Townships
Downholland

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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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197-200

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'Townships: Downholland', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3 (1907), pp. 197-200. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=41320 Date accessed: 31 October 2014.


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DOWNHOLLAND

Holand, Dom. Bk.; Holland, 1258; Doun- or Downholland from 1290.

Bartune, Dom. Bk.; Barton, 1246.

This is a composite township, Barton in early times having been separate. It lies on a very gradual slope from a slight ridge reaching 70 ft. above sea level down to fenland only 11 ft. above that level. The three villages, Downholland, Haskayne, and Barton are situated on the higher ground. The lower ground is of a marshy character, but mostly reclaimed and converted into fertile fields, drained by ditches in the lower parts and divided by spare hawthorn hedges in the higher portions of the township. There is a natural dearth of plantations and hedgerow trees in a district swept continually by sea-breezes, and what trees there are are stunted and bent by the prevalent westerly winds, whilst the many picturesque thatched cottages in the villages also seem to turn their backs to the west. The principal crops produced in the township, grown on the sandy soil, are potatoes, cabbages, wheat, and oats. The area of the township is 3,472½ (fn. 1) acres, of which Downholland has 1,378 acres and Haskayne 908. In 1901 there was a population of 692.

The principal road is that going northerly from Lydiate through the hamlets of Downholland and Haskayne in succession; a cross-road leads to Barton, which is close to the northern boundary. The Leeds and Liverpool Canal winds through the township, crossing the main road at Downholland and Haskayne; it is the principal means of carriage for the farm produce of the district. The Cheshire Lines Committee's railway crosses the mosslands north, and has a station called Mossbridge. Just at the southern boundary there is a junction with the branch line of the Liverpool, Southport and Preston Junction Railway, which has a station at Barton village.

The township is governed by a parish council.

Near this village there was 'a remarkable fountain of salt water,' a quart producing 'near half a pound of good white granulated salt.' (fn. 2) There is abundance of brine under Barton Moss, but though a company was formed to pump it, nothing was done.

Chisnall and Warnshaw brooks run through the township. Sander Lane, the Quarters, Hallaso Carr, and Stake Hey are mentioned in the Alt Drainage Act of 1779.

An amphora of Samian ware was found here in 1712. (fn. 3)

MANORS

Two thegns held six oxgangs of land for two manors in Holland, and Teos held Barton as one plough-land, at the death of Edward the Confessor, the values being 2s. and 32d. All were in the privileged three-hide district. (fn. 4) After the Conquest, HOLLAND and half of Barton were granted in thegnage together with Aintree and Ribbleton, while the other half of Barton was annexed to the Warrington fee, together with Halsall and Lydiate.

In 1212 it was found that Henry de Holland held the thegnage portion—three plough-lands and two oxgangs in all—by an annual service of 26s., an average of 1s. an oxgang. He had granted out Ribbleton, most of Aintree, and his half of Barton to undertenants, but retained all or most of Downholland, and from it the family took their surname. (fn. 5) Henry was the son of Alan de Holland, who had held these manors in the time of Henry II. (fn. 6) He had a brother Adam, and probably a sister or daughter who married Robert son of Wronou. (fn. 7)

Roger son of Henry de Holland gave Haskayne to the Hospitallers. (fn. 8) On the other hand his cousin William son of Adam de Holland resigned to 'his lord' Roger, all claim he might have to lands in Old Holland and Barton Wood, and 20 acres in Murscough. (fn. 9) Roger was followed by his son Henry, who gave to Robert son of Roger de Eggergarth land in Downholland by Oldfield. (fn. 10)

In 1297 the heirs of Roger were found to be holding Downholland and its appurtenances by the service of 18s. (fn. 11) Roger de Downholland was in 1324 lord of the place. (fn. 12) At Michaelmas 1323 the abbot of Merivale as lord of Altcar and Richard de Downholland had a dispute as to a messuage, mill, land, and wood in Downholland. (fn. 13) Richard de Holland is named in the subsidy rolls of 1327 and 1332, and he is called 'lord of Downholland' in 1337, retaining possession in 1346 and 1348. (fn. 14) The assessment is now stated at 2½ plough-lands (for two and a quarter) in Downholland, Aintree, and half Barton, and the service as the fourth part of a knight's fee, with the ancient 18s. rent. By a charter made in June, 1341, Richard de Holland granted to Alan his son and Alan's wife, Katherine daughter of Robert de Cowdray, various lands. (fn. 15) The fruit of the marriage was a daughter, and Alan dying a short time afterwards, the father in 1345 granted Downholland to his eldest surviving son, Roger, with remainders to Henry and Charles. (fn. 16)

Roger succeeded his father about 1349. (fn. 17) In 1356 he acquired from Emma, daughter of Henry son of Alan de Holland, and wife of Simon son of Robert de Wolvesegh of Litherland in Sefton, the oxgang in Holland formerly held by Alan's son Robert. Next year Roger Ford of Litherland quitclaimed to him all right in land he had held in Downholland, and in this he was joined by his wife Alice, daughter of William son of Thomas de Downlitherland. (fn. 18)

His son Thomas, contracted in 1363 to marry Joan daughter of Richard de Scarisbrick, (fn. 19) did not possess the manor more than a few years, dying on 20 May, 1387, when his son William was only ten years of age. He was found to have held two-thirds of Downholland—his father's widow no doubt having the other third—by knight's service. The manor of Aintree was dependent on it, and held by the daughter of Thomas de Nevill; and the whole paid annually to the duke 18s. The wardship and marriage of William de Holland were granted to Richard de Crooke of Whittle. (fn. 20) William did not prove his age until the spring of 1403, when his lands were restored to him. (fn. 21)

William had a son Roger, to whom he made a grant of land in 1423–4, (fn. 22) and who in time succeeded to the manor. (fn. 23) To William Holland and Isabel his wife, (fn. 24) Thurstan Holland in 1430–1 transferred all his lands, &c., in Downholland which he had had after the death of his father and mother. (fn. 25) Another William Holland (fn. 26) in 1444–5 settled lands in the same place upon Peter Holland and his wife Margaret, with remainders to Richard, Ralph, Nicholas, John, Henry, and Thomas Holland. (fn. 27)

It is no doubt this Peter who survived till 1513. He seems to have married a second wife, Ellen, in 1478, when a settlement was made, the remainders being to his son Robert and heirs male, and then to a younger son Edmund. (fn. 28) Ellen survived her husband, but some of the lands had been assigned to Alice widow of Robert, who died without male issue. Thus Edmund was heir to Downholland at his father's death, and over forty years of age. The service was the fourth part of a knight's fee. (fn. 29)

Edmund Holland very soon after his succession sold his manors to Sir Henry Halsall of Halsall. (fn. 30) He died about ten years afterwards, and in 1533–4 his son and heir William released to Sir Thomas Halsall all his claim in Downholland and Westleigh, Elizabeth, widow of Edmund, having her dower assigned some four years later. (fn. 31) From this time Downholland and the half of Barton have descended with Halsall.

Several disputes followed with the lords of neighbouring townships—Altcar and Formby—as to boundaries. (fn. 32)

HASKAYNE

HASKAYNE, as stated above, was granted to the Hospitallers in alms by Henry de Holland. (fn. 33) The hamlet of Haskayne gave a surname to a family who prospered until in the seventeenth century they were reckoned as gentry. (fn. 34) One of them was a benefactor. The Harkers of Downholland are commemorated by an inscription in the vestry. The will (1618) of Thomas Harker of Haskayne, gentleman, mentions his nephews Richard and Henry, and demises lands in Aughton and Barton. (fn. 35)

Thomas Johnson, Francis Farrer, and Richard Moore, of Downholland, registered estates in 1717 as 'Papists.' (fn. 36)

As already stated BARTON was divided between Downholland and Warrington.

The four thegnage oxgangs of land appurtenant to Downholland were divided by 1212 between Adam the brother of Henry de Holland (fn. 37) and an unnamed sister or daughter on her marriage with Robert son of Wronou. Robert son of Wronou de Barton gave to Cockersand Abbey a selion of his land, extending from the vill towards Harewer, in pure alms, for the soul of King John in the first place, and then for his own soul and those of his relatives. (fn. 38) These two oxgangs seem to have returned into the possession of the superior lord. (fn. 39)

The Halsall family early acquired an interest in Barton and Downholland, and in 1292 Henry son of Robert de Holland claimed tenements in Barton from Gilbert de Halsall, with whom in one plea Robert son of Alan de Holland was joined. The defence, which was accepted, is noticeable: Barton was not a vill, but a member of the vill of Downholland. (fn. 40) Thus it had lost its ancient independent status.

A local family took a surname from the hamlet. In 1314 Richard son of Adam de Barton gave to his son Roger land which the grantor had previously purchased from his sister Anabel, formerly wife of Robert the clerk of Halsall, except the house which Richard's son and heir inhabited. (fn. 41) Robert son of Richard de Barton gave to Robert de Cowdray some arable land and meadow in the Flats in 1344. (fn. 42)

Roger son of Robert de Barton in 1375 gave to his son Robert and Margaret his wife and their heirs 4 acres with a chamber built in the garden. (fn. 43) About 1388 Robert son of Roger de Barton was refeoffed of his lands, with remainders to Richard the son of Robert, and then to Alice and Maud, his daughters. (fn. 44) The son appears to have died without issue, so that the inheritance came to the daughter Alice, who married Richard Fazakerley; while in September, 1404, Maud, still unmarried, quitclaimed all her right in the property to Alice. (fn. 45)

The next in possession was William Fazakerley, (fn. 46) probably the son of Alice and Richard, and his son Henry in 1495 enfeoffed Henry Molyneux, chaplain, (fn. 47) of a tenement in Barton then occupied by the grantor's brother John. (fn. 48) He had in 1491–2 arranged for the marriage of his son Robert with Cecily, daughter of John Ireland, of Sefton or Maghull, brother of Richard Ireland. (fn. 49)

The son and heir of Robert and Cecily was Thomas Fazakerley, who soon after the acquisition of the Holland manors by the Halsall family, and while still a minor, was 'pulled forth' of his holding by divers men acting by order of Thomas Halsall. Thereupon his relatives in Great Crosby and Thornton took possession of the disputed lands (including the Peck and the Hook) by force in April, 1525, and 'bette and hurted' the tenants who had been intruded therein. (fn. 50)

Thomas Fazakerley seems to have died childless, and Henry Halsall was in 1566 able to purchase (through Gilbert Halsall of Barton (fn. 51) ) the share held by Alice, wife of Peter Snape of Formby, and one or the sisters and coheirs. (fn. 52)

A branch of the Norris family also had some holding here. (fn. 53) Part at least of their estate was the acre belonging to Cockersand Abbey, which was held in 1501 by John Norris. (fn. 54)

The half of Barton held by knight's service by the lords of Warrington was by Pain de Vilers granted together with Ince Blundell, and the mesne lordship was long considered to be in the hands of the lords of this place. (fn. 55) They quickly created subordinate manors. One oxgang was granted to Simon Blundell; but this was about 1240 given to William Russel and Amabel his wife, probably as the latter's dowry. Thereupon Benedict the son of Simon made his claim in the king's court against Richard son and heir of William Blundell, and it was decided that the latter must compensate Simon by an equivalent grant. (fn. 56)

This oxgang in Barton descended regularly with the manor of North Meols. The other three oxgangs also came into the possession of the lords of North Meols, and at the inquisition after the death of William de Aughton in 1388, the jury were unable to say of whom he had held a portion of Barton rendering £2 13s. 10d. A further inquiry being ordered, at first it was found that it was held of John le Boteler of Warrington by knight's service and the service of 10d. yearly; but after yet another inquiry the mesne lord was found to be John Blundell of Ince. (fn. 57) The later inquisitions of the North Meols family describe their tenement as held of the crown, in right of the duchy of Lancaster, by knight's service, viz. the sixth part of a fee. (fn. 58)

John Waring and William Shepherd of Croxteth, as 'Papists,' registered estates here in 1717. (fn. 59)

The rector of Halsall has established a mission room in Barton.

Footnotes

1 3,475 in the census of 1901, including 22 acres of inland water.
2 Bowers, Syst. Geogr. i, 213 (quoted in Baines' Lancs.).
3 W. T. Watkin, Roman Lancs. 214.
4 V.C.H. Lancs. i, p. 285a.
5 Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 49. Only the 18s. for Downholland, Aintree, and Barton is afterwards reckoned.
6 Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 179; Cockersand Chartul. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 631.
7 There was also an Alan de Holland to whom Henry gave part of Aintree, and to whose son John he gave part of his land in Downholland, situate among the lands which John already held of Roger de Holland; Dods. MSS. xxxix, fol. 138, n. 2.
8 Ibid. fol. 139, n. 17; fol. 138, n. 5. This land is described as 'a certain part of my land which lies within the land of Thomas de Haskayne.'
9 Ibid. fol. 138, n. 4.
10 Ibid. fol. 138b, n. 6.
William de Holland gave to his son Alan and heirs an acre in Downholland and the service of John Holland and of Henry Holland; ibid. fol. 142, n. 44. The charters referred to are undated, but in or before 1258 Christiana daughter of Adam de Holland had made some claim upon Roger, Henry, and William de Holland. She had a son Richard, who about the end of 1325 claimed 8 acres from Richard lord of Downholland; De Banc. R. 258, m. 45 d. William seems to have been her brother, being (as above) described as 'son of Adam.' The lands were taken into the king's hands; Cur. Reg. R. 160, m. 5, 32.
Some years earlier (1246) a Ralph de Holland had claimed land from Simon lord of Halsall, on a plea of novel disseisin, but failed, and his pledges—William son of Adam de Holland and Henry de Holland —were fined: Assize R. 404, m. 1d.
Henry son of Robert de Holland seems to have been one of the principal holders in 1292; Assize R. 408, m. 48 d.
11 Lancs. Inq. and Extents, 288.
12 Dods. MSS. cxxxi, fol. 34. Perhaps it should read, 'The heir of Roger.'
13 Richard is described as great-grandson and heir of Roger son of Henry de Holland; De Banc. R. 248, m. 79d.; 252, m. 61 d.
14 Survey of 1346 (Chet. Soc.), 34; Dods. MSS. xxxix, fol. 138, n. 3.
15 Dods. MSS. xxxix, fol. 138b. The remainders were to his other sons Roger, Henry, Andrew, and Charles and his daughter Ameria. For Katherine see the accounts of Barton and Halsall.
Alan at once re-granted the manor to his father, with the homage of Emma widow of Henry de Atherton of Aintree; ibid. fol. 142, n. 44.
16 Ibid. fol. 138b, n. 13; fol. 141b, n. 41.
17 Scarisbrick charters (Trans. Hist. Soc. xii), n. 78; he occurs among the witnesses down to 1388 (n. 125).
18 Dods. MSS. xxxix, fol. 141b, n. 43, 40.
19 Ibid. cxlvii, fol. 40b. Richard was probably the brother of Gilbert de Scarisbrick, who died in 1354. Thomas's widow was named Cecily; the writ of Diem cl. extr. after her death was issued 6 Feb. 1407–8; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxiii, App. 7.
20 Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc.), i, 27, 28.
21 Duchy of Lanc. Chan. R., div. xxv, R. 5, n. 62.
22 Dods. MSS. xxxix, fol. 141b, n. 38. William was living and in possession of manor in Dec. 1431; Sub. R. 130–49.
23 From 1441 to 1445 Roger Holland is found complaining of trespass by Henry Scarisbrick and others; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 3, m. 14; R. 4, m. 11; R. 8, m. 15b. He occurs as late as 1476, when as son and heir of William Holland he was defendant in a suit; ibid. R. 44, m. 2d.; R. 26, m. 9. 'Hodgekin (Roger) Holland and his brothers' were stated about 1550 to have been lords of Downholland about the middle of the previous century; Duchy of Lanc. Depos., Phil. and Mary, lxiv, H. 2.
24 She was an Urmston; the Westleigh property held by the Hollands was her inheritance; see Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxiii, App. 37.
25 Dods. MSS. xxxix, fol. 139, n. 13.
26 William Holland of Downholland was a witness in a Bedford suit in 1444; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 6, m. 11.
27 Dods. MSS. xxxix, fol. 141b, n. 41; also Croxteth D. B. vi, 4. The relationships are not stated; probably Peter was the son of Roger.
28 Dods. MSS. xxxix, fol. 138b, n. 11.
29 Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iv, n. 30. The younger son James appears to have sold his part of the lands to the Halsalls in 1520; Dods. MSS. xxxix, fol. 141, n. 33, 35.
The inquisition recites the will of Peter Holland, made in 1504, in which he made provision for his younger sons— James, Hugh, Henry, and William—by a charge on tenements in Westleigh; a later will (1512) refers to his daughters Douce, Margery, and Ellen.
30 Dods. MSS. xxxix, fol. 138b, n. 8; by deed enrolled at Lanc., 14 Hen. VIII. At Croxteth is a deed by which Sir Henry Halsall had a grant of the manors of Downholland and Westleigh, &c., dated 4 Aug. 1517. Sir Henry's sons Richard (clerk) and James are named.
31 Ibid. fol. 141, n. 11; fol. 138b, n. 9.
32 See the account of Altcar; also Duchy of Lanc. Pleadings, Hen. VIII, v, H. 5.
Henry Halsall complained that on 10 Aug. 1553, Henry Norris and others of Formby, accompanied by twelve riotous persons, had invaded the 4,000 acres of moss and pasture in Downholland, called Holland Moss, and had dug and carried away 3,000 cartloads of turf and burnt his turves; with 'unlawful dogs' and otherwise they had driven his cattle away, so that divers of them had been 'destroyed, drowned, and spilled in the pools and marresses' of the moss. The accused persons alleged that the disputed ground—called the 'common of Barton pool and the Horseplecks'—was within Formby, and an official inquiry was made as to the boundaries.
It was alleged for the complainant that the meres and bounds on the Formby side were Barton pool head, the Scaling, and the Black mere—this was east of the Scaling, the White moss lying between. At the Scaling there used to be a mere-stone, but this had been taken away by the Formby men. Peter Holland had been heard to claim the land for '16 rodfall' beyond Barton pool head. From this spot ran the stream called Barton pool; its source was the reedy hook between Barton and Downholland, whence it flowed westward to Typool and Barton pool head. The boundary went along this stream as far as Gossiche ditch, and by this ditch to the Scaling, which was south of the pool head and near Harvey House.
One of the witnesses, Thomas Haskayne sixty years of age, had heard old men say that there was formerly a watermill at the head of Barton pool, and that the lords of Downholland took the profits of it; afterwards they removed the timber, and the mill fell into decay. It was also stated that 'Master Norris of the Speke' one time accompanied Roger Holland home, after they had dined together at Formby, and on coming to the disputed land offered to buy it, to the annoyance of Roger, who replied that he thought their meeting had been 'to make merry,' and he was not disposed to sell his lands. The result was in favour of the Halsall claim. See Duchy of Lanc. Depos., Phil. and Mary, lxiv, H. 2; Decrees and Orders, Phil. and Mary, x, fol. 144b.
A year or two later the complaint was renewed, and the lords of Formby brought evidence to show that the disputed ground, called the Horse Hooks, was a 'mean and indifferent' plot, lying in the corner where Downholland, Formby, and Altcar met, being three-quarters of a mile from the nearest dwelling-house in Formby, a mile and a half from the nearest in Downholland, and a mile from the nearest in Altcar. The case went on until 1588, but the final decision does not seem to have been preserved. See Duchy of Lanc. Depos. Phil. and Mary, lxxv, H. 3; Duchy of Lanc. Decrees and Orders, Phil. and Mary, xi, fol. 269b—an intermediate order.
33 Inq. and Extents, 49; it is called 'two acres' only. It is enumerated as Downholland in the Plac. de quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 375. About 1540 the following was the Hospitallers' rent roll: Sir Thomas Halsall, 12d.; Thomas Haskayne, 6d.; Sir Thomas Halsall and Robert Bootle, 6d.; Sir T. Halsall for a messuage bought from David Holland, 2d.; Kuerden MSS. v, fol. 84.
34 The name is frequently spelt Heskayne or Hesken, and is confused with Heskin in Leyland hundred.
35 A. Patchett, Tatlocks of Cunscough, 35.
36 Eng. Cath. Non-jurors, 127; some of these had property in neighbouring townships. Alice, the daughter of Francis Farrer, was in 1722 noted as having seen her angel guardian; N. Blundell's Diary, 188.
37 The children of Adam—William and Christiana—have been mentioned; it is probable that his two oxgangs were divided between them, and that the share of Alan son of William descended to Emma the wife of Simon de Wolvesegh, who sold an oxgang to Roger de Holland. Of Christiana's share nothing is positively known, but a certain Henry son of Dolfin de Barton quitclaimed to 'his lord,' Roger son of Henry de Holland, all his right in an oxgang in Barton; Dods. MSS. xxxix, fol. 143, n. 61.
38 Cockersand Chartul. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 631, 754.
39 Elias de Barton son of Henry, the grantor, was in possession of three oxgangs, one of them apparently that of Henry son of Dolfin, and another acquired from William son of Robert son of Wronou; Dods. MSS. xxxix, fol. 143, n. 64. The third, perhaps, came from another son of Robert. The same William, grandson of Wronou, quitclaimed all his right in the four oxgangs in Barton to Henry son of Alan de Holland; ibid. n. 62.
40 Assize R. 408, m. 7 d. 48 d. 76.
41 Dods. MSS. cliii, fol. 49. Adam son of Anabel contributed to the subsidies of 1327 and 1332.
42 Dods. MSS. cxlii, fol. 230b. Otes de Halsall some time afterwards acquired meadow land from Robert de Barton and his son Roger, and assigned it to his son Gilbert and Elizabeth his wife in 1367; Dods. MSS. xxxix. fol. 143, n. 63. In 1374 Adam son of Adam de Bredkirk claimed from William de Barton a house and lands in Barton as heir of a certain Alice who married John de Bredkirk the claimant's grandfather; De Banc. R. 453, m. 394.
43 Dods. MSS. cliii, fol. 49.
44 Ibid. fol. 49b.
45 Ibid.
46 Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 4, m. 3, 12b.
47 See the note on Halsall chantry.
48 Dods. MSS. cliii, fol. 50.
49 Ibid.
50 Duchy of Lanc. Pleadings, Hen. VIII, iii, H. 5. The disputes were settled in Fazakerley's favour about 1540; Dods. MSS. cliii, fol. 49b, 50.
51 See the account of Halsall.
52 Dods. MSS. xxxix, fol. 142b, n. 58.
53 In 1486 Henry son of John Norris, late of Barton, was placed in possession of certain lands in Formby. He had brothers named William, Robert, Edward, Richard, and James, and the ultimate remainder indicates that they were related to the Speke family; Formby D.
54 Rentale de Cockersand (Chet. Soc. Misc.), 5.
55 Lancs. Inq. and Extents, 7, 147. A dispute between William de Ferrers and William le Boteler as to common of pasture in the hey of Barton may refer to this Barton; Cur. Reg. R. 149 (37 Hen. III), m. 17.
56 Assize R. 404, m. 5 d. Two charters at Ince Blundell complete the story. By one Simon quitclaimed to Richard any title or claim in lands in Ince and Barton; and in return he received an oxgang in Ince; Trans. Hist. Soc. xxxii, 189, 190.
57 Pal. of Lanc. Chan. Misc. bdle. 1, n. 27; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc.), i, 30, 39. This inquest refers to three oxgangs; the other was probably in the possession of William's mother. In 1441 the Botelers had a rent of 10½d. from Barton; ibid. ii, 49. The same sum was paid by John Aughton in 1548; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 13, m. 142.
58 Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xv, n. 44.
The holding was described as four messuages, 50 acres of land, 10 acres of meadow, and 50 acres of moss.
59 Eng. Cath. Non-jurors, 97, 121.


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