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The Parish of Croston
in the County of
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Croston Parish Church. Photo © John W. Stopforth, 2004
Croston Parish Church. Photo © John W. Stopforth, 2004

A parish (formerly a market town) in the hundred of Leyland, county palatine of LANCASTER, comprising the chapelries of Becconsall with Hesketh, and Tarleton, and the townships of Becconsall with Hesketh, and Tarleton, and the townships of Bispham, Bretherton, Croston, Mawdesley, and Ulnes-Walton, and containing 5,831 inhabitants, of which number, 1,367 are in the township of Croston, 6-1/2 miles (W.) from Chorley.

The living comprises a rectory and a vicarage, in the archdeaconry and diocese of Chester, rated in the king’s books at £31/11/10-1/2d, and in the patronage of Mrs. Master.

The church, dedicated to St. Michael, stands in a valley upon the margin of the river Yarrow, and was rebuilt in 1743, at an expense of £1,834, which was defrayed by a brief. In the church-yard the Rev. James Hiet, in 1660, built a school-house, and endowed it with £400, producing about £15 a year, appropriated to the free education of thirty-six poor children.

A school of industry was established by subscription in 1802, in aid of which Elizabeth Master, in 1809, bequeathed £200; the annual income, amounting to £14, is applied to the instruction of thirty girls.

Croston was anciently one of the most extensive and valuable benefices in the county: for many years the limits of the parish remained unaltered, but, at various periods since, it has been divided by authority of parliament into six entire and independent parishes, viz., Croston, Hoole separated in 1642, Chorley and Rufford in 1793, and Tarleton and Hesketh with Becconsall in 1821.

The market has fallen into disuse; but there is a cattle fair on the Monday before Shrove-Tuesday.

From: A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, Vol.1,London,1831,page 551.

Entered here 30 August 2004 by Lynn Ransom Burton.

The parish and the availability of its registers is also described in the preface to the transcription printed for the LPRS by Strowger & Son, at the Clarence Press. Wigan. 1900-1904, 588 pgs. Transcribed and Edited by Henry Fishwick, F.S.A., and is presented here:-

"The Parish of Croston originally consisted of the townships of Croston, Chorley, Hoole, Rufford, Tarleton, Hesketh, Becconsall, Bispham, Bretherton, Mawdesley and Ulnes Walton. Hoole was separated from the Mother parish in 1641, but Chorley remained a dependent chapelry until 1793, although it had a very ancient church where the baptisms, marriages, and burials were duly recorded from, at all events, the year 1549. Rufford also was made into a parish in 1793. Tarleton and Hesketh-with-Becconsall were not constituted parishes until 1821. The Church of Croston is one of the oldest in Lancashire and dates back certainly to the twelfth century, and its Registers are amongst the very small number of those commencing in 1538, in compliance with the Royal Injunction published by the Vicar-General in that year.

In 1828 the Churchwardens allowed the earlier volumes of the registers to go out of their possession and they were consequently lost; last year, however, one of the missing volumes was discovered in the De Trafford Estate Office in Manchester. On hearing of this discovery I applied to Sir Humphrey De Trafford, who at once consented to my transcribing the Register with a view to its publication by this Society.

The volume contains Registers from 1538 to 1685, and except for a few years during the Civil Wars is almost complete. The Registers are written on parchment and in a good state of preservation. The binding has been carelessly executed, in many places the page being stitched the wrong end up and the earliest part of the Register is in the middle of the volume, which contains 147 leaves, each 14 inches by 6-1/2 inches.

The Transcipts at the Diocesan Registry Office have been consulted, and any important variations or additions are here noted.

As the Second Original Volume can not be traced, recourse had been had to the Episcopal Transcripts at Chester, and all such Transcripts as can be found there covering the years 1690-1727 both inclusive are here printed. These comprise all returns by Rufford and Tarleton Chapels for the same period. No Transcripts exist for the years 1685-1689, inclusive."

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