Townships: Nether Kellet

Pages 139-140

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


In this section


Chellet, Dom. Bk.; Kellet, 1193.

Occupying an elevated tract of undulating ground, this township has an area of 2,082 acres, (fn. 1) and the population in 1901 was 273. The village, which is of considerable size, occupies a central position in the western half; at the eastern end is Addington; on the north-west boundary is Worless Moss. To the north the hill called Kellet Seeds divides Nether from Over Kellet.

The principal road is that from Skerton north and north-east to the village, and then north again to Over Kellet. To the west of the village it is joined by a road from Bolton, while other roads lead south to Halton and north to Carnforth.

The most peculiar natural feature is Dunald Mill Hole, about a mile and a half east-south-east from the village. It is a natural cavern of some extent, the sides coated with stalactite; the mill-stream runs through it, reappearing near the border of Camforth. (fn. 2) In dry weather the cave may be explored for about 150 yards.

Agriculture is practically the only industry, though there are a number of quarries, and lime burning was formerly an important occupation. The soil is a loam, overlying limestone, gravel and clay.


In 1066 KELLET was part of Earl Tostig's Halton fee, (fn. 3) and later appears to have been included in the demesne of the honour of Lancaster until John when Count of Mortain granted three plough-lands in Nether Kellet to Adam son of Orm, who was in return to act as master serjeant or bailiff of the hundred of Lonsdale. The grant was confirmed in 1199 when John became king, (fn. 4) and the manor continued to be held by the same tenure until the 17th century. Cowmale was payable also.

Adam de Kellet gave 30 marks for the confirmation of his serjeanty and lands in 1199. (fn. 5) He died in 1222 and was succeeded by his son Orm, (fn. 6) who died in 1229. (fn. 7) Adam de Kellet, (fn. 8) son of Orm, (fn. 9) in 1246 held the three plough-lands in Kellet by warding the wapentake; in Furness he was to have one horse servant and one foot servant, but in the body of the wapentake two of each. (fn. 10) He was before 1278 (fn. 11) succeeded by his son Orm, who granted a plat of land in Middleton to the Prior of Lancaster (fn. 12) and in 1297 came to an agreement with the prior as to 12 acres in Longland in the townfields of Nether Kellet which his father Adam had acknowledged to be the prior's right, being held by him by the service of 2s. and a pound of wax yearly. (fn. 13) Orm de Kellet is mentioned in other ways, (fn. 14) and in 1299 he sold the manor to Thomas Banastre. (fn. 15) Very soon afterwards Robert de Holland, the lord of Upholland, is found in possession. (fn. 16) In 1307 he obtained a charter of free warren for Nether Kellet. (fn. 17) This manor descended like Upholland (fn. 18) to the Lovells, (fn. 19) and on forfeiture in 1487 was granted to the Earl of Derby. (fn. 20) In 1604 the manor and lands in Nether Kellet were sold by the representatives of Ferdinando, the fifth earl (fn. 21); Robert Bindloss seems to have secured the manor, while parts of the lands were purchased by various others, some of whose names appear in the inquisitions. (fn. 22) Cecily daughter and heir of Sir Robert Bindloss married William Standish of Standish, (fn. 23) and they with their son Ralph sold the manor in 1692 to John and Edmund Cole. (fn. 24) It has since descended with the estates of the Coles of Beaumont Cote, (fn. 25) and is now held for life by the Rev. Henry Clarke of Torquay. (fn. 26)

The records have few allusions to the township. (fn. 27)

Heversham School has some land in Nether Kellet.

Inclosure awards were made in 1815 (fn. 28) and 1846. (fn. 29)

Thomas Whitehead obtained a licence for a Presbyterian meeting at James Dickenson's house in Nether Kellet in 1672. (fn. 30) George Benson's house was certified as a Presbyterian meeting-place in 1689. (fn. 31) In connexion with the Church of England there is a chapel of ease, St. Mark's, built in 1879. The Congregationalists have a chapel, built in 1869, the result of work begun ten years before. (fn. 32)


  • 1. The Census Rep. 1901 gives 2,081 acres.
  • 2. A romantic description is printed in West's Guide to the Lakes (ed. 1799), from the Annual Register of 1760; another is in Britton's Beauties of England and Wales (Lancs, section), 100.
  • 3. V.C.H. Lancs, i, 288b; it appears to have been joined with Over Kellet.
  • 4. Cal. Rot. Chart. (Rec. Com.), p. xl.
  • 5. Farrer, Lancs. Pipe R. 106; in addition to Nether Kellet Adam son of Orm had a plough-land in Middleton near Lancaster. He held the three plough-lands in Kellet by serjeanty in 1212; Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 86, 122.
  • 6. Excerpta e Rot. Fin. (Rec. Com.), i, 91.
  • 7. Ibid. 179; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 122. His son Adam paid relief on succession.
  • 8. Adam is named in 1244; ibid. 158.
  • 9. The land of Adam son of Orm de Kellet it mentioned in a Middleton charter about 1242 in Lanc. Ch. (Chet. Soc), ii, 282, 285.
  • 10. Assize R. 404, m. 24; his land was worth £5 a year.
  • 11. Orm son of Adam de Kellet was in that year summoned to warrant; De Banco R. 24, m. 47 d.
  • 12. Lanc. Ch. ii, 283.
  • 13. Ibid, i, 147. The prior claimed the 12 acres against Orm de Kellet in 1299; De Banco R. 126, m. 110.
  • 14. In 1291 Orm de Kellet, the bailiff, and his brother Adam, the serjeant, were 'in mercy'; Assize R. 1294, m. 9. In 1292 Orm de Kellet and Euphemia his wife had licence to agree with Richard de Preston; Assize R. 408, m. 67. Orm was at the same time in mercy for contempt, having failed in his duty as bailiff; ibid. m. id., 96 d. In 1297 he held three plough-lands in Kellet by serjeanty, viz. by making attachments of those matters which pertained to the Crown, &c, also rendering 9s. 4d. yearly; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 293.
  • 15. Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 186. Orm's friends made resistance when the new lord tried to obtain possession, but the title was duly acknowledged; De Banco R. 127, m. 119 d. Next year Joan widow of Thomas Banastre (whose son William was under age) claimed dower in the manor against Orm de Kellet, who held for life by demise of the said Thomas; ibid. 131, m. 106d. In 1301 Orm claimed the bailiwick of Lonsdale against the Banastres and many others; Assize R. 1321, m. 7. Orm and Euphemia his wife occur again in 1303; De Banco R. 148, m. 17.
  • 16. In a pleading of 1374 he was stated to have received the manor from Thomas Earl of Lancaster; De Banco R. 453, m. 203.
  • 17. Chart. R. 100 (35 Edw. I), m. 20, no. 56. In 1320 this manor (with others) was assigned to Robert de Holland and Maud his wife; Cal. Pat. 1317–21, p. 431. In 1324 it was recorded that Sir Robert de Holland had held the manor by being serjeant of the whole wapentake of Lonsdale and paying 3s. 4d. a year; also paying in lieu of the service called cowmale 6s. a year; Dods. MSS. cxxxi, fol. 41 b.
  • 18. In 1343 Sir Robert de Holland and Elizabeth his wife held the manor of Nether Kellet, the bailiwick of Lonsdale, &c.; Final Conc, ii, 118. In 1355 this estate was given to Robert son of Robert de Holland and Joan his wife; ibid. 146. The tenure by serjeanty and a cowmale rent of 9s. 8d. was recorded in 1346; Survey (Chet. Soc), 76.
  • 19. The manor was in 1374. claimed by Sir John Lovell and Maud his wife (a minor) against Sir Edmund de Hengrave and Alice his wife; De Banco R. 453, m. 203. In 1407, Sir John Lovell in right of Maud his wife being in possession, inquiry was made as to the tenure; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc), i, 85. Maud Lady Lovell held the manor at her death in 1423 by the serjeanty of being bailiff of the hundred and paying 9s. 8d. for cowmale; ibid, ii, 2.
  • 20. Pat. 4 Hen. VII. In 1521 the tenure of the manor was recorded just as in 1423; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. v, no. 68.
  • 21. Pal. of Lanc Feet of F. bdle. 65, no. 43. The eforciants were Thomas Lord Ellesmere (Lord Chancellor), Alice his wife, Gray Lord Chandos and Anne his wife, Sir John Egerton and Frances his wife, Sir Thomas Leigh and Thomas Spencer, Among the plaintiffs were Robert Bindloss, William Lodge and Thomas Hornby.
  • 22. The following occur from 1620 onwards:— William Lodge of Nether Kellet died in 1620 holding a messuage, land, water mill, &c, of the king as of his duchy in socage, paying cowmale; Edmund his son and heir was thirty-six years of age; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), ii, 200. Edmund died in 1641 holding similarly and leaving a son Thomas, aged thirty-six; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xxx, no. 4. John Bateman died in 1622 holding in Nether Kellet of the king as duke; his son and heir Richard was aged twentynine; Towneley MS. C 8, 13 (Chet. Lib.), 74. Edmund Holme, who died in 1626, held.similarly; his son and heir Henry was only two years old; ibid. 500. James Pearson, who held by a similar tenure, died in 1638, having bequeathed his tenement to James, a younger son of his brother Thomas Pearson; ibid. 966. Edmund Brear died in 1639, leaving a son Lawrence, aged thirty-three, to inherit; ibid. 53. Thomas Hornby died the same year holding of the king by a rent of 8d. and the service called cowmale; his son and heir Richard had died, leaving two daughters, Anne wife of William Greenbank, aged twenty, and Elizabeth, aged thirteen; ibid. 509. James Stockdale died in 1640 holding of the king as duke, and leaving a son John, aged twenty; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xxx, no. 45. Robert Melling, holding similarly, died in 1642, leaving a son William, only four years old; ibid. no. 47.
  • 23. See the accounts of Standish and Borwick.
  • 24. Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 229, m. 85; messuages, lands, dovecote, courts leet and courts baron, &c., were included. There was a warranty against the heirs of Cecily and Ralph.
  • 25. In Oct. 1819 the manor or reputed manor of Nether Kellet, Beaumont Cote, the Judges' Lodgings in Lancaster and other estates were offered for sale by auction; Lanc. Rec. 1801–50, p. 114.
  • 26. See the account of Kirkland.
  • 27. One oxgang of land had been alienated to William de Kellet, and in 1247–51 it was ordained that he should pay 40d. a year to the lord of the honour; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 180. William died in 1259, leaving a son and heir of the same name; the tenement was described as 25 acres; ibid. 222. Benedict son of William de Kellet held a messuage and 11 acres, of which his son Roger was in possession in 1292, when he granted the same to Orm de Kellet; Assize R. 408, m. 60 d.; 1306, m. 20. Disputes concerning a tenement called Lound Yate or Lungate occurred in the time of Elizabeth; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), iii, 53, 447.
  • 28. Lancs, and Ches. Rec. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 56.
  • 29. End. Char. Rep. for Bolton, 18. A public quarry was reserved, the Brockholes Cragg stone quarry.
  • 30. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1672, pp. 10, 41. Thomas Whitehead was no doubt the Commonwealth rector of Halton.
  • 31. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 232.
  • 32. Nightingale, Lancs. Nonconf. i, 244.