence through the Ribble into Samlesbury.


The manor of ELSTON, assessed as one plough-land, appears to have been separated from Grimsargh after the Conquest and given to the lord of Penwortham. Warine Bussel gave it with Heaton in Lonsdale to Hamon le Boteler in free marriage, (fn. 2) and Hamon appears to have given it to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, a gift ratified by Albert Bussel. (fn. 3) The knights gave it to William son of Haroon, to be held free of suit to their court of Amounderness, but paying an annual rent of 8s. and an obit of 2 marks. (fn. 4) This free rent, representing the lordship of the Hospitallers, was in 1613 acquired by the Shireburnes of Stonyhurst. (fn. 5)

Walmsley. Gules on a chief ermine two hurts.

The estate of William son of Hamon in Golborne (fn. 6) descended to the Hoghton family, but Elston went in a different way, as the Hoghton holding there appears to have been acquired by purchase, (fn. 7) and was afterwards said to be held of the Crown in socage by a rent of 18d. (fn. 8) Several families, possibly younger branches, (fn. 9) assumed Elston as a surname, one of them of long continuance in the neighbouring township of Brockholes. The immediate lordship seems to have descended to one John de Elston, living in the time of Edward III. (fn. 10) About a century later, in 1446, Sir Thomas Harrington and others purchased it from Isabel and Joan, daughters and heirs of John Shaw. (fn. 11) On the partition of Sir James Harrington's lands in 1516 Elston fell to the share of his daughter Margaret, (fn. 12) who married Christopher Hulton, and so it descended to Asshaw (fn. 13) and Radcliffe of Ordsall. (fn. 14) In 1610–11 it was sold to Sir Thomas Walmesley, (fn. 15) and after changing hands again was acquired by Thomas Walmsley, (fn. 16) in whose family it remained till recently. The present lord of the manor, it is stated, is Mr. William Cross of Frensham, Surrey.

There are but few other details known regarding estates in this township. (fn. 17) Henry Gregson paid £10 in 1631, having declined knighthood. (fn. 18) Robert Hothersall (fn. 19) and Henry Walmesley (fn. 20) had their estates sequestered under the Commonwealth. Two or three 'Papists' registered small estates in 1717. (fn. 21)

Apart from Mr. Cross's land the principal holding is that of the Goosnargh Hospital, comprising the tenements called Marsh House (or Elston Hall), Salisbury and Moorfields, in all about 220 acres. (fn. 22)

John March's house in Elston was in 1672 licensed for a Presbyterian meeting. (fn. 23)


  • 1. 959 acres, according to the Census Rep. 1901, including 30 of inland water.
  • 2. Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 30.
  • 3. Ibid. Elston (30 acres) was confirmed to the Hospitallers by Henry II and Richard I (1189); Cartæ Antiquæ T 39 and RR17 (noted by Mr. R. Gladstone, jun.). It is named among their lands in 1292; Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 375.
  • 4. Lancs. Inq. and Extents, loc. cit. from Kuerden MSS. v, fol. 82b.
  • 5. Elston is named among Hospitallers' lands granted in 1611 to George Whitmore and others; Pat. 9 Jas. I, pt. xxvii. It was sold to Richard Shireburne of Stonyhurst in 1613; Kuerden MSS. ii, fol. 132. It is named in an inquisition; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xxvi, no. 4.
  • 6. Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 74.
  • 7. Alexander son of William de Elston released to Adam de Hoghton his rights in waters, mills, fisheries, &c., within the vill, 20s. being paid, and William son of Alexander de Elston confirmed to Adam de Hoghton all his part of the mill, with mill-stead, &c., for a rent of a pair of white gloves; Add. MS. 32106, no. 168, 132. In 1301 Richard son of William son of Warine de Elston gave Master Richard de Hoghton all his right in Elston; Dods. MSS. cxlii, fol. 59. In the same year Elston is named among the Hoghton estates; Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 192. Maud daughter of Paulin de Westacre, as widow, released to Sir Adam de Hoghton in 1330 all right in her father's lands in Elston and her right of turbary in Grimsargh for her life; Add. MS. 32106, no. 84, fol. 254. A Henry de Wedacre was plaintiff respecting land in the township in 1285; Assize R. 1271, m. 12.
  • 8. Sir Richard Hoghton in 1422 was found to have held a messuage and 40 acres in Elston; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc), i, 146. See also Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xiv, no. 26, where the rent is not stated.
  • 9. William de Elston and Roger his brother were stated in 1346 to hold four plough-lands in Elston, &c., by knight's service; Inq. p.m. 20 Edw. III (2nd nos.), no. 62. To a charter of 1349 the following were witnesses: John de Elston, William son of Roger de Elston, William son of Paulin de Elston and Roger de Elston; Towneley MS. HH, no. 1906. John de Elston of Elston, John de Elston of Ribbleton and Roger de Elston attested a charter of the year 1362; Piccope MSS. (Chet. Lib.), iii, 27. William son of Roger de Elston, Roger his brother and William son of Paulin de Elston occur together in 1355; Kuerden fol. MS. fol. 50, B 8. A deed of about 1280 names Roger son of William de Elston and Paulin his brother; Kuerden MSS. iii, H 2. Henry de Blackburn and Eve his wife (about 1302) granted their son John their right in 20d. rent due from William son of Paulin de Elston; Add. MS. 32106, no. 309. Christiana widow of Paulin de Elston and William her son occur in 1340; Kuerden MSS. ii, fol. 256b. The following pleadings show that the partition between several Elston families goes back some distance of time. In 1280 James de Elston claimed half a messuage and oxgang of land against Robert de Elston and Roger his brother; William de Elston was called to warrant; De Banco R. 36, m. 69; 42, m. 38. In 1284 James de Elston was non-suited in a claim for land against Robert son of William de Elston; Assize R. 1268, m. 12 d. It seems that James was the son of a Roger de Elston; Kuerden fol, MS. (Chet. Lib.), 90b, D 53. William de Myr of Elston in 1282 sought a messuage and oxgang of land against Robert de Elston, and the same against Roger de Elston; while Robert son of William de Elston and Roger his brother sought a small tenement against John son of Agnes de Elston; De Banco R. 47, m. 32, 34 d. Robert de Elston and Roger his brother attested a charter c. 1284; Kuerden fol. MS. fol. 74. Again in 1298 Cecily daughter of Robert de Elston and her sisters Margery, Elizabeth and Emma claimed goods to the value of £12 from William son of Ralph, Alice his wife and Roger de Elston; De Banco R. 124, m. 64.
  • 10. The descent seems to be: William de Elston -s. Robert -s. William -s. John. To William de Elston, 'his lord,' the Alexander son of William son of Arthur de Elston already mentioned granted land in Elston; Harl. MS. 2042, fol. 171. He was probably the William called to warrant in 1280. Robert son of William de Elston has been named as defendant in 1284–5. To his son Richard in 1318 he granted all his lands in Elston; Add. MS. 32106, no. 164, fol. 271. The manor, however, seems to have descended to another son William, who in 1328 was defendant to a claim put forward by Roger and Paulin, sons of William de Elston and Roger son of Roger; Assize R. 1400, m. 233. John de Elston was lord in 1337; Kuerden fol. MS. fol. 150. He (as son of William) was in that year one defendant to a claim by William son of William de Elston; Assize R. 1424, m. 11. In 1346 Margery daughter of William son of Richard de Ashley (of Whittingham) claimed three messuages and a plough-land in Elston in right of her mother Christiana, daughter and heir of Nicholas the Clerk, seised in the time of Edward I. The defendants were Maud widow of William de Elston and John the son of William; John said that the tenement was only one messuage and 6 acres of land and that he held jointly with Maud his wife; De Banco R. 342, m. 20; 345, m. 21; 348, m. 304. The suit went on for some years. At Pentecost, 1352, John de Elston further defended his right by saying that plaintiff's mother had released to his grandfather Robert all her right in Elston, but the charter was denied; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 2, m. vij d. In the end Margery lost her case; ibid. 6, m. 7 d. In 1346 John de Elston made a feoffment of his manor of Elston with all its buildings, homages, services, reliefs, &c.; Kuerden fol. MS. fol. m. He made an exchange of lands in 1358, Roger de Elston and William son of Paulin de Elston being witnesses; Add. MS. 32106, no. 433. In 1357 John de Elston purchased 10 acres in Elston from William de Dodhill and Alice his wife; Final Conc, ii, 154. In 1363 it was found that the tenement of Joan wife of Gilbert the Tailor in Elston, taken into the king's hands for felony, was held of John de Elston the elder by the rent of 9s. 5d.; Inq. p.m. 37 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 23. In 1369 there were two Johns, but the John de Elston who attested a Ribbleton charter granted by John de Elston the younger was probably the lord of Elston; Add. MS. 32107, no. 2975. At the same time a John son of William de Elston complained that Alice widow of William de Elston was causing waste in Elston; De Banco R. 433, m. 425; see also 447, m. 189. In the following year John de Elston the elder made a settlement of lands in Elston, Preston and Haighton; Kuerden MSS. iv, E 5. It was perhaps his son who as Roger son of John de Elston obtained land in the township from William son of Robert West of Elston in 1382–3; ibid. Roger de Elston in 1395 purchased three messuages, &c., from John de Shorrock the younger and Agnes his wife; Final Conc. iii, 46. There was, however, a Roger de Elston of Ribbleton and Brockholes.
  • 11. Ibid. 112. The estate was described as the manor of Elston, with messuages, land and wood in Ribchester, Haighton and Preston and the moiety of a mill in Haighton. The purchasers were probably trustees of Harrington of Wolfage. Sir James Harrington of Brixworth, in a deed dated at Elston, made a feoffment of all his lands in Elston, Haighton, Fishwick, Dinckley and Lancaster; Add. MS. 32106, no. 473. Isabel his widow in 1498 made a release of the same; ibid. no. 830.
  • 12. Norris D. (B.M.).
  • 13. Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc), ii, 171–2. In 1552 Joan widow of Roger Asshaw and daughter of Margaret, one of the daughters and co-heirs of Sir James Harrington, gave her son Anthony an annuity of 4 marks from her lands in Elston, Haighton, Goosnargh, &c.; Add. MS. 32105, fol. 214. At the same time she made a general settlement; ibid. fol. 213.
  • 14. See the accounts of Heath Charnock and Salford.
  • 15. Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 78, no. 22; 77, no. 1, 8.
  • 16. Fishwick, Preston, 93. In 1625 Robert Randolph leased to Thomas Heneage the manor of Elston and a messuage in Preston for five years; Cal. S. P. Dom. 1625–6, p. 49. See also Lancs. and Ches. Rec. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 247. In 1652–3 the manor of Elston, with messuages, windmill, tithes, &c., and a free fishery in the Ribble were held by John Box, Anne his wife, Thomas Ince, Robert Charnock, esq., Thomas Harrison, esq., Elizabeth his wife and Hester Charnock; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 151, m. 127. Thomas Walmsley of Elston and his sons Thomas and Richard were burgesses at the Preston Guild of 1782; Abram, Mem. of the Guilds, 104.
  • 17. Sir Thomas Ashton (1514) purchased lands in Elston and Haighton from his father-in-law Sir James Harrington, but the tenure is not stated; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iv, no. 80. Ralph Elston's capital messuage in Brockholes was in 1557 described as 'in the town of Elston'; ibid, x, no. 3.
  • 18. a Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 222.
  • 19. His estate was sequestered for recusancy. In 1650 he settled part on his wife Katherine, who after his death sold her interest, and the purchaser in 1654 desired an examination of his title; Royalist Comp. Papers (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), in, 262.
  • 20. Henry Walmsley, husbandman, was in 1653 'suspected of popery,' and therefore summoned before the committee for compounding. On his refusing to abjure his religion, two-thirds of his estate was sequestered; Cal. Com. for Comp. i, 656.
  • 21. Henry Cumaleach, son-in-law of John Walmsley; Alice and Anne Charnley; Estcourt and Payne, Eng. Cath. Non- jurors, 139, 104.
  • 22. End. Char. Rep. (Kirkham, 1904), 42, 123.
  • 23. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1672, p. 200.