Rufford, Lancashire GenealogyEdit This Page
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RUFFORD (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Ormskirk, hundred of Leyland, N. division of Lancashire, 5½ miles (N. E. by N.) from Ormskirk, on the road to Preston; containing 866 inhabitants. A moiety of this manor appears to have been granted in the reign of Henry I., by Richard Bussel, the second baron of Penwortham, to Richard Fitun or Fitton. John Fitton, his great-grandson, was also lord of half of Rufford; and the grandson of the latter, by a charter without date, gave the moiety of the town to his daughter Matilda, or Maud. This Matilda married Sir William Hesketh; and by the marriage of Sir William's grandson with the heiress of Edmund Fitton, lord of half Rufford, he became sole lord of the manor, which has since been vested in his descendants. Rufford was formerly a chapelry in the parish of Croston, and was made parochial by act of parliament in 1793. It comprises 2996 acres, whereof 1369 are arable, 1214 pasture, 178 woodland, and 129 heath and common: the soil is a vegetable loam, producing abundant crops of excellent potatoes; and though the surface is flat, by the aid of good cultivation it is rendered tolerably interesting. The river Douglas separates the parish from that of Croston; and the Leeds and Liverpool canal, and the Liverpool and Preston railway, pass through. The Old Hall bears date 1662, but from its appearance, it must have been built a century earlier; the banqueting-room is rich in carved oak, and contains a huge screen of massive cut beech. The New Hall, the seat of Sir Thomas George Hesketh, Bart., stands in a large wellwooded park. The living is a rectory not in charge, in the gift of Le Gendre Nicholas Starkie, Esq.: the tithes have been commuted for £390, and the rector receives £190 out of those of Ulnes-Walton. The church was in existence (as a chapel) five centuries ago, when Sir Robert Hesketh, Knt., was licensed to found a chantry; it was rebuilt in 1735, and is a plain brick building with a cupola: a small gallery and an organ were erected in 1829. On the north side of the family pew of the Heskeths, is a venerable marble slab, on which are represented a knight and his lady, the former being Thomas Hesketh, who died Oct. 1363. The Wesleyans have a place of worship. Sir Thomas Hesketh in 1816 built a school, which is supported by the present baronet.
From: A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis (1848), pp. 711-716. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=51249 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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