Townships: Hambleton

Pages 188-190

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

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Hameltune, Dom. Bk.; Hamelton, 1176; Hambleton (xvi cent.).

This northernmost portion of the parish is cut off from the main body by the River Wyre, the boundary on the south-west side. It has an area of 1,553 ½ acres, (fn. 1) and in 1901 the population numbered 321. The village is situated near the centre, on the slope of a piece of rising ground. The surface in general is undulating, varying from about 15 ft. to 50 ft. above sea level.

Entry is made from the south by the Shard Bridge over the Wyre, opened in 1864. (fn. 2) The scenery by the river is very beautiful. From this point the road goes north to the village, and divides into several branches going in all directions; one to the northwest leads to a ferry over the Wyre.

Dr. Charles Leigh of Singleton, writing about 1700, states that the River Wyre 'affords us a pearl fishing, which are frequently found in large mussels, called by the inhabitants Hambleton Hookins, from their manner of taking them, which is done by plucking them from their skeers or beds with hooks. (fn. 3)

The soil is various, with subsoil of clay; wheat, oats and beans are grown, but almost the whole of the land is pasture.

The township is governed by a parish council.


In 1066 HAMBLETON was assessed as two plough-lands, and was held by Earl Tostig. (fn. 4) Later it was called three plough-lands, and was included in the demesne of the honour of Lancaster. (fn. 5) In 1176–7 it contributed 30s. to an aid. (fn. 6) The farm of the vill had been increased by 24s. a year in 1200, (fn. 7) but this addition seems to have been temporary, for in 1212 the 'men of Hambleton' held the three plough-lands there by a service of 24s. yearly. (fn. 8) It appears that a William de Pilkington had once held the land, but in 1213 the king gave it to his serjeant, William de Colmore, for his maintenance. (fn. 9) In 1229 Henry III granted the same in fee to Geoffrey the Arbalaster, who was to pay 16s. to the king and 24s. to the old tenant, after whose death the whole 40s. would be due to the king; the land was to be quit of tallage thenceforward. (fn. 10) The manor of Hackinsall became the chief residence of the lords of Hambleton, so that they took their surname from it, (fn. 11) and in course of time their lordship in Hambleton was ignored. (fn. 12)

The above-named Geoffrey in 1244–5 granted all Hambleton to his nephew Robert de Shireburne, the rent of 40s. being payable to the king. (fn. 13) Then in 1255–6 Robert de Shireburne gave 2 oxgangs of land in Hambleton to his son John, with remainder to William, Robert's eldest son. (fn. 14) John, who was a clerk, also had an oxgang from his brother William, (fn. 15) and eventually succeeded to the whole. (fn. 16) John's son Robert acquired by marriage part of the manor of Aighton near Ribchester, and his descendants were long seated there as the Shireburnes of Stonyhurst. (fn. 17) Hambleton descended in the same way (fn. 18) until 1867, (fn. 19) when the land was sold in parcels, (fn. 20) and no manor seems to have been recognized afterwards.

In 1548 an agreement was made by Sir Richard Shireburne as lord of Hambleton with Nicholas Butler as lord of Over Rawcliffe concerning the bounds of their manors. (fn. 21)

At one time a family surnamed Hambleton had part of the land (fn. 22); the Botelers of Rawcliffe (fn. 23) and Singletons of Little Singleton (fn. 24) and their successors also had estates there, the former having ferry rights over the Wyre. (fn. 25) A few other names occur in the inquisitions and pleadings. (fn. 26)

Cockersand Abbey (fn. 27) and Lancaster Priory (fn. 28) had lands in Hambleton.

Some estates were registered by 'Papists' in 1717. (fn. 29)


The chapel of St. Mary probably existed from an early date, and may have been the oratory at Hambleton for which Robert Shireburne of Stonyhurst obtained a licence in 1456. (fn. 30) It was in 1567 licensed for the administration of the sacraments and for burials. (fn. 31) In 1717 it was 'duly served by a curate who preaches and reads prayers every Sunday, sacrament days excepted.' (fn. 32) The ancient endowment was £5 a year, paid by the lord of the manor out of the profits of a windmill (fn. 33); but this was increased by other gifts. (fn. 34) In 1650 the Committee of Plundered Ministers had allowed £40 a year out of sequestrations, (fn. 35) The church was rebuilt in 1749; there is a sundial with the inscription TXT/1670. (fn. 36) A separate parish was formed in 1846. (fn. 37) The vicar of Kirkham appoints the incumbents. The following have been in charge (fn. 38) :—

1699 Christopher Jackson, B.A. (T.C.D.)
1706 Richard Crombleholme (fn. 39)
1717 Richard Rauthmell, B.A.
1717 William Whitehead, B.A. (fn. 40) (St John's Coll., Camb.)
1737 John Field (Queen's Coll., Oxf.)
1765 Robert Tomlinson
1803 Thomas Butcher, B.A. (St. John's Coll., Camb.)
1835 Charles Beaumont Howard, B.A.
1836 William Hough
1882 James Henry Bumstead

The Congregationalists, who first began a preaching station in 1830, erected a small chapel in 1870; it is annexed to Poulton. (fn. 41) There was at one time a small congregation of Particular Baptists. (fn. 42)


  • 1. The Census Rep. 1901 gives 1,445 acres, including 4 of inland water; there are also 24 acres of tidal water and 128 of foreshore.
  • 2. The bridge is supported by thirty-two iron pillars. There was previously a ferry called Shard Ferry; and at Aldwath (see Poulton) there was a ford in more ancient times.
  • 3. Nat. Hist. of Lancs. bk. i, pp. 22,137.
  • 4. V.C.H. Lancs. i, 288b.
  • 5. The adjacent Stalmine was reduced from four to three plough-lands.
  • 6. Farrer, Lancs. Pipe R. 35. The sheriff answered for 17s., the tallage of Hambleton in 1206; ibid. 202.
  • 7. Ibid. 131.
  • 8. Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 51; the heading is 'Drengages.'
  • 9. Rot. Lit. Claus. (Rec. Com.), i, 136. The gift was to hold good during the king's pleasure, but in 1227 Henry III, for the profit of the souls of King John his father and others, confirmed the grant to William de Colmore for the period of his life; Cal. Pat. 1225–32, p. 112.
  • 10. Cal. Close, 1227–31, p. 159; Chart. R. 22, m. 11; 23, m. 8.
  • 11. See the account of Preesall with Hackinsall. In 1263 Geoffrey de Hackinsall demised the vill of Hambleton with 4 oxgangs of land to John de Hoole for eighteen years, as a marriage gift for his son Geoffrey, who was to marry John's daughter Mary; Dods. MSS. liii, fol. 83b. John de Hackinsall in 1261 held three plough-lands of the king in Hambleton by the yearly service of 40s.; the value was £5 16s.; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 229. The vill of Hambleton paid 40s. yearly to the Earl of Lancaster in 1297; ibid. 289. Richard de Hackinsall held Hambleton by the 40s. service in. 1292 and 1324; Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 377; Dods. MSS. cxxxi, fol. 40b. Though Richard was the brother and heir of John de Hackinsall, the latter had a son Roger, to whom his father, when on his death-bed, gave a messuage and twothirds of 2 oxgangs of land in Hambleton. Richard in 1292 appears to have disputed the gift, but the verdict was in Roger's favour; Assize R. 408, m. 34 d. Roger de Hackinsall held two-thirds in 1306, Cecily wife of Thomas Travers having the remainder (of Roger's inheritance), but it was claimed by the three nieces of John son of Simon de Hambleton; Assize R. 420, m. 8, 10 d. Roger summoned Richard de Hackinsall to warrant. Geoffrey de Hackinsall was plaintiff in 1352 and John son of Thomas de Hackinsall in 1354, with respect to property in Hambleton; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 1, m. vij; 3, m. 1; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxii, App. 331. John de Hackinsall had some land in the township in 1362; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc), i, 82.
  • 12. The manor of Hambleton was in 1321–2 granted to Robert de Shireburne, with remainders to his sons William and Robert, by Richard de Hackinsall; Kuerden MSS. ii, fol. 260. The charters referred to below show that this was a final release. The Hackinsall lordship does not seem to have been recognized after 1324.
  • 13. Kuerden MSS. v, fol. 112. In the claim for dower by Eva widow of Geoffrey Arbalaster in 1246 it was agreed that she should have 6s. yearly from the tenement of Robert de Shireburne in Hambleton; Final Conc. (Rec. Soc Lancs. and Ches.), i, 96.
  • 14. Kuerden MSS. loc. cit.; Robert's wife was named Maud.
  • 15. Ibid. In 1262 an agreement as to the 3 oxgangs of land was made between William son of Robert de Shireburne and John; the latter's right was acknowledged, and he was to pay William 1d. at Easter and do the service to the chief lords; Final Conc. i, 136. At this time the father must have been dead; nevertheless a Robert de Shireburne was juror in 1265; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 234.
  • 16. This seems the necessary inference from the descent of the manor. John de Shireburne was living in 1297; ibid. 289. John son of Robert de 'Chireburne' granted 2 oxgangs of land to William son of Alexander de Hambleton; Raines MSS. (Chet. Lib.), xxxviii, 377.
  • 17. See the account of Aighton. Robert son of John de Shireburne in 1292 complained that John de Shireburne (apparently his father), Adam Pakok of Singleton, Roger de Hackinsall and others had disseised him of 3 oxgangs of land, &c. John had demised them to Adam for ten years, and then had given them to Robert, who entered at the end of the ten years. Meantime John had extended Adam's term to thirty-three years, to Robert's loss. Adam, however, resigned his right to Robert, reserving only the crops of that year's harvest; Assize R. 408, m. 6. The Prior of St. Mary's, Lancaster, claimed a messuage and 2 oxgangs of land against 'John son of Robert de Shireburne,' but failed, as it should have been 'Robert son of John'; ibid. m. 59 d. John de Shireburne was in 1294 summoned to answer Adam Pacock respecting a convention as to 3 oxgangs of land in Hambleton; De Banco R. 103, m. 24.
  • 18. In 1346 William de Shireburne held three plough-lands in Hambleton in socage, paying 40s. a year; Survey of 1346 (Chet. Soc.), 52. Richard Shireburne died in 1445 holding the manor of Hambleton with its appurtenances of the king in socage, its value being £10 clear; Lancs. Rec. Inq. p.m. no. 30, 31. His grandson Robert was tenant in the following year, by the old service of 40s.; Duchy of Lanc. Knights' Fees, bdle. 2, no. 20. The manor is regularly named among the family estates. Robert Shireburne (1492) was said to hold by knight's service, but the tenure in socage with 40s. rent was rightly given in 1528 after the death of Hugh Shireburne; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iii, no. 92; vi, no. 65. It occurs in 1777 among the manors of Thomas Weld; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 625, m. 10 d (16).
  • 19. Joseph Weld of Lulworth, brother of the Cardinal, was the lord of the manor in 1836; Baines, Lancs. (ed. 1), iv, 404; Hewitson, Our Country Churches, 505.
  • 20. Baines, op. cit. (ed. 1870), ii, 496.
  • 21. Shireburne Abstract Bk.
  • 22. In 1246 Simon de Hambleton was a tenant; Final Conc. i, 96. In the same year one William de Hambleton acknowledged that he was the native of John de Hackinsall; Assize R. 404, m. 4. Alice widow of William de Hambleton in 1292 recovered dower against Robert de Singleton alias Broughton; ibid. 408, m. 1, 74. She also complained that Robert had encroached on her right in the common pasture, but the jury found that he had approved with the assent of Geoffrey son of John de Hackinsall, chief lord of Hambleton, and others; ibid. m. 67 d. In a suit already mentioned Maud wife of Thomas (son of Thomas) de Hambleton, with her sisters Agnes and Alice, nieces and heirs of John son of Simon de Hambleton, claimed land in 1305–13; Assize R. 420, m. 8, 10 d.; 424, m. 6. Maud widow of William son of Richard de Hambleton claimed dower in the township in 1330 against Nicholas de Oxcliffe; De Banco R. 283, m. 247 d.
  • 23. Richard le Boteler about 1280 gave to his son Geoffrey all the land of Hambleton which he had from John son of Adam Beaufront; Dods. MSS. liii, fol. 91. William son of Sir Richard confirmed the same to his brother Geoffrey; ibid, fol. 84. In 1294 Richard le Boteler gave two-thirds of an oxgang of land to Richard son of Robert the Cook of Hambleton; ibid. fol. 91. Richard son of William the Cook gave land to Thomas son of Richard de Stainall in 1315–16; ibid. The same Richard also gave land to John Lawrence and Elizabeth his wife; Duchy of Lanc. Anct. D. (P.R.O.), L 1029. Richard le Boteler of Marton in 1322 held a messuage and land in Hambleton of Richard de Hackinsall in socage; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, ii, 146. There are charters in Raines MSS. xxxviii, 377–9. Nicholas le Boteler of Rawcliffe had land in Hambleton in 1331; De Banco R. 287, m. 307 d. In 1405 the family's lands here were stated to be held of the king as duke in socage; Towneley MS. DD, no. 1460. Nothing more definite is stated in the later inquisitions, down to William Butler in 1639.
  • 24. This may be inferred from land in Hambleton being held by Sir Thomas Banastre in 1379, and by the heirs, &c., of Balderston later—e.g. Dudley, the Earl of Derby, and Radcliffe of Winmarleigh, as appears by the inquisitions, &c. See Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc), i, 15. Land in Hambleton, part of the Balderston inheritance, was included in the grant to the first Earl of Derby in 1489, and after the death of the second earl the 1522 rental (at Lathom) shows that lands there paid 30s. 7d. yearly. Robert de Singleton has been named as a landholder in 1292. It may have been his estate which descended to Sir William Leyland of Morleys, who died in 1547 holding lands in Hambleton of the king as of his duchy by the tenth part of a knight's fee and a rent of 14s. 8d.; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. ix, no. 43. The same tenure is recorded in later inquisitions, e.g. Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc), ii, 262. In 1596 Robert Bickerstaffe purchased a messuage, &c., from George Singleton, Mary his wife, Thomas Gudlaw the younger, Richard Wilkinson and Margaret his wife; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 59, m. 142.
  • 25. Henry Butler of Rawcliffe died in 1621 holding six messuages, four saltcotes, lands, moor, marsh, fishery, &c., and a ferry boat on Wyre; Duchy of Lanc. Inq, p.m. xxvi, no. 36; xxx, no. 18.
  • 26. In 1323 John de Lancaster purchased a messuage and an oxgang and two-thirds from Richard son of Robert de Inskip and Alice his wife; Final Conc. ii, 57. This may have been the estate of John de Hambleton already referred to. Alice widow of Robert Hesketh in 1490–1 left lands in Hambleton to her sons Hugh and Richard; Towneley MS. C8, 13 (Chet. Lib.), H 300. The tenure of Thomas Hesketh's lands was not known in 1523; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. v, no. 16. Sir Richard Shireburne seems to have purchased them in 1556; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 16, m. 15. The lands of Thomas Boteler of Warrington (1522) and Alexander Goosnargh (1524) were held as parts of an estate in Stainall in socage; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. v, no. 13, 55. George Allen in 1567 purchased a messuage, &c., from Nicholas Sumner, Alice his wife, Thomas Wilkinson, Ellen his wife, Anthony Garstang and Elizabeth his wife; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 29, m. 81. Other parts of the same estate ware sold to Sir Richard Shireburne and Henry Thompson; ibid, bdles. 34, m. 59; 35, m. 152. George Allen's tenement was in 1579 found to be held of Sir Richard Shireburne in socage; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xiv, no. 80. Robert Finch of Mawdesley (1610) had land, but the tenure was not stated; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc), i, 156.
  • 27. Simon son of Henry de Hambleton gave to Cockersand, together with the body of his wife Alice, half an acre in Sandirland field, having land of Robert de Shireburne on the south side; Cockersand Chartul. (Chet. Soc), i, 141. For rental see ibid, iii, 1268–9; and for grants of the Cockersand lands see Pat. 21 Eliz. pt. xi; 42 Eliz. pt. xvi.
  • 28. John son of Geoffrey Arbalaster gave to the priory 2 oxgangs of land, one of which had been held by Richard Colmore and another by Richard son of Siward, but reserved a part of the appurtenances, viz. in a field called Thornhole and in the Wyre fishery; Lanc. Ch. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 378. This was confirmed by his son Geoffrey de Hackinsall; ibid. 377. It was perhaps this land which was held by Thomas Fleetwood of the queen in 1576; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xii, no. 2.
  • 29. Estcourt and Payne, Engl. Cath. Nonjurors, 93, 116, 134. The names were: John Lickfold, London, in right of his wife Dorothy (widow of Richard Sharples), Mabel Hodgkinson, and John Charnley. Mary Holland of Wigan in 1757 bequeathed to Mrs. Winifred Eccleston of St. Helens a messuage in Hambleton which she had had from her aunt Anne Hesketh; Piccope MSS. (Chet. Lib.), iii, 288, from R. 31 of Geo. II at Preston.
  • 30. Raines MSS. (Chet. Lib.), xxii, 379.
  • 31. In 1567 the inhabitants petitioned that their chapel 'commonly called Our Ladie Chapel)' might be 'consecrated' for divine service and administration of the sacraments by fit chaplains as curates, approved by the vicar of Kirkham, and for the burial of the bodies of their dead; Reg. Bk. at Chester, i, fol. 403b. The Bishop of Chester gave 'licence' accordingly, ordering that the chapel wardens should take his permission once every three years to the parish church, where it was to be read through, after the Gospel, on Whit Monday; ibid, ii, fol. 231. Thus an old chapel was not 'consecrated,' but licensed for use. It seems likely that the vicar of Kirkham had objected, but as the place was 7 miles from the parish church its use was convenient for baptism and burial. In 1601 an agreement as to the chapel was made by Richard Shireburne on one part and John and Thomas Carter on the other; Shireburne Abstract Bk. Gabriel Tyldesley was curate in 1611–22; Visit. P. at Chester Dioc. Reg.
  • 32. Gastrell, Notitia Cestr. (Chet. Soc), ii, 423. In 1705 the curate certified that the only revenue was £5 a year and that there was 'preaching there one afternoon in three Sundays'; ibid. 422. This shows that there was a curate in 1705; there does not seem to have been one in 1689 and 1691.
  • 33. This is mentioned in the time of James I; Lancs. and Ches. Rec. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 268. The amount points to a pre-Reformation endowment.
  • 34. About 1717 there was £8 15s. rent of land and £2 10s. interest of £50; Gastrell, loc. cit. The rent-charge of £5 appears to be paid still.
  • 35. Commonw. Ch. Surv. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 156. The £5 paid by the lord of the manor is named. The minister in 1651–2 was Robert (Noble) Cunningham, and in 1654 Roger Sherburn; Plund. Mini. Accts. (Rec. Soc Lancs. and Ches.), i, 239, 246, 142. The latter had an increased allowance of £50.
  • 36. Fishwick, Kirkham, 59–62.
  • 37. By Order in Council 21 Jan. 1846.
  • 38. From the Diocesan Registry, Chester.
  • 39. William Bushell of Goosnargh wrote to the Bishop of Chester, 18 Sept. 1706: 'The bearer Richard Crombleholme has been educated as a Presbyterian and intended to hare been a dissenting minister.'
  • 40. Son of Robert Whitehead, clerk, one of the masters of Kirkham School; Admissions to St. John's Coll. ii, 201.
  • 41. Nightingale, Lancs. Nonconf. i, 135, 167.
  • 42. Hewitson, op. cit. 508.