Houses, Farms, Buildings, Landlords and Tenants
In the 17th century, the largest house in Fishergate was owned by Thomas Winckley, a lawyer of some considerable wealth. A descendant of Thomas Winckley, another Thomas (also a lawyer), together with William Cross, laid out Winckley Square and several adjoining streets, including Cross Street which takes the surname of William Cross. It is through them that Winckley Square Gardens have been preserved for the people of Preston. Winckley Street, which connects the Square with Fishergate, still retains its association with the legal profession. There is also a Winckley Road off Broadgate. William Cross built the first house in Winckley Square in about 1800, where the Winckley Square School is now situated. He resided there, having his office at the corner of Winckley Street.
Lady Celia Fiennes, a visitor to the town in 1695, was impressed by a house, about which she wrote in her diary:
At ye entrance to ye town was a very good house wch was a lawyers, all stonework, 5 windows in ye front and high built according to ye eastern buildings in London. Ye entrance to ye house was 14 or 15 stepps large, and a handsome court with open pallisados in ye gate, and on each side of ye house neatly kept floweres and greens; there were also many stepps up to ye house from ye court …
The house she described was Patten House in Church Street. Thomas Patten, owner of the house at that time, was a Barrister at Law.
Preston’s first theatre must have been in existence sometime before the Guild Year of 1762, when it was referred to as “the old theatre in Fishergate street”. On George Lang’s map of 1774 it is called ‘The Playhouse’. In 1791 it was leased for 21 years by Thomas Woodcock, architect to the Theatres Royal of Edinburgh and Newcastle. This was abandoned sometime later and a new one built on the site of the present Theatre Royal. This one stood until the turn of the century when a larger theatre was built, later becoming a cinema but has now been demolished. Theatre Street runs alongside, and Woodcock’s Court off Fishergate is the site of the original Playhouse and named after its owner.
The Old Vicarage, formerly known as Vicarage Alley, is named from the Vicarage of the Parish Church. Nearby was the church’s tithe barn. Tithebarn Street, which has been mentioned previously, was the continuation of St. John’s Wiend, or St. John’s Street as it was called later.
The Parish Church of St. John was the only place of public worship in Preston connected with the established church until 1723, when St. George’s Chapel was erected as a chapel of ease. This was a plain brick building, but was faced with stone and embellished in 1843/44 – the cost being borne by T. M. Lowndes of Lea. A lane led down from Fishergate to the chapel, this being the present Chapel Walks, previously known as Roper’s Walk. At the Friargate end, a short access road has the name Chapel Yard and was formerly known as Apple Street – from the apple orchard upon which St. George’s Chapel was built.
Old Chapel Yard is on Friargate Brow and within it is the Roman Catholic Chapel of St. Mary, which has been in existence since about 1761. After the Reformation, the Roman Catholics were subjected to rigorous persecution and were compelled to worship privately and in secret, although Preston showed some tolerance, so that in 1605, a small thatched building was used by them as a place of worship. This building, after being converted into cottages, was finally used as stables until it was demolished to make way for the new Chapel of St Mary.
Brockholes Lane, now known as Brockholes Brow, and better known locally as Ha’penny Brow, leads down from New Hall Lane to the river where it is spanned by Brockholes, or Ha’penny, Bridge, a graceful arched structure built in 1861 to replace an earlier wooden one. The bridge’s local name is derived from the toll of 1/2d charged to pedestrians for the crossing.
Overlooking the Ribble Valley is Frenchwood House. The house and the adjoining land was held by Colonel Bence, to whom it descended through the marriage of Henry Bence to Elizabeth Starkie, daughter of Nicholas Starkie, in or about 1780. The Starkies were the original occupants of Frenchwood, which, for some time in the mid- 19th century, was the home of Charles Swainson Jnr., son of Charles Swainson the cotton magnate, who lived across the river at Cooper Hall in Walton-le-Dale. It eventually came into the possession of the Atkinsons, engineers and builders of the famous Atkinson Steam Wagons, who used the hall for offices and built workshops nearby. They moved to Walton Flatts under the name of Atkinson Vehicles and the Frenchwood works were taken over by the Ribble Motor Services, as repair shops, garages, and offices. The grounds of the house became public and are now known as Frenchwood Park: the neighbouring fields became the Frenchwood Recreation Grounds. Names from the estate are Frenchwood Street, Frenchwood Avenue and Frenchwood Knoll, there is also a Frenchwood View and there was formerly a Frenchwood Square on Manchester Road. Bence Road is nearby and Starkie Street is off Ribblesdale Place.
Lark Hill House, now a convent and school, was originally built in 1796 for Samuel Horrocks, who was Guild Mayor in 1842. It gives the name to Lark Hill Road, Lark Hill Street, and Lark Hill Terrace. Lark Hill itself is the slope of the Swill Brook valley, the artificial lake within the grounds being fed by the stream. The adjoining slope is Albyn Bank or Albin as it is spelt in some earlier references: Ralph de Albyn is mentioned in 1333. Great Albyn Hey and Little Albyn Hey were fields that belonged to the estate, now overbuilt with the residential streets of Albyn Street, Albyn Bank Street, and Albyn Bank Road.
Bairstow Street was named after John Bairstow, one of the founder members of the Preston Savings Bank which was established in 1816. The building on the corner of Bairstow Street and Avenham Lane, now known as the Harris Art Institute, was originally the Institute for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge and built on the site of Avenham House. The foundation stone was laid in 1846. The approach or entrance terrace in the Italian style was added in 1849 and designed by George Latham, as were some of the houses in nearby Latham Street. Another Latham, John, was the archltect for Christ Church in Bow Lane, St. Mary’s in St. Mary Street, St. Thomas’s on Lancaster Road, and All Saints Church.
Immediately opposite the Harris Art Institute is Avenham Walk, a wide tree-lined walk with a commanding view over the Avenham Valley. It continues, by a series of steps, down the steep bank to the Tram Bridge. The bank names Bank Parade, Avenham Bank and Bank Place. Across the Tram Bridge, or the ‘Owd Tram Bridge’ as it is more generally known, is the Tram Road. This was formerly a tramway along which horse-drawn coal bogies or trams rad from the branch of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Walton Summit to the wharf of the Preston Kendal canal behind Corporation Street. After crossing the bridge, originally a wooden trestle construction, the trams were pulled up the bank on an endless chain powered by a stationary steam engine situated on the summit of the bank. From there, to be horse-drawn agaln along a tramway that ran below Ribblesdale Place, under East Cliff Road and Fishergate to the wharf. The tunnel under Fishergate was used for many years by the goods vehicles and horse-drawn carts of the Lancashire and Yorkshlre Railway Company (the L and Y) to and from their goods yard at the lower end of Butler Street. It is believed by some that the name, ‘Owd Tram Bridge’ is a corruption of ‘Outram Bridge’, attributing its design to Benjamin Outram. Although he was associated with the planning of canals, bridges and aqueducts in South Lancashire, Cheshire and Shropshire, I can find no evidence that he had any connection with the Tram Road or the Tram Bridge. The word ‘tram’ originates from the reign of Elizabeth I, at which time Bavarian workers were brought over to the north of England to prospect for lead, copper, silver, and other minerals. The ores were dragged to the surface from the drift mines on a sort of wooden sledge they called a ‘traam’. For ease of pulling, the slope had stone- flagged trackways which were as wide as the runners of the sledge. Later, the trams were fitted with wheels, and eventually with flanged wheels to run on iron rails. The bogies that carry the coal from the coal face to the pit shaft are still called trams, as were the wagons that carried the coal on the Walton Summit to Preston Tramway, giving the name to the Tram Road and its bridge.
The building of a bridge over the then newly constructed canal in 1798, prompted changes in name of the upper part of Marsh Lane to Bridge Lane, and of the short section between Corporation Street and Friargate to Bridge Street. Previous to this the lane, like Friargate, had taken its name from the old Friary and was called Friar Lane. The Friary itself was, from the 17th century, used as a prison, or to give it its official name, the House of Correction. It was described by Dr. Kuerden as being
only reserved for reforming vagabonds, sturdy beggars and petty larcenary thieves, other people wanting good behaviour, it is now the county prison to entertain such persons with hard work, spare dyet and whipping, and is cal’d the House of Correction.
The new House of Correction at the junction of Stanley Street and Ribbleton Lane, now H. M. Prison, was opened in 1789 and enlarged in 1817, when eighteen new cells were added. After the old House of Correction was vacated, it became known as the Old Barracks, although there is no record that it was ever used as such. Later it was converted into a cotton mill. Barracks Street, off Marsh Lane, was nearby.
Hesketh Street in Ashton takes its name from the Hesketh-Fleetwood Family who were the Lords of the Manor of Tulketh and were in residence at Tulketh Hall. Running parallel with Hesketh Street is Poulton Street, later called Fleetwood Street, but a change of name was necessary when Ashton became part of the Borough of Preston, to avoid confusion with Fleetwood Street in nearby Fylde Road. Rossall Street is named after Rossall Hall on the Fylde coast, the seat of the Hesketh-Fleetwoods, and Hall Street from Tulketh Hall. The Travers family preceded the Hesketh-Fleetwoods as Lords of Tulketh and are remembered in the name of Travers Street, off Tulketh Road. Tulketh Hall itself became the home of the Brothers of Charity, who vacated it in the 1930’s. During the Second World War, it was taken over as offices for the armed services.
‘The Whinfield’, described by Charles Hardwick in his book ‘Preston and its Environs’ as “an elegant villa”, was built for Henry Newsham Pedder. The house took its name from the field of that name, also naming Whinfield Lane in which it stands. The Pedders were an in fluential family with varied commercial and municipal connections in Preston. Henry Newsham’s brother, Edward, lived at Ashton Park and Edward senior at Ashton Bank on nearby Cottam Lane. Pedders Lane runs alongside Ashton Park. Pedder Street on Maudland is named after James who developed the Maudlands into a residential district.
St Walburge’s Roman Catholic Church is built on or near the site of the ancient St. Mary Magdalen Hospital and Chapel, to a design by Joseph Aloysius Hansom, the inventor of the Hansom Cab. The founder and first superior of St. Walburge’s was Thomas Weston, naming Weston Street which runs off Pedder Street adjacent to the church. Hansom Square was near the Fylde Road end of Maudland Road. The St. Walburge or Talbot Schools were built from funds raised by W. Talbot; Talbot Road off Strand Road, formerly known as Hamilton Road, bears his name. The earliest Roman Catholic school in Preston was erected in 1814 in connection with St. Wilfred’s Church; St. Wilfred Street runs alongside to Charnley Street, named after Hugh Charnley, a member of a prominent Roman Catholic family who donated the site in Fernyhalgh for the building of Ladywell Chapel.
The Withy Trees, Fulwood, was originally a farm, marked on Yates’ 1786 map of Lancashire as “Within Trees”. The name is now taken over as the title of the hotel and immediate area, naming also Withy Parade and Withy Grove. Plungington House Farm, now the Plungington Hotel, gives its name to Plungington Road, being the continuation of Adelphi Street from Aqueduct Street to Fulwood. Inns and hotels frequently name thoroughfares and closes as in nearby Black Bull Lane. Among such names in town are Blue Bell Place, Black Horse Yard (now Anchor Court), Dog Inn Yard and Albion Yard. Turk’s Head Yard, off Church Street, was known as Cockshutt’s Backside in the 17th century, and later as Turk’s Head Court.
The Township of Ribbleton is mentioned in 1203 when Henry de Holland bought the wardship and marriage of the daughter of Henry de Ribbleton, but it must have been in existence long before this date, although it is not mentioned in the Domesday Book. Ribbleton Hall, which was the original manor house, is now over-built by a council estate that takes its name. Ribbleton Hall Drive and Ribbleton Hall Crescent are in the vicinity of the former hall. The Chestnuts, a large house nearby, has for many years been used as a sanatorium and auxiliary hospital, naming Chestnut Avenue and Chestnut Crescent. This gave rise to the adoption of tree names in the adjoining newly-built streets. Among them are Hawthorn Road, Sycamore Road, Willow Crescent, Cedar Road, Elm Grove, Mimosa Road, Bay Road, and Acacia Road. Beyond the Chestnut’s Hospital, and leading to Red Scar Wood, is Pope Lane so named from Pope’s Farm.
From Ribbleton Moor to the edge of Red Scar is a perfectly straight road called Pope lane with about three feet of its breadth paved with boulders. A similar pavement is likewise yet in existence beyond the Scar, it passes through the wood by Tunbrook. This road is doubtless very ancient, some regard it as a Roman vicinal way which led to the mineral springs of Boilton. This, however, is by no means certain. The term Pope Lane is a modern designation, derived from a comparatively recent occupant of a farm in the neighbourhood. – (Extract from a footnote by Charles Hardwick, circa 1855).
In the latter half of the last century, 1880/1885, part of the Skeffington/Lutwidge estate was leased for building purposes, naming Skeffington Road and Lutwidge Street. A local solicitor, Thomas Nevett, handled the transaction and had one of the streets named after him.
In or about 1560, John, son of Thomas Sherborne of Stonyhurst, acquired part of the moiety of the Manor of Ribbleton. The family resided at Ribbleton Hall until the late 17th century, after which time a branch of the family had a messuage or manor house in Deepdale. Sherbourne Crescent was built on or near Sherbourne House. Manor House Lane, which runs on to the Holme Slack Estate, takes its name from the Sherborne’s Manor House.
Holme Slack itself is named from Holme Slack Farm, and Holme Slack Lane runs through the estate. The name Holme Slack originates from the Middle English holm = a low lying or streamside field and slack = a shallow valley, this being the valley of Eaves Brook. There is a Slack Brow at Ribbleton, naming the hill that climbs out of the valley of this same stream. The Hodgkinsons, a prominent family of Preston, were “of Holm Slack” although one branch of the family was in residence at “Moresed House”, later known as Moor Hall. In 1555, it is recorded that Evan Wall leased Moreside to Henry Hodgkinson for 39 years. Moor Hall was situated to the north of Moor Brook and to the west of the Garstang Road, naming Moor Hall Street and Moor Hall Mill. Henry Hodgkinson died in 1615 and his will, proved in April 1616, in which he bequeathed his estate to his wife and four sons, revealed the enormous amount of land and property that he had acquired in Preston and district:
One burgage or tenement in the Market Place, now in the occupation of James Breres, with all backromes and other romes thereto belonging, and all the shoppes underneath the said house.
(This referred to the large half-timbered building seen on old prints and paintings of the Market Place, the site now occupied by Crystal House).
A close of land called the Brookfield, 2 closes of land called Greystock Heys, some property in St. John’s Weind. The house he lived in with both gardens (the locality is not stated) Moorside House with lands belonging thereunto, two fields in the Great St. Mary Hey and the intack. Several burgages in Friargate, the two raw mores and a parcel of land lying in the Mawdlands. The Washing Steed Hey called Corner Cappe, two parcels of land called Avenham Ends, a meadow under Aram Sykes, a burgage in Churchgate, the Croft called the Woodholme, one piece of meadow ground under the Little Cliff, and another piece of land under-the Cliff. Land over against Haighton Lane, a barn, croft and garden near Friargate Bars, one acre of land in the raw mores, the Mylne field adjoining on the Sykes, another parcel of land byeond the Freares, a parcel of land near Hoppe Green called Crooked Acre, another between the town and the Maudlands, several closes of land called the Dishes, Balshaw House and lands leased from the Corporation. A house in Fulwood, a croft in St. John’s Lane, a burgage in Fishergate together with the barn, croft and garden. Land on the other side of Broadgate, next the Ribble. Property in Salter lane, some called Banks and Bottoms. A close in Sandy Lane near the North More Gate, which he had purchased from the Worshipful Sir Richard Houghton, Knight and Baronett (this Sandy Lane is now Roebuck Street). A piece of land in Fishwick which had been delivered to him in lieu of his part of the wast in Fishwick.
Some, but by no means all, of the places mentioned can be found on early maps of Preston.
In 1733, Lady Petre, the young widow of Robert, 7th Baron Petre, married Charles, Lord Stourton. She owned a considerable amount of property on the south east side of Preston. Stourton Street, off London Road, bears the surname of her second marriage. She died in 1785 at the age of 88.
Numerous courts, yards and terraces in Preston had names relating to the owner or tenant. Myerscough buildings on Church Street were built for Richard Myerscough who had his pork butcher’s shop there. Harker’s Terrace, at the Church Street end of North Road, incorporated Harker’s Temperance Restaurant and Hotel. They also had a restaurant just around the corner in Church Street. Platt’s Wool and Draper’s Shop in Fishergate was at the corner of what is now Platt’s Court. Butler’s court, also on Fishergate, was named from a similar shop. In Friargate, named from early shops and businesses, are Bamber’s Yard, Barn’s Yard, Chew’s Yard, Clayton Gate, Hardman’s Yard, Heap’s Yard, Lill’s Court, Melling’s Yard, Prescott’s Court, Tommony’s Court, and Walker’s Court, some of which still survive. Bolton’s Court, Addison’s Yard, Clark’s Yard and Graystock Yard are off Church Street. There were, until the late 1950’s, about 50 such yards and courts in the town bearing the name of the owner or tenant, with names ranging from Ainsworth to Woodcock.