Davies' Family History
Cockerham Village, in Lancashire UK
This is where most of our Lancashire ancestor's lived for many generations.
From 'Northward' by Anthony Hewitson, published as a series of articles in 'The Preston Guardian' of 1899. It was then issued in book form in about 1900. It was republished by Landy Publishing on 1993. Chapter 17 pages 88-93 ; ISBN 1 872895 16 6
Not quite half a mile from ‘Tongue’s Cottage’, in Forton, northward, the highway is crossed by the Cockerham road. There is a pretty deep, wide hole in a field, near the entrance to the road- on the northwest side of it. This hole was caused by quarrying operations. The stone required in 1839, for the erection of Bay Horse railway station (about a third of a mile to the northeast) was obtained here. The eminence, near which the Cockerham road goes, juts past the old quarry hole, is Cross Hill, and no doubt it originally got its name through being the site of a wayside cross. A dwelling on the northern side of the road, at the summit of the eminence, bears the name of Cross Hill House; another dwelling on the same side, about 100 yards southward is named Cross Hill Cottage and a short distance south-east there is Cross Hill Farm. The way to Cockerham, from the main road, is in certain parts of a decidedly up and down character. The highest part of it- about three quarters of a mile from the Preston and Lancaster highway- is called Windy Arbour. On one side of the road, at the summit of the elevation named, there is a cottage, south of which, and adjacent, is a large, new red brick residence of the bungalow kind, built in 1896-7 by Mrs Brockholes of Clifton Hill. Originally, Mrs Brockholes intended to erect here, for a couple of lady friends, a two storey residence; but soon after operations had been commenced, one of them was unexpectedly called away, and, as a two storey house would have been too large for the other, the design was changed to one of the bungalow kind; hence the present structure.
In respect to Windy Arbour, owing to its altitude and comparative bleakness, an ordinary observer would have no difficulty in seeing the appropriateness of the first part of the name; but what about the second portion of it? An ordinary observer would, certainly fail to see the force of Arbour. Well, from all I can learn, Windy Arbour is a name which indicates bygone proximity to a Roman road. The Roman road between Walton-le-Dale and Lancaster went either directly over the elevated ground here, or a little to the east of it. Arbour seems to be analogous to or synonymous with harbour. Mr Watkin, in his "Roman Lancashire" says that the name Windy Harbour is "a sure sign of a Roman road"; in other words, that, wherever a place with such a name is found, a Roman road has crossed or gone not far from it. There are numerous Cold Harbours as well as Windy Harbours in England; and the presumption is that both names have one and the same meaning. The Rev Isaac Taylor, in his "Words and Places", intimates that Roman villas originally stood at those parts which now bear the names mentioned, and that the deserted rooms or ruins of such villas afforded shelter- refuge- for travellers; hence their designation as Cold or Windy Harbours. An old antiquarian friend of mine- the late Mr E Kirk of Pendleton- was of the opinion that Harbours of this character could not have referred to exposed places, "for", says he," in the Chipping Valley, nearly opposite where the Roman road crosses the crest of Longridge Fell, at Jeffrey Hill, there is a place called "the Harbour" without qualification," and if the canal bridge, which is called "Arbour Bridge", over which the Cockerham road passes, "nearly indicated the site of Windy Arbour," then he argues, such Arbour "must have been in a sheltered spot." The elevated ground now named Windy Harbour, across which Cockerham road passes, may not have been the actual site of a Roman villa; but, if not, a villa of that sort was, in all probability, near it- on the west side; and the name would be derived from this proximity.
About 300 yards beyond the canal bridge, Cockerhamward, and on the north or Holleth side of the road, there is the base of an old cross. The township of Holleth is the smallest in respect to area and population, as well as the most northern in the Garstang Union; indeed, as to size, I believe it is the least, and, so far as population goes, the most sparsely inhabited township in Lancashire. It has an area of only 358 acres; and there are not more than about half dozen houses in it. The population of Holleth has fluctuated curiously. In 1831 it was 50; in 1861 it was 30; in 1881 it got up again to 50; in 1891 it was but 25; and at present it will be but little more than, if as much as, it was in the last named year.
There runs most crookedly and quietly, down in a hollow to the west, a few minutes’ walk from the base of the wayside cross, I have alluded to, the river Cocker. It has here more the appearance of an extremely dull little beck or softly going dyke than a river; but nearer its source it is more rapid and ripply, whilst towards the point of its debouchure it is broader and deeper. A good stone bridge- called Cocker House Bridge- carries the Cockerham road over the river. On the northern inner side of this bridge, fixed against the centre of the parapet, there is a County Hundred boundary stone; it indicates the dividing point between the Amounderness and South Lonsdale Hundreds. Old Harrison, in his topographical work, says that the Cocker "from its shortness deserveth no description." Drayton, in the second part of his ‘Polyolbion’, originally published in 1622, thus refers to it:-
|-Coker a coy Nymph, that cleerely seemes to
All popular applause, who from her Christall head,
In Wyresdale, neere where Wyre is by her fountaine fed,
That by their naturall birth they seeme (in deed) to twin,
Yet from her sisters pride she careth not a pin,
Of none, and being help’d, she likewise helpeth none,
But to the Irish Sea goes gently downe alone
Of any undisturbd, till coming to her Sound
Endangered by the Sands, with many a loftie bound,
Shee leaps against the Tydes, and cries to Christall Lon,
The Flood that names the Towne, from whence the Shire begun,
Her title first to take, and loudly tells the Flood,
That if a little while she thus but trifling stood,
These pettie Brooks would bee before her still preferd.
Guides used to take parties across the sands between Hest Bank and Kent’s Bank; the distance travelled- at low water, of course- being something like eight miles. In 1857, when the Furness railway was opened, the services of these guides were no longer required. Leland, who was authorised by Henry V111 to make an antiquarian expedition throughout England and who apparently accomplished it between 1533 and 1539, refers to the Cocker, to its dangerous sands and to a curious salt gathering plan in vogue on the coast which the river traverses in its way to the Lune estuary. He says:- "The Cocker river maketh no great course on he come to the sands of Cockerham village……. upon the which sands I past over Coker river once again, not without some feer of quicksands. At the end of the sand I saw salt cootes where divers heaps of sand is taken of salt strondys, out of the which by often weting with water they pike out the saltness, and so the water is drived into a body and after sodde." Camden, in his "Britannia", a work first published in 1586 says:- "in many places on this coast one sees heaps of sand, on which they pour water till they contract a saltness, which they afterwards boil over turf fires to white salt."
The village of Cockerham- a small, quiet-looking place, consisting of a few little, plain houses etc flanking part of a level, winding lane- is about half a mile north-west of Cocker House Bridge. The name Cockerham means a home or place of abode adjoining or not far from the Cocker. Cockerham is a very old place. It is mentioned in Doomsday Book as Cocreham, and as belonging to Roger de Poictou. The Lancastres, barons of Kendal, were the owners of Cockerham shortly after the Norman Conquest. The manor and church of Cockerham were given by William de Lancastre to the canons of Leicester, in the latter half of the 12th century.
In 1369 (Fair Day) Various men of Cockerham terrorised
the people and disturbed the peace.
The Abbot of St Mary, Leicester, had "free warren" granted in the manor at the beginning of the 14th century. During the same century the manor was given to the Abbott of Cockerham. In the course of the 15th century (some reversion of interest or reclaim of proprietary right having taken place) a release of claim in the manor was made in favour of the then Abbot. In 1597 the customs of the manor were farmed by John Calvert, gentleman, of Cockerham, who died in 1620, seized of the manor and rectory. A daughter of his became the grandmother of a man whose skull figures curiously in the legendary lore of Lancashire. She married Roger Downes, who settled at Wardley Hall, about seven miles west f Manchester, at the beginning of the Civil War in the 17th century, and who was vice-Chamberlain of Chester to William, Earl of Derby, etc. Their grandson (Roger Downes)- a courtier in the time of Charles 11- had his head cut off, during a brawl on London Bridge; the head (so say tradition) being sent to his sisters, at Wardley Hall, where it was preserved, and where it became the subject of the strange legend of the Wardley Hall skull- a skull which, as per the legend, would, if removed, or thrown into a neighbouring pontl, or actually buried, return to the Hall again, and which "never failed to punish the individual severely who should dare to lay hands upon it with any such purpose" as that of disturbing, taking away, or destroying it. This skull- anyhow- is now, I believe, preserved in a locked aperture at Wardley Hall. Reverting to Cockerham manor, it was, some time after the death of John Calvert, owned by the Charteris family. In or about 1798 it was sold, by Lord Wemyss, to four conjoint lords of the manor, whose present successors, manorially, are Colonel C. H. Bird, Crookhey Hall, Cockerham, who holds two lordship rights; Lieutenant Greene, Whittington Hall, near Kirkby Lonsdale; and Mr J. Clarke, of Summerhill, Newton-in-Cartmel. By the inhabitants of the district these gentlemen are designated ‘the Lords of Cockerham".
And ye said jurors doe further say upon their Oathes, that ye Parish Church of Cockerham, within ye said Hundred of Loinsdale and County of Lance., is a Vicaradge Presentative, John Calvert, Esquire, a Papist Delinquent, Patron . They ye Tythes of Corne and graine within ye whole parish are Impropriate to ye said Mr Calvert and to Mr Bradshaw, another Delinquent papist, worth one hundred and sixteene pounds per annum vizt Eighty pounds per annum in Ellel, sixteene pounds per annum in Cockerham and Twenty pounds per annum in Fforton; And that there is another Tyth of Corn in pt of Thornham, within ye said parish, impropriate to ye said Mr Bardshaw, worth Ten pounds per annum; And ye said parish of Cockerham doth containe within it yeseverall Townshipps, hamletts or Villages of ye severall distances from ye said Parish Church heretofore following, vizt, Cockerham, where ye Church is seated; Ellel, distant as a foredsaid Three miles; Fforton, one mile; part of Cleveley Three myles; part of Thurnham Three myles; one howse in Lower Qyersdale,vizt, Robert Websters, of ye Holmes; And that there is belonging to ye said Church a Vicarage house and Six acres and a halfe of Glebe land and also Tyth of Salt and Wooll, lambs and pigge, Goose, hay,hempe, flax, and small Tyths, in most of ye places within ye said Vicaradge; That there is some Composition Rent from Thurnhal Hall, about Six shillings per annum. That ye proffitts thereof were anciently reputed to bee about Sixty pounds per annum, but by reason of ye decay of Sheepe ye said Vicaradge hath beene ffarmed ye last yeare for Thirty five pounds. And ye said Jurors likewise say That ye said Parish of Cockerham doth containe within it ye severall Chappelles distant from their said parish Church as followeth,vizt, Ellel Three myles, Shierside Three miles; And that ye Incumbent officiating att ye said Parish Church for ye Tyme being is one Mr Thomas Smith during ye Sequestracon of Mr William Calvert, ye vicar, for delinquency. And ye said jurors further say that ye said severall Chappells belonging to ye said parish Church of Cockerham are provided for as follows; vizt, ffifty pounds per annum allowed by Order from ye Committees of plundered Ministers to ye said Chappell of Ellel; ye Minister there Mr Peter Atkinson; And that ye said Chappell of Shiersdie hath no certain Maintenance to their knowledge, the Minister there for ye Tyme being Mr John Ffisher."
The 17th century church at Cockerham was superseded (with the exception of the tower, which is still standing) by the present church, which was built in 1814. It is a very plain, solitary strong-looking structure. In the tower there is a very good peal of bells, which, according to tradition came from Cockersand Abbey. But this tradition is not correct. There may have been in the tower, for a time after the break up of Cockersand Abbey, one or ore bells which originally came from that place; but the present peal- six bells, the tenor being 11cwt- was cast, in 1748, by Mr A. Rudhall of Gloucester. The bells were rehung by Taylor, of Loughborough, in 1888 and they are now in capital order. They bear the following legends:- Treble "Peace and good neighbourhood. A.R. 1748". 2, "Prosperity to the parish A.R. 1748". 3, "We were all cast at Gloucester, by Abel Rudhall, 1748". 4, "Robert Gardner, Edward France, Robert Fell, Stephen Bond, churchwardens. A.R. 1748" 5, "The Rev Mr Thomas Winder, Vicar. A.R. 1748. Tenor, "I to the Church the living call, and to the grave do summon all. 1748".
The general body of the Church internally is large- apparently very spacious for a country place- but it has a somewhat dull heavy look. The chancel, however, is spacious, ornately effective, pleasantly bright. There was once a very singular dispute about a Rood (a crucifix or image of our Saviour) ordered made, but not approved of, for Cockerham Church; and strange to say, the particulars of this dispute I have obtained not from any record or tradition at Cockerham but by means of a communication made by a Furness gentleman, and published many years ago in a Westmorland periodical! The writer states that in the eraly part of this century there were two curious old books chained in the warden’s seat, in Cartmel church- they may be somewhere in the place still- and that one of them contained the following :-
" A story of a Roode Set up in :Lankashire. In this visitation of Bishop Boner ( a bad 16th century English prelate)…. you see how the Bishop tooke on for not setting up the roode, and ringing the bells at Hadham. Ye heard also of the precept, which commanded in every parish a Roode to be erected both well favoured and of an able Stature. By the occasion thereof, it cometh in minde (and not out of place) to story likewise what happened in a certain Towne in Lankashire near to Lancaster called Cockram, where the Parishioners & Churchwardens having the same time a like charge for the erecting of a roode in their parish church, had made their bargain & were at a price with one that could cunninglie Karve and paint such idols, for the framing of their Roode; who according to his promise, made them one, & set it up in their Church. This done, he demanded his money. But they misliking his workmanship refused to pay him, whereupon he arrested them, and the matter was brought before the Maior of Lancaster, who was a very meete man for such a purpose, and an old favourer of the Gospell, which is rarer in that countrie. Then the carver began to declare how they covenanted with him for the making of a Roode, with the appurtenances ready carved and set up in their church which he according to his promise had done, and now demanding his money, they refused to pay him. Is this true, quoth the Maior to the Wardens? Yes, Sir, said they. And why deo you not pay the poore man his due, quoth he? And it please you Maister Maior (quoth they) because the Roode we had before was a well favoured man, and he promised to make us such another. But this that he hath set us up now is the worst favoured thing that ever you set your eies on, gaping and grinning in such sort, that none of our children dare once looke him in the face, or come neere him. The Maior thinking that it was good enough for that purpose if it had been worse, My Masters (quoth he) hosoever the roofe like you, the poore mans labour hath been never the less, and it is a pittie that he should have any hindrance or loss thereby. Therefore I will tell you what you shall doe: Pay him the money ye promised him, and go you wais home and looke on it, and if it will not serve for a God, make no more ado, but clap a pairs of horns on his head, and so will he make an excellent Devill. This the Parishioners tooke well in worth, the poore man had his money, and divers laughed well thereat, but so not the babylonish Priests."
In old times, notices which we should nowadays deem very peculiar and out of place were put up on the door of Cockerham Church. And some of them, in respect to bad spelling, exceeded even that wonderful production- before wuoted- of the clerk to the notable minister specialised by Canon Parkinson in "The Old Church Clock". For instance, at the beginning of 1824 a notice, of which the following is a copy, was fixed to the door of Cockerham Church, for the information of those who attended the services there:- "To be sould By ockso at they house of---- in Pilling Stake pool 6 February 1824 they sale to begin at Twelve O’clock at noon all the stock of Katel con sisting of 2 good work hors his and 1 young mare rising 3 years old and 1 foile 2 spring calvers cows and 2 draps and 2 wite face sheeps and hall sorts of husberny gears such as carts and weles plu and hares and house sold furturner.- Thomas--------, Pilling, ckinhearer."
The present Vicarage, which stands on a pleasant eminence at the north end of Cockerham village, was built in 1843, when the Rev. John Dodson was the vicar. It is situated 70 or 80 yards west of the site of the old vicarage house, which it superseded- a house the materials of which were, by order of Mr Dodson, carted away to Tong Moor, in Littledale, where he utilised them in the construction of a residence. Not far from the old vicarage, on the north west side, there was a windmill, which occupied a prominent position, and could be seen for miles. Indeed, its position was so prominent and exposed that occasionally the concern got more wind than was good for it. In January 1802, a gale made the sails whirl round so rapidly that the friction, which ensured set on fire the mill, which was gutted.
In 1849 another mill, built on or near the same site, was burnt from a supposed similar cause. A third mill was then built, but it was pulled down many years ago. When Mr Dodson was appointed the vicar, in 1835, Cockerham was a "lively" place. Horse races were periodically run; bowling was freely indulged in on some enclosed ground opposite the old Manor Inn; cock fighting was in vogue; and every fortnight there was coursing. Mr Dodson who was a very earnest, serious man set his face against these things, deeming even the most innocent of them (bowling) a source of gambling or inebriety; and eventually he succeeded in putting an end to the whole lot.
In 1850 he resigned his vicarial position at Cockerham without assigning any reason to the parishioners for such step, and went to live at Tong Moor, Littledale- `at the residence previously mentioned, which was a very good one; and in this lonely, upland region he built a Dissenting chapel, apparently of the Independent order, and regularly conducted service in it himself. After leading this ort of out-of-the-way ministerial life for some years, he went to the South of England, and there he died. The present vicar of Cockerham is the Ven. Archdeacon A.F. Clarke.
At the south end of the village of Cockerham there is a good school, which was built in 1829 and to which additions have since been made. In the front wall of the master’s house, directly adjoining the school, there is a stone which bears the date 1681. This stone was brought from the old school (the predecessor of the present one) and the date on it has been generally understood to refer to the time when such school, which stood in the north east corner of the churchyard, was built. But that school was erected some time earlier. At an inquiry into the charities of the parish of Cockerham, held on the 11th of May, 1899, it was stated by Assistant Commissioner Cardew that the earliest document relating to Cockerham School Charity was under the episcopal seal of the Bishop of Chester, that it was dated 1679 and that it cited that there had been a school house built, and also a school in the north east corner of the churchyard.
A legend says that the Devil once alighted in Cockerham Churchyard, afterwards wrought considerable havoc in the district, then had a peculiarly severe encounter with the master of the school, and was at last completely foiled by that individual, Sundry doggerel verses, said to have been the production of "some local rhymster", describe with considerable detail the whole affair. After referring to the arrival of his sable majesty, to the fear produced and mischief wrought by him, the rhymster says that the people at length met, and appointed the schoolmaster to try his skill, and see if he could not " the devil bind faster". With pride the master accepted the appointment, and (so says the rhymster):-
One day in the school, in the corner of the churchyard,
The windows all fastened, the doors all barred,
With the gypsies’ blarney, and the witches; cant,
He drew him forth with his horrible rant.
Terror seized the master as soon as he had done this, and he was informed that, if he did not by his "lore"- by three questions- entangle the sable one thus met with, the latter would diabolically transform, mangle, and fly away with him. The schoolmaster thereupon set to work in the interrogative line. He first asked the devil how many dewdrops there were on some adjoining hedges. The number was given. Then a question was put as to how many stalks there were in a particular wheat field. "His Majesty" operated upon the field with a scythe, and told the number of the stalks. The Cockerham dominie had now got into a very tight corner, and this is what the rhymster says-
Now the poor fellow’s was a pitiful case.
As plain might be seen from his long length of face.
"Now, make me, dear sir, a rope of your sand,
Which will bear washing in Cocker, and not lose a strand."
The devil and mate then went down to the strand,
In a jiffy they twisted a fine rope of sand,
And dragged it along with them over the land;
But when they brought the rope to be washed,
To atoms it went- the rope was all smashed.
The devil was foiled, wroth, and gave him a shaking;
Up he flew to the steeple- his frame a;; a-quaking,
With one horrid frig- his mind very unwilling,
He stride to the brig o’er Broadfleet at Pilling.
And so the Cockerham people got shut of Dabol; but cynics hint that he still occasionally drops in, and bothers folk there, notwithstanding the legendary exorcism. A legend somewhat to the foregoing is associated with other country districts. It transpired during the inquiry in 1899, previously mentioned, that the late Mr John Mason, of Cockerham, left a charity of £10 per annum for the education of bastard children in the parish; that the charity, consisting opf certain land at Skerton, near Lancaster, realised but £7.10s a year, less commission; that an arrangement had been made whereby, when there were few illegitimate children in the parish (there were only two in it at the time of the inquiry), the master of Cockerham school could pay half of the school fees with the money; and that the managers of the school did not deal with, in fact kept aloof from, this charity "because of its character".
Cockerham Hall is about 300 yards west of the Vicarage. It is now a farmhouse. Originally this Hall was a private residence. In 1712, Mr Walter Frost lived in it. Under date October 21st, in the year named Thomas Tyldesley says in his diary:- "Meet Mrs and two girlies at Cock-ham Hall, to see Sisr. Frost very ill". There used to be two public houses in Cockerham- one in the middle and the other at the north end of the village. The former (Manor Inn) was done away with as a public house, and set apart for private use, a few years ago; but periodically- when important and well-known Cockerham horse sales take place- its old functions are revived for the refreshment of genuinely- interested visitors etc. The present inn at the north end was formally called the Plough; but has now taken the name and is kept by the person who was the landlord of the extinguished public house.
Cockerham village is located near the summit of a ridge of moderate altitude, from which there is a good view of the south western parts of the parish, the whole of the Pilling district, Fleetwood etc, as well as the waters of the sea stretching away to the west. The parish includes the township of Cockerham and parts of Holleth, Forton, Clevely, Ellel and Pilling; the total area of it being 14,750 acres. During the present century its population has been almost stationery. In 1801 it was 714; in 1871 it was 803; when the census was taken in 1891 it stood at 705; and it will not be much different now.
||About three-quarters of a mile from Cockerham village, southward, there is Crookhey Hall , the residence of Colonel C.H. Bird. It has a handsome, commanding appearance. Crookhey House is not far from the Hall. Colonel Bird’s father was Mr William Smith Bird, a native of Needham, near Boston, Mass., U.S.A.; his mother (who was married to Mr Bird after he had settled in this country) being Elizabeth, only daughter of Mr William Gardner, of Crookhey House, near Cockerham. In their married life they resided at Ivyhurst, Aigburth, near Liverpool; but they occasionally came to Crookhey House, which, with neighbouring property, had been a family possession of the Gardners for generations; and , on the death of her father, Mrs Bird inherited the place. One Edward Barben lived at ‘Crookey in Cockerham ‘, in or shortly before 1636- probably at a much smaller house standing on the site of the present one. The will of William Gardner, "of Crookey", was proved within the archdeaconry of Richmond in 1661, and that of Bridget Gardner of the same place in 1662.|
GARDNER: A form of Gardiner an occupational name from the Middle English and Old Northern French word 'gard' meaning enclosure. A cultivator of edible produce not flowers. French form is Jardinier. Italian form Giardinaro. Portuguese form Jardim. German form Gartner and Lower German form is Gardner.
PARKINSON: A form of Parkin. A Middle English name from Perkin, a diminutive of Peter with the suffix -kin. Parkinson is more common in Lancashire
PRESTON: A North English habitation name notably in Lancashire. It is from the Old English 'preost' meaning priest + 'tun' meaning enclosure. i.e. village with priest or village held by the church.
RIDING: Old English Ryding. Lancashire spellings Rid(d)ing or Ryding(s). It was either a topographical name for someone who lived in a clearing or from the West Riding of Yorkshire.
ROBINSON: From Robin, a medieval name that is a diminutive of Robert. Variant spellings are Robbins, (Scots) McRobin, (Welsh) Probin and Broben and (French) Roubineau.
SINGLETON: From Lancashire, Old English scingel meaning shingle plus tun meaning enclosure or settlement. Bearers of this surname are descended from Ughtred de Sinleton, who held land in Amounderness Lancashire in 1160-1195.
STANDING A form of Standen, which is a habitation name from Berskhire, Lancashire and Wiltshire. From the Old English 'stan' meaning stone + ' denu' meaning valley or 'dun' hill. Standing is more common in Sussex and Lancashire, where it is a place name.
THORNTON: English and Scots habitation name from numerous places. From the Old English 'porn' meaning thorn bush + 'tun' meaning enclosure.