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Hesketh, with Becconsall

HESKETH, with Becconsall, a parish, in the union of Ormskirk, hundred of Leyland, N. division of the county of Lancaster, 11 miles (N. by E.) from Ormskirk; containing 553 inhabitants. The family of Hesketh had possessions here early in the reign of Henry III., or previously; and between the reigns of Henry VIII. and William III., Becconsall was the property and residence of the Becconsalls. Anciently a beacon was placed near the confluence of the Douglas river with the Ribble, and the name "Beacon's Hill," or Becconsall, is supposed to be derived from this harbinger of approaching danger. The length of the parish is from two miles and a half to three miles, and the breadth, from Hesketh Bank on the north to Tarleton on the south, one mile; it comprises 1947 acres, whereof 938 are common, waste, and marshy land. The soil is sandy near the coast, and in other parts peaty, with a mixture of marl. At flood tide the Ribble is here in one part three miles wide; and both it and the Douglas are navigable, the former for vessels of above 100 tons' burthen as high as the town of Preston, and the latter for vessels of forty-five tons: salmon and flounders are taken near the mouths of the rivers. The grazing of sheep is carried on to a great extent on the marshes, the pasturage of which is rendered agreeable and nutritious to the flocks by the slight impregnation of salt. The living is a rectory, with a net income of £275; patrons, the family of Hesketh. The church, a plain brick fabric, erected in 1765, and generally called Becconsall chapel, stands one mile below Hesketh Bank; it became the parish church in 1821, when an act was passed separating Hesketh and Becconsall from Croston, and forming them into a distinct parish. The Primitive Methodists have a place of worship. The poor share in a bequest by Dr. Layfield, in 1710, to all the townships of Croston, for the distribution of clothing and books to persons not seeking parochial relief.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.