Townships: Scotforth

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: Scotforth', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 8, (London, 1914), pp. 56-58. British History Online [accessed 20 June 2024].

. "Townships: Scotforth", in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 8, (London, 1914) 56-58. British History Online, accessed June 20, 2024,

. "Townships: Scotforth", A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 8, (London, 1914). 56-58. British History Online. Web. 20 June 2024,

In this section


Scozford, Scozforde, Dom. Bk.; Scoteford, 1204; Scotford, 1212 and common; Scokford, Shotford, 1292; Schotford, 1301.

This township has an area of 2,880 acres. (fn. 1) The surface is undulating, varying between 100 ft. and 450 ft. above sea level; the highest ground is in the north-east. The northern end of the township, including the district called Greaves, has become a populous suburb of Lancaster; the greater part remains agricultural, with some large residences and patches of woodland here and there. The population in 1901 was 1,847, mostly within the borough of Lancaster.

The principal road is the main road south from Lancaster to Preston; after passing through Greaves, with the Royal Albert Institution for Imbeciles standing out on the west, the village of Scotforth is reached, other roads here branching off in several directions. Further south Bailrigg, Big Forth and Hazelrigg lie to the east and Burrow to the west. The road to Cockerham goes through the north-west corner of the township, passing the above-named institution. On the other side a road goes from the barracks south-east, past the mill and Hala Carr and over the rising ground (350 ft.) down to a ford over the Conder on the way to Wyresdale. Still further east from high land of Lancaster Moor another road goes to Abbeystead and the upper part of Wyresdale, descending a little and then rising steadily till 440 ft. is attained, then falling somewhat quickly into the Conder valley. To the south-west of this road, about a mile above the river, is Langthwaite. The mill above-named is placed on a brook which flows southwest and south through the central depression and at last turns west towards the Lune, passing through Ashton. The London and North-Western Company's main line north runs through the township, and the Preston and Lancaster Canal also passes through it at the north-west corner, the steep banks on each side being here clothed with trees and affording a picturesque walk. Broken back Bridge, over the canal, affords the photographer a good subject. The Lancaster electric tramcars run out as far as Scotforth village.

In 1900 the urban portion adjoining Lancaster was taken into the borough; the remainder, known as Scotforth Rural, is governed by a parish council. The council controls the small cemetery which was formed in 1890.

The agricultural land is chiefly used as meadow and pasture. The soil is loam and clay, with gravel and clay underlying. A brown earthenware pottery existed by the ford over the brook to the east of the village from 1845 to 1869. (fn. 2)

The Royal Albert Institution was founded in 1868 as a charity for the care and training of idiots and imbeciles of the northern counties, and has been frequently enlarged since, now containing about 600 patients. The estate occupies a considerable area between the railway line and the Cockerham road.

John Taylor, D.D., a Nonconformist divine and Hebraist of note, was born at Scotforth in 1694, being son of a Lancaster timber merchant. He became one of the tutors in the Warrington Academy, and dying in 1761 was buried at Chowbent. (fn. 3)


Before the Conquest SCOTFORTH was, with Ellel and Ashton, held by Cliber, Machern and Gillemichael, and was assessed as two plough-lands. (fn. 4) Afterwards it came into the hands of Count Roger of Poitou, and later was granted to the Lancaster family. (fn. 5) The lordship descended in much the same way as Ashton, being parted among the heirs of Lancaster, (fn. 6) and held later by Gentyl, (fn. 7) Washington, (fn. 8) Lawrence (fn. 9) and Gerard. (fn. 10) No manor seems to be claimed at present. William de Lancaster I, who died about 1170, granted two plough-lands (fn. 11) in Scotforth to Hugh le Norreys or Norman, to be held by knight's service. (fn. 12) Hugh had a daughter Amice, who by her husband Ailward de Scotforth had a son and heir Roger, a benefactor of Lancaster Priory and Cockersand Abbey. (fn. 13) Hugh Norman or his daughter appears to have granted a part of the manor to Hugh de Letwell (Littlewell), William de Meluer and Anabil his wife and others. Parts of these alienations were repurchased by the chief lord, Gilbert Fitz Reinfred and Hawise his wife, who acquired them in 1204. These may have formed the third part of the manor named in 1319. The local surname appears later, (fn. 14) but the descent cannot be traced, and the land seems to have become divided among a number of small resident holders and the neighbouring lords. (fn. 15)

Storey. Per fesse indented argent and gules a pale counterchanged, in chief a stork of the field between two whelk-shells of the second, in base between as many storks of the field a whelk-shell of the second.

BAILRIGG, one of the hamlets, was sometimes called a manor. In part at least it belonged to Cockersand Abbey. It gave a surname to a local family, (fn. 16) and came into the possession of John Gardiner, the benefactor of the grammar school at Lancaster. (fn. 17) In recent times it was acquired by Sir Thomas Storey, who died in 1898, and became the residence of his son, Mr. H. L. Storey. Burrow, once a separate vill, (fn. 18) Hazelrigg (fn. 19) and Hallatrice, at one time the capital messuage of the Stodagh family and their successors the Southworths, (fn. 20) are mentioned in the records and charters which have been preserved.

As already stated, Lancaster Priory and Cockersand Abbey had lands in Scotforth. (fn. 21)

Robert Caton of Scotforth in 1631 paid £10 as a composition on declining knighthood. (fn. 22)

An inclosure award under an Act of 1806 (fn. 23) was made in 1809. (fn. 24)

In connexion with the Church of England St. Paul's was built in 1875–6; it has since been enlarged. A district was assigned to it in 1876. (fn. 25) The patronage is vested in five trustees. A Wesleyan chapel was opened on the Greaves in 1909.


  • 1. The area of the part outside Lancaster was in 1901 given as 2,126 acres, including 7 acres of inland water; its population was only 251; Census Rep. 1901.
  • 2. Hewitson, Northward, 143.
  • 3. a Dict, Nat. Biog.
  • 4. V.C.H. Lancs, i, 290a.
  • 5. Ibid.
  • 6. Adam son of Nicholas de Bowland and Christiana his wife in 1292 claimed land in Scotforth against Ingeram de Gynes and Christiana his wife, and other land against John Gentyl; Assize R. 408, m. 13 d. A third part of the manor was in 1319 settled by Ingeram de Gynes and Christiana his wife; Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), ii, 36. This estate came to the Crown, and in 1435 was described as the fourth part of the manor, being held by John Duke of Bedford of the king as duke by knight's service; Chan. Inq. p.m. 14 Hen. VI, no. 36. In 1509 it was held by Margaret Countess of Richmond, grandmother of Henry VIII; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iv, no. 28. The other part is mentioned in 1301 in the partition of the Lancaster inheritance between Marmaduke de Thweng and Margaret de Ros; Final Conc, i, 214. John son of John de Rigmaiden had a rent from Scotforth in 1323; ibid, ii, 51. Thomas de Stapleton had an interest there in 1373; Inq. p.m. 47 Edw. III (ist nos.), no. 32. Thomas de Thweng died in 1374 holding one plough-land in Scotforth, for which Agnes de Washington rendered 2d. a year, and Bailrigg also; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc), i, 4, 6. The place is named again in Sir Marmaduke de Lumley's moiety of the knight's fee in 1382; Chan. Inq. p.m. 6 Ric. II., no. 50.
  • 7. In 1301 Randle le Gentyl obtained the fifth part of two plough-lands in Ashton and Scotforth from John le Gentyl; Final Conc, i, 194. Agnes daughter and co-heir of Randle married Robert de Washington; Dods. MSS. cxlii, fol. 81b.
  • 8. In 1395 John Hancock of Scotforth, outlawed for robbery in 1392 and afterwards hanged, was found to have held his cottage and land of Robert de Washington as of his manor of Scotforth; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc.), i, 62. Agnes was the daughter and heir of Robert; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxiii, App. 5.
  • 9. Edmund Lawrence was the Stapleton tenant here as in Ashton in 1373; Inq. p.m. 47 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 32. In 1450 Robert Lawrence held a moiety of the manor of Scotforth of the king as duke by 1d. rent; but Sir James Lawrence in 1490 was said to hold his land in Scotforth by knight's service; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet Soc.), ii, 57, 131. On the division of the Lawrence estate among the numerous heirs the lands in Scotforth appear in many hands, but the 'manor' here as in Ashton seems to have gone to Butler of Rawcliffe, Radcliffe of Winmarleigh, and so to Sir Gilbert Gerard; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. vii, no. 4; xvi, no. 2. Other references may be seen in the inquisitions concerning Skillicorne, Rishton, Standish of Duxbury, Rigmaiden and Molyneux. The tenure, when mentioned, is stated variously, sometimes as by knight's service and at others as in socage. In 1520 the manor and other lands in Scotforth were said to be held of the king as duke in socage by 1d. rent; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. v, no. 65. Cecily Molyneux was styled lady of the manor in 1589; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), iii, 228. Hugh Anderton and James his son sold their part of the inheritance to Roger Parkinson and William Ashburner in 1562; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 24, m. 99, 105. Ralph Rishton sold to various persons (ibid. bdle. 25, m. 97, 122) and part was acquired by Ashburner in 1566; ibid. bdle. 28, m. 209.
  • 10. In addition to the manor he held as his wife's inheritance Sir Gilbert Gerard obtained a grant of the queen's manor (or share of it) in 1574; Pat. 16 Eliz. pt. ii. Thenceforward the manors of Ashton and Scotforth are usually named together, as may be seen in the references given in the account of Ashton, e.g. in the recovery in 1800 by Archibald Duke of Hamilton; Pal. of Lanc. Aug. Assizes, 40 Geo. III, R. 6.
  • 11. In most cases the old assessments were reduced by half, so that these two plough-lands were probably in Scotforth and Nateby, as appears by the fines quoted below.
  • 12. Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 4. William de Lancaster III on his deathbed (1246) granted 15 acres in Scotforth to John Buscel; ibid, i, 165. In 1251 Avice widow of Roger son of Aylward sought dower against John Bussel; Curia Regis R. 145, m. 14 d., 51 d. John Bussel gave land in Crook, Kelderise and Skinner's flat to Cockersand Abbey; Chartul. (Chet. Soc), iii, 804.
  • 13. Ailward (Halleward) and Amice his wife, daughter of Hugh Norman, granted land in Scotforth and Burrow to Cockersand; ibid, iii, 801–2. Roger called son of Ailward and son of Amice daughter of Hugh Norman was also a benefactor; ibid. 800, 804. Roger son of Ailward granted land in Langthwaite and Arrebreck to Lancaster Priory and his son Roger made a further small gift; Lanc. Ch. (Chet. Soc), ii, 336–40. William son of Roger de Scotforth was non-suited in 1292 in a claim against Roger; Assize R. 408, m. 46 d.
  • 14. Adam son of Robert de Scotforth and Agnes his wife were defendants to a claim in 1292; Assize R. 408, m. 54. John son of William de Scotforth, called Miles, has been mentioned in the account of Ashton.
  • 15. William de Dalling in 1323 acquired a tenement from Robert Scot of Bigthwaite and Cecily his wife; Final Conc, ii, 57. Alice daughter of William de Dalling, under age, was a plaintiff in 1356; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 5, m. 20. The Prior of Lancaster claimed land in Scotforth from Robert de Washington and Agnes his wife in 1336 and two years later Sir Nicholas de Stapleton made various claims against the same Robert and Agnes, Richard Banastre, John de Lancaster and Alice his wife; De Banco R. 308, m. 203; 315, m. 257 d. Alice widow of Adam Darling in 1344 made claims for dower in a messuage and mill in Scotforth and Ashton against William son of William son of James de Bolton and against Robert and Agnes de Washington; ibid. 338, m. 246 d. John the Mercer of Lancaster had land in Scotforth in 1351; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 1, m. 8; 2, m. 8. John del Hall occurs in 1355; ibid. 4, m. 22. Adam Skillicorne held land in 1371; Final Conc, ii, 180. Thomas Bolron of Lancaster had land in Scotforth in 1496; ibid, iii, 146. Henry Duckett's tenement in Scotforth (1506) was no doubt the same estate; it was held of the heirs of John Lawrence by services unknown; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. v, no. 20. Lawrence Starkie of Lancaster in 1532 held land in Scotforth of the king as duke by knight's service; ibid, ix, no. 21. His heir sold some at least to Richard Johnson in 1547; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 13, m. 244. The estate of Robert Pearson, dead in 1564, included Little Ridding, Sowram, &c., in Scotforth; Ducatus Lanc, ii, 352. The inquisitions do not afford much of interest. Thomas Brockholes of Claughton in 1618 held a messuage, &c., of Gilbert Lord Gerard; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), ii, 148. William Padgett or Patchett died in 1618 holding messuages, two water mills, &c., of the king as duke in socage by a rent of 7s. and leaving as heir a son Francis, aged eleven; ibid. 132; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xxvii, no. 71. Francis Waller died in 1623 holding two messuages, but the tenure is not recorded; his son Thomas was thirty years of age in 1637; ibid, xxviii, no. 41; xxix, no. 21. William Ashburner or Asburner, mentioned in a former note, in conjunction with his wife Frances made a feoffment of his land, &c., in 1572; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 34, m. 120. Thomas Goose and Ellen his wife also occur; ibid, bdles. 34, m. 145; 37, m. 48 ; 44, m. 187. John Goose died at Winmarleigh in 1602 holding two messuages, &c., in Scotforth and Bare, but the tenure is not given. Thomas his son and heir was thirteen years old; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xviii, no. 49.
  • 16. Henry son of Alan de Ashton in 1288 confirmed a gift made by William son of Roger de Bailrigg to Lancaster Priory; Lanc. Ch. ii, 347. Roger de Bailrigg (Ballyk) was plaintiff in 1292; Assize R. 408, m. 54. Alice widow of Roger de Bailrigg in 1305 claimed dower in Scotforth against John son of John de Bailrigg and Alan de Ashton; De Banco R. 153, m. 187. In 1309 the former defendant called upon John son and heir of Roger de Bailrigg to warrant him; ibid. 174, m. 225. In 1 348 John son of John de Bailrigg and Maud his wife received from the feoffees the fourth part of the manor of Scotforth, together with the homages and services of various tenants there; Final Conc. ii, 126. The executors of Thomas de la More, rector of Heysham and guardian of John de Bailrigg, in 1357 complained that Lawrence de Bailrigg had broken into the heir's house, &c.; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 5, m. 4 d.; 6, m. 4 d.
  • 17. John Gardiner in 1467 obtained from Richard Neel and Isabel his wife the manor of Bailrigg with messuages, &c., in various places; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 31, m. 26. The manor was by his will assigned to the maintenance of his chantry and almshouses, and in 1548 there were three tenants at Bailrigg, paying £4 4s. 4d. in all, out of which a chief rent of 12d. was paid to Sir Thomas Holt, who had purchased the Cockersand Abbey estates in Bailrigg; Raines, Chantries (Chet. Soc), 221–4; Pat. 35 Hen. VIII, pt. iv. The confiscated chantry lands were in 1598 in dispute among various persons; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), iii, 387, 389, &c. Richard Thompson, then one of the parties, died in 1618 holding messuages, &c., in Bailrigg of the king as of his manor of East Greenwich. The inquisition, taken in 1634, showed that he had two daughters and co-heirs—Margaret (aged forty-six) wife of Richard Hind and Anne (forty) wife of Robert Pye. The estate had been settled on the elder daughter; Towneley MS. C 8, 13 (Chet. Lib.), 1186.
  • 18. Robert son of Richard de Burrow (Burgo) gave to Cockersand Abbey land near the gate (porta) of the vill of Burrow; Chartul. iii, 803. In another charter Scotforth and Burrow are mentioned as if distinct places; ibid. 805. In 1349, however, Burrow is described as a hamlet in the vill of Scotforth; William de Bigthwaite had held land there and his widow Edusa received it from the trustee; Kuerden fol. MS. (Chet. Lib.), 92. This land seems to have been acquired by Lambert Stodagh; ibid. 73.
  • 19. William Cave (about 1450) gave Lambert Stodagh 4 acres in Hazelrigg in the vill of Scotforth; ibid. 88. Little Hazelrigg is mentioned in the early Cockersand grants; Chartul. iii, 801.
  • 20. Lambert Stodagh in 1561 (? 1461) made an agreement with forty-two tenants of the whole lordship of Scotforth and of the hamlets of Langthwaite, Bailrigg, Bigthwaite and Burrow, parcels of the lordship, respecting an approvement he had made of 8 acres, of which 6 acres were in Bigthwaite. He had had the land by the gift of Robert Lawrence of Ashton at a rent of 12d. Lambert agreed to enfeoff five or six persons in the approvement at a rent-charge of 10d. a year, which the constable of Scotforth should receive and pay yearly to the king; Kuerden fol. MS. 386. Hallatrice or Hollowtrice (Halewat'rice) was held of the priory of Lancaster for 9s. rent in 1430; Rentals and Surv. R. 378. Lambert Stodagh died in 1511 holding in Burrow and Bailrigg of the king in socage; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iv, no. 1. 'Halrowethrase' was held by George Southworth in 1586 of Sir Gilbert Gerard; ibid, xiv, no. 11. It was sold by Thomas Southworth, and in 1664–88 owned by John Cawson of Norbreck in Cockerham; W. Farrer's D.
  • 21. The lands of Lancaster Priory were sold to Robert Dalton together with Aldcliffe and Bulk. The Cockersand lands in Bailrigg and Burrow were granted to Thomas Holt (see above). The charters afford various place-names as Micklecrook, Littlecrook, Keldesproch, &c.
  • 22. Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 221.
  • 23. 46 Geo. III, cap. 25.
  • 24. It is kept at Lancaster; Lancs, and Ches. Rec. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 56.
  • 25. Lond. Gaz. 28 Mar. 1876.