The parish of Eccleston

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Victoria County History

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William Farrer & J. Brownbill (editors)

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1911

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155-162

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'The parish of Eccleston', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6 (1911), pp. 155-162. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=53089 Date accessed: 21 August 2014.


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ECCLESTON

Eccleston; Heskin; Wrightington; Parbold

The ancient parish of Eccleston is noteworthy as the only one in the hundred which had no dependence on the barony of Penwortham, for its northern half was part of the forest fee, while the southern half belonged to the barony of Manchester. This detachment may have had an influence in determining or preserving its parochial unity.

The area of the parish is 8,406½ acres, and the population in 1901 numbered 4,234. To the ancient fifteenth it paid £3 13s. 8d. when the hundred paid £30 12s. 8d. (fn. 1) and to the county lay of 1624 it paid £11 2s. 2½d. when the hundred gave £100. (fn. 2)

Though at one time the courts for the wapentake appear to have been kept at Eccleston, (fn. 3) the history of the place has been quite uneventful, nor have any families of eminence been seated there. The manors were much divided among non-resident lords, and the Lathoms of Parbold seem to have been the principal residents until the 17th century. Thus William Lathom was the chief landowner contributing to the subsidy of 1525, the others being Gilbert Banastre, Thomas Wrightington, John Dicconson, Richard Edmundson, Henry Rawe, William Alanson and Nicholas Rigby. William Fleetwood also paid, but not for lands. (fn. 4)

The wake was held on the Sunday next after 8 September. (fn. 5)

In 1836 there were no manufactures in the parish, except 'hand weaving for the cotton manufacturers in Preston and Chorley, and a furniture calico printing work recently established.' The coal-mines and quarries were worked. (fn. 6) The agricultural land in the parish is now occupied thus: arable, 2,577 acres; permanent grass, 4,832; woods and plantations, 259. (fn. 7)

Each of the four townships has a parish council.

The Ven. John Finch was one of the victims of the Elizabethan persecution, being executed at Lancaster 20 April 1584 for rejecting the queen's religious supremacy. (fn. 8) Sir William Fleetwood of Heskin, recorder of London 1569–94, and Edward Dicconson of Wrightington, vicar apostolic of the Northern district 1740–52, are noticed in the Dictionary of National Biography.

Church

The church of THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY (fn. 9) stands at some little distance from the village on the north side in a pleasant situation among flat meadows on the left or south bank of the Yarrow about 20 yds. from the stream. The building consists of chancel 30 ft. by 17 ft., with south aisle its full length, and 14 ft. 6 in. wide, nave 51 ft. by 24 ft. 9 in., with south aisle 10 ft. 6 in. wide, west tower 11 ft. 6 in. square, and south porch 10 ft. 6 in. square, all these measurements being internal. There is also a small modern vestry and hearse-house north of the chancel.

The building seems to have been erected at two periods, the south aisles being an addition to an aisleless church consisting of chancel, nave, and west tower apparently of 14th-century date. Nearly all the original detail of this period has, however, disappeared in the reconstruction and alterations of the 18th century and the later restoration, but the chancel and tower arches and the belfry windows are of 14th-century type, and the two windows on the north side of the chancel, one of which has been restored, apparently belonged to the same period. (fn. 10) The south aisle of the chancel appears to represent the chantry of the Blessed Virgin, and the south aisle of the nave may have been built at the same time. There is evidence also of the nave and aisles having been erected at different times in the plinth, which round the nave and chancel has a chamfer 9 in. deep, whereas that to the aisles, the south walls of which are continuous, is only 3 in., the projection, however, being the same. The buttresses at the east end of the chancel appear to have been rebuilt when the aisle was added, and have the later plinth. On the north side the old plinth is almost entirely covered up by the raising of the level of the soil, and the plinth round the tower is about 12 in. below the present ground level on the north side and something less on the south. It is probable, therefore, that the present plan without the south aisles is that of the 14th-century church, and that it obtained all through the 15th century down to the time of the foundation of the chantry. A rough plan of the church and churchyard as they existed in 1716 (fn. 11) shows the building at that time the same as now, except that the vestry and hearse-house did not then exist (fn. 12) and the buttress on the south side of the chancel aisle was not then built. The 18th century, however, saw great changes in the structure of the building if not in its plan, and left it externally pretty much as it remains at present. In May 1721 the 'taking down and rebuilding of the parish church' was resolved upon, and it was agreed that £300 be raised that year 'towards providing materials and other common uses relating to the church.' The determination to pull down and rebuild, however, must have been subsequently modified, as during the next sixteen years there are almost continuous payments recorded in the churchwardens' accounts for work done to the structure, and various sums are agreed upon from time to time to be levied on the parish for this purpose. (fn. 13) The payments extend from 1721 to 1737, and in 1743 there are further disbursements for pointing the steeple and for a new clock face. The work then done seems to have consisted principally in the raising of the nave walls all round and the erection of the present roof, which on the south side consists of one span over nave and aisle, as well as the reconstruction of the lower roofs to the chancel and chancel aisle, which were similarly treated on the south side, producing the present ugly effect of a wide lop-sided gable at the east end. The top of the tower was also rebuilt and the exterior of the church embellished with classical urn ornaments. The effect is rather incongruous, but interesting and not a little picturesque.


ECCLESTON PARISH

ECCLESTON PARISH

The building underwent another 'thorough repair' (fn. 14) in 1828, and in 1868–9 was restored and reseated, (fn. 15) at which latter date the old 17th-century pews, which were 'of every shape and size,' (fn. 16) were removed, a gallery which formerly stood at the west end was pulled down, the north windows of the nave, which were described by Glynne in 1859 as 'square-headed and late,' were replaced by the present ugly pointed ones, and the old west door of the tower was done away with and a window inserted in its place. The north window of the chancel and the east window of the chancel aisle would also appear to belong to this date, but the old east window of the chancel was retained till 1907, when it was replaced by the present one. The vestry, which is of brick, was built in 1775, a stone hearse-house being afterwards added on the east side.

The church is built of red sandstone with grey slated roofs, and the south side is partly covered with ivy. The 18th-century work, however, including the top of the tower, was carried out in grey gritstone from Harrock Hill, which now produces, after a century and a-half's weathering, a not unpleasing contrast. The south aisle wall is embattled its full length, but on the north side the roof overhangs, and the gables to both nave and chancel finish with plain copings.

The chancel has a five-light east window with trefoiled heads under a four-centred arch with external hood mould, all the work outside being new, but internally preserving the original moulded jambs. (fn. 17) Over the window on the outside is an old sculptured head, probably a fragment of the earlier building, and the apex of the gable has now a modern cross, replacing the old 18th-century urn. The 18th-century ornaments, however, were retained at the north and south angles of the east end. The line of the old chancel gable on the south side is still plainly seen, the wall necessitated by the later wide roof being simply built against it, the east ends of the aisle and chancel being flush. On the north side the chancel had originally two pointed windows of two lights, the easternmost of which has been replaced by a modern copy, the old internal segmental arched head alone remaining. The head of the other window is still visible from the inside, but the opening has been used as a doorway to the vestry, the wall being cut out below. The north wall is plastered, but on the south side the chancel is open to the aisle, except for 4 ft. of straight wall at the east end, by an arcade of two pointed arches 12 ft. wide, of two plain chamfered orders springing from brackets at each end, and a central octagonal shaft 20 in. in diameter with moulded cap and base. In the short length of wall to the east of the arcade is a piscina with semicircular moulded head, the opening 1 ft. 9 in. wide and 11 in. high. The front of the bowl formerly projected, but has been cut away. The floor of the chancel, which, like the rest of the church, is flagged, is level with that of the nave, and there is only one step to the altar pace, 10 ft. from the east wall, the chancel, therefore, losing much of its effect when seen from the west end of the building. The roof is modern and boarded. The chancel arch is 12 ft. 6 in. wide, of two plain chamfered orders of sharply pointed type struck from centres below the springing. The imposts are new.

The south chancel aisle has a new three-light window at the east end and two three-light windows similar to those in the nave aisle on the south side. Between the windows is a priest's door 2 ft. 3 in. wide, with moulded jambs and head. (fn. 18) The piscina in the east end of the south wall has a pointed head, with all the outer mouldings cut away, a hollow chamfer alone remaining. The east end of the aisle has a raised boarded floor and is seated, the west end being occupied by the organ. There is a stone arch of two chamfered orders between the aisles, and they are now further separated by a solid modern oak screen inclosing the organ.

The nave arcade consists of four pointed arches of two plain chamfered orders springing from octagonal piers with moulded caps and bases and from corbels at either end. The walls are of dressed stone and on the north side are three modern two-light windows with a doorway in the west end, now made up on the inside, under an external pointed arch, with hollow chamfered jambs and head and retaining an old oak nail-studded door. The nave roof is substantially that erected in 1722, but the timbers were re-cased in 1868–9, an 18th-century plaster ceiling taken down, and the spaces between newly boarded. Portions of a 16th-century roof were apparently used up in the 18th-century reconstruction, one of the beams having on each side the date 1534. (fn. 19) The roof is divided into six bays by five main principals and one at each end against the wall resting on 18th-century stone corbels. The raising of the nave walls shows internally, more especially on the south side, over the arcade where the two new courses of gritstone come just above the arches, and part of the line of the old roof shows on the east side of the tower. At the west end of the nave, as well as from the outside, part of the south-east buttress of the tower can be seen, but it has been cut away when the west wall of the aisle was built. On the north side of the tower outside the lower slope of the old roof was originally behind the north-east buttress, but when the wall was raised and the new roof erected the buttress, which also formed the west wall of the nave north of the tower, was left unaltered, the result being that the new roof showed awkwardly above the slope of the second stage, and so remains. The aisle has two windows on the south side with three uncusped pointed lights under a four-centred head, without hood moulds, and a similar window at the west end. The roof is plastered between the spans, and the principal rafters like those of the nave have been recased. The porch has an outer four-centred low arch springing from moulded imposts, and a gable over with flat coping and a small niche. The apex has a ball ornament but the ends classic urns. The roof has overhanging eaves and the side walls, which are without windows, have stone scats. The inner doorway is pointed with continuous double-sunk chamfered jambs and head. The door is modern.


Plan of Eccleston Church

The tower is of two stages with diagonal buttresses, the lower part being quite plain on the north and south sides. The west window is modern of two lights, replacing, as already stated, a former door, and the tower arch, which is filled with a glazed screen, is, like that of the chancel, a sharply-pointed one of two chamfered orders running down the jambs to the ground. The upper or belfry stage sets back about a foot and has a pointed window with external hood mould of two trefoiled lights and quatrefoil above on each face. The walls terminate in a string course and straight parapet with square angle pinnacles formerly surmounted by urns and cock vanes. There were originally also intermediate ornaments on each side, but only that on the north remains, the others lying broken on the roof. On the south side of the parapet is the date 1733, the year of its erection. There is a clock (fn. 20) on the west side and it also has a face on the inside to the nave. (fn. 21) There is no staircase in the tower, the upper floor being reached only by a ladder. The roof was newly leaded in 1884.

The font is octagonal, at the west end of the aisle, and is probably of late 15th or early 16th-century date, its sides being panelled and carved with the emblems of the Passion and the Stanley badge (eagle's claw) and legs of Man. Preserved in the chancel is a circular block of stone now in two pieces, 18 in. in diameter and 13 in. deep, ornamented with the cable moulding and with a small hole through the centre, which may be part of an ancient font.

On the south side of the chancel is a late 15thcentury altar tomb, the sides divided into three panels with trefoiled heads, on which is a small brass representing a priest in cassock, surplice and cope. The only part of the marginal inscription remaining is '. . . alis anno,' and whom the figure represents is not known. (fn. 22)

A number of carved panels from the old 17thcentury oak seats have been preserved and are introduced into the modern seating, with the coats of arms, crests and initials of the families of Wrightington, Mawdesley, Rigbye, Rector Pickering and others, two of which bear the dates 1634 and 1638. A carved inscription from the churchwardens' pew dated 1693, with the names of the wardens, has also been preserved.

No ancient glass remains with the exception of two diamond quarries now in the vestry which have the Stanley badge (eagle's claw). Below the altar is an inscribed stone to the memory of 'Richarde Radclyffe whoe was a paynefull & profitable teacher att Heskin schole xi years.' He died in 1623. The stone was probably placed in its present position at one of the restorations.

The chancel contains mural monuments to Anne Rigbye of Harrock (d. 1716); Thomas Crisp of Parbold (d. 1758), M.P. for Ilcester, Somerset, 'during one of the Parliaments of the late reign'; and to three former rectors, John Douglas (d. 1766), Thomas Whitehead (d. 1812), and William Yates (d. 1851). In the south aisle are tablets to Edmund Newman Kershaw of Heskin Hall (d. 1810) and to the Rev. Rigbye Rigbye of Harrock Hall (d. 1827). On the north wall of the nave is a small brass to the memory of William Dicconson 'sometime stewarde over that most honorable householde of the highe and mightie Princes Anne Duches of Somerset, 1604,' and on the east wall north and south of the chancel arch are marble tablets to Meliora wife of William Dicconson of Wrightington (d. 1794) and Mary Dicconson of Wrightington (d. 1746). There is also a monument on the north wall of the nave erected in 1845 to members of the Hawkshead family which came to Eccleston parish in 1737.

There is a ring of six bells, four (fn. 23) cast by Abraham Rudhall in 1727, the fifth dated 1802 with the name of Wm. Breres, churchwarden and initials RB. W. The sixth bell was given in 1888 in memory of William Hawkshead Talbot by his widow and is by Taylor of Loughborough.

The plate consists of a chalice and paten of 1633, the chalice inscribed 'This Cupe and cover Douth beelonge to the Parish Church of Eckelston in Lankicshire,' with the maker's mark [I-B]; a chalice of 1661, inscribed 'This Cupp and Cover (fn. 24) Belongs to the Parish Church of Eccleston in Lancashire,' with maker's mark, PP within a heart; a large 17thcentury paten, made at Norwich, with a maker's mark which occurs elsewhere in 1661, and engraved with the arms of Ward; a flagon of 1779–80, 'The Gift of Eleanor Rigbye the daughter of Nicholas Rigbye Esqre of Harrock To the Parish Church of Eccleston 1780,' with the maker's mark H B; and an almsdish of 1781 'The Gift of Eleanor Rigbye of Harrock 1781,' with the same mark.

The registers begin in 1603. The first volume (1603–94) has been printed by the Lancashire Parish Register Society. (fn. 25)

The churchwardens' accounts begin in 1712. The first volume, which ends in 1800, contains many entries of great interest referring to the 18th-century restoration, and there are frequent payments for foxheads, magpies, jays and hedgehogs.

The churchyard is of irregular shape, and lay formerly principally on the north and south sides, the wall on the west side being only about 16 ft. from the tower. It was approached from the south by a field path (fn. 26) from the village green, which is still used, but since its extension westward in 1891–2 to the high road and the erection of a lych-gate the principal approach to the church is now from that side. The plan of 1716 shows a cross or sundial with stepped base about 12 ft. from the south aisle wall nearly opposite the priest's door, but this has now disappeared. There is, however, a slab with incised calvary cross and sword on the south side of the building, and at the east end a 16th-century slab 9 in. thick with two incised figures and marginal inscription to the memory of William Stopford (d. 1584). The inscription is nearly illegible, and the slab was re-used and relettered in 1812.

Advowson

A moiety of the church was in 1094 granted by Roger of Poitou to the abbey of St. Martin of Sées, (fn. 27) and the other moiety was about 1240 given to Lancaster Priory, (fn. 28) so that in times of peace the Priors of Lancaster presented to the whole. During the long-continued wars with France, however, the kings were accustomed to seize the temporalities of alien monasteries, and thus it often happened that the rectors of Eccleston were presented by the Crown. (fn. 29) At length the forfeiture seems to have been considered absolute, and the king, about 1430, granted the advowson to Sir Thomas Stanley, (fn. 30) whose successors, the Earls of Derby, continued to present until 1596, when Thomas Lathom of Parbold purchased the patronage from William, sixth earl. (fn. 31) The Lathoms held it for about a century, (fn. 32) and it has since been sold several times. The present patron is the rector, in succession to his father, William Bretherton of Runshaw.

The value of the rectory in 1291 was £12. (fn. 33) The ninth of sheaves, wool, &c., in 1341 was worth 13 marks, the diminution of 5 marks being accounted for by the altarage. (fn. 34) By 1534 the income of the rector had, as was estimated, risen to the clear value of £28 16s. (fn. 35) The Parliamentary surveyors of 1650 valued the parsonage house, glebe and mill at £30 a year and the tithes at £140, but out of this the rector paid £50 to the curate at Douglas Chapel. (fn. 36) By 1720 the value had risen to £260, (fn. 37) and it is now given as £835. (fn. 38)

The following have been rectors:—

InstitutedNamePatronCause of Vacancy
c. 1260John de Attilgre (fn. 39) Lancaster Priory
oc. 1292Mr. Richard (fn. 40)
16 May 1299Mr. William de Lancaster (fn. 41) Lancaster Priory
5 Mar. 1310–11Mr. Ralph de Tunstall (fn. 42) "res. W. de Lancaster
22 Oct. 1319Richard de Wamberge (fn. 43) "
22 July 1320Nicholas de Sheppey (fn. 44) "res. R. de Wamberge
28 May 1321John de Ellerker (fn. 45) "res. N. de Sheppey
27 June 1322John Travers (fn. 46) "res. J. de Ellerker
31 Dec. 1334Peter Giles (fn. 47) "d. J. Travers
8 Oct. 1337Henry de Haydock (fn. 48) The Kingd. P. Giles
13 Dec. 1369William de Hexham (fn. 49) "d. H. de Haydock
3 Aug. 1399Thomas de Langton (fn. 50) The King
25 Apr. 1400
14 June 1401Roger Tidiman (fn. 51) Lancaster Prioryd. T. de Langton
31 Aug. 1403John Thoralby (fn. 52) The Kingres. R. Tidiman
19 May 1404
23 Apr. 1408George Radcliffe (fn. 53) "res. J. Thoralby
22 June 1430John Mapleton (fn. 54) "d. W. Radcliffe
Aug. 1430Hugh Huyton (fn. 55) Sir T. Stanley
4 May 1463Edward Mascy (fn. 56) Lord Stanleyres. Hugh Huyton
28 Mar. 1467Mr. Roger Standish (fn. 57) "d. E. Mascy
6 July 1478Gilbert Shirlacres (fn. 58) "d. R. Standish
10 Feb. 1481–2James Stanley, jun. (fn. 59) "res. G. Shirlacres
12 Aug. 1485Ralph Blacklache (fn. 60) "res. J. Stanley
Aug. 1493William Wall (fn. 61) Earl of Derbycess. of last incumb.
10 Apr. 1511Peter Bradshaw, D. Decr. (fn. 62) "d. W. Wall
19 May 1541Richard Layton, LL.D. (fn. 63) Bishop of Durham, &c.d. P. Bradshaw
10 July 1544John Moody (fn. 64) Earl of Derbyd. R. Layton
1562–3Gilbert Towneley (fn. 65) d. J. Moody
15 June 1601Adam Rigby, M.A. (fn. 66) Richard Lathomd. G. Towneley
21 Nov. 1627Edward Brouncker, D.D. (fn. 67) The Kingd. A. Rigby
6 Feb. 1628–9Richard Parr, D.D. (fn. 68) "res. E. Brouncker
1644Edward Gee (fn. 69)
23 Nov. 1648
6 Sept. 1660.Thomas Mallory, D.D. (fn. 70) The Kingd. E. Gee
3 Jan. 1671–2Robert Pickering, M.A. (fn. 71) John Crispd. T. Mallory
19 Apr. 1704James Egerton, B.C.L. (fn. 72) William Lathomd. R. Pickering
23 Nov. 1706John Mercer, M.A. (fn. 73) "res. J. Egerton
30 Dec. 1736John PearsonThomas Mercerd. J. Mercer
17 Mar. 1740–1John Douglas, M.A. (fn. 74) John Douglasres. J. Pearson
11 June 1766Thomas Walker (fn. 75) Martha Horncastled. J. Douglas
19 June 1770Thomas Whitehead, M.A. (fn. 76) Ric. Whiteheadres. T. Walker
17 June 1812William Yates, M.A. (fn. 77) William Yatesd. T. Whitehead
1854John Sparling, M.A. (fn. 78) W. C. Yatesd. W. Yates
1883Humphrey William Bretherton, M.A. (fn. 79) Wm. Brethertonres. J. Sparling

The rapid succession of incumbents at several periods is a noteworthy feature. In many cases the rectory appears to have been held as a stepping-stone to further promotion, and often with other benefices. The most noteworthy names among the pre-Reformation clergy are those of Travers and Mapleton; Dr. Layton points an aspect of the transition period, and among the later rectors Bishop Parr and Edward Gee are most prominent, the last-named, a Puritan of good type, being the only one of those mentioned who was intimately associated with the parish.

Before the Reformation, in addition to the rector, perhaps non-resident, the curate and the chantry priests at Eccleston and Parbold, there seem to have been one or two other resident clergy. The list of 1541 records no one but the curate. (fn. 80) The visitation lists of 1548 and 1554 show five or six names, but those from 1562 to 1565 contain none but those of the rector and his curate, William Brindle. (fn. 81) This was probably considered a sufficient staff under the new conditions, services at Douglas Chapel being neglected for a time, (fn. 82) and even in the Commonwealth period the rector and the curate of Douglas seem to have been the only ministers. (fn. 83)

There was a chantry at the altar of our Lady in the parish church, founded by the Earl of Derby and William Wall, rector from 1493 to 1511. Lawrence Halliwell was the cantarist in 1535 and at the confiscation in 1548, being at the latter date eighty years of age; probably therefore he had been the sole chaplain of the foundation. (fn. 84)

Charities

The parish has a share amounting to £313 a year in the charity founded by Peter Lathom in 1700. (fn. 85) The money in the townships of Eccleston and Heskin is distributed principally in money and school prizes, in Parbold chiefly in clothing and coal, and in Wrightington chiefly in clothing, under a scheme of the Charity Commissioners made in 1879, allowing great latitude in the application. (fn. 86) Adam Rigby, rector from 1601 to 1627, charged Bradley Hall and other lands with £20 a year for the use of 'the most religious, painful and honest poor inhabitants' of the parish, half the amount to be spent on 'grey coats or gowns,' and half on a Sunday distribution of bread. The rent-charge is still operative, and the distribution made according to the founder's wishes; but, while the cloth gift is shared by all the townships of the ancient parish, the bread is practically restricted to Eccleston and Heskin, the distribution being still made only in the porch of the parish church. (fn. 87)

Apart from these gifts, and some for educational or ecclesiastical purposes, there are few charitable endowments. The township of Eccleston has a small sum for clothing (fn. 88) ; the poor's stock of Heskin producing over £12 a year is applied to the apprenticing and advancement of children (fn. 89) ; Parbold has £2 18s. 8d. a year, derived from ancient gifts, and spent every two years in gifts of calico to poor persons (fn. 90) ; Wrightington has £1 a year distributed in money gifts at irregular intervals. (fn. 91)

Footnotes

1 Gregson, Fragments (ed. Harland), 19. Eccleston with Heskin paid £1 8s., Wrightington £1 12s. 8d. and Parbold 13s.
2 Ibid. 22. The parish was divided into two 'quarters,' each paying equally, viz.: (1) Eccleston and Heskin; (2) Wrightington and Parbold.
3 In 1324 the three weeks court of the wapentake was held at the Cross Green in Eccleston; Dods. MSS. cxxxi, fol. 44. The 'wapentake court of Eccleston' is mentioned in 1288; Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 270.
4 Subs. R. Lancs. bdle. 130, no. 86.
5 Baines, Lancs. (ed. 1836), iii, 477.
6 Ibid. 482.
7 Statistics from Bd. of Agric. (1905).
8 John Finch was a yeoman of Eccleston, perhaps of the Wrightington family. Renouncing the established religion and becoming a fervent Roman Catholic, he assisted the missionary priests in Lancashire. He was betrayed in 1581 and imprisoned at Salford. After three years he was brought to trial and executed as a traitor in 1584, his crime being that he affirmed that 'the Pope hath power or jurisdiction in the kingdom of England, and that he is the head of the Catholic Church, of which church some part is in this kingdom.' The first step in the cause of his beatification was allowed at Rome in 1886. See Challoner, Missionary Priests, no. 27; Gillow, Bibl. Dict, of Engl. Catholics, ii, 257; Engl. Martyrs (Cath. Rec. Soc.), i, 44–6, 78–88.
9 Land in Deepclough in Wrightington was in 1344 given to God and B. Mary and the rector of Eccleston; Kuerden MSS. iii, E 4, no. 17.
10 Glynne (Churches of Lancs. 67) mentions a 'decorated window' on the north side of the chancel in 1859. The present modern window is probably a reproduction of this. Over the first arch from the west of the nave arcade is a sculptured stone with a man's head which may have belonged to the 12th-century church.
11 Drawn by Henry Sephton to indicate the position of the graves.
12 The plan, however, shows a bone house on the north side of the tower.
13 In November 1723 it was agreed upon to raise £80 for further repairs, £30 in 1724–5, £40 in 1726, £100 in 1727 when the bells were ordered to be recast, £30 in 1728, and the same amount in 1730 and 1733.
14 Baines, Lancs. (ed. 1836), iii, 473.
15 A brass plate in the chancel records this.
16 Baines, Lancs. (ed. Croston), iv, 192.
17 The old east window had 'unfoiled monials simply interlacing'; Glynne, Churches of Lancs. 67.
18 There is a shuttle cut on the exterior of the wall near the priest's door.
19 It reads 'Anno Dni 1534.' The letters are in Gothic characters but the figures very good specimens of the Arabic numerals of the time.
20 The present clock was given in 1898, replacing an older one.
21 In 1723 an item in the churchwardens' accounts reads 'making a new fingerboard for within the church.'
22 The brass, which is 2 ft. long, is illustrated in Thornely's Monumental Brasses of Lancs. and Ches. (1893), 57.
23 They have the following inscriptions: (1) 'Prosperity to this parish, 1727.' (2) 'Prosperity to the Church of England, 1727.' (3) 'Ab. Rudhall cast us all 1727, recast 1737.' (4) 'I to the church the living call and to the grave do summon all, 1727.'
24 The paten is missing.
25 Vol. xv, 1903. Transcribed by Josiah Arrowsmith.
26 There are payments in 1733 for a new paved 'cawsey' in the church fields.
27 Lanc. Ch. (Chet. Soc.), i, 11. It was confirmed about 1190 by John Count of Mortain; ibid. 13. Though it is called a 'church' at this time, it is later spoken of as a 'chapel,' and in 1317 the rector of Croston endeavoured to establish his right to it, as a chapel depending on his church; his claim was decisively rejected; ibid. ii, 441.
28 Ibid. i, 22; Warine de Walton of Ulnes Walton released all his right in Eccleston Church to Sées and Lancaster. A little later Roger Gernet released his claim also; ibid. 28. They were the lords of the moieties of the manor. These charters probably followed the prior's recovery of the presentation to the moiety of the 'chapel' of Eccleston against Roger Gernet and Warine de Walton in 1237; Close, 49 (21 Hen. III), m. 2.
In 1268, when the church was vacant, the Prior of Lancaster claimed the patronage, of which Benedict Gernet and Edelina Duce endeavoured to deprive him. The prior showed that his predecessor had presented one John de Attilgre, who had been duly instituted and had died in possession. The prior's claim was thereupon admitted; Lanc. Ch. i, 26.
29 This will be seen from the list of rectors.
The royal usurpation was not always submitted to without a struggle, and it is on record that John Thoralby, presented in 1403, was long harassed by appeals, &c.; Pal. of Lanc. Misc. 1/9, m. 49.
30 The priory of Lancaster and its possessions were granted by Henry V to his new monastery of Syon (see Parl. R. v, 553), and the Abbess of Syon in the time of Edward IV attempted to recover the advowson of Eccleston, but Thomas Lord Stanley proved that his father and he had presented the last two rectors; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 26, m. 16; 29, m. 11; 32, m. 21 d.; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxvii, App. 178. A pension of 20s. was afterwards paid to the monastery.
31 Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 58, m. 112.
32 In 1704 the advowson was adjudged to William Lathom against Isabel Crispe of Parbold, widow; Gastrell, Notitia Cestr. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 372.
From a paper in the diocesan registry it appears that James Egerton, LL.B., was presented by William Lathom and Benjamin Edmundson by Isabel Crispe, widow.
33 Pope Nich. Tax. (Rec. Com.), 249. Nothing is said as to any pension to the priory of Lancaster, but it appears that 20s. a year was paid; Lanc. Ch. ii, 446; De Banco R. 283, m. 435 d.
34 Inq. Nonarum (Rec. Com.), 40. Eccleston township contributed £3 9s. 4d., Parbold £1 10s. 8d., and Wrightington £3 13s. 4d.
35 Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v, 231. The glebe lands were valued at 30s. a year; tithes, £23 16s. 8d.; oblations, Easter roll, &c., £8. The outgoings were a rent resolute of 14s. 8d. for the lands, £1 to Syon Abbey, £2 to the bailiff, and 16s. to the Archdeacon of Chester.
36 Commonw. Ch. Surv. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 115.
37 Gastrell, op. cit. ii, 371. The churchwardens served one for Eccleston and Heskin, reckoned as one moiety of the parish, and the other for Wrightington and Parbold, the other moiety.
38 Manch. Disc. Dir.
39 Lanc. Ch. i, 26; he was dead in 1268.
40 He claimed a debt of £6 10s. against the Prior of Burscough; Assize R. 408, m. 15 d.
41 Lich. Epis. Reg. i, fol. 2b. In the following November he had leave to attend the schools for a year (ibid. fol. 4b), and at the succeeding Trinity ordination (1300) was made deacon; ibid. fol. 92b. In Oct. 1298 the bishop granted the custody of the church to a William de Caton until the next ordination; ibid. fol. 1.
William de Lancaster was afterwards rector of Croston.
42 Ibid. fol. 59; he was then an acolyte, and in 1314 had leave to study for a year; ibid. fol. 61. He became rector of Croston in 1318. A list of the rectors of Eccleston from Tunstall to Mascy is in Exch. Q. R. Eccl. Doc. 1/37 (4/28).
43 Lich. Epis. Reg. i, fol. 86b; he was a priest. The church had been vacant for nearly a year. He was rector of Croston from 1334 till his death in 1344.
44 Ibid. fol. 87; a priest. He exchanged with his successor for Rolleston.
45 Ibid. fol. 88; a subdeacon. He was presented to Broughton Astley in 1322, having exchanged with John Travers; ibid. iii, fol. 3, 3b.
Ellerker seems afterwards to have been canon of York and Dublin and Archdeacon of Cleveland; Le Neve, Fasti, iii, 176, 146.
46 Lich. Epis. Reg. ii, fol. 98; a priest. A month previously the bishop directed the Archdeacon of Chester to inquire as to the vacancy, 'John called Travers' having been presented; ibid. fol. 4.
The new rector was a royal official, being at one time constable of Bordeaux. He died in debt to the king, and as late as 1346 debts due to him as rector were claimed in satisfaction; Memo. R. (L.T.R.), 111, m. 133d. He occurs frequently in Cal. Pat.
47 Lich. Epis. Reg. ii, fol. 110; a priest.
48 Ibid. fol. 111b; an acolyte. The king presented, the temporalities of the Abbot of Sées being in his hands; see also Cal. Pat. 1334–8, p. 522.
In 1342 Henry de Haydock had a dispute with the lords of the manor— Margaret widow of Randle de Dacre, William de Walton, John de Croft and Emma his wife—about certain trees which he had cut down for the repair of the chancel; De Banco R. 332, m. 261. Two years later he procured licence for the alienation of a number of small plots of land in mortmain; Cal. Pat. 1343–5, p. 306.
Henry had a brother Edmund and a sister Margery (wife of Nicholas de Holden of Simonstone); Add. MS. 32104, no. 876. In 1361 the bishop granted Henry de Haydock licence for an oratory within his rectory; Lich. Epis. Reg. v, fol. 4b.
49 Ibid. iv, fol. 86; tonsured only. The year given is taken from the Exchequer list above referred to; that in the bishop's register is 1371, but must be an error, as William de Hexham, rector of Eccleston, was ordained subdeacon in Oct. 1371 and priest the following year; ibid. v, fol. 101b, 102b. The king presented on account of the war with France.
In 1371 the pope rehabilitated William de Hexham, clerk of the diocese of York, who, being the son of a priest, had without the necessary dispensation been instituted to the church of Eccleston vacant by the death of Henry de Haydock; Cal. Papal Letters, iii, 162. He was ordered to resign the church, but must have found means to retain it, perhaps being instituted a second time. Hexham was still rector in 1392; B.M. Add. Chart. 20511.
50 He was instituted twice, on the presentation of Richard II and then of Henry IV, being only an acolyte; Lich. Epis. Reg. vii, fol. 86. See Cal. Pat. 1400–1, p. 254; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xl, App. 529. The presentation may not have taken full effect, as he is not named in the Exchequer list above quoted.
51 Lich. Epis. Reg. vii, fol. 88b; a priest. This was the last presentation by Lancaster Priory, and the king seems to have presented William de Langton the younger; Cal. Pat. 1400–1, p. 445.
52 Lich. Epis. Reg. vii, fol. 91; a clerk. The king presented 'on account of the war with France'; the second institution may have been necessary through the opposition previously referred to. John Thoralby had been presented to Eastwood in 1399; Cal. Pat. 1400–1, p. 193.
53 Lich. Epis. Reg. vii, fol. 96b; Lanc. Ch. ii, 528. Perhaps the same who was afterwards rector of Winwick and Archdeacon of Chester.
54 Lich. Epis. Reg. ix, fol. 120b; he was a priest and master of the chancery of our lord the king. Nothing is known of the William Radcliffe named as his predecessor, so that the registrar may have made a mistake in the Christian name.
Mapleton died in 1432 holding a canonry at Hereford; Le Neve, Fasti, i, 534.
55 He was rector as early as 10 Hen. VI; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxiii, App. 33. That he was presented by Sir Thomas Stanley is known by the plea above referred to; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 32, m. 21 d.
In 1432 or later he petitioned the Bishop of Bath and Wells, Chancellor of England, for protection against the malice of William de Coppull; Early Chan. Proc. bdle. 10, no. 272.
56 Lich. Epis. Reg. xii, fol. 101; a priest.
57 Ibid. fol. 103b; a priest. He was also rector of Standish.
58 Ibid. fol. 112b.
59 Ibid. fol. 113; a clerk. He was promoted to the wardenship of Manchester and the rectory of Walton-on-the-Hill in 1485, and was afterwards Bishop of Ely.
60 Ibid. fol. 120; a priest.
61 Ibid. xiii, fol. 157b; a priest. The reason of the vacancy was the 'cession or dismissal of the last incumbent,' whose name is not recorded. William Wall was also rector of Davenham in Cheshire from 1486 till his death in 1511; Ormerod, Ches. (ed. Helsby), iii, 241. He was the farmer of Leyland in 1502; Duchy Plead. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 16. The name is also given as Waller and Wallis; ibid. 54.
62 Lich. Epis. Reg. xiii–xiv, fol. 57. He became rector of Standish also (q.v.). In 1529 a caveat was sent to the Bishop of Lichfield informing him that the Earl of Derby had given the next presentation to Henry Halshaw and others; ibid. fol. 65. For a complaint by his executors see Duchy Plead. ii, 159. In 1534 he was willing to resign Eccleston to a kinsman, William Farington; L. and P. Hen. VIII, vii, 852.
63 Lich. Epis. Reg. xiii–xiv, fol. 38b; the patrons were Cuthbert Bishop of Durham, Thomas Layton and Robert Johnson (notary), assignees of Stephen Bishop of Winchester by reason of a grant from the Earl of Derby to the said Stephen, George Bramley and William Bulkeley. Firstfruits were paid 15 May 1541; Lancs. and Ches. Rec. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 407.
The new rector was one of the most active officials of the time, having the chief share in all the dirty work preliminary to the suppression of the monasteries, and dying in 1544 while on an embassy in Flanders. He held numerous benefices, being Dean and Canon of York, &c. See Dict. Nat. Biog.; Gasquet, Hen. VIII and the Monasteries, i, 437, &c.
From this time there are full accounts of the rectors in Croston's edition of Baines' Lancs. iv, 193; they have been availed of in the following notes.
64 Act Bks. at Chester Dioc. Reg. First-fruits paid 2 July 1544. He refused to appear at the visitation of 1559 (Gee, Elizabethan Clergy), but seems to have been present in 1562, in which year he died, being buried at Ormskirk 16 Oct.
65 First-fruits paid 23 Mar. 1562–3. He was 'no preacher' and non-resident in 1590; S. P. Dom. Eliz. xxxi, no. 47.
66 Act Bks. at Chester. First-fruits paid 26 June 1601. He was described as 'a preacher'; Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 11. He was buried at Eccleston 18 Oct. 1627. See the account of Bradley Hall.
67 Act Bks. at Chester. First-fruits paid 29 Apr. 1628. The king presented, as Richard Lathom, his ward, was a minor. Robert Fogg had been presented by the king, but was not admitted (see the account of Hoole). The dates of institution are taken from those in the Institution books, P.R.O., as printed in Lancs. and Ches. Antiq. Notes.
Edward Brouncker was educated at St. Edmund Hall, Oxf., and elected fellow of Wadham; M.A. 1609, D.D. 1620. He became rector of Ladbroke in 1629 by exchange with Richard Parr; Foster, Alumni Oxon.
68 Act Bks. at Chester. First-fruits paid 29 Apr. 1629. Educated at Brasenose Coll., Oxf., of which he became fellow; M.A. 1616, B.D. 1624; Foster, Alumni. In 1635 he was made Bishop of Sodor and Man, but continued to hold Eccleston till his death in 1643. By Fuller he is reckoned among the 'worthies' of Lancashire. There is a notice of him in Dict. Nat. Biog.
69 First-fruits paid 23 Nov. 1648. In May 1644 Thomas Cordell, B.D., was instituted to the rectory on the king's presentation; Act Bks. at Chester. In August the Bishop of Chester was warned by a caveat not to admit anyone to the rectory unless nominated by Cordell. Nevertheless his right appears to have been declared void. Gee, who was educated at Brasenose Coll., Oxf. (M.A. 1636), was 'minister of Eccleston' as early as 1640 (Reg.), and was presented to the rectory in or about 1643 by Lord Saye, in right of Richard Lathom, a minor. Lord Saye allowed the people a choice, and thus Gee was nominated; Local Gleanings Lancs. and Cbes. ii, 275. He took a leading part among the Presbyterians of the county and signed the 'Harmonious Consent' of 1648 as 'minister of the Gospel at Eccleston.' In 1650 he was commended as 'an orthodox godly preaching minister'; Commonw. Ch. Surv. 116. He wrote a Treatise of Prayer and the Divine Right of Civil Magistrates. He died in 1660, being buried at Eccleston on 29 May. There are notices of him in Dict. Nat. Biog. and Athenae Oxon.
70 His presentation is in Pat. 12 Chas. II, pt. iii, no. 53. He was educated at New Coll., Oxf.; D.D. 1660. He was rector of Northenden but expelled by the Parliament, and on the Restoration regained it, as also Eccleston and a stall at Chester; Earwaker, East Ches. i, 293–5. He was buried at Eccleston 8 Sept. 1671. He also has a notice in Dict. Nat. Biog.
71 Act Bks. at Chester. Educated at St. John's and Caius Colls., Camb.; M.A. 1671. He was also rector of Croston from 1690, being temporarily deprived for simony. He died in 1703; Ormerod, op. cit. i, 749.
72 Educated at Brasenose Coll., Oxf.; B.C.L. 1698; Foster, Alumni.
73 Chester Visit. Bk. 1709. John Mercer was married in 1708 at Waltonle-Dale to Mary Hodgkinson of Preston; Parish Reg. He was a Chester man, educated at Brasenose Coll., Oxf.; M.A. 1704; Foster, op. cit.
74 He was buried at Eccleston 4 Mar. 1766. A John Douglas was educated at Trinity Coll., Camb.; M.A. 1740.
75 He resigned to be curate of Douglas.
76 Son of the patron; educated at Manchester School and Peterhouse, Camb., of which he became fellow; M.A. 1773.
77 Son of the patron, who had purchased the advowson from the preceding rector. William Yates was educated at Brasenose, Coll. Oxf.; M.A. 1805; Foster, Alumni.
From returns made to the Bishop of Chester in 1821 it appears that there were services on Sunday morning and afternoon with sermon at each; the sacrament was administered eight times a year; the rector resided and had a curate. There were three surplices, six bells, and plate—two flagons, two cups and covers and two plates of silver. The tithes were due in kind. The rector was then the patron.
78 Educated at Oriel Coll., Oxf.; M.A. 1841.
79 Educated at Trinity Coll., Camb.; M.A. 1883.
80 Clergy List (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 17.
81 Visit. lists at Chester Dioc. Reg.
82 Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 11.
83 Commonw. Church Survey, 116–17.
84 Valor Eccl. v, 231; Raines, Chantries, i, 156–8. It was endowed with lands in Freckleton, Wrightington and Welch Whittle, the rental being 79s. 3d. in 1548. There was no plate.
The chantry lands were in 1548 leased to Thomas Fleetwood for twenty-one years, a dispute with the chantry priest following; Duchy Plead. iii, 69. The lands were in 1558 given by Queen Mary to her refounded hospital of the Savoy; Duchy of Lanc. Misc. Bks. xxiii, 168.
85 The last official inquiry was made in 1899; the report published the same year includes a reprint of that of 1826.
86 For Lathom's charity see the account of Croston. The distribution in Eccleston township in 1897 was as follows: School prizes, £11 5s.; children's penny bank, £3 10s.; clothing club, £7 15s. 5d.; medical attendance and other gifts to the ailing, £18 10s.; spectacles, 30s. 6d.; boots and blankets, 35s.; money (in gifts of 10s., £1 and £2), £34. The total was £78 5s. 11d.
87 The cloth is divided into twenty portions, allotted thus: to Eccleston and Wrightington seven each, and to Heskin and Parbold three each. It is 'the prevailing practice to send children to receive the bread.'
88 Hugh Dicconson in 1683 left £50 for six coats of blue cloth, with H. D. on the sleeve, to be distributed every Michaelmas. The capital is now invested in consols in the name of the official trustees and the income is spent on blue linsey cloth given to five poor women.
89 The stock of about £30 arose from a number of small donations from 1691 onwards. There is now invested in consols £49 17s. 3d., the interest being allowed to accumulate; two cottages yield a gross rent of £11, spent from time to time in apprenticing children, but the demand is infrequent.
90 The stock consisted of two sums of £10 each from Thomas Lathom and James Bradshaw and £100 from Jonathan Gillibrand—the last-named sum for linen and woollen cloth. By the failure of a trustee nearly a century ago the capital was much reduced and is now represented by £107 consols.
91 Nicholas Hawet in 1772 left £40 for the poor, and so founded this charity.