A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 7. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.
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Nether Wyresdale; Holleth; Cleveley (Part); Cabus; Winmarleigh; Nateby; Garstang; Kirkland; Barnacre-With-Bonds; Catterall; Claughton; Bilsborrow; Pilling;
The parish of Garstang has an area of 28,881 acres, and the population in 1901 numbered 5,896, (fn. 1) employed for the most part in agriculture, though there are some scattered factories.
The northern boundary is peculiar, Holleth being quite detached from the main body of the parish and having a small part of its area within the parish of Cockerham, in which also is contained about threefourths of Cleveley. Some evidences of the Roman occupation have been found. (fn. 2) Before the Conquest only three manors existed—Garstang, Catterall and Claughton—and these three, with the addition of Bilsborrow, were all the townships existing in 1327–41. (fn. 3) It was only slowly that the other townships became separate. In 1624 the county lay was apportioned as follows: Garstang, £10 5s. 3¼d.; Catterall, £1 13s. 7¾d.; Claughton, 18s. 9¾d.; and Bilsborrow, £1 4s. 6¼d., making a total contribution of £14 2s. 3d. towards the £100 levied upon the hundred. (fn. 4) The older fifteenth was of similar proportions. (fn. 5) The townships had by that time become distinct, (fn. 6) and Bishop Gastrell in 1717 reckoned them as eleven, arranged in four quarters—Garstang, Claughton, Barnacre and Wyresdale; Pilling was in the first-named quarter. (fn. 7)
Garstang is midway between Preston and Lancaster, on the ancient road to Scotland, and has thus witnessed many stirring events, such as the devastating raid by the Scots in 1322, (fn. 8) but ancient remains are scanty. (fn. 9)
There was a visitation of the plague in 1349–50. (fn. 10) In 1444 William Marsden and others were charged with having broken into a fulling mill at Garstang and stolen forty ells of woollen cloth called russet, value 40s., the goods of John Ingoll. (fn. 11)
Leland, journeying north about 1535, says: 'After I rode over Brock water, rising a vi miles off in the hills on the right hand and goeth at last into Wyre. Calder rising about the same hills, goeth also into Wyre; I rode over it. By the town's end of Garstang I rode over a great stone bridge on Wyre ere I came to it. Wyre rises a viii or ten miles from Garstang out of the hills on the right hand and cometh by Greenhalgh, a pretty castle of the lord of Derby's, and more than half a mile thence to Garstang in Amounderness. Some saith that Garstang was a market town. (fn. 12)
The district was hostile to the Reformation (fn. 13) and favourable to the king's cause in the Civil War though some companies were raised for the other side. (fn. 14) Greenhalgh Castle was one of the two important fortresses remaining till 1645 to give trouble to the Parliamentarians. Their historian gives the following account of its surrender:—
Colonel Dodding with his regiment, with Major Joseph Rigby's companies, laid close siege to Greenhalgh Castle, keeping their main guard at Garstang town, into which [castle] were gotten many desperate Papists. Their governor was one Mr. Anderton. They vexed the country thereabouts extremely, fetching in the night time many honest men from their houses, making a commodity of it. They sallied out oft upon the Leaguers and killed some. They stood it out stoutly all that winter. The country was put to extraordinary charges in maintaining the northern men, who made a prey without pity, such abundance of provision they weekly destroyed. The Leaguers had thought to have undermined the castle and blown it up with gunpowder, and great cost was spent about it to pioneers, but to no effect; the ground was so sandy it would not stand. At last this Anderton died, and them there within being thereby discouraged, they were glad to come to a composition to deliver it up upon conditions—which were, that they might go to their own houses and be safe. It was ordered that the castle should be demolished and made untenable and all the timber taken out of it and sold, which was done. And so it lies ruinated. . . . It was very strong, and builded so that it was thought impregnable with any ordnance whatsoever, having but one door into it, and the walls of an exceeding thickness and very well secured together. (fn. 15)
Celia Fiennes, who passed through this 'little market town' about 1700, was here 'first presented with the clap bread which is much talked of, made all of oats.' (fn. 16)
In the Jacobite rising of 1715 (fn. 17) the town clerk, Roger Muncaster, joined their forces, as did several others of the district. Muncaster was executed at Preston, and three of the local men at Garstang on 14. February 1715–16. (fn. 18) Though Prince Charles Edward and his army passed through in 1745, (fn. 19) it does not appear that they secured any adherents in this parish.
A century ago the district was famous for its cattle, which were of a peculiar breed, 'of a smaller size than the Lancashire, of elegant shape and beautifully curled hair, with wide spreading horns and straight backs.' The Wyre then supplied the inhabitants with plenty of fine soft water, and afforded good diversion to the angler as abounding with trout, chub and gudgeon and in springtime with smelts. (fn. 20)
The following table (fn. 21) shows the manner in which the agricultural land is now employed:—
The church of ST. HELEN (fn. 22) stands on the south side of Churchtown village, close to the right bank of the River Wyre, about 1½ miles to the south-west of the town of Garstang, and consists of a chancel with north and south aisles and north vestry, clearstoried nave with north and south aisles, south chapel, south porch, and west tower. (fn. 23)
The earliest parts of the building are the pier and responds on the north side of the chancel and the piers of the nave arcades, which are of 13th-century date, indicating a church at that period of about the same length and width as at present. This early building, however, would probably be without clearstory, and would terminate at the west end with a gable, from a window in which the nave would be lighted. The chancel may have been originally without a south aisle, but there is no evidence of this, as the arcade on that side is of later date, probably work of the 14th century, to which period the chancel arch belongs. The chancel was most likely entirely reconstructed at this period and a south aisle added, the pier and responds on the north side being retained perhaps by reason of the beauty of the work, which is unusually good for this part of the country, or possibly for merely structural reasons. In the 15th century, (fn. 24) and again in the 16th century, (fn. 25) the church was largely rebuilt, the whole of the outside walls belonging to these periods, a chapel added on the south side of the south aisle of the nave and a tower erected at the west end, the building assuming in a large measure its present appearance. The windows are all of this last date with perpendicular tracery, with the exception of those at the west end of the nave aisles, which are of 14th-century date and may have been originally in the south quire aisle. The small irregularly-shaped two-story vestry at the north-east corner of the building is apparently of 16th or early 17th-century date, and a gabled hearsehouse against the west side of the porch was probably erected in the middle of the 18th century. In 1746 an inundation of the Wyre overflowed the churchyard and so much injured the church that it was thought that it would be necessary to take it down and entirely rebuild it, but on inspection the building was found to be structurally sound, so that restoration alone was necessary.
In 1811 the walls of the nave and chancel were raised and a clearstory erected in place of the gabled dormer windows which had before existed, and the whole of the building was at the same time re-roofed and ceiled. A more thorough restoration took place in 1865–8, (fn. 26) when the square pews and galleries which had been erected in the previous century were removed, the nave re-seated, and the roofs opened out, the interior then assuming its present appearance.
The walls are of rubble masonry with ashlar dressings, finishing with a plain ashlar parapet to the aisles and chapel, but the chancel and nave roofs, which are of flat pitch, have overhanging eaves. The chancel roof is slightly lower than that of the nave, and their east gables being unmarked by a cross or other apex stone, an appearance of flatness is produced. The external appearance of the church has no doubt lost much of its distinction by the removal of the old higher-pitched roofs.
The chancel is 36 ft. 9 in. long by 19 ft. 3 in. in width, and has a five-light pointed window with perpendicular tracery, moulded jambs and head, and external hood mould with carved terminations. The line of the 15th-century roof shows on the exterior of the gable, the east wall of the 1811 clearstory being simply built above it. The wall on the north side of the chancel for a distance of 13 ft. from the east end is of 15th-century date, with a pointed doorway to what was probably a vestry built at the east end of the original shorter aisle, but which is now part of the aisle itself. West of this is an arcade of two pointed arches of two chamfered orders springing from a central eight-shafted pier with moulded base and carved capital, and from a respond of similar detail at the east end. At the west end the arch dies into the wall, stopping with a four-leaved flower, but the 13th-century respond still remains set back within the later masonry. The detail of the pier and responds is very good, the bases having the water moulding, and the caps, which are 12 in. deep, being carved with stiff-leaved foliage. The capital of the west respond is 3 ft. lower than the others, the height of which to the top of the capitals is 8 ft. 3 in., it having probably been mutilated and built up in the later walling. The north aisle, which is 12 ft. 10 in wide, is the full length of the chancel, and is lighted by two three-light pointed windows with perpendicular tracery on the north side and a similar one at the east end. Below the east window, close to the floor level, is a square-headed opening, now built up 19 in. high by 6½ in. wide, splaying to 2 ft. 9 in. inside, the sill of which is 2 ft. 4 in. above the ground on the outside, the purpose of which is not clear. On the south side of the chancel is a 6 ft. length of wall containing a piscina with trefoil head and projecting bowl moulded on the underside, and beyond an arcade of two pointed arches of two chamfered orders springing from an octagonal pier with moulded capital and base, and from semi-octagonal responds. On the east wall to the south of the chancel window is a moulded corbel or bracket, 11 in. deep, square on plan, with a four-leaved flower ornament, 5 ft. above the floor. The south chancel aisle, which is 13 ft. 4 in. wide and has a pointed south door with moulded jambs and head, is about 9 in. less in length than the chancel, and, like the north aisle, is lighted by two three-light pointed windows with perpendicular tracery on the south side and one at its east end. The chancel is separated from the aisles by modern oak screens, and has two clearstory windows, similar to those of the nave, on either side. The roof is a modern timber one of four bays and the floor is tiled, the aisles being paved with flags.
The chancel arch is of two orders each with the wave moulding, springing from similar responds having modern caps, but retaining their original moulded plinths, which are mutilated, on either side for a former screen. In the pier south of the chancel arch facing east is a segmental-headed doorway with hollow-chamfered jambs and head, which led formerly to a stone staircase, the underside of three of the steps of which are still visible above the opening. The lower steps have been removed and a skew passage-way cut through the masonry to the nave, the pier having been rebuilt and the staircase done away with. Previous to the restoration of 1868 the south aisle was blocked from floor to ceiling by a large stone 'vault,' and a faculty had to be obtained for its removal, the materials being used in the restoration of the church.
The nave, which is 55 ft. 6 in. long by 21 ft. 9 in. wide, has an arcade of five pointed arches of two chamfered orders on each side, springing from circular piers 2 ft. in diameter, with plain moulded capitals and bases. On the north side the height of the piers to the top of the capitals is 10 ft. 3 in., but on the south the height is 6 in. less, and the top member of the cap is octagonal in plan instead of circular as in the north. The north-east respond is half-octagonal, but the others are of the same type as the piers, those at the west being something less than half a circle, and the westernmost pier on the north side leans badly to the west. The arches are of later date than the piers, belonging probably to the 15thcentury rebuilding. All the stonework of the arcade, both of piers and arches, has been re-chiselled. There are three square-headed clearstory windows of three pointed lights on each side, and the roof, which is of five bays, is modern. The north aisle is 13 ft. 3 in. wide, and has two pointed three-light windows, with perpendicular tracery on the north side and a pointed doorway in the second bay from the west, of two hollow-chamfered orders and external hood mould, above which is a niche with a crocketed canopy, now much worn. The west window is of red sandstone, with three trefoiled lights and straight bar tracery and quatrefoils in the head, but without a hood mould. At the west end of the south aisle, which is 12 ft. wide, is another pointed sandstone window of three cinquefoiled lights, with quatrefoil tracery, the mullions crossing in the head; both these windows, which, as already mentioned, are of 14thcentury date, have plain chamfered details. The south aisle is open to the chapel at its eastern end by two wide pointed arches of two chamfered orders springing from an octagonal pier and responds, to the west of which and 13 ft. from the west wall is the south doorway, with segmental head and square splayed jambs. The chapel, formerly the chantry ot the Blessed Virgin, is 33 ft. 3 in. by 12 ft. 8 in., the floor being raised two steps above that of the nave. In the south wall is a piscina with trefoiled head and wide chamfered jambs, and the roof is the original flat one of oak divided into seven bays by moulded beams, with intermediate moulded pieces, forming in all twenty-one squares. On the south wall are stone corbels, lower than the crown of the window arches, carrying portions of an older beam moulded on the edges, above which, carved along the wallplate, is the inscription 'SANCTA MARIA ORA P[RO] NOBIS DEMON SCRIBIT IBI CVNCTA LOCVTA SIBI A o D[OMI]NI MoDoXXIX HOC OPVS AGITAT IN TEMPLO GENTES CAVEANT SIMVL ESSE LOQVENTES.' The chapel has two pointed windows of three trefoiled lights, and with perpendicular tracery and external hood moulds on the south side, and on the east a window of later date, with four-centred arch and three plain pointed lights.
The porch is 12 ft. 10 in. by 8 ft. 6 in. wide, with a stone seat on each side, and open outer arch of two chamfered orders 6 ft. wide by 10 ft. high, with plain gable above set between the higher wall of the south chapel and the wider gable of the hearsehouse, which is flush with it.
The west tower, the centre line of which is about 2 ft. to the south of that of the nave, is 11 ft. square inside, and has a projecting vice with stone spirelet in the north-east corner, and diagonal angle buttresses on the west side of six stages going up to the string immediately below the belfry windows, which are of two trefoiled lights under a square labelled head. The embattled parapet has been rebuilt apparently in the 18th century and is poor in detail. There is a clock on the north side towards the village, but, except for a small square-headed window to the ringing chamber, the north and south walls below the belfry are quite plain. The west door has a pointed arch of two hollow-chamfered orders and external label, and the window above is a pointed one of three trefoiled lights with perpendicular tracery. The tower arch is of two chamfered orders, the outer one dying into the wall at the springing.
The north-east vestry is built of large blocks of squared stone, in contrast to the rubble masonry of the rest of the building, and is entered from the north chancel aisle by a four-centred arched doorway. It measures internally 10 ft. 6 in. square, with a bay window 3 ft. 6 in. deep on the east side, and is now open to the roof, the original upper floor having been removed. (fn. 27)
The pulpit is of oak, dated 1646, with a new stem and top mould, and is a good piece of Jacobean woodwork with square moulded panels. At the east end of the north quire aisle are preserved portions of oakwork said to have been originally round the stalls, bearing the inscription 'Bona consuetudo excutiat quod mala extruxit. Minus semper dicito qua facias.' The stalls themselves have been restored, four of the six on each side having carved misericordes. There is a good 18th-century brass chandelier in the nave, (fn. 28) but the font and the rest of the fittings are modern.
There is a ring of six bells by T. Mears of London, 1828.
The plate consists of a chalice (fn. 29) of 1658 inscribed 'Garstang,' with the maker's mark T C linked; a chalice inscribed 'Garstang 1690' without date letter, but with the maker's initials R M thrice repeated; a paten of 1719 without inscription; two flagons of 1795, both inscribed 'The gift of Isabella Pedder, wife of John Pedder, vicar of Garstang, for the use of that church, 1795'; and a paten of 1872–3 without inscription.
The registers begin in 1567, but there are gaps from January to June 1601, January to March 1609, September to December 1653, and from April 1659 to December 166o. (fn. 30)
The churchyard, which lies principally on the north and south sides, is entered from the village at the north-west corner, and is bounded on the west and south-east by a line of beech trees. On the south side are the base and octagonal stump of a cross, the latter 2 ft. 6 in. high, and further west an 18thcentury pedestal sundial, the plate dated 1757, with the name of John Miller, Preston, and the motto 'Pereunt et imputantur.' On the east side is a stone slab, much mutilated and worn, with the raised fulllength figure of a man with hands clasped.
The advowson of the church of Garstang was held by the Lancaster family as appurtenant to their manor or fee of Nether Wyresdale, and in 1204–5 Gilbert Fitz Reinfred and Helewise de Stuteville were able to prove their right against the rector of St. Michael's, who alleged that Garstang was a chapelry to which he should appoint. (fn. 31) Gilbert afterwards granted the advowson to Cockersand Abbey, (fn. 32) and the canons held the church and rectory down to the Dissolution. Queen Mary, in refounding the Savoy Hospital in 1556–8, included the advowson of Garstang, (fn. 33) and the master of the hospital in 1558, immediately after Elizabeth's accession, demised it to Christopher Anderton of Lostock for ninety-nine years. (fn. 34) Afterwards the advowson appears to have been acquired absolutely, and was in 1679 sold by Sir Charles Anderton of Lostock to Silvester Richmond, a Liverpool physician, (fn. 35) whose son and namesake in 1740 sold to Richard Pedder of Preston. (fn. 36) It has since descended in this family, the present patron being the vicar, the Rev. John Wilson Pedder. (fn. 37)
The rectory was in 1291 valued at £26 13s. 4d. a year, but after the incursion of the Scots in 1322 this was reduced to £10 (fn. 38); an increase to £12 was recorded in 1341. (fn. 39) The valuation of 1535 was only £19. (fn. 40) After the Dissolution the Crown leased the rectory out apart from the advowson, (fn. 41) and in 1604–5 sold it to Lawrence Baskervill. (fn. 42) It appears to have been purchased by Robert Bindloss of Borwick, (fn. 43) who also acquired the lessees' interest, (fn. 44) and in 1622 the tithe corn was farmed for a gross sum of £274. (fn. 45) A rent of £40 was paid to the Crown, and this was part of the queen's income. (fn. 46) The main portion of the rectory passed to Standish of Standish by marriage, and has since descended with this manor. (fn. 47)
A vicarage was ordained in 1241 by John Romaine, then Archdeacon of Richmond. The vicar was to have the tithes, &c, of Claughton, which included the hamlets of Douansargh and Heyham, the oblations of the entire parish at Christmas, Easter and the patronal feast, with mass pennies and other dues. The vicar was to be responsible for the due celebration of divine service, the payment of the archdeacon's dues, Peter's pence, &c. A residence was allotted to him at Philiptoft, by the churchyard, also an oxgang of land in the town fields of Garstang exempt from tithes. (fn. 48) The vicar's income was in 1291 taxed as £13 6s. 8d., reduced after 1322 to £5. (fn. 49) In 1535 the gross value was estimated as £14 8s. 8d., (fn. 50) by 1650 this had advanced to £60, (fn. 51) and by 1717 to £73 10s. (fn. 52) At the present time the net value is £266 a year. (fn. 53)
The following have been vicars:—
|Instituted||Name||Patron||Cause of Vacancy|
|oc. 1277–8||Benedict (fn. 57)||—||—|
|29 May 1281||Roger de Cockersand (fn. 58)||Archbishop of York||—|
|oc. 1330||William de Skipton (fn. 59)||—||—|
|oc. 1341||William de Lonersale (fn. 60)||—||—|
|oc. 1147||William deCaton (fn. 61)||—||—|
|c. 1356||Richard Pacock (fn. 62)||—||—|
|21 Oct. 1380||Richard de Preston (fn. 63)||Cockersand Abbey||—|
|oc. 1385||Roger Pacock (fn. 64)||—||—|
|16 Mar. 1395–6||Thomas de Green (fn. 65)||Cockersand Abbey||—|
|? 14.10||Robert Lancaster||—||—|
|16 Nov. 1421||Robert Carrington||Cockersand Abbey||d. R. Lancaster|
|3 Aug. 1422||Roger Garnet||"||—|
|14 Feb. 1422–3||Robert Overton||"||res. R. Garnet|
|29 Sept. 1429||Thomas Hoton (fn. 66)||"||res. R. Overton|
|oc. 1461 (?)||Henry — (fn. 67)||—||—|
|oc. 1481||John Bradford (fn. 68)||—||—|
|oc. 1500||John Woods (fn. 69)||—||—|
|oc. 1508||Thomas Bowland (fn. 70)||—||—|
|c. 1515||John Lancaster (fn. 71)||—||—|
|oc. 1535||James Dugdale (fn. 72)||—||—|
|Oct. 1545||Richard Preston, M.A. (fn. 73)||John Kechyn||d. last inc.|
|18 Jan. 1558–9||James Anderton (fn. 74)||Christopher Anderton||d. last inc.|
|28 July 1562||Hugh Anderton, B.C.L. (fn. 75)||The Queen||res. J. Anderton|
|10 Mar. 1574–5||George Ainsworth (fn. 76)||Bishop of Chester||—|
|2 Feb. 1609–10||George Mitton, B.A.||James Anderton||d. G. Ainsworth|
|17 Feb. 1620–1||Augustine Wildbore, D.D. (fn. 77)||Master of Wards.||—|
|Apr. 1645||Christopher Edmundson (fn. 78)||—||—|
|29 Nov. 1654||Isaac Ambrose, M.A. (fn. 79)||Master of Savoy||—|
|3 June 1663||Robert Ditchfield, B.A. (fn. 80)||Bishop of Chester||depr. I. Ambrose|
|28 July 1677||Henry Patten, M.A. (fn. 81)||The King||—|
|6 Jan. 1678–9||Robert Hunter (fn. 82)||Silvester Richmond||d. Rt. Ditchfield|
|9 Mar. 1679–80||Richard Richmond, M.A. (fn. 83)||"||res. R. Hunter|
|28 Nov. 1684||Richard Wroe, D.D. (fn. 84)||Richard Richmond||res. R. Richmond|
|ro Mar. 1696–7||Robert Styth, B.A. (fn. 85)||Sarah Richmond, &c.||res. R. Wroe|
|4 Apr. 1698||Henry Richmond, B.A. (fn. 86)||"||res. R. Styth|
|1 Mar. 1706–7||Thomas Waring, M.A. (fn. 87)||Richard Richmond, &c.||res. H. Richmond|
|4 Mar. 1722–3||Thomas Hayward, M.A. (fn. 88)||Silvester Richmond||d. T. Waring|
|14 July 1731||Legh Richmond (fn. 89)||"||res. T. Hayward|
|1 June 1750||Thomas Hunter, M.A. (fn. 90)||"||res. L. Richmond|
|3 Sept. 1755||James Pedder, B.A. (fn. 91)||Richard Pedder||res. T. Hunter|
|29 June 1772||James Fisher (fn. 92)||James Pedder||d. J. Pedder|
|22 Aug. 1794||John Pedder, M.A. (fn. 93)||John Pedder||res. J. Fisher|
|27 July 1835||James Pedder, M.A. (fn. 94)||James Pedder||d. J. Pedder|
|Feb. 1856||John Pedder, M.A. (fn. 95)||John Pedder||d. J. Pedder|
|18 Oct. 1859||Wilson Pedder, M.A. (fn. 96)||Richard & Thomas Pedder||d. J. Pedder|
|14 July 1891||John Wilson Pedder, M.A. (fn. 97)||J. W. Pedder||d. W. Pedder|
Before the Reformation the vicars appear to have been, as a rule, canons of Cockersand; one or two became abbots, but nothing is known of them further. The services of the church, its chantries, and the chapels at Garstang and Pilling would normally require five priests, or a nominal staff of six should the vicar be non-resident or only occasionally resident. In the visitation list of 1554 six names appear, but in that of 1562 only two are given, the non-resident vicar and the curate, who appeared but did not subscribe. (fn. 98) The story during the remainder of Elizabeth's reign is unknown; probably the vicar or a curate was in sole charge. The religious people in general probably remained Roman Catholic. An incident in 1600 shows the popular sympathies. The Bishop of Chester having sent a pursuivant to arrest 'some obstinate recusants' in and near Kirkland, the vicarage was attacked during the night by a number of armed men and shots were fired at the house to intimidate the vicar and pursuivant. (fn. 99)
In view of the state of the people, one of the four 'King's Preachers' had already been stationed at Garstang, (fn. 100) and later the famous Puritan Isaac Ambrose held the office there. In 1619 Anne wife of John Butler of Kirkland was presented to the Bishop of Chester 'for being of bold, insolent and offensive behaviour in maintaining of popish superstition and making choice of popish recusants to be her servants'; and two of the gentry, Edward Kirkby and Bartholomew Jackson, did 'offensively keep argument in maintaining of popery and disgracing of the profession of the Gospel, especially on the Sabbath day.' (fn. 101)
Under Bishop Bridgeman an effort at improvement was made, for a curate of Pilling is named in 1639. (fn. 102) Even under the Commonwealth the only resident ministers were the vicar and the curate of Pilling, and the latter had been silenced. (fn. 103) Isaac Ambrose is the only vicar of eminence, and after his expulsion in 1662 the list contains no name requiring comment, except that of the non-resident Wroe. The parish was not neglected. (fn. 104) The diary of Thomas Parkinson, curate 1723–5, shows that 'prayers were then said in the church on all Wednesdays and Fridays, and all saints' days and holy days throughout the year.' The communicants were numerous, being 236 on Good Friday and 285 on Easter Day, 1723. (fn. 105) Soon afterwards the vicars appear to have resided, so that with curates at Garstang and Pilling the normal staff was raised to three.
In 1755 the churchwardens made a religious census and recorded 461 Protestant families, 154 Papist, and 18 Dissenters. (fn. 106) The number of 'Papists' in the parish reported to the Bishop of Chester increased from 230 in 1717 to 837 in 1767. (fn. 107)
There were two chantries. The principal was that of St. Mary, at the altar on the south side of the church. It was founded by Margaret Rigmaiden, one of the daughters and co-heirs of John Lawrence of Ashton near Lancaster, for a priest to celebrate for the souls of her ancestors, a stipend of £5 6s. 8d. being allowed out of her hereditary lands. Her heir John Rigmaiden about 1547 refused to pay the stipend, and so the chantry ceased. (fn. 108) This refusal was probably due to a desire to save the endowment from confiscation; if so it did not succeed, for in 1606–7 a grant was made by the Crown of 'Ashton's lands' belonging to a chantry in Garstang Church. (fn. 109) The other chantry was that of the Brockholes family, which may have been the one they were bound to maintain by the tenure of Claughton. Nothing but a stipend of 40s. belonged to it; Henry Hey was the incumbent in 1547. (fn. 110)
Official inquiries into the charities of the parish were made in 1824 and 1898. (fn. 111) Apart from several small educational endowments, amounting in all to £l33, (fn. 112) the poor receive money doles out of a gross total of £82 16s. 3d. available.
Elizabeth Caton of Cabus in 1728 left £30 for money or cloth for the poor of the whole parish. John Caton of Claughton in 1720 left £40 for the poor, and Christopher Caton of the same place in 1721 left another £40 for the poor of Claughton. With these sums Round Meadow in Forton was purchased, and in 1824 part of the rent was spent in cloth at Martinmas and part in money at Christmas. Margaret Blackburn of Scorton in Nether Wyresdale in 1718 bequeathed £50 to the poor of this township and £40 'for the learning of poor children.' (fn. 113) John Jenkinson in 1733 left £20 for the poor of the same township, and Henry Barton in 1784 left the rescue of his personal estate, which residue amounted to £354, for the poor of Nether Wyresdale and Claughton in equal shares. These sums, with assistance from the Caton estate, were used to purchase the Cook Green Farm in Forton. These charities have long been administered together. The landed estate was sold in 1886 and the proceeds, £1,400 invested in consols, yield, with the interest on £24 in the savings bank, (fn. 114) £38 10s. 8d. a year. This income is apportioned thus: Claughton, £20 10s.; Scorton, £11; Garstang, £5 10s. 8d.; trustees' allowance, £1 10s. 'The original trusts are partly for clothing, but the distribution is now made in money . . . . It has long been customary to confine the Caton charities to Roman Catholics.'
William Baylton in 1679 gave to trustees Dimples Field in Barnacre and Calder Field in Catterall for the poor of Barnacre and of Garstang and Catterall, and added £60 in money, which was spent on land in Forton. The estate is intact and produces £l6 15s. 7d. a year, with a prospect of increase. In 1898 it was the custom 'to distribute £10 to the poor, £6 to hospitals, £4 each to four public elementary schools, and to reserve the balance for expenses.' (fn. 115)
A rent-charge of £4 on land in Claughton granted by Elizabeth Parker in 1757 in fulfilment of the wish of her father Joseph Chorley is given thus: £1 in Catterall, £1 in Claughton and £2 in Preston to poor persons not in receipt of poor law relief.
Margaret Catterall, widow, in 1868 left £100 to the incumbent and churchwardens of St. Lawrence's, Barton, for the poor of Bilsborrow, the interest to be given in either money, clothing or food. The income is £2 10s. a year. (fn. 116)
John Corless in 1721 left £20 to the poor of Garstang, the interest to be given in wheat. The capital was in 1756 spent on the town hall, and £1 a year has since been given from the funds of the town, 1s. each being given to twenty poor widows or others on St. Thomas's Day. Elizabeth Vasey in 1811 bequeathed £20 for gifts of 1s. each to poor widows of Garstang on Christmas Day. The trustee died insolvent about 1858, and the capital was lost.
Gregory Sturzaker of York left £50 for the poor of Winmarleigh. This is now considered to be represented by a rent-charge of £2 on a farm in the township, part of the late Lord Winmarleigh's estate. It is distributed by two of the farmers in small doles at Christmas time.