Townships: Nateby

Pages 308-311

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

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Natebi, Nateby, 1204.

Nateby is a level and low-lying township, the highest land, on the eastern side, not rising much above 70 ft. over sea level. The small hamlet of Nateby lies near the centre of the township, but the hall is near the northern border. The area measures 2,087 acres, (fn. 1) and in 1901 the population was 297.

Along the eastern border goes the road from Garstang to Cockerham, while through the centre goes that from Garstang to Pilling. The single-line railway between these places also runs through the township, and has a station called Nateby. The Preston and Lancaster Canal crosses the north-east portion.

The old divisions into Great and Little Nateby are now forgotten. The former was in the north and the latter in the south.

Wheat and oats are grown, but more than half the land is in pasture. The soil is light with clay subsoil. Tiles are made.

The township is governed by a parish council.

Sir Roger Strickland, admiral and Jacobite, was a son of Walter Strickland of Nateby. He was born in 1640, and died at St. Germains in 1717. (fn. 2)


As a part of Wyresdale NATEBY was held by the Lancaster family and their successors. William de Lancaster II, who died in 1184, granted an oxgang of land there to Hugh the Northman. A rent of 4s. was to be paid, but all easements and common rights of the vill of Garstang, 'both within the Wyre and without,' were allowed. (fn. 3) William de Lancaster III gave the lordship of Nateby, or part of it, to his clerk Gilbert de Garstang, as pertaining to land in Scotforth. (fn. 4)

The oxgang named appears to have been in Great Nateby. The owners adopted the local surname, and in 1292 William son of Ralph de Nateby sold his estate to Lawrence son of Lawrence Travers. (fn. 5) This was afterwards transferred by Lawrence to his brother Thomas. (fn. 6) It descended in this family, who also held part of the manors or lands in Ribbleton, Tulketh, Esprick and Trunna in Thornton down to the time of Charles I. In 1347, however, the tenants of William de Coucy for this part of Wyresdale were stated to be John de Pleasington for I oxgang of land in Great Nateby, Robert de Pleasington and Robert de Bour (Bower) for an oxgang in Little Nateby, all holding by knight's service. (fn. 7) Little Nateby, which was later held by Travers, was probably the messuage and 40 acres in Nateby claimed by William de Lay ton from Ingram de Gynes and Christiana his wife in 1292. Their defence was a technical one—that Nateby was not a vill. (fn. 8)

Thomas Travers in 1308 transferred an oxgang of land in Garstang to his son John, (fn. 9) while two years later John Travers surrendered 2 oxgangs of land there to Thomas Travers and Alice his wife, with remainders to Lawrence and Alexander sons of Thomas. (fn. 10) Thomas son of Lawrence Travers was in 1331 contracted to marry Eleanor daughter of John dc Kirkby, (fn. 11) but Lawrence was still living in 1339. (fn. 12) Thomas son of Lawrence Travers in 1349 granted to John his son and heir and to Alice daughter of Robert de Pleasington a windmill and lands in Stanah in Thornton, Ribbleton, Ashton, Elswick and Ingol, and in default of issue to his other sons Lawrence, Edmund, Thomas, Roger, William and Richard. (fn. 13) John Travers died in 1361 holding lands, &, in Tulketh, Ribbleton, Thornton and Winmarleigh in the vill of Garstang, this last being held of the moiety of the manor of Wyresdale formerly William de Coucy's, by a rent of 4s. (fn. 14) His son and heir Roger was eight years old. Roger occurs from 1389 to 1420. (fn. 15) His son Thomas was forty years old in 1429, (fn. 16) and appears to have been still in possession in 1448. (fn. 17) Robert son of Lawrence Travers was in 1452–3 contracted to marry Katherine daughter of Richard Radcliffe of Clitheroe. (fn. 18) At this point there is a defect in the evidence. (fn. 19)

William Travers died on 28 July 1524 holding messuages, &, in Nateby and other places, having in the May previous bequeathed 'the whole manor of Nateby' to his wife Margaret for her life, two tenements only being excepted. The Nateby lands were said to be held of the king in socage by the rent of 4s. yearly. The heir was a son Lawrence, aged thirteen. (fn. 20) William Travers, said to have been a younger brother of Lawrence, succeeded, dying in July 1558 in possession of the capital messuage called Nateby and lands, &c., there held of the queen as of her manor of Nether Wyresdale in socage by a rent of 4s. (fn. 21) His son and heir Richard, then fifteen years of age, died in April 1576 holding in addition a messuage in Little Nateby in Garstang of the queen as of her castle of Lancaster in socage by a rent of 2s. 1d. and a pair of gauntlets worth 6¾d. The heir was again a minor, being his son William, aged thirteen. (fn. 22)

A pedigree recorded in 1613 (fn. 23) enables the descent to be carried a little further. William Travers and Richard his son in 1626 sold the manor to George Preston of Holker, (fn. 24) and he gave it to a younger son George Preston, who had a command in the royal army in the Civil War and was killed at Bradford. (fn. 25) His son George in 1654 (fn. 26) transferred it to Walter Strickland of Sizergh; his son Robert gave it to George Leyburne of Cunswick, who had married a daughter of George Preston. The new owner resided at Nateby, and was in 1704 succeeded by his son John Leyburne. Being a Jacobite, he joined the Highland force in 1715, and his estates were confiscated. (fn. 27) Nateby was re-purchased, and through a sister descended to Michael Anne of Frickley, and was by him sold in 1806. (fn. 28) After passing through the hands of several owners (fn. 29) it was in 1868 purchased by John Wilson-Patten, afterwards Lord Winmarleigh.

Nateby Hall, now occupied as a farm-house, stands in a sheltered position surrounded by a belt of trees, but is a building of no architectural interest, the greater part having been destroyed by fire about 1870 and the remainder modernized. The exterior is stuccoed and all the windows are modern sashes. (fn. 30) In the garden is a fine mulberry tree.

In Little Nateby is Bowers House, built about 1627 by Richard Green. (fn. 31) He or his son Richard, as 'a Papist delinquent,' had his estate sequestered under the Commonwealth, (fn. 32) and at last sold by the Act of 1653. (fn. 33) It seems to have been part of the endowment of the Savoy Hospital.

The house, though to some extent modernized, preserves a good deal of its original appearance. The building is of three stories with a middle and projecting end wings, but the old mullioned windows have given place in the front to modern insertions and others have been blocked up. The walls are whitewashed and the gables quite plain, being without barge-boards or ornament of any kind. The house doubtless possessed originally some architectural features, but, though these have been lost, it retains some degree of picturesqueness, added to by the dwarf fence wall and tall stone gate piers in front, the latter with large ball finials. The chapel is said to have been in the top room in one of the gables. On the lintel of an outbuilding now used as a wash-house are the date 1627 and the initials R. G., G. G., referring to members of the Green family.

Bowers House

A large part of the soil remained in the hands of the lords of Nether Wyresdale, and in 1853 the Duke of Hamilton held 1,802 acres in Nateby and the neighbourhood. This estate was purchased by William Bashall of Farington Lodge for £47,500. (fn. 34)

Among the recusants who in 1654 sought to compound for their sequestrated two-thirds was John Miller alias Atkinson of Nateby. (fn. 35) There were a number of convicted recusants in this township and Winmarleigh after the Restoration. (fn. 36) Three brothers of John Leyburne of Nateby registered estates as 'Papists' in 1717, viz. James (Croxteth), Nicholas (Prestwood) and George (Nateby); the last was a secular priest. Their estates consisted of annuities out of the manor. (fn. 37)

Owing to a division in the Congregational church at Garstang a Particular Baptist church was established at Nateby, the chapel being opened in 1839. (fn. 38)

From early in the 17th century there were missionary priests' stations at Bowers House (fn. 39) and Nateby Hall. (fn. 40)


  • 1. 2,088 acres, including 12 of inland water; Census Rep. 1901.
  • 2. Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • 3. a Dods. MSS. cxlix, fol. 77; Robert son of Bernard was a witness (dead in 1206). Another version of the charter (or perhaps a different grant) is in Kuerden MSS. iv, G 3b. It gives the bounds as beginning where Rosnyt descends into Pilling Moss, and going by various sykes, moor, moss and wood till the ford of Winmarleigh was touched, thence down to Stockenbndge and to Pilling Moss. It is possible, if not probable, that the two plough-lands in Scotforth granted to Hugh by William de Lancaster I (Lancs. Inq. and Extents [Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.], i, 4) included the whole or part of Nateby.
  • 4. Dods. loc. cit.; in a letter addressed to William rector of Garstang, who occupied land in Nateby. Scotforth and Nateby occur together in fines of 1204, by which Hawise wife of Gilbert Fitz Reinfred secured the third part of two plough-lands there; Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 22–3.
  • 5. Kuerden, loc. cit.; 'Rosnyt' is here spelt 'Rasich.' The date is fixed by the accompanying fine; Final Conc. i, 175. On the same day William de Nateby obtained a release of what appears to be the same tenement from Roger de Wedacre; ibid. 173. A pleading of the same year shows that Roger was brother and heir of Hugh son of Robert son of Paulin brother and heir of Robert, who had held the same in the time of King John. Roger appears to have proved his right in the court of Ingram de Gynes held at Garstang in 1286; Assize R.408, m. 69. The last-named Robert was probably the rector of Garstang. John son of William de Nateby and William de Nateby occur ia 1308–9; Assize R. 423, m. 4.
  • 6. Dods. and Kuerden, loc. cit.; the date was between 1298 and 1302, Master Richard de Hoghton, then sheriff, attesting. Thomas Travers was sheriff in 1302–6; P.R.O. List, 72. In 1301 Isabel widow of William de Nateby complained that Lawrence Travers and others had disseised her of a messuage, an oxgang of land, &, in Garstang, and Lawrence replied that he had found that she and her husband, being childless, had desired to enfeoff Thomas Travers of the same, and he had taken possession; Assize R. 1321, m. 10; 418, m. 13. After the grant to his brother Lawrence in 1301 wrote to Isabel to direct her in future to render to Thomas the services she had hitherto rendered to himself; Dods. loc. cit. In 1300 Thomas Traveri, Cecily his wife and Alexander their son were defendants to a claim for a messuage, &, in Garstang made by Benedict son of Ralph de Nateby; De Banco R. 131, m. 33 d. The same three with a daughter Margaret were in 1301 defendants to a like claim by Roger de Brockholes and others; Assize R. 419, m. 13.
  • 7. Inq. p.m. 20 Edw. III (2nd nos.), no. 63. A Robert de Bure (Bower)claimed common of pasture in Garstang against the Abbot of Leicester and others in 1301 and later; Assize R. 1321, m. 12; 418, m. 4,14. Robert son of Adam del Boure was in 1517 summoned to warrant Roger de Wedacre, against whom Alice widow of Adam son of Robert del Boure was claiming dower in certain messuages, &, in Garstang; De Banco R. 218, m. 154 d.; 221, m. 16. Little Nateby in the town of Garstang occurs in a plea Wedacre v. Catherton in 1352; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 2, m. I.
  • 8. Assize R. 408 m. 42 d.
  • 9. Dods. MSS. liii, fol. 89b. John Travers restored the same to Thomas his father and Alice his wife; Kuerden, loc. cit. John Travers in 1323–4 was authorized to grant lands in Bolton-le-Sands, &c., to his daughter Katherine; Dods. MSS. cxlix, fol. 78b.
  • 10. Final Conc. ii, 8; the following put in claims—Ingram de Gynes and Christiana his wife, Gilbert de Lindsay, Isolds widow of John de Rigmaiden and Lawrence Travers the elder. From the accounts of Ashton near Preston and Ribbleton it will be seen that Lawrence Travers the younger married Aline daughter and co-heir of Henry de Haydock, and so acquired lands in those townships.
  • 11. Kuerden, loc. cit.
  • 12. Ibid. The account of Stanah shows that Thomas Travers was in possession in 1346.
  • 13. Dods. MSS. cxlix, fol. 78b. John Travers occurs at Ribbleton in 1362.
  • 14. Inq. p.m. 36 Edw. Ill, pt. ii, no. 52.
  • 15. Roger was a juror in 1389–90; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc), i, 38. In 1402 he made a settlement of the manor of Nateby, lands in Preston and Elswick and the reversion of the fourth part of the manor of Ashton; the remainders were to his sons Thomas and John, and in default of male issue to Katherine daughter of Roger and Alice, formerly his wife, daughter of John de Thornton; Kuerden, loc. cit. (Two versions are given; in one John is called son not brother of Thomas.) Thomas seems to hate been in possession as early as 1415; account of Ribbleton. As late as 1420, however, the feoffees regranted to Roger Travers of Nateby and Joan his wife the manor of Tulketh with remainder to Thomas the son of Roger: Dunkenhalgh D.
  • 16. Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Cher, Soc), ii, 25. In 1430 the Archdeacon of Richmond gave licence to Thomas Travers to have an oratory at Nateby; Raines MSS. (Chet. Lib.), xxii, 407.
  • 17. Thomas occurs at Ribbleton in 1445. In 1447 Nicholas Boteler of Rawcliffe claimed a debt of 10 marks from Thomas Travers of Nateby, 'gentleman.' The defendant pleaded that he was very illiterate, and being told that the promise to pay was conditional upon his son John not submitting to arbitration regarding certain trespasses he agreed to it. The verdict was for the plaintiff; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 10, m. 26. Thomas Travers, 'esquire,' was defendant in 1448; ibid. 11, m. 1b; 12, m. 6.
  • 18. Kuerden MSS. iv, G4, no. 7. The writ of diem cl. extr. after the death of Robert Travers was issued in 1479; Add. MS. 32108, no. 1413.
  • 19. The pedigree in Travers Family (1864) states that Robert Travers died 1479–80 and was 'buried at Calais' (Dods. MSS. Ixxxvii, fol. 113a), and left a son Richard, 'buried in the north aisle of the minster at Canterbury'; his son was the William Travers who died in 1524.
  • 20. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. v, no. 62.
  • 21. Ibid, xi, no. 68. His will, recited in the inquisition, is printed in Fishwick's Garstang (Chet. Soc), 248–50.
  • 22. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xii, no. 22; the hall of Nateby and appurtenances were held of Gilbert Gerard, attorney-general, as of his manor of Nether Wyresdale, by a rent of 4s. See note 29 below. Richard Travers in 1574 obtained a messuage, &c., in Nateby from Walter Preston and Margaret his wife; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 36, m. 215. This may have been Little Nateby.
  • 23. Visit, of 1613 (Chet. Soc), 85. William Travers was then living and had a son Richard, twenty-three years of age.
  • 24. This account of the descent it taken from Fishwick, op. cit. 250–1, where details are given from the title-deeds.
  • 25. Misc. (Cath. Rec. Soc), i, 124. Walter Strickland of Rydal in 1649, as cousin and heir, desired to compound for an estate descending to him by the death of George Preston in 1644. He said he had always been well affected towards the Parliament, but desired to compound rather than attend the Committee of Sequestration. This was allowed, £266 being the fine. Afterwards it was alleged that George Preston had been a Papist in arms and an active delinquent,' and that Strickland himself was a sequestered delinquent. The latter protested that a mistake had been made between George Preston of Nateby and George Preston of Holker, his father. These difficulties delayed the discharge until 1651 5 Cal. Com. for Comp. iii, 1888–9.
  • 26. In 1668 Robert Strickland obtained the manor of Nateby, &, against Francis and Richard Biddulph; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 181, m. 35.
  • 27. Tyldesley Diary; Gillow, Bibl. Dict. of Engl. Cath. iv, 240.
  • 28. John Leyburne's sister Anne married Thomas Walton of Winder. Their daughter Elizabeth married (1) Thomas Cholmley and (2) George Anne of Frickley; her daughter by the second marriage gave the estate to her father absolutely. He married (2) Mary Needham, and had sons George and Michael the vendor; Fishwick, op. cit.; Burke, Landed Gentry. There was a recovery of the manor by George Anne in 1783 5 Com. Pleas Recov, R. East. 23 Geo. Ill, m. 91. There was a fine concerning the manor in 1803, Henry Maire v. Michael Anne; Pal. of Lanc. Aug. Assizes, 43 Geo. III.
  • 29. Thomas Swarbrick and John Valentine, purchasers in 1806, conveyed to John Birley of Kirkham, who in 1818 sold to Thomas Butler-Cole of Kirkland. In 1826 it was purchased by Richard Thompson of Lancaster, whose daughter Elizabeth married John Stewart. He and his son sold it in 1868; Fishwick. In 1826 there was a fine concerning the manor, Richard Thompson v. Thomas Fawcett and wife and Richard Thompson and wife; Pal. of Lanc. Fines, Aug. 7 Geo. IV.
  • 30. a There is a local legend of a subterranean passage from Nateby Hall to Bowers House.
  • 31. Fishwick, op. cit. 252–3. In 1631 Richard Green of Garstang compounded for refusing knighthood; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 222. Thomas Bower died in 1557 holding a messuage, &c., in Garstang, held partly of the queen as of her manor of Nether Wyresdale by knight's service and 2s. 7¾d. rent, and partly of the queen in socage by 3s. 8d. rent. His heir was a daughter Margaret, a year old; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xiii, no. 29. Another inquisition (later) gives a different account of the tenure, viz. all was held of the queen as of her castle of Lancaster in socage by a rent of 2s. 1d. and a pair of gauntlets value 6¾d. for castle ward. Margaret, the daughter, was in 1570 the wife of Walter Preston of Preston in Westmorland; ibid. xiii, no. 28. This may refer to Bower House in Nateby.
  • 32. Royalist comp. papers (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), iii, 95–100. Richard Green took part in the burning of Lancaster by the Royalists; Cal. Com. for Comp. i, 21.
  • 33. Index of Royalists (Index Soc.), 42. The estate appears to have been recovered for the family, for in 1717 Agnes Green, spinster, registered her leaschold estate at Garstang as a 'papist'; Estcourt and Payne, Engl. Cath. Nonjurors, 141.
  • 34. Preston Guard. 21 Nov. 1874.
  • 35. Royalist Comp. papers, iv, 139.
  • 36. Misc. (Cath. Rec. Soc.), v, 171–2; in the notes will be found an account of the Green family.
  • 37. Estcourt and Payne, op. cit. 121, 148,150.
  • 38. Nightingale, Lancs. Nonconf. i, 203; Fishwick, op. cit. 124.
  • 39. Ibid. 252.
  • 40. Gillow, op. cit. iv, 241.