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.
UPPER RAWCLIFFE WITH TARNACRE
Rodeclif, Dom. Bk.; Rotheclif, 1301; Uproutheclyve, 1288. Up Rawcliffe was the form commonly used till about 1700, when Upper Rawcliffe, which appears in the 16th century, displaced it.
Trenaker, c. 1250.
This township, which contains the parish church, has a total area of 3,839½ acres, (fn. 1) of which two-thirds lie north of the River Wyre and the remaining third south. The population in 1901 was 518. Tarnacre or Trenacre, the acreage of which is now estimated as 486, is in the north-east, (fn. 2) Turnover Hall about the centre, on the north bank of the river, with Stockenbridge to the south; White Hall is on the western border. The Brock flows into the Wyre half a mile east of the church. The surface is flat and low; the highest ground, about 50 ft. above sea level, is in the north, in Rawcliffe Moss.
The principal roads go from east to west through the township, to the south and north of the river, from Myerscough to Great Eccleston (past the church), and from Catterall to Hambleton respectively. Near the church there is a bridge across the Wyre by which these roads are connected.
A parish council administers local affairs.
The soil is mostly light peat with subsoil of blue clay; oats, potatoes, turnips, &c, are grown.
There are ghost stories connected with two of the old houses. Major Longworth of St. Michael's Hall was said to have haunted the place after his death. To lay his ghost the 'combined power of priest and parson was brought into operation. The ghost was " laid " under the bridge near the hall, with the injunction that it had to remain quiet "so long as the water flowed down the hills and the ivy remained green." (fn. 3) The other ghost was said to appear in the garden of White Hall. (fn. 4)
In 1066 Earl Tostig held a RAWCLIFFE assessed as three plough-lands and a MICHAELKIRK assessed as one. (fn. 5) Probably the whole was granted together with Garstang to form the Wyresdale fee of the Lancaster family. (fn. 6) In 1242 Lambert de Multon held the twelfth part of a knight's fee in Rawcliffe (fn. 7) He was then apparently the immediate lord of the manor, but may not have retained it long.
William de Lancaster III gave part at least of Upper Rawcliffe to Richard son of Roger de Kirkby, (fn. 8) no doubt of Kirkby Ireleth. (fn. 9) Richard acquired from his brother Roger 2 oxgangs of land in Rawcliffe, with tofts and part of the meadow called Meadowgate, also the proportion of the fishery pertaining to 2 oxgangs and liberty of grinding at the mill without multure. (fn. 10) Roger had had the same from William de Tarnacre for the rent of a pound of cummin. (fn. 11) Richard made some further acquisitions, (fn. 12) and at his death left a son John to succeed him. (fn. 13) Another son Peter is also named. (fn. 14) By them Upper Rawcliffe was given to William de Whittingham, clerk, and Ellen his wife, (fn. 15) and in this way apparently passed to William de Southworth, (fn. 16) who was in possession of the manor in 1314, (fn. 17) and in 1316–17 granted it to his son Thomas, together with the reversion of lands held in dower by Ellen widow of John de Kirkby and by Elizabeth widow of Nicholas de Southworth son of William. (fn. 18)
Thomas de Southworth in 1331 obtained a messuage, &c, from William son of Robert the Miller of Upper Rawcliffe. Part of the tenement was then held in dower by Ellen widow of John de Kirkby. (fn. 19) He obtained from Ellen daughter of Nicholas de Southworth a release of her interest in the manor in 1336. (fn. 20) Edmund de Wedacre in 1348–9 claimed common of pasture in Upper Rawcliffe against Thomasson of William de Southworth and Alice his wife. (fn. 21)
The next step shows the Urswick family in possession, but the story is confused and doubtful. It would seem that Margaret the daughter and heir of Thomas de Southworth married one Robert de Hornby, for Robert and Margaret occur in 1350–2. (fn. 22) Soon afterwards Margaret de Hornby married Robert de Urswick, and in 1367 obtained the papal dispensation for an impediment of which they had been in ignorance at the time of marriage. (fn. 23) In 1369 Robert de Urswick and Margaret his wife claimed from William de Scargill and Rose his wife the custody of the land and heir of John de Balderston in respect of a plough-land, &c, in Upper Rawcliffe held of Thomas de Southworth, the father of Margaret. (fn. 24) Robert de Urswick the younger and Margaret his wife made a feoffment of the manor of Upper Rawcliffe in the same year. (fn. 25) Robert de Urswick of Tatham in 1376 obtained a grant of free warren for Badsworth, Tatham, Cantsfield and Upper Rawcliffe. (fn. 26)
Sir Robert Urswick died in 1402 holding jointly with Joan his wife a rent from Langbargh Wapentake in Yorkshire. His son and heir, Sir Robert, was thirty years of age. (fn. 27) Robert son of Robert de Urswick and Margaret his wife had acquired land in Yorkshire in 1391–2. (fn. 28) Sir Robert was Sheriff of Lancashire in 1415–16 and 1418. (fn. 29) As lord of the manor or vill of Upper Rawcliffe he in 1420 made an agreement with the free tenants, viz. the Abbot of Cockersand, Nicholas Boteler, and others. (fn. 30) In the same year he made a feoffment of his lands in Claughton, Rawcliffe, Eccleston, Goosnargh and Bilsborrow. (fn. 31) He died about the same time, and Thomas his brother was found to be his heir. (fn. 32) Thomas Urswick succeeded to Badsworth, (fn. 33) and apparently the same Thomas occurs in Lancashire, (fn. 34) but the manor of Upper Rawcliffe went to daughters and heirs of Sir Robert. These appear to have been Ellen, who married Roger Kirkby, and Joan. (fn. 35) The latter or more probably a daughter and co-heir Joan was wife of William Clifton in 1443–4. (fn. 36) Another sharer in 1454 was William Latus. (fn. 37) A certain Elizabeth about 1468 made a settlement of part of the manor in conjunction with her husband Henry Holme. (fn. 38) In 1484–5 a partition was sought between William Kirkby, Richard Latus and Robert Clifton as co-heirs of Sir Robert Urswick. (fn. 39)
Of these families the Kirkbys were resident. They appear to have inherited a moiety of the manor, and possibly acquired the whole. Going back a little, it appears that in 1454–5 John Kirkby and Clemence his wife had lands in Moorbreck. (fn. 40) In 1459 John Kirkby complained that Nicholas and John Boteler of Rawcliffe were obstructing the flow of water to his mill in Upper Rawcliffe. (fn. 41) William the son and heir of John Kirkby was about 1458 contracted to marry Isabel daughter of John Pudsey. (fn. 42) In 1475, perhaps after the actual marriage, John Kirkby granted his part of the manor to his son and heir William. (fn. 43) William and Isabel had a moiety of the manor in 1486–7, as well as lands in Goosnargh, Haighton and Kendal. (fn. 44) John the son and heir of William Kirkby was in 1485–6 contracted to marry Elizabeth daughter of Henry Banastre of Bank. (fn. 45) He was living in 1501, (fn. 46) but it is unlikely that he outlived his father, for in 1507 Isabel was widow of William, (fn. 47) and about the same time received dower from William son and heir of John Kirkby. (fn. 48)
William Kirkby the younger was in 1506–7 contracted to marry Elizabeth daughter of William Thorn burgh. (fn. 49) He was living in 1549, at which time he was involved in disputes concerning the chantry lands. (fn. 50) His son George died in 1558 holding the manor of Upper Rawcliffe and Tarnacre of the queen and John Rigmaiden as of the lordship of Wyresdale in socage by 6d. rent; also various lands there and in nearly twenty other townships. The heir was a brother William, thirty years of age. (fn. 51) William Kirkby made a settlement of the manor in 1564 (fn. 52) and recorded a pedigree at the visitation of 1567. (fn. 53) In 1588 inquiry was made as to the weirs on the Wyre, including one of William Kirkby's which had lately been pulled down, apparently because it was too high for the salmon to pass. (fn. 54) He and Isabel his wife in 1591 agreed that their son William should marry Joan daughter of Thomas Fleetwood of Colwich. (fn. 55) William Kirkby died in December 1596 holding the manor of Upper Rawcliffe, with messuages and lands there and in Tarnacre and Little Sowerby, a watermill, and a fishery in the Wyre, of the queen as of her honour of Lancaster by the twelfth part of a knight's fee. William his son and heir was fifteen years of age. (fn. 56)
The religious position of the neighbourhood in 1595 is shown clearly enough by someone zealous 'for the furtherance of Christ His glorious gospel, in the Protestant sense, who wrote to the authorities to urge attention to it. In the parishes of Garstang and St. Michael's, he said, there were 'as many farmers notorious recusants' as would make two grand juries. He therefore advised the prosecution of those known to be rich, naming among gentlewomen Isabel wife of William Kirkby of Rawcliffe, Anne wife of Henry Butler of the same, and Elizabeth wife of William son of Henry. The husbands of these attended church perhaps not so much as monthly and the churchwardens should warn them to conform once a month. If they would not do so the gentlewomen and their husbands should be confined 'during their obstinacy' to the houses of Protestant gentlemen, so that they could neither 'frequent shriving, massing, nor relieve papish priests or seditious seminaries, to the peril of their souls, great danger of their husbands, and utter spoil of their husbands' simple seduced tenants and neighbours. (fn. 57)
From this time the Kirkbys declined in importance. (fn. 58) William Kirkby was said to be of full age in 1602 (fn. 59); in that year he and his son Thomas were enrolled at Preston Guild. (fn. 60) They were or became recusants, as the above quotation indicates, and in 1632 Thomas Kirkby of Rawcliffe compounded by an annual payment of £5 for the two-thirds of his estate which was liable to sequestration for his religion. (fn. 61) In the Civil War he was a Royalist, and his estate, after being sequestered by the Parliament, was in 1652 ordered for sale. (fn. 62) Three of his sons were stated to have been killed in the service of Charles I. (fn. 63) He was dead in 1655, when Edward Tyldesley of Myerscough petitioned to be allowed to contract for the estate. (fn. 64) After that a family named Whitehead (fn. 65) long held the manor, but there is nothing to record of them. (fn. 66) The manor is now stated to be held by the Earl of Derby.
A considerable portion appears to have been sold before 1655 to George Westby, (fn. 67) a son of Thomas Westby of Mowbreck, who built White Hall, (fn. 68) in later times regarded as the manor-house. He also was a recusant and a Royalist, and suffered the sequestration and confiscation of his lands by the Parliament. (fn. 69) He regained them through the agency of friends. A pedigree recorded in 1664 shows that he had sons Thomas (aged ten) and John. (fn. 70) In 1717 John Westby of Upper Rawcliffe, son of John and nephew of Thomas Westby, registered his estate as a 'Papist.' (fn. 71) He was accidentally killed in a mill in 1728 and left a son Thomas as heir. This branch of the family succeeded to part of the Mowbreck estate, but all has been sold in the last half-century. White Hall was in 1857 sold to—Stevenson, whose son, J. C. Stevenson of Leamington, was the owner in 1891.
WHITEHALL, now a farm-house, stands close to the River Wyre, facing south, but is without architectural interest, having been almost entirely rebuilt and modernized about 1857; most of the old timbers were, however, again used. The building dated substantially from the beginning of the 17th century, the older house of the Kirkbys having entirely disappeared, but had been for a long time in a state of decay. The present structure is covered with rough-cast and whkewashed, the roofs covered with blue slates and all the windows are new. There is an old open fireplace in the kitchen now walled up. The west wing is three stories in height with an unequal gable to the front, but the house generally is of two stories, with a projecting gabled two-story porch. The east wing appears to have been pulled down about 1870. (fn. 72)
Other portions of the Urswick estate cannot be traced. One-fourth probably descended to Clifton of Kidsnape, but William Clifton in 1517 held only 'messuages and lands' in Upper Rawcliffe of the king and Thomas Rigmaiden as of their manor of Nether Wyresdale by a rent of 6d. (fn. 73) His widow Margaret claimed dower in the fourth part of the 'manor.' (fn. 74)
Rawcliffe gave a name to some of the earlier tenants, who with others were benefactors of Cockersand Abbey. (fn. 75) Warine de Cornay, one of them, in 1246 claimed certain land from the Abbot of Cockersand. (fn. 76)
TARNACRE or Trenacre also was used as a surname. The same abbey received land from William de Tarnacre, with his body, and from Alice his widow and Alan his son. (fn. 77) About 1270 the abbot and canons agreed with Thomas son of Adam de Inskip as to an exchange of land, (fn. 78) and other Inskips appear later in the township. (fn. 79) Alan son of William de Tarnacre and others gave land to Lytham Priory (fn. 80) and to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem. (fn. 81) Alan's charter was alleged in a dispute in 1292 between Hugh son of Hugh de Mitton and Roger de Wedacre, when Richard son and heir of William son of Alan de Tarnacre was called to warrant. The Prior of the Hospitallers had granted the land to Maud daughter of Hugh de Mitton; she married Roger de Wedacre and bore him a son Robert, whose estate was in his father's hands. (fn. 82) The Cockersand lands (fn. 83) were after the Dissolution purchased by John Braddyll, (fn. 84) and the Hospitallers' lands by the Shireburnes. (fn. 85)
The pleadings afford some details of the mediaeval tenements (fn. 86); the inquisitions also preserve the names of landowners there. (fn. 87) In the 18th century and later the house called Turnover Hall was held successively by Shuttleworth (fn. 88) and Westby. (fn. 89)
Stockenbridge was owned by a family named Blackburne. Richard Blackburne of Eccleston and Tarnacre, holding in the latter place of the king, died in 1641, and had for heir a son John, aged forty-four. (fn. 90) Richard and Edward Blackburne, recusants, in 1654 sought to compound for the sequestrated portions of their estates. (fn. 91) A later Richard Blackburne, described as of Stockenbridge, yeoman, in 1717 registered his estate as a 'Papist.' He died about 1725. (fn. 92) John Blackburne of Field Plumpton, who had a son Thomas, made a settlement in 1727 of the capital messuage called Stockenbridge, lately in the possession of Richard son of (the said) John Blackburne, who had died leaving a daughter Margaret wife of Thomas Eccles of Dilworth. (fn. 93) From a deed of 1748 it appears that another daughter, Ellen, had married William Hathornthwaite, and their son John had Stockenbridge. (fn. 94) The estate afterwards passed by marriage to Leckonby of Great Eccleston and to Phipps. (fn. 95)
Tarnacre Hall, now St. Michael's Hall, near the church, was owned by the Longworth family, who recorded a pedigree in 1664. Isabella Longworth had it in 1770; next year, after her death, it was advertised for sale. (fn. 96) The Butlers of Out RawclifFe had from an early date estates in Upper Rawcliffe and Little Sowerby which were sometimes called manors. (fn. 97)
LITTLE SOWERBY was included in the Singleton estate; thus in 1293 Joan widow of Thomas de Singleton released to Thomas Banastre and Joan his wife all her right in land there. (fn. 98) Richard Balderston had land in Sowerby in 1456, (fn. 99) and the Earl of Derby's rental for 1523 shows lands in Upper RawclifFe and Tarnacre. (fn. 100) It was reckoned as a manor, for the manors of Great and Little Sowerby occur in feoffments of the Derby estates. (fn. 101) The manor is held together with the manor of Upper RawclifFe by the present Earl of Derby, and courts are held. (fn. 102)
From a grant by Richard son of Richard de Tarnacre to Cockersand Abbey it appears that Little Sowerby was also called Aldred Sowerby, for land in it touched the Brock. (fn. 103) Walter de Ellel granted land in Aldrith Sowerby to Walter son of Richard le Boteler. (fn. 104)
Some of the Commonwealth sequestrations for religion and politics have been recorded above. Dr. Wildbore, vicar of Garstang and then of Lancaster, had land in 'Up Ratcliffe' and Tarnacre which he gave to his daughter Elizabeth. She married Thomas Challoner, and the estate was sequestered for the husband's 'delinquency.' After his death she married Samuel Barker, who in 1650 petitioned for the removal of the sequestration. (fn. 105) Roger Hesketh as a 'Papist' had had two-thirds of his lands in Tarnacre and Claughton sequestered; after his death in 1649 his son Richard petitioned for the removal of the sequestration or leave to compound. (fn. 106) Thomas Wilkinson of Tarnacre was another who had twothirds of his estate sequestered for his religion. (fn. 107) Several 'Papists' registered estates in 1717. (fn. 108)
The parish church is situated in this township, and is the only place of worship there.
A school was in 1708 founded by Richard Cornall in Upper Rawdiffe. (fn. 109)