History Of Woodplumpton Parish

Woodplumpton is an ancient settlement being referred to in the Domesday Book in 1086 as Plunton.

By 1256 it was known as Plumpton and became ‘Wode’ Plumpton in 1336 to distinguish it from the Plumpton near Kirkham, which became known as Field Plumpton and is now Great Plumpton. There was a manor of Woodplumpton. Woodplumpton was only ever a small village and was part of the very large ecclesiastical parish of St. Michael’s-on-Wyre which extended from and included Stalmine and Pilling in the north to Woodplumpton in the south. The township of Woodplumpton, however, was extensive and incorporated the quarters of (Wood) Plumpton, Bartle, Catforth and Eaves. It was the most prosperous township in St. Michael’s parish, shown by the returns of the Exchequer Lay Subsidy imposed by Edward III in 1332 which records a rateable population of 18 persons in Woodplumpton compared with 8 in Great Eccleston, 11 in Inskip with Sowerby and 8 in Elswick. In 1523, a tax imposed on land and goods showed John Boteler of Out Rawcliffe to be the most wealthy landowner followed by William Ambrose and John Newsom of Woodplumpton.


The Lord of the Manor was generally the largest landowner in a township. Earl Tostig held the manor of Woodplumpton in 1066 when his holding was assessed as five ploughlands. The holding of the lordship from 1066 is well recorded. Robert de Stockport was Lord at his death in 1206. The Stockports retained the lordship until John Warren of Poynton (died 1386) obtained the lordship through marriage. The Warrens held the lordship until 1777 when Viscount Bulkeley succeeded to the title via marriage. In 1822 Sir John Fleming-Leicester (created Lord de Tabley in 1826) became lord before Charles Birley of Bartle Hall (d.1891) acquired the title which then passed to his son and grandson. (Full details of the manorial succession is recorded in the Victorian County History, Vol. VII ,Lancashire).

The Stockports and Warrens were great families of Cheshire taking little interest in Lancashire and would probably rarely have resided in Woodplumpton. They would have had a steward in residence to look after their interests there.

However, the Parish Registers of Woodplumpton Church record the baptisms in 1605 of Kathleen Warren, daughter of Sir Edward Warren, and in 1606 of John Warren, son of John Warren Esquire (son of the Sir Edward). Furthermore, the register records the death in 1609 at Poynton of Sir Edward Warren, Knight & Baron of Stockport. So they must have spent time in Woodplumpton during that period.

There would have been a manor house in Woodplumpton known as Woodplumpton

Hall and the site of such a building is shown on the first edition Ordnance Survey Map, surveyed in 1844 & published in 1847. Its location was at the western end of the modern road The Orchard. The cobbled road still there almost certainly served the Hall. In 1838 the property consisted of house, outbuildings, garden, fold and orchard. In 1851 the associated farm consisted of 190 acres

The Reverend Thomas Jackson Calvert, Warden of Manchester, owned the Hall from 1823 to 1840, but it was occupied by William & Ann Jackson. William died in 1825 but Ann remained there until her death in 1859. It is not presently known when the old Hall was built or when it was pulled down, but a barn remained there within living memory. However the 1890 25 Ordnance Survey Map shows Woodplumpton Hall as the building opposite the Church (previously Woodplumpton Hall Farm).

During the 14th and 15th centuries local gentry acquired freehold land among whom were the Shirebuerns (of Stoneyhurst), who held Catforth, the Ambroses ( who built Ambrose Hall) and the Singletons of Chingle Hall. Among the rate payers in 1332 were Gilbert of Morhalle (Moor Hall) and Richard Newsam (Newsham).

During the subsequent centuries more yeomen farmers became prosperous resulting in more halls being built in Woodplumpton, notably Hollowforth Hall, Crow Hall, Midge Hall, Bartle Hall and Swillbrook House. The Ambrose family left their hall in 1650 & it was rebuilt in 1871. The present halls were built in the 18th or early 19th century and are basically large farmhouses.

The church occupies a prominent site overlooking the valley of Woodplumpton Brook to the south and west. How long there has been a church is uncertain. Some fragments of stonework uncovered when the vestry was extended in 1900 suggest a building from Norman times. Richard, the founder of Lytham Priory, held the Manor in the twelfth century and being a devout man, may have erected a Manor Chapel. One historian has quoted an unknown fourteenth century charter, which stated that the Manor of Woodplumpton held the right of patronage of the church of the said Manor. The architectural style suggests the earliest part of the church dates from the fourteenth century. The earliest documentary evidence of the present church is to be found in the records of a Royal Commission which took an inventory of altar furniture in1552. The first known curate, appointed by the vicar of the mother church of St. Michael’s-on-Wyre, was in charge from the year 1552. A list of incumbents from that date is mounted on the north wall inside the church.


The church underwent major restoration in 1748 when the Georgian exterior and bell cupola were built and in 1898-90 when extensive renovation of the interior of the church took place. A booklet describing the history and architecture of the church is available.

Outside the church are the village stocks, with ornately carved side stones and the wooden inserts in place. On the right hand stone is carved AB 73, presumably the mason’s initials and date, though which century is not known. Moving round the wall to the left there is a wicket gate whose gate stones are the same as the stones of the stocks. So Woodplumpton clearly had two sets of stocks.

The earliest school in the Parish is known from 1622 when two brothers named Boulton were licensed teachers. Then in 1661, Alice Nicholson of Bartle gave £100 by deed for the maintenance of a free school within the Manor Woodplumpton. It is recorded that school house was built in 1664 by date over door with the initials A.N., the founder. This school house can still be found in Rosemary Lane Bartle. The Charity Commissioners reported that sixty children attended in 1824.


This school closed in 1879 and a new County school opened in Catforth in 1874 now a County Primary School.

In the meantime, Woodplumpton Church of England School, was opened in 1863, built in brick in the Gothic style usual in the Victorian era. The cost, of £1,058, was met by local donations, an educational grant and a substantial gift from Mr C. A. Birley of Bartle Hall who also provided the site. The Schoolmaster had no full time assistance in teaching up to sixty pupils until 1897, when an assistant mistress was appointed. The attendance was still about 60 in 1931. The school became a primary school in 1953. Three additional classrooms were built in 1963 and a further one opened in 1994. It now caters for 105 pupils and has 5 staff.

Three instances of heavy loss of life due to disease have been recorded in the area. In Amounderness, between September 1349 and January 1349/50, 13,180 people died as a result of the Black Death. In 1631, there was an outbreak of plague in Woodplumpton, when the dreaded sickness claimed 61 lives in six months and in 1728 there was ‘great sickness’, 155 burials were recorded, many more than was ever before according to the register.


During the 17th and 18th centuries, many people in Woodplumpton remained faithful to the Roman Catholic Church; 46 out of 646 inhabitants in 1676 were described as ‘papist recusants’ and in 1755, of 869 persons, 268 were ‘papists’. Catholic services were held by itinerant Priests at Crow Hall & Midge Hall. Woodplumpton now has two Catholic Churches, St. Andrews, Cottam, and St. Roberts, Catforth.

There are also two Methodist Chapels and one Free Methodist Chapel. The Woodplumpton Chapel in Moorside Road was established in 1819 but has recently closed.

A workhouse, now demolished, was built by the canal bridge in Woodplumpton Road, in 1823 , said to be capable of accommodating seventy two people but it closed in 1864 when a large institution was built in Preston. Its mortuary, a small stone building, remains in Hollowforth Lane.

There is a seventeenth century thatched cottage at Cuckstool Farm near the school.

There was formerly a pond in front by the road where presumably vexatious women were punished using a ducking stool.

There was a mill on Woodplumpton Brook about 500 metres east of Woodplumpton, latterly used for grinding bones. There are now no buildings standing.


In the 19th century, there were three inns, The Wheatsheaf, and The Red Lion in the village, the de Tabley Arms in Tabley Lane and an ale house at Whittle Hill.

Throughout history, the bulk of the population lived at or in the neighbourhood of many small farms

Contact Us