Townships: Cleveley

A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 8. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1914.

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'Townships: Cleveley', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 8, (London, 1914), pp. 108-109. British History Online [accessed 21 June 2024].

. "Townships: Cleveley", in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 8, (London, 1914) 108-109. British History Online, accessed June 21, 2024,

. "Townships: Cleveley", A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 8, (London, 1914). 108-109. British History Online. Web. 21 June 2024,

In this section


Cliveley, c. 1270.

Like Forton, Cleveley lies in Amounderness Hundred, and is divided between two parishes. The greater part, including a small detached fragment on the south-east bank of the Wyre, is within Cockerham; the rest, about a fourth, is in Garstang. The surface is elevated above the valley of the Wyre, and at several points rises above the 200-ft. level. Near one of these higher points, on the eastern side, is Shireshead Chapel. The area of the whole township is 620 acres (fn. 1); there was a population of 62 in 1901. There is no village.

The principal road, that from Bay Horse station south to join the great road from Lancaster to Preston, goes along the western border. The London and North-Western Company's main line from Carlisle to London runs near it, but has no station in the township. The River Wyre forms the boundary at two places; on the north a small brook forms the boundary as it runs west to the Cocker.

Most of the land is in pasture, but some wheat, barley and oats are grown. The soil is stony and gravelly.


Before the Conquest and after it CLEVELEY appears to have been nothing more than a hamlet in the lordship of Garstang or Nether Wyresdale (fn. 2); it did not rank as a separate manor. It is named in the inquisitions of Walter and John Rigmaiden and Sir Gilbert Gerard, lords of Wyresdale, 1587–93 (fn. 3); and George Allen of Rossall in 1579 held land, &c., in Cleveley of Sir Gilbert Gerard and John Rigmaiden as of their manor of Nether Wyresdale in socage. (fn. 4) On the sale of the Duke of Hamilton's estates in 1853 the Cleveley portion, 693 acres, was purchased by Peter Ormrod of Bolton for £35,100, and has thus retained its connexion with Nether Wyresdale, which was at the same time acquired by Mr. Ormrod. (fn. 5) Cleveley Mill occurs before 1280. (fn. 6)

The 'manor or hamlet' of Cleveley was sold by Henry VIII in 1545 to Anthony Bellingham, (fn. 7) and seems to have passed to John Calvert of Cockerham. He in 1582 sold a messuage and lands in Cleveley and Nether Wyresdale to John Fox, (fn. 8) and in 1585 made a further sale to Christopher Fisher. (fn. 9) Later the tenements of Fox (fn. 10) and Fisher (fn. 11) were stated to be held of the king as of his manor of Wenden Farren in Buckinghamshire.

Richard Green of Cleveley had two-thirds of his estate sequestered 'for his recusancy only' under the Commonwealth. (fn. 12)


A chapel of unknown origin (fn. 13) and dedication (fn. 14) stands in the Cockerham part of the township; it is known as SHIRESHEAD Chapel. In 1577 Harrison names the Wyre as running by it, (fn. 15) and it occurs again as a chapel of Cockerham in 1610. (fn. 16) It is unlikely that at that time any regular service was maintained there, but in 1648 Peter Smith, minister of Shireshead, signed the 'Harmonious Consent,' and in 1650 'Shierside' had a minister, one John Fisher, 'for the time being,' though there was no certain maintenance. (fn. 17) After the Restoration the chapel remained in the hands of Nonconformists for some time, but was recovered for the Church of England by the Duke of Hamilton (fn. 18) and the vicar of Garstang. In 1717 it was served by the curate of Ellel, and service was held weekly in the summer and fortnightly in the winter. (fn. 19) Some endowment appears to have been obtained for it, (fn. 20) and the chapel was rebuilt in 1801, a brief being issued for a collection. A separate curate was appointed in 1832, and a district was assigned to it in 1858. (fn. 21) The building is used only occasionally since the opening of St. James's, Forton, in 1888. The incumbents are presented by the vicar of Cockerham. The following is a list of them (fn. 22) :—

c. 1727 Robert Barbon (fn. 23)
1731 Barton Parkinson, M.A. (fn. 24) (St. John's Coll., Camb.)
1832 John Satterthwaite Bolden, M.A. (fn. 25) (Trinity Coll., Camb.)
1838 Robert Brickel, B.A. (fn. 26) (T.C.D.)
1849 William Price, B.A. (fn. 27) (Corpus Christi Coll., Camb.)
1860 William Richard Villiers, LL.B. (fn. 28) (Christ's Coll., Camb.)
1865 William Studdert Kennedy, M.A. (fn. 29) (T.C.D.)
1879 John Bickerdike, M.A. (fn. 30) (Trinity Coll., Camb.)
1892 Charles Sherard Brocket Spooner, B.A. (Oxf.)


  • 1. The Census Rep. 1901 gives 604 acres, including 8 of inland water. A detached portion of the township was added to Nether Wyresdale in 1887; Loc. Govt. Bd. Order 20097.
  • 2. It is not named in Domesday Book, and very rarely occurs in the records.
  • 3. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xiv, no. 5, 87; xvi, no. 2.
  • 4. Ibid, xiv, no. 80.
  • 5. Preston Guard. 21 Nov. 1874.
  • 6. Cockersand Chartul. (Chet. Soc), ii, 359.
  • 7. Pat 37 Hen. VIII, pt. ix; Lancs, and Ches. Rec. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), ii, 382. The sale was probably made out of the king's moiety of Nether Wyresdale.
  • 8. Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 44, m. 45.
  • 9. Ibid. bdle. 47, m. 120.
  • 10. John Fox died in 1606, leaving a son and heir John, aged twenty-four in 1619; Lancs, Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), ii, 121.
  • 11. Christopher Fisher died in 1614, his son and heir John being stated to be twelve years old in 1619; ibid, ii, 124. It was probably the same John Fisher who died in 1638, leaving a son and heir James, aged twelve; Towneley MS. C 8, 13 (Chet. Lib.), 423.
  • 12. Royalist Comp. P. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), iii, 95.
  • 13. It was probably built by the lords of Wyresdale for their tenants. An inquiry in 1561 showed that the chapel croft and two other pieces of land belonged to it, worth 6s. 8d. a year; Duchy of Lanc. Special Com. 33. Bishop Gastrell records that 12s. a year had formerly been paid to the chapel by the Gerards, but the heiress had from about 1700 withdrawn it; Notitia Cestr. (Chet. Soc), ii, 407.
  • 14. It is now called St. Paul's.
  • 15. Raines in Notitia Cest. loc. cit.
  • 16. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 8.
  • 17. Commonw. Ch. Surv. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), 129. In 1646 an order was made that £40 a year out of the sequestered tithes of John Bradshaw, 'Papist and delinquent,' should be allowed to the minister to be appointed to Shireshead, and in 1652 Mr. William Ingham the younger, then minister, had £50 from the same sources; Plund. Mins. Accts. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 28,118–19, 247. John Fisher went to Kirkham.
  • 18. Notitia Cestr. loc. cit. In 1689 Shireshead Chapel in Cleveley was duly certified as a meeting-place for Dissenters; Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 231–2. There was then a second Nonconformist meeting in Cleveley, Robert Waddington being the minister; ibid. Another account states that he was stationed at Winmarleigh; Nightingale, Lancs. Nonconf. i, 85. For Shireshead see ibid, i, 184–5, and the account of Forton.
  • 19. Notitia Cestr. loc. cit. The only fixed income was £1 2s. a year, 'interest of money left by will.' The curacy seems as a rule to have been combined with Ellel, but in 1743 the curate of Pilling had Shireshead, which he served every other Sunday in the afternoon; Pilling Ch. P. at Chester.
  • 20. It is called the 'augmented chapel and curacy' in 1798 on the nomination of a curate; Consistory Ct. Rec. at Chester.
  • 21. Lond. Gaz. 11 May 1858. Shireshead is the name of the ecclesiastical parish.
  • 22. From the Ellel Church Papers at Chester Dioc. Reg., &c.
  • 23. He was son of the vicar of Cockerham.
  • 24. R. F. Scott, Admissions to St. John's Coll. iii, 67, 437. He stayed for a short time only, and in 1733 Charles Epes was appointed to the chapels of Ellel and Shireshead; Ellel Ch. P.
  • 25. Afterwards rector of Preston Bissett, Bucks.
  • 26. Afterwards rector of Hoole.
  • 27. Afterwards incumbent of Douglas in Parbold.
  • 28. Afterwards vicar of Iford, near Lewes.
  • 29. Afterwards vicar of St. Mary's, Leeds.
  • 30. He was vicar of St. Mary's, Leeds, 1848–79, and exchanged with Mr. Kennedy.