Townships: Fishwick

Pages 115-117

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

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Fiscuic, Dom. Bk.; Fiswich, 1202; Fiskwic, 1203; Fyswic, c, 1220; Fischwic, 1225; Fissewyk, c. 1250; Fiswike, 1251; Fixwyk, 1297; Fisshewyke, 1302; Phisick, xviii cent. This last shows the local pronunciation.

This township extends from the south-east border of Preston to the Ribble. A large part of the surface is low-lying level ground in bends of the river, but in the west and north the surface rises steeply and irregularly, a height of about 150 ft. above sea level being attained. The hall is in the eastern part of the township, near the foot of the slope and at the opening of a small clough. The Swillbrook was the boundary between Fishwick and Preston; it has now disappeared. Frenchwood lies between it and the Ribble, to the west of the road to Walton. The area is 692½ acres, and the population in 1901 was 4,884.

The ancient highway from Preston to the south, by way of Walton-le-Dale, passes through Fishwick, and the bridge across the river there has long been pre-eminently 'Ribble Bridge.' From the bridge a minor road leads north-east towards the hall and thence to Preston, while another road and footpath lead west towards Avenham Park.

Dwelling-houses have spread over the border from Preston, with which town Fishwick has been joined for municipal and parliamentary purposes since the Reform Acts. In 1894 the township ceased to exist, being now part of the enlarged township of Preston. (fn. 1)


The manor of FISHWICK was in 1066 a member of the Preston lordship of Earl Tostig, and was assessed as one plough-land. (fn. 2) Some time after the Conquest it was given to the Forester of Lancaster, as part of his fee, (fn. 3) and descended in the same way (fn. 4) as the Gernet moiety of Eccleston in Leyland, coming into the hands of Richard Molyneux of Sefton in 1539. (fn. 5) The manor of Fishwick and the lands, &c., in Fishwick, Ribbleton and Brockholes were in 1569 found to be held of the queen in socage by fealty only (fn. 6); and this statement of the tenure was repeated later. (fn. 7)

Molyneux. Azure a cross moline or.

It does not appear that the lords of the manor ever resided there, and the chief interest of the Molyneux possession arises from the fact that in the 17th century the hall became the centre of a Roman Catholic mission, (fn. 8) and it was reported to the Government in 1717 that Lord Molyneux had given the place to the English Benedictines both as a mission station and an endowment. (fn. 9) If the report was true proof was wanting, and the manor was retained by the family until the sale in 1729. (fn. 10) It was purchased by Sir Henry Hoghton in 1731, and from a later Sir Henry in 1785 by William Shawe of Preston. (fn. 11) From him it descended to Thomas Rigby Knowles, who died in 1901, leaving an infant son. The estate is in the hands of trustees. No courts have been held for many years. The hall was parted from the manor, and in 1731 sold to Thomas Astley of Preston, a chief rent of 3s. 8d. being then payable to the Forester of Myerscough. (fn. 12) It was about 1760 purchased by the above-named William Shawe.

Lists of the free tenants in the 13th and 14th centuries have been preserved (fn. 13); their holdings were no doubt the basis of the freehold estates of later times, but no detailed account of them can be given. Some of the families took the surname of Fishwick, (fn. 14) and other owners can be traced by the inquisitions and other records. (fn. 15)

The principal resident family was that of Eyves. Robert del Eves of Fishwick in 1394 leased to Sir Richard Hoghton his 'manor' of Fishwick, from which there were due rents of £6 3s. 4d. to Dacre and 11s. to Langton. (fn. 16) In 1617 the hall was leased to Ralph Eyves and became the family dwelling. (fn. 17) The family being recusants and Royalists quickly felt the displeasure of the Parliament on the outbreak of the Civil War, and Richard Eyves's estate was in 1643 sequestered for the combined offences. (fn. 18) Richard Eyves died in 1644, but his father Ralph survived, and his estate was under sequestration for recusancy. (fn. 19) Thomas Eyves, another of the family, had two-thirds of his leasehold estate sequestered for the same reason; he was eighty years of age. (fn. 20) Another Thomas Eyves, son of Richard, recorded a pedigree in 1665. (fn. 21)

Eyves. Sable a cheveron between three crosstlets argent.

The estates of Richard Eyves, Richard Kellet and Richard Sudell were sold under the Act of 1652. (fn. 22) James Melling, a recusant, in 1654 requested to be allowed to compound for his sequestered estate. (fn. 23) In 1717 Alexander Hudson, linen weaver, registered a small holding as a 'Papist.' (fn. 24) The estate called Frenchwood, formerly owned by Thomas Starkie (great-grandson of John Starkie of Huntroyde) and Nicholas his son, was carried by the latter's daughter and co-heir in 1815 to Colonel Henry Bence Bence (fn. 25) of Thorington Hall, Suffolk, whose descendant, Mr. P. Bence Trower, is the present owner. (fn. 26)

Roger the Clerk alienated 4 acres in Fishwick to Sawley Abbey. (fn. 27)

The tenants of the township had a right of turbary on Penwortham Moss. (fn. 28)


  • 1. Loc. Govt. Bd. Order 31607.
  • 2. V.C.H. Lancs. i, 288b.
  • 3. Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 43, 121. In 1252 Roger Gernet held one plough-land in chief of the king by service of the forest; he had all the land except 1 oxgang and 60 acres, the moiety of a fishery in the Ribble, and a mill worth 305. yearly; ibid, i, 187–8. In 1225 an agreement was made between William and Roger Gernet as to the manor of Fishwick. It was held in dower by Cecily widow apparently of Benedict Gernet, father of Roger and grandfather of William; Farrer, Lancs. Pipe R. 204, &c. Cecily married one William known as the Villein, and Roger warranted the manor to them, while William Gernet renounced all claim to it on behalf of himself and his heirs in return for half a plough-land in Crophill. Roger Gernet's lordship of Fishwick was therefore undisputed; Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 46.
  • 4. William de Dacre held Fishwick by knight's service in 1297; at that time the vill rendered 7s. 8d. to the Earl of Lancaster; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 298, 289. From a return made in 1302 it would appear that the tenure had been altered from forestry to knight's service; ibid, i, 317. The old service of master . forester was, however, recorded in 1324, Randle de Dacre being lord; Dods. MSS. cxxxi, fol. 41b. A further change was made before 1458, when Sir Thomas Dacre of Gillesland was found to have held the manor of Fishwick of the king as of his Duchy of Lancaster in socage by the service of a grain of pepper; Lancs. Inq, p.m. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 65. In 1324 the annual value of the estate was returned as £7 18s., made up thus: A messuage with fruit and herbage, 2s.; 60 acres arable, 30s.; 6 acres meadow, 6s.; a fishery in the Ribble, 26s. 8d.; a water-mill, 40s., and 8 oxgangs of land, held by free tenants who paid 6s. 8d. for each oxgang—53s. 4d.; Inq. p.m. 18 Edw. II, no. 41, Sir William de Dacre in 1358 complained that Robert son of Henry de Kuerden and others had taken hares and pheasants from his free warren at Fishwick; Assize R. 438, m. 7. The clear value of the manor was stated as 10 marks in 1375; Inq. p.m. 49 Edw. III, pt. i, no. 39. After the confiscation in 1461 this manor was granted for life to Eleanor widow of Sir Randle Dacre in 1467 as compensation for dower; Cal. Pat. 1467–77, p. 26. Richard Fiennes Lord Dacre in 1486 held the manors of Fishwick and Eccleston by knight's service; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iii, no. 58. His successor Thomas Fiennes Lord Dacre in 1506 sold them to Edmund Dudley; ibid, iv, no. 21; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xl, App. 545. From John Dudley the manors passed to Sir Thomas Seymer in 1530 and to Edward Elrington in 1538; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. n, m. 113, 16.
  • 5. Ibid. bdle. 12, m. 15. The manor is named in a Molyneux settlement of 1558; ibid. bdle. 20, m. 80.
  • 6. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xiii, no. 35.
  • 7. Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), iii, 390; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xxvii, no. 59.
  • 8. In 1586 Evan Banister, an 'old priest,' was harboured by Jane Eyves of Fishwick, widow; Baines, Lancs. (ed. Harland), i, 180, from Harl. MS. 360, fol. 32. 'It is probable that the chapel within the hall was regularly served before Dom Bartholomew Gregory Hesketh took charge of the mission in 1685 and built the chapel there, wherein were organs, bells, vestments and a pulpit, as deposed before the Commissioners of Forfeited Estates in 1718'; J. Gillow in Trans. Hist. Soc. (new ser.), xiii, 159.
  • 9. Lancs. and Ches. Rec. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 173–4. The hall was called Physick Hall. There is an allusion to the estate in a letter from Richard Hitchmough; Payne, Engl. Cath. Rec. 124.
  • 10. Under the Private Act 2 Geo. II, cap. 9.
  • 11. Abstract of W. Shawe's title in the possession of the Knowles Trustees. The appointment of a gamekeeper by Sir Henry Hoghton as lord of the manor in 1734 was printed in the Preston Guardian, 24 Apr. 1875. For a pedigree showing the Shawe descent see Fishwick's Preston, 343.
  • 12. Piccope MSS. (Chet. Lib.), iii, 242. For an account of the Astleys see Fishwick, op. cit. 308.
  • 13. Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 178–9, dated 1247–51, and showing the alienations made, the rents due and the portions of a knight's fee for which service was to be rendered. The land amounted to 1 oxgang and 58 acres and the rents to 15s. 2d., as follows:— Roger the Clerk of Fishwick, 1 oxgang of land and 3 acres, paying 6s. 8d., and being ordered to render the service due for the twentieth part of a fee. Baldwin de Preston, the moiety of mill and 20 acres of land and wood, 3s. 2d. and one-fortieth. John son of John, 6 acres, 2s. and onefiftieth. Heirs of Roger del Ridding, 22 acres, 2s. 6d. and one-fiftieth. William Watchet, 4 acres; 6d. William son of Richard, 3 acres; 4d. Benedict Gernet gave an assart to Robert his clerk, son of Ralph de Preston, a rent of 6d. being payable; Kuerden MSS. ii, fol. 227b. The above-named Baldwin de Preston died in 1251 holding in Fishwick an assart, called Dustescahe, of 18 acres each worth 4d. a year, also the moiety of a mill worth 3s.; he rendered 3s. 2d. to the king. His heir was his son Henry, aged seventeen; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 183, 192. The tenancies of 1346 (corrected by the sheriff's compotus of 1348) were:—
    Messuage Acres Rent
    s. d.
    Alan del Moor 1 22 7 0
    William de Fishwick 1 6 0 8
    Adam son of Simon 1 6 2 0
    Geoffrey de Hackinsall ½ 0
    Beatrice del Ridding 0
    Thomas del Ridding 1 9 1 3
    Adam de Bury 4 0 9
    Lawrence Travers 14 2 5
    The summary in the record states that 'they hold 70 acres by being Serjeants of the forests of Lonsdale, Amounderness and [West] Derbyshire, rendering 15s.4d. and relief; Survey of 1346 (Chet. Soc), 48. Comparing the lists it seems that Alan del Moor represents Roger the Clerk and William son of Richard; William de Fishwick, William Watchet (2 acres and 2d. rent being added); Adam son of Simon, John son of John; Adam de Bury and Lawrence Travers, Baldwin de Preston; and the other three the heirs of Roger del Ridding, In 1326 Adam de Bury granted messuages, &c., in Preston, Fishwick and Ashton to Peter de Risley and Maud his wife, with remainders to Maud's sisters and to Richard the brother of Adam; Final Conc, ii, 63. William de Beconsaw in 1372 purchased a messuage and land in Preston and Fishwick from Robert son of Robert son of Richard de Bury; ibid, ii, 184. Christiana del Ridding gave land in the Ridding to her son Adam; Kuerden MSS. ii, fol. 226b. In the time of Richard II and Henry IV these lands were sold to the Waltons of Preston; ibid. From one of the deeds it appears that Ridding Field was near Fishwick Brook.
  • 14. A charter of 1279 shows that Adam Woderowe and his wife Amabel (daughter of Roger de Fishwick) pledged land in Fishwick field in return for 15s. lent them in their need by Roger son of Roger son of Alan de Fishwick; Add. MS. 32106, no. 398. Alexander Woderowe of Preston gave land of his mother's in Fishwick to Adam Lussell, clerk; Kuerden MSS. ii, fol. 227b. Simon de Fishwick was in 1284 nonsuited in a claim against Benedict Gernet concerning land in Fishwick; Assize R. 1268, m. 12 d. Adam son of Simon de Fishwick in 1314–15 gave lands in Fishwick and Brockholes to his son Simon, who had married Maud daughter of Thomas son of David de Kirkham; Towneley MS. DD, no. 714. The same Adam in 1311–12 gave land in Westfield, next the demesne, to Robert son of Auger; Kuerden MSS. ii, fol. 226b. In 1319–20 Adam son of Robert son of Auger de Fishwick gave land in the Westfield, lying between lands of the lord of Fishwick, to Richard son of Dobin and Cecily his wife; ibid. fol. 227b. This land seems afterwards (c. 1400) to have been the property of John Lussell of Preston; ibid. By a charter dated '5 Edw.' Roger son of Roger son of John de Fishwick granted a messuage and land in the vill of Fishwick to Richard son of Roger de Fishwick; Add. MS. 32106, no. 95 (fol. 257). William son of Richard de Fishwick was a witness. Maud widow of Roger son of Roger son of John de Fishwick in 1312–13 gave Richard son of Roger de Fishwick all the land she held in dower; Kuerden, loc. cit. Roger son of John de Fishwick was a witness. An Adam Fishwick was tenant of the hall about 1550. After his death a claim to it was put forward (1565) by Gregory Fishwick, the holders being another Adam Fishwick and Thurstan Southworth. The depositions are printed by Fishwick, op. cit. 299–306. Robert Fishwick claimed land in 1551; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec Com.), ii, 112.
  • 15. Settlements of land in Fishwick were made by Thomas Nixon and Joan his wife in 1406 and 1410; the remainder was to Sir James Harrington (apparently the owner), who granted turbary on Balderston Moss during the nonage of the heir of William Balderston; Add. MS. 32106, no. 967, 91 (fol. 256). Thomas Nixon made a further purchase in 1416; Final Conc. iii, 73. A later Sir James Harrington died in 1497 holding lands in Fishwick by services unknown; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iii, no. 40. They passed (by purchase or inheritance) to his son-in-law Sir Thomas Ashton of Ashton-under-Lyne, who died in 1514; ibid. iv, no. 80. His heir, Thomas Hoghton, held them in 1580 by services unknown, but in 1630 the lands in Fishwick were considered an appurtenance of the manor of Lea; ibid. xiv, no. 26; xxvii, no. 13. Sir Richard Hoghton was concerned in a plea regarding a messuage, &c., in Fishwick in 1544; Ducatus Lanc. ii, 77. He complained that Robert Ainsworth and others had broken his close; Pal. of Lanc. Writs Proton. 36 Hen. VIII. William Walton of Preston died in 1559 holding 6 acres in Fishwick of Sir Richard Molyneux in socage, by fealty and suit of court; ibid. xi, no. 27. Richard Walton in 1569 held 16 acres of the queen; ibid. xiii, no. 26. In later inquisitions the tenure is not stated. John Singleton in 1530 held lands in Fishwick of the heir of Lord Dacre; ibid, vi, no. 32. A like statement is made in other inquisitions of the family. Thomas Clayton in 1591 held land of Sir Richard Molyneux; ibid. xv, no. 3. The tenure of Richard Walmsley's lands here in 1609 was unknown; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 149.
  • 16. Add. MS. 32106, no. 90 (fol. 255). Eyves—perhaps Ees—was a place in the township; Ducatus Lanc. i, 238.
  • 17. Royalist Comp. Papers (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 280–1. For pedigree see Fishwick, op. cit. 332.
  • 18. Royalist Comp. Papers, ii, 285. The claim recorded was for an annuity of £10 from Over Hacking in Aughton (Aighton).
  • 19. Ibid. ii, 279–84. Ralph Eyves was buried at Preston 30 Aug. 1653, aged ninety-five; Reg.
  • 20. Royalist Comp. Papers, ii, 286.
  • 21. Dugdale, Visit. (Chet. Soc.), 105.
  • 22. Index of Royalists (Index Soc), 41–3. Richard Kellet had lands also in Ribbleton (Braggar's tenement) and in Preston (Knowle Hey), the latter by grant of Richard Savage of Winnington, Staffs. The estate was sequestered for the' popery and delinquency' of Kellet, who died before 1652, when his daughter Mary Knight petitioned for restoration, she being 'conformable to the Church of England '; Royalist Comp. Papers, iv, 39.
  • 23. Cal. Com. for Comp. v, 3193.
  • 24. Estcourt and Payne, Eng. Cath. Nonjurors, 94.
  • 25. Burke, Commoners, i, 651–3.
  • 26. Information of Mr. Trower. The other daughter of Nicholas Starkie married—Bacon.
  • 27. Pal. of Lanc. Chan. Misc. 1, 12 (1389 and 1395). The gift was probably void.
  • 28. Fishwick, op. cit. 101.