Townships: Dilworth

Pages 51-54

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

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Bileuurde (for Dilewrde), Dom. Bk.; Dileworth, 1227; Dillesworth, 1284; Dilleworth, 1292.

This township lies on the southern and western slope of Longridge Fell, the altitudes ranging from 300 to 700 ft. above sea level. On the southern border is a large reservoir of the Preston Waterworks. The area of the township is 1,248 acres, (fn. 1) and there was a population of 2,439 in 1901. (fn. 2)

The greater part of the little town of Longridge lies in the extreme west corner of the township, having a railway station, the terminus of a line from Preston, opened in 1840, (fn. 3) and owned by the London and North Western and Lancashire and Yorkshire Companies. From the town two main roads branch off, one to the north-east and east along the northern side of the Fell, and the other to the east, along the southern side. An intermediate road, on the same side of the Fell, but much higher, is not much used.

Written Stone Farm, to the east of Longridge, takes its name from a long stone inscribed:—

It is at the entrance to the farmyard. There are various legends connected with it. (fn. 4)

The Longridge gild day is 10 August. (fn. 5)

Longridge has been governed by a local board since 1883; this has now become an urban district council of nine members. The area includes the township of Alston and Dilworth. Gas is supplied by a local private company and water by the Preston Corporation, which has several reservoirs in the township.

Cotton-spinning and manufacture are carried on to some extent. Nails are made and stone quarries are worked. It is the stone trade, begun about 1830, which has caused the growth of Longridge. (fn. 6) A century ago there was a thriving besom trade. (fn. 7) There are several fairs for cattle, &c. The land is mostly used for grazing.


In 1066 DILWORTH was a member of Earl Tostig's Preston fee, and was afterwards given to Count Roger of Poitou. (fn. 8) Its two plough-lands probably then included Alston and Hothersall. It is not known how Dilworth proper became not only separate but merged in Ribchester, so as to be accounted merely a hamlet of the central township and part of the honor of Clitheroe. (fn. 9)

From the scanty notices of the place it may be gathered that it was held by Alan de Singleton about 1200, and of him in moieties by the lord of Ribchester and a local family or families. (fn. 10) The former moiety was granted by William Moton of Ribchester to Richard son of Alan de Singleton, (fn. 11) and seems to have become part of the main family estate, being held in demesne. The lordship descended regularly from Singleton to Banastre of Bretherton, (fn. 12) Balderston and Harrington (fn. 13) and Osbaldeston, (fn. 14) but was usually considered only a moiety of the manor. (fn. 15) The second moiety was acquired from Osbert de Dilworth by Adam de Hoghton, (fn. 16) descending like Hoghton. (fn. 17) In 1566 Thomas Hoghton acquired the Osbaldeston estate in Dilworth, (fn. 18) and thus became lord of the undivided manor. (fn. 19) In 1772 it was sold by Sir Henry Hoghton and Frances his wife to William Shaw the younger. (fn. 20) The present lord is stated to be Mr. William Cross of Red Scar in Grimsargh.

In 1357 the tenants of Dilworth and those of Ribchester arrived at a settlement of various disputes as to the wastes and common rights. (fn. 21)

Few of the minor landowners' names occur, but some of those in Ribchester seem to have held in this township also. The Knights Hospitallers had some land. (fn. 22) Dilworth (fn. 23) and Moton, (fn. 24) Catterall (fn. 25) and Ravenshaw, (fn. 26) have left some record of themselves. (fn. 27) Later the Cottam family, who seem to have had the mill, became prominent. (fn. 28) Of this family was the B. Thomas Cottam executed for his priesthood in 1582. (fn. 29) Whitacre is named as if it were a hamlet. (fn. 30)

In 1788 the principal owners were John Cottam, double assessed for his religion, Margaret Wharton and William Bowen.

Longridge Church is in Alston; it has a chapel of ease in Dilworth, St. Paul's, built in 1890.

The Wesleyan Methodists opened their first chapel in 1836. It was called Mount Zion, and situated on the Alston side of the boundary. The present chapel was built in 1884–5. (fn. 31) The Particular Baptists had a Sunday service in 1888. (fn. 32) The Congregationalists began to hold meetings in 1860, the minister of Knowl Green leading; the chapel was built in 1865. (fn. 33)

The Roman Catholic church of St. Wilfrid was opened in 1886; it had been preceded by a smaller building, now the school, in 1869. The mission was an offshoot from Alston Lane. The church possesses the head of an old processional cross, found in the neighbourhood about 1830. (fn. 34)


  • 1. Including 33 acres of inland water.
  • 2. Including Crumpax.
  • 3. T. C. Smith, Longridge, 42. It was originally worked by horses, the first locomotive being used in 1848.
  • 4. Ibid. op. cit. 27–30.
  • 5. Ibid. 34. About 1800 the festival occupied two days, on one of which was a horse race and on the other a foot race; ibid. 40.
  • 6. Ibid. 44.
  • 7. Ibid. 40.
  • 8. V.C.H. Lancs. i, 288b.
  • 9. It was probably acquired by the Lacys together with Ribchester, perhaps in 1187, but the manner is not certainly known.
  • 10. This is inferred from the account of Sir William Banastre's estate in a subsequent note.
  • 11. William de Mutun granted to Richard son of Alan de Singleton the whole moiety of land and wood, hawks, honey and mill, the bounds beginning opposite the Stridthora by Thornley, down Longshaw Brook to Dilworthsed Brook, up this to the upper head of Dilworth, across to Hothersall; then by the boundaries of Hothersall, Alston, Whittingham, Wheatley and Thornley to the starting-point. The grantor reserved to himself certain easements, including mast fall, within these bounds, as well as a rent of four barbed arrows; Kuerden MSS. iv, R 9. Sir Robert de Lathom was the first witness; the others included Alan de Singleton, William his son and Hugh de Osbaldeston. A Richard de Singleton is soon afterwards (1246) found to be brother of some religious house—probably Cockersand; Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 103, 150. This may be a grant of half the lordship, but it was not the first acquisition by the Singleton family, for Alan son of Richard—father of the above Richard— confirmed to Jordan le Blund (Albus) half an oxgang of land in Dilworth, which Adam de Stiholmes had formerly held of Alan; Add. MS. 32106, no. 395 (fol. 311). The same Alan granted to the canons of Cockersand 4 acres and a toft from his land in Dilworth, between Witekerbrook and Cronkeshaw Brook, with easements of his fee in the vill aforesaid, for the souls of Robert and Roger de Lacy, &c.; Cockersand Chartul. (Chet. Soc.), i, 227. In 1246 William de Hawksworth successfully claimed land in Dilworth against Richard son of Alan; Assize R. 404, m. 4 d. Richard son of Alan de Singleton gave Richard son of Alexander de Penwortham, chaplain, a toft in Dilworth, of 1 perch in extent, on the west side of Adam de Cartmel's house, at a rent of a pair of white gloves; Add. MS. 32106, no. 100. As Richard de Singleton he granted land touching Cronkeshaw Brook to Adam son of Adam de Hoghton; ibid. no. 119. Bernard the clerk was a witness. William son of Alan de Singleton granted half an oxgang of land to Hugh son of Siegrith daughter of Jordan le Blund (Albus) of Dilworth, at a rent of 3s.; Towneley MS. DD, no. 1534.
  • 12. The Singleton heiress Joan widow of Thomas Banastre made a settlement of her estate in 1303; Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 201. In 1306 she allowed the beasts of Robert de Dilworth within her wood and pasture in return for a rent of 6d. to be levied on all Robert's tenements within Ribchester; Add. MS. 32106, no. 122. Sir William Banastre in 1311 held one plough-land in Dilworth of the heir of Henry de Lacy by the rent of 2s. payable on St. Giles's Day; De Lacy Inq. (Chet. Soc), 17. Again in 1324 it was found that William Banastre had died seised of the hamlet of Dilworth, held of Thomas Earl of Lancaster and Alice his wife by a rent of 2s.; one half was in demesne and the other in service; Inq. p.m. 17 Edw. II, no. 45. Sir Adam Banastre gave Adam de Yordrawes a messuage with curtilage abutting on Longridge, another parcel on the Highfield, and another on the Greenhurst, all in Dilworth; Add. MS. 32106, no. 125. This was probably the origin of the estate of two messuages, &c., in Ribchester held by Thomas de Yordrawes and Margery his wife in 1383; Final Conc. iii, 17. Adam Banastre in 1336 granted to Henry de Kuerden of Ribchester and Alice daughter of Henry for life the lands in Whiteley Fall in Dilworth they had had from John and Nicholas sons of Sir Thomas Banastre; Add. MS. 32106, no. 123, 679. Lands in Dilworth were included in Edward Banastre's estate in 1385; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc.), i, 16.
  • 13. Dilworth occurs among the Balderston manors; Kuerden MSS. iii, B 3–7. For the descent see the account of Balderston; also Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 71. It was probably in right of this descent that Sir William Harrington in 1466 granted lands in Ribchester to Roger son of Nicholas Elston; Kuerden MSS. iii, R 9. Dilworth was among the manors granted to Thomas first Earl of Derby after the Harrington forfeiture; Lancs. and Ches. Rec. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 309. In right of the Balderston inheritance lands in Dilworth are named in the inquisitions of Thomas Earl of Derby, Edmund Dudley, Osbaldeston, Radcliffe of Winmarleigh and Gerard, but the tenure is not separately recorded.
  • 14. On the partition of the Balderston manors in 1565 Dilworth was allotted to John Osbaldeston; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 216, m. 10.
  • 15. This is evident from the grants to Ravenshaw quoted below.
  • 16. This is inferred from the tenure as recorded later. Osbert would hold of Singleton and he of the Earl of Lincoln. One grant has been preserved by which Osbert de Dilworth gave Adam de Hoghton land within bounds, beginning at the Sandy way and including the Carr, Hurst, Greenlache and High Way; to be held by a rent of 15d. and a pair of white gloves; Add. MS. 32106, no. 120. Richard le Boteler, then sheriff (? 1243), was a witness. Osbert le Blund (Albus) afterwards released to Adam the service specified; ibid. no. 313. Adam son of Adam de Hoghton about the same time released to Alan de Singleton the lands formerly Osbert le Blund's (Blundi); ibid. no. 116. In 1227 a partition was made of an oxgang of land and three-quarters between Avice widow of William Brun, Robert Plumb and Cecily his wife on one side and Robert son of Ulfy on the other, whereby the last named obtained a moiety to be held of Avice and Cecily and their heirs at a rent of 22d. at St. Giles's Day, of which 21d. was due to the chief lord; Final Conc. i, 53. Maud daughter of Robert Plumb and Cecily his wife released to Adam de Hoghton any claim she might have in Adam's land in Dilworth; Add. MS. 32106, no. 118. William son of Richard de Singleton released to Adam de Hoghton all claim in his father's lands within Dilworth; ibid, no. 279. Thomas de Singleton and Adam de Hoghton in 1291, as lords of the vill and soil of Dilworth, complained of encroachments by Robert son of Ellis de Ribchester, Richard Franceys, Robert de Anyetehalgh, Robert the Eyre and others, and recovered; Assize R. 407, m. 1 d. There were some counterclaims the following year; ibid. 408, m. 12 d. The same lords, in conjunction with Katherine widow of Alan de Singleton (father of Thomas) and then wife of Thomas de Clifton, and Agnes widow of Adam de Hoghlon were in 1292 sued by Robert de Pocklington, rector of Ribchester, for having disseised him of an eighth part of certain wood, moor and heath in Dilworth; ibid. m. 63, 18 d. It would seem from this that the rector of Ribchester held 1 oxgang of land in Dilworth. Sir Henry Hoghton was in 1425 found to have held a moiety of the manor of Dilworth of the heirs of Osbert de Dilworth; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 12.
  • 17. The later Hoghton inquisitions merely state that the lands in Dilworth were held of the king as duke by services unknown or in socage; e.g. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iii, no. 66; xxvii, no. 13.
  • 18. Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 28, m. 186. The 'manor' is not named, the estate being described as twenty messuages and various lands in Dilworth and Haighton.
  • 19. The manor of Dilworth is named in a Hoghton settlement of 1585; ibid. bdle. 57, m. 178.
  • 20. Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 387, m. 114.
  • 21. Add. MS. 32106, no. 763. Sir Adam de Hoghton, Thomas son of Sir Adam Banastre, William de Hornby, rector of Ribchester, Robert de Singleton the elder, Richard de Catterall and Richard de Knoll are the tenants of Dilworth named; those of Ribchester including William de Whalley, Adam Bibby, Henry de Kuerden, Robert Moton, Simon de Preston. Ribchester is called a vill and Dilworth a hamlet.
  • 22. Alan son of Richard de Singleton confirmed his father's gift of 4 acres to the hospital of St. Saviour under Longridge and the brethren there serving God. The land was between Cronkshaw Brook and Whitacre Brook; Dugdale, Mon. Angl. vi, 686. See the account of Stidd.
  • 23. In 1284 it was found that Juliana widow of Hugh de Dilworth had died seised of two-thirds of a messuage and land in Dilworth, tenanted by Margery daughter of Hugh. Richard son of Hugh and Juliana seems to have been the plaintiff. The tenant called the Prior of St. John to warrant her; Assize R. 1265, m. 4. Uctred de Dilworth granted to his son William lands held of Sir Adam de Hoghton; Add. MS. 32106, no. 109. A rent of 6d. was due to the Hospitallers. Margery daughter of Adam de Dilworth gave lands to Sir Richard de Hoghton in 1339; ibid. no. 113.
  • 24. This seems to have been a junior branch of the Moton of Ribchester family. In 1344–5 Thomas son of Gilbert son of Alan de Singleton claimed portions of land in Dilworth against Robert son of Adam Moton and Henry and William his sons, against Adam de Dilworth the younger and Margery hig wife, and against Henry son of Beatrix de Kuerden; De Banco R. 339, m. 109; 344, m. 162. The plaintiff was a minor. Sir Adam Banastre had in 13 31 given the third part of his approvement in Hesmundehalgh to Henry son of Robert Moton of Ribchester and William his brother; Add. MS. 32106, no. 87.
  • 25. Richard de Catterall of Whittingham and Isabel his wife gave lands in, Dilworth, &c., to their son Alan in 1369; Add. MS. 32106, no. 96–7.
  • 26. Adam de Eller in 1327 gave all his land in Osbern riding to Adam Chyry of Ribchester; Add. MS. 32106, no. 102. William son of Adam Chyry gave it to John son of John de Ravenshaw in 1355; ibid. no. 86. From this deed it appears that the land had earlier been granted by Alan son of William de Singleton to his daughter Agnes. William son of Hugh son of Hugh de. Dilworth granted land to Randle de Singleton and Mabel his wife in 1343; ibid. no. 99. Margaret widow of Thomas de Knoll and daughter of Randle de Singleton in 1358 granted her land in the high field of Dilworth together with half a messuage to the above John son of John de Ravenshaw; ibid. no. 126, 106. The same John and Ellen his wife in 1376 obtained other grants from the lords of the manor, Sir Adam de Hoghton and Sir Thomas Banastre; ibid. no. 90, &c. In 1386 Ellen de Ravenshaw his widow held his lands, with remainders to his daughters Agnes, Christiana, Isabel and Margaret; ibid. no. 83.
  • 27. Edward Radcliffe in 1617 had lands in Dilworth and Alston, held of Sir Richard Hoghton; Henry, his son and heir, was of full age; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc), ii, 52. Ralph Radcliffe of the 'Written Stone' was probably a successor.
  • 28. In 1466 Henry son of Sir Richard Hoghton granted to William Cottam of Alston and his sons Ellis and Edmund certain land in Dilworth for their lives, the lease to begin at his father's death; Add. MS. 32106, no. 94. Uctred Cottam appears in 1483; ibid. no. 98. Uctred and Robert his son and heir made a feoffment of their messuages, lands and water-mill in the same year; ibid. no. 92. Uctred's wife Ellen, perhaps a second wife, appears in the same year; ibid. no. 103. TheiT lands seem to have been given to Lawrence son of Edmund Cottam in 1503 and 1511; ibid. no. 105, 107, &c. From Lawrence Cottam Sir Richard Hoghton purchased in 1529, and Robert cousin and heir of Uctred Cottam (perhaps a grandson) released his right at the same time; ibid. no. 89, 101. One branch of the family recorded a short pedigree in 1613; Visit. (Chet. Soc.), 100. Lawrence Cottam, Dorothy his wife and Thomas his son made a settlement in 1605; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 296, m. 2 d. Lawrence died in 1619 holding a messuage and land of Sir Richard Hoghton by a rent of 2s.; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), ii, 115. Thomas his son and heir, then thirty years of age, died two years later holding the same estate and leaving as heir his son Thomas, aged fifteen; ibid. ii, 232. These Cottams were of High House; some further particulars of them will be found in Smith's Ribchester, 242–3, from which it appears that Lawrence Cottam, who was fined for recusancy in 1667 and 1680, died in 1682. His son and heir, also Lawrence, registered his estate as a 'Papist' in 1717; he had a leasehold house valued at £27 a year; Estcourt and Payne, Engl. Cath. Non-jurors, 106. The Cottams of Knowl Green had a house at one time called Dilworth Hall and now the manor-house; for an account of them see Smith, op. cit. 243. John Cottam of Ribchester paid £10 on refusing knighthood in 1631; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 218. The lands of Richard Cottam of Dilworth were ordered to be sold by the Parliament in 1652; Index of Royalists (Index Soc.), 42. A later John Cottam (son of Ellis), as a 'Papist,' registered his small estate at Ribchester, Dilworth and Wrightington in 1717; Estcourtand Payne, op. cit. 91. John Walmsley also registered a small estate; ibid. 104.
  • 29. Thomas Cottam, brought up as a Protestant, was educated at Brasenose Coll., Oxf. (M.A. 1572), and taught a school in London. Here he was reconciled to the Roman Church and then went abroad, his desire being to preach the Gospel in the East Indies. Being rejected by the Jesuits on account of illhealth, he returned to the seminary at Rheims, was ordained priest and sent on the English mission in 1580. On landing at Dover he was recognized from the report of a spy, arrested and imprisoned. He was racked and tortured in the Tower, but remaining constant was at last executed at Tyburn 30 May 1582, together with four other priests. One of these was B. Lawrence Richardson or Johnson of Great Crosby. Cottam was allowed to hang till he was dead. His beatification was allowed by Leo XIII in 1886. See Gillow, Bibl. Dict, of Engl. Cath. i, 574; Pollen, Acts of Martyrs, 280, 373; Challoner, Miss. Priests, no. 15. He is claimed as a Jesuit in Foley, Rec. S. J. vii, 174 (portrait).
  • 30. Adam son of Adam de Morca of Euxton and Ellen his wife in 1309 granted Isabel daughter of Jordan de Dutton clerk all their land in Whitacre in the hamlet of Dilworth; Add. MS. 32106, no. 91. Roger son of Thomas Topping and John son of Roger de Bolton in 1318 granted land in Whitacre to William the Tailor, son of Henry Moton; ibid. no. 84, 95. Six years afterwards Henry Moton in exchange for this land gave his son William the Newhey in Ribchester, obtained from Robert Moton; ibid. no. 85. In 1357 Richard son of Adam de Ribchester acquired a messuage and land in Whitacre and Dilworth from John de Turnley and Cecily his wife; Final Conc. ii, 152.
  • 31. T. C. Smith, Longridge, 80; A. Hewitson, Our Country Churches, 103 —the old chapel.
  • 32. Smith, ibid.
  • 33. Ibid. 78; Nightingale, Lancs. Nonconf. ii, 117, where it is recorded that efforts had been made to establish a church in Longridge in 1816 and again in 1830. Also Hewitson, op. cit. 101.
  • 34. Smith, op. cit. 73. While an old house was being pulled down a boy playing about found the cross and some other religious objects on a ledge. The church also possesses a carved oak chair made for John Towers, Bishop of Peterborough, 1631. See also Hewitson, op. cit. 99.