Townships: Middleton

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

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'Townships: Middleton', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 8, (London, 1914), pp. 72-74. British History Online [accessed 19 June 2024].

. "Townships: Middleton", in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 8, (London, 1914) 72-74. British History Online, accessed June 19, 2024,

. "Townships: Middleton", A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 8, (London, 1914). 72-74. British History Online. Web. 19 June 2024,

In this section


Middeltun, Dom. Bk.; Middelton, 1198; Midclton, 1212.

This retired district, on the shore of Morecambe Bay, perhaps owes its name to its position between Overton and Heysham. The surface is flat, and only in a few isolated spots does it attain 50 ft. above the ordnance datum. The village lies in the centre on the road between the two places named above; Trumley lies to the south and Whitley to the west. The area is 1,199½ acres. (fn. 1) There was in 1901 a population of 172.


Before the Conquest MIDDLETON, then assessed as four plough-lands, was a member of Earl Tostig's Halton fee. (fn. 2) Afterwards part was held by Count Roger of Poitou in demesne. (fn. 3) Later Middleton was assessed as three plough-lands, each being held by a different tenure in 1212. Adam de Middleton then held one plough-land by knight's service, and had given 1 oxgang of land there to Adam son of Orm (de Kellet), who rendered a pair of spurs yearly or 3d. (fn. 4) Adam son of Orm held another plough-land by the king's charter in thegnage, having also the bailiwick of the wapentake; he rendered 13s. 4d. a year. (fn. 5) The third plough-land was held in thegnage by the same rent by William de Hest. (fn. 6) The Middletons were succeeded by the Burghs, (fn. 7) and Henry son of Adam de Hest granted all his right in the plough-land in Middleton to William son of Roger de Heaton in marriage with his sister Christiana. (fn. 8) The immediate owners of this part were in 1297 Lady Joan de Dacre and Richard de Rigmaiden. (fn. 9) Not very long afterwards, in 1314, the Kellet third (fn. 10) was acquired by Sir Edmund de Nevill, (fn. 11) who obtained a grant of free warren for his demesne lands in Middleton in 1318. (fn. 12) Some time afterwards, in 1337, he gave a moiety to Cockersand Abbey on condition that an honest secular priest should be provided to sing daily in Middleton chapel for the souls named by the founder. (fn. 13)

In 1346 (1) William de Burgh of Middleton held one plough-land there by the service of the fifteenth part of a knight's fee, paying 8½d. for castle ward, doing suit to county and wapentake, providing puture, &c. (2) William son of Edmund de Nevill held 3½ oxgangs and 1 acre of land in socage, rendering 6s. 0½d.; and the Abbot of Cockersand held 4½ oxgangs, rendering 7s. 7½d.—13s. 8d. in all. (3) Thomas de Rigmaiden held 4 oxgangs of land, rendering 6s. 8d.; William son of William Robertson held 2 oxgangs, rendering 3s. 4d.; William Ellison held 1 oxgang, rendering 1s. 8d.; and John son of Roger held 9 acres, rendering 1s. 4d.—13s. in all. (fn. 14)

The manor being thus greatly subdivided, and the evidence failing, (fn. 15) the descent cannot be traced. It appears that the Lawrences of Ashton acquired the 'manor' of Middleton, but held it in socage by 1d. or 2d. rent instead of the old services. (fn. 16) Afterwards Robert Washington of Warton, (fn. 17) Lancelot Lawrence of Yealand (fn. 18) and Thomas Middleton held estates in this township. (fn. 19) Robert Middleton of Middleton in 1629 compounded for his recusancy by an annual fine of £4 10s. (fn. 20) The Rigmaidens appear to have been the chief resident family. (fn. 21) William Rigmaiden died in 1608 holding of the king as duke by knight's service and 2s. 7d. rent. (fn. 22) In 1650 and 1659 most or all the claimants to the manor seem to have sold to William West, (fn. 23) and in 1701 a settlement of the manors of Gressingham and Middleton was made by William West, Henry West and Martha his wife. (fn. 24) The family and the manor afterwards disappear, leaving no further record.

Rigmaiden. Argen three stags' heads caboshed sable.

A few of the old landowners may be found in the fines and other records (fn. 25); Lancaster Church (fn. 26) and Cockersand Abbey (fn. 27) were among them.

Of the chapel which was to be maintained by the canons of Cockersand nothing further is known except that one of them ministered there down to the Reformation. (fn. 28) At present the only place of worship in the township belongs to the Primitive Methodists, and was built in 1867.


  • 1. The Census Rep. of 1901 gives 1,370 acres, including 1 of inland water; there were also 888 acres of foreshore.
  • 2. V.C.H. Lancs. i, 288b.
  • 3. He granted demesne tithes there to St. Martin's, Sees; Farrer, Lancs. Pipe R. 290. In the Pipe Rolls of 1199–1200 appears 13s. 8d. of increment of Middle ton; ibid. 113, &c. In 1226 the old assized rent was recorded as 26s. 8d.; Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 140.
  • 4. Ibid. 86. Later the service is recorded as the fourteenth part of a knight's fee; ibid. 144. Adam died in or before 1235, and was succeeded by his son Adam; Excerpta e Rot. Fin. (Rec. Com.), i, 275. In 1241 Avice de Middleton released to Adam son of Adam her right in 7 oxgangs of land in Middleton; Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 84. Adam de Middleton was holding in 1242; ibid. 154. He was living in 1255; ibid. 199.
  • 5. Ibid. 89. In 1198–9 Adam son of Orm gave 30 marks for confirmation of his plough-land in Middleton, &c.; Farrer, op. cit. 106. See the account of Nether Kellet.
  • 6. Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 93. A charter of confirmation was granted in 1199; Cal. Rot. Chart. (Rec. Com.), 26.
  • 7. In 1259 William de Burgh obtained from the king the custody and marriage of the heir (masculine) of Adam de Middleton, paying 15 marks; Excerpta e Rot. Fin. (Rec. Com.), ii, 298. According to a pleading of 1356 Adam de Middleton gave certain land (then in dispute) to William hit son and Joan his wife, which William and Joan held it in the time of Edward I; they had a son and heir William, whose son William de Burgh was plaintiff in the action; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 4, m. 6 d.; 5, m. 17 d. There is an obvious inaccuracy in this account, Adam being dead before the son's marriage, but if true at all it implies that the son took the surname of Burgh. William de Burgh of Middleton occurs in 1265; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 233. In 1285 Robert son of John the Greave of Overton and Maud his wife claimed from William son of William de Burgh a messuage and oxgang of land in Middleton; De Banco R. 60, m. 90. William de Burgh held the plough-land in 1297, paying 8½d. and doing suit to county and wapentake; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 296. In 1302 he was described as heir of Adam de Middleton, and the service was the fourteenth part of a knight's fee; ibid. 317. The above dispute about an oxgang of land continued, John son of Robert de Overton being now defendant; De Banco R. 144, m. 90 d.; 148, m. 159. William de Burgh made a settlement of his third part of the manor (3 oxgangs excepted) in 1317; the remainder was to his son William and Joan his wife; Final Conc. ii, 24. He died in or before 1323 holding the third part of the manor and an oxgang of land of the king in chief by the twelfth part of a knight's fee, 8½d. for castle ward, &c. His wife Emma is named; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, ii, 126, 151.
  • 8. Towneley MS. C 8, 13 (Chet. Lib.), H 221. This explains why land in Middleton was afterwards stated to be held of Heaton or Brockholes.
  • 9. Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 296; they held one plough-land and paid 13s. 4d. rent.
  • 10. In 1286 Hawise widow of Adam de Kellet claimed dower in Middleton against Orm de Kellet (as to 2 oxgangs of land), Robert le Rich (3), and William son of Richard le Rich (3); De Banco R. 64, m. 105 d. In 1292 Orm de Kellet resigned his messuage and plough-land in Middleton to Richard de Preston and received it back, the remainder being to the heirs of Euphemia wife of Orm; Final Conc. i, 168, 174. In 1297 Orm de Kellet and Euphemia his wife held the plough-land of the earl by the ancient rent of 13s. 4d.; Lancs. Inq, and Extents, i, 296.
  • 11. Final Conc. ii, 19; Edmund de Nevill and Euphemia his wife (possibly widow or daughter of Orm) v. Gilbert le Harper, Richard de Preston putting in his claim. In 1323 Edmund de Nevill was said to hold a moiety (?a third) of the manor; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, ii, 119. In 1337 he made a feoffment of his remaining moiety of the manor; Final Conc. ii, 104. He died in Dec. 1346 holding the sixth part of the manor, with two messuages and 2 oxgangs of land, of William de Heaton by rendering 1 lb. of cummin yearly. William dc Nevill, his son and heir, was of full age; Inq. p.m. 20 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 39. The tenure does not agree with that of Orm de Kellet.
  • 12. Chart. R. 12 Edw. II, m. 17, no.77.
  • 13. Cockersand Chartul. (Chet. Soc), iii, 1076–7; the soul of Orm de Kellet was one of those to be prayed for. Euphemia the wife of Sir Edmund was then dead. The mesne lords were William de Burgh of Middleton and Thomas de Rigmaiden of the same place. Licence to alienate had been duly granted; Cal. Pat. 1334–8, p. 472.
  • 14. Survey of 1346 (Chet. Soc.), 68–70. William de Nevill held an acre belonging to the third plough-land, causing the total rents to be 13s. 8d. and 13s., instead of 13s. 4d. each. The oxgang there appears to have contained 10 acres. In 1361 the Abbot of Cockersand, William de Nevill and William de Burgh were stated to hold the fourteenth part of a knight's fee in Middleton; Inq. p.m. 35 Edw. III, pt. i, no. 122. In 1365 Edmund de Heaton claimed 3 oxgangs of land against William de Nevill, 1 oxgang each against John son of Roger de Middleton and John de Heysham and 1 acre against Thomas son of Roger de Middleton; De Banco R. 416, m. 455 d.
  • 15. The pleadings refer to minor estates. William de Lone in 1340 claimed a messuage which Gamel son of Edmund had granted to Adam de Lune in free marriage with Christiana his daughter; they had a daughter Margaret, and plaintiff was her son. The defendant was Henry de 'Haybergh'; De Banco R. 323, m. 70 d. This may refer to Middleton near Kirkby Lonsdale; see De Banco R. Mich. 22 Rio II, m. 199 d. In 1354 a messuage, &c., was settled by Richard son of Geoffrey the Serjeant and Agnes his wife (by their guardian Roger de Pinnemore), William the Clerk's son of Stodday and Alice his wife, with remainder to Alice daughter of Roger de Pinnemore; Final Conc. ii, 141. See also Assize R. 435, m. 13.
  • 16. Robert Lawrence was stated to hold a moiety of the manor in 1450 by a rent of 2d., and Sir James Lawrence 'the manor' in 1490 by 1d. rent; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc), ii, 57, 123. Some deeds which have been preserved throw little light on the acquisition. William de Middleton and Alice his wife in 1377 gave two messuages, &c., to John dc Heysham; Duchy of Lanc. Anct. D. (P.R.O.), L 1040. In 1461 William Middleton made a feoffment of his lands; ibid. L 1048. John Middleton son and heir of William in 1479 received his lands, with remainder to a brother Edmund; ibid. L 1049. John agreed to an arbitration in 1482; ibid. L 1024. In 1498 he released to Thomas Lawrence all his lands and rights in Middleton; ibid. L 1085.
  • 17. Robert Washington in 1483 held land in Middleton of the king as duke in socage by a rent of 1s. 8d.; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc), ii, 115. The rent is the same as that of William Ellison in 1346. The next Robert Washington in 1517 was said to hold by knight's service; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. v, no. 10; vi, no. 59.
  • 18. He died in 1534 holding two messuages, &c., in Middleton of Lord Mounteagle by services unknown; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. vi, no. 41; vii, no. 36. His son Robert, however, was in 1555 said to hold of the Crown by knight's service and 12½d. rent; ibid, x, no. 38.
  • 19. Ibid, xxix, no. 64; tenure not stated. He did not belong to the local Middleton families, of whom no account can be given. Elizabeth daughter of Ralph Middleton and wife of Nicholas Adamson mentioned in 1522 may have been of this family; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 134, m. 5.
  • 20. Trans. Hist. Soc. (new ser.), xxiv, 173.
  • 21. In 1288 Thomas son of Roger de Burgh complained that Richard de Rigmaiden and Anabil his wife had disseised him of a messuage and land in Middleton by Overton, in conjunction with William son of William de Heaton. Christiana widow of William de Heaton was chief lady of the fee and one Thomas son of William had held of her. His heir was the said Anabil, whose sister Agnes (born before marriage) was mother of plaintiff; Assize R. 1277, m. 31. Richard de Rigmaiden held part in 1297, as stated in the text. In 1317 John son of Maud de Dolphinlee claimed a messuage and oxgang of land in Middleton held by Thomas son of Richard de Rigmaiden and Margaret his wife; De Banco R. 220, m. 184d. In 1317–18 Thomas son of Richard de Rigmaiden ratified a grant by his father to Edmund de Nevill concerning land in an island of Middleton called Mirhop; Add. MS. 32104, fol. 232. Richard de Rigmaiden held a fourth part of the vill in 1323; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, ii, 119. A long silence follows. John Rigmaiden held lands in Middleton in 1525 of John Brockholes of Claughton by the rent of 1 1b. of pepper; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xi, no. 6. One of the same name in 1554 purchased two messuages, &c., from Richard Corney; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 15, m. 137. John Rigmaiden the elder in 1574 had sons William, John and Thomas; ibid. bdle. 36, m. 97.
  • 22. Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 91; he left a son Francis, one year old. In 1634 Gavin Herdman purchased the 'manor' of Middleton, dovecote, &c., from Thomas Covell, Dorothy his wife, Francis Rigmaiden and Jane his wife, warranty being given against the heirs of John Rigmaiden, grandfather of Francis; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 122, no. 47.
  • 23. The manor of Middleton, two dovecotes and lands in Middleton, Slyne and Hatlex, with fishery, &c., were in 1650 purchased by William West and Julia or Juliana his wife from Robert Middleton, Ellen his wife, Gavin Herdman, Richard Rathmell, Alice his wife, Richard Greene and Dorothy his wife; ibid. bdle. 147, m. 16. William West is named in 1653 as a colonel in the Parliament's army; Cal. S. P. Dom. 1655, P. 53. In 1654 a settlement by George Middleton of Leighton and Anne his wife included the 'manor' of Middleton (Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 156, m. 135), and this was acquired in 1659 by William West and Henry Baldwin from George and Anne Middleton, with Thomas Slater or Sclater, M.D., and Susan his wife; ibid. bdle. 164, m. 96. Baldwin was afterwards described as West's servant. William West of Middleton was buried 7 Dec. 1670, his wife Juliana having died about four years earlier; Lanc. Ch. (Chet. Soc.), iii, 664. He married secondly Frances daughter of Roger Kirkby of Kirkby Ireleth, and just before his death made a settlement of his estates, including the manor of Middleton, the Hall, Hugh Hill, Rigmaiden's house, &c. He seems to have had no children, and, after providing for his wife, the remainders were to Henry West of the Middle Temple, second son of Richard West of Heaton, deceased, to John West, eldest son of John West of Heaton (elder brother of Henry West), and to Nathan West, second son of John West of Overton; B. M. Add. Chart. 19547. Frances afterwards married Thomas Richardson of Ronhead; West, Furness (1774), 244. For Sir Thomas Sclater's will, 1684, see Misc. Gen. et Her. i, 382–4.
  • 24. Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 247, m. 89.
  • 25. William Coltman occurs in 1552 and 1571; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 14, m. 78; 33, m. 82. Richard Forster of Lancaster in 1568 held a messuage and 16 acres in Middleton of the queen by knight's service; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xi, no. 24. Katherine his daughter died in 1572, leaving Nicholas Forster as heir; ibid, xiii, no. 12. William Morecroft in 1555 purchased a messuage from Thomas Gardiner and another in 1576 from Nicholas Forster; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 15, m. 30; 38, m. 18. He died in 1577 holding in Middleton of the queen as of her duchy by knight's service and a rent of 3s. 10d. for castle ward. He also had land in Ormskirk and Scarisbrick; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xii, no. 16. His son William died ten years later holding of the queen by knight's service, part by the hundredth part of a knight's fee and 3s. 10d. rent and part by the twohundredth part of a fee; ibid, xiv, no. 33. His son William, then two years old, survived till 1600, when the heirs were Isabel Morecroft, spinster, aged sixty; William Clarkson son of Robert and Jane, thirty; John Styth son of Edward and Alice, forty; John Bagott son of Francis and Janet, twenty-one; ibid, xviii, no. 30. These were probably aunt and cousins of the deceased, but the relationship is not stated. The Morecroft estate must have been purchased by James Porter, who died in 1614 holding two messuages, &c., of the king as duke by the hundredth part of a knight's fee and 3s. 10d. rent. His son and heir Henry was only a year old; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 3. See p. 41, note 122, above. William Wingreene of Middleton died in 1637 holding of the king in thegnage. He left four daughters and co-heirs— Anne wife of Edmund Parkinson, aged twenty-two; Dorothy wife of John Metcalfe, twenty; Janet, fourteen, and Margaret, five. By his will the two last were to have his estates; Towneley MS. C8, 13 (Chet. Lib.), 1307.
  • 26. William de Middleton son of William de Hest and Orm de Kellet gave small parcels of land, apparently for a grange; Lanc. Ch. ii, 282–3. Hawgate, at the northern extremity of the vill, and Little Hallgate are mentioned.
  • 27. The gifts have already been recorded. In 1583 the estate was demised by the Crown, as Middleton Hall and lands, to John Packington for sixty years; Pat. 25 Eliz., pt. v. An earlier lease had been made (perhaps of part) to Roger Dalton, Alexander Gardiner being occupier; ibid, 21 Eliz., pt. xi. It was sold in 1609 to George Salter, &c.; ibid. 7 Jas. I, pt. xvi. In 1600 there was a dispute between Westmore and Dodding as to the estate; Exch. Dep. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 10, 11.
  • 28. V.C.H. Lancs. ii, 157. It is also mentioned as existing in 1585; it had a barn adjacent called the 'Bell House,' and was occupied by Thomas Westmore at a rent of 3s. 4d.; Duchy of Lanc. Special Com. 360.