The Parish Church of St. Mary,
The Church in its Historical Setting
Penwortham became in the 12th century the head of a Barony held by Warin Bussell. It was part of the crown property sequestered by William the Conqueror. William parcelled it out to his follower Roger de Poitou; Roger in his turn passed it on to his follower, Warin, who became the first Baron. The Barony included a large part of Leyland Hundred and many manors outside it. In 1205, after a dispute between King John and Hugo Bussel, the fourth Baron, the title was granted by the King to Roger de Lacy, Constable of Chester. It passed through the Earls and Dukes of Chester and Lincoln to Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, whence it was merged with the superior Title of Duke of Lancaster and the Crown.
Courts Baron continued to be held at Penwortham together with the Manorial Courts Leet, and it is known that at last one Baron, Ranulph de Blundeville, Earl of Chester, held court at Penwortham Castle. The courts became extinct relatively recently, near the end of the 19th century.
As the Barony was extensive, so it was that the Courts drew on a large area. In 1625 suit and service were demanded from the following townships:
• In Leyland Hundred
Anderton, Brethrton, brindle, Charnock Richard, Clayton, Coppull, Croston, Cuerden, Duxbury with Adlington, Eccleston, Euxton, Gunolfsmoors, Hoghton with Withnell, Leyland, Longton, Penwortham, Roddlesworth with Wheelston and Heapey, Standish with Langtree, Ulnes Walton, Welch Whittle, and Whittle
• In West Derby
Kirkdale and North Meols
Carleton, Claughton, Elswick, Freckleton, Kellamergh, Newton with Scales, Warton, and Whittingham
Judgers were sent from Bolton and Prees. A list of 1836 adds the following townships to join those which at one time or another had to present suit and service at Penwortham’s court baron:
Bryning, Charnock Goggard or Heath Charnock, Hambleton, North Meols, Shevington, and Worthington.
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