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session as late as the reign of the Confessor. All of them had been retained by the Crown on the general partition of the country, the appointed demesnes of the royalty. And the town of Salford has for this reason been ever independent of the Lord of Manchester, and continues to the present time annexed to the regalities of the Duchy. The whole compass of South Lancashire, which, through all the period of the Britons, probably had contained only two cantrefs, Linuis and another, now inclosed thirty tythings, thirty manors, and three hundred townships. The divison of Salford, the only one of its three hundreds that has not been dismembered, had just ten manors, ten tythings, and a hundred townships, within its present limits. And the custom which is retained among us to this day, of making the hundred responsible for robberies commited betwixt sun and sun, had its commencement at this period,
and was a natural appendage to the Saxon system of tythings.” The Ecclesiastical History of the county commences with the Anglo Saxons; and after the See of York was established, the Kingdom of Northumbria was speedily subdivided into numerous dioceses; and the whole of North Lancashire was connected with that See. But soon after the reduction of Northumbria under the dominion of the West Saxons, and the consolidation of the Seven Kingdoms into one empire, and before the subjection of this to the yoke of the Normans, the south of Lancashire was severed from the diocese and province of York, and was annnexed to the province of Canterbury, and diocese of Lichfield; and thus continued to the sixteenth century. The two parts were combined again “in 1541, as they have ever since continued under the dominion of one Bishop, and reunited for ever to their ancient and original prowince of York. At the first partition of the Bishopric into Archdeaconries, the principal towns of the latter would naturally be constituted the capitals of them; and the Roman colony of Chester was made the metropolis over the south of Lancashire, as the Archdeaconry of Richmond was over the north. And both were moulded together, by Henry the Eighth, into a new and distinct diocese, their revenues being nearly all engrossed by the income of the Bishopric,
* History of Manchester, Vol. I. p. 221.
Bishopric, and their power entirely swallowed up in the authority of the Bishop. The next ecclesiastical division of the county was into rural Deaneries; and by the “Valor Beneficiorum,” which was taken in 1292, by command of Pope Nicholas IV. the whole County of Lancaster, exclusive of Furness, which then belonged to Westmoreland, was partitioned into thirty-six parishes only. By the same record it appears, that these parishes were included within these four Deaneries, all in the Archdeaconry of Chester; Blackburn, Leyland, Manchester, and Warrington. But the Deanery of Amounderness and Furness is in the Richmond Archdeaconry. “The number of parishes in this county,” observes Mr. Whitaker, “ has never been diminished by time. On the contrary, it has grown with our towns, and increased with our population.” The Landed Property which his Majesty possesses in this county, as Duke of Lancaster, is of great extent, although the revenues arising from it are by no means considerable. The principal part of this property consists of what are generally styled the Forests of Myerscough, Fulwood, Bleasdale, Wyersdale, and Quernmore, all of which are situated in the most northern parts of the county. In these his Majesty is entitled to the Estrays, and the game, the right of holding the Courts, &c. and must be considered as Lord of the Manor for all the Forests. The township of Quernmore is situated in the hundred of Lons; : dale, and parish of Lancaster; and contains a considerable quantity of inclosed and waste land, which amounts to upwards of n 3000 acres. The fishery of the Lune is claimed by the King as far as it adjoins Quernmore. There is a separate Court for this Forest, held half-yearly by the Master Forester of Amounderness, whose duty it is, in right of his office, to hold the several Courts for the said Forests. Wyersdale is situated as Quernmore. The river Wyer rises in this Forest, and flows through a valley about the middle of it. The open and inclosed parts together, are computed to contain more than 20,000 statute acres. The greater part consists of mountainous land, which is deemed not worth inclosing; but it produces abundance of game. The Court is held similar to that of Quernmore. Bleasdale is situated in the hundred of Amounderness, and parish of Lancaster, and lies co-extensive with the township of Bleasdale. According to a report made in the year 1777, by the then Receiver General, it contains from 3500 to 4500 acres of uninclosed, and about the same quantity of inclosed, land, The Court of this Forest is not held separately, but jointly, with those of Myerscough and Fulwood. - aMyerscough is situated near the turnpike-road from Preston to Lancaster, and almost eight miles from the former place. The present township of Myerscough is understood to be of equal extent with the ancient Forest, and consists of nearly 2200 statute acres; about 300 of which belong to Charles Gibson, Esq. of Quernmore Park, and nearly the same quantity to a Mr. Greenhalgh. The remainder belonging to the King, is called Mayers. cough Park, and is held under a lease by Mr. Heatley, with the exception of a small portion of woodland. The whole of this Forest is inclosed. Fulwood is situated near Presfon. The ancient Forest of Fuj. wood comprised a large quantity of land which is now inclosed; the whole, or a considerable part, of the town of Preston is said to have been originally within its boundaries. The uninclosed parts of the Forest appear to contain about 908 statute acres. Preston iace-ground is a portion of it at present. Besides the lands belonging to the Duchy, there are a few other large proprietors, who possess extensive estates in this county. But the prevalence of trade, manufacture, and commerce, has tended greatly to subdivide the property in the vicinity of the large towns especially, and hence the county of Lancaster has a greater number of land-owners than any other county, excepting Middlesex, in England. When Camden wrote his Britannia, he remarked, that Lancashire was distinguished for the number of ancient families, the names of whom were the same as their manorial estates. This remark still applies, though not to the same extent, as many old family mansions are now deserted, or divided inte
into several tenements. This will be exemplified in the subsequent pages. Previous to, and under the early Norman dynasty, this county was distinguished as an Honour;” and was of the superior class of Seigniories, on which inferior Lordships and Manors depended, by the performance of certain customs and services, to the Lords who held them. Landed Honours belonged exclusively to Kings originally, but were afterwards granted in fee to Noblemen. These kept their Honour Courts “every year at least, or oftener, if need be; at which Court all the Freeholders of all the Manors that stand united to the said Honour, shall make their appearance, which suitors shall not sit, but stand bare-headed; and over that Court shall be hanged a cloth of state, with a chair of state, upon which chair shall be laid a cushion, either of cloth of gold or velvet, seemly and decent for such a place of honour, upon which there ought to be embroidered the arms of the Honour.”t That the Honour of Lancaster existed before the Conquest, is demonstrated by an agreement (still preserved) made between King Stephen and Henry Duke of Normandy. Soon after the Conquest, three Noblemen held the Honour of Luncaster, as it was then termed; but Roger of Poictou is the first person whose name has been recorded as the possessor; and that Nobleman forfeited it for high treason. King Stephen then gave it to his own son, William. From this period till the reign of Henry the Third, the Honour was held by several great personages. And the latter Monarch conferred it on his second son, Edmund Plantagenet, surnamed Crouchback,t when it became an Earldom; not through creation, but in consequence of the possessor being an Earl by birth right. In addition to this event, Parliament passed an
Act, in which Edmund was styled Earl of Lancaster. Th - e
* For an account of the nature and quality of an Honour, see Statutes, 31st of Henry the Eighth, ch. v.–33d of Henry the Eighth,
ch. 37, 38.
: This appears by his Letters Patent, dated at Lincoln, August 8th," - in the twenty-second year of his reign.
The title of Duke of Lancaster was created by Edward the Third in favor of Henry Plantagenet, whose daughter and heiress, Blanche, married John of Gaunt, fourth son of Edward the Third, for whom the privileges and revenues were considerably increased; and himself created Duke of Lancaster on the death of his fatherin-law. Henry the Fourth, his son, procurcd an Act of Parliament, which decreed that the title and revenues should remain to him and to his heirs for ever, as a distinct and separate inheritance from the Crown, and thus they descended to his son, and grandson, Henry the Fifth, and Henry the Sixth. John of Gaunt, so named from Ghent, in Flanders, the place of his birth, possessing the vastestates and revenues of the Duchy," had sufficient interest to obtain the following patent, by which the county of Lancaster was advanced to the dignity of a Palatinate. “We have granted, for ourselves and our heirs, to our said son, that he shall have, during life, within the county of Lancaster, his Court of Chancery, and writs to be issued out under his seal belonging to the office of Chancellor; his Justices both for holding the pleas of the Crown, and for all other pleas relating to common law, and the cognizance thereof, and all executions by his writs and officers within the same. And all other Liberties and Royalties relating to a County Palatine, as freely and fully as the Earl of Chester is known to enjoy them within the county of Chester."t According to Cowel, “the jurisdiction of a County Palatine was of so high a nature, that whereas all pleas touching the life or Mayhem of a man, called Pleas of the Crown, be ordinarily held and sped in the King's name, and cannot pass in the name of any other. The chief governors of these, by especial charter from the King, did send out all writs in their own name; and did all things touching
* To which belonged lands in Lancashire, Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Lincoln, Nottingham, Derby, York, Rutland, Stafford, &c. Some of these are specified in Malcolm's Londinium Redevivum, Vol. III. p. 401.
+ For an account of the County Palatine of Cheshire, see Beauties, &c. Vol. II. p. 185; and of the Duchy of Cornwall, in the same Volume.