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Local History

Although today Westby with Plumptons is an evolving parish, embracing sympathetic development, its history dates back over 900 years…

Wesbi, Pluntun – Domsday Book, 1226

In 1066, Westby and Plumpton, assessed as two separate plough-lands, formed part of the Earl Tostig’s Preston lordship and they were later found to be held as part of the estate of the Lords of Clifton. In the 14th century Great Plumpton appears to have been held by a junior branch of the Clifton family, using Plumpton as a surname. A ‘manor’ of Field Plumpton was held by Thomas Lathom in 1370.

The Singleton family had a part of Plumpton and one or two other estates occurin the inquisitions. Cockersand Abbey had a little land in Plumpton. James Sanderson and a number of others registered their estates as ‘Papists in 1717. The Cliftons maintained a priest at Westby throughout the days of persecution. If he was not at all times resident in the hall, owing to the surveillance of the pursuivants, he was not far distant; and perhaps sometimes there was more than one priest attending to the wants of the district.

In about 1700, James Barrow, a Jesuit, had charge. IN 1716, after the defeat of the Jacobites at Preston, he was convicted of recusancy and declared an outlaw but escaped capture. The Jesuits remained in charge until 1791, and were succeeded by Benefictines and then by the secular clergy. A chapel was built at the west end of the hall in 1741, but closed by Thomas Clifton, who had become protestant, in 1845. The congregation was then joined to Kirkham until in 1860 the present church of St. Anne was opened. Nowadays, this township is divided into five hamlets. Westby is the central one. The two Plumptons, anciently known as Fieldplumpton occupy the northern part – Great Plumpton lying to the north of LIttle Plumpton. Ballam (Higher and Lower) and Brown Moss Side in the south-west are considered parts of Westby. 

History of Westby