Townships: Little Eccleston-with-Larbreck

Pages 181-183

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.


In this section


Eglestun, Dom. Bk.; Eccliston, 1212.

Lairbrec, 1212; Leyrebrec, 1242; Leirbreck, 1329.

The component parts of the township are divided by Thistleton Brook flowing north-east to join the Wyre, which river is here the northern boundary of township and parish. Little Eccleston, with an acreage of 445½, lies to the east of the brook, thus adjoining Great Eccleston in St. Michael's; while Larbreck, or Larbrick, containing 835 acres, lies to the west. The total area is 1,280½ acres. (fn. 1) There was a population of 188 in 1901. The surface is comparatively level, rising a little on each side of the brook to over 80 ft. above sea level on the east and over 60 ft. on the west, thence falling again to the north and further west.

The principal road is one going west and southwest from Great Eccleston through Larbreck hamlet to Little Singleton; from it other roads lead south to Little Eccleston hamlet, joining there and going on to Elswick, while another, in the north-east corner of the township, goes north, crossing the Wyre by Cartford Bridge.

Dr. Leigh about 1700 wrote: 'The most remarkable cold spring in these parts is that at Larbreck. . . . Upon immersing your hand into it the part immediately grows extremely red and you will then perceive a most violent pain. Fishes of several sorts I have seen put into this spring, which make but one effort and instantly expire. It is an Acidula or Chalybeate Water.' (fn. 2)

The soil is clayey; wheat, oats, beans and potatoes are grown, and there is much pasture land.


In 1066 the two Ecclestons, assessed as two and four plough-lands, were held by Earl Tostig. (fn. 3) Afterwards five ploughlands there are found in the fee of the barons of Kendal (fn. 4); they were later still members of the lordship of Nether Wyresdale. (fn. 5) These five plough-lands, of which two were in Great Eccleston in the adjacent parish of St. Michael's, had been granted in marriage by William de Lancaster, and in 1212 were held by Richard de Molyneux of Sefton, William Blundell of Ince, Ralph de Eccleston, Walter son of Swain and Geoffrey. (fn. 6) The tenure was later described as knight's service. (fn. 7)

From the subsequent history it is clear that Molyneux and Blundell held LARBRECK equally, though the former was principal. (fn. 8) It was rated as a ploughland and a half, and the Blundell part, (fn. 9) having been granted to Norreys (of Sutton), (fn. 10) descended regularly till the 16th century, when the tenants were Molyneux (fn. 11) and Daniell of Daresbury. (fn. 12) The manor was purchased in 1565 by William Burrow or Burgh, (fn. 13) who died in 1601 holding the manor of the queen by suit at the court of Goberthwaite and a rent of 12d. yearly. (fn. 14) Richard Burgh, his son and heir, then aged thirty-nine, died at Larbreck in 1639 holding the manor as before and leaving his brother William as heir. (fn. 15) Richard had made a settlement in 1637, with remainders to Alice his wife, William his brother and Dorcas his sister for life, and then to his nephews Peter and John Woodhouse, sons of his sister Sarah still living in 1640, when William Burgh was found to be a lunatic. (fn. 16)

William Woodhouse, (fn. 17) another son of Sarah, succeeded, and on his death in 1661 was followed by his daughter Alice, who married Edward Shuttleworth. They had two daughters—Dorothy, who married Dr. Charles Leigh of Singleton Grange, (fn. 18) and Fleetwood, who married Richard Longworth of St. Michael's. Eventually the moiety of the former was acquired by Richard Harrison of Bankfield in Singleton in 1747; while the other moiety by various sales passed to the Pedders of Preston, (fn. 19) and was purchased from—Pedder of Lancaster in 1858 by Richard Whiteside, father of Mr. George Whiteside, the present owner. (fn. 20) No manor is now recognized.

But little is known of the minor tenants of Larbreck, though at one time there was a family so surnamed. (fn. 21) Some other owners appear in the inquisitions. (fn. 22) Cockersand Abbey had land there, adjoining Singleton Pool, (fn. 23) which was afterwards owned by the France family. (fn. 24)

The descent of LITTLE ECCLESTON is obscure. The local family soon disappears, (fn. 25) and in 1346 the plough-land and a half there were held by Henry de Bickerstath of the lord of Wyresdale. (fn. 26) At other times only 6 oxgangs of land are ascribed to them, (fn. 27) and in the 16th century their heirs were stated to hold of Boteler of Rawcliffe. (fn. 28) In the Boteler inquisitions the tenure of their land in Little Eccleston is not recorded; they appear to have been succeeded in the 18th century by the France family. (fn. 29) The 'manor' does not appear in the records, but a few minor owners are named. (fn. 30)

Richard Burgh of Larbreck paid £25—the highest fine in the parish—and John France of Little Eccleston £10, on refusing knighthood in 1631. (fn. 31) A few 'Papists' registered estates in the township in 1717. (fn. 32)


  • 1. The Census Rep. 1901 gives 1,158 acres, including 8 of inland water; there are also 29 acres of tidal water and 31 of foreshore.
  • 2. C. Leigh, Nat. Hist. of Lancs. bk. i, 54.
  • 3. V.C.H. Lancs. i, 288a.
  • 4. Ibid. 357, n. 13.
  • 5. e.g. Extent of 1324; Dods. MSS. exxxi, fol. 39b (Ingeham de Gynes).
  • 6. Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 2.
  • 7. Ibid. 154; Adam de Eccleston, William de Molyneux, Hugh de Mitton, Richard de Catterall and Henry de Longford held the same lands and Catterall by the sixth part of a knight's fee in 1242. The last three having Catterall, Adam and William must have had the Ecclestons and Larbreck, unless some names have been omitted.
  • 8. Both were equally recognized as tenants in 1212, but Molyneux alone in 1242 (if the record is perfect). In 1346 the lordship of Wyresdale included a plough-land and a half in Larbreck held by Richard de Molyneux by knight's service; Inq. p.m. 20 Edw. III (2nd nos.), no. 63 (William de Coucy). William son of Richard de Molyneux held the manor of Larbreck in 1358, having received it from his father on his marriage, paying 1d. rent and performing suit at the court of Wyresdale, held at Goberthwaite every three weeks; 7½d. was payable for castle ward; ibid. 33 Edw. III (2nd nos.), no. 99. The clear value was given as 7 marks then, and as 5 marks in 1362, when William son of the above-named William was heir but under age; ibid. 36 Edw. III, pt. i, no. 120. In other records (of 1364 and 1366) the tenement of William son of William son of Richard de Molyneux was called a moiety of the manor; it was held by knight's service of the manor of Wyresdale, and John de Ashton was in charge; Memo. R. (L.T.R.), 129, m. 5 d.; Memo. R. (K..R.), 143, m. 20. William's son Richard died in 1397 holding the manor of Larbreck in Amounderness among his other estates; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc.), i, 71. It is possible that the 'moiety of the manor' only means the Larbreck moiety of the whole township.
  • 9. This does not seem to have been usually regarded as a manor. It is not recognized in the Blundell inquisitions.
  • 10. In 1318 Alan son of Henry le Norreys demanded against John le Norreys (of Speke) a messuage, 6 oxgangs of land, &c., in Larbreck, which William Blundell had given to Alan son of Alan le Norreys and his issue, with reversion to Henry le Norreys. Patrick, son of the grantee, had died without issue. John le Norreys alleged that Patrick had granted him 2 oxgangs of land, and the jury gave a verdict for the plaintiff for the other 4; De Banco R. 222, m. 226. The 6 oxgangs show that the tenement was a moiety of Larbreck. Notice of a similar suit will be found in the account of Formby. The same plaintiff in 1329 claimed land in Larbreck against Richard son of William de Molyneux and John son of Alan le Norreys; ibid. 279, m. 330 d. Two years later he did not appear to prosecute his claim to twelve messuages, &c., held by John son of Alan; ibid. 287, m. 484. There may have been some surrender by the latter, for the Norrises of Speke do not again appear in connexion with Larbreck. William Danyers (Daniell) and Clemency his wife (in her right) complained of waste of her lands in Larbreck by William and John Blundell of Ince in 1357–8; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 6, m. 3 d. (Mich.), m. 5 (Lent). In 1435–6 it was recorded that William Daniell held the manor of Larbreck of William Blundell in socage by a rent of 6d.; Harl. MS. 2085, fol. 446b.
  • 11. The manor is named in a Molyneux feoffment in 1558; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 20, m. 80. The object was to provide a jointure for Bridget daughter of John Caryll, who was to marry William the son and heir-apparent of Sir Richard Molyneux; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xiii, no. 35.
  • 12. John son and heir-apparent of Thomas son of John Daniell of Daresbury received his grandfather's lands in Larbreck in 1550; Anct.D. (P.R.O.), A 13476. John his son assigned to his grandfather Thomas an annuity of £4 from the Larbreck lands in 1564; Harl. MS. 2077, fol. 193 d. In 1571 John Daniell sold his lands in Larbreck, the principal purchaser (seven messuages, &c.) being Thomas Eccleston; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 33, m. 58, &c.
  • 13. Ibid. 27, m. 33. The deforciant, Richard Chisnall, was one of the trustees appearing in the Molyneux fine of 1558 above referred to. The sale included the manor, five messuages, windmill, saltpit, fishery in the Wyre, &c. Chisnall had been plaintiff in a dispute as to right of way, &c, in 1563; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), ii, 260.
  • 14. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xviii, no. 37. For Goberthwaite see the account of Cabus. Soon after his purchase William Burgh had had a dispute with Henry Butler of Rawcliffe respecting a messuage and salt marsh by the Wyre; Ducatus Lanc. ii, 337.
  • 15. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xxx, no. 100.
  • 16. Ibid. 99. Alice the wife of Richard had formerly been married to Thomas Holt, and she was afterwards wife to John Greenhalgh, being a widow the third time in 1652; Royalist Comf. Papers (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), iii, 111–13.
  • 17. This paragraph is a summary of the account in Fishwick's Kirkham (Chet. Soc), 183–4, where further details may be seen, the 'title deeds' being the authority.
  • 18. In a fine in 1689 respecting a moiety of the manor of Larbreck and messuages, &c., there and in Thornton, Greenhalgh and Medlar, the deforciants were Charles Leigh and Dorothy his wife; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 224, m. 40; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 451, m. 6.
  • 19. Edward Pedder owned in 1836; Baines, Lancs. (ed. 1), iv, 404.
  • 20. Information of Mr. Whiteside.
  • 21. Richard de Molyneux granted to Adam son of Roger de Larbreck the messuage of Girard, with half an oxgang of land in the lord's hands, half of Thurnewaitacre; this lay beside the Wyre, and its two salt-pits were excluded from the grant. The witnesses included Robert, rector of Garstang, and William Blundell; Add. MS. 32106, no. 334. In 1366 William son of Richard de Larbreck complained that Adam son of Ralph de Bickerstath had taken his cattle at Cornholm in Larbreck, but defendant pleaded that Cornholm was partly in Little Eccleston, and it was here that the seizure had been made; De Banco R.425, m. 446 d., 441 d.
  • 22. Among the purchasers from John Daniell in 1571 were Nicholas Thompson and Robert Kirkham; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 33, m. 61, 64. Nicholas Thompson (who was son of Henry) died in 1609 holding his messuage and land in Larbreck of the king by the hundredth part of a knight's fee. John, his son and heir, was nineteen years of age; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 201. Robert Kirkham in 1573–5 sold some of his lands to George Duddell, his wife Anne and son Henry being concerned also; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 35, m. 149; 38, m. 132. Duddell (in right of Thomas Daniell) had in 1578 a dispute with the attorney-general as to lands in Larbreck for Rufford Chapel; Ducatus Lanc. iii, 62. He died in 1589 holding lands in Larbreck and other places, tenure unstated, and leaving a son William, aged twenty-four; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xv, no. 4.3. Henry Kirkham died in 1630 holding a messuage, &c., in Larbreck of Richard Burgh as of his manor of Larbreck by knight's service; Towneley MS. C 8, 13 (Chet. Lib.), 721. He left three infant daughters—Agnes, Margaret and Anne. Robert Higgenson, who died in 1618, also held his messuage, &c., of Richard Burgh as of his manor of Larbreck by knight's service. His heir was his daughter Janet wife of Richard Simpson; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc), ii, 169–70. Thomas Stanley of Great Eccleston (1641) purchased a water-mill at Larbreck; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xxix, no. 14.
  • 23. Cockersand Chartul. (Chet. Soc), i, 185. The gift was made by Richard de Molyneux and included one of his men, viz. Alan son of Roger de Larbreck.
  • 24. Ducatus Lanc. iii, 373; John France was tenant in 1597. For details of the pleading and pedigree see Fishwick, op. cit 194.
  • 25. Adam son of Patrick in 1246 obtained an oxgang of land in Little Eccleiton from Beatrice widow of Ralph de Eccleston; Assize R. 404, m. 14. In 1284 inquiry was made whether or not Robert de Eccleston had held 3½ oxgangs of land in Little Eccleston, the right of Simon son of William de Burton to 3 oxgangs being acknowledged by John son of Christiana de Lingard and brother of Petronilla, Mabel and Quenilda, John and his sisters being the heirs of Robert; Assize R. 1268, m. 12 d. Petronilla was wife of William son of Simon de Stodley and Quenilda of Roger at Creek. John son of John de Lingard claimed a moiety of the tenement in 1324 against Richard del Cross; De Banco R. 252, m. 99; 253, m. 352; 258, m. 100.
  • 26. Inq. p.m. 20 Edw. III (2nd nos.), no. 63. See the account of Bickerstaffe. From a pleading of 1292 it would appear that Little Eccleston had been granted out afresh to the Bickerstaths. Adam son of Ellis de Eccleston claimed three messuages and 31/8 oxgangs of land in Little Eccleston against Ralph son of Adam de Bickerstath, alleging that Ralph had no entry except through William de Lancaster, who had disseised plaintiff. Ralph pleaded that there were other tenants (including his brother Richard, 2/3 oxgang), but afterwards agreed with the plaintiff, giving him a sor sparrow-hawk for a quitclaim; Assize R.408, m. 15 d. Henry de Bickerstath was in occupation of a moiety of Little Eccleston (viz. 6 oxgangs of land, &c.) in 1331, when Adam de Bickerstaffe granted the reversion to his own son Ralph and Joan his wife 5 Final Conc. ii, 80. Adam son of Ralph de Bickerstath complained of waste at Little Eccleston in 1360; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 8, m. 7 d.
  • 27. Nicholas Atherton in 1424 held 6 oxgangs of land, &c., in Little Eccleston of John Duke of Bedford as of his manor of Wyresdale, in socage, by suit at the duke's court of Goberthwaite from three weeks to three weeks; Towneley MS. DD, no. 1477.
  • 28. Thomas Atherton in 1514 held his lands, &c., in Little Eccleston of John Boteler of Rawcliffe in socage by 2½d. rent; Duchy of Lanc. Inq, p.m. iv, no. 68. His daughter Margaret Scarisbrick held likewise; ibid. no. 92.
  • 29. Baines, Lancs. (ed. 1870), ii, 496; J. Porter, Fylde, 161. In a recovery of land, &c., at Little Eccleston, with a free fishery in the Wyre in 1779, John France was vouchee; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 629, m. 3 d.
  • 30. Robert Pacok (Peacock) of Eccleston and Agnes his wife held 2 oxgangs of land in Great and Little Eccleston in 1369, when a division was arranged by which 1 oxgang in Great Eccleston was assigned to the husband and the rest to his wife; Final Conc. ii, 175. The estate of the Kighley family extended into Little Eccleston; ibid, iii, 4. William Ambrose purchased two messuages in Little Eccleston and Larbreck from Henry Farington in 1562, but appears to have sold them to Thomas Eccleston four years later; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 24, m. 250; 28, m. 165. The tenure of Thomas Eccleston's land in the township (1592) was not recorded. William Thomason purchased a messuage, &c., from the Earl of Derby in 1564; ibid. 26, m. 156. He died in 1587 holding the same 'in Little Eccleston in the township of Larbreck.' His heir was his son William, aged eight; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xv, no. 50. At a later inquiry it was found that the tenement was held of Henry Butler in socage; ibid, xvii, no. 63. John Wilkinson the younger died in 1628 holding a messuage, &c., in Little Eccleston of William Butler as of his manor of Rawcliffe; the estate had been purchased from John Leckonby and Thomas Hall. He also held the Half-hey in the Wall of the king. His heir was his nephew John (son of William) Wilkinson, aged forty; Towneley MS. C 8, 13, pp. 1311–12.
  • 31. Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 221.
  • 32. Estcourt and Payne, Engl. Cath. Nonjurors, 134. They were Henry Kirkham the elder and Henry the younger, both of Larbreck; William Gillow, who was younger son of George Gillow of Gillow House in Little Eccleston; and Henry Barton.