Townships: Elswick

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

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'Townships: Elswick', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 7, (London, 1912), pp. 282-284. British History Online [accessed 13 June 2024].

. "Townships: Elswick", in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 7, (London, 1912) 282-284. British History Online, accessed June 13, 2024,

. "Townships: Elswick", A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 7, (London, 1912). 282-284. British History Online. Web. 13 June 2024,

In this section


Edeleswic, Dom. Bk.; Etleswhic, 1202; Etheliswyck, 1242. Elleswyk, xv cent.

Exceptional forms are Eckeleswyk, Etheneswyk, and Echemeswyk, 1292.

This is the smallest township in the parish, having an area of 1,036½ acres (fn. 1); the population in 1901 was 227. The eastern half is occupied by comparatively high land, 50 ft. above sea level; the west is low and flat.

The village of Elswick stands on the higher land, centrally placed; the Leys and the Grange are to the south of it.

The principal roads cross at the village, going east to Inskip, north to Great Eccleston, west to Thistleton and Singleton, with a branch north to Little Eccleston, and south to Roseacre and Wharles.

The soil is clayey; wheat, oats, barley and beans are grown.

The township has a parish council.

Several cannon balls have been found near Elswick Grange; they are supposed to be traces of the passage of the Earl of Derby and his troops in 1643.


In 1066 Earl Tostig held, as member of his Preston fee, ELSWICK, assessed as three plough-lands. (fn. 2) Afterwards it was included in the lordship or barony of Penwortham, and in part at least was given by Richard Bussel to Richard Fitton. (fn. 3) This gift was probably surrendered, there being no indication that the heirs of the Fittons had any share in Elswick. Before 1212 it had been given to the lord of Freckleton to be held by knight's service. (fn. 4) It was then assessed as two plough-lands, of which a fourth part was in 1242 held in demesne, while a plough-land was held by Warine de Whittingham and the other half plough-land by Alan de Singleton. (fn. 5) These subdivisions were increased by later grants, and in 1322 the holders were Ralph de Freckleton, 4 oxgangs of land; Adam son of William Banastre, 3 oxgangs; Thomas de Bradkirk, ½ oxgang; Orm Travers, 5 oxgangs; and William son of Ellen ¼ oxgang, rendering the service due where eight plough-lands make one knight's fee. (fn. 6)

The Freckleton demesne descended like the chief manor (fn. 7) to Huddleston and the Earls of Derby, whose estate was augmented by a share of the Singleton portion. (fn. 8) In 1603 the manor of Elswick was sold with other estates to a number of purchasers and probably subdivided. (fn. 9) The demesne lands were afterwards the property of the Leckonbys of Great Eccleston, whose estates were dispersed in 1762, this portion being purchased by Edward Rishton; from him it descended by marriage to Alderman King of Manchester (1891). (fn. 10)

Another part of the Freckleton share seems to have been held in the 15th century by Dicconson, who sold to Clifton. (fn. 11) A Molyneux family had some lordship, (fn. 12) Swarbrick, (fn. 13) Ballard (fn. 14) and Turner (fn. 15) all holding of William Molyneux in the time of James I. Other lands were held of the Crown (fn. 16) and of Butler of Rawcliffe. (fn. 17)

The Whittingham moiety of the manor became subdivided. (fn. 18) Bradkirk (fn. 19) —to whom in part succeeded Goosnargh (fn. 20) —and Travers (fn. 21) seem to have been the chief participants in 1322, but others who took the surname of Elswick (fn. 22) had shares. William de Elswick gave his lands to the Singletons in return for maintenance. (fn. 23)

Whalley (fn. 24) and Cockersand (fn. 25) Abbeys and the Priory of St. John of Jerusalem had lands in Elswick, (fn. 26) represented later probably by the estates of Fleetwood, (fn. 27) followed by Hulton, (fn. 28) Eccleston (fn. 29) and Shireburne. (fn. 30) Other of the neighbouring landowners also had lands in this township.

An apportionment of the pasture was made in 1305, when Thomas Travers, Dame Joan Banastre, Walter de Goosnargh and Roger son of Adam de Elswick were lords. By it the holder of an oxgang of land was allowed to send four oxen, four cows, four young beasts, two horses or mares, ten sheep, and four geese with one gander at the close time. There was also a horse-mill in the township, and for its maintenance five horses or mares might be sent to the common pasture. (fn. 31)

Apart from the Leckonby family the sequestrations by the Commonwealth authorities do not seem to have affected this township. In 1717 several 'Papists' registered estates. (fn. 32)

During the Commonwealth period the inhabitants built a chapel on the waste or Leys, and had an allowance of £50 a year from the Committee of Plundered Ministers. (fn. 33) After the Restoration this stipend would cease, and it is said that the Prayer Book services were occasionally used in it (fn. 34); but the vicars of St. Michael's, perhaps themselves indifferent or finding no support from the people and landowners, do not seem to have made any serious attempt to gain it. It was therefore used as a school until the brief indulgence of 1672, when it was licensed for Congregationalists. (fn. 35) From before the Revolution (fn. 36) it has been regularly used by this denomination, and from it many other churches have sprung. It was rebuilt in 1753, and succeeded by the present church in 1873–4.


  • 1. The Census Rep. 1901 gives 1,038 acres, including 5 of inland water.
  • 2. V.C.H. Lancs, i, 288a.
  • 3. Farrer, Lancs. Pipe R. 374; dated between 1159 and 1164.
  • 4. Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 34. In 1202 land in Elswick was included in the agreement between Roger de Freckleton and William de Winwick and Maud his wife, noticed under Freckleton; Feet of F. Yorks. 4 John, no. 45. Richard son of Roger de Freckleton gave an oxgang of land in Elswick to his son Richard on his marriage; Kuerden MSS. iv, F 13.
  • 5. Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 152.
  • 6. Ibid, ii, 135–6; some of the tenements are calculated. In the accounts of the Penwortham fee in 1341–2 the following tenants of Elswick are named: Adam Banastre, ½ oxgang of land; Thomat de Bradkirk, the same; William ton of Ellen; Mins. Accts. bdle. 1091, po. 6.
  • 7. Ralph de Freckleton held the demesne of Elswick in 1371; Kuerden MSS. iii, F 3.
  • 8. The Singleton part of the manor descended like Little Singleton to Banastre, Balderston and their heirs. William Banastre was in 1323 found to have had the reversion of a messuage and 3 oxgangs of land held of Adam de Freckleton by paying 22½d. towards a scutage of 40s.—i.e. by three sixty-fourth parts of a knight's fee; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, ii, 159. Sir Thomas Banastre had lands in Elswick in 1379; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc), i, 14. Elswick was in the time of Henry VIII enumerated among the Balderston lands in the inquisitions of Edmund Dudley, Radcliffe of Winmarleigh, the Earl of Derby and Sir Alexander Osbaldeston. The Coppull of Coppull family had land in Elswick, and this was probably part of the estate told to the Stanleys; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 20, m. 14. Lord Derby's rental in 1522 shows 101s. 3d. rents of the tenants at will, and a few other payments.
  • 9. Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 65, no. 69; Thomas Lord Ellesmere, Alice his wife and others were deforciants.
  • 10. See the account of Great Eccleston, and Fishwick, St. Michael's (Chet. Soc.), 189.
  • 11. In 1489 John Dicconson and Cecily hit wife held land in Elswick of Richard Huddleston (of Freckleton); Pal. of Lanc. Chan. Misc. bdle. 1, file 10. In the same year they told to James Clifton; Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), iii, 142. Cuthbert Clifton died in 1512 holding in Elswick of Thomas Earl of Derby; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iv, no. 12. The later inquisitions of the Cliftons of Westby give a similar record.
  • 12. A William Molyneux of Westhonghton occurs in 1600; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 248.
  • 13. William Swarbrick of Roseacre died in 1619 holding land and a corn-mill in Elswick of William Molyneux in socage by 10d. rent; also another piece of land of the king as of his honor of Clitheroe. John, his son and heir, was twenty years of age; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), ii, 138. It is stated that early in 1643 the Earl of Derby 'stayed at Elswick whilst his company plundered Mr. William Swarbrick's books'; War in Lancs. (Chet. Soc), 28. The victim was not a mere student, but shortly afterwards raised soldiers for the Parliament, having the rank of captain, and took part in the campaign; ibid. 42, 49, 50. He was the son of John Swarbrick of Roseacre, and his sister Ellen married Cuthbert Harrison, the founder of Nonconformity after the Restoration; Nightingale, Lancs. Nonconf. i, 81.
  • 14. John Ballard held a messuage and land by 10d. rent, and at his death in 1619 was succeeded by his son Thomas, aged forty; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc), ii, 141. Thomas Ballard died in 1635 holding a messuage, &c., in Elswick of Richard Molyneux and land in Tarnacre of the king as of the manor of East Greenwich. He left four daughters as co-heirs— Janet, Ellen, Anne and Dorothy—their ages ranging from seventeen to eight years; Towneley MS. C 8, 13 (Chet. Lib.), 60.
  • 15. Edward Turner of Goosnargh in 1604 held 12 acres and left a son Christopher, aged fifty in 1620; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc), ii, 191. William Turner died in 1632 holding a messuage, &c., in Elswick of the king as of his manor of Clitheroe. Thomas, his son and heir, was fifty years of age; Towneley MS. C 8, 13, p. 1190.
  • 16. William Butler of Hackinsall in 1586 held land in Elswick of the queen as of her duchy in socage; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xiv, no. 47. See also Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc.), i, 241. John (son of William) Bell died in 1625 holding land and a mill in Elswick of the king; his heir was William his son, aged twenty-five; Towneley MS. C 8, 13, p. 66. Thomas Noblett died in 1636 holding a messuage, &c., of the king as of his duchy in socage. Edmund, his son and heir, was twenty years of age; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m xxx, no. 67. In some cases, as those of Eccleston and Stanley of Great Eccleston, the tenure has not been recorded.
  • 17. John Wilkinson of Little Eccleston so held in 1628; Towneley MS. C 8,13, pp. 1311–12.
  • 18. John de Whittingham gave to his friend Thomas Banastre of Bretherton a rent of 2s. from an oxgang of land in Elswick in 1301; Dods. MSS. cxlix, fol. 46b.
  • 19. Adam de Bradkirk (before 1226) gave to Richard son of Alan in marriage with Amabil his daughter 3 oxgangs of land in Elswick, which had been given by Warine de Whittingham; Whalley Couch. (Chet. Soc), ii, 459. Amabil granted one of the oxgangs to John de Elswick, another to Adam son of Lewe, and the third to Robert son of Hugh; ibid. She was afterwards known as Amabil de Sowerby; ibid. 462.
  • 20. Adam son of Adam de Bradkirk gave land to Randle de Goosnargh son of Robert, viz. one of the oxgangs which Warine de Whittingham had given Adam his father and which Adam son of Lewe had released. A rent of 2s. was to be paid to cover the rent payable to Warine de Whittingham. This charter was enrolled because the wax fell off when in the hands of the justices in eyre; Assize R. 408, m. 44. Alice widow of Randle de Goosnargh in 1292 claimed dower in half an oxgang of land in Elswick against Adam son of Henry son of Ulf and Agnes his wife; ibid. m. 24. In 1316 Maud widow of Alexander de Goosnargh claimed dower in 1 oxgang of land against Henry de Carleton and Godith his wife; De Banco R. 216, m. 194. About the same time Hugh son of Randle de Goosnargh released to Thomas de Bradkirk his claim in 2 oxgangs of land with a messuage in Elswick formerly his brother Alexander's, of which 1 oxgang was formerly held by Adam son of Roger, while the other was then held by Henry de Carleton and Godith his wife for life; Kuerden fol. MS. 154. Hugh also gave his sons Richard and Thomas a chief messuage in Withington (Weeton) and the reversion of the lands held in Elswick by Maud widow of Alexander de Goosnargh and Godith daughter of Randle; ibid. The said Godith, as widow, gave the 2 oxgangs of land to Thomas son of Adam de Bradkirk in 1320–1 and her whole right in 3 oxgangs; ibid.
  • 21. Paulin de Preston, who had sons William and Adam, held an oxgang of land in Elswick in 1292; Assize R. 408, m. 24, 76. Earlier than this he had granted an oxgang of land there to his son William; it had been purchased from Adam son of Richard de Elswick; Add. MS. 32108, no. 70. In 1295 Thomas Travers obtained a messuage and the third part of an oxgang from Hugh son of Paul de Preston and Alice bis wife; Final Conc, i, 178. Alice widow of Thomas Travers claimed dower in 1317 in Elswick and Thistleton against Robert son of William Cowdray and Margaret his wife; De Banco R. 219, m. 131 d.
  • 22. Amabil daughter of Adam de Bradkirk, as widow, granted to Robert son of Hugh, de Elswick the oxgang of land which Richard the Dispenser had when he took his way to the Holy Land, at 2s. rent, and this was confirmed by her brother Adam de Bradkirk and her son Richard de Sowerby; Whalley Couch, ii, 460–2. To a grant by the same Robert son of Hugh de Elswick the following were witnesses: Adam son of Hugh de Elswick, Stephen his brother, Adam son of John de Elswick and Alexander de Elswick, clerk; ibid. 456. Richard son of Adam de Elswick confirmed a grant by Robert his uncle; ibid. 458. William de Elswick released lands to his brother Robert; ibid. 463. Alexander de Elswick, clerk, granted land in Sowerby to hit son Richard; Kuerden MSS. iv, S 3. William son of Alexander the clerk in 1292 called upon Adam son of Henry de Elswick to fulfil an agreement made in 1280 that William's son and daughter should respectively marry Adam's daughter and son, but the decision was adverse; Assize R. 408, m. 93 d. Robert son of Alexander de Elswick obtained half an oxgang of land in 1298 from Adam son of Ulf and Agnes his wife; Final Conc, i, 184. Some other early tenants occur. In 1304 Cecily widow of Alan de Warlowes (Wharles) claimed dower in a tenement (including 1 oxgang of land) in Elswick against John de Fulborne and Joan his wife, and William Banastre was summoned to warrant; De Banco R. 151, m. 5 d.; 154, m. 28 d. Cecily, called widow of Alan de Faisacre, gave all her right in Elswick to William Banastre; Dods. MSS. cxlix, fol. 5b. William son of Ellen de Haighton was in 1326 found to have held, in conjunction with Alice hit wife, 4½ acres of arable land in Elswick of the king in chief as of the honour of Lancaster, by knight's service and a rent of 3d. to the castle; Chan. Inq. p.m. 19 Edw. II, no. 51. Richard Southworth of Gressingham and Alice his wife had lands in 1413; Final Conc, iii, 72. The tenure of John Southworth's lands in 1484 was not known; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc), ii, 113. Nicholas son of Robert Mythop in 1413 released to Robert Taylor all right in lands in Elswick and Great Eccleston held of him by Robert; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxvii, App. 174.
  • 23. Lancs. Inq. and Extents, ii, 138–9. William had granted three messuages, a horse-mill and 2 oxgangs of land to Thomas de Singleton and Joan his wife, who in return bound themselves to provide him with sustenance like that of the free men in their household, a cloak at Christmas, and 4s. 6d. for shoes at Michaelmas. The inheritance having in 1322 descended to Adam Banastre, a minor, William found himself deprived of his sustenance. Order was thereupon made that it should be restored to him.
  • 24. Robert (son of Hugh) de Elswick granted to Stanlaw Abbey half an oxgang of land (excepting that part already given to Cockersand); the monks were to pay 12d. a year to Adam de Bradkirk, he paying the same to the heirs of Whittingham; Whalley Couch. ii, 457. The gift was confirmed by others interested (ibid. 463–4), and a toft was added; ibid. 454–5. The lands of the abbey were described about 1400 as eight 'lands' in the Page Croft (next land of John Southworth), a broadland on the Tunstead, a headland in the Wadfurlong that shot upon the Tunstead (next land of John Coppull), land shooting into the Trathorne (next Henry Marshall's land), and a toft called the Granger yard; ibid. 465.
  • 25. Warine de Whittingham gave an acre; Richard son of Roger de Freckleton gave a messuage, &c.; and Robert son of Hugh de Elswick gave land for a barn; Cockersand Chartul. (Chet. Soc), i, 187–8. Among the field-names are a selion called Cock and Hen, Turmurfurlong and Smerebrook. For the tenants 1451–1537 see ibid, iii, 1266–9. John Southworth and his heirs were among them.
  • 26. Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 375.
  • 27. The grant to Thomas Fleetwood in Elswick was said to be of lands formerly of Whalley Abbey; Pat. 2 Mary. Elswick is named in the inquisition after his death, along with Great Layton, and was to go to his younger son William; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xii, no. 2.
  • 28. William Fleetwood sold to John Hulton and John Hodgson in 1596; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 59, m. 320. John Hulton of Darleys died in 1606 holding lands in Elswick of the king by knight's service; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc), i, 68. Richard Hodgson of Layton died in 1630 holding land there of the king; Townelcy MS. C 8, 13, p. 514.
  • 29. The tenure is not recorded, but the land in Elswick was probably acquired with Singleton Grange.
  • 30. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xxvi, no, 4.
  • 31. Dods. MSS. cxlix, fol. 34. There were 16 oxgangs of land in the vill, each containing 24 acres of land and meadow.
  • 32. Elizabeth Hoole, John Turner, William Smith and John Clarkson; Estcourt and Payne, Engl. Cath. Nonjurors, 105, 125, 134–5.
  • 33. Commonw. Ch. Surv. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches), 148. No minister had then (1650) been approved. The order for £50 a year (out of Lord Derby's estates) was made in Dec 1649, and about a year later William Bell, a 'godly and orthodox divine,' was 'settled minister there; Plund. Mins. Accts. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 83, 89, 103, 235.
  • 34. 'Divine service was performed in this chapel in the memory of several now [1722] living,' was the vicar of St. Michael's statement; Gastrell, Notitia Cestr. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 452.
  • 35. Nightingale, Lancs. Nonconf. i, 83–92, where a full account maybe read; a view of the present church is given. Cuthbert Harrison, curate of Singleton till 1662, is said to have been minister at Elswick in 1672.
  • 36. From 'King Jame's Toleration,' according to the vicar of St. Michael's. In 1689 Elswick Chapel was certified 'for John Parr and his congregation; Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 231. The first minister recorded by Mr. Nightingale is Jonathan Nightingale, 1703–5. There is supposed to have been a lapse into Arianism about 1760. The registers are at Somerset House. The chapel of 1753 is described in Hewitson's Our Country Churches, 415–18.