Lytham St.Annes Coat of Arms
Lytham St.Annes, Lancashire, England

Newspaper cutting from 1872





This is the last article, and the problem we have to solve is, not how to find matter for it, but how to compress; into lines what would not be exhausted in pages, and how to condense into a column and a half what would fill a moderately-sized book.

We begin with Stalmine, a far-off spot on the eastern side of the river Wyre, between Pilling and Hambleton—an aged place containing a strong, plodding, agricultural race of people, whose history is moss-grown, and whose traditions are wrinkled.

Stalmine contained, when the Domesday survey was made, four carucates of land, and at a period more remote than can be reached by existing documents it formed part of the extensive possessions of Furness Abbey. Early in the 13th century a sheriff's writ was issued ordering the restoration of certain lands in Stalmine, held by Hugh de Nevill, to the monks of that establishment.

In the time of Henry III, Robert de Stalmine did homage to the King for land which his brother William held here from his Majesty. Edward I, claimed in the 30th year of his reign the manor of Stalmine. In 1300 a quantity of land here and also in Stainall, which adjoins, was given to the monks of Furness; eventually those monks got the whole of the manor into their hands, and it remained with then till the dissolution of the religious houses by Henry VIII.

The population of the parish is about 1,300, whilst that of the township of Stalmine is upwards of 500. Preesall-with-Hackensall, which is in the parochial chapelry of Stalmine, is mentioned in the Domesday survey. The chief residences in the district are Stalmine Hall, lately purchased by T.Noble, Esq., and Parrox Hall, the seat of D. H. Elletson, Esq., in whose family it has been since the time of King John.

Most of the deeds belonging to Parrox Hall were lost many years ago in a fire at Hornby Castle, so that we cannot get properly at its history; but there can be no doubt as to its antiquity. Mr. Elletson has some ancient deeds, in Norman-French, in his possession, and one of them is the grant by King John of the manor, including Parrox Hall and the greater portion of the township.

Hackensall Hall  

Hackensall Hall is also worthy of a line. It is now a farm house belonging to Col. Bourne, M.P., and not much is thought of it. Yet it is one of the oldest buildings in the locality, and it was formerly the seat of some of the ancestors of Mr. Elletson, of Parrox-hall. This hall, like the generality of ancient buildings, was at one time haunted, and the sprite which troubled it was called the "Hall Knocker"-an imaginary being which finds its abode in sundry places hereabouts, and which is even now supposed to disturb the equanimity of some buildings in the township.

A friend, living in this quarter, writing to us under date “January 31st, 1872," says " Only this week, when out shooting, we were passing an old deserted house belonging to Stalmine church, when my man suddenly said Ah! th' Ho Knocker is buried there.' 'Where?' said I - "why under th' threshut,' he answered, and when I said what did it use to do? he replied why all maks o' tricks—sometimes it would have the shippons all cleaned out before they was up ; at others would wheel a lot of manure into the buildings ; and sometimes house the sheep. However they got the priest to lay it and bury it."

Notwithstanding the laying and the burying, the " Hall Knocker" still seems to do a little business on its own account, for some purpose, in Stalmine; but it won't do much harm ; and we imagine that the Stalminians, even on the darkest night, will never be able to see anything much worse than themselves.

If they do find a wonder—a genuine ghost, a real " knocker," then we advise them to knock it down at once, catch it, and either send it to Barnum, or get up a caravan and show the contents thereof. There will be a fortune, without any controversy, in the enterprise—going to California will be nothing, travelling to the Cape diamond fields and finding everything will be child's play in comparison with this business.


The church at Stalmine is a very old one; was probably connected, in the first instance, with the ancient priory of Lancaster, and is now held, in patronage, by the vicar of that town. It is pleasantly situated at one corner of the village green, and formerly there was an extensive view, from its site, on the eastern side; but this has been shut off by the trees now surrounding the graveyard—an olden and venerable enclosure at least 600 years old.

The church was dedicated originally to St. Oswald, and by a peculiar phraseological corruption, this is now associated with "Tosset's day" (St. Oswald's day), which used to be celebrated with bull-baiting, and kindred recreations. The village wake is kept up yet on "Tosset's day."

Stalmine church, since dedicated to St. James, is a plain but commodious edifice, and was re-built in 1806, at the sole expense of the parishioners. The only relics of the old church, now observable, are the benches used as free seats, and the ancient, carved-oak, canopied pew belonging to Parrox Hall. There has been no resident incumbent at Stalmine during the present century, prior to the present clergyman the Rev. J. K. Turner, who was presented to the living about seven years ago by his father, the late Vicar of Lancaster. The one previous was the Rev. J. Rowley, late chaplain of Lancaster Castle, who held the living nearly 70 years

The congregation of Stalmine Church is a plain, healthy, long-lived one—hard-headed, honest, fond of Church and State and Toryism for ever and ever. The incumbent is a calmly-balanced, do-not-get-too-near-me sort of gentleman; he preaches good, plain sermons, and never has to be helped home, on the score of exhaustion, after them; he takes matters coolly, does not trouble people with too many visits, and thinks clerical cloth a really superior and first rate article. The choir is a good one, and the organ—a neat instrument —is tastefully played by Mrs. Elletson.

The old pulpit— now removed—was an extraordinary work of art, being three stories high—the clerk at the bottom, the middle deck for prayers, and the top for preaching. It was a sort of octagonal box, with very formidable bulwarks, and had a canopy like an immense extinguisher, hung overhead by a chain, which many a boy, when the parson was prosy, hoped would break and bottle him up.

Towards the close of last century the parson at Stalmine - a Mr. Thomas - was a very diminutive man, and his preaching box being at least twelve feet above his congregation, he had, to make himself look more imposing, to stand upon a tall stool. One Sunday, as he was giving out his text —" A little while and ye shall see me, and again a little while and ye shall not see me"--he trod too near the edge of his stool, which canted over, and down he went. He disappeared from view for a short period, but the congregation, who laughed for the moment, reconciled the escapade oil “the little while and ye shall not see me" principle, and the parson, after duly readjusting himself, proceeded to the end of his homily satisfactorily.

There used to be a clergyman at Stalmine of the same kidney as Parson Potter, of Pilling; he loved his glass dearly, was of a pugilistic turn of mind, and if he heard of a smart-fisted fellow he would not, it is said, object to give him a quart of ale to hang about till after service time in order that he might them have a round with him.

Fifty years ago, the officiating parson here was one Mr. Miller—a hearty cheerful soul of the old school. He lived at Preesall, walked over to Stalmine every Sunday, and always in the forenoon, before he went into the church, he called at old Betty Hardman's (the Pack Horse Inn), where he had a glass of gin and a pipe of tobacco.

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