We became interested in the succession of ownership of Duxbury Manor in the Parish of Standish, Lancashire County, England while reviewing the material in the “Duxbury Family History” by Donald and Ruth Duxbury (copy attached). On a recent trip to Chorley, we visited the Chorley Public Library Reference Room and reviewed the reference material available on the Duxbury Hall. There was only very limited reference material on the period (1135 – 1315) when the Duxbury line occupied the Manor. The vast majority of the information available covered the period from 1756 – 1932, the time the Standishes 1315 – 1898, the Mayhews 1898 – 1932 and the Chorley Corporation 1932 – To Present had an interest in the Duxbury Manor.
The intent of this limited research effort is only to clarify in my mind the involvement of the Duxbury line in the Duxbury Manor property. Land records indicate that Magnei de Duxbury’s original acquisition of the land occurred circa 1135. It seems clear that various Duxbury families owned or leased plots of land (messuages) in the area of the principal estate for many years, but direct involvement, by most accounts, appears to have ended by 1335 when Henry de Duxbury, Lord of Duxbury, granted land to Ralph Gogard and Hugh de Standish in payment for his release from Lancaster Castle as a result of his participation in the Banastre rising and Adam de Duxbury, son of Henry, granted Duxbury Manor to Richard, son of Hugh de Standish, ca. 1335.
One of the most confusing issues is the use of Duxbury Hall and Duxbury Manor in various references. Apparently, the term Hall* and Manor** may have been used rather loosely, which tends to complicate the issue from our perspective. There is a reference that Duxbury Manor was granted to Richard de Standish by Adam Duxbury in ca.1335. There is, also, a reference that Duxbury Hall and various lands were sold to Ralph de Standish in ca. 1520-1524. Further complicating the real property issue is that the property was sold and divided at death to various people including male relatives, male siblings and dowers to female siblings.
There are, as you might expect, what appear to be some inconsistencies in the various records that we reviewed. What appears to have happened in ancient times was the Manor property was held by Siward de Duxbury ca. 1202, added to by a grant from Walter de Adlington. Siward, in turn, granted land to Ralph de Standish and to his brother’s (Ulf’s) son, Robert de Duxbury. Ulf, apparently, had two sons, Robert and Henry. Robert granted his property to his uncle, Hugh de Duxbury, ca. 1260. No further records are available on this line until Ughtred ca. 1448. Apparently, the property passed to Ughtred’s son, Richard, in ca. 1448. In turn, the land was passed on to Richard’s son, Ughtred, ca. 1513 who granted certain lands to his uncles, Matthew and Humphrey Standish. Ughtred’s son, Thomas, sold Duxbury Hall and various lands. He, also, surrendered Duxbury ancient writings and pedigree to Ralph de Standish in an exchange for life rent ca. 1520 – 1524. When Thomas died, his son (we assume), Alexander, was removed from the property ca. 1533.
The Duxbury line that, apparently, was involved with the Manor that can be traced to the present time was that originating with Ulf’s son, Henry. A succession of Henry’s descendants were: Roger ca. 1220, Adam ca. 1246, Henry ca. 1315, who granted land to Ralph Gogard and Hugh de Standish in payment for his release from Lancaster Castle as a result of his participation in the Banastre rising, and Adam who granted Duxbury Manor to Richard, son of Hugh de Standish, ca. 1335.
At this point, it becomes unclear as to what happened. On one hand, we have the children of Adam Duxbury (Henry ca. 1357, Hugh ca. 1357 and Agnes ca. 1350, doing various things with Duxbury Manor. On the other hand, we have the Standishes in possession of the land that can be traced from the transfer by Henry de Duxbury ca. 1315 to the present.
It is reported that Duxbury Manor, in the late nineteenth century at the zenith of the Standish ownership, was comprised of 6,054 acres of land. The Carr family (1841-1856) added 1,900 more acres. It was large, but would not have put the owners in the class of the very wealthy of the time, and they would have been classed as gentry.
Perhaps, someone who has an interest in the early Duxbury history can shed more light on such subjects as the succession of the estate and the use of terms like Hall* and Manor**, as they were used in medieval times in England.
Two early family trees follow. The first is a part of the genealogy “Duxbury Family History” compiled by Donald and Ruth Duxbury published in 1992, and the other is a part of the book “Duxbury in Decline 1756-1932” by W. Walker published ca. 1995.
The dictionary defines:
*Hall as “the house of a medieval chieftain or noble”
**Manor as “consisting of a Lord’s demesne and of lands within which he has the right to exercise certain privileges and extract certain fees”
With the original land acquisition reportedly occurring ca. 1135, I suggest that we can speculate that there were some sort of living accommodations. While I don’t have any information on what they were, I am certain that they were very primitive. There is a great deal of speculation, but the structure pictured below may have been an early Duxbury Manor Hall. The timbers used to construct the structure have been dated to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The structure corresponds roughly to a medieval great hall, and there is no evidence of an alternative hall nearby.
In any event, there is no available evidence of any structure dating to the 1335 period when the Standish era started, other than the mention of the granting of the manor to Richard de Standish in ca. 1335.
What we do know is that there was a Duxbury Hall in existence prior to 1756, a late medieval tudor hall. The then existing structure was remodeled beginning in 1823 and was a two story rectangular building a hundred feet by eighty feet with five reception rooms and cantilevered staircase. On March 2, 1859, the Hall was destroyed by fire at a loss of 10,000 to 15,000 English pounds. The hall was rebuilt after the fire at a cost of 20,000 English pounds, using insurance proceeds. From the drawings available, it appears that new building was substantially the same on the exterior as the one destroyed by fire.
The picture below is one of the rebuilt Duxbury Hall ca. 1850.
In 1932, Constance Mayhew sold Duxbury Hall to the Chorley Corporation for 18,000 English pounds. The Hall was demolished by 1956 because of a defective internal storm water drainage system and neglect, not because of an explosion as has been reported.
The picture below is one of the rebuilt Duxbury Hall ca. 1905.
Two buildings remain of the Standish era Duxbury Hall complex, a Coach House and a Stable Block .
The information above dealing with the hall is based on a book “Duxbury in Decline 1756-1932” by W. Walker published ca. 1995.
The pictures that follow are of the Coach House and Stable Block as they appear in March 2000. Both buildings are, currently, occupied by business enterprises.