Townships
Formby

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Victoria County History

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William Farrer & J. Brownbill (editors)

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1907

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45-52

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'Townships: Formby', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3 (1907), pp. 45-52. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=41288 Date accessed: 24 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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FORMBY

Fornebei, Dom. Bk.; Fornebi, 1177; Forneby, common till 1500; Form by, 1338, became common in the sixteenth century.

This township or chapelry forms a detached portion of the parish of Walton, and including the manors and hamlets of Raven Meols on the southwest and Ainsdale on the north, has an area of 6,619 acres, 4,502 being the acreage of Formby proper. (fn. 1) Ainsdale has since 1894 been an independent township. (fn. 2) In 1901 the separate population of Formby was 5,642, and of Ainsdale 1,314.

Formby is bounded on the west by the sea, the shore being protected by extensive and somewhat lofty sandhills, covered with a luxuriant growth of creeping willows and star grass, the latter being systematically planted to keep the sand from drifting away. Game abounds on these hills, wherefore the land is strictly preserved, and only a few footpaths across the forbidden ground are open to the public. The sandhills afford shelter from the sea winds to the three villages of Formby, Formby-by-the-Sea, and Freshfield, which form practically one town, situated on flat, sandy land, surrounded by fields intersected by ditches, where rye, wheat, potatoes (fn. 3) and a variety of market produce flourish, including fields of asparagus, a specialty in the district. Fishing for shrimps and raking the sands for cockles affords employment to some of the inhabitants. Formby sandhills are famous to local botanists as the habitat of several uncommon and characteristic wild plants, among which may be mentioned the Wintergreen, Pyrola rotundifolia, var. maritima. Towards the sea the soil and subsoil consist of blown sand, with fluviatile sand or loam towards the neighbourhood of the Alt; on the landward side the soil is peaty; to the east of Formby Hall a small area of keuper marls occurs.

The principal road is that from Liverpool to Southport, from Alt Bridge northwards through Formby and Ainsdale. The village is large and scattered over the central portion of the area; in recent years residential districts have grown up by the sea. This is largely due to the railway facilities, the Lancashire and Yorkshire Company's line from Liverpool to Southport having stations called Formby and Freshfield.

Formerly the township must have been much larger. As it is, Formby Point is a prominent feature of the coast-line; but the greater part of Raven Meols was long ago destroyed by the sea. (fn. 4) About the beginning of the eighteenth century sand gradually overwhelmed the lands by the shore, changing the coast-line. (fn. 5) The dark tilled soil of the ancient surface and the natural furrows made by the plough are occasionally found when clearing the ground of blown sand. From 1710 Formby leases contained a clause providing for the planting of star-grass, which became part of the service due to the lords of the manors; afterwards an Act was passed, making the planting compulsory.

There are many curious place-names in Formby. The Wicky Dales and Clovenly Dales are near the Ainsdale boundary. The banks forming the fences of the fields are called 'cops.' Dangus Lane, on the east side of the village, is sometimes called Danesgate Land, being connected by local traditions with an incursion of the Danes. The Whams is an open space to the west of Formby Hall. Watchut or Watchyard Lane may be derived from wet-shod. Stingman's or Steeman's hook, by the moss on the east, is supposed to be derived from the vipers which formally infested the place. Brank Farm was so called from brank or buckwheat, which will grow on very poor land.

There are traditions that troops for the suppression of the rebellion of 1715 were embarked at Formby for Scotland, and that early in the eighteenth century a proposal was made that docks should be constructed here rather than at Liverpool.

The old roundhouse was pulled down about 1893, but remains of the stocks may still be seen. A stone cross with steps was erected in 1879 on the village green, which was then enclosed; the old cross and steps were re-erected in St. Luke's churchyard. The pedestal of another, called the Cop Cross, formerly stood west of the village. (fn. 6)

Camden notices the use of turf here for fire and candle light, and the oily matter coming from it. (fn. 7)

The area of Raven Meols (fn. 8) extends to 658 acres exclusive of foreshore.

Camden states that there was a small village named Alt Mouth near Formby, (fn. 9) but it has disappeared, so that it is uncertain whether it was on the Raven Meols side of the river, or in Ince Blundell. (fn. 10) In 1835 there was no dwelling here but a farmhouse; a rabbit warren adjoined. (fn. 11)


Eaton of Eaton. Quarterly argent and sable, a cross patonce counterchanged.

The hamlet of Ainsdale, (fn. 12) now a township, was formerly estimated to contain 1,459 acres, but according to the census of 1901 has 1,617 acres of land and inland water and 620 acres of foreshore. Two of the railways running into Southport have stations here; the Lancashire and Yorkshire Company one at Ainsdale; and the Southport and Cheshire Extension two—Woodvale and Seaside.

Flat sandy fields lie inland, cultivated for the most part, and extensively drained by deep, wide ditches. The principal crops are potatoes and corn, whilst field-peas and cabbages make a variety here and there. Trees are small, and only appear in the vicinity of the village of Ainsdale and around a few scattered farmhouses.

MANORS

In 1066 there were in FORMBY proper three manors, held by three thegns, the land being assessed as four plough-lands and said to be worth 10s. beyond the customary rent. (fn. 13) A quarter of Formby, or one plough-land, was after the Conquest granted to or retained by a family of thegns who also held Bootle and Woodplumpton. (fn. 14) Richard, son of Roger, son of Ravenkil, died in 1200, when his lands were divided between his four daughters. One of these, Quenilda, wife of Jordan de Thornhill, was tenant in 1212. (fn. 15)

The remainder was probably taken into the demesne of West Derby; (fn. 16) but a second of the four ploughlands was granted by Henry I, or perhaps by Stephen, when count of Mortain, as a serjeanty to be held by the service of escorting or conducting the king's treasury from the southern confines of the county as far as Blackbrook; it was held in 1212 by Quenilda de Kirkdale as heir of her father Roger. Roger had enfeoffed William son of Norman of this plough-land, and William in turn had granted it to Quenilda, wife of Jordan de Thornhill; (fn. 17) she was thus in possession of half the vill though by different tenures. It descended like her other lands to the Stockport and Beetham families; (fn. 18) the one moiety descending through the Eatons to the Warrens, (fn. 19) and the other by confiscation in 1487 came into possession of the earls of Derby. (fn. 20) John Warren in 1561 by fine released his fourth part of the manor to Henry Halsall of Halsall, (fn. 21) and two years later Edward, earl of Derby, sold his fourth share to the same Henry Halsall. (fn. 22)


Warren of Poynton. Chequy or and azure, on a canton gules a lion rampant argent.


Halsall of Halsall. Argent, three serpents' heads erased azure, langued gules.

The other moiety of Formby was granted by John, count of Mortain, to Richard son of Roger, thegn of Woodplumpton, who held it until the rebellion of 1193–4, when he was dispossessed for adhering to the cause of his chief lord. (fn. 23) Formby was expressly excluded when Richard's daughters and coheirs obtained a confirmation of their father's lands in Amounderness, (fn. 24) and in 1203 was granted to Richard de Meath, one of the king's clerks, son of Gilbert de Walton. (fn. 25) Three years later it was taken into the king's hands, (fn. 26) and in 1208 granted to Hugh de Moreton, who had married Margaret, one of the daughters of Richard son of Roger. (fn. 27) Taking part against the king, Hugh was dispossessed, and in August, 1215, Richard de Meath was again put into possession. (fn. 28) A year later Hugh de Moreton, who had made his peace with the king, was reinstated, (fn. 29) but in 1221 Richard de Meath succeeded in obtaining Henry III's mandate to the sheriff to put him in seisin of this and other manors granted to him by King John. (fn. 30) Richard granted it to his brother Henry de Walton for life, with a provision, which took effect, that should Henry survive him, the estate should descend to Henry's heirs; this arrangement was confirmed by the king in 1227. (fn. 31)


Walton of Walton on-the-Hill. Azure three swans argent.

The lordship of this moiety descended with Walton until 1489, when Roger Walton died, leaving daughters as heirs; after which it does not seem traceable. (fn. 32) It had, however, been early granted out to several tenants; partly to the Blundells whose share was given to the Norrises, (fn. 33) descending with the West Derby and Speke branches until 1543, when Sir William Norris exchanged it for other lands of Sir William Molyneux of Sefton, (fn. 34) the latter's son in 1561 selling it to Henry Halsall; (fn. 35) partly to a local family, who assumed Formby as a surname, and have retained their share of the manor, now called a quarter, to the present day; and partly to others whose holdings cannot be clearly traced. (fn. 36)

Thus by the year 1564 three parts of the manor had come into the possession of Henry Halsall, from whom the estate descended to Sir Cuthbert Halsall; he in 1631 sold it to Robert Blundell, (fn. 37) in whose descendants it has descended, in the same manner as Ince Blundell, to Mr. Charles Weld-Blundell, the present lord of this share.

The remaining portion, traditionally seven oxgangs out of the thirty-two, was the share of the Form by family. It appears that Master Roger de Derby held seven oxgangs in Formby, five of Henry de Walton, and two of William de Lee, the latter in turn probably holding of the same Henry. To Hugh de Corona, son of Master Roger, Henry de Nottingham granted these seven oxgangs, with the principal messuage and all his men, as well free as others, at a rent of 15s. 2d. a year and a pair of white gloves. (fn. 38) This Hugh de Corona is no doubt the Hugh de Formby (fn. 39) whose son Adam de Formby held seven oxgangs here in 1327. (fn. 40) From that time only fragmentary notices are obtainable of the family, (fn. 41) except in the sixteenth century, (fn. 42) until the eighteenth century when Richard Formby (fn. 43) was lord of this part of Formby and also curate of the chapel. He died in 1832, and was succeeded by his son John Formby of Maghull Hall, (fn. 44) whose son the Rev. Lonsdale Formby was, like his grandfather, lord of the manor and incumbent of the chapel. Mr. John Formby, his only son, is the present lord of this portion of the manor.


Formby of Formby. Argent, a lion rampant gules, on a chief azure two doves argent.

In 1717 as 'papists' John Poole of Great Crosby, Richard Rimmer, and Nicholas Summer registered estates here. (fn. 45)

Before the Conquest there were in RAVEN MEOLS three manors held by as many thegns; the assessment was half a hide, and the value beyond the customary rent the normal 8s. (fn. 46) The whole was afterwards put into the demesne of West Derby, and in 1094 Roger of Poitou gave the tithes of Meols, as of his other demesne manors, to St. Martin of Séez. (fn. 47) Sixty years later Henry II gave this vill, with Ainsdale and other more important estates, to his falconer, Warin de Lancaster, to hold by grand serjeanty, and John count of Mortain confirmed the gift to Henry de Lea, son of Warin, between 1189 and 1194, (fn. 48) and again in 1199 after becoming king. (fn. 49) In 1207 the tenure of Raven Meols and Ainsdale was changed to socage and a yearly service of 20s.; five-sixths of which was due from this vill. (fn. 50) The subsequent descent of the mesne lordship is the same as that of Lea and the other manors of Henry son of Warin. (fn. 51)

Between 1205 and 1211 Henry de Lea granted licence to William Blundell of Ince to erect a mill on the Raven Meols side of the Alt, with the right to take eels at the sluice; the mill was given to the monks of Whalley, who in 1329 agreed with Sir Richard de Hoghton and his wife Sibyl to pay a rent of a gilt spur, or 4d., and reserve the eel fishery to the lord of Raven Meols. (fn. 52)

The survey of 1212 shows that thirteen of the twenty-four oxgangs had been granted to eight tenants. The details are: Robert son of Osbert (de Ainsdale), two oxgangs by serving the office of reeve; Alan le Brun, two oxgangs by a rent of 6s., these feoffments were 'of ancient time'; Richard son of Henry, two oxgangs for 6s. by grant of Warin de Lancaster; and the following held by gift of Henry de Lea; Denise, daughter of Thurstan, two oxgangs by 5s. rent; William, brother of the grantor, an oxgang by a pound of pepper; Edwin, two oxgangs by 5s.; Robert, one oxgang by 3s.; Thomas, son of Sigge, the same. (fn. 53) In the inquest after the death of Henry de Lea in 1289, it was stated that he held seven oxgangs in demesne and five in service; from which it would appear that half the manor had been already lost, probably by incursions of the sea. (fn. 54)

Some of these infeudations can be traced later. The lands of Denise daughter of Thurstan descended to Ellen, her daughter by William de Stanton; (fn. 55) and subsequently to the Banastres of Bank, who held them for many generations. (fn. 56) William de Lancaster, baron of Kendal, who died in 1246, held three oxgangs by the feoffment of Nicholas, son of William de Lea, for 4s. yearly, with common of pasture in Formby belonging to one oxgang, and the homage of William, rector of Walton, and his service of one oxgang. These lands were granted to Robert the Taylor, (fn. 57) whose widow, Hilda, in 1254 demanded her dower in two oxgangs. (fn. 58) The share of Alan le Brun can also be traced for some time. (fn. 59) Robert, son of Edwin, was a benefactor to Cockersand Abbey. (fn. 60) Nicholas Blundell, the heir of Robert son of Osbert, was in possession of his two oxgangs in 1328. (fn. 61)

The Molyneux family of Melling had lands here in the first part of the seventeenth century; (fn. 62) and in 1744 William Molyneux of Mossborough in Rainford named his 'manor of Ravensmeols' in his will; (fn. 63) in 1757 it was purchased from his daughter, Lady Blount, by John Formby of Formby, and has since descended with Formby. (fn. 64)

At the death of Edward the Confessor, AINSDALE was held by three thegns as three manors, in which there were two plough-lands valued beyond the customary rent at 64d., the usual rate. (fn. 65) It was given by Henry II, with Raven Meols and other manors, to Warin de Lancaster, (fn. 66) and has since descended like Raven Meols. Henry de Lea, son of Warin, held it in 1212; (fn. 67) and in 1327 it was held by Sir Richard de Hoghton in the right of his wife, Sibyl de Lea, by fealty only, without other service. (fn. 68)

It was probably Warin de Lancaster who enfeoffed Osbert of this manor, which Robert son of Osbert, also known as Robert de Ainsdale, held of Henry de Lea in 1212, paying 10s. (fn. 69) Robert and his family were benefactors to the abbey of Cockersand. (fn. 70) They acquired lands in Great and Little Crosby, and adopted Blundell as their surname. (fn. 71) There is little to show their connexion with Ainsdale, apart from a claim of 'wreck of the sea,' which after trial in 1292 was rejected. (fn. 72) In 1328 Nicholas, son of David Blundell, granted his manor of Ainsdale to Gilbert de Halsall in fee; (fn. 73) and the manor descended in the latter family for about sixty years, (fn. 74) passing to the Hulmes of Maghull. (fn. 75)


Blundell of Crosby. Sable, ten billets, four, three, two and one argent.

David de Hulme died in 1418 seised of lands called Ainsdale, worth 40s. yearly, which he held of the king, as duke of Lancaster, in socage. (fn. 76) In 1483 lands and fishings here were settled upon Lawrence Hulme for life, and descended to his greatgrandson Richard, who died in 1539 seised of four messuages, &c. (fn. 77) Edmund, his son and heir, was in 1555 defendant in a suit brought by Henry Halsall for trespass in Meandale within the manor of Birkdale. The former alleged that he was lord of the manor of Ainsdale and had certain fishyards and lands adjacent to Birkdale. The plaintiff denied that there was any manor of Ainsdale; he had heard that a township so named had once existed, but it had been overflowed by the sea, and no trace of it was left. (fn. 78) In July, 1555, Edmund Hulme released to Henry Halsall all his right to the manors of Halsall and Ainsdale, various lands there, and a fishery. (fn. 79) The Halsalls thus regained Ainsdale; but in 1630 the manors of Birkdale, Meandale, and Ainsdale were sold by Sir Cuthbert Halsall to Robert Blundell of Ince Blundell, (fn. 80) and they have since descended like Ince. (fn. 81)


Blundell of Ince. Azure, ten billets, four, three, two and one or; on a canton of the last a raven proper.

CHURCH

The parochial chapel appears to have stood originally in Raven Meols, (fn. 82) but the site of the modern St. Luke's Church, with its ancient burial ground, (fn. 83) is now within the limits of Formby. Little is known of its history. In 1334 a settlement was made of a dispute as to the tithes of the fishery at Raven Meols between the rectors of Walton and Sefton. (fn. 84) The patronage is attributed to the Halsalls (fn. 85) in the sixteenth century, and the Formbys in the next. (fn. 86) The rector of Walton has, however, from 1723 presented the curate in charge, as he does the vicars now.

Its fate after the Reformation is not known. As it was far distant from the parish church and the people adhered to the old religion, it is probable that services were not very regularly held; in 1590 it was not mentioned, while about 1612 it was reported that only 'a reading minister' served this chapel. (fn. 87) The Commonwealth Surveyors of 1650 described the chapel as ancient and parochial, and recommended that the township be formed into one independent parish. (fn. 88)

At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the chief resident family having conformed to the Established religion, and the old chapel having become almost overwhelmed by the sand and otherwise unfit for service, (fn. 89) the church of St. Peter was in 1736 erected upon a piece of waste land in a central position, (fn. 90) some of the material of the old chapel being used. This church, enlarged in 1830, is a plain brick building, with a campanile containing one bell; the chancel was enlarged and a side chapel built in 1873.

The following have been among the curates and vicars:—

1558–63Thomas Wolfall (fn. 91)
1604Henry Hammond (fn. 92)
1622Thomas Lydiate (fn. 93)
1626Roger Wright
1650John Walton (fn. 94)
1657Peter Aspinwall (fn. 95)
to1662William Aspinwall (fn. 96)
oc.1665Edward Birchall (fn. 97)
to1698George Birchall (fn. 98)
to1702— Coulborn
1702Timothy Ellison (fn. 99)
1723— Clayton (fn. 100)
1735Thomas Mercer (fn. 101)
to1772James Mount, B.A.
1772Lancelot Graham
1793Robert Cort (fn. 102)
1794Richard Formby, LL.B. (Brasenose Coll. Oxf.) (fn. 103)
1832Isaac Bowman
1847Lonsdale Formby, B.A. (St. Catharine's Coll. Camb.) (fn. 104)
1894Thomas Bishop, M.A. (St. Catharine's Coll. Camb.)

St. Luke's Church was built in 1852–5 near the site of the ancient chapel; (fn. 105) a district was formed for it in 1888. Holy Trinity Church was erected in 1890, and a district was assigned in 1893. (fn. 106) At Ainsdale, St. John's has been licensed for services since 1887. (fn. 107)

A school was erected on the waste in 1659 by the inhabitants; an endowment was given in 1703 by Richard Marsh. (fn. 108)

The Church of England Victoria Home for Waifs and Strays was opened in 1897.

Protestant Nonconformity appears to have been unknown in Formby until 1816, when the Rev. George Greatbatch, a Congregationalist minister of Southport, preached here. No regular services were held by this denomination until 1881, when the Assembly Room was used; a school chapel was opened two years later. (fn. 109) The Wesleyan Methodists built a chapel in 1877; they have also a mission room.

The Wesleyan Methodists and the Congregationalists also have places of worship at Ainsdale, the latter an offshoot of the Southport churches, 1877–9. (fn. 110)

As already stated, the greater part of the population adhered to the Roman Church at the Reformation, and so late as 1718 Bishop Gastrell found that a quarter of the inhabitants were still faithful. (fn. 111) In 1767 the number of 'papists' had increased to 363. (fn. 112) The names of the priests have not been recorded before 1701, when Fr. Richard Foster, S.J., was here, his stipend being £16, of which £10 was given by the people. (fn. 113) The Jesuits had charge of the chapel down to 1779, but secular priests also visited the place. After a short interval one of the latter, the Jesuit order having been suppressed, received charge here in 1784, and the succession is continuous from that time. A new chapel was built in 1798 on the old site. (fn. 114) The church of Our Lady of Compassion was erected in 1864 at some distance from the old one. (fn. 115)

The church of St. Anne, Freshfield, erected in 1886, is connected with a girls' industrial school in charge of the Sisters of Charity, formerly carried on in Mason Street, Liverpool. It is served from Formby. At Freshfield also is St. Peter's school for Foreign Missions, begun in 1884, associated with the Mill Hill College founded by the late Cardinal Vaughan. (fn. 116)

Footnotes

1 The census of 1901 gives: 5,873 acres, including six of inland water. The foreshore of Formby alone measures 1,562 acres, and of Ainsdale 620.
2 Loc. Gov. Bd. Order 31626.
3 Potatoes are said to have been introduced into England by the wrecking of a vessel on the coast at or near Formby; Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), xi, 203; Jenoway, Antiq. Notes (Edin. 1823), p. 207.
4 See Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), x, 48; xiii, 93.
To the entry of Raven Meols in the ancient rating book of the county is added the note:—'All or the most part whereof is drowned in the sea.'
In a report prepared in 1839 the action of the winds and tides was noted. The effects were 'perceptible in the destruction of large quantities of land in the vicinity of the landmark, now in ruins, near the edge of the shore, and about the lifeboat house, which when erected thirty-five years ago stood 100 yards inland, but now projects about 300 yards before the hills and line of high water; in this period also at least 300 yards have been taken from before the landmark'; Trans. Hist. Soc. xxii, 246. The appended note gives a more moderate estimate of the change.
The landmark mentioned was a tower on Formby Point; a corresponding tower was erected in Ince Blundell to assist navigators in entering the Mersey by Formby Channel. See the plan in Enfield's Liverpool, 1771.
5 The land on the seaward side of the Alt, where is now the Altcar rifle range (in Little Crosby township), was reclaimed during last century; see the map of entrance to the Mersey in Enfield, Liverpool; but the course of the Alt does not seem to have changed since the date of this map, 1771.
In the north, near the boundary of Ainsdale, is a large sandhill covering the spot where once stood a cottage known as Richard Cave's Cottage.
'In old days the leases used to include the right to fish on a given part of the shore, which was called a "stall," and was treated as one of the fields of the farm; but when the great changes took place on the coast about this time (1700), this custom fell into disuse . … The last fishery lease that I have seen is dated 1711'; information of Mr. John Formby.
6 Lancs. and Ches. Antiq. Soc. xix, 187– 9; Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), xi, 239.
7 Britannia (ed. 1695), 748: 'In the moist and mossy soil turves are digged up which serve the inhabitants for fuel and candle light. Under the said turf there is a certain dead and blackish water, upon which there swimmeth I know not what unctuous matter; and in it swim little fishes that are caught by the diggers of turf.' William Blundell of Crosby, writing about 1680, knew nothing about the fishes, but states that a local chemist had from the turf extracted 'an oil extraordinary sovereign for paralytic distempers'; Gibson, Cavalier's Note Book, 298.
8 Mele, D. B.; Ravenesmoles, 1199; Ravensmeles, thirteenth century; Ravenmeales, 1580.
9 Britannia, 748.
10 Tunnicliffe's map of 1789 shows it; Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), xi, 173.
11 Baines, Lancs. (ed. 1836), iv, 54.
12 Einuluesdel, D. B.; Annovesdala, 1200; Aynoluesdale, 1237; Ayneldesdale, 1506; Aynsdale, 1568.
13 V.C.H. Lancs. i, 284b. It is possible that the 'three thegns' were identical with the 'three thegns' of Ainsdale and the 'three thegns' of Raven Meols.
14 Farrer, Lancs. Pipe R. 43, 44. A twelfth-century rental in the Pipe R. of 10 Hen. III has the entry: 'Of Richard son of Roger, of thegnage in Formby and Bootle, 13s. 4d.'; Lancs. Inq. and Extents. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), 136.
15 The service was a rent of 4s. 8d.; ibid. 23.
16 Formby occurs in 1176, along with other portions of the demesne of the honour, as contributing 36s. 8d. to the aid; Lancs. Pipe R. 35. The assized rent of 28s. was in 1202 increased by 6s. 8d.; ibid. 164, Inq. and Extents, 137.
17 Inq. and Extents, 27, 131. Blackbrook has not been identified. There is a stream of the name in Astley. Jordan paid a rent of 2s. to Quenilda de Kirkdale, and this was granted by her to Cockersand Abbey for the welfare of the soul of King Henry; Cockersand Chartul. (Chet. Soc), ii, 564.
18 Jordan de Thornhill died without issue, and his widow Quenilda was by Randle, earl of Chester, married about 1222 to Roger Gernet, chief forester. She died in 1252 seised of two plough-lands held in chief of William, Earl Ferrers, by the yearly service of 8s. 4d.; Robert de Stockport and Ralph de Beetham were her heirs; Inq. and Extents, 116, 191.
She had enfeoffed William de Samlesbury of her moiety of the manor, and his daughter Margery was tenant in 1252; ibid. 191. She afterwards married Robert de Hampton, but Formby appears to have been given to her younger sister Cecily, wife of John d'Evyas, and about 1280 Richard d'Evyas, probably their son, was lord of a moiety of Formby; Norris D. (B.M.), n. 418. Subsequently Sir Robert de Shireburne and his descendants held some part of this fee; Kuerden, ii, fol. 260.
In 1259 Sir Robert de Stockport and Robert de Beetham were suing Robert de Hampton and Margery his wife for sixteen oxgangs in Formby; Cur. Reg. R. 162, m. 19 d.
19 The Stockport moiety descended to Sir Richard, son of the above-mentioned Sir Robert, who died in 1292, leaving issue two daughters. The elder, Joan, but two and a half years of age at her father's death, married Sir Nicholas de Eaton and afterwards Sir John Ardern; and in 1340 Sir John Ardern released her lands in Formby and Woodplumpton to Robert son of Nicholas de Eaton; Watson, Memoirs of the Earls of Warren, ii, 234.
In the extent of 1324 Ralph de Beetham was returned as holding 8 oxgangs in Formby for 2s. 4d. yearly, and Nicholas de Eaton and Margaret his wife [for Joan], a similar tenement for the same service; Dods. MSS. cxxxi, fol. 36. In 1346 Ralph de Beetham and John de Davenport were returned similarly; the latter's right was as father-in-law and guardian of Richard de Eaton, son of Robert and grandson of Nicholas, who was married to his daughter Isabel; Survey of 1346 (Chet. Soc), 32.
Sometime between this date and 1378, the tenure was changed from thegnage or socage to knight's service, viz., the sixth part of a fee; Aid of 2 Ric. II; Dods. MSS. cxxxi, fol. 175 b.
In 1369 Isabel de Stockport or de Eaton, heir to her brother Richard, son of the Richard last named, died without issue; whereupon her next heir was found to be Sir John Warren, son of Sir Edward Warren, the second husband of Cecily de Eaton, sister of the above Robert de Eaton; Ormerod, Ches. (ed. Helsby), iii, 794, where the subsequent descents may be seen.
John Warren died in 1480 seised of 6 messuages, 40 acres of land, &c., in Formby, which he had in 1445 demised to Isabel, daughter of Robert Legh of Adlington; she still held them in 1506. They were held of the king by the twentieth part of a knight's fee, and were worth 20s. per annum clear; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p. m. iii, n. 86.
His grandson, Sir John Warren, was the heir in 1506, being then aged thirtysix years. He died in 1518 seised of a fourth part of the vill, 30 messuages, &c., held by the fifth part of a knight's fee; Lawrence Warren, aged thirty-three years, was his son and heir; ibid, iv, n. 89.
Sir Edward Warren, son and heir of Lawrence, died in 1558 seised of the same; the rent of 2s. 4d. payable to the crown is mentioned in the inquisition; ibid, xi, n. 86.
20 This quarter of the manor was in 1446 vested in Thomas Beetham, from whom it descended to his son and heir, Sir Edward. The latter, who died in 1472, had settled his estates on his three brothers, Roger, William, and Richard; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 9, m. 18 b; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 101; Chan. Inq. p. m. 12 Edw. IV, n. 20. Roger and William dying without male issue, Richard came into possession and was living in 1484; Duchy of Lanc. Misc. vol. cxxx, fol. 13; Cal. Pat. R. 1476–85, p. 467.
The subsequent descent is obscure. The estates of the family appear to have been forfeited for adherence to the House of York, and granted in whole or in part to the earl of Derby. Roger Beetham, brother of Sir Edward, had a daughter Agnes, who married Robert Middleton of Leighton (Chan. Inq. p.m.), and their son and heir Thomas Middleton contested the earl's title, alleging that Richard Beetham had no more than a life interest; see Ancient D. D. 477. In the result the earl appears to have retained Formby with most of the others, and the second earl, in the inquest taken after his death, was found to have been seised of Bootle and Kirkby; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p. m. v, n. 68; on the other hand Thomas Middleton was in 1514 described as 'of Beetham'; L. and P. Hen. VIII, i, 4767; and his son and heir Gervase died in 1548 seised of the manors of Kirkby and Bootle; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. ix, n. 11, and ante 33a.
21 Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 23, m. 114. John Warren was the second son of Sir Edward. The property is described as part of the manor of Formby, and the fourth part of 28 messuages, &c., windmill, 1,000 acres of land, &c., in Formby.
22 Ibid. bdle. 25, m. 55; the fourth part of the manor and 600 acres of moor, moss, and heath.
23 Lancs. Pipe R. 90.
24 Charter R. (Rec. Com.), 90b; Inq. and Extents, 40.
25 Rot. de Oblatis (Rec. Com.), 191; to be held in fee and inheritance by the accustomed farm of 28s. and 6s. 8d. yearly increment. In 1206 the moiety of the vill was tallaged at 17s. with the other demesne manors; Lancs. Pipe R. 202.
26 Ibid. 206, Close (Rec. Com.), 1199–1224, p. 55; Inq. and Extents, 1.
27 Lancs. Pipe R. 220, 221. For this restoration Hugh gave 20 marks, a sarcell hawk and a brachet; ibid. 224.
28 Rot. de Finibus (Rec. Com.), 560.
29 Close (Rec. Com.), 1199–1224, p. 289b. The sheriff was ordered to reinstate Hugh de Moreton in this estate, of which he had been disseised at the beginning of the war for being then with the king's enemies; he was now serving the king faithfully in the company of the earl of Chester.
30 Ibid. 477b.
31 Charter R. n. 19, m. 7; printed in Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 138.
William son of Henry de Walton granted to Dieulacres Abbey William, son of Gilbert de Formby, and his issue; Dieulacres Reg. fol. 17.
32 In 1346 Simon de Walton held two plough-lands in Formby; Survey of 1346 (Chet. Soc.), 32. In the Feodary compiled in 1430 it is recorded that the heirs of Robert de Walton held here by the gift of King John two plough-lands in socage for 34s. 8d., paying double rent for relief, and attending with the bailiff of the county or wapentake to witness distraints; Dods. MSS. lxxxvii, fol. 57.
33 William Blundell, no doubt the lord of Ince, held a messuage and 3 oxgangs of land, which he gave to Alan, son of Hugh le Norreys, and Margery his wife. Upon the death of Patrick le Norreys, grandson of Alan and Margery, about 1314 without issue, Alan son of Henry le Norreys claimed this tenement as kinsman and heir of Patrick. John le Norreys of Speke, uncle of the claimant, had come into possession by a grant from his father, and his right was affirmed by the jury, the grant to Alan son of Hugh having been in fee, and not in tail, to the issue of Alan and Margery; De Banc. R. 238, m. 191.
About the same time a division of lands in Formby was made between Thomas de Beetham and John le Norreys; Dods. MS. cxlix, fol. 143. In 1334 William le Norreys stated that he, Robert de Shireburne, Ralph de Beetham, and Adam de Formby were lords of the manor, but Roger le Raye and others asserted a partnership also; Coram Rege R. 297, m. 58. In 1338 Ralph de Beetham made a grant to Alan, son of John le Norreys; Norris D. (B.M.), n. 425.
The estate appears to have been given to the junior branch of the family settled at West Derby, for in 1401 it was found that William Norris had been seised of 4 messuages and 3 oxgangs of land held of the king as of the duchy of Lancaster by knight's service and the rent of 6s. 6d.; Towneley MS. DD. n. 1447.
With Lettice, daughter and heir of Thomas, son of William Norris, this part of Formby returned to the Speke line, she marrying Thomas Norris. In 1453–4 the estate in Formby consisted of seven tenements, each of half an oxgang, held by Thomas Ainsdale, John Formby and others, for rents amounting to 40s. 6d., and thirteen smaller holdings, rented at 11s. 10d., in all; Norris D. (B.M.), Rental.
34 Appended to the Norris Rental quoted in the last note is a memorandum in the writing of Sir William Norris stating that he had made an exchange with Sir William Molyneux; the lands received were in Lydiate and Maghull. See Croxteth D. Gen. i, 79; ii, 1.
35 Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 23, m. 107.
36 In the rental of the wapentake of West Derby for 1514 the service due is thus recorded: 'Of the heirs of the vill of Formby, 39s. 4d.' being the 4s. 8d. due from Quenilda de Thornhill's half, and the 34s. 8d. from the Walton half. The details of the latter half are as follows:— Norris, 10s.; Formby, 15s.; Gerard of Aughton, 4s. 4d.; earl of Derby, 4s. 4d. (in addition to the 2s. 4d. he paid for the Beetham quarter), and Aughton of North Meols (who held of Bold of Bold), 1s.; Rentals and Surv. portf. 22, n. 21.
As to the Gerard share, in 1513 Joan, formerly the wife of Nicholas Fazakerley, released to Peter Gerard, clerk, what she had in Formby (Kuerden MSS. ii, 268b, n. 42); and in 1640 Thomas Gerard of Aughton made a feoffment of the 'lordship of Formby' and various lands. Ibid. 269, n. 7. The rent of 4s. 4d. was paid in 1617; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 47.
The Aughton share descended to Barnaby Kitchin of North Meols; ibid, i, 27.
In 1446 the four lords of Formby were John Warren, Thomas Beetham, Thomas Norris, and William Formby; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 9, m. 18b. In 1553 they were Sir Edward Warren, Edward earl of Derby, Sir Richard Molyneux, and William Formby; Duchy of Lane. Depos. Ph. and Mary, lxiv, H. 2.
37 Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 119, Lent, 7 Chas. I. The sale included the advowson of the church at Formby.
38 Formby Chart, n. 1. Henry de Nottingham was no doubt a trustee. The service is that due from 6½ oxgangs.
A confirmatory charter from Avice, daughter of Roger de Derby, to the same Hugh, describes him as son of Anilia de Corona; ibid. n. 2. Probably therefore Master Roger had been twice married, Avice being a daughter by the former wife, and Hugh the son of Anilia de Corona; he was at first known by his mother's surname, the family being of some consequence in Cheshire; see Ormerod, Ches. (ed. Helsby), iii, 654.
Hugh de Corona and Nicholas his brother were the principal witnesses to Avice's grant.
39 Hugh de Formby gave to William de Dudley a ridge lying in the Scalelands, between lands of Richard d'Evyas, then lord of half the vill, and touching the highway at one end. 'The Priest's' seems to have been the name of a holding which gave a surname to the tenant, occurring in this and other charters. Norris D. (B.M.), n. 418. To the same William de Dudley Alan, son of Alan le Norreys, granted half an oxgang; Hugh de Formby was one of the witnesses; ibid. n. 419. William de Dudley afterwards granted the former plot to his son Robert; ibid. n. 5.
Hugh, son of Master Robert de Derby granted to Robert, son of Richard de Formby, the son of Albinus the priest, a selion in the Wray, stretching from the garden of Alan le Norreys to Hang Lane; also the garden which the grantor had in Rysin Bridge and the messuage which Roger de Argarmeols held; Formby Chart, n. 3.
Hugyn, son of Master Robert de Derby, was fined for not answering a summons in 1246; Assize R. 404, m. 19.
40 Norris D. (B.M.), n. 423; a grant by Simon le Waleys, son of Henry, rector of Standish, to Robert Dudley and Margery his wife, of land called Rikounisfield with the house thereon, to be held of the chief lords by services due, viz. to Adam de Formby yearly 1d., for so much of that land as belongs to 7 oxgangs. Adam de Formby and William his brother were witnesses.
Two of Adam's grants are extant. In 1328 he gave to Adam son of Richard de Ainsdale part of Dykesland stote; ibid. n. 424. In the same year he gave to Nicholas le Norreys, probably as trustee, all his lands in the vill of Formby, except the oxgang held by Ameria, daughter of Robert de Hesketh, by the grantor's gift, and the messuage of the rector of Walton; Formby Chart. Adam de Formby attested a charter in 1340; Norris D. (B.M.), n. 427.
Besides the William just mentioned as Adam's brother, Hugh de Formby seems to have had other children. Thus Roger son of Hugh de Formby granted land formerly tenanted by Richard de Birkdale to William son of Robert the reeve; this lay between lands of Beetham on one side and Stockport on the other; Norris D. (B.M.), n. 420. Roger attested a local charter in 1303; Whalley Coucher, ii, 518.
Richard, son of Hugh de Formby, was plaintiff in 1304; Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 204. Possibly it was his son, as William, son of Richard Hogson of Formby, who made a grant to Alan, son of John le Norreys of Speke; Norris D. (B.M.), n. 7.
There were, however, other families using the local surname, e.g. William, son of William de Formby, and Margery his wife, at Ince in 1301; Final Conc. i, 195. A Margery, widow of William de Formby, was living in 1370; Moore D. n. 219. Richard son of Maud de Formby had a grant here; Norris D. (B.M.), n. 421. Richard son of Orm de Formby, the father being also called the Forester, was a witness to local charters; ibid. n. 4, 416.
Two other grants concerning Rikounisfield may be added; one from Stephen del Priests to John le Norreys, describing it as between the land formerly Dame Margery de Samlesbury's and the great pit on the north; the other from Richard, son of Richard, son of Orm the Forester; Norris D. (B.M.), n. 3, 417.
A John, son of Adam de Formby, held a burgage in Liverpool in 1331; Moore D. n. 173. His son John held one in 1346.
Thomas, son of John de Formby, married Eleanor, a daughter and co-heir of Richard le Waleys of Uplitherland; Final Conc, ii, 183.
41 Hugh and Roger de Formby appear in the poll-tax list of 1381; Lay Subs. Lancs. 130/24.
William de Formby made a feoffment of his lands in 1428, and the feoffees granted a portion of land to John Vause and Joan his wife, daughter of William de Formby, lying between lands of Beetham and Norris, and extending from the highway between Old Formby and Altcar, to a dyke on the west; Formby Chart. n. 4–6.
Ralph Formby was the heir of William, but the relationship is not stated; he was in possession in the time of Edw. IV (1463, 1474); ibid. n. 8, 9, 14. He agreed to enfeoff Richard Sutton of Formby in a parcel of land called the Turnacres, and an 'oxayong'; ibid. n. 7.
William Formby, of Formby, esquire, was witness to a grant in 1485; ibid. n. 16; William Formby, no doubt the same, was the first witness to a grant of lands made in 1493 by William Ainsdale of Formby to Nicholas Reynold; the Longdale, Shortdale, and Devil Gap are named in it; ibid. n. 22. Robert was the son and heir of Nicholas Reynold in 1510; ibid. n. 23.
42 William Formby, who may be identical with the William of the last note, held lands in Formby in socage by the rent of 15s.; he made feoffments in 1521 and in 1523 in favour of Maud, widow of his son Richard, his own sons Ellis and Gilbert, with remainder to his heir, William the son of the said Richard. He died 29 March, 1523, when William, the grandson, was aged twelve years or more; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. v, n. 54. For Ellis Formby, see Duchy Plead. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 197.
The younger William was one of the defendants to a complaint by Henry Halsall in 1553, concerning trespass on Downholland Moss; he described himself as lord of the fourth part of the manor of Formby, by descent from his grandfather, William Formby; Duchy of Lanc. Depos. Ph. and Mary, lxiv, H. 2. He made a grant in the 'Dereles' in 1533; Formby Chart, n. 36. Two years later he was engaged to marry Anne, daughter of Margery Singleton of Snape; ibid. n. 31. He died in 1565, holding the same estate as above, by 15s. rent and a pair of white gloves; this may be compared with the services due from Hugh de Corona. The heir was his son Richard, aged twenty-seven; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xi, n. 35.
The son may have been the Richard Formby whose arrest caused a riot in 1557; Duchy Plead. iii, 255–7. Richard Formby was the only freeholder recorded in Formby in 1600; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 239.
The family adhered to the Roman Church, which may be one reason for the obscurity in which for more than a century they are involved. Richard Formby and Joan his wife were presented in 1598 for absenting themselves from service; Visitation Lists: 'Richard Formby of Formby, gent., was fined for recusancy in the beginning of James I's reign, and the family continued regularly on the recusant rolls until the end of Charles II's reign. Richard Formby born at Formby, 23 April, 1701, took the college oath at Douay in 1720'; Gillow, Bibl. Dict. of Engl. Cath. ii, 309.
Sir Cuthbert Halsall and Richard Formby were the freeholders here in 1628, the latter paying double as a convicted recusant; Norris D. (B.M.). The whole township appears to have held to the same religion, judging by the recusant list of 1641; there are several Formbys on it; Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), xiv, 238. About 1630 Richard Formby the younger, of Formby, was a trustee of the settlement made by Edward Ireland of Lydiate; Gibson, Lydiate Hall, 37.
About four years later Richard Formby enfeoffed Edward Ireland and Peter Stanley of his lands in Formby; Kuerden, ii, fol. 268 b, n. 45. He is stated in the printed pedigree to have married a daughter of Edward Stanley of Moor Hall, at this time.
Richard Formby was in 1688 one of the local gentlemen desired to see that the North Meols roads were properly kept, and report to the Quarter Sessions; Kenyon MSS. (Hist. MSS. Com.), 195.
Richard Formby, esquire, was in 1709 one of the trustees of the school; Gastrell, Notitia, ii, 228. Mr. Formby of Formby is frequently mentioned in N. Blundell's Diary about 1720. In 1721 the bishop of Chester appointed him on a commission to inquire into the patronage of the rectory of Walton. He died 22 Dec. 1737, his will being proved at Chester, leaving a widow Mary, and a son John, fifteen years of age; also daughters, Elizabeth, who married Robert Hesketh of Barton, Mary, Dorothy, Catherine, and Alice as appears by a deed of 1739 enrolled at Preston (13 R. Geo. II); Piccope MSS. iii, 266. The son John is in the printed pedigree stated to have graduated from Clare Hall, Cambridge; but this is an error.
In 1667 Cuthbert Formby . . . was a recusant at Formby, and his son Thomas registered his estate as a Catholic nonjuror in 1717'; Gillow, loc. cit.; Engl. Cath. Nonjurors, 155. This estate was at Altcar.
43 As son of John Formby of Walton, he entered Brasenose Coll. Oxf. in 1777, aged seventeen, and graduated B.C.L. in 1784. The will of John Formby of Formby, esquire, was proved at Chester in 1778.
44 See the account of Maghull. The later generations of the descent have been taken from Foster's Lancs. Pedigrees.
John Formby's brother, Henry Greenhalgh Formby, had a son Henry, born in 1816 and educated at Brasenose Coll. Oxf.; M.A. 1841. Following the Oxford Movement he was received into communion with the Roman Church in 1846, and was ordained priest. He was the author of a large number of theological and historical works; 'his great aim was to bring about a better knowledge of the scriptures and the Catholic faith by publishing works profusely illustrated with instructive pictures.' He died in 1884. See Gillow, op. cit.
45 Engl. Cath. Nonjurors, 110, 118, 155. John Poole's estate seems to have been due to his marriage with the widow of Robert Blundell of Ince.
46 V.C.H. Lancs. i, 284a.
47 Lancs. Pipe R. 290. There was a dispute in 1193 between the rector of Walton and the prior of Lancaster touching these tithes; Lanc. Church (Chet. Soc), 112.
48 Lancs. Pipe R. 432.
49 Chart. R. (Rec. Com.), 26.
50 Ibid. 171b. Henry de Lea gave various lands in Raven Meols to Cockersand Abbey; Cockersand Chartul. ii, 565–6.
51 See the accounts of Lea and Hoghton. Free warren was granted in 1284; Chart. R. 12 Edw. I, m. 4, n. 22. In 1324 Sir Richard de Hoghton and Sibyl [de Lea] his wife held the manor of Raven Meols by a service of 16s. 4d. for all services without puture, bode, or witness; Dods. MS. cxxxi, fol. 36b. Richard and Sibyl had in 1317 demised for life all their demesne lands here, with pasture and turbary in Ince, to William de Dudley and Richard his son; Add. MS. 32106, n. 734.
Sir Adam de Hoghton contributed 10s. to the aid of 1378 for the moiety and tenth part of a knight's fee in Raven Meols and Ainsdale with the members; Harl. MS. 2085, fol. 421b.
In 1386, by a deed given at Raven Meols Sir Richard de Hoghton gave the manor to Henry his brother, son of Sir Adam, to hold during the life of Sir Adam's widow Ellen; Add. MS. 32106, n. 26.
In the Feodary of 1489 Alexander de Hoghton is stated to hold Raven Meols and Ainsdale for 16s. 8d. yearly; Duchy of Lanc. Misc. Vols. cxxx, fol. xjb. In subsequent inq. p.m. the tenure of these manors is described as the tenth part of a knight's fee.
52 Whalley Coucher (Chet. Soc), ii, 497, 495, 515. William Blundell had already given a tithe of the multure of this mill to Cockersand Abbey; Chartul. ii, 568.
53 Lancs. Inq. and Extents, 22. From what follows it will be seen that the rector of Walton had an oxgang here, no doubt appropriated to the curate of Formby.
54 Inq. p.m. 17 Edw. I, n. 2; the yearly service payable to the earl of Lancaster remained unaltered at 16s. 8d.
55 Dods. MSS. cxlii. fol. 69.
56 In 1292 three oxgangs were held by the Banastre family, for Avice widow of Nicholas de Lea claimed dower in two messuages and one oxgang held by Richard Banastre, and in two oxgangs held by Robert Banastre, and her claim was allowed; Assize R. 408, m. 23. In 1327 the abbot of Whalley complained that Sir Richard de Hoghton, Robert son of Adam Banastre of the Bank, Robert son of Richard the reeve of Raven Meols, and Henry his brother, had destroyed the sluices of his mill; Cal. of Pat. 1327–30, p. 85; Dods. MSS. cxlii, fol. 78.
In 1332 the principal contributors to the fifteenth were Adam Banastre, Richard and William de Dudley, and Robert and Adam de Ainsdale; Exch. Lay Subs. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 20.
57 Dods. MSS. cxlii, fol. 77.
58 Cur. Reg. R. 154, m. 10; the defendants were Agnes, widow of William de Lanc., and William of the Spring (de Fonte), the latter holding the two oxgangs in Raven Meols.
59 Alan's daughter Amabel was wife of Ughtred de Ravensmeols, whose son and heir William granted lands here to William son of Richard the Forester by his wife Agnes, daughter of Ughtred and Amabel; Dods. MSS. cxlii, fol. 76b. He may be the Alan son of William de Ravensmeols, who gave to Cockersand Abbey the croft next the house of Thomas, son of Sigge; Cockersand Chartul. ii, 567.
In 1246 William, son of Uctred, recovered from Alan de Crawehal and Goda his wife two-thirds of half an oxgang, which they had by grant of Roger son of Richard, to whom William, the plaintiff, had demised them while of unsound mind; Assize R. 404, m. 10.
Margery daughter of Robert the clerk of Raven Meols granted land called Hewetland to John de Lea before 1250; and a quitclaim to the lands of Robert the chaplain, perhaps Margery's father, was also given by Hugh Hommouth; Kuerden MSS. iv, R. 6, 586, 652.
60 Cockersand Chartul. ii, 567.
61 Blundell of Crosby D., K. 156.
62 Royalist Comp. P. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), iv, 168. The tenement is not described as a manor.
63 Piccope MSS. iii, 274, from the 18th roll of Geo. II at Preston. See also Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 582 (6).
64 Ex inform. Mr. John Formby.
65 V.C.H. Lancs. i, 284b.
66 It is possible that Henry II was merely confirming or regranting these lands; but nothing is known apart from this charter; Lancs. Pipe R. 432. For further details see the account of Raven Meols.
67 Lancs. Inq. and Extents, 21.
68 Dods. MSS. cxxxi, 36b. The Hoghton family had a yearly rent of 3s. from this manor down to the 17th cent.
69 Inq. and Extents, 22; the enfeoffment is described as 'of ancient time.'
70 Robert son of Osbert de Ainsdale granted to Cockersand an oxgang of his demesne which Adam, the rector of Meols, held of him; an acre and sheepfold by the western head of Winscarth lithe; the 'land' in front of the canons' barn, with the toft in which Orm Dragun dwelt, and meadow to the midstream of Hangelan, &c.; and confirmed the grants made by his brother Richard and Adam son of Godfrey; Cockersand Chartul. ii, 571–4.
His brother Richard, son of Osbert, gave many parcels of his lands: A 'great land' under Gripknots, a ridge in the Wray, and 'land' next to the canons' 'land' in Birkdene; others on Faldworthings, on the east of Halstead how, and in Tungland; a scaling or shieling in Stardale, half acres in Romsdale and by Melkener how; two 'lands' in the western part of Little Oddishargh, two in Ditchfield near Slidryhow, another called Crookland, another by the higher sherd of Romsdale, another on the eastern side of Hungerfield, another in Atesfield, 'the ninth from the road,' &c. His portion seems to have been two oxgangs. He desired his body to be buried in the churchyard of St. Mary at Cockersand. Greendale, Birchbotham, Butterclining, Sete Knots, the Warrigate, Whitemeoldale and other place-names occur; ibid. 574–86.
Warin the son of Richard added a little to his father's gifts in Whitemeoldale and Wetefield; ibid. 570–1.
Adam, son of Robert de Ainsdale, granted a fifth part of four oxgangs of his demesne and one which had been Warin's, making one whole oxgang, &c.; he also confirmed the numerous grants made by his father, uncle, &c., and 'all the parcels of land of which they had seisin at the Nativity of St. Mary in the year in which the earl of Chester arrived at Jerusalem'; ibid. 589–92. Robert, son of this Adam also gave confirmation; ibid. 592, 594.
Adam son of Godfrey gave two oxgangs of land and other parcels; Atefield and Sheep how are named in his charters; ibid. 568–570.
John, son of Thomas de Ainsdale, about 1270, gave all his land to the canons; they enfeoffed Robert son of Thomas of part of it; ibid. 594. Lawrence son of Thomas and Emma his wife gave three oxgangs and other lands, partly at a rent and partly in alms; the gifts included all their part of the marsh, from Siward's croft to Blake moor, as much as the canons could acquire, bringing the sands into use; ibid. 587–9. Lawrence is later described as 'the clerk of Ainsdale'; his son Robert confirmed his parents' grants, the canons giving him two marks of silver, and every year of his life an old cloak; ibid. 593.
The rentals of Cockersand Abbey (Chet. Soc.) show that the Halsalls of Halsall in the fifteenth century held the possessions of that house, with the fishery in Formby and Ainsdale, at a fee farm rent of 20s.
71 See the accounts of those townships.
72 When in 1275 and 1278 Sir Robert Blundell demised all his lands here to his son Nicholas, he reserved to himself 'wreck of the sea'; Blundell of Crosby D. K. 278, K. 164.
When summoned in 1292 to show by what right he claimed it, Nicholas Blundell pleaded that he and his ancestors time out of mind had held this manor and likewise wreck of the sea. For the king it was urged that this privilege required an express grant, which could not in this instance be shown. The jurors found that Henry III had once given a wrecked vessel to the father of Nicholas, apart from which neither Nicholas nor any of his ancestors had taken wreck there. Such disasters were not frequent, none having happened since Nicholas had succeeded to the manor, a period of probably fourteen years or more; Plac. de quo War. (Rec. Com.), 369.
73 Blundell of Crosby D. K. 183. This Nicholas Blundell was grandson and heir of the last-mentioned Nicholas. It is supposed that Gilbert de Halsall had married a Blundell. In a suit of 1323 respecting novel disseisin in Ainsdale Gilbert de Halsall was defendant, the plaintiffs being the abbot of Cockersand, Nicholas, son of David Blundell, and Henry de Walton and Margery his wife; Assize R, 425, m. 1.
74 In 1368 John de Ince and Emma his wife, widow of Gilbert de Halsall, sued Otes de Halsall for Emma's dower in six messuages, 200 acres of land, &c. in Ainsdale; Otes called upon Richard son of Gilbert to warrant him; De Banc. R. 431, m. 345d, 412d.
75 See the account of Maghull.
76 Lancs. Inq. p. m. (Chet. Soc.), i, 135. Nothing is said of a 'manor.'
77 Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. vii, n., 9.
78 Duchy Plead. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), iii, 218.
79 Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 16, m. 134.
80 Gibson, Lydiate Hall, 90; see also the accounts of Halsall and North Meols.
81 See the account of Ince Blundell. In certain depositions of 1662, in a suit between Gerard and Blundell, an account is given of a sturgeon being cast up at Ainsdale; Lydiate Hall, 121.
82 The oxgang held by the rector of Walton has been mentioned in a previous note; and the church is mentioned in a grant of land to Cockersand quoted above.
Albin the priest and Robert the chaplain are also mentioned in charters quoted.
In 1340 William de Adbaston, parochial chaplain (capellanus paroch') of Raven Meols, was a trustee; Moore D. n. 540, 545.
83 An ancient stone coffin was found in it some years ago, but reburied. For the font see Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), xvii, 62.
'The old Catholic families in the place who have graves here have always been accustomed to bury in the old churchyard.' Ex inform. Mr. John Formby.
It appears from a suit in 1557 that marriages were then solemnized here; Duchy Plead. iii, 232.
84 Lich. Epis. Reg. iii, fol. 72. Roger, bishop of Lichfield, decreed that the tithe of the fish caught by the parishioners of Sefton in the fishery of 'Moeles' should be divided between the two rectors; while the tithe of the catch made by the parishioners of Walton should belong entirely to the rector of the latter parish.
85 See a preceding note.
86 Richard Formby's 'manor and chapel of Formby' were mentioned in his marriage settlement; quoted on the pedigree in Foster, Lancs. Pedigrees.
87 Kenyon MSS. (Hist. MSS. Com.), 13. Robert Halsall, vicar of Walton, bequeathed 6s. 8d. to this chapel in 1598; Raines, Lancs. MSS, xxiv.
88 Commonw. Ch. Surv. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 82. The tithes of the township, valued at £70 a year and the rent of a cottage, 12d. were paid to the incumbent at that time, he giving £10 a year to the wife of Dr. Clare, late rector of Walton.
89 Bishop Gastrell in 1718 found the income of the curate to be £23 4s., of which £20 was paid by the rector of Walton, the rest being fees. There were two wardens; Notitia Cestr. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 227.
90 A brief was obtained in 1742 and £1,154 was raised; ibid. 228. This was no doubt to pay the debt, which was cleared off in 1746; the sentence of consecration of the new chapel is dated 19 July, 1747.
91 Duchy Plead. iii, 256; Visit. List of 1563 at Chest. He did not appear in 1565.
92 Visit. He was presented for neglecting to catechize and for marrying divers persons without licence. The curacy was vacant in 1609; Visit. List. John Burrowes was 'reader' in 1610; Raines MSS. (Chet. Lib.), xxii, 74.
93 Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 65.
94 Commonw. Ch. Surv. 82.
95 Plund. Mins. Accts. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 206. He was nominated by the inhabitants.
96 Supposed to have been silenced by the Uniformity Act in 1662. 'William' may be an error for 'Peter.'
97 Visit. List; inquiry was to be made as to his ordination.
98 Will proved at Chester, 1698; not named in the Visit. List of 1691.
99 The inhabitants 'consented to receive' him on condition that he officiated at Formby in the forenoon and at Altcar in the afternoon; Ches. Dioc. Reg.
He laid an information in 1708 against Henry Blundell, one of the lords of the manor, as a recusant; N. Blundell, Diary, 60.
100 These and later presentations are from records in Ches. Dioc. Reg.
101 Described as 'of West Derby.'
102 Went to Kirkby.
103 Also lord of the manor. Nominated by the rector of Walton 31 Jan. 1794. In the same year he became incumbent of Holy Trinity Church, Liverpool, Formby being served by his curate. He died in 1832, and there is a monument to him in the church.
104 Also lord of the manor.
105 A stone inscribed to commemorate Richard Formby, esquire to the king, who died 22 Sept. 1407, was brought from York Minster and placed here.
The patronage is vested in Mrs. C. Formby and Mr. J. Formby.
106 Trustees hold the patronage.
107 It is a chapel of ease to St. Peter's.
108 End. Char. Rep. (Formby), 1901, p. 5.
109 Nightingale, Lancs. Nonconf. vi, 45, 48.
110 Ibid.
111 Notitia Cestr. ii, 227.
112 Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), xviii, 215.
113 Foley, Rec. S. F. v, 321; vii, 65.
114 A letter printed in Gillow, Haydock Papers, 210–12, gives a graphic account of the mission as it was about 1800. The following extracts may be given: 'As to Formby it would do very well if you wish to farm and to be among a set of humble, well-meaning people. The congregation at Easter is about 250; great numbers of children, but not employed in any manufactory, so that any day or hour they come for instructions. I had 80 at catechism every Sunday, and about 15 of the oldest every Wednesday and Friday evening at my house for instructions. The people are a blunt, honest people, and, as old Bordley [Aughton] calls them, "a loving people"; but you must lord it over them, or at least keep a high hand, and not be too easy with them or they will be masters of you. They are a people, if they see you wish their good, you may mould as you please. I was happy in the extreme, had the congregation been about 100 fewer. There are no rich people, and none very poor like what we find in the weaving countries. The house and ground is rented of a Protestant clergyman [Rev. R. Formby], and the ground will clear the house rent. He lives at Formby, is a most agreeable young man, and will do anything for you that you could wish.' After mentioning the priests in the neighbourhood the writer gives an estimate of the income, £59, derived as to £24 from the bench rents, with about £28 from interest and rent, and £8 as alms. He proceeds: 'The rent of your house and ground is £24, or as I had it £8 for the house alone without any land; but if you have the ground it will, I think, bring you in free. The bench money is paid very regular, quarterly, all the other yearly, sent without any trouble. … Your congregation will lie very compactly about you; there is no need at all of a horse, unless for your own private satisfaction, a mile and a half being the farthest you have any off. The house is, or at least was, entirely furnished, so that I had not a farthing to lay out when I went, which is a great object for a beginner.' The old house in Priesthouse Lane has a carved wooden awmbry.
115 Ibid. 213–6; Liverpool Cath. Ann. 1901.
116 Ibid.