The parish and township of Altcar

Sponsor

Victoria County History

Publication

Author

William Farrer & J. Brownbill (editors)

Year published

1907

Pages

221-226

Annotate

Comment on this article
Double click anywhere on the text to add an annotation in-line

Citation Show another format:

'The parish and township of Altcar', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3 (1907), pp. 221-226. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=41324 Date accessed: 25 October 2014.


Highlight

(Min 3 characters)

ALTCAR

Acrer, Dom. Bk. (exceptional); Altekar, Aldekar, Althekar about 1250; Altcarre, 1439; Alker, 1587; Allkar, 1604.

The situation and aspect of this parish and township are sufficiently indicated by its name—the carr or marsh-land beside the Alt. It lies on the right bank of this stream, as it flows north-westward, westward, and then southward to the Mersey estuary.

The boundary on the east is practically coincident with the 25ft. level, till it reaches Lydiate Brook at the Frith Bridge. The old course of the Downholland Brook, crossed by the old Fleam Bridge, was the western boundary, but has been greatly altered, and now is led straight to Alt Bridge. (fn. 1) The narrow strip of land belonging to Altcar, which borders the Alt down to its mouth, is over two miles in length. On the widest portion, between the southern course of the river and sea shore to the west, is the Altcar rifle range. There is here a twelve-gun battery for the defence of the Mersey. The population in 1901 was 545.

The area of the whole parish is 4,083 acres. (fn. 2) The whole is flat and lies very low. The geological formation consists entirely of the lower keuper sandstone of the trias or new red sandstone, which is obscured in the western part of the township by fluviatile and some blown sand. The village of Altcar, or Great Altcar, with a long crooked street, is in the north-west, on ground which is only about 12ft. above sea level. Hill House, (fn. 3) to the east of the village, is 40ft. above sea level. To the south of this house is Carr Wood. Altcar Hall, a farmhouse, adjoins the church at the west end of the village. The township is very sparsely timbered; small trees are grouped about the scattered farms, and there are a few limited plantations to the east. As in other low-lying townships the fields are mostly divided by ditches, regularly-planted hawthorn hedges being seen along the high roads and about the villages. Corn, potatoes, (fn. 4) and other root crops are extensively cultivated, besides quantities of hay. There are now in Altcar 2,670 acres of arable land, 829 in permanent grass, and 55 of woods and plantations.

The chief roads start from Alt Bridge; that to Ormskirk going north-east and east by a very devious course through Altcar village, past Hill House. (fn. 5)

The Southport and Cheshire Lines Committee's railway, opened in 1884, runs through the parish near the eastern boundary, with two stations, called Lydiate, and Altcar and Hill House. The Lancashire and Yorkshire Company's Liverpool and Southport line crosses the western portion, beyond Little Altcar.

There was a sandstone quarry near Hill House; this is now filled with water.

The history of this isolated place has been uneventful. One stormy incident, however, is recorded. It arose out of the revival of religious persecution caused by the Oates plot. In February, 1681–2, eight officers of the law visited Altcar to distrain the goods of John Sutton and Margery Tickle, recusants. They seized cattle accordingly, and waited from nine to three o'clock expecting that the cattle would be redeemed. Receiving an intimation of a projected rescue the sheriff's men tried to get away with their capture, but were opposed by a party of about twenty men and women, armed with long staffs, pitchforks, and muskets, who easily routed the officers, beating them, leaving them in the mire, and driving the cattle away. Six men were badly injured, two so severely that life was despaired of. (fn. 6) There is nothing stated as to the result, beyond a hint that the king was about to intervene to prevent further proceedings. (fn. 7)

The modern celebrity of Altcar is due to the Waterloo coursing meeting which takes place here about February. There are also one or two minor meetings.

The township is governed by a parish council.

In recent years improvements in the drainage of the district have been made, and a pumping engine is employed to keep the water under control. (fn. 8)

In former times the villagers of Altcar used occasionally to challenge those of Formby, then chiefly a fishing village, to fight, the combats taking place at Fleam Bridge, on the boundary. (fn. 9)

'Mid Lent Sunday was known as Braggot Sunday, from a specially-made non-intoxicating drink called Braggot; its place was afterwards taken by mulled ale. A labourer expected four eggs from his employer, which he took to the ale-house, where the eggs, with spices, were drunk in hot ale. This custom died when the public-houses were closed.' All Souls' Day was observed by children begging a 'soul loaf.' The rush-bearing customs died out sixty years ago. A little fair was held; a mock mayor was elected—the first man who succumbed to the effects of the drinking that took place—and he and fantastically-dressed neighbours went in procession, calling at various houses for money or drink. (fn. 10) The rushbearing took place between 12 and 19 July. (fn. 11)

'There are many trees and roots buried in the moss lands and carr lands of Altcar. Every now and then a plough comes in contact with one of these long-buried trees. … They are chiefly oak trees; the trunk of one of them must have been 2 ft. 6 in. in diameter. … There are also some trees of softer wood, which seems to be black poplar. Many of the trees have been cut down; but in some cases it would appear that the trees had been torn up by the roots by some storm in the higher grounds and then floated down the flooded waters of the Alt. … In cutting the drain-sluices, the horns and bones of wild animals have been found buried with the trees. Much of the timber is sound and undecayed, while some is so soft that it can be cut out with a spade.' (fn. 12)

The field names include Priest Carrs and Monk's Carrs, Hemp Yard, God's Croft, and Salt Fields. In 1779 there were also Showrick Side, Hainshoot Meadow, Cuddock Meadow, and Nearer Mossocks.

MANOR

In 1066 the manor of ALTCAR was held by Uctred; it was assessed at half a plough-land, and was 'waste'—the only manor in the hundred so described—and no value is recorded. It was a portion of the privileged three hides in the parishes of North Meols, Halsall, and Ormskirk. (fn. 13)

After the Conquest it seems to have been taken into the demesne of the honour, like the adjacent Formby. It is next mentioned in the perambulation of the forest made in 1228. The jurors found that Altcar had been placed within the forest since the coronation of Henry II, and should be disafforested; within its bounds had been included portions of the neighbouring townships—Ince Blundell, Raven Meols, Downholland, and Lydiate. It was disafforested accordingly. (fn. 14)


Merivale Abbey.Vairy or and gules.

After the death of Ranulf Blundeville, earl of Chester, in 1232, his sister Agnes, wife of William de Ferrers, earl of Derby, succeeded to this part of his possessions. Within a very short time (before 1238) she and her husband had bestowed Altcar upon the Cistercian Abbey of Merivale (de Mira Valle) in Warwickshire, a Ferrers foundation. There are several charters relating to it. (fn. 15)

The monks of Merivale on being established at Altcar began improvements, in particular by draining their land. This brought them into conflict with their brother Cistercians of Stanlaw on the southern side of the river, whose lands and mill might be damaged by any alteration of the course of the Alt. (fn. 16)

The monks also made an agreement with John de Lea of Raven Meols by which he granted them for their cattle a road next to the Alt over his land, the road being 3 perches wide (each of twenty lawful feet) and extending from the King's way between Raven Meols and Alt Bridge, as far as the pasture on Alt Marsh. On the other hand he obtained leave to embank and enclose Herdebreck Pool. (fn. 17)

In 1292 the abbot was called upon to show by what right he held a messuage and a plough-land in Altcar. In reply he cited the above grants by William de Ferrers and Agnes his widow. For the king it was urged that he should also show some royal confirmation, and that being unable to do so his tenure was bad. The abbot retained Altcar. (fn. 18) In the eyre of the forest of Henry earl of Lancaster in 1329 the abbot and convent were again called upon to show their warrant for holding the manor in alms. (fn. 19)

The abbot seems to have sent two or three monks from Warwickshire to farm the land. (fn. 20)

In January, 1383–4, Sir Thomas de Stafford surrendered to the monks the grange of Altcar which he had held from them, together with the mill and crofts of the Gore, &c. In 1389 the abbot and convent leased (for his life) to Thomas Heton of Lydiate a moiety of the Gore, with hall, barn, and appurtenances, for a rent of 33s. 4d., the tenant to pay all tithes and other dues as might be levied. At the same time they leased (also for life) to Robert Coton of Lydiate a messuage called Long Houses and a meadow called Priest Meadow lying next to the Gore, paying yearly to their warden ('custos') of Altcar 18s., as well as tithes, &c. (fn. 21)

In June, 1429, Abbot John Ruggeley and the convent of Merivale leased to Edmund Lord Ferrers, Thomas Mollesley and William Donyngton the manor of Altcar for the life of the abbot, an annual rent of 50 marks to be paid. The abbot and convent undertook also to send one of their monks to celebrate divine services in the chapel of St. Mary (fn. 22) in the said manor, at the cost of the tenants. It was provided 'that if Robert Molyneux, Roger Wyrley, and Richard Lowe should die before the abbot' the monks might re-enter. (fn. 23)

About ten years after this, Sir Richard Molyneux of Sefton, brother of Robert the lessee of Altcar, endeavoured to make an exchange with the monks. He would give them two acres in Sefton with the advowson of the parish church, which they might appropriate, appointing a vicar; in return he was to have the manor of Altcar, and so much land there as would bring in the same amount of money as the rectory of Sefton would be worth to the monks. This scheme for making a profit out of Sefton church was not carried through; but it shows that the family of Molyneux had already cast eyes upon Altcar. (fn. 24)

In 1532 William abbot of Merivale complained that the Halsalls had taken possession of part of his land. (fn. 25) Sir William Molyneux and others were commissioned to make inquiry; after hearing the evidence they were to make an exact boundary, and send their report to Westminster. (fn. 26) Thomas Halsall alleged that the disputed land was part of a great moss called Downholland Moss, of one thousand acres or more. He gave his version of the boundary, and averred that he and his predecessors had received 4d. a day from persons wishing to take turf from this moss. (fn. 27) Judgement was made by setting stakes, stones, limits, and meres on the moss, beginning in the nook of the Frith Dyke and going on to the Black Mere; (fn. 28) all to the north-east to be Halsall's; all on the southwest of the meres set on the moss to the dyke following the woodside, and from the nook of the Frith Dyke to Holland Causey, to be the abbot's. (fn. 29)

The abbot in 1537 leased to Robert Molyneux of Hawton in Nottinghamshire and William his son and heir the manor, grange, and lordship of Altcar with the mill and the tithes, &c., for eighty years; the lessees being bound, among other things, to maintain a priest to celebrate in the hall, paying a monk £5 a year. (fn. 30) The suppression of the abbey quickly followed, but the Court of Augmentations ratified this lease in 1539. (fn. 31)

In 1556 a commission was appointed by Philip and Mary to make a division between the spiritualities and temporalities of the manor. (fn. 32) In 1558 for the sum of £1,000, the crown sold the manor and grange, 'lately in the occupation of Robert Molyneux and William his son,' to Sir Richard Molyneux of Sefton, with the reservation to the vicar of all his rights and endowments, the lead in the windows and gutters, and the bells. The manor was to be held as the twentieth part of a knight's fee. (fn. 33) Shortly afterwards Francis Molyneux of Hawton, who had inherited the eightyyears' lease, surrendered the unexpired term to William, the son and heir apparent of Sir Richard Molyneux, for 500 marks. (fn. 34) Thus the Sefton family came into full possession of the manor, which they have retained to the present time. (fn. 35)

In 1609 Sir Richard Molyneux purchased the spiritualities or tithes of Altcar, formerly demised to Robert Molyneux and William his son at a rent of £6 13s. 4d., but 100s. was to be allowed to the celebrant of divine offices in the chapel, in accordance with the lease of 1537. (fn. 36)

Sir Thomas Hesketh, attorney of the Court of Wards and Liveries, and Thomas Ireland, learned in the law, had, in 1604, after perusal of the charters, decided that all persons dwelling on lands at any time belonging to Merivale Abbey were free of toll and duty in all fairs, markets, towns, and villages; and the earl of Derby, as lord lieutenant, accordingly gave instructions that the inhabitants of Altcar should enjoy this immunity. (fn. 37)

Three of those whose estates were confiscated by the Parliament in 1652 were described as 'of Altcar': Edward Gore, who had land in Lydiate, Henry Lovelady, and John Tickle. (fn. 38)

The hearth tax assessors in 1666 found only four houses here with three hearths or more. (fn. 39)

Thomas, son of Cuthbert Formby of Formby, registered a leasehold estate here in 1717 as a 'Papist.' (fn. 40)

In 1720 Edward Fazakerley had a lease of land here from Lord Molyneux; also of Hill House, lately in the possession of Nicholas Fazakerley, deceased. (fn. 41)

A court-baron used to be held in May, and an adjourned court in October; (fn. 42) the tenants of the manor were bound to the service of clearing the marshes. No courts are held now.

CHURCH

The earliest record of any church or chapel at Altcar is that in the lease of 1429, already given, but there can be little doubt that religious worship had been maintained in the manor-house, to which the chapel would adjoin, from the time the monks of Merivale received possession of it. (fn. 43) The chapel appears to have been but poorly furnished. From that year there is clear evidence that divine service was regularly celebrated, the leases stipulating for the payment of a resident priest, normally one of the monks of Merivale. (fn. 44)

The church existing in the seventeenth century is said to have been of timber and plaster. About 1614 Altcar was described as 'a donative impropriate to Sir Richard Molyneux, Knight; no incumbent, but a bare reader and a mean pension.' (fn. 45) The Commonwealth surveyors of 1650 found that there was a church, but no parsonage or glebe lands; the tithes, worth £70 a year, (fn. 46) were farmed by Lord Molyneux under a lease for ten thousand years. The church was well situated within the parish, and there was no need for any other. (fn. 47) In 1646 the stipend of the minister was but twenty nobles (£6 13s. 4d.) a year, as the old rent of the spiritualities of the parish; but upon Lord Molyneux's property being sequestered by Parliament £50 a year was promptly added to this stipend out of the tithes of Altcar. (fn. 48) Altcar Hall was assigned as a parsonage house, with orchards, gardens, yards, stables, and outhouses. It is the old churchhouse. Afterwards it became an inn, and is still standing by the churchyard.

Bishop Gastrell in 1717 found that Lord Molyneux, who let out the tithes for £80 a year, paid the curate there about £10 a year, to which a further £1 10s. might arise from surplice fees. There were two wardens, serving by house row. (fn. 49)

Nearly thirty years later the church is supposed to have been destroyed by fire, and a new one was built, a royal brief in 1743 raising a certain portion of the cost. The new building was consecrated in 1747. It was a 'small brick edifice, with a cupola in which was only one bell. The interior was very plain.' (fn. 50)

The present church of St. Michael, (fn. 51) in the Perpendicular style, was built in 1879, the former one being pulled down.

The registers begin in 1664, but no marriage is recorded till 1680. There are parish accounts from 1714. An old font lies in the churchyard, in company with the base of a cross and the font (sundial pattern) of 1747. (fn. 52)

Altcar being a donative, no institution or licence was required; but about the end of the seventeenth century Bishop Gastrell notices that curates had been licensed. (fn. 53) Probably the monk in charge at the dissolution of the monasteries would remain at Altcar, having no longer any other home; (fn. 54) but the first curate whose name is known is Gilbert Shurlacres. (fn. 55)

It appears that the curate-in-charge might only be a 'reader,' that is, a layman licensed to read the prayers; the salary was very small, and as practically all the people adhered to the Roman Catholic faith after the Reformation there would be few offerings and other dues to increase it. The improvement in the minister's stipend made by the parliamentary authorities was accompanied by the appointment of Robert Seddon, 'an orthodox and painful godly minister,' who had been put in by Colonel John Moore, and was there in 1650. (fn. 56) The following are among the later curates and vicars, who have since 1856 been presented by the Earl of Sefton as patron:

1656Nathaniel Brownsword (fn. 57)
1657John Walton, clerk (fn. 58)
oc.1665—Brookes (fn. 59)
c.1669Zachary Leech (fn. 17)
oc.1671Richard Critchley (fn. 17)
1702—Norris
1702Timothy Ellison (fn. 60)
1717Edward Pilkington (fn. 61)
1724William Clayton (fn. 62)
1735Thomas Mercer (fn. 63)
oc.1774William Naylor (fn. 64)
1823Thomas Garrett, M.A. (Aberdeen) (fn. 65)
1826Charles Forshaw, B.A. (fn. 66)
1856James Pearson, M.A. (Trinity College, Camb.) (fn. 67)
1862John Thomas (fn. 68)
1889William Warburton (fn. 69)

The patron has in recent times not only built the vicarage but given £100 tithe rent-charge; and this has been supplemented by Queen Anne's Bounty, the total income being now about £240.

CHARITIES

There are a few charities, the most considerable being that founded by Peter Darwin, who about twenty years ago left £400 for the poor. (fn. 70)

Footnotes

1 Formerly it seems to have reached the main stream nearly half a mile to the west of Alt Bridge, after encompassing the hamlet called Little Altcar.
For an account of the Alt Drainage Act see Sefton.
2 4,216, according to the census of 1901; this includes 20 acres of inland water. There are in addition an acre of tidal water, and 132 acres of foreshore.
3 This bears the inscription:

Representation of inscription

4 'An Irish vessel, part of its cargo being potatoes, was wrecked in 1665 near North Meols. The potatoes were gathered from the sands, and some of them planted in Altcar, and from that time to the present the growth of potatoes has been an important element in the Altcar husbandry'; Rev. W. Warburton in Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), xi, 172. Full use has been made of this essay, and the editors have to thank the author for other information readily afforded.
5 The road over Alt Bridge, through Altcar and Lydiate to Aughton and Ormskirk, is mentioned as of immemorial use in a plea of 1598; Duchy of Lanc. Pleadings, Eliz. clxxx, 22.
There was formerly a small wooden bridge over the Alt, near Ince Blundell village, from which a footpath led to Lydiate Hall.
6 See Kenyon MSS. (Hist. MSS. Com.), pp. 134–9. 'The rioters are said to be all papists,' writes Roger Kenyon's informant, 'and above eight-and-twenty in number. Mr. Justice Entwisle has been active to apprehend them, but the constable of the town, one John Tyrer (?), who denied to go with the officers to preserve the peace, made not that quick execution of his warrant against them he ought to have done, so that they all fled and there's none to be light on. Afterwards Mr. Entwisle sent hue and cry after two of them, Thomas Tickle and Edward Tickle his brother, who were the authors of all the mischief. But that way proved ineffectual, and now Mr. Entwisle and Mr. Mayor of Liverpool (Richard Windall) have appointed a sessions to be held at Altcar upon Monday sennitt for inquiry.'
Sir Thomas Preston wrote from Haigh: 'The grandee papists here seem much concerned at it, thinking it an obstruction to their false petition, which before they hoped might have prevented any new process against them.'
The inquisition arranged for took place at Altcar on 20 February, and a true bill was returned against Thomas and Edward Tickle, John Sutton, senior, Ralph Starkey the miller, and other yeomen and husbandmen, for riot, assault, and rescue. 'Most of the town being papists or popishly affected they will not tell who they [the rioters] were; only upon the inquisition ten were discovered, whereof one is taken and sent to gaol. Warrants are out against the rest, who, as I told you in my last, are fled and lie hidden privately in the country, waiting what will become of the man that is so sore wounded, who now (as the doctor supposes) cannot live long alive, being every day weaker and weaker.'
The Justice Entwisle who showed himself so active in the matter wrote that he feared 'that party [the Protestant] in Altcar is so slender that they dare not deny the Roman whatsoever he is pleased to call a neighbourly civility. I have found the insolence of that party so high in that town that the officers, in return to my warrants for their present rents of absentors from church upon the laws of 12d. a Sunday, have told me they durst not do it for fear of the Tickles, whose house I have also been informed was four or five years since a great receptacle of the Roman priests and usual place of resort to mass.'
7 See Kenyon MSS. (Hist. MSS. Com.), pp. 134–9. There is a long list of recusants and non-communicants at Altcar in the roll of 1641; Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), xiv, 235. Bishop Gastrell in 1717 records 17 'Papist' families, and is silent as to any others; Notitia Cestr. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 163. In 1767 the number returned was 92 persons; Account at Chester Reg. Several marriages solemnized by 'the Popish priest' appear in the registers of 1708 and thereabouts.
8 Formerly the inhabitants suffered many inconveniences from the situation of the place, especially in winter, when stepping-stones were needed for passing from one cottage to another. At hay time the grass had often to be carried from the town to the higher levels to be dried. 'At one farmhouse a small boat was attached to the door latch, and when milking time arrived the milker paddled in this boat across the inundated field to the shippon to milk the cows. It is also stated that occasionally people proceeded to church in boats, and that on one occasion the boat was actually floated over the churchyard wall.' See Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), xi, 185.
9 Ibid. 187.
10 Ibid. 193–6.
11 Harland and Wilkinson, Legends ana Traditions, 110.
12 Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), xi, 201. 'To such an extent have these roots been extracted from the soil that on visiting a farmhouse in this locality a large oaken balk may generally be seen upon the fire. The writer has been informed by Mr. Thomas Haskeyne, of Gore Houses, Altcar, a farm under Lord Sefton, which has been held by the family for many generations, that from his earliest remembrance scarcely a day has passed in which two large balks have not been consumed in this manner. The custom has always been to place one upon the kitchen fire after the first meal, and another after dinner'; Gibson, Lydiate Hall, 3.
13 V.C.H. Lancs. i, p. 285a.
14 See the document in Baines' Lancs. (ed. Croston), i, 379.
Two facts in connexion with Altcar must be observed; first, the assessment was increased to 1 plough-land; and second, a strip of land on the north bank of the Alt, extending west as far as the sea, now belongs to Altcar, though it did not do so in 1207. In this year Henry son of Warin de Lancaster as lord of Raven Meols, gave permission to William Blundell of Ince to make a mill pool on Henry's side of the Alt; Whalley Coucher (Chet. Soc.), ii, 497. Thus the northern bank of the Alt was then in Raven Meols.
15 Some originals and some copies, preserved at Croxteth; bdle. A1 and A6. In one William de Ferrers, with the assent and good will of Agnes the countess his wife, for the health of the souls of themselves and their ancestors and posterity, granted the whole hey of Alt Marsh, the boundaries proceeding from the thread of the Alt to Mere Pool, then to Fers Pool, Reedy Pool, and Barton Pool—this pool continued to be on the boundary between Downholland and Altcar—and thence along the division of the hey to Landlache and Muster Pool, descending this last through the Withins to the Alt; then along the Alt to Mere Pool. This seems to be the main portion of Altcar, between Formby and Lydiate Brook, here called Muster Pool. The western corner between this brook and the Alt is now called the Withins. The rent of 40s. was excused in a later charter, but hunting rights were reserved to the earl.
By a second charter he granted all that part of the wood and pasture in Altcar within these bounds: Where Muster Pool descends in a straight line from the moss through the Withins as far as the Alt, then following the Alt as far as Ale Pool, along this as far as Wildmare Pool, and then by the divisions of the hey to the said Muster Pool. This seems to be the eastern part of Altcar, between Lydiate Brook and Maghull.
Agnes de Ferrers afterwards confirmed her husband's grants.
16 The dispute was referred to the abbots of three other Cistercian houses—Roche, Kirkstall, and Sawley—and these in 1238 decided against any innovations by the Merivale monks; Whalley Coucher, ii, 512. Original at Croxteth.
A dispute in 1274 was settled by the arbitration of the abbots of Combermere and Croxton. The monks of Stanlaw had obstructed the Merivale openings through which the flood-waters of the Alt escaped, and had raised their own flood-gates too high; their mill also obstructed the flow of water. Thus the abbot of Merivale's crops were in danger; ibid. ii, 513.
17 Croxteth D. It might be inferred from these deeds that the Merivale monks had a right to use the marshy pastures at the mouth of the Alt, driving their cattle through Raven Meols. This grant might account for the above-mentioned strip of land extending to the west.
Another charter, granted about 1300, is from Thomas son of Richard de Halsall to the monks, being a quitclaim of any right he might have in certain land next to the channel of Hole Beck, where parts of two houses 'at our place of the Gore' are built. Croxteth D.; for Hole Beck cf. Ale Pool in the first charter; Gore is on the border of Lydiate and Maghull.
Much earlier than this (1251) Henry de Nottingham had quitclaimed to the monks all his right in common of pasture in Altcar; the abbot giving him 40s. Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 113.
18 Plac. de quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 383; Abbrev. Plac. (Rec. Com.), 230b, 288b.
In the Taxatio of Pope Nicholas, 1291 (p. 258), the abbot of Merivale is said to have at the grange called Altcar 4 ploughlands of an annual value of £1 6s. 8d., profits of his stock of cattle, &c., £3, and rent in various places, £10. The word 'plough-land' here is obviously not the 'plough-land' of the ancient assessment.
Some liberties were conceded to the abbot in the time of Edward II. Robert de Halsall gave right of entry and exit by the road called Holbeck Gate, from Altcar to the High Street of Lydiate; and some dispute as to right of way was formally settled before the sheriff in his tourn of West Derby; Kuerden MSS. ii, fol. 270b, n. 81.
19 Duchy of Lanc. Forest Proc. 1–17. m. 6.
At the beginning of 1377 John of Gaunt seems to have laid claim to this manor, but on inquiry the abbot's right was once more affirmed. The tenement was described as a messuage, 200 acres of (arable) land, 200 acres of meadow, 100 acres of wood, and 1,000 acres of pasture, held in pure and perpetual alms without any secular service or demand; Croxteth D. A. 5.
20 Generally speaking, their existence was peaceable enough, but in 1343 Richard son of Sir John de Molyneux of Little Crosby, Henry Blundell of the same place, Richard de Standish, and other evil-doers, were accused of having gone into the abbot's manor of Altcar with force and arms and threatened the monks, so that they removed from the place with their servants, not daring to live there any longer. The doors were broken down, and the stores and utensils consumed; Assize R. 430, m. 14, 20d. 29d. On the other hand, Thomas de Shevington, monk of Altcar, was in 1354 charged with having struck William Gervase of Ince Blundell, and thrown Robert de Bickerstath into the ditch and kept him there till he was nearly drowned; Assize R. 436, m. 1.
The abbot had a dispute with some of the neighbours about watercourses in 1363, and another as to boundaries was carried on with the rector of Halsall in 1367; De Banc. R. 413, m. 184; Croxteth D. A. 1.
21 Croxteth D. A. 6, 7, 8. Some time in the fourteenth century the monks are said to have lost lands here by the inroads of the sea; but the statement rests only on a vague tradition; Duchy Plea. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i. 24.
22 The last and present churches have been named St. Michael's.
23 These three gave a bond for £200 to perform their covenant with Lord Ferrers and the others; Croxteth D. A. 9.
A valuable inventory is attached to this lease. In the first place in the chapel were a missal, two vestments (one of black satin, the other of black stuff with crowns), a chalice worth 20s., a cross with staff and banner, a breviary, a book called 'Krystnyng book,' and another called 'Buryyng book,' a brass vessel for holy water, and two chairs. In the hall two trestles, one table, and two tables dormant, a basin with wash bowl, and hanging tapestry (dosum). In the chamber a coverlet with a bedcarpet (tapetum) worth 6s. 8d., a pair of sheets, a mattress worth 2s. with two blankets, a coffer bound with iron. The buttery, larder, and kitchen were fully furnished. The cattle were 12 cows, 12 calves and a bull, 16 'twinters' and 20 stirks, 8 oxen, 100 sheep, 4 horses and a mare; worth in all £23 6s. 8d. There were also wains, etc. The mill had 4 sail cloths worth 10s. and 2 millstones and a 'royne' worth 10s.; at the other mill were 2 stones and a 'ryne' worth 6s. 8d.; Croxteth D. A. 10.
24 Trans. Hist. Soc. xxxiv, 125–7.
In 1480 Thomas Molyneux of Sefton was endeavouring to obtain a lease of Altcar from the abbot of Merivale, and as a preliminary he came to an agreement with Piers Holland of Dawnholland as to certain lands which were in dispute between the latter and the abbot. The situation of this debatable area is thus described: Upon the south part of the new ditch between Downholland and Altcar, beginning at the Frith Gate in the south end of Helmescough, along this new ditch to the north-west, then along the old ditch to Helmescough Wood, along the wood ditch to Holland Causeway, and so to the Black Mere, which is common to the two townships; Croxteth D. A. 18. Improvements of the mosslands seem to have been the cause of the disputes.
25 The abbot described his boundaries as follows: From a certain place called Horse Hook (or Horse Plecks) near Barton Pool (Downholland Brook) where the division between the parish of Halsall and Altcar begins, thence to Frith Stone, thence to Wildmere Pool, thence by a 'river' to Drythalt alias Alepool, along Drythalt between the Frith, the Acres, Hyndeford Meadow, and the Gore in succession on one side, and Lydiate on the other side, as far as Holy Beck Lane; and then between the Priest Meadow and Sholy Wyke in Altcar and Maghull down to Great Alt. Places to the north and east of these bounds were in Halsall parish, those to the south and west being in Altcar parish; Duchy of Lanc. Depositions, Hen. VIII, xxiii, m. 1.
26 Croxteth D. A.
27 The arbitrators went to view the disputed mossland several times, and called before them sixteen 'old and ancient' men of Altcar, who all gave the bounds as stated by the abbot. These said that the Frith stone had lately been taken away or hidden—by the defendant, as they supposed. The defendant's witnesses described the boundary thus: From the Frith Gate north-west to the Black Brow, west to the old ditch, along this to the wood ditch, by this to Holland Causey straight to the Black Mere, where they of Downholland used to 'intercommon.'
28 Or, Goodleys Mere.
29 Duchy of Lanc. Depositions (as above); Croxteth D. A. 17.
Henry Gore, then tenant of the Gore House in Altcar, was still to be at liberty to put his cattle to pasture on the moss from the Holland Causey.
30 Ibid. A. 37.
31 Ibid. A. 35.
32 Croxteth D. A. 24. The result of the inquiry was that the spiritualities were worth £6 13s. 4d. and the temporalities £40 a year. £46 13s. 4d. was the rent the monks had been accustomed to receive from Altcar; Mon. Angl. v, 483.
33 Croxteth D. A. 28; Pat. 4 and 5 Phil. and Mary, pt. v.
34 Croxteth D. A. 29, 12.
35 The clear value of Altcar in 1623 was considered to be £30 15s. 3d.; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. & Ches.), iii, 389.
The Wood House in Altcar—supposed to have been the predecessor of Hill House—with its appurtenances was in 1580 leased to Richard Radcliffe, who married Bridget Caryll, the widow of the above-named William Molyneux (who predeceased his father), and his son Richard. All 'the old ancient and accustomed rent and services' were to be rendered; Croxteth D. A. 15. The previous lessee was James Halsall, deceased.
The Old Gore, in Gore Houses, was in 1587 leased by Sir Richard Molyneux to his uncle John Molyneux, ancestor of Molyneux of New Hall and Alt Grange, with the usual liberties of pasture and turbary and also the right to dig for marl to be used upon the tenement; also 'with housebote, hedgebote, utongsbote, firebote, heybote, and cartbote, to be taken in and upon the premises and to be used and spent upon the same.' Ibid. A. 16.
36 Croxteth D. A. 25.
37 Ibid. A. 22. James I in 1613 confirmed these privileges; ibid. Bishop Gastrell states: 'The inhabitants of this township pay no toll in markets nor anything to county bridges'; Not. Cestr. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 163.
38 Index of Royalists (Index Soc.), 42–4. For Edward Gore see Roy. Com. Pap. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), iii, 87. Nothing seems recorded of the 'delinquency' of the others—probably it was religious.
39 Lay Subs. Lancs. 250–9.
40 Engl. Cath. Non-jurors, 155.
41 Piccope MSS. (Chet. Lib.), iii, 206, quoting 4th Roll of Geo. I at Preston. They were of the family of Fazakerley of Kirkby.
42 Held in 1836; so Baines, Lancs. (1st ed.), iv, 232–3.
43 There is no mention of chapel or tithes in the foundation charters.
44 The Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.) of 1535 (v, 221) states that Altcar used to be in the parish of Walton. For the ornaments of the church in 1552 see Ch. Goods (Chet. Soc.), 105.
45 Kenyon MSS. 13.
46 The meadows were tithe free; Notitia Cestr. ii, 163.
47 Commonwealth Ch. Surv. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.). p. 95.
48 Plund. Mins. Accts. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 13, 18.
In 1648 Lord Molyneux was allowed to compound for the tithes, said to have been worth £80 a year for the previous thirty years, on condition of paying £70 a year to the minister; Croxteth D.; also Plund. Mins. Accts. ii, 142, 188.
49 Notitia Cestr. ii, 163. The divisions of the parish were Town Row, Gore Houses, and Little Altcar.
50 Baines, Lancs. (ed. 1836), iv, 233.
A new sandstone font was provided, and a silver chalice and paten were presented at the same time by Jane Plumb, widow, of Downholland.
51 For endowment, see Lond. Gaz. 30 Aug. 1864 and 6 Feb. 1866.
52 Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), xvii, 63. The cross (base) is mentioned in Lancs. and Ches. Antiq. Soc. xix, 169.
53 One in 1695 to Altcar; one in 1702 to Altcar and Formby; Notitia Cestr. ii, 163.
54 In 1509 Richard Walker, 'commonk' of Altcar, was witness to an agreement; Liverpool Corp. D.
55 Visit. Lists at Chest. He lived at Ormskirk and was buried there in 1558.
56 Commonwealth Ch. Survey, p. 95. He joined in the 'Harmonious Consent' of 1648, and seems to be the Robert Seddon, M.A. (of Christ's Coll., Camb.), who was in 1654 ordained to Gorton Chapel, and was afterwards promoted to Langley in Derbyshire. Being ejected in 1662 he subsequently ministered in Bolton. He would be only 20 years of age on appointment to Altcar. Nightingale, Lancs. Nonconf. iii, 5–7.
57 'Approved according to the ordinance for approbation of Public Preachers'; Plund. Mins. Accts. ii, 142.
58 Upon a nomination exhibited from Frances, Viscountess-Dowager Molyneux, with satisfactory certificate, and admitted again on a nomination from the Lord Protector. He was still at Altcar in 1659. See ibid. ii, 181, 289.
59 Visit. List.
60 In 1702 the chapel being vacant by the death of Mr. Norris, it was arranged that Timothy Ellison, curate of Formby, should officiate at Altcar every Sunday afternoon; hitherto, only £10 being allowed by Lord Molyneux as the curate's salary, there had been divine service only every second Sunday; Act Books at Chester.
61 Raines MSS. (Chet. Lib.), xxii, 98.
62 Presented by Viscount Molyneux.
63 Also curate of Formby.
64 He was for fifty years master of Ormskirk Grammar School. He died in 1823.
65 Thomas Garrett had been appointed curate in 1821, and became incumbent in 1823; he resided at Burscough, and came over on Saturday for the Sunday duty. He afterwards held Talk and Audley in Staffordshire, and died in 1841; Ches. N. and Q. (New Ser.), i and v. He published some poems concerning the district.
66 Master of Ormskirk School.
67 Presented by the Earl of Sefton in 1856. The patron built a vicarage in 1858, from which time there has been a resident incumbent.
68 John Thomas, incumbent of St. John's, Workington, was presented in 1862, having exchanged with Mr. Pearson. He died in 1889.
69 Previously, 1871 to 1888, incumbent of St. Peter's, Aintree.
70 The following details are from the End. Char. Rep. for Altcar, issued in 1898; it includes a reprint of the report of 1828.
Peter Darwin, of Altcar, by his will (dated 1884 and proved 1888) left £400 to the minister and churchwardens, the interest to be laid out in bread, coals, and clothing, and distributed twice a year to the deserving poor. The sum actually received was £359 10s., and being invested in a Mersey Dock annuity, produces £13 0s. 8d. a year, distributed in accordance with the testator's wish. In 1895 the annuity was transferred into the name of the Official Trustees.
Jane Liptrot, of Altcar, wished £50 to be given to the incumbent and churchwardens for the benefit of the poor, and £19 19s. to the churchwardens and overseers for the master of 'the day school recently erected.' Her will was dictated the day before her death (July, 1841), but was never executed; but her brother, Samuel Liptrot, paid the money, which is now deposited in the Liverpool Savings Bank in the names of the vicar and two trustees appointed by the parish council. The schoolmaster receives 12s. a year, and the parish clothing club 23s., the remainder of the interest.
Of unknown origin was £3 10s. paid in 1828 to the incumbent from the rate; it was supposed to be the interest on £70 left as an endowment of the church. This is still paid out of the church rate.
Ellen Goore, who died in 1789, left £40 to the poor, the interest to be divided among poor women attending the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. The money was taken by the parish, 40s. being paid out of the rates as interest. It was paid out of the church rate up to 1854, but was discontinued for some reason unknown.
William Wilson, in 1665, gave £10 for the poor, which in Bishop Gastrell's time was upon bond; Notitia Cestr. ii, 164. He gave £20 in all, the interest to be divided equally between Altcar and Lydiate. In 1828 nothing was known of it.