Townships
Skerton

Sponsor

Victoria County History

Publication

Author

William Farrer & J. Brownbill (editors)

Year published

1914

Pages

58-61

Annotate

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

Citation Show another format:

'Townships: Skerton', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 8 (1914), pp. 58-61. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=53263 Date accessed: 23 August 2014.


Highlight

(Min 3 characters)

SKERTON

Schertune, Dom. Bk.; Skerton, 1200; Skereton, 1292. There are eccentric spellings, e.g. Stortun, 1201; Sherton, 1292.

Standing on the north bank of the Lune opposite Lancaster this township has always been closely connected with the town, and part of it has been included in the borough boundaries since 1888, its suburban character being thus recognized. The township proper has an area of 1,316 acres, including 6½ acres of salt marsh; a detached portion lies a mile to the north-west of the main body, adjoining Bare. The population in 1901 was not rendered separately. (fn. 1)

The principal road goes north from the bridge over the Lune towards Bolton and Carnforth, having on the west side Ryelands, the seat of Lord Ashton, and Hammerton further north. Three other roads go west to Morecambe, joining at Cross Hill on the border of Torrisholme. Another road, known as Main Street, goes north near the river bank towards Halton; it is lined by the older and poorer houses. It touches the river-side at the Lune Mill, recently closed. The strip of land along the river bank to the north of the mill has been made into a garden and presented to Lancaster Corporation by Lord Ashton. It is called Lune Park. There is a small cemetery near it. The southern half of the township is low-lying and flat in general, but the northern half, called Beaumont, is more elevated, a height of 200 ft. above sea level being attained at one point. The Lancaster and Kendal Canal winds west and north through the township, and two railways cross each other on the southern boundary—the London and North-Western Company's line going north to Carlisle and the Midland Company's going west to Morecambe and Heysham. Tramway cars also run through Skerton to Morecambe.

As a township Skerton has now ceased to exist. After part had in 1888 been taken into the borough of Lancaster, the remainder, as Skerton, was from 1894 governed by an urban district council, till in 1900 this remaining portion was divided among the adjoining townships. (fn. 2)

There was formerly a race-course near Scale Hall.

The worthies of the township include Sir John Harrison, 1589–1669, (fn. 3) and the Rev. Robert Housman, 1759–1838. The latter was one of the Evangelical or Calvinistic divines of the Church of England in the time of revival, and founded St. Anne's in Lancaster, ministering there till his death. (fn. 4) The Rev. Robert Simpson, incumbent of St. Luke's from 1850 till his death in 1855, published a History of Lancaster in 1852. (fn. 5)


Harrison. Or on a cross azure five pheons of the field.

Manors

In 1066 Earl Tostig held SKERTON as a member of the Halton fee; it was then assessed as six plough-lands. (fn. 6) Afterwards it was retained in demesne by the lords of Lancaster, (fn. 7) but half a plough-land was granted to the reeve to be held by this serjeanty. (fn. 8) The ancient assize rent of the vill for 10 oxgangs of land in bondage seems to have been 7s. 6d. (fn. 9) ; this was increased by 42s. 9d. about 1200. (fn. 10) Skerton contributed to the tallages, (fn. 11) and about 1240–60 the rents and dues received from it amounted to some £20 a year. (fn. 12) The Lune Mill belonged to the lords of Lancaster, and thus ultimately came back to the Crown. (fn. 13) In 1297 there were three free tenants —Lawrence son of Thomas de Lancaster, the Abbot of Furness and Alan de Paries 'for Richard lands.' Thomas Travers and Thomas de Bolron also contributed to the ploughing. In place of the rendering of two cows, called cowmale, the whole vill paid 16s. yearly. (fn. 14) Court Rolls of the halmote for 1324–5 have been published. (fn. 15)

A survey of 1346 also has been preserved. (fn. 16) The water-mill called Lune Mill and the old mill called Brook Mill were worth £12 a year. There were twelve messuages and 10 oxgangs of land held in bondage, each oxgang containing 24 acres of land, 1 1/10 acres of meadow by the perch of 20 ft., and rendering 13s. 4d. yearly. The tenants were bound to harrow, reap and carry the harvest in the demesne, but the services had been commuted for a rent of 6s. 8d. an oxgang. Every other year a due of 16s. called Belton cow was levied, to supply two good cows for the lord's stock; each tenant paid his share. Timber had to be carried for the building and repair of the castle, as well as firewood, victuals and grain for the mill. The tenant himself owed rent to Lune Mill to the thirteenth measure. When elected reeve he was to have nothing for his trouble. At death the second best beast was given as heriot; his widow was to make agreement for his tenement. Three cottagers are named. Among the tenants at will the Abbot of Furness held an acre of meadow beside the Lune where he could dry his nets, paying 3s. 4d. a year. There were 244 acres of land and 15 acres of meadow, each acre paying 17d. rent. William de Bolron ploughed with the lord one day at the winter sowing and another at the Lent sowing, for 60 acres in Bolron, and reaped two days in harvest; but these works were commuted to rents of 8d. and 4d. Others of the tenants in and around Skerton paid small sums in lieu of these ploughing and reaping services. The custom of cowmale (2s. 6d.) was due from Gressingham. The total revenue from Skerton was then £26 5s. 9d. The free tenants were the Abbot of Furness, the Prior of Lancaster, John Lawrence and John de Paries. (fn. 17)

The accounts of the greave of Skerton for the year ending Michaelmas, 1440, show that he received various sums from the outlying parts of the demesne for services due in Skerton, e.g. the 2s. 6d. cowmale from Gressingham, 12d. from John Oxcliffe for the works of reaping the corn, &c., for his tenement in Oxcliffe and the like. The twelve messuages and 10 oxgangs of land in Skerton rendered £6 13s. 4¼d. Other rents and dues brought the total to £9 17s. 3¼d. 'Beltoncough' did not fall due that year. The demesne produced £13 and the Lune Mill £6 13s. 4d. The farmer of the mill, Alexander Radcliffe, was bound to keep it in repair, but was allowed timber free from the forest. Perquisites of the courts amounted to 4s. 3d. The net receipts were £28 4s. 6¼d. (fn. 18)

In 1526 the tenants complained that much greater sums of money were being exacted for their 'oxgang lands' than had ever been paid before. The king's steward at a court held twelve months previously empanelled a lawful inquest of the tenants of the lordship to make inquiry. (fn. 19) A custom of the manor was alleged in 1527. Robert Turner stated that he had purchased from Lord Mounteagle, deceased, and had paid his 'God's penny'; but it was alleged on the other side that Turner was not named as tenant in the Court Roll, and that if a tenant alienated without permission of the lord he forfeited his holding. (fn. 20)

The manor remained in the hands of the Crown till 1630, when it was sold to Charles Harbord and others, (fn. 21) and appears to have been divided among the tenants, who became freeholders. A payment due to the Crown was apportioned to each under the name of 'king's rent.' The owners maintained or revived a court. The 'annual court leet' of the township was held 21 October 1850, and it was announced that a large sum (about £1,200) would be received from the North-Western Railway (now the Midland) for 'waste land' sold for making the line to Morecambe. It was 'unanimously resolved by the landowners present at the court that the money should be devoted to the purpose of introducing gas into the village.' (fn. 22) About 1890 all the waste remaining was sold and the court was dissolved. The manor was not sold. It was decided that those who paid the 'king's rents' were to be considered the lords of the manor, and the funds were divided among them in due proportion. The 'king's rents' have in many cases been redeemed by the owners. (fn. 23)

BEAUMONT may have been part of the Neuhuse of Domesday Book, which was assessed as two ploughlands, (fn. 24) and held in 1066 by Earl Tostig. Warine son of Orm received half a plough-land in this part of Skerton in marriage with Berleta his wife, and they afterwards gave it to Furness Abbey in alms, receiving a small gift and, it was said, the promise of maintenance during life. (fn. 25) The estate of the abbey, which was augmented by other gifts of land in this (fn. 26) and adjacent townships, was regarded as a manor down to the 18th century. The abbey's fishery rights in the Lune pertained to it until 1759, when they were purchased by William Bradshaw of Halton; a rent of £12 was payable to the Duke of Buccleuch. (fn. 27)


Furness Abbey. Sable on a pale argent a crozier of the field.

After the Dissolution Beaumont was retained by the Crown until 1628, when it, together with other estates of the abbey in this district, was sold to Edward Ditchfield and others. (fn. 28) Sir John Harrison later became its owner, (fn. 29) and was followed by the Foster or Buckley family. In 1749 Sir Thomas Bootle of Lathom was enfeoffed of the manor of Beaumont by Thomas Buckley (late Foster) of Rochdale, Thomas Townley and Sarah his wife. (fn. 30) The hall is now owned by Mr. Henry Melville Gaskell of Kiddington, (fn. 31) but nothing is known of any manor.


Gaskell of Kiddington. Barry of six per pale ermine and vert counterchanged, a lion rampant gules between two fleurs de lis in chief and an annulet in base or.

Lancaster Priory (fn. 32) and St. Leonard's Hospital (fn. 33) were other religious houses holding land in Skerton.

SCALE was perhaps the estate in the township held by Thomas Travers in 1324, (fn. 34) which seems to have descended to Lawrence (fn. 35) and Singleton (fn. 36) of Brockholes, but the evidence is not clear. The last-named family owned it about 1600. It was in 1636 sold to the Bradshaws of Preesall and Wrampool, (fn. 37) but being forfeited for treason in the Civil War time was confiscated by the Parliament and sold to Thomas Sclater, M.D. (fn. 38) It seems to have been repurchased or redeemed by the Bradshaws, afterwards of Halton, but has long been owned by the Hornbys of Dalton. (fn. 39) The hall is a farm-house.

Among the owners occurring in the inquisitions and other records are Lawrence of Ashton (fn. 40) and of Yealand, (fn. 41) Cansfield (fn. 42) and Waller. (fn. 43) Robert Carter of Skerton, having refused knighthood, paid £10 in 1631 as composition. (fn. 44) Richard Blackburne in 1633 had to pay £3 6s. 8d. a year in lieu of sequestration for his recusancy. (fn. 45)

About a century ago some of the wealthier families of Lancaster chose Skerton for their residence; some of the houses then built continue in use.

In connexion with the Church of England St. Luke's was built in 1833; the patronage is vested in five trustees.

The Wesleyan Methodists and the Primitive Methodists each have a church.

The Roman Catholic church (fn. 46) of St. Joseph was built in 1900; a small school-chapel had been used from 1896. (fn. 47)

A school was founded in 1767. (fn. 48)

Footnotes

1 The Census Rep. gives 1,493 in Lancaster, 12 in Poulton and 63 in Slyne.
2 The small detached part near Bare was added to Poulton township in 1894; Loc. Govt. Bd. Order 31961. In 1900 the most populous part was added to Lancaster, a small portion (uninhabited) to Heaton, another to Halton, and another part to Slyne in the parish of Bolton; ibid. P 1586.
3 Gregson, Fragments (ed. Harland), 268. He was born in Lancaster and was made a commissioner of the customs, having been one of the first to recommend that mode of managing the revenue. He adhered to the king's side in the Civil War, and suffered greatly in consequence; Cal. Com.for Comp. ii, 1523 (fine £10,745).
4 He was born at Skerton of a local family, and was educated at St. John's Coll., Camb.; B.A. 1784. See Life by Robert Fletcher Housman (with portrait), 1841; and Dict. Nat. Biog.
5 He was born at Derby in 1796, and educated at Queens' Coll., Camb.; M.A. 1822; Time-honoured Lanc. 564.
6 V.C.H. Lancs, i, 288b.
7 In 1094 Count Roger of Poitou granted demesne tithes from Skerton to St. Martin's at Sées; Farrer, Lancs. Pipe R. 290.
8 William de Skerton was reeve in 1201–2, when he paid 3s. to the scutage; ibid. 152. His son Roger held the half plough-land in 1212 by being reeve; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 88. He was succeeded by his son Robert in 1225; ibid. 123–4; Excerpta e Rot. Fin. (Rec. Com.), i, 127. The land escheated to the king before 1246; Assize R. 404, m. 24 d.
William de Skerton made various grants and Roger gave 5 acres to Philip the Clerk at a rent of 5d.; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 88. This piece seems in 1348 to have been held by John Lawrence; Sheriff's Compotus 22 Edw. III.
9 Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 140.
10 Farrer, op. cit. 130,147, &c. Allowance was made for the want of ploughteams in 1200–2 at the rate of 6s. 8d. a team.
11 Ibid. 202; it paid 39s. in 1205–6. Similar contributions in 1226 and later years are recorded in Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 135, 176, &c.
12 In 1246–8 the farm of Skerton, the mill and other issues of the manor for a year and a half was £31 18s. 9½d.; pleas and perquisites of the court came to 18d.; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 169. Accounts for 1256–62 may be seen ibid. 219, 230, &c.
13 The mill of Lune was taken into the king's hands in 1479; Duchy of Lanc. Misc. Bks. xix, 41. In 1484 Lunes Mill was leased to Sir Robert Harrington for ten years and in 1485 to William Moore for seven years; ibid, xx, 85 d.; xxi, A/54.
For a dispute as to the mill in 1664 see Exch. Dep. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), 43.
14 Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 296. The free tenants paid 16s. 11d. The demesne, 121½ acres, was worth £12 1s. 6d.; 8¾ acres meadow, 16s. 1½d. Another part of the demesne adjoining Bare— apparently the detached portion of the township—paid 8s. 5½d. The ploughing customs yielded 6s. 4d. The 10 oxgangs of land held in bondage were each worth 1 mark a year; twelve cottagers paid 15s. 6d. Another rental, of the year 1323, is printed ibid, ii, 128.
15 Lancs. Ct. R. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 89–90.
16 Add. MS. 32103, fol. 151b–2.
In 1400 and 1402 the king granted an annuity of £40 to Thomas Tunstall out of the profits of Overton, Skerton and Slyne; Duchy of Lanc. Misc. Bks. xv, 21 d.; (pt. ii), 12.
17 Survey of 1346 (Chet. Soc), 64, 66, 74.
18 Duchy of Lanc. Mins. Accts. bdle. 100, no. 1790.
19 Duchy of Lanc. Plead. Hen. VIII, iv, S 11.
20 Duchy of Lanc. Dep. Hen. VIII, xix, T 2. References to other tenantright disputes will be found in Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), ii, 114, &c.
21 Pat. 6 Chas. I, pt. x.
22 Newspaper report in Lanc. Fifty Years Ago.
23 Information of Mr. J. E. Oglethorpe.
24 V.C.H. Lancs. i, 279.
25 Add. MS. 33244, fol. 50; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 84–6. This Warine is probably the same who (before 1102) received half a plough-land from Roger of Poitou in Lancaster—afterwards added to the borough—and who became a monk of Furness; ibid. i, 94.
26 Other grants to Furness are recorded in the Chartulary, Add. MS. 33244, fol. 66–8. Robert son of Roger de Skerton gave 4 acres on Langrigg and Capilbreck and land within Borganes and on Birstead; he released the rent of 1 lb. of cummin due. Orm son and heir of Adam de Kellet gave all his land in Skerton, with Robert Sparrow his native, land in Capilbreck and Cokemanlands; a rent of 40d. was to be paid to the chief lord. William son of Geoffrey de Skerton gave a culture in Slynedale (6 acres), extending from the high road from Slyne to Lancaster to the middle of Capilbreck. Roger his son, who confirmed and extended this grant, also gave lands to Walter de Paries and William his son, which William transferred them to Furness Abbey.
An earlier grant than any of these was that of William de Skerton, recorded in 1212; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 88. The rent of 3s. 4d. continued to be paid by the abbot; ibid. 296; ii, 121 (25 acres). The same William granted 40 acres to John de Torrisholme, who was to pay 4s. a year. This was probably given by one of the Parles family to Furness, for the abbot in 1323 paid 4s. rent for a place called Downfald in Beaumont; ibid, i, 88; ii, 121. In 1343 the abbot claimed from John son of Alan de Parles acquittance of the service demanded by the Earl of Lancaster for the abbey's tenement in Skerton; De Banco R. 336, m. 143.
27 Annals of Halton, 11; part of the Lune fishery was purchased from Robert Dalton in 1745, and the rest, together with Skerton Mill, from Thomas Buckley in 1759.
28 Pat. 4 Chas. I, pt. xxxiv; the demesne or manor with appurtenances in Beaumont and Bolton, the site of the grange (in occupation of Thomas Pott), with messuages, lands, &c., in Beaumont, Beaumont Cote, Bolton-le-Sands, Over Kellet, Skerton, Lancaster and Forton; also all the fishery in the Lune (in the occupation of Lord Gerard) lately belonging to Furness Abbey.
The grantees divided the estate among a number of purchasers. Lord Ashton is stated to be the present owner of the fishery.
29 Gregson, Fragments (ed. Harland), 268; Time-honoured Lanc. 258.
30 Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 340, m. 199.
A brass in the parish church commemorates Thomas Foster of Beaumont, who died in 1713, aged sixty-one; Lanc. Ch. iv, 704. He was probably the father of the Thomas Buckley of the fine; Fishwick, Rochdale, 393. Edward F. Buckley was the owner in 1810 and later; C. Clark, Lanc. 118.
31 Beaumont Hall was owned by Henry Gaskell, a solicitor, about 1840, and passed to the late Captain Henry Brooks Gaskell, who died in 1907, father of the present owner. For this and other information about Skerton the editors are indebted to Mr. C. F. Thompson.
32 Lanc. Ch. (Chet. Soc), ii, 263–6; Roger son of William de Skerton in 1204 gave an acre between Harmes and Langrigg, and afterwards with the consent of R. his eldest son gave land by Harehuns. Robert son of Roger de Skerton gave 3 acres in Musforscote by the road to Bare.
In 1323 the Prior of Lancaster paid 21d. a year to the earl for two messuages and 4 acres in Skerton; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, ii, 123.
This estate was afterwards held by Dalton of Thurnham; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xiv, no. 1. In 1587 all or part was sold to Geoffrey Braithwaite; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 49, m. 8.
33 Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 88; William de Skerton gave 6 acres to the lepers of Lancaster. See also ibid, ii, 131.
34 He was allowed to settle lands in Bolton, Bare, Torrisholme and Skerton on his daughter Katherine; Cal. Pat. 1321–4, p. 367; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, ii, 155. In 1297 he had paid 16d. to the ploughing in Skerton; ibid. i, 296. In 1310 he purchased from John Travers a messuage, &c., in Bolton, Slyne and Skerton; Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), ii, 3.
35 The trustees of Edmund Lawrence (who died in 1381—see Ashton) granted to his son John lands in Skerton and Heysham; Duchy of Lanc. Anct. D. (P.R.O.), L 1095. In 1420 the archdeacon of Richmond licensed the oratories of John Lawrence and Margery his wife at Lancaster, Poulton and the Scale; Raines MSS. (Chet. Lib.), xxii, 397.
36 Robert Singleton of Brockholes died in 1525 holding lands in Slyne, Bolton, Hatlex and Torrisholme in socage, also 4 acres in Skerton of the king in socage by a rent of 1s. 4d. yearly; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. vi, no. 64.
Robert's brother was Thomas Singleton of Scale, and his son William, the heir male, died in 1573; in the inquisition it is stated that 'a certain Thomas Singleton and Ellen his wife' were seised of a messuage in 'Scales' and 60 acres of land there, also a messuage in Quernmore, and that Ellen was then (1574) living at Scale. This tenement was held of the queen in chief by the fortieth part of a knight's fee and 6s. rent; ibid. xii, no. 34. William's son and heir was described as 'Thomas Singleton of Scale, esq.,' in 1619; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 148.
37 Mary (? Ellen) Singleton, widow of Thomas, in 1651 petitioned for a third of the small estate left her, which had in 1649 been sequestered for her recusancy only by the Parliamentary authorities. She appears to have had a rent-charge of £14 a year reserved on the sale by her husband (1636) of Scale House and other lands in Torrisholme, Goosnargh, &c., to John Bradshaw, recusant and delinquent; Cal. Com. for Comp, iv, 2695.
John Bradshaw of Scale registered a pedigree in 1665; Dugdale, Visit. (Chet. Soc), 55. Ambrose Bradshaw of Skerton and Jane his wife were in 1678 indicted for recusancy; Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 109.
38 Royalist Comp. Papers, i, 221. Will of Sir Thomas Sclater, dated 1657; he died in 1684; Misc. Gen. et Her. i, 383.
39 See the accounts of Pilling and Dalton. Edmund Hornby purchased lands from Peter Bradshaw of Scale Hall in 1694; Lanc. Corp. D. In 1714 Thomas Tyldesley went to Scale Hall with old Mr. Hornby to look at his new stable; Diary, 145. In 1772 Geoffrey Hornby was vouchee in a recovery of the Scale Hall estate, comprising lands in Skerton, Heaton with Oxcliffe, Poulton, Bare and Torrisholme, Overton, &c., and a fishery in the Lune; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 615, m. 14.
40 This family (see Ashton) sprang from Lawrence son of Thomas de Lancaster, who in 1297 held 30 acres in Skerton by a rent of 6s. 8d.; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 296. He had obtained the same in 1192 from Nicholas Gentyl; Final Conc. i, 175. Nicholas probably held as trustee, for in the same year Lawrence claimed the tenement as heir of his brother John, who had enfeoffed Nicholas; Assize R. 408, m. 9.
John Lawrence held 30 acres by the same rent in 1323; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, ii, 121. John Lawrence in 1346 for the harrowing, reaping, &c., due from 32 acres in Skerton paid 10d. a year to the earl; Add. MS. 32103, fol. 152.
Edmund Lawrence in 1357 made a feoffment of his lands in Skerton, &c.; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 7, m. 4 d. Edmund Lawrence died in 1381 holding of the duke in chief two messuages, 30 acres of land, &c., by a rent of 6s. 8d., and leaving a son and heir Robert; Add. MS. 32104, no. 1113.
Robert Lawrence in 1450 held two messuages, &c., of the king as duke by 1d. rent, and in 1490 Sir James Lawrence held a 'manor' of Skerton by 2d. rent; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 57, 123, 132. Thomas Rigmaiden and Richard Skillicorne seem to have succeeded; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. v, no. 65; vii, no. 3. The former held his lands in Skerton and Silverdale by a rent of 6s.
41 In 1297 Alan de Parles held of the earl certain lands called 'Richard lands' by a rent of 6s. 8d.; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 296.
Lancelot Lawrence of Yealand died in 1534 holding two messuages, &c., in Skerton of the king by knight's service and a rent of 6s. 8d.; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. vi, no. 41. The same service is recorded in later inquisitions of the family.
42 Richard Cansfield's tenure was unknown in 1500; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iii, no. 28.
43 Francis Waller died in 1623 holding a barn and 20 acres called 'William's land' in Skerton of the heirs of Dorothy widow of Edmund Huddleston in socage. His heir was a son Thomas, aged thirty in 1637; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xxix, no. 25.
44 Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 221.
45 Trans. Hist. Soc. (new ser.), xxiv, 178.
46 N. Edmundson of Skerton gave the English Franciscans a house and garden. He was father of Peter Edmundson, a friar of great promise, who died in 1690; Thaddeus, Franciscans in England, 94.
47 Liverpool Cath. Annual.
48 End. Char. Rep. for Lanc. The endowment was a field called Back Longriggs.