Townships: Wennington

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.


'Townships: Wennington', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 8, (London, 1914), pp. 207-209. British History Online [accessed 25 June 2024].

. "Townships: Wennington", in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 8, (London, 1914) 207-209. British History Online, accessed June 25, 2024,

. "Townships: Wennington", A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 8, (London, 1914). 207-209. British History Online. Web. 25 June 2024,

In this section


Wininctune, Wennigeton, Dom. Bk.; Wenigton, 1212; Weninton, 1229; Wellington, 1285.

This township lies between the Wenning on the south and the wooded Greeta on the north; the undulating surface rises on the whole from the former stream to the latter, about 280 ft. above sea level being attained near the northern boundary. The hamlet of Wennington lies on the river from which it takes its name, and over which there is a bridge adjacent, while Old Wennington occupies the northeast corner; Hutton lies midway between them. There is an acreage of 980½, including 11 acres of inland water, and in 1901 the population was 142.

The principal roads meet at Wennington; one goes east to Bentham, another north-west to Melling, and a third south-west to Wray and Lancaster. The Lancaster branch of the Midland railway just touches the southern border in one place, but Wennington station is in Tatham; the branch to Carnforth crosses the west end partly through a tunnel.

The land is mostly in pasture; the soil is clay, with clayey subsoil.


In 1066 one part of WENNINGTON was held by Ulf together with Melling and Hornby and another part by Chetel with Bentham and other manors. (fn. 1) This division seems to have been perpetuated by the Nether Wennington and Old Wennington of later times. The whole was included in the fee of Hornby and one plough-land there was granted by Adam de Montbegon to Henry de Roxburgh to be held by the service of the fourteenth part of a knight's fee. (fn. 2) This was only part of the land, for part continued to be held by the lords of Hornby and part was granted out to others. (fn. 3)

The successor of Henry de Roxburgh in 1212 was probably the Ellis de Wennington named in the survey of that year (fn. 4); he had in 1202 acquired 2 oxgangs of land from John son of Uctred. (fn. 5) Adam son of Ellis was a benefactor of Cockersand Abbey, (fn. 6) and in 1242 Adam de Wennington held the fourteenth part of a knight's fee of Hubert de Burgh of Hornby. (fn. 7) The records are scanty and the descent cannot be traced satisfactorily. William son of William de Wennington appears to have been lord of the manor in 1305 (fn. 8); Gilbert de Wennington held it in 1319 by knight's service and a rent of 3s. 7d., (fn. 9) and his son William had succeeded by 1329. (fn. 10) He was a minor, (fn. 11) and his sisters, or perhaps daughters, Clemence and Joan, likewise under age, were his successors in 1345. (fn. 12) Joan married William son of John de Morley, the manor being settled upon her heirs in 1360. (fn. 13)

Wennington. Argent a bend between six lozenget sable.

Morley. Sable a leopard's face argent jessant de lis or.

The manor descended in this family for more than 300 years. (fn. 14) Robert son of John Morley died in 1499 holding Wennington of Sir Edward Stanley as of his manor of Hornby by knight's service, and was followed by his son John, aged thirty-two. (fn. 15) John died shortly afterwards, (fn. 16) and his sister Margaret Sale was in possession at her death in 1507, when the heir was an uncle, Thomas Morley, brother of Robert. (fn. 17) His tenure also was brief, and his nephew John son of Giles Morley succeeded, (fn. 18) but by 1511 the manor had passed to a cousin Francis, under age. (fn. 19) Francis died at Wennington in September 1542 holding the manor with messuages and lands of Lord Mounteagle as of his manor of Hornby Castle byservices unknown (fn. 20); his son and heir Thomas, then aged twenty-eight, died at the end of 1557, leaving a son Thomas, eighteen years old. (fn. 21) Thomas Morley had livery of his inheritance in 1560, (fn. 22) and was returned as a freeholder in 1600. (fn. 23) The descent here is a little uncertain, owing to the succession of several Thomases. (fn. 24) The family were embarrassed by their adherence to the Roman Catholic religion and to the king's side in the Civil War. In 1630 Thomas Morley compounded for the two-thirds of his estate liable to sequestration for recusancy by a fine of £4. a year, (fn. 25) and Francis (fn. 26) and Thomas Morley (fn. 27) had their estates sequestered and confiscated by the Parliament for various 'delinquencies.' Thomas Morley survived his troubles and recorded a pedigree in 1664, his heir then being Robert, a son by his second wife, aged fourteen. (fn. 28) Robert Morley in 1674 sold the manor to Henry Marsden. (fn. 29)

The manor remained in the Marsden family for more than a century, (fn. 30) being sold about 1790 in order to purchase Hornby. The new owner was the Rev. Anthony Lister, a cousin of the old one, and he took the name of Marsden. (fn. 31) From his representatives it was purchased in 1841 by Richard Saunders, whose son and heir William Allen Francis married Dorothy Morley, a descendant of the former owners of Wennington, and the estate has descended to their son Mr. Charles Morley Saunders, the present lord of the manor. (fn. 32)

Saunders. Percheveron argent and sable three elephants' heads erased counterchanged.

The Tunstall (fn. 33) and Croft (fn. 34) families long had estates in the township, and a few other names of ancient landowners occur. (fn. 35) Hornby Priory and Cockersand Abbey were the religious houses having lands there. (fn. 36) William Girlington in 1630 compounded for recusancy by a fine of £3 a year. (fn. 37)


  • 1. V.C.H. Lancs. i, 289a.
  • 2. Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches), i, 79. Adam de Montbegon died before 1185. A free rent of 3s. 7d. was due; ibid. 261.
  • 3. In 1319 Thomas de Wrayton held 2 oxgangs of land in Wennington of Margaret de Nevill of Hornby; ibid, ii, 37. In 1242 Henry de Wennington and Henry son of Robert de Wennington were Hornby jurors; ibid, i, 155.
  • 4. Ibid, i, 79, 97; he had an oxgang of land in Farleton. This does not occur again in connexion with Wennington.
  • 5. Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 12.
  • 6. Cockersand Chartul. (Chet. Soc), iii, 900. The grant consisted of a toft and various acres in Aspohuth, Flasks, Hutton, Ruchecroft and Swanemure. Richard son of Henry de Wennington was also a benefactor; ibid. The canons of Cockersand afterwards gave it to their brethren of Hornby at a rent of 3s., on the understanding that if the former should find land of the value of 2s. 6d. a year on sale the Hornby brethren were to secure it for Cockersand as an exchange; ibid. 901. In 1247 the abbot and canons obtained 9 acres in Wennington—in Cobbanargh, Dalslakland, Gale and Longe of Thorolfland—in exchange for some in Whinfell; ibid. 902; Final Conc. i, 150.
  • 7. Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 155.
  • 8. John son of Join de Cansfield complained that William son of William de Wennington had obstructed his right of way and deprived him of common of pasture in 10 acres of land after the corn was taken away, in 2 acres of meadow after the hay was raised, and in an acre of moss; Assize R. 1306, m. 18.
  • 9. Lancs. Inq. and Extents, ii, 37.
  • 10. John de Hornby the younger complained that William the son and Eleanor the widow of Gilbert de Wennington had refused him the annual robe with suitable trimming promised him by Gilbert; Assize R. 427, m. 2. The claim was prosecuted in 1332; ibid. 1411, m. 13.
  • 11. In 1334 when John de Hornby recovered; Coram Rege R. 297, m. 2d., 58.
  • 12. John de Ludington, custodee of the sisters Clemence and Joan de Wennington, claimed from Simon Waleys and Eleanor his wife the performance of a covenant regarding the third part of the manor; De Banco R. 341, m. 377 d. Eleanor was probably the widow of Gilbert de Wennington. In 1346 Clemence had married William son of John de Ludington, and an agreement was ratified by which Simon and Eleanor released dower right to Clemence; Final Conc, ii, 122.
  • 13. Ibid, ii, 166. Simon brother of William de Morley was in the remainders. He had lands in Dinckley and Billington (ibid. 176) which seem to have descended to the Morleys of Wennington, perhaps by bequest.
  • 14. The Morleys occur earlier at Great Mearley near Clitheroe, part of which was acquired by Richard de Morley and Elizabeth his wife in 1305; Richard's son was John, no doubt the father of William, who married the heiress of Wennington. See the account pf Mearley. John Morley of Wennington and William his son occur in 1419; Pal. of Lanc. Chan. Misc. bdle. 1, file 14, no. 23. John Morley was knight of the shire in 1431; Pink and Beaven, Parl. Repre. of Lancs. 53. In 1445–6 Thomas Booth held the Morley lands in right of his wife Agnes widow of William Morley; Duchy of Lanc. Knights' Fees, bdle. 2, no. 20.
  • 15. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iii, no. 51; he had had lands in Great Mearley, &c, as early as 1480.
  • 16. Ibid, iii, no. 89. This inquisition, dated 10 Oct. 1502, shows the descent: John Morley, d. 1487 -s. Robert -s. John —sister Margaret, aged twenty-two. The writ of diem cl. extr. after John's death was issued 8 Feb. 1501–2; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xl, App. 542. His widow Grace had dower later in the year and then licence to marry; ibid, xl, 542–3.
  • 17. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iii, no. 34; Margaret was wife of Henry Sale. The heir was sixty years of age.
  • 18. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iii, no. 60; iv, no. 35. The inquisitions are in part illegible. Thomas Morley died in December 1508, having made provision for his daughter Alice and sister Margaret. The manor of Wennington was held of Sir Edward Stanley, but the service was unknown. The heir was of full age. Anne the widow of Thomas, as Anne Starkie, died in 1520; ibid, v, no. 25.
  • 19. Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxix, App. 557; the wardship was granted to George Beconsaw. According to Anne Starkie's inquisition Francis Morley was aged twenty-nine in 1520.
  • 20. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. viii, no. 2. By his will dated 1540 he desired to be buried in the church of St. Wilfrid of Melling, and left 6s. 8d. for the repair and adornment of St. Katherine's quire there, also a vestment of black chamlet, &c. Thomas his son and heir is mentioned; Richmond Wills (Surt. Soc), 21.
  • 21. Ibid, x, no. 23. Thomas had married Elizabeth daughter of Geoffrey Starkie, and she survived him; he had younger sons Lawrence, Robert, Edward and John and brothers Robert and Edward. His will is recited in the inquisition.
  • 22. Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxix, App. 557.
  • 23. Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 229. In 1599 he had a dispute with Richard Smithies as to lands in Old Wennington; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), iii, 4.22.
  • 24. Visit. of 1613 (Chet. Soc.), 68. The Thomas who succeeded in 1560 appears to have had a son Thomas, who lived on till about 1650 and whose son Francis heads the 1664 pedigree. For a notice of the family see Misc. (Cath. Rec. Soc). iv, 167.
  • 25. Trans. Hist. Soc. (new ser.), xxiv, 173.
  • 26. He is called 'gent' and is the Francis mentioned as heir in note 24. His story was that, being plundered of all his goods in the Parliament's quarters, he took refuge with Sir John Girlington the Cavalier, remaining with him ten days. Then he returned to his own house and furnished three men who served in the Parliament's army, as shown by a certificate dated 1646. He himself took the National Covenant before Robert Heblethwaite, vicar of Melling, at the parish church in 1645 and again in 1647; he also took the Negative Oath. His father Thomas was living at the date of the petition (April 1647); he had sons Thomas (with a son Francis) and Francis. His lands were in Old Wennington, Nether Wennington (including a mill and cowgates) and Yorkshire; Royalist Comp. Papers (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), iv, 175–7. The will of Francis Morley of Wennington was proved in 1649. There is a romantic story that he took refuge in France, and his wife, supposing herself a widow, married a Cromwellian captain. Francis returned in disguise, found what had happened, and then returned to France, where he died; Misc. (Cath. Rec. Soc), v, 255.
  • 27. Thomas Morley, styled 'gent.', had been in arms against the Parliament in the first and second wars. He had had no estate till the death of his grandfather Thomas Morley, who was no delinquent, and he petitioned in December 1650, his estate having been sequestered a month before. His lands were in Wennington and Raran or Rayron in the parish of Melling and in Yorkshire; Royalist Comp. Papers, iv, 193; Cal. Com. for Comp. iv, 2637. His estate was afterwards confiscated and placed in the Act for sale, 1652; Index of Royalists (Index Soc.), 43.
  • 28. Dugdale, Visit. (Chet. Soc.), 210. Francis, the son by the first wife, had died in 1659. Administration to the effects of Thomas Morley of Wennington was granted in 1666.
  • 29. Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 192, m. 11.
  • 30. Little is known of this family, who had the advowson of Gargrave vicarage from about 1670. Henry Marsden of Gisburne and his sons Charles, Henry, Adam and Robert were burgesses of Preston in 1682; Preston Guild R. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), 191. In a fine of 1721 concerning the manor of Wennington Thomas Benison was plaintiff and Henry Marsden deforciant; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 288, m. 78. The will of Henry Marsden of Wennington Hall was proved in 1742 His son Henry (d. 1753) was educated at St. John's Coll., Camb. In a recovery of the manor, with appurtenances in Wennington and Wrayton, in 1778 the vouchee was George Postlethwaite and the tenant Henry Marsden; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 628, m. 13. Henry son of Henry Marsden of Melling matriculated at Oxford (Queen's College) in 1775, being seventeen years of age; Foster, Alumni Oxon. He died in 1788 and was succeeded by his brother John, the vendor.
  • 31. Baines, Lancs, (ed. 1836), iv, 607. The estate was sold in parcels. The Rev. Anthony Lister was vicar of Gargrave from 1806 till his death in 1852, aged seventy-five; Whitaker, Craven (ed. Morant), 233.
  • 32. Foster, Yorks. Peds. (N. and E. Riding), under Morley of Marrick. Colonel W. A. F. Saunders was high sheriff in 1862 and built the present hall; he died there in 1879.
  • 33. Roger de Tunstall and Maud his wife in 1227 claimed an oxgang of land in Wennington; Final Conc, i, 51. John de Tunstall, Thomas de Tunstall and Agnes his wife were concerned in a partition of wood and waste in 1292; Assize R. 408, m. 17 d. Richard Tunstall of Thurland, attainted, was in 1465 found to have held a messuage in Old Wennington and a close in Nether Wennington; Chan. Inq. p.m. 5 Edw. IV, no. 45; Cal. Par 1461–7, pp. 445, 461. William Tunstall died in 1499 holding the ' eighth part of the manor or vill of Wennington, called Old Wennington,' of Sir Edward Stanley as of his castle of Hornby by knight's service; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iii, no. 37. Brian Tunstall held the same in 1513; ibid, iv, no. 3. Later the tenure was called socage; ibid, x, no. 5. The estate was still retained in 1591; ibid, xv, no. 32. In 1582 Francis Tunstall purchased two messuages, &c, in Old Wennington from Adam Carr, Anne his wife and Thomas his son and heir; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 44, m. 200.
  • 34. In 1276 Geoffrey de Nevill and Margaret his wife claimed from Roger Lestrange the custody of John son and heir of Richard (son of John) de Cansfield. It was stated that John the grandfather of the heir had held 1½ oxgangs of land in Wennington of Henry father of Roger de Croft by knight's service and that Roger's tenement was then in plaintiffs' custody, Roger being a minor. Defendant alleged that the ancestors of Cansfield had been enfeofted by the ancestors of Roger son and heir of Roger de Mowbray, a minor; De Banco R. 14, m. 70, 71. John de Croft of Claughton complained in 1370 that various persons had broken his house at Old Wennington; De Banco R. 440, m. 260.
  • 35. Giles Bateson was plaintiff respecting land in Old Wennington in 1545; Ducatus Lanc, i, 178. Francis Bateson died in 1626 holding a messuage in Old Wennington, his heir being his son Richard, aged forty; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xxv, no. 8. Brian Baines died about 1628 holding a messuage, &c, of Lord Morley; his heir was his son Gabriel; Towneley MS. C 8, 13 (Chet. Lib.), 65. Thomas Craven died in 1634, leaving a son and heir Leonard; ibid. 243. Gabriel Thompson of Wennington in 1631 paid £10 for having refused knighthood; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 221.
  • 36. See preceding notes. The fine of 1227 confirmed the right of Hornby Priory and in 1292 the Abbot of Croxton was joined with the Tunstalls and others; Final Conc, i, 51; Assize R. 408, m. 17 d. A messuage, &c, in Old Wennington, as parcel of the Priory lands, was sold to Lord Mounteagle in 1544; Pat. 36 Hen. VIII, pt. x.
  • 37. Trans, Hist. Soc. (new ser.), xxiv, 174.