Townships: Heaton with Oxcliffe

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

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'Townships: Heaton with Oxcliffe', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 8, (London, 1914), pp. 69-72. British History Online [accessed 21 June 2024].

. "Townships: Heaton with Oxcliffe", in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 8, (London, 1914) 69-72. British History Online, accessed June 21, 2024,

. "Townships: Heaton with Oxcliffe", A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 8, (London, 1914). 69-72. British History Online. Web. 21 June 2024,

In this section


Hietun, Dom. Bk.; Heton, 1212.

Oxeneclif, Dom. Bk.; Oxiclive, 1176; Oxeclive, 1200; Hoxeclive, 1247; Oxclifve, 1254.

This township lies on the right bank of the Lune, which here flows west and then south. The greater part of the surface is low and flat, but in the southern half a rising tract, running north and south, stands above the 50-ft. level. On the river side of it is situated the hamlet of Heaton; on the inland side is Great Swart Barn. Oxcliffe stands on a little bluff to the north-east, at the point where the river bends, and Ovangle occupies a similar piece of higher land on the border of Skerton. The hamlet of Oxcliffe in the north has an acreage of 716½, Heaton in the south having 1,319½, giving a total of 2,036 acres (fn. 1); of this 166½ is salt marsh, the hamlets named containing 76 and 90½ acres of it respectively. The population in 1901 was 165.

The principal road is that going from Skerton near the river bank, through Ovangle, Oxcliffe and Heaton to Overton; south of Oxcliffe Hall it passes the riverside inn called 'Snatchems.' At the north end of the road a branch goes off west to Heysham, and at the south end another turns towards Middleton. The railway line to Heysham Harbour crosses the north-west corner of the township.


In 1066 Earl Tostig held both Heaton, assessed as four plough-lands, and Oxcliffe, assessed as two, as members of his lordship of Halton. (fn. 2) After the Conquest the two were separated and held by different tenures, and the assessments were reduced by half.

HEATON was placed in the barony of Penwortham, and was again divided; one moiety was by Warine Bussel given in marriage with his daughter to Randle son of Roger de Marsey, (fn. 3) while the other was similarly given to Hamon le Boteler. (fn. 4) Another grant of the whole manor seems to have been made early to the Grelleys of Manchester, who gave to Roger son of Orm, (fn. 5) ancestor of the Kirkby Ireleth family, but no trace of this mesne lordship appears in the deeds. The other moieties became reunited in the same immediate lord, though held by different tenures. Roger son of Randle de Marsey before 1180 granted his moiety to a different Roger son of Orm, who was to render 10s. rent and pay 12d. sake fee, (fn. 6) and the grantee quickly transferred fo Augustine son of Waldeve in exchange for a third part of the manor of Hutton in Leyland. (fn. 7) Hamon's moiety descended to his grandson Adam de Hoghton, who granted it to the same Augustine son of Waldeve, who was to hold it by doing the service due from the ninth part of a knight's fee. (fn. 8) John Count of Mortain in 1189 confirmed this second moiety to Roger son of Augustine de Heaton. (fn. 9) The double tenure was recognized in 1262, when after the death of Roger's son Roger de Heaton it was found that he had held one plough-land in Heaton of Geoffrey de Chetham by 10s. rent and the other of Adam de Hoghton by 19½d. rent. (fn. 10) His son and heir William, who was thirty years of age, did homage and had livery the same year. (fn. 11) It appears that William married Christiana sister of Henry son of Adam de Hest, receiving with her a burgage in Lancaster, (fn. 12) and that he had two sons, Roger and William. The former dying before 1283, leaving a daughter and heir Christiana, the father (fn. 13) in that year settled his manors of Heaton and Burn upon the other son, William, Christiana daughter of Roger putting in her claim. (fn. 14)

Grelley. Gules three bendlets enhanced or.

In 1302 William de Heaton was recorded to hold the fourteenth part of a knight's fee in Heaton of the Earl of Lincoln. (fn. 15) The manor descended in this family (fn. 16) till the death of a later William de Heaton, and in 1387 one-third part was held as dower by his widow Katherine and the rest by Richard de Westby and John de Brockholes in right of their wives Margery and Katherine. (fn. 17) The estates were afterwards divided, (fn. 18) and the manor of Heaton was included in the Brockholes share. (fn. 19) It has since descended in the same way as Claughton in Garstang, (fn. 20) Mr. William Joseph Fitzherbert-Brockholes being lord of the manor. (fn. 21) Records of courts held from time to time since 1759 are in his possession. The clearing of the watercourses was the most important matter enforced. (fn. 22)

Heaton. Vert three garbs or.

Brockholes. Argent a cheveron between three brocks passant sable.

During the sequestrations suffered by the Brockholes family in the Commonwealth time some of the tenants took the opportunity of complaining of the harsh dealing, as they described it, of John Brockholes, the deceased lord. (fn. 23) Thomas, his younger brother, had an estate in Heaton, which was forfeited and sold. (fn. 24)

OXCLIFFE was one of several estates in and near Lancaster granted out in serjeanty, (fn. 25) and in 1212 Hugh de Oxcliffe held the plough-land there by being carpenter to the king at Lancaster Castle and elsewhere. (fn. 26) He had granted out a fourth part, but the remaining three parts continued to be held by the Oxcliffe family for many generations. (fn. 27) Before 1500, however, the manor had disappeared and the family also. The Hollands of Denton later had land in Oxcliffe. (fn. 28) A farm-house known as Oxcliffe House is dated 1644.

OVANGLE was perhaps the chief part of the 2 oxgangs of land granted by the above-named Hugh to Walter de Sparham in marriage with his sister. (fn. 29) This fourth part of the manor, after being subdivided, (fn. 30) was in 1297 held by Sir William de Dacre, (fn. 31) and in 1323 by William de Slene, (fn. 32) who died soon afterwards, leaving a son William, aged seven. (fn. 33) Later by co-heirs it came to Gardiner and Southworth (fn. 34); the former moiety was acquired by Harrington, (fn. 35) and so came to Lord Mounteagle, (fn. 36) while the latter descended with Highfield in Lancaster. (fn. 37)

The inclosure of the chapel of St. Cuthbert of Heaton was the subject of dispute between Sir William de Heaton and Ralph de Truno, who was Prior of Lancaster between 1266 and 1290. The agreement, made to define its bounds, mentions the new and old houses of Brother William Hermit; the prior had his grange there. (fn. 38) Nothing further is known of any public chapel in Heaton, for that named in 1387 seems to have been at the hall. (fn. 39)


  • 1. 2,032 acres, including 2 of inland water; Census Rep. of 1901. There are also 29 acres of tidal water and 63 of foreshore. A small part of Skerton was added to Heaton with Oxcliffe in 1900; Loc. Govt. Bd. Order P 1586.
  • 2. V.C.H. Lancs. i, 288b.
  • 3. This is a probability only, as the five plough-lands given are not specified; Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 29.
  • 4. Ibid. 30; here it is stated that 'Adam de Hoghton holds (1212) the same Heaton, that is, one plough-land.'
  • 5. Farrer, Lancs. Pipe R. 403; Albert Grelley was the grantor, but Roger son of Orm had already held the same of his father. The rent was 20s. yearly.
  • 6. Ibid. 406; Orm (who was son of Magnus) had held of the grantor's ancestors.
  • 7. Ibid. 409; the half part of Heaton was to be held of Roger and his heirs in free thegnage by a rent of 10s. and by paying the 12d. sake fee due to the king.
  • 8. Ibid. 411.
  • 9. Ibid. 437; this confirmation included lands in Wesham, Greenhalgh, &c. Burn in Thornton was another manor held by Roger de Heaton. Roger de Heaton died in 1204, leaving a widow Sabina, and Henry de Redmayn proffered 40 marks for the wardship and marriage of his heir; ibid. 181, 204. The name of the heir was not recorded in 1212 (Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 48), but he was no doubt the Roger son of Roger de Heaton to whom, between 1234 and 1241, Adam son of Adam de Hoghton confirmed the half part of Heaton, which was to be held by the ninth part of a knight's fee; ibid. 30. It should be added that in 1204—the date being fixed by the attestation of William de Vernon as sheriff—William son of Walter granted to Roger son of Roger de Heaton, in free marriage with Agnes his sister, that half plough-land in Bolton which his own father had received in marriage with his mother; Brockholes of Claughton D. Roger de Heaton and Agnes his wife in 1235 sold 4 oxgangs of land in Bolton to Richard de Copeland; Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 67. The place appears to be Bolton in Urswick. In 1226 Roger de Heaton paid 17s. rent for his lands in Amounderness; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 139. He frequently acted as juror; ibid.
  • 10. Ibid. 231. Adam de Hoghton in 1298 received 19½d. from William de Heaton for the farm of Heaton; Dods. MSS. cxlii, fol. 54.
  • 11. Excerpta e Rot. Fin. (Rec. Com.), ii, 387.
  • 12. Memo. R. (K.T.R.), 128, m. 15; a petition made in 1362. Adam de Hest occurs 1246 and Henry de Hest 1254 on; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 161, 194, &c.
  • 13. William the elder was dead in 1288 when Christiana daughter of Roger son of William de Heaton claimed the inheritance against the heir male, William son of William de Heaton; De Banco R. 70, m. 22; 86, m. 106 d.
  • 14. Final Conc. i, 160. William son of Roger de Heaton made a grant to William his son about 1280, and a further agreement was made between them in 1283; Towneley MS. C 8, 13 (Chet. Lib.), H 217–18. About the same time Sir William de Heaton and John de Oxcliffe made an agreement about the bounds of their manors; C 8, 13, H 219. Sir William's seal appears in the Lytham charters at Durham—4a, 2ae, Ebor. 17.
  • 15. Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 317. About the same time Richard son of Adam de Hoghton granted to his son Richard the homage and service of William de Heaton for lands in Heaton; Dods. MSS. cxlii, fol. 80b. In 1323 Alice daughter and heir of the Earl of Lincoln (being lord of Penwortham) held a moiety of the manor of Heaton in Lonsdale by the sixteenth part of a knight's fee, and Roger de Pilkington held the manor by a rent of 10s. yearly, his tenant being William de Heaton; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, ii, 126, 106. The Pilkingtons succeeded Chetham, and the Earls of Derby succeeded them. Thus Sir John Pilkington died in 1421 holding the manor of Heaton of the king as duke, John Brockholes of Claughton holding the same of him by knight's service; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 179.
  • 16. William de Heaton and Anilla his wife made settlements of the manor of Heaton and other lands in 1323 and 1328; Final Conc. ii, 55, 78. William de Heaton in 1348–50 made a claim for messuages, &c., in Lonsdale against Thomas son of Marmaduke de Thweng, John Lawrence of Ashton, William de Washington and Robert de Haldleghes; Assize R. 1444, m. 3, 4. The executors of Edmund de Heaton who had claimed in 1362–3 were in 1374 at variance with William de Heaton; De Banco R. 456, m. 43. In 1377 was made an enrolment of the grant of William de Heaton of all his lands in Heaton, Burn, Mowbreck and Urswick; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxii, App. 361.
  • 17. Towneley MS. C 8, 13, B 138; the deed is now among the deeds of Mr. Fitzherbert-Brockholes. Katherine widow of William de Heaton granted to the other four named her dower in the manor of Heaton, the chapel, &c.; she had married Adam de Catterall and had made an agreement with Roger father of John de Brockholes and others. Margaret and Katherine were probably daughters of William de Heaton, but this is not stated. The profits of the court called the halmote are named. Edmund de Rigmaiden and John de Nevill were free tenants.
  • 18. The deed has not survived, but the Westbys later had Mowbreck, Burn and Urswick, while the Brockholes family had Heaton. In the last-named place the former family retained an interest, for in 1557 William Westby of Mowbreck held a capital messuage, 30 acres of land, &c., in Heaton of Sir Richard Hoghton in socage by the rent of a grain of pepper; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. x, no. 17. Thomas Westby in 1638 was stated to have had 53s. 4d. free rent from the manor of Heaton; ibid, xxviii, no. 42. See also Cal. Com. for Comp. iv, 2634.
  • 19. John Brockholes and Katherine his wife made a feoffment of their manor of Heaton in Lonsdale in 1407; Kuerden fol. MS. p. 51. Sir Richard Hoghton died in 1422 holding the knight's service of the heir of Edmund de Heaton (now John Brockholes) for a moiety of the manor of Heaton; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc), i, 146.
  • 20. At his death in 1437 John Brockholes held the manor of Heaton of Sir Richard Hoghton by knight's service; Harl. MS. 2085, fol. 446b. Roger Brockholes and Margaret his wife received the manor in 1438; C 8, 13, R 53. Roger made a new feoffment of it in 1441; Final Conc. iii, 107. In 1468 Thomas son and heir of Roger Brockholes was placed in possession; C 8, 13, B 156. Thomas had in 1466 granted certain tenements there (lately of Margaret, Roger's wife) to Ellen daughter of William Chorley, with remainder to Roger the son of the grantor; Add. MS. 32105, fol. 185. Roger Brockholes died in 1496 holding the manor of Heaton of Anne daughter and heir of Sir Alexander Hoghton by knight's service and the rent of 18d.; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iii, no. 73. Ellen his widow claimed her jointure as above; ibid. no. 77. John Brockholes, the son and heir, made a settlement in 1539 (Add. MS. 32105, fol. 210b), and his son Thomas held the manor in 1567 of Edward Earl of Derby and Thomas Hoghton by services unknown; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xi, no. 6. Thomas Brockholes of Claughton died at Heaton in 1618 holding the manor of the Earl of Derby and Sir Richard Hoghton; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 148. He had had some disputes with Thomas Mashiter and others in 1601 respecting entry on the moss, marsh, &c., at Heaton; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), iii, 433.
  • 21. See the account of Claughton in Garstang.
  • 22. Occasionally the bounds were perambulated, the standard being a document said to have been copied from one dated 1520. At the north-east the bounds began at the mid-stream of the Lune, went west to Lyth pool, up this to the west corner of the Brunt park; thence west to the cross in the moss between Oxcliffe and Heaton; still west to the middle of the moss between Heysham and Heaton and then south to the Le Park between Middleton and Heaton; thence by the hedges between Overton and Heaton to Collywall (Colloway) and by the syke to Hathorn pool and the Lune.
  • 23. Royalist Comp. Papers (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 245; in his leases he 'reserved most unreasonable services by ploughing, harrowing, shearing, mowing, and other personal and slavish burthens, which they never before had answered.' The sequestration agents demanded equally 'unreasonable sums of money' instead thereof.
  • 24. Ibid. 246–9; he was a 'recusant and delinquent.' In his petition he 'admitted at the beginning of the wars he had acted against the state, but soon seeing his error he subsequently did all he could in the Parliamentary interest.' He was a prisoner for debt in the Marshalsea in 1652. His lands were put in the Act for sale; Index of Royalists ([ndex Soc), 51.
  • 25. In 1176–7 Oxcliffe contributed half a mark to the aid; Farrer, Lancs. Pipe R. 35.
  • 26. Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 87. Hugh had in 1200–1 proffered half a mark to the king that the sheriff might not disturb his possession, and in the following year paid half a mark to the scutage; Farrer, op. cit. 132, 152.
  • 27. A pedigree put forward in 1447 and later gives the descent thus: Hugh de Oxcliffe -s. John -s. William -s. William -s. John -s. William -s. James (plaintiff); Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 10, m. 17. John son of Hugh de Oxcliffe held by carpentry about 1220; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 123. The same service was due from him in 1246; Assize R. 404, m. 24. He was living about 1250; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 181. A John de Oxcliffe was plaintiff in 1278; De Banco R. 23, m. 9. In 1297 William de Oxcliffe held three-fourths of a plough-land by finding a carpenter to work in the castle, receiving 1d. a day; he did suit at county and wapentake courts and paid 9d. to the reeve of Skerton for ploughing; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 295. In 1323 William de Oxcliffe held the three-fourths by carpentry or a rent of 3s. 8d.; ibid, ii, 120. In another extent of the same time Alice de Slene was joined with him as tenant, the rent being recorded as 3s. 4d.; Dods. MSS. cxxxi, fol. 41. It would seem that before 1320 the Gentyl family had had some right in Oxcliffe; De Banco R. 233, m. 79. Soon afterwards the Oxcliffes held half the manor instead of three-fourths. In 1332 William de Oxcliffe gave rents of 13s. 4d. (for life) and 40s. from his manor of Oxcliffe to William de Heaton; Add. MS. 32104, no. 1129,423 (fol. 98). By a settlement of 1335 the moiety of the manor was to descend to Joan and Margaret, daughters of William de Oxcliffe, whose wife Ellen is also named; Dods. MSS. liii, fol. 84. In 1346 Thomas de Walton (two-thirds) and Alice de Slene(one-third) were liable for the 3s. 4d. rent from Oxcliffe; Survey of 1346 (Chet. Soc), 64. Alice was the holder of the fourth part of the plough-land which had been granted out before 1212; she paid 4d. rent; ibid. In this place Oscliue (for Oxcliffe) is misprinted Estline. In later pleadings it is stated that William de Oxcliffe had held a moiety of the manor (except Melanshow—now Mellershaw) and had sold it to his younger brother Nicholas, who granted the reversion to John de Ipre, Nicholas de Ashton, Edmund de Heaton and Edmund Lawrence, no doubt in trust. Nicholas died without issue, and at Michaelmas 1351 John de Ipre, chaplain, is found making a claim against Thomas de Walton and Ellen his wife respecting a tenement in Oxcliffe (Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 1, m. 4; 2, m. 1), while in 1355 John son of William de Oxcliffe successfully claimed the moiety of the manor against John de Ipre, alleging that a certain John de Oxcliffe in the time of Edward I granted the same to William de Oxcliffe and Sabina his wife, from whom it descended to their son William, the plaintiff being the latter William's son; ibid. 4, m. 25; 5, m. 15. John de Oxcliffe afterwards complained of damage done by John de Ipre after the judgement against him; Assize R. 438, m. 7d. He then (in 1358) claimed a third of three-fourths of the manor against William son of William de Slene, a minor; ibid. m. 8 d. John de Ipre gave another version of the matter in 1361; Assize R. 441, m. 6. In a gift of land to Leicester Abbey in 1392–3 it was stated that John de Oxcliffe held the manor of Oxcliffe in socage by a rent of 2s. 2d.; Inq. p.m. 16 Ric. II, pt. ii, no. 86. The service is that due for a moiety (two-thirds of 3s. 4d.). John de Oxcliffe appears again in 1407–8 Pal. of Lanc. Chan. Misc. 1/9, m. 102–3. The writ of diem cl. extr. was issued in 1410; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxiii, App. 8. In 1438–9 it was found that he had held the manor of Oxcliffe of the king as duke in socage by a rent of 2s. yearly; Harl. MS. 2085, fol. 446b. William Oxcliffe in 1433 held three parts of the manor, which he granted to trustees; Anct. D. (P.R.O.), C 74. The writ of diem cl. extr. was issued 13 Aug. 1439; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxiii, App. 38. As already stated, James the son of William was plaintiff in 1447–50; see further below. In 1489 Joan widow of James Oxcliffe complained that John Oxcliffe and others had broken her close at Oxcliffe; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 67, m. 2. John Oxcliffe in 1489–94 granted three burgages in Lancaster and a fishery at Oxcliffe to Robert Morley; ibid. 79, m. 3. One Robert de Oxcliffe, having lands in Bolton-le-Sands, wag a benefactor to Furness Abbey; Add. MS. 33244, fol. 51. His arms are there given as Argent, 3 ox heads caboshed sable, horned gules.
  • 28. In 1619 Richard Holland held a messuage, &c., but the tenure was unknown; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 142. This appears again in 1631; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xxvii, no. 42. In the inquisitions of Thomas Cansfield and Francis Waller the tenure of Oxcliffe lands is not recorded.
  • 29. Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 87; the heirs held the same in 1212. Walter's wife was named Margaret; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 15, m. 22 d.
  • 30. In 1247–51 it was held by Nicholas son of Gerard and Gervase son of Simon, each having an oxgang of land and being liable to the lord of the honour for 3s. 4d. a year; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 181. In 1230 Santalota widow of Gervase son of Walter received dower in Oxcliffe from Nicholas son of Gervase, and claimed further from John de Oxcliffe; Curia Regis R. 107, m. 30 d.
  • 31. Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 295. The land used to render 6s. 8d., but this had been remitted by Earl Edmund to Sir Edmund de Dacre, father (?) of William.
  • 32. Ibid, ii, 120; he paid 4d. rent. In another version this rent is given as 1s.
  • 33. Inq. p.m. 18 Edw. II, no. 23; William held jointly with Alice his wife, paying 12d. rent. William de Slene, son of William and Alice de Slene (she being an heiress), in 1347 complained of sale and waste in Oxcliffe by Robert de Ellers and Adam his son; De Banco R. 353, m. 334. The rent of 4d. due from Alice de Slene for the fourth part of a plough-land in Oxcliffe is mentioned in 1348; Sheriff's Compotus, 22 Edw. III. It has appeared above that the Slenes had a shnre of Oxcliffe proper. In 1333 the feoffees granted to John de Lancaster and Alice his wife that third part of all three parts of the hamlet of Oxcliffe which Agnes widow of William son of John de Oxcliffe had formerly held in dower; Towneley MS. HH, no. 408. William de Slene died in 1401 holding jointly with Margery his wife certain lands in Oxcliffe of the king as duke by a rent of 40d. yearly. A son Robert seems to have died without issue, and the heirs were unknown; Towneley MS. DD, no. 1507.
  • 34. James Oxcliffe claimed the fourth part of the manor of Oxcliffe against John Gardiner, Isabel his wife, Oliver Southworth and Alice his wife in 1447–50. alleging the pedigree already given; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 10, m. 17; 12, m. 19; 15, m. 22 d. Already in 1427 Robert Brockholes and Isabel his wife (in her right) had a moiety of the third part of the manor of Oxcliffe, with messuages and lands in Lancaster, Ashton, Stodday and Bolton, which in 1440 were held by John Gardiner and (the same) Isabel his wife; Final Conc, iii, 94, 105. In 1448 Oliver Southworth and Alice his wife had a similar estate, but a moiety of the fourth part of the manor was that held; ibid. 114.
  • 35. Purchased it would seem by Thomas Harrington in 1440; ibid. 105.
  • 36. Henry Lord Mounteagle was in 1523–4 found to have held lands in Oxcliffe and Ovangle in socage; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. v, no. 64. It was probably given to the new hospital at Hornby; Raines, Chantries (Chet. Soc.), 235. The moiety of Ovangle was in 1634 sold to Arthur Alburgh and others; Pat. 10 Chas. I, pt. vi. This may have been the tenement of William Wingreene of Middleton in 1637; Towneley MS. C 8, 13 (Chet. Lib.), 1307.
  • 37. It appears in the Southworth inquisitions. In that of Robert Southworth (taken in 1515–16) the tenure is described as of the king in socage; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iv, no. 2. In 1567 Gilbert Southworth had a dispute with the tenants of the Earl of Derby respecting a right of way to certain wells, &c., in Oxcliffe; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), ii, 354.
  • 38. Lanc. Ch. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 278.
  • 39. See an earlier note (17).