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.
This large township, containing 6,060 acres, (fn. 1) is level and lies very low, the highest ground within it scarcely exceeding 25 ft. above sea level. A large part is moss-land, much of which has been reclaimed. A small detached portion lies within Preesall to the west, and another within Cockerham to the north. (fn. 2) The principal village lies in the northern end, near the place where the central brook runs into Morecambe Bay, the boundary on that side; in the southern half is a hamlet called Eagland Hill where 33 ft. above sea level is reached; on the border of Upper Rawcliffe lies Eskham. The population in 1901 numbered 1,407.
From the village roads branch out in several directions—to Cockerham, Garstang, St. Michael's, Knott End and the shore of the bay. A single-line railway from Garstang, opened in 1870, has its terminus near the village, from which the connexion with Knott End (for Fleetwood) was completed and opened in 1908.
About half the land is arable, and turf is taken from the moss for fuel.
Damage was, done in 1719 by the sea breaking in. (fn. 3) An outbreak of part of the moss near Eskham took place in 1745. (fn. 4) A road across the moss called Kate's Pad or the Danes' Pad was made of oak planks resting on sleepers. (fn. 5) The local proverb said, 'God's grace and Pilling moss are endless.'
In 1765 a quadruple birth was recorded at Pilling. The children lived for three weeks. (fn. 6)
The village was formerly isolated from the rest of the parish by the moss-lands. The road to Preesall and Stalmine was formed in 1780 and that to Garstang was made passable in 1808. (fn. 7) There is a parish council for administering the affairs of the township.
PILLING is not named in Domesday Book, being then, it is supposed, a member of Garstang. It was not granted to the Lancaster family, but retained by the Crown with the hundred, so that it was Theobald Walter who about 1194 granted it as 'the hey of Pilling' to the canons of Cockersand. (fn. 8) This grant was confirmed or renewed by King John in 1201, (fn. 9) and again by Henry III in 1227. (fn. 10) The canons were called upon to prove their title in 1292, (fn. 11) and continued to hold Pilling down to the Dissolution. (fn. 12) In 1543 the Crown sold the grange to John Kechyn or Kitchen of Hatfield, (fn. 13) who also acquired parts of the Whalley Abbey estates.
Kitchen settled Pilling or some part of it upon his son John and Grace his wife, but the younger John dying, the widow, in conjunction with her second husband William Hameldon, granted the estate to John Kitchen the father in 1548. (fn. 14) Settlements were made in 1557 (fn. 15) and 1561, (fn. 16) by the former of which a daughter Anne wife of Robert Dalton had Pilling. She died without issue in 1593, having survived her husband, and the heir was her brother Barnaby Kitchen, aged fifty-eight. (fn. 17) He died ten years later, leaving three daughters as co-heirs: Alice wife of Hugh Hesketh of North Meols, Anne wife of Thomas Ashton of Croston and Elizabeth wife of Nathaniel Banastre of Altham. (fn. 18) A partition was made in 1649, and the manor for over a century descended in thirds.
The Banastre share was in 1678 bought by Edmund Hornby of Poulton, and his descendant, the Rev. Geoffrey Hornby, is stated to have purchased a further share; this part has descended to Mr. Edmund Geoffrey Stanley Hornby of Dalton, near Carnforth. (fn. 19) The Heskeths (fn. 20) about 1770 seem to have sold their third to the other lords, so that the manor was held in moieties, the Rev. Geoffrey Hornby presenting to the curacy. (fn. 21) The Ashton part descended like Croston to the Traffords, (fn. 22) and it was afterwards sold. In 1825 the lords of the manor were Edmund Hornby, John Gardner and William Elletson, and in 1850 Edmund Hornby, the owner of the hall, John Gardner and Daniel Elletson. (fn. 23) The last-named died in 1856, but had about 1840 sold his share to John Gardner of Sion Hill, Garstang, his brother-inlaw, whose son the Rev. John Gardner, LL.D., rector of Skelton 1857–86, succeeded. He bequeathed it to his cousins, the Misses Margaret Jane and Emily Elletson, daughters of Daniel. (fn. 24) The advowson of the chapel goes with the lordship. No courts are held. Nothing remains of the old hall. (fn. 25)
The marsh and sea frontages have lately been sold by the duchy to the Rev. James Cardwell Gardner of Fluke Hall. (fn. 26)
Robert Bindloss acquired messuages in Pilling and the neighbourhood in 1587. (fn. 29)
The three coparceners of the manor all suffered as 'delinquents' in the Commonwealth period. (fn. 30)
The owner of Eskholme Houses in 1734 complained that his right of way through Nateby to Garstang and Preston had been denied. (fn. 31)
The small detached portion of the township adjoining Cockersand has resulted from an agreement in 1340 between the canons there and the monks of Leicester. It is in the hundred of Amounderness but in the parish of Cockerham. (fn. 32)
The canons of Cockersand probably established the chapel of ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST near their grange when they were placed in possession. (fn. 33) Agnes Shepherd had in 1493 the bishop's licence to live a solitary in a cell at Pilling chapel. (fn. 34) After the dissolution of the abbey it seems that £2 a year was allowed for the maintenance of a curate, (fn. 35) but as this was obviously insufficient it is probable that the chapel was used only irregularly during the latter half of the 16th century. (fn. 36) In 1621 some sixty of the inhabitants petitioned the king about the neglect of service, complaining that though they had to pay tithes there was no curate provided. The £2 granted out of the duchy revenues was to be renewed; Sir Robert Bindloss, the lay rector, promised £10 a year from the tithes, the inhabitants were ordered to provide another £8, and the farmer of the demesne £6 13s. 4d. (fn. 37) How far this award became operative is uncertain but Mr. Lumley was curate in 1639 (fn. 38) and remained there till in the Commonwealth time he was 'silenced for several misdemeanors. (fn. 39) In 1650 the chapel was vacant, and there was no proper maintenance. (fn. 40) Early in 1652 it was ordered that £50 a year be paid to the curate out of 'delinquents'' estates. (fn. 41)
The list of curates shows that the chapel was served regularly from about that time. The certain income in 1717 was £11 13s. 4d. (fn. 42) It was then found necessary to build a larger chapel, and the present site was chosen, about a mile west of the old one, for the greater convenience of the inhabitants. (fn. 43) This was built in 1717 and consecrated in 1721; it is a small rectangular structure with a bellcot over the west gable. Additional endowments were obtained from Queen Anne's Bounty and other sources. (fn. 44) A census of religions was made by the wardens in 1755. They reported 'about 100 families, most in communion of the Church of England, two Protestant Dissenting families, six or eight single persons who are Papists.' (fn. 45) A new church was built in 1887, and consists of chancel, clearstoried nave with north and south aisles, south porch, and western tower and spire. It is in the Gothic style and the spire forms a prominent landmark. The lords of the manor present alternately. The net value is given as £250. (fn. 46)
The following is a list of curates and vicars:—
|1676||Oswald Croskell (fn. 47)|
|oc. 1686||Richard Hardy (fn. 48)|
|1687||Gabriel Dawson (fn. 49)|
|oc. 1701||Thomas Hunter|
|1715||John Anyon (fn. 50)|
|1731||John Coulton (fn. 51)|
|1758||George Holden (fn. 52)|
|1767||Cuthbert Harrison, B.A. (fn. 53) (Trin. Coll., Camb.)|
|1774||John Hunter (fn. 54)|
|1781||William Bateson (fn. 55)|
|1797||Thomas Godfrey (fn. 56)|
|1802||James Potter (fn. 57)|
|1825||James Dawson Banister (fn. 58)|
|1876||John Wilson Waithman, M.A. (St. John's Coll., Oxf.)|
|1893||Richard Titley Gardner, M.A. (Emmanuel Coll., Camb.)|
|1897||Thomas Pearson, M.A. (Christ's Coll., Camb.)|
There is a mission chapel (St. Mark's) at Eagland Hill, built in 1869.
The Wesleyan Methodists have a chapel, built in 1813.
The Roman Catholic church of St. William was opened in 1891.
A free school was founded and endowed by Robert Carter in 1710. (fn. 59)