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)
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)
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)