Penwortham, Lancashire GenealogyEdit This Page
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PENWORTHAM (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Preston, hundred of Leyland, N. division of Lancashire; containing, with the chapelry of Longton, and the townships of Farington, Howick, and Hutton, 5498 inhabitants, of whom 1372 are in Penwortham township, 1¾ mile (S. W.) from Preston. William the Conqueror bestowed this place on Roger de Busli, joint lord of the hundred of Blackburn; and it is highly probable that the castle of Penwortham was one of the baronial residences of this favourite of his sovereign. Warin Bussel, supposed to have been the son of Roger de Busli, was his successor, and ranks as the first baron of Penwortham. He was a considerable benefactor to the abbey of Evesham, on which he conferred the churches of Penwortham, Meols, and Leyland, and the town of Farington. Hugh Bussel, the fourth baron, was involved in litigation with John, Earl of Morton, afterwards King John, respecting his inheritance, which he finally lost by some real or pretended defect in his title; and in the 7th of John the barony was assigned to Roger de Lacy, constable of Chester, for 310 marks of silver. It is recorded that Ranulph, surnamed de Blundeville, earl of Chester and baron of Lancaster, after he had received confirmation from Henry III. of the lands between the Ribble and the Mersey, held his court at Penwortham Castle. From the earls of Chester and Lincoln the barony passed by marriage to Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, and eventually became merged in the dukedom of Lancaster. A Benedictine priory was founded here in honour of the Virgin Mary, on the lands granted by Warin Bussel to the abbey of Evesham; and several monks of that establishment were placed in it, whose revenue at the Dissolution was £114. 16. 9.: the site was given in the 34th of Henry VIII. to John Fleetwood, of London. The parish is the most northern of the parishes in Leyland hundred. It is bounded on the north by the Ribble, whose banks consist of highly cultivated grounds, and command a view of the opposite borough of Preston; on the east it is bounded by Walton-le-Dale, in the parish of Blackburn, on the south by Leyland and Hoole parishes, and the western boundary is washed by the Ribble estuary. The area is 7451 acres, and the arable and pasture land are in nearly equal portions. In the township of Penwortham are 2109 acres, of which about one-third are arable, one-sixth pasture, and a small portion wood. One of the heaviest cuttings on the line of the North-Union railway was that made through Penwortham Hill; and the embankment of the Ribble valley here, for the same railway, was also a work of considerable labour. The bridge continuing the line over the Ribble into Preston, is a bold and massive structure, erected at a cost of £45,000: it consists of five semielliptical arches, each of 120 feet span; the piers are 20 feet in thickness, and the way 44 feet above the level of the water, the whole being constructed of gritstone, principally from Longridge quarry. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £106; patron, L. Rawstorne, Esq., who is also impropriator: the tithes of Penwortham township have been commuted for £206. The church stands on an eminence overlooking the valley of the Ribble, and is a small edifice, probably of the 15th century, having a nave, aisle, and chancel, with a tower; the interior is narrow and gloomy, and the seats are quite plain, but over two of the pews are carved canopies. In 1812 a new gallery was erected, and the higher part of the body of the church was fronted, and castellated, in the latest style of pointed architecture. At Farington and Longton are separate incumbencies. In Penwortham is a place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists. A free grammar school was founded at Hutton, in 1552, by Christopher Walton, who endowed it with houses and lands which produced at first only £4 per annum, but now yield an annual income of £850. A valuable charity is administered, in clothes, on St. Thomas' day, to the poor of Penwortham and Howick; the income is now nearly £80 a year, being the rent of two fields in Fishergate, Preston, which until 1846 returned only £26 per annum: a branch railway from the North-Union station in Preston to the river Ribble produced the increase. The trustees of the grammar school have erected schools out of their funds, at Penwortham and Farington, and support the masters of the schools at Howick and Longton. The castle already mentioned has totally disappeared; but its remembrance is preserved in the name of Castle Hill. Numbers of trees are found underneath peat, and along the coast of the Ribble estuary.
From: A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis (1848), pp. 549-555. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=51209 Date accessed: 20 July 2010.
Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the government, from July 1837 to the present day. The civil registration article tells more about these records. There are several Internet sites with name lists or indexes. A popular site is FreeBMD.
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Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by the court with jurisdiction over this parish. Go to Lancashire Probate Records to find the name of the court having primary jurisdiction. Scroll down in the article to the section Court Jurisdictions by Parish.
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