Townships: Greenhalgh-with-Thistleton

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.

'Townships: Greenhalgh-with-Thistleton', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 7, (London, 1912) pp. 179-181. British History Online [accessed 19 April 2024]

In this section


Greneholf, Dom. Bk.; Grenhole, 1212; Grenele, 1242; Grenehol, 1244; Grenole, 1249; Grenolf, 1331.

Thistilton, 1212; Thistelton, 1242.

Estebrec, 1249.

Greenhalgh or Greenalgh, in which are Esprick and Cornoe, occupies the southern part of this composite township, Thistleton being the northern part. The two portions measure 1,187 and 710 acres respectively, or 1,897 in all (fn. 1); the population in 1901 was 408. The surface is flat, sloping gradually from south to north and from west to east, the extremes being 100 ft. above sea level at the south-west border and 25 ft. in the north-east corner. There is moss land in the south.

A road goes north-north-west through the whole length of the township, passing through Corner Row and Esprick. From it another road goes west to the hamlet of Greenhalgh, turning south to reach Weeton; while yet another in the north turns off to the east and north to reach Thistleton, from which it turns towards Elswick.

The soil is clay; potatoes are grown, but most of the land is permanent grass.

For this township there is a parish council.


In 1066 three plough-lands in GREENHALGH formed part of Earl Tostig's Preston lordship. (fn. 2) Afterwards there seems to have been a division; so that one of the plough-lands, Medlar, was granted out in thegnage, while the others, Greenhalgh proper and Thistleton, were given to the ancestors of the Boteler family, and held as members of the Weeton lordship, the superior manor descending in the same way. (fn. 3)

By Hervey, the grandfather of Theobald Walter, Thistleton and Greenhalgh were given with his daughter Alice to Orm son of Magnus, and thus descended to Roger de Hutton, lord of the adjacent Medlar. (fn. 4) Roger and his son granted the whole or greater part out in various ways. (fn. 5) Chiefly by purchase the Butlers of Rawcliffe appear to have acquired the greater part, (fn. 6) and were regarded as lords of the manor. (fn. 7) In 1488 John Butler held his lands of the Earl of Derby by knight's service, (fn. 8) but in 1 504 and later the mesne lordship was ignored, and the lands in Greenhalgh and Thistleton were said to be held of the king as of his duchy by knight's service. (fn. 9)

Greenhalgh gave a surname to some local families, (fn. 10) of which one retained possession of its lands till the 16th century. (fn. 11) The Bradkirk family held a fourth part of Greenhalgh. (fn. 12)

THISTLETON, apart from the tenement of the Butlers, was largely held by the Cowdrays (fn. 13) and Aughtons of North Meols (fn. 14) and their heirs, their manor of Thistleton consisting principally of the 2 oxgangs of land, a fourth part of the vill, granted to the canons of Cockersand by Ellis son of Roger de Hutton. (fn. 15) A number of the tenants of Thistleton, which name in former times seems to have been used of the township as a whole, appear in the pleadings and inquisitions (fn. 16); some of them, seated in neighbouring townships, held of the Crown, the Earl of Derby or the Butlers (fn. 17); others, such as Haw, (fn. 18) Hudson, (fn. 19) and Thompson, (fn. 20) resided in Thistleton itself. Several 'Papists' registered estates in 1717. (fn. 21)

CORNOE, (fn. 22) or Corner Row, gave a surname to its tenants. (fn. 23) It, like Esprick (fn. 24) and Whitacre or Whitter, (fn. 25) was usually regarded as part of Greenhalgh.

The Hospitallers (fn. 26) and Cockersand Abbey had lands. (fn. 27)

Peter and John Winstanley in 1653 petitioned for a rent-charge due to them from their father's estate in Cornoe, sequestered for the recusancy of their brother Francis. (fn. 28)

A Congregational chapel was in 1851 built at Corner Row, and provided with a small endowment. (fn. 29)

There is a school at Esprick said to have been founded by John Cooper about 1760. (fn. 30)


  • 1. 1,898 acres, including 8 of inland water; Census Rep. 1901.
  • 2. V.C.H. Lancs, i, 288a.
  • 3. The members of Theobald Walter's fee of Weeton were not named separately in 1212, but Thistleton and Greenhalgh occur in 1242; Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 37, 153. The assessment of Grcenhalgh as one piough-land was recorded in 1249; ibid. i, 172. Thistleton Is named among the Countess of Ormonde's lands in 1355 and among those of Sir John Stanley in 1431; Feud. Aids, iii, 90, 95. One oxgang of land was in 1286 in the lord's hands, and rendered 18s. yearly; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 265. This, no doubt, was the oxgang not held by knight's service; ibid. 173. The Derby rental of 1522 (at Lathom) records the payment of 18s. 9d.—the 9d. in lieu of services—for a tenement and oxgang of land containing 24 acres, in the occupation of Gilbert Wilkinson; 3s. 4d. for a cottage newly built, and 2 acres, lately of Henry Fleetwood deceased, and then of Robert Wilkinson; and 12d. for certain lands in Greenhalgh Field held by Rowland Cornay. These rents were from Greenhalgh in the Fylde; from Greenhalgh in the Holme came 10s. for a tenement lately Henry Fleetwood's. Another Greenhalgh gave a name to Greenhalgh Castle near Garstang.
  • 4. Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 37.
  • 5. Part was included in the gift of Medlar to his daughter by Roger, and thus came into the possession of the Hospitallers and of Cockersand Abbey— viz. the mill of Greenhalgh and the service of Adam de Cornoe; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 47; Cockersand Chartul. (Chet. Soc), i, 168–71. Ellis son of Roger de Hutton made grants in Greenhalgh and Thistleton to Cockersand, as will be seen below. To Adam de Cornoe he gave part of his demesne in Greenhalgh, and this was confirmed by his son Robert; Dods. MSS. liii, fol. 91. The same Ellis granted an oxgang of land to Jordan son of Richard the Clerk of Kirkham, and another to Walter son of Ailsi de Ros (the land of Adam de Cornoe, the mill, Whitaker, and the croft of Raun being excepted); ibid. fol. 85b, 87. In 1242 the immediate tenants were: In Thistleton—John de Thornhull; in Greenhalgh—Roger de Nutshagh, Adam de Bradkirk, William de Kirkham, Robert son of Thomas, and Richard son of William; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 152–3.
  • 6. Geoffrey de Pleasington, with the consent of Alice his wife (probably the heir), released to Richard le Boteier all right in Greenhalgh, Whitacre and Cornoe 5 Dods. MSS. liii, fol. 98. Richard le Boteler gave his son Edmund all his land in Greenhalgh, Whitacre, Esprick, and Cornoe Row; ibid. fol. 97b. The same Edmund le Boteler acquired for 27 marks an oxgang and a half of land from William son of Robert de Greenhalgh, who in 1274 at Little Hoole released all his land in Greenhalgh to Edmund; ibid. fol. 92, 86b (no. 44). Edmund also acquired first an acre of land and then the whole inheritance in Wh'tacre of William son of Adam de Whitacre; ibid. fol. 85, no. 25, 35. From Geoffrey de Pleasington he obtained a release of all the land held by Geoffrey of the Hospitallers; ibid. fol. 97. Nicholas le Boteler in 1291 released to an uncle Henry the land in Greenhalgh formerly held by the uncle Edmund just named; and a little later gave his sister Alice all his land in Greenhalgh, with the services of Adam de Bradkirk, William de Esprick, and others; ibid, fol. 98, 97. William de Elswick, son of Alexander the Clerk, grantsd to Henry le Boteler, son of Sir Richard, the homage and service of his brothers Alan and Thomas, apparently in Thistleton; ibid. fol. 85. Alice sister of Nicholas le Boteier was no doubt the wife of Adam de Walton, to whom in 1302 Henry le Boteler gave all his land in Greenhalgh 5 ibid. fol. 87b. Mabel, widow of Nicholas le Boteler in 1300 claimed dower in six messuages, 6 oxgangs of land, &c, in Greenhalgh, against Adam de Walton and Alice. The free tenants named were Adam de Bradkirk, William, Adam and John de Esprick; De Banco R. 135, m. 227. Ranulf de Singleton and Mabel his wife in 1304 claimed her dower in certain land in Greenhalgh held by Adam de Walton and Alice his wife, and William son and heir of Nicholas le Boteler, a minor, was called to warrant } De Banco R. 153, m. 157, 164.
  • 7. See a later note; also the account of Out Rawcliffe.
  • 8. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iii, no. 45; the lands were said to be in Thistleton.
  • 9. Ibid, iii, no. 109; viii, no. 8; xxvi, no. 36; Greenhalgh alone, or Greenhalgh with Thistleton. William Butler of Hackinsall in 1586 held land in Thistleton of the queen as of her duchy in socage; ibid, xiv, no. 47.
  • 10. Walter de Greenhalgh was tenant of Ellis de Hutton about 1220; Cockersand Chartul. i, 166. Robert son of William de Greenhalgh (c. 1260) was a benefactor of Cockersand Abbey, having given land at Sandy ford; ibid. 165. He may have been Robert the Clerk of Kirkham (son of William) to whom Richard le Boteler granted 2 oxgangs of land in Thistleton; Dods. MSS. liii, fol. 85, no. 24. A William son of Robert [ ? de Greenhalgh] had in 1219 obtained a rent of 8s. due from William son of Warine in Thistleton; Final Conc, i, 42. Other clerks of Kirkham had lands in the township and were possibly ancestors of the Greenhalgh families. Thus Robert son of Rainkell de Treales about 1230 gave a part of his land within Greenhalgh to Ralph son of Richard the Clerk, co-rector of Kirkham; Dods. MSS. liii, fol. 85, no. 27. Somewhat later, Master William de Kirkham, clerk, son of Richard the Clerk of Kirkham, gave all his land in the vill of Greenhalgh to his brother Ralph, with remainder to their sister Amabil wife of John de Hackinsall; ibid. fol. 92b. In 1263 Sir Richard le Boteler agreed with Geoffrey de Pleasington and Alice his wife that they should have the ward and marriage of Thomas son and heir of Ralph de Kirkham; there were 2 oxgangs of land in Greenhalgh; ibid. fol. 86b, no. 43. To Thomas son of Ralph de Greenhalgh —no doubt the same person—John son of Adam de Bradkirk in 1281 granted a small piece of land to enable Thomas to enlarge his dwelling; ibid. no. 45. William son of Robert de Greenhalgh has been named above (1274). Geoffrey son of Maud formerly the wife of Roger de Nutshaw released to his brother Henry the fourth part of an oxgang of land in Thistleton, and Henry de Nutshaw in 1316–17 gave lands there to Robert son of William de Greenhalgh at a rent of 2d.; Kuerden MSS. iv, T 5.
  • 11. William son of Thomas Greenhalgh was in 1442 re-enfeoffed of lands in Greenhalgh, Esprick, Cornoe, Wesham, Whitacre and the Holmes; Dods. MSS. liii, fol. 86, no. 38. Thomas Clifton in 1547 claimed a messuage in the township against Richard Greenhalgh and James Thornton; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), i, 223. James Greenhalgh died in 1559 holding various messuages, &c, in Greenhalgh, Cornoe Row, Esprick and Whitter (Whitacre) of the queen as of the late priory of St. John of Jerusalem by a rent of 2s. His heir was his grandson George (son of Richard) Greenhalgh, about twenty years old; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xii, no. 23. Not long afterwards, in 1566, George Greenhalgh sold the manor of Greenhalgh alias Greenoo, with water-mill, windmill, Sec, in Cornoe Row, Whitter and Esprick, to Henry Butler; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 28, m. 203. Soon afterwards Henry Butler also purchased two messuages, Sec, in Greenhalgh and Esprick from the Earl of Derby; ibid. m. 49. James Greenhalgh, son of George, in 1577 released any right in Greenhalgh to the same Henry Butler; Dods. MSS. liii, fol. 97b. The manor of Greenhalgh is named among the Butler estates in 1571; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 33, m. 79. In 1595 Henry Butler complained that John Eccleston of Greenhalgh had obtained certain evidences showing that the parcel of land he held was held of plaintiff, the lord of the manor, and intended to claim a title to the manor; Duchy of Lanc. Plead. 37 Eliz. clxviii, B 6. James Greenhalgh of Greenhalgh was presented as a recusant in 1605; Visit. P. in Chester Dioc. Reg. After the confiscation of the Butler estates in 1716 the manor of Greenhalgh appears to have been acquired again by a member of the local family, for in 1774 and again in 1816 the holder was a James Greenhalgh; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 620, m. 1 (2); Lent Assizes 56 Geo. III.
  • 12. The Bradkirk holding has occurred in preceding notes. Adam de Bradkirk and Ismania his wife in 1349 held two messuages, 2 oxgangs of land, Sec, in Greenhalgh of Sir Nicholas le Boteler by knight's service and a rent of 15d.; Inq. p.m. 28 Edw. Ill (2nd nos.), no. 1b. A Richard Parker was defendant in a claim to Fowflat in Greenhalgh in 1596; Ducatus Lanc, iii, 468. The Greenhalgh part of the township seldom occurs in the records. William de Greenhills of Preston and Margaret his wife had an interest (for her life) in a messuage, &c, there under John Boteler of Kirkland; Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), iii, 43–4. William Skillicorne and Joan his wife had some land there in 1567; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 29, m. 64. Cuthbert Clifton of Clifton in 1512 held land of John Butler of Rawcliffe, and a similar statement is found in later inquisitions; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iv, no. 12, Sec. Edward Worthington died at Weeton in 1639 holding a messuage, land and common rights in Greenhalgh of Henry Butler. Lawrence his son and heir was fifty years old; ibid, xxx, no. 35.
  • 13. In 1317 Alice widow of William de Travers claimed dower in Thistleton and Elswick against Robert son of William de Cowdray and Margaret his wife; De Banco R. 219, m. 131 d. Margery widow of Robert de Cowdray in 1349 Bave au her land in Thistleton to Adam de Meols; Kuerden MSS. iv, T 5.
  • 14. Hugh Aughton of North Meols was in 1417 seised of a moiety of the manor of Thistleton, held of the king as of his duchy by knight's service and 4d. rent; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc.), i, 129.
  • 15. Cockersand Chartul. i, 173; Ellis made an exception of Esprick and his mill, but added 12 acres on the nearer side of Greenhalgh Syke, marked out by crosses, and exemption from multure at Greenhalgh mill. Thomas de Chevilli and Amiria his wife released their title to lands in Thistleton, and the canons received further grants or releases from Robert son of Robert the Clerk of Ulverston, Richard de Freckleton, clerk, and Geoffrey son of Sir John de Hackimall; ibid. 174–6. Numerous place-names occur in the charters—e.g. Fietdingfordwray, Mundegumeland, Otemaste, Ruthesyke, two tongues (or gores) on Borayns on the lower side of the road to Singleton. Hereward, Abbot of Cockersand, gave the 2 oxgangs to William the Clerk of Kirkham about 1230 at a rent of 2s.; Kuerden MSS. loc. cit.; Dods. MSS. Hugh Aughton, son of the above-named Hugh, held messuages, Sec, in Thistleton in 1464 of the Abbot of Cockersand by a rent of 2d. (2s.); Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 80. No 'manor' is named then or later. A similar tenure was recorded in later inquisitions, e.g. in that of Hugh Aughton, 1520; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. v, no. 28. After the inheritance was divided, John Bold (1587) was said to hold lands, Sec, in Thistleton of the queen as of the late abbey of Cockersand by 2s. rent (ibid, xviii, no. 43); but in 1603 Barnaby Kitchen held similarly by 12d. rent—i.e. he had a moiety; Lancs. Inq. p.m. i, 23, 27. The 'manor' of Thistleton was named among the estates of Hugh Hesketh of North Meols and Alice his wife in 1611; Pal. of Lanc Feet of F. bdle. 79, no. 71.
  • 16. The estate of John de Thornhill in 1242 may have been derived from the Jordan de Thornhill who married Quenilda daughter and co-heir of Richard son of Roger of Woodplumpton; she afterwards married Roger Gernet, but had no children. John Gernet died in 1249 holding nothing in chief of Theobald le Boteler, but holding 2 oxgangs in Thistleton of John de Thornhill, which land he had by purchase. His brother Benedict was his heir; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 177. When, shortly afterwards, the escheators were directed to give seisin to Benedict, the land was said to be held of Richard son and heir of John de Thornhill; Close R. 64, m. 14. In 1292 inquiry was made as to the tenement of Master William de Kirkham in Thistleton; he was dead and the claimant was his nephew Walter de Goosnargh. He had held a messuage, 4 oxgangs of land and 33 acres. In 1292 Thomas Travers and Cecily his wife held the messuage and 2 oxgangs; William son of Robert held 1⅓ oxgangs and Alice de Newton held 2/3 oxgang, in dower of William's inheritance; three others held 13 acres of land, the remaining 20 belonging to the Abbot of Cockersand. Travers called Roger son of Alexander de Pilkington to warrant him, while William called Nicholas son and heir of William son of Nicholas le Boteler, a minor; Assize R. 408, m. 37, 8. The suit against William son of Robert de Thistleton and Alice (now called Dulcia) was continued in 1301, when William son of Nicholas le Boteler, a minor, was called to warrant; Assize R. 1321, m. 10 d. Some of this may have been acquired by the Newton family, who had half an oxgang of land in 1332; Final Conc. ii, 88. John Newton of Preston in 1596 sold a messuage, &c., in Thistleton to James Anderton of Euxton, and he transferred it to Edmund Raw; Kuerden MSS. ii, fol. 139, 139b; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 59, m. 66.
  • 17. Henry Holme of Uprawcliffe had land in Thistleton about 1468; Final Cenc. iii, 133. George Kirkby of Uprawcliffe was in 1561 found to have held his lands in Thistleton of the Earl of Derby by ½d. rent; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xi, no. 8. Richard Parker of Salesbury in 1638 held his land of James Lord Strange; Towneley MS. C 8, 13 (Chet. Lib.), p. 967. James Anderton of Euxton in 1552 held of the Earl of Derby by 1½d. rent, as did his son Hugh in 1566; Duchy of Lanc Inq. p.m. ix, no. 14; xi, no. 31. The tenure in some cases—Hesketh, Weithy, Allen, Duddell, and Shireburne— is not recorded; Gilbert Latus in 1568 held of the lord of Thistleton in socage; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xii, no. 11; and see Ducatus Lanc. iii, 469. Sir Thomas Hesketh and Alice his wife sold lands in Thistleton to John Bold in 1558; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 20, m. 109. To Alexander Banyon were granted a messuage, windmill, &c., in 1608; Pat. 6 Jas. I, pt. xxii.
  • 18. Richard Haw died in 1592 holding a messuage, &c., of the queen as of her duchy by the two-hundredth part of a knight's fee, and leaving a son William, aged fifteen, as heir; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xvi, no. 21. William died in 1603, his heir being his brother John, aged seventeen; and John died in 1607, the heir being a sister Janet, wife of Christopher Parkinson, twenty-eight years of age; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 15, 100.
  • 19. Christopher Hudson died in 1605 holding a messuage, &c., of Henry Butler as of his manor of Greenhalgh by 1½d. rent. His heir was his son William, aged twenty-eight; ibid. 106. On William's death in 1626 he was succeeded by his son Christopher, aged twenty-six; Towneley MS. C 8, 13 (Chet. Lib.), p. 506.
  • 20. Henry Thompson made a purchase from Hugh Hesketh and Alice his wife in 1586; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 48, m. 224. Henry Thompson the elder died in 1620, holding land of the Earl of Derby by 3d. rent. His son and heir John was thirty-two years old; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc), ii, 272. John Thompson died five years later, leaving a son William, two years old; Towneley MS. C 8, 13, p. 1180.
  • 21. Estcourt and Payne, Engl. Cath. Nottjurort, 135; Gabriel Wilkinson, James and Robert Carter.
  • 22. In 1189 Roger son of Augustine de Heaton held the land of Cornoe by grant of William de Lancaster; Farrer, op. cit. 437. In 1346 it was found that William de Coucy held 2 oxgangs of land in Greenhalgh, William Banastre being the occupant; Inq. p.m. 20 Edw. III (2nd nos.), no. 63.
  • 23. Robert and Rowland Cornoe were charterers in 1593; Ducatus Lanc. iii, 282, 298, 322. Robert Cornoe in 1604 held land in Cornoe and Greenhalgh of Henry Butler as of his manor of Greenhalgh by 11d. rent. Rowland, his son and heir, was fifty years old; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc.), i, 107. Rowland died in 1609, leaving a son Henry, aged twenty-nine; ibid. 124. The spelling seems to have become Cornall at times.
  • 24. William Clifton of Kidsnape in 1517 held lands in Esprick of the Earl of Derby by 1½d. rent; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. v, no. 21. Cuthbert Clifton of Clifton in 1512 held of John Butler of Rawcliffe; ibid, iv, no. 12. John White of Eccleston in 1557 held a messuage in Esprick of William Kirkby in socage by a rent of 3d.; ibid, xi, no. 55. William Travers of Nateby in 1558 also held of William Kirkby by a red rose; ibid, xi, no. 68. Esprick was described as a manor in 1586; Ducatus Lanc. iii, 169.
  • 25. Ellis son of Roger de Hutton gave his demesne land in Whitacre to Cockersand Abbey, with easements in the vill of Greenhalgh. The bounds were: on the west, the syke going down north from the moss between Watfoth and Whitacre, across to a great stone, eastward to the highway and southward to the moss; Cockersand Chartul. i, 166.
  • 26. Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 375.
  • 27. The rentals, with tenants' names, 1451 to 1537, are printed in Cockersand Chartul. iii, 1262–5, 1266–9.
  • 28. Cal. Com. for Comp. iv, 2973. The father, also Francis, had made his will in 1638.
  • 29. Nightingale, Lancs. Nonconf. i, 103. The ministers of Kirkham and Elswick maintain the services.
  • 30. End. Char. Rep. for Kirkham, 21.