Townships: Melling with Wrayton

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

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'Townships: Melling with Wrayton', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 8, ed. William Farrer, J Brownbill( London, 1914), British History Online [accessed 19 July 2024].

'Townships: Melling with Wrayton', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 8. Edited by William Farrer, J Brownbill( London, 1914), British History Online, accessed July 19, 2024,

"Townships: Melling with Wrayton". A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 8. Ed. William Farrer, J Brownbill(London, 1914), , British History Online. Web. 19 July 2024.

In this section


Mellinge, Dom. Bk.; Mellinges, 1195; Mailing, 1229; Melling, 1285.

Wraiton, 1229; Wratton, 1292.

Melling proper is situated in the lower ground between the hills of Hornby to the south and Wrayton to the north-east, and looking west and north over the Lune valley, with higher land on the eastern side. The constituent parts of the township measure—Melling 613 acres, and Wrayton 449, the whole being 1,062 acres. (fn. 1) There was a population of 170 in 1901.

The principal road is that from Lancaster through Hornby to Kirkby Lonsdale. It passes through the village close to the parish church, and has branches going west to Wennington and to Wrayton. The Furness and Midland Companies' railway from Wennington to Carnforth crosses the township, which it enters by a tunnel, and has a station at the village of Melling.

The Castle mount and the ancient crosses have been noticed above. (fn. 2)

The land is mostly used for grazing; the soil is a loam, with clay subsoil.

The village contains some picturesque 17th-century houses, with well-designed doorways.


In 1066 Ulf held nine plough-lands in MELLING, Hornby and Wennington, and Orm had a plough-land and a-half as a berewick, which has been identified as Wrayton. (fn. 3) After the Conquest these were parts of the king's land in the West Riding of Yorkshire, and later came to Roger de Montbegon. Hornby became the chief seat of the lord, and the manor of Melling was from that time an appurtenance of Hornby. (fn. 4)

There is little to record of the place, (fn. 5) though the lord claimed right of gallows there. (fn. 6) In the 17th century the chief resident family was that of Thornton (fn. 7); a few other landowners occur in the inquisitions. (fn. 8) Some of the inhabitants had their estates sequestered by the Parliament during the Civil War. (fn. 9)

WRAYTON (fn. 10) gave a surname to a local family. (fn. 11) A moiety of the manor was acquired from the Procters (fn. 12) by John Redmayne of Thornton in 1548–9, (fn. 13) and descended to Mary widow of Colonel William Forbes, who compounded for it in 1649. (fn. 14) The manor was in 1801 held by Thomas Fenwick of Burrow. (fn. 15) Another estate in the township was about a century ago held by J. Guy; it descended to his grandson, Robert Burrow of Wrayton Hall, after whose death it was in 1901 offered for sale.

The hospital or cell of Hornby had some land in Wrayton. (fn. 16)

The right of customary tenants to take wood for repairing their houses, &c, from lands assigned by the lord of the manor of Hornby was in dispute in 1697. (fn. 17)

The copyhold tenure was changed by an Act passed about 1770, enabling the lord to sell and the tenants to purchase the freehold. Hence the copyholders or customary tenants became freeholders, and the land is much subdivided.

The parish church, already described, is the only place of worship in the township.


  • 1. 1,064 acres, including 15 of inland water; Census Rep. 1901.
  • 2. See the account of the church.
  • 3. V.C.H. Lancs. i, 288a.
  • 4. The manor of Melling was included in the Hornby lordship in 1229; Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 56. Geoffrey de Nevill in 1285 received 70s. from the farmers and cottagers of Melling, and 40s. the free service of Wrayton with Braconsberii; Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 261. Braconsbury is not now known. Margaret de Nevill died in 1319 holding 8 oxgangs of land at Melling within the honour of the castle of Hornby; ibid, ii, 37.
  • 5. John de Eskrigg and Katherine de Lockagh in 1352 claimed a messuage and land in Melling against Agnes widow of Henry del Mire; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 2, m. 3. John del Hall of Arkholme and Katherine his wife in 1375 released half a messuage to Thomas Wyse, rector of Chipping; Final Conc, ii, 188.
  • 6. Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 380. The 'Gallow hill' of Melling is mentioned in the Hornby Castle records; Whitaker, RicAtnondshire, ii, 249.
  • 7. Christopher Thornton made an inclosure at Watley in the manor of Wrayton, and in 1597 Thomas Redman, John Cansfield and others claimed common of pasture; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), iii, 383. Giles Thornton of Melling was in 1631 entered as owing £10 as composition on refusing knighthood; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 221. He died in 1639 holding a messuage and land in Melling of Henry Lord Morley and Mounteagle as of his manor of Hornby in socage, doing suit at court. He also had land in Arkholme and Cawood, held of the same. His heir was a son James, aged forty-six; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xxx, no. 43. One James Thornton died in 1635 holding messuages in Wrayton of Lord Morley by a rent of 8s. 9d. His heir was a daughter Susanna, aged five; ibid. xxviii, no. 59. Richard Thornton of Fence forfeited houses, &c., in Whalley and Melling, having apparently assisted the Duke of Hamilton in his invasion of England in 1648. The estate was sold under the Act of 1653; Cal. Com. for Comp. iv, 2667.
  • 8. Robert Washington of Warton died in 1483 holding a tenement in Melling called ' Salober,' by rendering a pound of cummin yearly to the church there; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc), ii, 116. In 1517 the messuage was called Galaber Hall, and stated to be held of the king as duke by knight's service; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. v, no. 10. Gallowber Wain is a field adjoining Cnngleber in Melling. The Crofts of Claughton held a messuage, &c., in Melling, but the tenure is not recorded; ibid, x, no. 28; xiii, no. 23.
  • 9. See Procter, Thornton and Redmayne. Thomas Barker of Broomfield in Melling parish compounded in 1649 for his ' delinquency in adhering to the forces raised against the Parliament'; Cal. Com. for Comp. iii, 2020.
  • 10. Margaret widow of Geoffrey de Nevill in 1292 complained that John de Tunstall had disseised her of the moiety of a small piece of meadow and pasture in Arkholme and ' Wratton.' The defendant replied that there was no vill in the county named 'Wratton,' that the meadow was in Whittingham (Whittington) and the pasture in Cardsfield, and that he had entered through a certain Alan de Copeland. Afterwards the plaintiff acknowledged that the vill was called ' Wraton ' and withdrew; Assize R. 408, m. 50.
  • 11. In 1319 Thomas de Wrayton held the hamlet of Wrayton freely of the lord of Hornby, also 2 oxgangs of land in Wennington, rendering 48s. 8d. a year and doing suit at the three weeks court at Hornby; ibid. Margaret widow of Geoffrey de Nevill had in 1304 claimed certain lands in Melling against Thomas de Wrayton and Alice his wife; De Banco R. 1 52, m. 106; 160, m. 167. In 1306 the same Thomas and Alice made a claim against Thomas son of William Baines; ibid. 158, m. 269 d. The suits were still going on in 1310 and later when John son of William Baines and Thomas son of William de Wrayton were called to warrant; ibid. 180, m. 76; 195, m. 355 d. In 1369 Robert son of John the Shepherd claimed land in Wrayton against William son of Robert de Wrayton, and Katherine daughter of William de Wrayton was mentioned; ibid. 435, m. 184 d., 49 d.
  • 12. Christopher Procter of Keisden in Yorkshire and Margaret his wife sold one fourth part of the manor to John Redmayne in 1548, and Robert Procter of the same place sold another fourth part in 1549; And. D. (P.R.O.), A 12487, A 13107, A 13474; also Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 13, m. 15. The Procters continued to have an estate there, for Giles Procter, 'always well affected,' in 1649 desired to compound for the delinquency of his father, Bryan Procter of Wrayton, deceased; Cal. Com. for Comp. iii, 1952.
  • 13. John Redmayne had half the manor in 1578; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 40, m. 35. Marmaduke Redmayne had the same or the other moiety in 1579; ibid. bdle. 35, m. 87; 41, m. 56. Edmund Redmayne of Ireby died in 1511 holding in right of his deceased wife three messuages, &c, in Wrayton of the lord of Hornby by the sixth part of a knight's fee; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iv, no. 42. His son Thomas held in socage in 1536; ibid, vii, no. 2. Others of the family had estates there later; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdles. 46, m. 154 (George son of William); 49, m. 47 (George and William).
  • 14. Mary widow of Col. William Forbes, who had ' done many faithful services for Parliament,' was in 1649 allowed to compound for lands in Wrayton which had descended to her from her father Sir John Redmayne of Thornton, who had forfeited; Cal. Com. for Comp. iii, 1764.
  • 15. Pal. of Lanc. Aug. Assizes 41 Geo. Ill, Recov. R. 5. 'The principal estate in the hamlet of Wrayton came to the Fenwicks by devise of Thomas Robson, esq., who died in 1731 to Robert Fenwick of Burrow, esq.'; Baines Lancs. (ed. 1870), ii, 616. This estate includes Redmayne House.
  • 16. William Abbot of Croxton in 1292 claimed 7 acres of land in Wrayton in right of his hospital of St. Wilfrid (Hornby) against John de Tunstall; Assize R. 408, m. 26. The dispute was continued in 1294; De Banco R. 104, m. 91. John de Tunstall was also in trouble with the lady of Hornby and shot an arrow at her steward and tried to kill him because he wanted to seize a wagon laden with corn to make distraint; Assize R. 408, m. 10.
  • 17. Exch. of Pleas, East. 9 Will. III, m. 11, 12; 29, 30.