Woodplumpton, Lancashire Genealogy

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Woodplumpton St Anne

Chapel History

Woodplumpton St Anne is an ancient chapel of ease cread by 1604 from, and lying within the boundaries of St Michael on Wyre, Lancashire Ancient Parish.

Other places in the parish include: Catforth, Lower Bartle, Higher Plumpton, and Eaves.

The modern parish isin the Diocese of Blackburn and the archdeaconry of Lancaster. It has been designated a Grade II listed building by English Heritage. The churchyard at St Anne's is the supposed burial place of a 17th century alleged witch named Meg Shelton.

"PLUMPTON-WOOD, a village and a parochial chapelry in St. Michael-on-Wyre parish, Lancashire. The village stands near the Lancaster and Preston canal, 1¼ mile S W of Barton r. station, and 4¼ north by northwest of Preston. The chapelry also contains the hamlets of Catforth, Eaves, Higher Plumpton, and Lower Bartle. The church is ancient, [at least by 1604] and was modernised in 1852.

There are a Wesleyan chapel, a Primitive Methodist chapel, a Roman Catholic chapel." [1]


The churchyard lies mostly to the south and west of the church. There are stocks close to the lychgate. These date from the 18th century or earlier, and have been restored. They have two stone shafts with round heads, the right-hand of which is inscribed with the initials "AB". They have received a Grade II designation from English Heritage. There is a sundial south of the church. The dial, which sits on an octagonal stone shaft, is dated 1657. The plate and gnomon are brass. The sundial has also been given a Grade II listing.

Woodplumpton churchyard is said to be the burial place of an alleged witch, a local 17th century woman named Meg Shelton who was known as the "Singleton witch" or the "Fylde Hag". According to legend, she was buried upside down to prevent her from escaping. The spot is marked by a boulder.

The Witch of the Fylde

Grave of Meg Shelton Woodplumpton.jpg

At the graveyard in Woodplumpton by the Ribble is the grave of a woman, Meg Shelton 'The Witch of the Fylde' whose body was found crushed between a barrel and a wall in the early 18th Century.There are many stories of this mischievous individual, the most bizarre being that she kept rising from the grave! Three times the townsfolk buried her but each time she scratched her way to the surface. Eventually it was decided that she should be buried face down and that a great granite slab be placed over her grave. This seemed to work as she was never seen again, although in the 1920’s a young boy said that he had seen a woman dressed in ‘funny’ clothes wandering in the graveyard.
Many of the stories associated with Meg tell of her ability to change her appearance and how she would use this ability to cause mischief and steal from the local farmers. On one occasion a farmer became suspicious when he discovered that he had more sacks of corn piled up than there should have been. He grabbed a pitchfork and began to prod the sacks. Suddenly one of the sacks let out a scream and turned into Meg.
On another occasion a farmer looking into one of his fields where he kept his cows saw an old woman with a goose which was feeding on the grass. He thought nothing of it until he noticed that from the goose’s bill was dripping a white liquid. He rushed into the field and kicked the goose at which point it shattered into a thousand pieces spraying milk everywhere. Meg had been stealing milk and had turned her jug into a goose to fool the farmer. Meg screeched with rage and flew off.
One day a farmer saw a hare in one of his fields and set his great black dog after it. The hare moved like the wind but the dog was even faster and a desperate race ensued. Gradually the great black dog moved closer and closer but mysteriously the hare headed straight for Meg’s cottage and escaped through the front door but just at the last moment the dog managed to nip one of its hind legs. From that time on it was said that Meg walked with a pronounced limp!


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

Include here information for parish registers, Bishop’s Transcripts and other types of church records, such as parish chest records. Add the contact information for the office holding the original records. Add links to the Family History Library Catalog showing the film numbers in their collection

Woodplumpton- St Anne
Baptisms Transcript-1604-1784- 929.3272 S1
Burials Transcript-1603-1784- 929.3272 S1
Marriages Transcript-1604-1783- 929.3272 S1

For original registers of above please enquire at Lancashire Record Office.

The Manchester Room and Greater Manchester County Record Office
Email: archiveslocalstudies@manchester.gov.uk

The Manchester Room@City Library (Local Studies)

Parish registers for Plumpton-Wood, 1604-1921 Microfilm of original records at the Lancashire Record Office, Preston.
Plumpton-Wood is a parochial chapelry in the parish of St. Michael-on- Wyre.
Lancashire Record Office no. : PR 2930/1/1-12; 3250/1/1, 3-4, 10

Baptisms 1604-1879; Marriages and burials 1604-1900; Banns 1824-1891; Register of services 1889-1895.
1470949 Items 11-25
Register of services 1895-1900.
1471019 Item 1
Baptisms, 1879-1921.
1849640 Item 19

Bishop's transcripts for Plumpton-Wood, 1674-1882 Microfilm of originals at the Lancashire Record Office, Preston.
Some parts are illegible due to dark spots, torn pages and faded ink.
Some pages are out of sequence. Records 1674-1729 have been filmed in reverse order.
Plumpton-Wood is a chapelry in the parish of St. Michael-on-Wyre.
DRB 2/188-191

Baptisms, marriages, burials, 1674-1729.
1502471 Item 5
Baptisms, marriages, burials, 1674-1729. (Another filming. 1988. More legible than previous filming.)
1502472 Item 2
Baptisms, marriages, burials, 1730-1882 (no marriages 1864, 1869-1870).
1502472 Items 3 - 5

Bishop's transcripts for Plumpton-Wood, 1879-1883 Microfilm of original records at the Lancashire Record Office, Preston.
Plumpton-Wood is a chapelry in the parish of St. Michael-on-Wyre.

Baptisms, marriages and burials, 1879-1883.
1469070 Item 12

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.

Maps and Gazetteers

Maps are a visual look at the locations in England. Gazetteers contain brief summaries about a place.


  • Farrer, William; Brownbill, J., eds. (1912), "Townships — Woodplumpton", A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 7 (Constable), OCLC 59626695, http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=53239
  • Fields, Kenneth (1998), Lancashire Magic & Mystery: Secrets of the Red Rose County, Sigma, ISBN 1850586063
  • Fishwick, Henry (1891), The History of the Parish of St. Michaels-on-Wyre in the County of Lancaster, Manchester, OCLC 5153152
  • Hartwell, Clare; Pevsner, Nikolaus (2009) [1969], Lancashire: North, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, ISBN 0300126670
  • Porter, John (1876), History of the Fylde of Lancashire, W. Porter, OCLC 12931605
  • Price, James (1998), Sharpe, Paley and Austin: A Lancaster Architectural Practice 1836–1942, Lancaster: Centre for North-West Regional Studies, ISBN 1-86220-054-8

Web sites

Add any relevant sites that aren’t mentioned above.

http://www.extremejelly.com/woodplumpton/pages/welcome.php Parish website includes history and images of the church


  1. John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870)