A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 7. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.
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Poltun, Dom. Bk.; Pultune, 1160; Pulton, 1196 to xvi cent. The local pronunciation is Pole-ton.
This triangular township lies between two brooks which join together at its northern end and then flow into the Wyre, which is about half a mile to the north. The parish church stands near the centre of the area in the part called Great Poulton. Little Poulton is a hamlet to the east, while Compley lies in the south-west corner. In general the surface is even with a slope to the north, but the three portions named are on slight elevations. Angelholme lies on the north-west boundary. The area is 914 acres, (fn. 1) and there was a population of 2,223 in 1901.
A road leads north through the township, passing the church to west and to east and descending the Breck to Skippool, as that part of the united streams flowing to the Wyre is called. The portion of this road to the south-west of the church has been formed into a little square or market-place, at the entrance of which are the market cross, fish stones, whipping post and stocks. (fn. 2) From the ends of the market-place roads branch off north-west to Fleetwood and Bispham and south-west to Blackpool. Pococke described Poulton in 1754 as 'a little neat town built of brick, subsisting by trade and tillage.' (fn. 3)
The Preston and Wyre railway goes through the centre of the township, with a station in the Breck, just to the north of the church, opened in 1896. The line then divides, part going north to Fleetwood and a branch turning west to Blackpool. The old station (1840), still existing, was lower down the Breck, the line to Fleetwood being straighter than at present; the alteration was made to avoid the very sharp curve at which the Blackpool line turned off.
The port at Skippool was formerly of local importance. (fn. 4) There was a market on Monday and customary fairs are still held in February, April and November. (fn. 5) A court of requests for the recovery of small debts was established in 1770.
The soil is clayey, overlying stiff clay.
Poulton is governed by an urban district council of twelve members. The town has been lighted by gas since 1851; the works were purchased by the council in 1903.
There is a cemetery in the Breck, laid out in 1883.
Before the Conquest POULTON, assessed as two plough-lands, was held by Earl Tostig (fn. 8) and afterwards became part of the lands of Count Roger of Poitou, who, as stated in the account of the church, gave it to the Abbey of St. Martin of Sées. (fn. 9) Thus it became part of the endowment of St. Mary's Priory at Lancaster and afterwards of the Bridgitine Abbey of Syon in Middlesex. Beyond the charters of endowment and a few later acquisitions (fn. 10) there is but little record of the place, and no 'manor' seems to have been acknowledged in later times, (fn. 11) except in 1634, when Alexander Rigby of Middleton and others held it. (fn. 12) Thornber, writing in 1837, says: 'The principal part of Poulton . . . passed into the hands of the Rigbys of Layton Hall, in whose name the greatest number of its houses are leased for the remainingterm of 999 years.' (fn. 13)
The Prior of Lancaster complained in 1330 that he had been seized and imprisoned at Poulton by Sir Adam Banastre, Richard the Demand and others, and that his men had been assaulted, &c. A fine of a mark was imposed. The dispute seems to have arisen over a right of way and the collection of tithes, an agreement being made at the same time by which the prior and his men were to have two sufficient roads for men and wagons through Sir Adam's lands in Thornton, Staynall and Singleton. One road was to go from Thornton and Poulton by Skippool through Little Singleton to the ford of Aldwath over the Wyre; the other road was to go through Poulton and Thornton, crossing the Wyre by the ford of Bulkes. (fn. 14)
Two families at least used the local surname, (fn. 15) but there is practically no record (fn. 16) of them. The inquisitions show that a number of the neighbouring landowners had possessions in the township (fn. 17) and after the Dissolution Thomas Fleetwood acquired land in Little Poulton with Rossall and in Poulton with the advowson. (fn. 18) The Heskeths of Mains recorded pedigrees as 'of Poulton,' (fn. 19) but the resident owners seem to have been of no higher than yeoman rank. (fn. 20) The Bamber family was prominent in the district. (fn. 21)
From about 1535 to 1570 there was a dispute about the mill-house and various lands between John Lancelyn and Margaret his wife on one side and William Butler on the other. (fn. 22)
The parish church has been described above.
The Wesleyan Methodists built a chapel in 1819. This was replaced by the present building in 1861. (fn. 27)
The Congregationalists began preaching as early as 1778, but their chapel was not built till 1809, Its fortunes have fluctuated, but the building was restored in 1886. (fn. 28)
The Society of Friends had a meeting-house at Poulton in 1825, (fn. 29) but did not retain it.
After the Reformation a considerable portion of the people in Poulton as elsewhere in the Fylde clung to Roman Catholicism openly or secretly. As the persecution slackened in the time of James I they appear to have thought concealment less needful, and in 1622 it was reported to the Bishop of Chester that various persons in the parish did 'deprave publicly the religion now established and openly maintain popery, wearing crosses in their hats as badges thereof.' Further, Thomas Singleton of Staining, Thomas Westby of Burn and others had 'christened their children with popish priests and not at their parish church.' (fn. 30) Mass was said, it is probable, at Burn and Mains and other houses in the district, but the first public church, that of St. John the Evangelist, Breck, was not built till 1813; it represents the old mission at Singleton. (fn. 31)