Cockerham (St. Michael)
COCKERHAM (St. Michael), a parish, in the unions of Garstang and Lancaster, partly in the hundred of Amounderness, but chiefly in the hundred of Lonsdale south of the Sands, N. division of the county of Lancaster; comprising the chapelry of Ellel, and part of the townships of Cleveley, Forton, and Holleth; the whole containing about 3500 inhabitants, of whom 847 are in the township of Cockerham, 7 miles (S.) from Lancaster. The name is compounded of coker, a quiver, and ham, a village. Soon after the Conquest the place was in the possession of the Lancasters, barons of Kendal; the abbot of St. Mary de Pratis established a cell or priory here, which existed in the 20th of Edward I., but it merged in the superior house long before the Dissolution. The manor afterwards passed into the family of Charteris, and was sold by Lord Wemyss, about 1798, to Messrs. Green, Atkinson, Dent, and Addison. The parish is bounded on the west by Morecambe bay, and comprises above 10,000 acres, mostly arable land, with an undulated surface. The river Cocker, the principal water in the district, issues from the hills above Ellel Chapel; runs by Galgate, Holleth, and Forton; and after verging first to the west, and then to the north, washes the township of Cockerham on the south. To the west of the village, the river passes under a well-built bridge, and widens into a spacious estuary, terminating near the mouth of the Lune, from which it is separated by a long and narrow neck of land, the site of the ruins, and of the extraparochial precincts, of Cockersand Abbey. The Wyre flows near the eastern borders of the parish, where it receives a small rill from Cleveley; and the Lancaster and Preston railway passes through. A market is mentioned among the customs of the manor in the reign of Edward III.: a fair is yet held; as are courts leet and baron. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £10. 16. 8.; patrons, the Lords of the Manor: the tithes were commuted under a private act in 1827, for £600; the vicarage-house was rebuilt in 1843, in the Elizabethan style. The church was probably founded by the first William de Lancaster: the present edifice is a re-erection, in 1814, on the site of a building of the reign of James I. or Charles I.; it consists of a body, aisles, chancel, and tower, the last more ancient than the other parts, and castellated. There are chapels at Ellel, Dolphinholme, and Shirehead, forming separate incumbencies. A school is supported by subscription, aided by £12 per annum from lands.