The de Lancaster family of Rainhill, Lancashire

Please note that the following are notes, and might be wrong! Please contact me with advice and questions.

The Lancasters of Rainhill were a landed family who lived in Lancashire from the Middle Ages. Rainhill was a manor on the parish of Prescot. They used a version of the Lancaster arms which is most associated with the de Lancaster family who had been Barons of Kendal. Although closely related, these are different from those of the Sockbridge Lancasters. They are: Argent, two bars gules, on a canton of the second a lion passant guardant or. (A white or silver shield with two horizontal red bars, and a red square in the top corner with a yellow or gold "lion of England" prowling in it, and raising a paw).

This could imply that the family descends from Gilbert son of Roger Fitz Reinfrid rather than William de Lancaster I, but at this stage I do not know of any convincing account of how. (Several theories exist!) We are seeking to discover the real links between this and other Lancaster families, ancient and modern, in the Lancaster DNA surname project, either through the use of DNA, or any other method! Please contact me if you have questions or ideas!

Some sources:

Steve Hissem's Lancaster webpage:

The "turtle63" webpage at rootsweb/

British History Online concerning Rainhill

The rootsweb reference is particularly important, and is based upon the work of Neil Streeter.

Generation 1.

John de Lancaster of Rainhill I (c1290)

From "British History Online" VCH Lancaster Vol. III.

John de Lancaster the father is described as 'of Rainhill' as early as 1313. He was certainly married to Margery daughter of Richard de Molyneux in or before 1314; Final Conc. ii, 19. He had a moiety of the manor at once conferred upon him, and in 1318 demanded a partition, the other lords being Alan de Windle (or Burnhull) and John son of Richard de Molyneux. All then held jointly 1,000 acres of pasture, part of the inheritance of Alan de Windle from Alan le Styward, his great-grandfather; De Banc. R. 230, m. 172d.; 235, m. 124d.

A claim for a third part by Roger son of Alan de Molyneux in 1334 shows that at that time John de Molyneux and Richard his son, John de Lancaster and John his son held moieties of the Molyneux part of the manor by gift of Richard de Molyneux (brother of the Alan named above). Robert de Bebington and Beatrice his wife, Henry de Atherton and Agnes his wife, Nicholas Banastie, Philip de Penwortham and Agnes his wife, and Philip his son also had lands. Agnes widow of Alan de Burnhull had married Sir Geoffrey de Warburton; Coram Rege R. 297, m. 107. John son of John de Lancaster frequently appears as plaintiff or defendant from 1346 onwards; e.g. Assize R. 1435, m. 15; 1444, m. 8d.

From Final Concords of the County of Lancaster, Farrer ed, 1903.

58. At Westminster, on the Quindene of St. Michael, [8] Edward II. [13th October, 1314].

Between John de Lancastre, and Margery, his wife, plaintiffs, by Robert de Berwyk put in Margery's place by the King's writ, and Richard de Molyneus, of Crosseby, deforciant of a fourth part of the manor of Culchith.

Richard granted the said fourth part to John and Margery, to have and to hold to them and to the heirs which John should beget by Margery, rendering a rose at the Nativity of St. John the Baptist for all service pertaining to Richard and his heirs. In default to remain to John, son of the said Richard, and the heirs of his body, in default to remain to Matilda, sister of the said John, son of Richard, and the heirs of her body, in default to remain to Margaret, sister of the said Matilda, and the heirs of her body, in default to remain to Joan, sister of the said Margaret, and the heirs of her body, in default to remain to Elizabeth, sister of the said Joan, and the heirs of her body, in default to revert to Richard and his heirs, for which John and Margery gave him a sore sparrow-hawk.

59. At Westminster, at one month from the day of St. Michael, 8 Edward II. [27th October, 1314].

Between Richard de Molyneus, of Crosseby, and Beatrice, his wife, plaintiffs, and Roger, son of Robert de Molyneus, of Reynhul, deforciant of a messuage, 5 oxgangs, 42 acres of land, 5 acres of meadow, and the manor of Little Crosseby. Richard acknowledged the said tenements to be the right of Roger, for which Roger granted them to Richard and Beatrice for their lives, after their decease to remain to John, son of the said Richard, and the heirs of his body, in default to remain to Matilda, sister of the said John, and the heirs of her body, in default to remain to John de Lancastre, and Margery, his wife, and the heirs which the said John should beget by the said Margery, in default to remain to Margaret, sister of the said Margery, and the heirs of her body, in default to remain to Joan, sister of the said Margaret, and the heirs of her body, in default to remain to Elizabeth, sister of the said Joan, and the heirs of her body, in default to remain to the right heirs of Richard.

Before John married into the Molyneux and became associated with Rainhill, it is very hard to identify him in any record with any security.

There were probably not many John de Lancasters in Lancashire in this generation but there were more than one. The one who is most well-known was the son of Roger de Lancaster of Rydal and Phillipa de Bolebec. Despite some claims around to the contrary this is one John de Lancaster, called Lord of Grisedale in some old records, who we can say is not John de Lancaster of Rainhill, because he clearly had no heir. Another John de Lancaster who is not connected to Rainhill is the one called John de Lancaster of Howgill, who took over Rydal after the death of John de Lancaster of Grisedale. His descendants, at least, are easy to trace and they have nothing to do with Rainhill.

Both Grisedale and Howgill are in Westmorland, very far from Rainhill, which is in southern Lancashire. It is normally asserted that at least John of Grisedale did maintain strong links to Lancaster and Lancashire, but I think the exact level of contact could be questioned more than it is. The two major functions he is presumed to have held are as a representative to parliament for Lancaster, and then, after the execution of Thomas Plantagenet, Earl of Lancaster, a John de Lancaster was responsible for managing the Lancashire possessions of the dead Thomas - a very important job indeed. However as far as I know there is no absolutely secure evidence for either of these two Johns being the one from Grisedale. He is the leading contender, because he certainly seems to have gone to parliament in some role, and he also played a role as a person trusted in financial affairs for the king during the wars with Scotland. John of Grisedale is also the most likely John to have been the Warden involved with Quernmore forest (8/56/2763), or the one involved in inspecting Bowland Forest (SC 8/35/1704, SC 8/107/5347). His father Roger had after all been keeper of all the King's forests north of the Trent river.

There was also a John de Lancaster who held the position of sergeant in Cheshire and Flintshire SC 8/15/734. This is perhaps closer to Rainhill, but I think it very difficult to place this John in any known Lancaster tree.

Normally however, it is assumed that John de Lancaster of Rainhill was a member of the family of Roger de Lancaster of Rydal (and therefore of the Barons of Kendal such as Gilbert the son of Roger fitz Reinfrid, and William de Lancaster I, II, and III) in some way. Not only do the Rainhill family use the same arms, but they also lived in an area where this family had clearly held land. He certainly was not the same as John de Lancaster of Grisedale, the son of Roger, but there are still John's brothers Roger and William, concerning both of whom we know very little. John of Rainhill could have been the son of one of these. The main theory I am aware of is indeed that he was a son of this Roger de Lancaster, son of Roger and brother of John. This Roger is often cited as the person next in line to his brother Lord John, but it seems that he died before his brother, and no heir is mentioned. In fact we know very little about him. Concerning the other brother, William, we know of him because of his involvement in church politics as a young man in Cumbria. He must have been older than his more well-known brother, which perhaps implies that he was illegitimate. A later William Lancaster was rector in nearby Croston from about 1300 to about 1320, and this may be a relative of the Lancasters of Rainhill. Like them, he seems to have possessed lands within the town of Lancaster.

A Thomas de Lancaster, son of Roger, who is the ancestor of the Lawrences of Ashton, certainly had a son named John de Lancaster, but he seems to have died without heir, leaving his brother Lawrence to take over the estates of this family, in the countryside around Lancaster. I do not know of any involvement by this family in southern Lancashire in this period.

Perhaps one more theory can be proposed and that is that this Lancaster family descend from Warine de Lancaster, who was indeed involved in the area of Rainhill some hundred years earlier. Though it is generally thought that his descendants all took up the surname Lea, and that this family clearly ended with the execution of Henry de Lea in 1315, in answer to this it can be said that not much is really known about the subject. Might it have been in the family's interest to revert to an older surname? I have found an intriguing record connecting the de Lea family to Rainhill not long before John de Lancaster's arrival:

No. 103.—At York, on the Morrow of the Purification of the Blessed Mary, 29 Edward I. [3rd February, 1301]. Between Henry, son of William de Lee of Reynhull, plaintiff, and William de Lee of Reynhull, deforciant of two messuages and fourteen acres of land in Reynhull [Rainhill]. William acknowledged the messuages and land to be the right of Henry, and rendered them to him, to hold to him and his heirs, in perpetuity, of the chief lords of the fee, by the services thereto belonging. For this acknowledgment Henry gave him five marks of silver. British History Online. Final Concords for Lancashire, Part 1, William Farrer (editor).

There seems no doubt that this is the soon-to-be-executed Henry de Lea, son of William de Lea. Was John de Lancaster a relative? The two surnames apparently lived on in Rainhill separately though, seemingly through an otherwise unknown younger brother of Henry named Roger (from British History Online)...

Roger son of William de Lee in 1320–1 granted to William his son his right in the Longshot with Lee field and 5 half-selions in Rainhill; also the reversion of the dower of Emma, widow of the grantor's brother William; Blundell of Crosby Evidences, K. 70, K. 250. William son of Roger de Lee in 1362 granted to his son John a messuage and all his land in Rainhill, except 2 acres which Richard Sherlock held of the grantor in a place called the Lee; Kuerden, fol. MS. 249. Richard, son and heir of Henry de Lee, in 1426–7 sold to Henry Blundell of Little Crosby and Ditton all his lands in Rainhill; ibid. 213, 249.

There were certainly Lees in Rainhill when the surviving Poll Taxes records of 1381 were made, both a John and a Phillip, but oddly no Lancasters.

Finally, John de Lancaster of Rainhill may have died young because his son may have had a guardian. According to the Lancashire Fines, at York, at three weeks from the day of St. Michael, 2 Edward III [20th October, 1328] John, son of John de Lancastre, was represented by Thomas de Gosenargh, his guardian, and William, son of John Philip, and Alice, his wife, deforciants of a messuage and a toft in Lancastre. William and Alice remitted all right to John and his heirs, for which John gave them 10 marks. But this could certainly be another Lancaster family.
Source "British History Online." Final Concords for Lancashire, Part 2, William Farrer (editor).

Generation 2.

John de Lancaster of Rainhill II (c1315)
The son of John. He appeared frequently in court cases from 1346 on. Living in 1364.

This John appears to have married Mabel, the widow of Simon le Moyne, getting John involved in southern English lands (if he was not already so involved). In the 17th year of Edward III (about 1329) they demised to Sir Robert, abbot of Ramsey in Huntingdon, their manor of Woldhirst, with a messuage and 15 acres there; and also a toft in Ramsey. In 1340 they were involved in a complaint in Linch in Sussex, formerly belonging to Mabel's husband Simon le Moyne. In 1356 Richard Molyneux of Sefton complained that this couple, along with Robert le Norreys of Melling, and Joan his wife, had abducted Simon de Molyneux, heir to one of the three plough lands in Thornton. John de Lancaster of Rainhill and Mabel his wife were claimants in Lancaster in 1367.

The second moiety at Rainhill descended from Roger and Agnes de Molyneux to their son Richard. On the death of Richard's son, Sir John de Molyneux, without surviving issue, it became the right of John de Lancaster, son of John de Lancaster who had married Margery, the daughter of Richard de Molyneux
Source "British History Online."

Generation 3

John de Lancaster of Rainhill III (c1340). Adult by 1369.

John, son of John, son of John de Lancaster of Rainhill, to John de Eaton of Lancaster: "Release of a rent of 6s. 8d. out of a burgage in Market Street in Lancaster." So in 1369 there was already an adult John who was the third in line named John. (Or perhaps there was a John who was the father of the John at the top of the tree, the one who married Margery Molyneux.) Source A2A website See DDK/1406/5 - date: 43 Edward III., A.D. 1369.

It is interesting to see the early Rainhill Lancasters really owned property in Lancaster itself. Maybe they had come from there.

Wife was possibly named Joan. See next 2 entries.

Generation 4?

Richard de Lancaster (c1345-1355)

Probably the son of the second or third John. His mother was Joan and was still living in 1396. Source "British History Online."

It is striking that in 1381, when poll tax records were made which are apparently quite complete for Rainhill, there are no Lancasters at all, and there appear to be none in the whole Hundred of West Derby. Were they still perhaps closely connected to properties elsewhere?

Generation 5?

John de Lancaster (c1375) son of Richard. Married Margery de Bold.
Source "British History Online."

Early in 1396 John son of Richard de Lancaster was engaged to marry Margery sister of John de Bold; Joan, the mother of Richard, was still living; Dods. MSS. cxlii, fol. 214b, n. 151. The provision included two parts of Holbrookfield in the township of Widnes. John de Lancaster was a juror at the Widnes court about 1430, and Thomas in 1476; Dods. MSS. cxlii, fol. 240. The latter was excused from serving on assizes in 1498, being seventy years of age; Towneley MS. CC. n. 653.

1400. Patent Rolls. John and his wife Marjory.

It seems to be the same John de Lancaster involved in a transaction concerning Euxton in 1418 (from Final Concords)...

19 (m. 2l). At Lancaster, on Saturday in the fourth week of Lent, 5 Henry V. [28th March, 1418]. .

Between John de Lancastre and Thomas de Assheton, plaintiffs, and John de Clayton, of Burnehull, and Joan, his wife, deforciants of two messuages, 80 acres of land, and 4 acres of meadow in Eukeston. John de Clayton and Joan acknowledged the said tenements to be the right of John de Lancastre, for which John de Lancastre and Thomas granted them to John de Clayton and Joan, to have and to hold to them of John de Lancastre and Thomas and the heirs of John for their lives, rendering a rose by the year at the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. After the decease of the said John and Joan the said tenements to revert to John de Lancastre and Thomas and to the heirs of John for ever.

See also VCH Lancaster Vol. 6.

Generation 6?

John de Lancaster (c1400). Married Margaret Bradshawe.

If Richard and Thomas in the next generation are John's sons, then John the husband of Marjory de Bold would have had to have had them late in life. Or could there have been two Johns, one after the other? If so, then according to the Visitation of Lancashire of 1567, this John was married to Margaret Bradshawe, daughter of Robert, of Carnavon.

On the other hand it seems possible that this was a second marriage.

Generation 7?

Thomas de Lancaster (c1428)
The son of John? Thomas was a juror at the Widnes court in 1476. Excused from serving on assizes in 1498, being 70 years old. Source "British History Online." (See above.)

Richard de Lancaster (c1430)
Married Blanche Legh about 1450 according to old pedigrees. Son of a John according to the Visitation of Lancashire in 1567, p.118.

1. Roger LANCASTER b: Abt 1452 in Burneshead, Kendal, Westmoreland. I think this is to be very strongly doubted, but it appears on the internet! Does not appear in the visitation.
2. Thomas LANCASTER b: Abt 1454 in Raynhill, Lancashire
3. Margaret LANCASTER. Married John Eltonhead.

Generation 8.

Thomas de Lancaster (c1454)
Married Margaret Ireland, c1480 daughter of John Ireland of the Hutt. Son of Richard according to the 1567 Visitation

1. Richard LANCASTER b. abt 1476, probably in Raynhill, Lancashire, England
2. John LANCASTER b. after 1476? probably in Raynhill, Lancashire, England.
3. Peter LANCASTER b. after 1477? probably in Raynhill, Lancashire, England. A clerke.
4. Hugh LANCASTER b. after 1478? probably in Raynhill, Lancashire, England. A clerke.
5. Thomas LANCASTER b. after 1479? probably in Raynhill, Lancashire, England . A clerke.

Generation 9.

Richard de Lancaster (c1480)

Source "British History Online."

Richard Lancaster, son and heir of Thomas, in 1526 joined with Thomas Gerard, lord of the other portion of Rainhill, in renouncing a claim to a pasture called the Copped Holt, which they acknowledged to be within Whiston, not in Rainhill. Richard was then fifty years of age, and 'calling to his remembrance the short time of this transitory life, and fearing the eternal damnation of his soul,' he repudiated the 'feigned and false title' which had been set up; Ogle R.

He died in 1535, and the subsequent inquest shows that he had held the moiety of the manor of John Eccleston by fealty and a rent of 18d.; a messuage in Rainhill of the king, by a rent of 8d. paid to the bailiff of West Derby; also lands in Euxton and in Appleton; his son and heir Richard Lancaster, married to Alice daughter of Bartholomew Hesketh in 1530, was seventeen years of age in 1538; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. vii, n. 11. Licence of entry, without proof of age, was granted to Richard son and heir of Richard Lancaster, 20 Nov. 1543; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxix, App. 555.

Further concerning Euxton...

Richard Lancaster died in 1535 holding lands in Euxton which had been granted by Thomas, his father, to trustees for the benefit of younger sons; they were held of the Prior of St. John by a rent of 6d.; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. vii, no. 11. A similar statement was made after the death of Richard Lancaster, son of Richard; ibid. x, no. 21.
Thomas Lancaster, son and heir of Richard the younger, leased his messuage and land in Runshaw in 1563 to Richard Charnock the elder and Ellen his wife, and, the rent falling into arrear, he took possession about 1582. Charnock afterwards re-entered into one part called Clark's field. See Duchy of Lanc. Plead. Eliz. cxxvi, L 7. See also Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 56, m. 18.

From Lancashire Feet of Fines:

m. 118. [28 March, 1552].
Between Thomas Eccleston, esq., and Richard
Lancastre, gent., plaintiffs, and Roger Colley, gent., deforciant of 8 messuages, 4 cottages, 4 tofts, a wind-mill, 10 gardens, 10 orchards, 200 a. of land, 60 a. of meadow, 100 a. of pasture, 20 a. of wood, 100 a. of moor, 100 a. of marsh, 100 a. of turbary, 100 a. of furze and heath, and 3s. 4d. of rent in Wyndell [Windle], Sutton, and Melling.

Roger acknowledged the said tenements to be the right of Thomas, for which Thomas and Richard granted them to Roger for his life; after his decease to remain to Robert Colley, son and heir apparent of the said Roger, and to the heirs of his body; in default to remain to Richard Colley, younger son of the said Roger, and to the heirs of his body, in default to remain to the right heirs of the said Richard.

Married Eliza? Ann? Alice? Ecclestone, and later perhaps Agnes Leyland?

1. Richard LANCASTER b. abt 1521 in Raynhill, Lancashire, England
2. Margaret LANCASTER. Married Richard Curwen
3. Elizabeth LANCASTER. Married Robert Cowley of Wymerall
4. Helene LANCASTER. Married Thomas Bolton of Liverpool

Generation 10.

Richard de Lancaster (c1510)

Son and heir of Richard. He married Jane (or Alice?), the daughter of Bartholomew Hesketh, in 1530, though he was only 17 in 1538. Possibly his Probate Account is the one of Richard Lancaster of Prescot Parish, Lancs. Dep. Temp. Edw. 6. The Heskeths were known as Catholics, and Bartholomew's younger brother even as a conspirator.

Children (turtle63)

1. Thomas LANCASTER b: ABT 1544 in Rainhill, Lancashire, England . Son and heir, alive in 1567. See above.
2. Richard LANCASTER b: ABT 1543 in Rainhill, Lancashire, England.

3. Edward LANCASTER b: 1547 in Rainhill, Lancashire, England
4. Gabriell LANCASTER b: ABT 1549 in Rainhill, Lancashire, England
5. Isabell LANCASTER b: 1551 in Rainhill, Lancashire, England

Generation 11.

Thomas de Lancaster (c1544-c1606), son of Richard.
Married Margaret Laton . His will is the Lancashire will of 1606. He was buried 21 January 1607/8 according to the Prescot burial register. By this time he had apparently re-married to an Anne, apparently Anne Rishton. The Prescot register shows a burial for Margaret, 14 Feburary 1603/4, but also apparently another wife a few years later, Ellen, buried 10 July 1605. From here we can use the Visitations of 1613 and 1664. (In 1613, his grandson Thomas leads the family already, and has infant children.).

[Endorsed] Ric' Lancaster, Ric' ... of 1 Thomas, son and heir of Richard Lancaster of Rainhill, was head of the family at the Herald's Visitation of 1567.

Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire - 1941, Page 200

The Victoria History for Lancashire says that he "was in 1590 one of those in 'some degree of conformity' to Elizabeth's laws concerning religion, but 'in general evil note' and a non-conmmunicant; Gibson, Lydiate Hall, 245 (quoting S.P. Dom. Eliz. ccxxxv, n. 4)."

Turtle63 citing Neil Streeter writes:

Thomas became Archbishop of Armagh, Ireland and is mentioned in a letter from the Queens Commission of Walter Devereux 1st Earl of Essex Ref: D/3531/F/1 at the Irish records Office. Thomas Lancaster Archbishop Armagh 1568 - 1584
By 1580 the Lancaster were being persecuted for their Religious faith being devout Catholics, this is probably the reason that Thomas's sons entered the priesthood, as had their predecessors and then moved away, one to Ireland, the others to Essex and Sussex.
Rainhill hall was originally a square building with an open court, now only the North and West wings survive and they are descending into ruin. One wing modernised to 2 stories, the other open to the roof beams and formed a hall, with medieval windows and good quality craftsmanship, it was used as a chapel during the period of persecution.

However, this Thomas Lancaster who was an Archbishop is known to have come to Ireland (first Kildare) from an earlier position in Salisbury, and also the have been strongly protestant. He lost positions under Mary and gained them under Elizabeth. He is said to have been married and to have had one son and two daughters. He died too early to be Thomas of Rainhill also, in 1583.

   1. Gabriell LANCASTER
   2. Thomas LANCASTER. Born about 1568. Went to Cambridge. Died celibate.
   3. John LANCASTER. Born about 1570. Went to Cambridge. Died celibate.
   4. Jane LANCASTER. Does not appear in the visitations. Mentioned in her father's will and brother's will, below. Still alive in 1628. Married William Moreton.
   5. Richard LANCASTER. Born about 1572. Went to Cambridge.
   6. Percivall LANCASTER b: ABT 1568 in Rainhill, Sussex, England. Does not appear in Visitation of 1613 or 1664, but in his brother Thomas' will. See below.

Richard Lancaster (c1543), son of Richard.

Notes on possible descendants:

There are baptisms in Prescot. as follows...

There was a Richard Lancaster of Heskin who had dealings in 1630 with the family of Edward Robinson of Euxton, a family who also had dealings with Thomas Lancaster of Rainhill and his heir Gabriel, in 1594, and about 1600.

This Richard had sons Robert and Richard, and also had dealings with the Eccleston family, which would be the first Richard's mother's family (QDD/34/m20d , QDD/38/F14 , QDD/40/F9 , DDHK 3/4/109 , DDHK 3/4/130). A 1667 document mentions that the second Richard had a wife named Ellen and a son named John.

This John is apparently the same one whose will was dated 5 Jul 1723, and probated 7 Nov 1723 (DDHK 3/4/138), apparently referred to there as being "of Heskin" and whose wife at death was apparently named Mary. In a document dated 25 Jan 1734/5 (DDHK 3/4/143) their daughters are named as Ellen Hodgson of Heskin, widow; Anne the wife Richard Bancks of Wrightington, yeoman; Mary the wife of Henry Finch of Mawdesley; and Susan the wife of James Marsden of Standish, husbandman. It might be that Mary Finch née Lancaster had previously been married to John Lloyd of Shoreditch, Middlesex, coal merchant (DDHK 3/4/139, 140, 141) or else there was another Mary Lancaster, perhaps a sister of John.

A Mary Lancaster of Eccleston, widow, had her will DDHK 3/4/149 made 18 Nov 1770 and probated 22 Dec 1770, and not long after, 12 January, is the "receipt for the payment of a legacy left by John Lancaster to the children of his son Richard" DDHK 3/4/150. December 30 (DDHK 3/4/151) and 20 May 1785 (DDHK 3/4/152), are receipts of Richard Lancaster, John Lancaster, James Lancaster, Oswald Lancaster and William Bamber for payment of legacies under the will of Mary Lancaster of Eccleston, by her executors William Hawkshead and William Anderton. These men are the sons and son-in-law of John and Mary. Mary's sister, mentioned in her will, is Alice Atrick.

There must be some connection to Richard Lancaster of Leyland, whose will is dated 1732, and who also named a son Oswald.

Generation 12. In which we have to start designating branches more clearly...

The children of Thomas Lancaster

1. Gabriel Lancaster (c1570 and buried 28 May 1601 Prescot), son of Thomas
According to Visitations married Ursula Foxe daughter of Thomas Foxe, and was himself a son of Thomas Lancaster. Although he shows up in the main line of the family he died before his father, as shown in his father's will, and his son was in charge by 1613. Nevertheless it appears that he married twice, the second time to Margaret Bruen or Bruyn, who is known to have been the mother of Nathaniel for example. The Prescot register confirms "Ursula uxr (uxor, wife) Gabriell Lankester, Ranhill, Burial 3 November 1593".

Children to Ursula Fox
   1. Thomas LANCASTER of Rainhill bap. 22 JAN 1585/6 in Saint Mary, Prescot, Lancashire
   2. Margaret LANCASTER. Margaret Elphicke in her uncle's will, of which she was executor.
   3. Jane LANCASTER bap. 26 Feb 1592/3 in Saint Mary, Prescot? Not mentioned in uncle's will. Parish also does not mention Rainhill, but rather Sutton.

Children to Margaret Bruen
   4. Tabitha LANCASTER bap. 11 Dec 1597 in Saint Mary, Prescot, Lancashire. Not mentioned in uncle's will.
   5. Nathaniell LANCASTER. Mentioned in uncle's will.
   6. Anna LANCASTER. Mentioned in uncle's will.
   7. John LANCASTER. Mentioned in uncle's will, of which he was a reserve executor along with his cousin.

2. Thomas Lancaster, son of Thomas. (1568-1630)

Educ: BA Kings Cambridge 1586, MA 1594, BD 1601, Fellow of Kings 1589-1606

Religion: Chuch of England

Thomas became the heir as Gabriell was deseased before him, the details of the disposal of his goods are in his will Ref PCC item 111 page 362 of file 158 at FRC London, as well as other relationships to other members of the family.

With Gabriell dying, Thomas, John and Richard became clerkes and moving away this left Thomas under age at Rainhill hall and he as heir was made ward of the King. It was his line that suffered the main persecution and fines due to being Catholics and this point marked the decline of the Lancasters in Rainhill.

Note:- entry in Cambridge Alumni

Adm. at KING'S (age 18) a scholar from Eton, Aug. 24, 1586. Of Rainhill, Lancs. Doubtless 2nd s. of Thomas, of Rainhill. Matric. 1586; B.A. 1590-1; M.A. 1594; B.D. 1601. Fellow, 1589-1606. Ord. deacon and priest (Lincoln) Jan. 20, 1599-1600. V. of Hellingley, Sussex, 1605-30. Buried Dec. 7, 1630. Will, P.C.C. Brother of Richard (1589) and John (1587). (W. C. Renshaw.)

Lancaster, Thomas, Admitted August 24th 1586 to Kings college Cambridge aged 18, a scholar of Eton from Rainhill, Lancashire. Doubtless 2nd son of Thomas Lancaster of Rainhill. Matriculations, 1586, B.A. 1590-1 M.A. 1594 B.D. 1601 Fellow 1589-1606 Ordinated Deacon and priest (Lincoln) January 20th 1599-1600 Vicar of Hellingly Sussex 1605-30 Burried Dec 7th 1630. Will PCC Brother of Richard (1589) and John (1587). Following him as vicars of Hellingly were Samuel Lancaster from 1630 and William Lancaster from 1645.

ref. DDX 298/3  - date: 14 Sep. 1629

Inquisition, post mortem: Thomas Lancaster of Rainhill, (Photocopy from P.R.O.)
From A2A website 

Thomas is a first link to Sussex where the later Herstmonceaux Lancasters lived. Thanks to Neil Streeter for the following...

Will of Thomas Lancaster Vicar of Hellingly, which is close to Herstmonceux, Bexhill, Laughton and Eastbourn.

  Anno 1630 May  4
       I Thomas Lancaster
In the name of God Amen: May the fourth in the year of our Lord God One thousand six hundred and thirty. I Thomas Lancaster of Hellinglie in Sussex Clerke do ordain this my last will and testament in a manner and forme following. First I commend my spirit into the hands of God that gave it hoping and believing that it is purged by the blood of my most gracious saviour and Lord Redeemer Jesus Christ my body I committ to Christian burial; my goods I dispose as followeth. I give to the Church of Hellinglie toward the pulpit and plates for communion to be built in the chancel of the said church three pounds. Item: I give three pounds to be distributed among the poor especially of Hellinglie on the day of my burial at the discretion of my executor and overseers. Item: I give to the free people of the parish of Prescott in Lancashire near Warrington six Pounds. Item: I give to the two Libraries of Kings College in Cambridge and the other of Eton to be paid out in books Eight pounds to be equally divided. Item: I give to
Jane my sister the wife of Mr William Mourten of Mourten in Cheshire Esquire; all my silver plates. I give to Edward Mourton fellow of the Kings College in Cambridge, their sonne, my best cloak, best Jerkin,, Best doublet and hose, my watch. Item: I give to Nathaniell Lancaster Sonne of my brother Gabriell Lancaster deceased, to Thomas Lancaster, sonne of my brother Percivall Lancaster deceased, to Thomas Lancaster sonne of my brother Richard Lancaster deceased, each of them fortie shillings a peece. Item: I give to John Lancaster sonne of the said Gabriell Lancaster five pounds. Item: I give to three Daughters of the said Percivall Lancaster, to five Daughter of my brother Richard Lancaster Deceased and to Anna the daughter of the said Gabriell my brother each of them five silver pounds of ten shillings price a peece. Item: I give to Mr Thomas Perkes of Blackfryers in London a gold ring of tenne shillings price. I give to Elizabeth his daughter five silver pounds of twenty shillings price.I give to Misses Luthers widow a nobel and her daughter Katherine five shillings if they be living at my death. I give to Thomas Wells the sonne of William Wells late of the Parish of Hellinglie five shillings. I give to Nathaniell the sonne of Nathaniell Wells a silver pound of Eight shillings price. I give to Mary the wife of John Anger and to Elizabeth her sister the wife of John Fulham of Chiddinglie both sonnes to my servants tenne shillings a peece. I give to her that shall be my servant at my death twentie shillings. I give to Margaret Elphicke the daughter of my first Brother Gabriell Lancaster all of my linen sheets and all of the rest of my linen I give her my best bedstead of timber and all things belonging thereon to. I give her of merit somme of household stuff of pewter foure peeces of brass five of the best and of all the rest of tables and tooles and the rest whatever they be for price and I will it she should choose them herself. Item I give her all the wool and yarn bed laundry for keeping herself. Item : I give her the benefit of the Lancaster Truste fundes for during the tyme of the demise and longer if it spreads the land sold to then her favour for my sake also the rest of my household stuffs not bequeathed and all my goods and chattels I give to Samuell Lancaster, to Joseph, Thomas and Mary his brothers and sister, the sonnes and daughter of my brother John Lancaster deceased to be equally divided amongst them and my will and her will is that the said Samuell shall immediately upon my death , shall take the said legacies of Pay/Gold/effects/chattels into his owne care and keeping so that my executor have not reason or trouble about the same. But I will it if hold rest upon him she being firstly and sometime troubled with her own business. Item: I give to the said Samuell my books. Item: I give to the said Mary his sister tenne pounds. Item: I give to Benjamin her brother five poundes. Item: I give to the said Samuell and Mary his sister all those fishes that be due unto me at my death to be equally divided betwixt them so that they gather them at their own sitio sip needes etc so such at their owne labour and coste. Item: I ordaine the said Margaret Elphicke the elder child of my eldest brother Gabriell Lancaster deceased of whose dispassion and faithfulness I have had so good and long experience I appoint her therefore the sole executive of this my last will and testament. And my will and every wish is that all the reste of my goods not bequeathed shall rest in her hands to be distributed at her discretion to so manie and those only she thinks fitt for children of her brother Thomas Lancaster of Rainhill in the parish of Prescott in Lancashire deceased and it also amongst those and summarie of the children of her sister Jane Maynard the wife of Thomas Maynard dwelling not far from Banbury in Oxfordshire and my will is that fith portions of my executive shall allot to them or a mix of them shall be by her ordered for making them either approximate or appointing them to any other honest calling which if their friends agree to do then shall it be lawful for my said executive to bestow the fair portions intended unto them upon anie offer of our kindred and friends that will be ordered by her. Item: My will is that if the said Margaret my executive shall marry or die before the proving or full executing of my will then Samuell Lancaster before named and John Lancaster the sonne of Thomas Lancaster of Rainhill aforesaid whome I appoint two of my executives shall execute my will having warranted the goods remaining in the hands of the said Margaret faithfully to distribute according to the true meaning of this my will and for the performance thereof shall offer to give good service to the said Thomas Maynard whome I appoint the third executor of this my will and my will is that neither my executive Margaret nor anie of my overseers shall be at any loss or cost they sustain in this travel about this my will but shall be allowed the necessary expenses and cost about the same I give to my brother in Law Mr John Goodwin a gold ring confirming my wishes to his sister. Lastly my will is that if upon the marriage or death of the said Margaret my executive the said Samuell and John Lancaster shall deal with the execution of my goodes then it shall be lawfull for the said Samuell and John to deduct out of my goods for their owne use and profit tenn pounds a peece for their pains as is most equal they being both being my nearest closest in wishes in hereof I have so too my hand real I have not bequeathed wheat malt and other provisions should have gone towards housekeeping so long as it goes on and then for my executors all.
This I confirm by my hand and seal, Thomas Lancaster Vicar Hellinglie signed in the presence of Richard Payne William Wells William Payne.

3. John Lancaster, son of Thomas. Dead before 1628.

Adm. at KING'S (age 17) a scholar from Eton, Aug. 28, 1587. Of Prescot, Lancs. Doubtless 3rd s. of Thomas, of Rainbill, Lancs. Matric. 1587; B.A. 1591-2; M.A. 1595. Fellow, 1590-7. ‘Beneficed in Oxfordshire’ (Harwood). Preb. of Cashel, 1610-6. Treasurer of Lismore, 1610-7. Preb. of Lismore, 1610-9. Preb. of Cloyne, 1610-3. Preb. of Limerick, 1610-2. One of these names [the John Lancasters of this period] chaplain to James I. Bishop of Waterford, and Lismore, 1607-19; died at Waterford, 1619. Buried in the Cathedral. Brother of Richard (1589) and Thomas (1586). (History of King's College, 106; D.N.B.; A. B. Beaven.)


1. Samuel LANCASTER b: ABT 1602 in Oxfordshire, England, cleric mentioned in his uncle's will, of which he was reserve executor along with his cousin.

Adm. sizar at QUEENS', Jan. 31, 1620-1. Of Oxfordshire. Doubtless s. of John, and nephew of Thomas (1586), whom he succeeded at Hellingley. Probably ord. deacon (Bangor) Apr. 29, 1627; priest, Jan. 3, 1627-8. V. of Hellingley, Sussex, 1630-45. Buried there Aug. 17, 1645.

2. Mary LANCASTER b: ABT 1600 in Unknown, England

3. Joseph LANCASTER b: ABT 1600 in Unknown, England


5. Benjamin LANCASTER

6. William LANCASTER b: ABT 1600 in Unknown, England

7. Elizabeth LANCASTER b: ABT 1600 in Unknown, England

8. Jane LANCASTER b: ABT 1600 in Unknown, England

9. John LANCASTER b: ABT 1600 in Unknown, England

4. Jane Lancaster, daughter of Thomas

Married William Moreton of Moreton.

5. Richard Lancaster, son of Thomas

In 1630 his brother's will mentions that he had a son Thomas and 5 daughters, and that he had already passed away. Educated at Eton and Cambridge, and became a cleric.

Adm. at KING'S (age 17) a scholar from Eton, Sept. 6, 1589. Of Rainhill, Lancs. Doubtless 4th s. of Thomas, of Rainhill, Lancs. Matric. 1589; B.A. 1593-4; M.A. 1597; B.D. 1605; D.D. 1615. Fellow, 1592-1613. Incorp. at Oxford, 1601. Chaplain to Prince Henry. R. of Little Bardfield, Essex, 1613-6. Died 1616. Brother of Thomas (1586) and John (1587). (Harwood; Chetham Society, LXXXI. 118.) See the Oxbridge Lancasters webpage.

Married Margeret Doumbell

Children according to tiger63, based on Neil Streeter's work...

1. Margaret LANCASTER b: 1585 in Saint Mary, Prescot, Lancashire, England according to tiger63. Richard would be to young!

2. Thomas LANCASTER b: 13 JUL 1594 in Rainhill, Lancashire, England. Had his family in East Sussex? (Eastbourne, where he is said to have married Mary Godfrey in 1618, and Mary Hothen in 1621, and then Hurstmonceux)

3. John LANCASTER b: 1602 in Eccleston, Lancashire, England. Must have died young? Not mentioned in uncle's will.

4. Eline LANCASTER b: ABT 1600 in Eccleston, Lancashire, England

5. Nicholas LANCASTER b: ABT 1609 in Eccleston, Lancashire, England

There must have been more daughters.

I have doubts about some of the dates connected to this Richard. Perhaps these are all resolved by suggesting that the equation of Richard with the scholar at Eton and Kings may be wrong?

6. Percival Lancaster, son of Thomas

Married Ann Kenion 11 Jul 1598 in Prescot. (NOTE: some trees online show this wedding being for a Thomas Lancaster.)

Lancashire will of 1628, buried 30 April that year. His wife Ann's PCC will exists, and mentions sons Thomas and John, as well as daughter Ann "now the wife of Lawrence Lea of Rainhill". The only grandchild mentioned is one Easter Lea. Because of this we can confirm that the son Thomas is the clerk with PCC will 11/281, Birdham in Sussex. It mentions that John is now of Westchester, and also sister Alice Cooke (with daughter Alice Smith), and widowed sisters Margaret Greene and Elizabeth Sutton.

If we compare to the above will of Percival's uncle, one of the 3 living daughters in 1628 must have died by 1630.

The wife of Thomas, Mary, had also made a PCC will at which time he was minister of West Itchenor.

It is interesting that a cleric named Christopher Lancaster had long before been buried in Birdham, in 1569.

Was leased nearly 30 acres of land by his nephew Thomas, son of his brother Gabriell in 1609. This land then fell to his son Thomas and in the settlement of the marriage of Thomas Lancaster of the hall in 1659 to Elizabeth Mere arranged for it's return to the main family line when the lease expired. turtle63 pedigree


1. Margaret LANCASTER b: 1 OCT 1599 in Saint Mary, Prescot, Lancashire, England (tiger63). Married a Greene. Mentioned in father's 1628 as one of the two eldest daughters, but not yet married then.

2. Elizabeth LANCASTER b: 1 MAR 1601 in Farnworth, near Prescot, England (tiger63). Married a Henry Sutton (mentioned in Percival's will).

3. Ellen LANCASTER b: 14 FEB 1608 in Saint Mary, Prescot, Lancashire, England. Probably died young.

4. Ann LANCASTER b: 1 OCT 1611 in Saint Mary, Prescot, Lancashire, England. Married Lawrence Lea. (Not married in 1628 for father's will)

5. Jane LANCASTER b: 2 APR 1613 in Saint Mary, Prescot, Lancashire, England. Probably died young.

6. Thomas LANCASTER b: ABT 1614 in Unknown, England. Clerk of Birdham, and West Itchenor, both in West Sussex.

7. John LANCASTER b: ABT 1615 of Westchester?

?. Alice Lancaster, married Robert Cooke of London. Mentioned only in will of Thomas, her brother. Had a daughter Alice Smith.

Generation 13.

Thomas Lancaster (1586-1629) Son of Gabriel, and head of the Rainhill family in 1613.

Turtle63, referring to Neil Streeter:-
Note: Under age at the time of his fathers death, he was made a Ward of the King, by 1609 he was old enough to inherit and leased his uncle Percival 30 acres of land in Rainhill on which his Uncle built a house. He inherited some of his Uncle Thomas of Hellingly's estate in the will of 1630. His elder sister Margaret is appointed the executor of that will and proves the said will in Dec 1630. According to the will [Lancashire will and inventory of 1629?] he is deceased before May 1630 and had several children.

PL 6/1/140. Palatinate of Lancaster: Chancery Court: Pleadings, Bills. 1609 September 9. CAUSE: To compel defendants (John Clayton of Runshaw in Euxton, yeoman; Ellen Sharrocke of Runshaw, widow) to surrender their interests in premises in Euxton to the plaintiff (Thomas Lancaster of Rainhill, esquire) in order that he might suffer a recovery

In 1628 Thomas Lancaster, as a convicted recusant, paid double to the subsidy, but though his son John was a Royalist, and as such suffered the confiscation of his property by the Parliament, he does not seem to have been charged with the equally serious offence of recusancy. Subsequently the estate was recovered. In 1717 John Lancaster and two other members of the family as 'Papists' registered estates here. Parts of the estate were sold, but the hall descended to the Fleetwood family. - from "Townships: Rainhill, A History of the County of Lancashire: Volume 3" on "British History Online".

According to the visitations, including one made when he was alive, his wife Margaret Eccleston, of Eccleston, and their children in 1613 were John (3 in 1613), Mary, Ann and Margaret. In 1663/4 Margaret is not mentioned, so she perhaps died young. There are also Thomas and Gabriel (both "ob coel.") and Jane, Lucy, Elianor and Ursula. But according to some internet trees, including tiger63, he married Ann Kenion. See note above. In any case the children are as follows.

1. John Lancaster. Born about 1610. Prescot register shows baptism 17 March 1611. Mentioned in father's will in 1629 (son and heir apparent).

2. Mary Lancaster. Married William Bath of Dundalk, Ireland. Does not seem to be mentioned in father's will.

3. Ann Lancaster. Married Henry Preston of Preston. Mentioned in father's will in 1629 (unmarried).

4. Margaret Lancaster. Baptized 16 August 1612. Must have died between the two visitations of 1613 and 1663/4.

5. Thomas Lancaster. There is a baptism 2 April 1614, but a burial 27 August 1617. Died celibate. A Thomas mentioned in father's will in 1629, maybe a second one?

6. Gabriel Lancaster. Died celibate. Mentioned in father's will in 1629. Mentioned in father's will in 1629.

7. Jane Lancaster. Baptised Prescot 1 June 1619. Married Edward Cheiney of London. Mentioned in father's will in 1629 (unmarried).

8. Lucy Lancaster. Married Adrian Tukker of Newbould-Dacy, Warwick. Mentioned in father's will in 1629 (unmarried).

9. Elianor Lancaster. Unmarried in 1663/4. Mentioned in father's will in 1629 (unmarried).

10. Ursula Lancaster. Unmarried in 1663/4. Mentioned in father's will in 1629 (unmarried).

Thomas Lancaster son of Richard, of East Sussex

I should mention that apart from the fact that the family had a series of clerics living in the area, I am not sure what if any evidence exists to this Eastbourne family back to Rainhill. The following is based partly upon internet trees like Turtle63, which presumably all go back to Neil Streeter's tree, and partly on checking the IGI...

Marriage 1 Mary GODFREY b: 23 JUL 1592 in Eastbourne, Sussex, England

Married: 13 JAN 1618/19 in Eastbourne, Sussex

1 child:

Richard LANCASTER baptised 14 FEB 1619 in Eastbourne, Sussex, England (son of Thomas Lankester). Said to have married Mary Chapman, 11 July 1642 in Laughton, and had children in Laughton.

Marriage 2 Mary HOTHEN

Married: 12 JUL 1621 in Eastbourne


1. Mary LANCASTER baptised 6 August 1622 in Eastbourne (Mary Lankester d/o Thomas)

2. Margaret LANCASTER baptised 26 December 1624 in Eastbourne (Margret d/o Thomas Lankester)

3. Thomas LANCASTER baptised 9 December 1627 in Eastbourne (Thomas s/o Thomas Lankester). Said to have married Elizabeth Hastings.

4. Elizabeth LANCASTER baptised 11 April 1630 in Eastbourne (Elizabeth Lankester d/o Thomas). Said to have married John Hollibone.

5. John LANCASTER baptised 8 April 1631 in Eastbourne (John s/o Thomas Lankester). Presumably died young.

6. Robert LANCASTER baptised 23 November 1634 in Eastbourne (Robart son of Thomas Lankester)

7. Rebecka LANCASTER baptised 11 April 1637 in Eastbourne, (Rebecka d/o Thomas Lankester)

8. John LANCASTER baptised 7 April 1639 in Eastbourne (Neil says born 11 JUL 1639 in Hurstmonceux),(John Lanchaster s/o Thomas). This is the first Lancaster of Herstmonceux, said to have married Lucretia Dawson and then Mary Mott. Hurstmonceux came via the Mott family.

9. Ruth LANCASTER baptised 21 March 1639/40 in Eastbourne (Ruth Lanchaster d/o Thomas)

Thomas Lancaster of Hellingly was clearly close to Herstmonceux, and clearly a part of the Rainhill family. He seems to have accumulated lots of lands which were then eventually distributed amongst nephews and nieces. On the other hand, several Lancaster families in Northern England and perhaps elsewhere seem to have had members moved to the south in order to take up clerical positions.

In some old correspondence, Neil mentioned that Thomas Lancaster born 1st March 1685, Eastbourne Sussex, died 4th march 1741 Peasmarsh Sussex. He is shown as owning land and property in Hellingly, Hurstmonceux, and Peasmarsh at that time.”

And it does seem that the Peasmarsh family were connected to Herstmonceux. But how did this all really fit together?


In his will of 17 Sep 1733 William Lancaster of Northampton, esq devised all his property in Sussex to his wife Dinah; his will was proved in the PCC on 28 Sep 1733 (1)
On 27 & 28 Dec 1733 Dinah Lancaster, then of Northampton, widow, sold part of the estate to John Lancaster of Herstmonceux, gent [relationship not mentioned?]; the property was described as (2-4): four pieces of freshmarsh (40a) in Bexhill, parcel of lands called Wrenhams, occupied by John Saxby (N: common river or sewer from Boreham Bridge to the sluice in Bexhill and the lands of Henry Lingham, E: Hastings to Pevensey road, S: lands of Francis Naylor, esq called Southeye, W: lands of Thomas Pelham of Stanner, esq called Middle Wrenhams)
Lancaster, in his will of 9 Oct 1756, bequeathed his real estate in Herstmonceux (purchased by his father from Alexander Elliott and occupied by George Dann [Neil told me it had come into the family from the Motts, who John married]) and Bexhill (occupied by Jane Bellingham) to his cousin Thomas Lancaster of Peasmarsh, farmer (subject to the life interest of JL's wife Elizabeth); the will was proved at Lewes on 17 Jul 1758 [W/A59.709] (5 & 6)
Thomas Lancaster, in his will of 1 Dec 1758 [different than the date Neil has], bequeathed the estate in fee expectant on the death of Elizabeth Lancaster to his wife Ann; the will was proved at Lewes on 11 Jul 1760 [W/A60.237] (11). His widow borrowed money amounting to £1281 from Joseph and John Stonestreet both of Northiam, cordwainers for the upbringing of her six young children and for the marriage of her daughter Mary to Nicholas Russell. Elizabeth Lancaster, the tenant for life, was buried at Herstmonceux on 22 Feb 1768 [PAR 399/1/1/3], and the Stonestreets applied for security from Ann Lancaster. On 17-19 Jun 1771 she and her son John Lancaster of Peasmarsh, yeoman, mortgaged the property to the Stonestreets for £1731 with a power of sale; it was then occupied by Thomas Ades (6-10)

How did Neil trace this family to the baptisms in Eastbourne, and how do William, Thomas, and John connect? The connection to Northampton is a little striking and not exactly what would be expected for a member of the Rainhill family?

Reverend Nathaniel Lancaster (c1600) 
Son of Gabriel Lancaster (c1570) and Margaret Bruen. The second son of Gabriel Lancaster of Rainhill. Born Tarporley 1600 died 9th Jan 1660.

Matriculated at All Souls College, Cambridge, May 10th 1622, aged 21; MA and BD at Brasenose Oxford 1634.
Assistant Curate Thornton-le-Moors, Cheshire 1626-1631; Rector of Tarporley 1638-1660. Canon of Chester Cathedral.
Chaplain to Parliamentary forces of Cheshire in Civil War.
Cited as a Puritanical minister, he gave an eloquent sermon "in praise of cities" in the Chester churches of St. Peter and St. Michael in 1627.
In 1643 a parisioner of Tarporley, Cheshire complained to local magistrates about the confusions wrought in his parish by the reforming minister Nathaniel Lancaster.

He married twice, second wife Elizabeth Leigh, daughter of Peter Leigh and Elizabeth Castillon.

Rev Peter Lancaster 1630-1706
Elizabeth b. 1627
Tabitha 1632-1683 who died unmarried in Chester and left a will
Sarah b 1628 who married Samuel Clark DD in 1655
...and possibly Ellen who died 1628 in Tarporley.

Memorials to Nathaniel and Elizabeth are in Tarporley Church, and give details of their parentage.

See below for his son, the Reverend Peter Lancaster.

Generation 14.

John de Lancaster (c1610-1670)
Son of Thomas and Margaret Eccleston (named as his parents in his father-in-law's 1630 will). Married Elizabeth Ditchfield. The visitation of 1663/4 gives his children as Thomas, John (who married Margaret Lidbieter) and also Mary, Margaret, Elizabeth, and Margery.

Elizabeth, the wife of John Lancaster, was a recusant in 1641 (like other members of her family). She married John Hoghton of Park Hall in Charnock Richard, having previously been the wife of John Lancaster of Rainhill; the inheritance passed to her children by the former union, the eldest of whom, William, was aged five in 1664.[This William does not fit in the Lancaster family tree in the same visitation?] From British History Online.

Rainhill Hall and other lands of John Lancaster had been sold in 1653 to John Sumner. The estate was "much encumbered."

DDKE/9/24/7 - date:18 Jan. 1640/1 Tho. Ashton, Penketh - the churchwardens of Prescott made their presentments and on 17 Jan. 1640/1 John Lancaster of Rainhill, esquire, did attend divine service and heard the sermon
Source A2A website.

Lancashire Quarter Sessions  Reference: QDD/48/F7 John Lancaster of Rainehill, esq., to Edward Parr of the same, milner. -- Rainhill Creation dates: 20 February 1642
Source A2A website

Turtle63 citing Neil Streeter writes:

During the Commonwealth he was a Royalist and was convicted of treason and delinquency and all his estates were confiscated in 1653 by a parliamentary committee.
The property was sold 16 May 1654 to John Sumpter of Midhurst, Essex for over 600 pounds. On 3 May
1658 it was brought by Henry Lawton and others of Rainhill for 450 pounds and settled in trust for the Lancasters on 12 Sept 1661. The charges of recusancy could not be escaped. In 1668 John Lancaster and his wife Jane [this must be another John, see below], with Thomas their son were convicted of this offence and part of the estate had to be sold to pay the fines, the fines continued and the family became impoverished to the extent that they had to take employment and trade as a means of livelihood. By 1805 this branch of the family had died out in Rainhill.

There seems to be something wrong with this account as by 1668, there was no John in charge of Rainhill. By 1663/4, Thomas was in charge of the family.

The British History Online transcription of the Victoria History of Lancashire (which might be Neil's source, or use the same sources) says...

Royalist Composition Papers (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), iv, 53. It appears that Rainhill Hall and other lands of John Lancaster had been sold in 1653 to John Sumner, the purchaser of Allerton. The estate was 'much encumbered.' See also Index of Royalists (Index Soc.), 43.
Elizabeth wife of John Lancaster was a recusant in 1641;
Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), xiv, 241.
For another sequestration for religion, see
Royalist Com. P. iv, 72.

The Royalist Composition Papers seems to mention John's wife as Elizabeth in 1653.

More fully, the children of John and Margaret are given as...

  1. Thomas Lancaster. Born about 1633/34.

  2. John Lancaster. Married Margaret Lidbieter. Is it possible he had a wife Jane and a son Thomas by 1668?

  3. Mary Lancaster.

  4. Margaret Lancaster.

  5. Elizabeth Lancaster.

  6. Margery Lancaster.

Reverend Peter Lancaster (1630-1706) The son of Nathaniel Lancaster. Born 1630, baptised at Chester. Died 1706.

Educated Trinity College, matriculated 1646. Entered Gray's Inn 4 Feb. 1647/8; called to Bar 1656; Ancient 1671; Bencher 1677.

Married Sophia Highgate or Heygate (born 1635, daughter of Thomas Heygate of Hayes) in 15 Dec 1656 at Clerkenwell, London.

Rector of Winston, Durham 1672-1706. Possibly the same Peter Lancaster who was ordained deacon and priest in 1667 and licensed as Curate at Thornton in Cheshire (the same parish where his father had been curate)

Rector of Winston, Durham 1672-1706. He died and was buried on 17 May 1709 in Chester cathedral.

Memorial to Peter and Sophia in Winston church is in Latin and says he was first a "Consiliarij" ie Counsellor, presumably in law, then he was a theologian, and finally was Rector of Winston. It looks like for at least part of his later years he had a foot in both legal and clerical camps. Sophia died 13 Nov 1685

Portraits of Rev Lancaster and "Mrs Highgate" were hung in the Presbytery at Chester and were itemised on the inventory of his son Rev Peter Lancaster 1657-1709 (see below)

Had at least two sons, Peter and Nathaniel

Sarah Lancaster (c1625) Daughter of Nathaniel Lancaster

The daughter of Nathaniel Lancaster. "Samuel Clark, D.D., b. 12 Nov. 1626 . . . m. Sarah, sister and heir of Peter Lancaster, canon of Chester and rector of Tarporley and Nantwich, and dau. (by his wife, Elizabeth Leigh, of High Leigh) of Nathaniel Lancaster, B.D., of Tarporley, 2nd son of Gabriel Lancaster, of Rainhill, by Margaret Bruen, of Bruen-Stapleford." - from "A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland" by Bernard Burke

Generation 15.

Thomas de Lancaster (1637-1679)
Married Elizabeth Mere or Maire. Son of John and Elizabeth. His admon of 1679 names his relict as Elizabeth. Probably the Prescott burial of 18 Dec 1679 for a gentleman named Thomas Lancaster who lived at Rainhill. But in this period there are several Lancaster gentleman of Rainhill starting to appear in the register.

The Visitations of 1664 has a pedigree ending with Thomas de Lancaster, aged 27, with infant sons John and William, 3 and 1 at the time.

ref. DDHK 4/6/58  - date:1660 Release from obligation to pay
1) Thomas Lancaster of Rainhill and Elizabeth his wife
2) Sir Peter Brooke of Meire [Mere], Cheshire
Under a deed requiring the payment of £1000 to Elizabeth Lancaster and Margaret Harden as daughters of the late William Meire
Consideration: £500 15 Nov 1660
Source A2A

Church of England, Cheshire Diocese, Consistory Court. 30. PRESCOT Elizabeth Lancaster c Margery Pennington and Ellen Ashton concerning pew taken out of that belonging to Rainhill Hall - full file (1682-12). EDC1661. Elizabeth Lancaster c Margery Pennington and Ellen Ashton concerning her title to a pew belonging to Rainhill Hall. Reference to visit of Bp. Bridgman 1635 and order to unify seats - libel, depositions. Church of England, Cheshire Diocese, Consistory Court. 1682. 12. PRESCOT Elizabeth Lancaster c Margery Pennington and Ellen Ashton concerning her title to a pew belonging to Rainhill Hall. Reference to visit of Bp. Bridgman 1635 and order to unify seats - libel, depositions.
Source A2A.

William Blundell's diary says in 1679 that "Mr. Lancaster, of Rennel (Rainhill) about ye same time hardly escaped drowning, haveing fallen into a brook, out of which he got with much adoe, and died a few days after".


  1. John Lancaster. Born about 1660.

  2. William Lancaster. Born about 1662.

Peter Lancaster. Son of Peter Lancaster of Winston, Durham. 1657-1709. Married twice, to Prudence first, and then Mary Loundes.

Entered St John's Cambridge 15 Mar 1675/6 but transferred to Balliol, Oxford BA 1684. MA 1686.

Author of "Tract on the rights of clergy to exemption from road rates" and a translation in 1684 from Greek of Vol 1 of Plutarch's Morals 'A Discourse of Envy and Hatred'.

Married first Prudence who died 29 Nov 1692 and was buried 2 Dec 1692. Second wife Mary Loundes whom he married on 21 Oct 1695 Nantwich. Mary was the daughter of John Loundes, glover (possibly churchwarden at Tarporley in 1695?).

Rector of Nantwich 1690-1695; Prebend of Chester 1694 onwards; Rector of Tarporley 1695 onwards. See Fasti, ii. 399; Rawl. xviii. 2; & Foster's Index Eccl. He was made Canon of Chester on 2 May 1694.

(Possibly also Vicar of Tiverton. There was a Peter, 19 in 1707, whose father was named Peter and who was a cleric in Tiverton, apparently the one in Devon. This Peter apparently became Vicar of Bowden in Cheshire in 1716. Maybe the Tiverton in question was the one in Cheshire, near Tarporley, and not Devon?)

Died intestate Chester 1709, and buried 17 May. Wife Mary gave up her rights to administer his estate to her father who organised a full inventory of his possessions in both Tarporley and at the Prebendary House Chester.

Children: Rev Dr Nathaniel Lancaster 1700-1775 (see below); Elizabeth born 1701; Sophia born 1690; Prudence died 1692; Mary buried at Cathedral Chester 1707; Prudence born 1697; John born 1698; Anna Maria born 1696. These are from Parish Registers. Probable other son Rev Peter Lancaster, born 1688, who was Vicar of Bowden and married Mary Edmunds in 1717. The Vicar of Bowden's son, also Rev Peter (born 1718, died 1742) was described as nephew to Rev Dr Nathaniel and was buried in the Stanford Rivers vault.( Stanford Rivers registers)

Generation 16.

John Lancaster (b. abt. 1661)
The son of Thomas and Elizabeth, mentioned in the visitation, is surprisingly difficult to track down.

In Piccope's MS. Pedigrees, ii, 38, the pedigree is continued thus: John Lancaster, born in 1661, was living in 1690. He had a son and heir John, who registered his estate as above [see below], and daughters Anne and Mary. 'Townships: Rainhill', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3 (1907), pp. 368-371. URL: Date accessed: 18 October 2008, footnote 21.

According to turtle63, his wife was Margaret Lidbieter. But the visitation says this was the brother of Thomas, not his son. See above. Instead his wife may have been named Catherine. See below.

I believe the following Prescott parish register entries might be the relevant ones (the ones referring to John Lancaster esquire):-

William Lancaster, Gentleman of Ormskirk.
A man of the correct age can be traced through the following documents:

ref. DDCL 282 - date: 21 Jul. 1722:-

Lease for 3 lives at £1 rent: for £100; Richard, Viscount Molyneux, to William Lancaster of Ormskirk, gent. -- messuage in West Derby called Ackers Hall and closes called Harrys Hey, Barn Hey, Dove Coat Meadow, Green [...] Heym Nearer and Further Black Lake Hey (20ac.) -- for lives of W.L. (59) David (19), and James (17) sons of Josiah Poole of Leverpoole, esq. Witn. Wm. Crispe, Tho. Gaskarth, Ann Tyrer.

Admon of John Lancaster of Rainhill of 1705 mentions William Lancaster of Ormskirk, Gentleman, as a brother.

William's own will mentions household staff in both West Derby and Rainhill as well as Ormskirk. He was a recusant and apparently a close relative of Captain John Lancaster who founded a major American Lancaster family in Maryland. See our separate webpage.

The English Catholic Nonjurors of 1715" ed by E.E. Estcourt & J.O. Payne, pub by Burns & Oates (1885)...

p. 110 WILLIAM LANCASTER, of Ormskirk, gent. - House at West Derby, (West Derby is essentially Liverpool) for lives of self, and Ellen his wife. - £32 [Himself a doctor at Ormskirk, he had two brothers, one a grocer in Liverpool, in whose house, Fr. Gillibrand, S.J., resided, and another, who was captain of a trading vessel.]

Francis Lancaster
The son of Thomas. A Francis Lancaster of Rainhill was fined as a recusant in 1715. The will of Francis Lancaster, apothecary, was dated 21 February 1744/5, and apparently proved 1749. The parish register appears to refer to him as a Doctor, and says he was buried 22 Oct 1748. His eldest son was John, and his second son Thomas. (Could these be the John and Thomas who held Rainhill Hall?) His wife was Ann. Daughters: Ann, Catherine, Frances, Winifred and Mary.

Thomas Lancaster of Rainhill had an annuity of 10l out of Percival's house and his son, Francis, had an estate of 5l 17s 6d.

Reverend Nathaniel Lancaster (1701-1775). Born 1700 Tarporley, died 1775, son of Rev Peter Lancaster.

"The Rev. Nathaniel Lancaster LL.D. son of the Rev. Peter Lancaster M.A. Rector of Nantwich and Prebendary of Chester, did not become Dean, but, according to the magazines of the day, he married on 17th February 1735-6 "the relict of Captain Broome, with a fortune of L20,000."" - a footnote from "The Private Journal and Literary Remains of John Byrom" by John Byrom, Richard Parkinson, Francis Robert Raines. He wrote an anti-Methodist satire written in "Miltonic verse" called "Methodism Triumphant" in 1767.

Rev Nathaniel Lancaster

Ordained Deacon in 1721 and Priest in 1724; 1725 Rector of St Martin's Chester;

1733 became Doctor of Laws and Chaplain to Frederick Prince of Wales.

1737 -1775 Rector of Stanford Rivers, Essex.

Married first Elizabeth who died in 1733 and buried at Chester.

Married Widow of Captain Broome/Browne.

Married Ann Loyd at Stanford Rivers 1762

Children: Anna Maria born 1720 who married Rev Thomas Wettenhall in 1741; Sophia who was buried in the Stanford Rivers vault in 1736; Sophia baptised 1725 West Kirby; Sophia baptised 1732 St John's Chester; (one died 1728, the other 1736); Nathaniel born 1728 died 1729; Elizabeth born 1730 died 1733, a few days after her mother; George, buried 1733 Chester;

Rev Dr Nathaniel was attacked and robbed by Highwayman in 1735 (see records of Old Bailey) Letters to London bookseller and published books still exist.

John Lancaster Perhaps another member of this family.

s. Tho., of Nest, co. Chester, pleb. Brasenose Coll. 4 June 1709, aged 23.

Peter Lancaster?

s. Peter, of Tiverton, Devon, cler. Christ Church, matric. 25 June, 1707, aged 19; student, B.A. 1711, M.A. 1724; vicar of Bowden Cheshire 1716. See Rawl. ii. 168; & Foster's Index Eccl. Maybe related to Reverend Nathaniel?

Generation 17.

John Lancaster (c1690) son of John, grandson of Thomas. Married Elizabeth Houghton.

Does the following account mean that this John can not be the one who moved to America, Captain of various trading vessels? (They must have been about the same age.)

"From family deeds Mr. Edward W. Woods of Warrington has been able to construct a more complete descent." [...] The heir of John Lancaster, "who was living in 1758, and who married Elizabeth Houghton" was another John Lancaster who "died unmarried in 1784". His heir was Thomas, his brother, "whose son James died without issue in 1807". 'Townships: Rainhill', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3 (1907), pp. 368-371. URL: Date accessed: 18 October 2008, footnote 21.

So this means John had two sons at least, named John and Thomas. And his wife was Elizabeth. But these are hard to trace in the register. These might be relevant:-

Jim Lancaster has informed me about a reference: "The English Catholic Nonjurors of 1715" ed by E.E. Estcourt & J.O. Payne, published by Burns & Oates (1885).

p.121 JOHN LANCASTER, of Rainhill, Esq., son of John, and grandson of Thomas L., - Estate in fee, his sister, Anne, being a tenant. £87 6s. 4d.

In "The Catholic History of Liverpool" by Thomas Burke (1910), mention is made of Mr John Lancaster of Rainhill's exemption from a special tax on the property of Catholics in 1723. He alienated his property before December 22 1722 to a Protestant gentleman, Thomas Holland of Sutton.

Thomas Lancaster (1690)

Thomas Lancaster, son of John and Catherine, was born in 1690. He studied at the English College in Rome and was sent to England as a priest.

Thomas Lancaster of Rainhill, watchmaker (d. 1774)

The will mentions a brother John, and a sister Winiford Beswick, which would seem to imply that he was a son of Francis Lancaster? His wife was Mary.

Generation 18.

John Lancaster (1723)
The son of John and Elizabeth, he was baptized in 1723. He died, unmarried, in 1784.

We can track the baptism in the Prescott register: 1 Jul 1723 St Mary the Virgin, Prescot, Lancashire, England: John Lancaster - Son of John Lancaster, Esq. & Ellizabeth

Lancashire Quarter Sessions FILE - Geo III Roll 25
- ref. QDD/GeoIII/Roll25  - [n.d.] item:  John Lancaster of Rainhill, gent
- ref. GeorgeIII/Roll25  - date: 2 Aug 1784. Possibly a Catholic will.

Thomas Lancaster of Rainhill,

Inherited Rainhill Hall from his brother John after he died in 1784, and passed it on to his own son James?

Margaret, who married John Lancaster.

'Townships: Rainhill', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3 (1907), pp. 368-371. URL: Date accessed: 18 October 2008, footnote 21.

James Lancaster and Jane Lancaster.

Again see above from the Victoria History:

On the death of James Lancaster Rainhill Hall descended to his sister Jane, who died in 1824, and to her children by Robert Fleetwood, her husband. Joseph Fleetwood, the eldest son, died unmarried in 1857; James, his brother and heir, a priest, died in 1862; and their sister Elizabeth, born in 1793, died unmarried in 1877.

On Miss Fleetwood's death, in 1877, it passed to a cousin, James Beaumont,

Frances, daughter of Margaret and John Lancaster.

Again see above from the Victoria History:

The Margaret and John Lancaster named in a preceding note had a daughter Frances, who married James Tatlock of Scholes, and their daughter Frances, who died in 1871, married Joseph Beaumont of the Tump in Monmouthshire. Their son and heir, James Beaumont, sold the hall in 1881 to Lady Stapleton-Bretherton. Information given by Mr. F. Stapleton-Bretherton and Mr. Woods.

Lancashire Quarter Sessions   FILE - FOURTH REGISTER ROLLxxx - ref. QDP/1/4  - date: 1717. Papist Estates.
➢      item:  Francis Lancaster of Rainhill, gentleman, 6 May - [no ref. or date]  
item:  Thomas Lancaster of Rainhill, gentleman, 6 May - [no ref. or date]  
item:  John Lancaster of Rainhill, esquire, 6 May - [no ref. or date]

From Wills in Probate Court, from "An Index to the Wills and Inventories Now Preserved in the Court of Probate, at Chester ..." by J. P. (John Parsons) Earwaker,
Lancaster, Percival, of Rainhill 1628
Lancaster, Thomas, of Rainhill, esquire 1629
Lancaster, Thomas, of Rainhill, 1629 Might one of these wills be for the Thomas shown marrying an Eccelston and a Kenion?
Lancaster, John, of Rainhill, Admon with Inv 1674
Lancaster, John, of Rainhill, Admon with Inv 1779
Lancaster, Thomas, of Rainhill, Admon with Inv 1679