Walton le Dale, Lancashire Genealogy

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Walton le Dale St Leonard

Chapelry History

Walton le Dale St Leonard was a chapel of ease from ancient times, created by 1609 from and lying within the boundaries of Blackburn St Mary, Lancashire Ancient Parish. Other places in the parish include: Higher Walton and Cuerdale.

The Romans built a working fort at the junction of the River Darwen and River Ribble at Walton-le-Dale. This fort was named Belisama.

The church of St Leonard, situated on an eminence to the east of the town, was originally erected in the 11th century. The earliest portions of the present building are the Perpendicular chancel and tower, the nave having been rebuilt in 1798, while the transepts were erected in 1816.

There are a number of interesting old brasses and monuments.

Cotton-spinning is carried on, and there are market gardens in the vicinity. Roman remains have been found here, and there was perhaps a roadside post on the site.

The manor of Walton was granted by Henry de Lacy c.1130 to Robert Banastre. It afterwards passed by marriage as the Manor of Walton le Dale to the Langtons and later to the Hoghtons of Hoghton who held the manor as mesne lord.

The Lord of the Manor in 1601 was Robert Pilkington of Rivington who also held the Manor of Rivington. On the death of Robert Pilkington the manor was held of an overlord, Thomas Langton Knt. The manor of Walton le Dale is mentioned in the Inquisition Post Mortem of Robert Pilkington 12 March 1610 as passing to Richard Hutton, Thomas Tydesley and Katherine Pilkngton who were seized of the reversion of the manor by Roberts will on his death in 1605.

Walton was the principal scene of the Battle of Preston, fought on 17 August 1648 between Cromwell and the Duke of Hamilton.

In 1701 the Duke of Norfolk, the Earl of Derwentwater and other Jacobites incorporated the town by the style of the mayor and corporation of the ancient borough of Walton.

In 1715, during the second Battle of Preston, the bridge over the River Ribble was successfully defended against the Jacobites by Parson Wood and his parishioners of Chowbent.

Close to Walton-le-Dale on the River Ribble in 1840 at Cuerdale workmen found the Cuerdale Hoard, the largest Viking treasure discovered in Western Europe.

The Diocese of Blackburn is a Church of England diocese, covering much of Lancashire, created in 1926 from part of the Diocese of Manchester. The Diocese includes the towns of Blackburn, Blackpool, Burnley, and the cities of Lancaster, and Preston, as well as a large part of the Ribble Valley.

WALTON-LE-DALE, a township and chapelry, in the parish, and Lower division of the hundred, of Blackburn, union of Preston, N. division of Lancashire, 2 miles (S. E.) from Preston; the township containing 6659 inhabitants. Waletune, in Saxon times, was held by the crown. The manor was granted by the first Henry de Lacy, probably about 1130, to Robert Banastre, from whose family it passed in marriage to the Langtons, with whom it remained till the reign of Elizabeth, when it was made over to the Hoghton family. Walton is distinguished as the scene of part of the great battle fought August 17th, 1648, between Cromwell and the Duke of Hamilton; and also for a gallant achievement performed in 1715 by General, or Parson, Wood, and his congregation, in defending the passage of the Ribble against the Scottish rebels. In 1701, the Duke of Norfolk, the Earl of Derwentwater, and other leaders of the Jacobites, incorporated themselves by the style of the "Mayor and Corporation of the ancient Borough of Walton," and held their meetings in a small public house here, concealing their real motives under the guise of ludicrous transactions. They kept a register, a mace, a sword of state, and other mock insignia of office; and notwithstanding the diminution in the number of its members by the unsuccessful rebellion of 1715, the society existed till about fifty years since, when it was entirely dissolved. The township adjoins the borough of Preston, to which it may be considered as suburban; and extends southward from the bank of the river Ribble, which is. here joined by the Darwen. It comprises 4239 acres, whereof the greater part is pasture, with a portion of arable, and of wood. The eminence on which the chapel is built, commands a fine view of Ribble dale on one side, and the vale of the Darwen on the other. Both of the valleys are extremely picturesque, the banks of their respective rivers being steep, and richly clothed with wood. The background of the Ribble is formed by the high and extensive ranges of Longridge and Pendle; and that of the Darwen by Billinge Hill, and an abrupt elevation crowned with the ruins of Hoghton Tower, the ancient baronial residence of the Hoghtons. There are four large cotton manufactories, of which the Flats mills of William Calvert, Esq., employ 400 hands, and the Moons mill of Messrs. James Livesey and Son 130 hands. In the township are also a cotton-printing concern, and an iron-foundry belonging to Robert Whittaker, Esq., established in 1800. The Blackburn and Preston railway runs through Walton from east to west; and a tramroad, connecting the north and south levels of the Lancaster canal, traverses it in the same direction. Among the seats are, Cooper Hill, that of Charles Swainson, Esq.; and Walton Lodge, of William Calrow, Esq. Walton Hall, long a seat of the Hoghton family, was pulled down in 1836; the park and gardens still remain. The living is a perpetual curacy, with a net income of £156, and a house; patron, the Vicar of Blackburn. The tithes of the township have been commuted for £387. 3. 3. The chapel, dedicated to St. Leonard, is principally in the later English style, with a tower: in the chancel are a number of monuments, chiefly to members of the Hoghton family. At Bamber-Bridge (which see) is a second incumbency. A school built in 1672 is endowed with about £16 per annum; and a national school, built in 1835, is supported by subscription.

From: A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis (1848), pp. 453-457. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=51374 Date accessed: 03 August 2010.


Civil Registration

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.

Online index of Lancashire Births, Marriages and Deaths Lancashire BMD

Lancashire Online Parish Clerks

An extremely useful resource for research in Lancashire Parishes http://www.lan-opc.org.uk/

Church records

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Census records

http://www.1881pubs.com/ for details of public houses in the 1881 census

Poor Law Unions

Preston Poor Law Union, Lancashire

Probate records

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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Web sites

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