Townships: Ribby-with-Wrea

Pages 157-158

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

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In this section


Rigbi, Dom. Bk; Riggebi, 1226; Rygeby, 1246; Ruggeby, 1249.

Wra, 1226; Wraa, 1329.

This township has an area of 1,387 acres. (fn. 1) Wrea or Wrea Green is situated near the centre of the northern border, with Ribby to the east of it. The surface is higher and more undulating than in most of the neighbouring townships, rising to over 100 ft. above the ordnance datum in the centre and again in the north-east. There is moss land at the west end. The population numbered 475 in 1901.

The chief road is that going west from Kirkham to Lytham; it passes through both hamlets. From Wray Green cross roads go south to Warton and north to Westby and Blackpool.

The soil is clayey, and wheat, beans and oats are grown, but three-fourths of the land is pasture.

One of the Ribble guides used to be stationed at Wrea.

There is a parish council. An infectious diseases hospital was opened in 1902.


Among the members of Earl Tostig's Preston fee in 1066 was RIBBY, assessed as six plough-lands, (fn. 2) so that it included the later townships or hamlets of Ribby, Wrea, Bryning and Kellamergh. It was afterwards held in demesne by Count Roger of Poitou, who in 1094 granted tithes from it to St. Martin of Sées. (fn. 3) Ribby proper continued to be parcel of the demesne of the honour of Lancaster, and is named in the Pipe Roll of 1168–9, (fn. 4) and in later accounts as contributing to various aids. (fn. 5) WREA, however, which was separately assessed as one plough-land, was granted in drengage, (fn. 6) and was in 1212 held by Richard and Gerard by a rent of 6s. (fn. 7) They were probably ancestors of the families afterwards using the local name, of whom, however, few particulars can be given. (fn. 8) Ribby, in its old form of Rigby, has also given a surname to families (fn. 9) who came into notice in a number of places in Lancashire. (fn. 10)

In the time of Henry VIII and later there were disputes as to the right of pasture, (fn. 11) and as to the bounds of the manors. (fn. 12)

Ribby and Wrea were usually farmed with Singleton. (fn. 13) An extent of Ribby which was made in 1346 (fn. 14) shows that the Abbot of Vale Royal had a grange there, paying 3s. 4d. a year for it. Held in bondage were 20 oxgangs of land, each of 14 acres and paying 16s. 8d. (fn. 15) The tenants were bound to carry victuals whenever the lord journeyed from Ribble Bridge to Lancaster Castle and vice versa. In addition there were 4 oxgangs of 13 acres each and rendering 13s. 4d., held on like conditions. There were several cottages let at 12d. rent and a pinfold. The survey of Wrea (fn. 16) shows seventeen tenants—Adam del Wrea, Adam del Sharples, and others—holding land in all amounting to 3½ oxgangs and 57½ acres, doing suit to the halmote and paying double rent as relief. (fn. 17) The rental of Ribby amounted to £19 17s. 5d., and that of Wrea to £1 17s. 11d. A rental of 1509 also has been preserved. (fn. 18)

In 1623 the manors of Ribby, Wrea and Singleton were granted in fee farm to Edward Badby and William Weltden. (fn. 19) Soon afterwards Ribby-withWrea is found to be in the possession of Alexander Rigby, no doubt the owner of Middleton in Goosnargh. (fn. 20)

The principal messuage in Ribby seems to have been that called Counton or COMPTON (fn. 21); it was acquired by the Parkers of Preston and Bradkirk (fn. 22) and on the sale of their estates about 1720 passed to a descendant of the above-named Alexander Rigby (fn. 23) and then to Richard Hornby, (fn. 24) who sold it to his nephew Joseph Hornby (fn. 25); from him it has descended to his granddaughter Miss Margaret Hornby. (fn. 26)

The inquisitions show that the Cliftons (fn. 27) and some other local families had lands in Wrea. (fn. 28)

The people of the district in 1650 desired that a chapel should be built there (fn. 29); but the first in connexion with the Church of England was that of St. Nicholas, built about 1721 (fn. 30) and rebuilt in 1848–9. An ecclesiastical parish was formed for it in 1846. (fn. 31) The incumbents, styled vicars, are presented by the vicar of Kirkham. (fn. 32)

A school was founded in 1693. (fn. 33)


  • 1. 1,390 acres, including 7 of inland water; Census Rep. 1901.
  • 2. V.C.H. Lancs. i, 288a. From the later records it would appear that there were three plough-lands in Ribby, one in Wrea, two in Bryning and one in Kellamergh, or seven in all.
  • 3. Farrer, Lancs. Pipe R. 290. This will account for the 26s. 8d. paid to the Prior of Lancaster, as recorded in the account of Kirkham Church.
  • 4. Ibid. 12. It contributed in conjunction with Preston, &c.
  • 5. The king's demesne of Ribby (three plough-lands) was in 1235 granted to Master John le Blund, king's clerk, for life; Cal. Pat. 1232–47, p. 93. In 1226 Ribby paid half a mark tallage and 9s. to the farm of the wapentake; Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 135, 139. In the compotus of the demesne in 1246–8 Ribby appears with £8 8s. 11½d.; ibid. 170. In 1248–9 in a tallage Ribby paid 1 mark; ibid. 176. The 'manor' of Ribby is recorded in 1256–8; ibid. 221. For other notices see ibid. 230, 287. The accounts of the halmotes of Ribby and Wrea in 1325 are printed in Lancs. Ct. R. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), 94–5.
  • 6. For a time Wrea was held by the lord of Clifton (q.v.) in exchange for Salwick, but was exchanged back in 1200.
  • 7. Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 51. Adam de Wrea and Gerard his brother in 1200–1 gave the king 2 marks for confirmation of their tenements; Rot. de Oblatis (Rec. Com.), 124. Wrea paid 6s. in 1226 and 5s. tallage; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 139, 135. In 1246–8 one plough-land and three drengages in Wrea contributed 19s. 6d. to the demesne rents, and the drengs of Wrea in 1248–9 paid tallage 20s.; ibid. 170, 176. In 1256–8 the three drengages paid 39s. in all, and a new rent of 21¼d. was accounted for; ibid. 221–2. Ribby and Wrea each contributed 2 marks tallage in 1261; ibid. 228. In 1297 the vill of Ribby and the free tenants of Wrea paid in all £19 11s. yearly to the Earl of Lancaster; ibid. 289.
  • 8. The above-named Gerard de Wrea, also Richard de Wrea and William his son were benefactors of Cockersand Abbey; Chartul. (Chet. Soc.), i, 228–9. In 1324 John son of Jordan del Wrea claimed a messuage, ½ oxgang of land, &c., in Wrea against Adam son of John Sharples; De Banco R. 253, m. 98. Adam and John sons of John son of Jordan del Wrea were in 1329 defendants to a claim for a messuage and 2 oxgangs of land put forward by the representatives of three sisters, of whom Agnes wife of Robert del Boot had a son Richard; Margery was wife of John son of William son of Simon de Medlar, and Margaret was the other; Assize R. 427, m. 3; De Banco R. 278, m. 117 d. For the Boot family see also De Banco R. 309, m. 13; 316, m. 459; 328, m. 324. William del Bank unsuccessfully claimed two messuages, &c., in Wrea and Newton against Adam del Bank and others in 1351; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 1, m. viii d. In the following year Thomas Tauntaler of the Grenes did not prosecute his suit against John son of Richard de Newton, who seems also to have been called John del Wrea; ibid. R, 2, m. j; Assize R. 435, m. 4. It was recorded in 1618 that John Nickson of Kellamergh held a cottage and land in Wrea of the heirs or assigns of William de Wrea by 1½d. rent; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), ii, 88.
  • 9. In 1311 there was a dispute between William son of Anabil de Preesall and Thomas son of Robert de Rigby regarding waste in Ribby; De Banco R. 184, m. 3.
  • 10. As in Little Hulton, Duxbury, Wrightington and Goosnargh.
  • 11. In 1517 inquiry was made, when it was found that the free tenants of Wrea had always had right of pasture on Ribby Moor; Towneley MS. OO (Singleton rental).
  • 12. Duchy of Lanc. Dep. 1 Mary, Ixvi, R 5. John Benson and James Davy, queen's farmers of part of Ribby, Cuthbert Clifton of Westby and the lords of the manor of Kirkham were the parties to the dispute. It was alleged that, large parts of the wastes of Westby and Kirkham having been wrongfully inclosed within the preceding twenty years, the tenants of those manors, being short of common, had pastured on all the waste or moor of Ribby. The bounds of this last began at the east end of a close adjoining Richard Crook's house, followed an old ditch called Raa Ditch to the east end of Tarnbreck, thence west to Tarnbreck Cross, then along a running water to the east end of a close by Henry Hall's house, and thence along a running water westward.
  • 13. William Skillicorne, farmer of the king's lordships of Ribby, Wrea and Much Singleton, not having paid the rent due, was in 1483 ordered to be removed; Duchy of Lanc. Misc. Bks. xix, 123. He seems to have been excused for the time, but was again dismissed in 1485, being indebted to the king in great sums of money; ibid, xx, 70 d. Sir Richard Hoghton was steward of the three lordships about 1550; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), i, 304.
  • 14. Add. MS. 32103, fol. 149.
  • 15. The names of the tenants are given. Adam Adamson de Singleton held ½ oxgang for which he paid 6s. 8d., and in lieu of ploughing, reaping, &c., he paid 1s. 8d.— 8s. 4d. in all. He was also to give merchet for his son or daughter and leyrwit for his son. At death all his goods escheated to the lord, who was to discharge debts, mortuaries, &c., and after reserving the best beast was to give two-thirds to the widow and children. There were thirty-six other tenants in Ribby.
  • 16. Ibid. The first entry shows that a tenement comprising a messuage, 18 acres of land and 4 acres of pasture had lately come into the lord's hands by default of heir to one David of Scotland, and that it had been divided into two moieties, held by William son of Nicholas and Robert son of Jordan, who paid the old rent of 3s. 1½d. and 1 mark each in addition.
  • 17. An extent made some time earlier is printed in Baines' Lancs, (ed. 1870), ii, 692–3. It shows the land divided into 6 oxgangs and 30½ acres, with a total rental of 37s. 1d., including 2 marks from Adam de Paris for 2 oxgangs of land formerly John le Harper's.
  • 18. Towneley MSS. OO. This shows that of the king's tenants in Ribby James Bradley paid £1 16s., Henry Newsham 18s., James Bradkirk £1 3s. 4d., a close called Racarr 10s., James Cowper 22s., Richard Cronkshaw 13s. 4d., nine other tenants 18s. each. In Wrea were free rents of the Abbot of Vale Royal for a barn 3s. 4d., the Earl of Derby 1s. and 2d. in addition for Beetham lands, the heirs of John Pearson 1s. 2d., John Culban 9d., William Sharples 8d., and others; the total being 11s. 6½d.
  • 19. Duchy of Lanc. Misc. Bks. xxiv, 1 d.; Pat. 20 Jas. I, pt. iii.
  • 20. In 1670 Alexander Rigby was paying a rent of £14 1s. 11½d. for the manor of Ribby and Wrea; Pat. 22 Chas. II, pt. ii, R 1.
  • 21. Agnes Adlington, widow, in 1537 complained that William Singleton and others had interrupted her right of way at Counton in Ribby, Warton Lees and Brown Moss; Ducatus Lanc. i, 154. About twenty years later the tenants of Ribby had a dispute with Robert Shaw and others respecting title to lands in the manor; ibid, i, 303. In 1559 Robert Shaw, Alexander Shaw and Mary his wife, administrators of Nicholas Beconsaw, were plaintiffs in respect of a messuage called Counton; ibid, ii, 218. From another pleading it appears that Nicholas had been a lunatic; ibid, i, 292. From the pedigree of Parker of Bradkirk it appears that William Parker married Margaret daughter of Robert Shaw of Compton in Ribby in 1561; Fishwick, op. cit. 180. William Parker in 1596 purchased messuages and lands in Ribby and Wrea from Hugh Jollybrand, Isabel his wife, Edward Dicconson, Margery his wife, Peter Wrooe, Cecily his wife and Margaret Rigby; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 59, m. 274. In 1598 William Parker and Margery his wife sold a messuage and land in Wrea to Richard Pateson; ibid. bdle. 60, m. 111.
  • 22. In 1688 John Parker of Preston gave to Christopher Parker of Bradkirk the capital messuage of Compton in Ribby, and by Christopher's will (1693) Compton was to be sold; Piccope MSS. (Chet. Lib.), iii, 112 (from the deeds of Hugh Hornby of Ribby). In 1709 and 1719 releases of various interests in Compton were made to Alexander Parker, executor, and in 1720 the sale seems to have been effected; ibid. 116, 118.
  • 23. Townley Rigby (the purchaser of Bradkirk) and Grace his wife were in 1742 in possession of the manor of Ribby alias Ribby-cum-Wrea, with messuages, lands, &c., in Ribby; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 326, m. 100. Robert and John Porter were the plaintiffs in this fine.
  • 24. The will of Lieut.-Col. Alexander Rigby shows that he had lands in Ribby in 1792 (Piccope, loc. cit.); but a fine of 1753 shows that the manor of Ribby was then in the possession of Robert Hornby, Jane his wife; Hugh Hornby, Margaret his wife; Richard Hornby and Alice his wife; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 348, m. 240. The plaintiff in this case was James Whalley. From the Hornby of Ribby pedigree, in Burke's Landed Gentry, it appears that Robert was the father of Hughand Richard.
  • 25. Baines, Lancs. (ed. 1836), iv, 398. Joseph Hornby was son of Hugh.
  • 26. Burke, as above: Joseph Hornby, d. 1832; -s. Hugh, d. 1849; -s. Hugh Hilton, d. 1877—sisters, Margaret Anne and Mary Alice.
  • 27. The tenement in Wrea of Cuthbert Clifton of Clifton was in 1512 held of the king as of his duchy in socage; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iv, no. 12. That in Ribby of William Clifton of Kidsnape in 1517 was held similarly by a rent of 20d.; ibid, iv, no. 11.
  • 28. Robert de Newsham had land in Ribby and Wrea in 1380; Final Conc. iii, 7. John Newsham of Newsham died in 1515 holding messuages, &c., in Wrea of the king as duke in drengage, doing suit at the halmote, and rendering 7d. a year; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iv, no. 75. George Newsham in 1585 held a messuage, &c., in socage by a rent of 4½d.; ibid, xiv, no. 88. His son Robert sold to John Bradley in 1591; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 53, m. 166. James Bradley's lands in Wrea in 1617 were held of the king partly of his honour of Pontefract and partly of his manor of East Greenwich; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), ii, 80. George Hesketh's lands in Wrea in 1571 were held of the queen as of her duchy by the rent of 5d.; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xiii, no. 15. James Sharples died in 1593 holding a capital messuage, cottages, &c., in Wrea of the queen by a rent of 8d. Henry his son and heir was twelve years old; ibid, xvi, no. 13. Nickson was a common surname. John son of William Nickson in 1411 gave lands in the hamlet of Wrea in the vill of Ribby which he had inherited from his mother Amery to John Fleetwood; Kuerden MSS. iii, R 12.
  • 29. Commonw. Ch. Surv. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), 156.
  • 30. Bishop Gastrell in 1724 notes that it had been built at the expense of the inhabitants and that it was intended that the schoolmaster should officiate till some endowment could be obtained; Notitia Cestr. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 426. The chapel was then part of the school building. It was consecrated in 1755; Chester Dioc. Reg.
  • 31. By order in Council 21 Jan. 1846.
  • 32. Fishwick, Kirkham, 63–5; a list of the incumbents ii given.
  • 33. Notitia Cestr. loc. cit.; End. Char. Rep.