A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 7. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.
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Lidun, Dom. Bk.; Lithun, Lithum, c. 1190; Lethum, 1347.
The township occupies a level tract of land at the mouth of the Ribble; Lytham proper is at the eastern end, and is bounded on the south by the Ribble; while St. Anne's, formerly called Heyhouses, occupies the north-west portion and looks out over the Irish Sea to the west. The area between the two extremes is known as Ansdell; the new residential district called Fairhaven is here, (fn. 1) while Heyhouses is more inland. Formerly a large part of the total area of 5,309½ acres (fn. 2) was occupied by sandy wastes on the sea side and mosses inland, but there was arable land to the north-east of the village. The township by the county lay of 1624 had to pay £2 6s. 2¼d. to each £100 levied on the hundred. (fn. 3) About 130 years ago Lytham came into notice as a sea-bathing place for summer visitors (fn. 4); in 1825 it was stated that 'if the company is less fashionable than at Blackpool it is generally more numerous and usually very respectable.' (fn. 5) The development of the place was then restricted by the 'reservations and covenants of the old feudal life-leases' inserted in grants of building land, (fn. 6) and the town has long ceased to be in the same rank with Blackpool. It is of pleasant appearance and attracts a large number of visitors in the season, while its mild climate makes it a favourite resort in winter also. There are wide sands, an open promenade with a stretch of grass called the Green along the sea front, and a pier built in 1864–5 and rebuilt in 1891. From this pier steamers go to Southport and Blackpool. A windmill near it is still working.
A branch of the Preston and Wyre railway was made to Lytham as early as 1846, (fn. 7) and was continued along the shore to Blackpool in 1863 with stations at Ansdell and St. Anne's. An electric tramway starting at Lytham also goes through St. Anne's to South Shore; it is owned by a private company.
A pool on the eastern boundary under the control of the lord of the manor was formerly useful when the state of the Ribble prevented any but the smallest vessels going up to Preston. (fn. 8) A graving dock there led to the establishment of shipbuilding works. The hamlet of Saltcotes adjoining is said to have taken its name from a salt refinery formerly worked there. (fn. 9)
The market-house was built in 1848. (fn. 10) A cottage hospital was opened in 1871, and the institute, containing a library, &c., in the following year. At the same time Mr. Clifton gave the Lowther Gardens at the west end of the town. There are public baths on the central beach. (fn. 11)
St. Anne's-on-the-Sea sprang into existence (fn. 12) in 1875. It extends over the boundary into Marton. Here, as at Lytham proper, are a sea promenade, a pier, an institute and a public hall. There are three convalescent homes for children and a home for the blind.
Weekly newspapers, the Times and Standard, are published at Lytham and St. Anne's.
The agricultural land (fn. 13) is thus occupied:—
|Arable land ac.||Permanent grass ac.||Woods and plantations ac.|
For Lytham a local board was formed in 1847, and Heyhouses acquired a local board in 1878 (fn. 14) but in 1894 the parish was divided into two townships, Lytham and St. Anne's, each with an urban district council. (fn. 15) The Lytham council consists of twelve members elected by four wards–North-east, North-west, South-east and South-west; it owns the gas works, (fn. 16) while water is supplied to the whole district by the Fylde Water Board. The St. Anne's council also consists of twelve members elected by four wards—North, East, South and West; it owns electric lighting works, but gas is also supplied by a private company.
The population of Lytham numbered 7,185 in 1901, and that of St. Anne's 6,838, but thirty-one of the latter belonged to Marton; thus the population of the old parish was 13,992.
The descent of the manor of LYTHAM may be given in very few words. In 1066, assessed as two plough-lands, it was part of Earl Tostig's Amounderness lordship. (fn. 19) Afterwards it was held of the Crown in thegnage by the lord of Woodplumpton, (fn. 20) and about 1190 was granted to the great monastery of Durham, (fn. 21) which established a cell or priory. (fn. 22) After the Dissolution Lytham was sold by the Crown in 1554 to Sir Thomas Holcroft, (fn. 23) and in 1606 it was acquired by Cuthbert Clifton of Westby. (fn. 24) It became the chief residence of its new lords, whose descent has been traced in the account of Clifton in Kirkham. The lord of the manor, who is practically the sole landowner, is Mr. John Talbot Clifton, who resides at Lytham Hall.
The hall stands in a park of over 600 acres on the north-west of the town half a mile immediately to the north of the parish church. It is a fine classic building of two stories and an attic, begun in 1751 from the designs of Carr of York but not completed till 1764. (fn. 25) The principal front faces east and has a pediment supported by Ionic columns the height of the upper floors.
The Priors of Lytham (or of Durham) had various disputes with their neighbours as to boundaries and common rights, (fn. 26) and in 1292 were summoned to show by what right they claimed wreck of the sea at Lytham. (fn. 27) Later they are found paying the Earl of Lancaster 3s. 4d. a year for this right. (fn. 28) In 1498 a number of other claims were called in question, including free warren. (fn. 29) Estholme Carr was at one time held by the Bradkirk family. (fn. 30) There are but few traces of other freeholders. (fn. 31)
Several accounts of the furniture and stock of the priory have been preserved. (fn. 32) The house itself seems to have been deserted by the monks before the Dissolution; they returned to Durham.
In addition to the lord of the manor several yeomen and others registered estates as 'Papists' in 1717. (fn. 33)
The church of ST. CUTHBERT stands at the west end of the town and is a modern building in red brick erected in 1834 on the site of an older edifice built in 1770, which in its turn had replaced one of still earlier date. This earlier church was built of cobbles and was very low, with a 'steeple,' a porch, and a 'pulpit against the south wall.' A description of the building as it was in 1764 has been preserved in a brief of that date, (fn. 34) in which it is stated to be a 'very ancient structure standing upon the sea-coast and so much decayed in every part that the parishioners cannot assemble therein for the worship of God without manifest danger to their lives, the walls being so bulged out, in some places near three feet from the perpendicular, that the parishioners have laid out considerable sums of money from time to time in repairing and endeavouring to support the said church, yet the same is by length of time become so ruinous and decayed that it cannot any longer be kept up, but the same with the steeple must be taken down and rebuilt.' The building was accordingly taken down (fn. 35) and a new church erected, which in plan was a simple rectangle under a gabled roof with a 'whitened' west tower containing one bell. (fn. 36) The interior of the building, which is described as being 'extremely simple, light, and elegant' (fn. 37) and 'preserved in the neatest possible order,' was 'fitted up with thick narrow oak frames ornamented with elbows or scrolls and having two rows in the middle and one at each side.' (fn. 38) The walls were above a yard in thickness, the main door having a small porch, and to the east and west were the remains of thick walls, as if they might have been the ruins of some former and larger edifice. (fn. 39) The parish maintained the west end, which was 'about half of it,' and Thomas Clifton the east end. (fn. 40) This second church was pulled down in 1834, being found too small to meet the requirements of the growing number of visitors in the season, and the first stone of the present building was laid in March and the church opened in the same year. It consists of chancel with north vestry and organ chamber, clearstoried nave with north and south aisles and west tower. The chancel, which was originally small, was extended in 1872, and the north aisle was widened in 1882, being increased to double its width and covered with a separate gabled roof. The style is Gothic with embattled walls to nave and tower, the roofs being covered with stone slates, and though architecturally of little merit is perhaps superior to much Gothic work of the period, the brickwork showing nothing of the hardness of line so common in stone churches of the early part of the last century. A new vestry on the north side of the old one was erected in 1909 in memory of Bishop Pym of Bombay (d. 1908), who was assistant curate at Lytham. (fn. 41) The church was reseated in oak in 1888. There are several Clifton monuments, including four 18th-century ones from the old church.
There is a ring of eight bells, six cast in 1857 by C. & G. Mears, and the treble and tenor in 1874 by Mears & Stainbank.
The plate consists of a chalice of 1844, no longer used; two chalices, a bread-holder and a flagon presented by Thomas Clifton in 1845; a paten of 1846; a paten of 1871–2; a small silver almsdish of 1874–5; and a large repoussè almsdish of unburnished silver presented in 1895 by the Rev. Samuel Ashton Thompson Yates. In a case in the vestry are preserved the bowls of two pewter chalices and a pewter flagon, together with the loose foot of one of the chalices, which is inscribed 'The gift of William Hornsby to Lytham Church, 1816.' The flagon is 'The gift of William Hornby, Esq., of Kirkham, to Lytham Church.'
The registers begin in 1679. The first volume, which contains the baptisms and burials from 1679 to 1761 and the marriages from 1679 to 1754, has been printed. (fn. 42)
On the south side of the church is an undated stone pedestal sundial, the plate bearing the motto 'Dum spectes fugio,' and with the name of Waller, maker. The oldest gravestone is dated 1672. (fn. 43)
The earliest record of the church of Lytham is that contained in Reginald of Durham's book of the miracles of St. Cuthbert. (fn. 44) The grandfather of Richard son of Roger, he tells us, pulled down the ancient wattled church, and built a new one of stone, on an adjacent site, in honour of St. Cuthbert, 'wherein the grace of God on account of the merits of B. Cuthbert wrought many miracles, to be admired of all men.' A servant of Richard son of Roger named Uvieth, (fn. 45) having committed a secret sin, was smitten in the face by St. Cuthbert and was like to die. Being carried to the church, the faith of his friends was rewarded by a vision of the saint, who healed the man he had punished. Another servant, a youth, walking in the cemetery, saw a young sparrow fly from its nest on the church roof and rest on the remains of the altar of the old church still visible. (fn. 46) The youth captured it, not thinking he was breaking 'the peace of the saint,' and was surprised to find that he could not leave the cemetery until he had released his prey. Richard son of Roger himself, being, as it was thought, at the point of death, was carried to the church of St. Cuthbert,' whom he had always loved,' to die there, and was cured as soon as he entered the building; afterwards he went to Durham to watch at the shrine (fn. 47) and return thanks for his cure. His son also, being at the point of death, was restored to health after a night's watching in the church. For testimony of this restoration the father took his son to Durham and offered a gold ring, which was to be fixed on the tomb of St. Cuthbert, at the same time telling the story of all these wonders. (fn. 48)
Apart from Reginald's stories the existence of the church before 1190 is proved by the priory charter. (fn. 49) The church was probably at one time dependent upon Kirkham, but the founder obtained a formal release from the Abbot of Shrewsbury, (fn. 50) and the chapter of Lancaster decided that Lytham was a parish church and not a chapel. (fn. 51) The church was given absolutely to the monks, and the Prior of Lytham, the nominee or removable deputy of the Prior of Durham, took the position of rector, assisted by one or two other monks and a secular chaplain or more. (fn. 52) In 1291 the value of the church was £4, but after the raid of the Scots in 1322 (fn. 53) was reduced to £2; this remained the nominal value in 1341. (fn. 54) In 1535, however, the value of the tithes and oblations was reckoned as £9 13s. 11d.; out of which 3s. was paid to the Archdeacon of Richmond and 10s. was distributed to the poor on Maundy Thursday according to ancient custom. (fn. 55)
An inventory of the church goods made in 1446 shows that it was well furnished with books and vestments. (fn. 56)
After the dissolution of the monastery it does not clearly appear what provision was made for divine worship, (fn. 57) but the king as rector and then the Holcrofts and their successors would pay a chaplain to perform at least the minimum service. The stipend also would be a minimum, and in 1610 Lytham was reported as 'an usurped impropriation' (as it was supposed) possessed by one Mr. Roger Ley, gentleman, dwelling in the parsonage-house; the stipendiary minister (was) a bare reader and careless. (fn. 58) In 1604 it was reported that the parish clerk could neither read nor write. (fn. 59) In 1650 the tithes were worth £29 a year; the patron and impropriator was Thomas Clifton, 'a Papist and delinquent'; the minister had no allowance or salary, but £50 was allowed by the Committee of Plundered Ministers. (fn. 60) In 1717 Bishop Gastrell found that £20 a year was allowed to the curate by the lay rector, who nominated him; and the surplice fees came to £2. There were then neither schools nor charities. (fn. 61) A grant was afterwards obtained from Queen Anne's Bounty and other endowments were given, (fn. 62) the vicar's income now amounting to about £400. (fn. 63) The trustees of J. T. Clifton are patrons.
The following have been curates and vicars:—
|oc. 1548–62||George Lorimer (fn. 64)|
|oc. 1610||Hugh Grimbalson (fn. 65)|
|oc. 1619||Peter Bullock (fn. 66)|
|oc. 1622||— Brown (fn. 67)|
|oc. 1639||Robert Brodbelt (fn. 68)|
|oc. 1646–54||William Armisteed (fn. 69)|
|oc. 1678–1701||James Threlfall (fn. 70)|
|1701||Josiah Birchall (fn. 71)|
|1717||Timothy Pollard (fn. 72)|
|1741||Ashton Werden, M.A. (fn. 73) (T.C.D.)|
|1743||Robert Willacy (fn. 74)|
|1760||John Gibson (fn. 75)|
|1800||Robert Lister, B.A. (fn. 76)|
|1834||Richard Barton Robinson, M.A (fn. 77) (Queen's Coll., Oxf.)|
|1870||Henry Beauchamp Hawkins, M.A. (fn. 78) (Trinity Coll., Camb.)|
At the east end of the town St. John's Church was built in 1848–50; the Clifton trustees are patrons. (fn. 79) At Fairhaven St. Paul's was built as a chapel of ease to the parish church in 1904. St. Anne's-on-the-Sea has taken its name from St. Anne's Church built in that part of the township in 1872–3 (fn. 80); Lady Drummond's trustees are patrons. There is a mission church of St. Thomas built in 1900; the present vicar of St. Anne's is the patron, but Mr. J. T. Clifton will succeed after his death.
The Wesleyan Methodists opened a chapel in 1846; the present church succeeded it in 1868 (fn. 81) they also have chapels at Fairhaven, 1899, and St. Anne's, 1892, with mission halls. The Strict Baptists have long had a meeting-place (fn. 82); their present chapel is at Pollux Gate, Fairhaven. There are two more recent Baptist chapels, at Ansdell and St. Anne's, 1884–6; the former was rebuilt in 1908.
The Congregationalists opened their first church in 1862 (fn. 83); they have now another at Fairhaven, 1903–4, and a third at St. Anne's, 1894–6. (fn. 84) At the last-named place the Christian Brethren also have a meeting-room.
Worship according to the Roman rites was probably maintained at Lytham Hall during the 17th and 18th centuries, (fn. 85) there being a domestic chapel. (fn. 86) The list of convicted recusants about 1670 is headed by Sir Thomas Clifton, and contains many names still known in the district. (fn. 87) The number of 'Papists' returned to the Bishop of Chester in 1767 was 384.; the priest was 'John Mansel alias Talbot, Jesuit,' and 'Thomas Clifton esq.' followed him. (fn. 88) In 1800 an old tithe-barn on the edge of the park was used as a chapel. (fn. 89) After the squire became a Protestant the present St. Peter's was built in the town in 1839. (fn. 90) At St. Anne's the church of Our Lady Star of the Sea was built in 1890. (fn. 91) St. Joseph's, Ansdell, was founded in 1908.
The free school at Lytham was founded in 1726 or a little later. (fn. 92) A second school, or branch, seems to have been opened at Heyhouses in 1775.
Official inquiries were made as to the charities in 1824 and 1899, and from the reports issued in 1900 it appears that, apart from the educational endowments, amounting to £720 a year, there are only two charities in operation. Elizabeth Layland in 1734 left £60 for the poor or the education of children; this now produces £5 10s. a year, of which £2 2s. is given to the cottage hospital and the rest is distributed to the poor in kind. (fn. 93) Harriet Jane Quartley in 1878 left £19 19s. to the vicar of Lytham for a Christmas gift to the poor; the income is 13s. 2d., but the capital has been increased by accumulations. (fn. 94)