Landowners in the Parish of Whalley, Lancashire, England


After discovering that my ancestors in Pendleton were tenant farmers of the Starkies of the Huntroyd Estate, I looked briefly into this family.  Although living within the township of Simonstone and parish of Whalley, the family did not use the parish church at Whalley for baptisms or burials during the period from 1653 to 1812.   In 1847, the patron of the parish of St. Leonard’s at Padiham was the holder of the Starkie estate.  There is a monument to Le Gendre Starkie by Gibson of Liverpool in the church.  The manor dates in part from 1576 with important additions in 1777 by Le Gendre Starkie, Esq, grandfather of the "current inheritor" as described in 1847 in The Mansions of England and Wales.

By chance, I stumbled on references to the Starkie family while visiting Glasson Dock just south of Lancaster.  Just to the north of Glasson, on the banks of the Lune lay the Manor of Ashton, including the hamlet of Conder Green.  At the Norman Conquest this became part of the holding of Roger de Poitou.  It is a measure of the the emptiness of the area at the time, before Lancashire became a county, that Roger de Poitou was also granted all the land between the Mersey and the Ribble.  Only the medieval tower of Ashton Hall remains.  Two kings visited the hall - James I in 1617 and Charles II in 1651.  In the 18th century the hall was owned by the Dukes of Hamilton who sold it in 1853 to Le Gendre Nicholas Starkie of Huntroyd, whose second son John Piers Chamberlain Starkie had the estate.  He was MP for North-East Lancashire from 1868 to 1880 and died in 1888.  There is a memorial to him in Lancaster Church.

The hall was then sold to James Williamson, the linoleum manufacturer, who lived at the hall until his death in 1930. On his elevation to the peerage he took his title from this manor as Baron Ashton of Ashton. The hall is now a golf club. Christchurch at Glasson, opened in 1840, has a window and a hatchment relating to the Starkie family as shown below.  The window was originally the east window but now the second on the south side.  According to the pamphlet available in the church it is in memory of Gerome (sic) Nicholas Starkie of Huntroyd and Ashton Hall and was donated in 1866 by his widow Ann.  I think it should be Le Gendre Nicholas Starkie, who died in 1865.  (I am almost certain that Le Gendre is included in the lettering at the foot of the window, which does not show in my photograph).  The hatchment shows the family arms and the motto "Patriae amicisque fidelis" - faithful to country and friends.  


Starkie Window spacer Starkie hatchment
Park of Starkie window in the south side of the nave at Glasson   Starkie hatchment high on the south wall at Glasson


Huntroyd spacer Starkie arms
Huntroyd   Starkie shield and crest

I am grateful to Rollo Gillespie for the engraving of Huntroyd made in 1802 and the illustration of the shield and crest. Mr. Gillespie inherited the family papers of the Gillespie, Guthrie, Starkie and Whitaker of Holme families and has deposited the latter as the Gillespie Collection with the Thoresby Society in Leeds

The first family tree I assembled was taken from Burke's Landed Gentry, 6th edtion (1879) but this source has a lamentable absence of dates and places of birth, marriage and death.  Additional details were added from the pedigree shown in Dr. Whitaker's History of Whalley, 3rd Edition, 1876.   However, this has obvious errors, including one where a man is claimed to have been born only four years after his grandfather.  Additional information was added in April 2008 from Burke's Landed Gentry 17th edition (1937).  The family is not mentioned in the 18th edition (1972).   The tree was then extensively revised with information received from Carole Sherwood.  She is undertaking research on this family and I am grateful to her for providing me with details from wills that she has transcribed and registers consulted which have made the account and tree shown below far superior to anything published by Burke or Whitaker.  Carole has also received information from Alan Mackley who is particularly interested in the Bence family of Thorington Hall, which appear below in generation 9.   Carole has provided the introductory paragraphs below. 

I am also grateful to Stuart Starkey, who has carried out research on this family and kindly let me have information which corrects mistakes made in Dr. Whitaker's work. There is confusion between the John Starkie mentioned below in generation 2, who had children baptised in various places in Lancashire, including Eccles, and another John Starkie, who had children baptised at Padiham in the same period, some with the same names.  The children baptised at Padiham are Edmund, 4 Sep 1599; died 1657; Anne 26 Jan 1601; Nicholas, March 1602; Anne, 25 April 1604; Elizabeth, 16 Oct 1605 (married Thomas Tildesley of Garratt on 2 Nov 1630 in Preston); Ellin, 22 May 1606; Mary, 2 Jul 1607; John, 23 Oct 1608; Robert, 10 Nov 1609, Lawrence, 24 Jul 1611 and Grace, 15 Mar 1611.  There was also Piers, baptised 8 Oct 1622, who became a Dutch Merchant, married in the Low Countries and lived at Pendle Hall; he died in 1689.  Note that the first of these children, born in 1599 is too early for a father from a gentry family born in 1584.

The Starkie Family of Huntroyd

The Starkies originally came from Barnton in Cheshire. It is recorded that in 1465, Edmund, son of William Starkie of Barnton, married Elizabeth, the daughter and heiress of John de Simonstone whose family had held land in Simonstone since 1230. Already a powerful and influential family, it was Roger Nowell Starkie who presided at the trial of the so-called 'Lancashire witches' at Lancaster in 1612.

The Starkies were sufficiently wealthy to provide arms for the local militia in 1574, and Edmund Starkie was summoned by the Queen's Council to lend money to Elizabeth I to defend the country against the threat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. Edmund was the original builder of the family's country seat at Huntroyd. His grandson, John (1584 - 1665) inherited the Huntroyd estate in 1618 and went on to become one of the Chief Justices of the Peace in Lancashire, and in 1633 he was appointed Sheriff of Lancaster. John's eldest son Nicholas, a captain in the Parliamentary army, was killed at the siege of Hoghton Tower in 1643. During the Commonwealth period John Starkie was also appointed to the committee responsible for the confiscation and disposal of former Royalist lands
Later, through marriage, the house at Hall i' th' Wood in Bolton, passed into the ownership of the Starkie family. Other inheritances and shrewd purchases added Simonstone, Shuttleworth Hall in Hapton, lands in Osbaldeston and Salesbury, property at Heaton near Horwich, and Westhoughton, estates in Pendle, Mearly, Pendleton and Heyhouses to the Starkie family wealth and holdings. By the end of the 19th century, the Starkies were the owners of nearly 9,000 acres of land in north-east and central Lancashire.

Nicholas Le Gendre Starkie (1799 -1865) was Member of Parliament for Pontefract from 1826 -32, but was also a prominent Freemason, being Provincial Grand Master for the Western Division of Lancashire.

Well known and respected philanthropists, later family members donated churches in Padiham, Clowbridge, Higham and Hapton. In more recent times, Edmund Starkie (1871 -1958) served as Captain in the Boer War. He and his wife were prominent local promoters of the Red Cross and St John's Ambulance Brigade, and gave Huntroyd to be used as a hospital for convalescent soldiers during the First World War.  On his death in 1958, the estate passed to his nephew, Guy Le Gendre. The house was partially demolished in 1969 and eventually sold in 1983.

Footnote 1. Nicholas Starkie in the Civil War

Nicholas Starkie Esq., of Huntroyd served in the Parliamentary army during the Civil War. After the surrender of Preston in 1642 he was sent to take Houghton Towers the seat of Sir Gilbert Houghton where he was killed by an explosionParliamentarian forces from Manchester, Bolton and East Lancashire under the command of Sir John Seaton assembled at Blackburn in preparation for an assault on Preston, 10 miles away, on the evening of 7th February 1643. The Royalist force at Preston was Sir Gilbert Hoghton's Dragoons, two or three companies of foot, Sir Thomas Tyldesley's Dragoons which were in the process of being raised under Captain William Blundell and two troops of horse, under Major Anderton of Tyldesley's and Captain Radcliffe Hoghton. On the evening of 8th February the Parliamentarians moved against Preston. They managed to cross the River Ribble at Walton which the Royalists had left unguarded, and formed up near the town walls under the cover of darkness. About one hour before daybreak they attacked with about 2500 men. Soon the defences had been breached. The last Royalist reserves were the troop of horse under Radcliffe Hoghton. These were committed to the fight but were ambushed by 20 Parliamentarian musketeers who had taken up position in a house. Radcliffe was killed by their volley and his troop dispersed. Resistance began to collapse and many of the Royalists tried to escape. Sir Gilbert managed to make his getaway to Wigan but his wife was captured. Two or three hundred prisoners were taken, including Captain Hoghton, Sir Gilbert's nephew. Some six weeks later the Earl of Derby recaptured the town.

St. Leonard's Church, Padiham, Lancashire

I am grateful to Carole Sherwood for providing the following photograph of the east window at St. Leonard's, Padiham, together with pictures of a number of tablets in the church and details of the inscriptions.

East Window, St. Leonard's, Padiham
East Window, St. Leonard's, Padiham,
Picture by Carole Sherwood

The inscription beneath the window reads: 'To the honour & Glory of God In Memory of Le Gendre N Starkie late P G M West Lancashire Freemasons who died May 15 1865. This window was erected by his widow Ann Starkie 1868'.

Monumental Inscriptions
1. Le Gendre Starkie in generation 9 and 1790-1822. 

His wife was Elizabeth, dau of Richard Atherton Gwillym, Esq., of Bewsey, Lancashire.  She died 30 November 1831 and was buried at St. Leonard's on 7 December 1831.  There is Tablet on the wall of St Leonard's Church with the following inscription

Sacred to the memory of Le Gendre Starkie Esq of Huntroyd who died Feb XXVIII MDCCCXXII in the year XXXII year of his age in this short period of time he was eminently distinguished by maturity of judgment, a firmness of principle and a benevolence of heart which inspired universal esteem and gave increasing influence and effect to the important character he was appointed to sustain as the representative of an ancient family and the possessor of an ample inheritance.  Animated by every kind and virtuous and honourable feeling and acting under a constant sense of moral and religious obligation it was the uniform purpose of his exemplary life to be the faithfully servant of God the generous friend of man.

This monument was erected in grateful remembrance of his unvarying affection by her who most justly estimates his worth and whose deep affliction for the loss of her beloved husband finds consolation in paying this tribute to his virtue.

2. The Reverend Benjamin Preedy. 

There is a memorial in the church, now difficult to decipher, which includes the words:

Beneath this stone
Are deposited the remains of
The Reverend Benjamin Preedy
Formerly of Queen's College, Oxford
Late Rector of Great Brington
In the County of Northampton
And one of his Majesty's
Justices of the Peace
For that County
And for Hertfordshire
He died at Huntroid
3. Le Gendre Pierce Starkie, 1760 to 1807 and his wife Charlotte Preedy

See generation 8 above. Tablet on the wall of St Leonard's Church, Padiham

Sacred to the memory of Le Gendre Pierce Starkie Esq of Hunytoyde. He was a Magistrate, Deputy Lieutenant, Colonel of the 4th Regiment of the Royal Lancashire Militia and High Sheriff of this County, an exalted character, a friend to the poor and mankind at large. He died October 25 1807, aged 38 (?) years

Also Charlotte his wife daughter of the Rev. Benjamin Preedy, D. D. Rector of Brington, Northamptonshire, a lady whose character was marked with every Christian virtue, she died April 30th 1801 age 38 years.

Also the children of the above, viz

Frances Mary Le Gendre who died June 12 1806 age 18 years
Le Gendre who died February 28 1822 age 32 years
Le Gendre Thomas who also died young February 7 1799 Age 3
Charlotte le Gendre, she was the beloved wife of Colonel Armytage of the Coldstream Guards and was much endeared to all her friend and relative by her admirable and benevolent disposition. She died December 13 1848 age 55 leaving 6 children and was interred at Spedhurst Kent
Le Gendre Pierce who died October 9th 1819 age 23 years

This tablet was erected as a token of affection regard to his parents, brothers and sisters by Le Gendre Nicholas Starkie Esq. Huntroyd 1850 "Blessed are the dead which died in the Lord, Even so Saith the spirit for they rest from their Labours"

4. Le Gendre Nicholas Starkie 1799 to 1865

Generation 9 above. Tablet at St. Leonard's Church, Padiham

To the memory of Le Gendre Nicholas Starkie Esq of Huntroyd and Ashton Hall who was born Dec 1799 and departed this life May 15 1865. He was a Justice of the Peace in the Counties of Lancaster and Yorkshire, a Deputy Lieutenant for the Palatine of Lancaster, a Captain in the Craven Legion.  He was elected a Member of Parliament for Pontefract in 1827 and he represented that borough during the session.  He was Provincial Grand Master and Grand Superintendent of the Freemason of West Lancashire from 1827 till the time of his decease.   A man of true piety of strict honour of unimpeachable integrity, of comprehensive mind, of sound and steadfast principles, one who lived and died in charity of all men, dear to his family and friends, beloved by his dependents, respected by all his neighbours; a lover of his Country, an upholder of her institutions and at the same time liberal in his sentiments; one who ever had a kindly word for all, a feeling for their wants, a heart to sympathise with their joys and sorrows, a hand to hold out relief to them in their distress who always exemplified in his feelings and his actions the motto of his ancient house being truly a man faithful to his Country and his friends.

5. Henry Randal Le Gendre Starkie 27 May 1873 - Jun 10 1878

Generation 11 above.  On a tablet at St. Leonard's.

In Memory of Henry Randal Le Gendre second son of Le Gendre N and Jemima M.M Starkie who died June 16th 1878 Age 5 Years. Safe in the Arms of Jesus

6.  Le Gendre Nicholas Starkie, 1828-1899

See generation 10 above.  Tablet on the wall of St Leonard's Church, Padiham.

In Memory of Le Gendre Nicholas Starkie, Esq of Huntroyd, Lancashire M.A., J. P. & D.L., born January 10 1828 died April 13 1899.  He was High Sheriff 1868, M.P. for the Borough of Clitheroe 1853-1856. Colonel Commanding the 5th Royal Lancashire Militia (now the 3rd East Lancashire Regiment) 1882-1890 and Provincial Grand Master of Freemasons for East Lancashire.

He laid the Foundation stone of this Church 28 June 1866. On October 15th 1867 he married Jemima Monica Mildred the 2nd daughter of Henry Tempest Esq of Lockstock Hall. By his express written request dated May 16 1893 he desired that a table of marble should be erected in his memory in the Church of Leonard's Padiham on which no elaborate inscription or laudatory epitaph should be written but this text " To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the Heaven, a time to be born and a time to die Ecclesiastes III. 1. 2.

This tablet is erected by his widow and his two sons E.A. Le Gendre and P.C. Le Gendre Starkie

7. John Pierce Chamberlain Starkie 1830 to 1888

See generation 10 above. Marble Tablet inside St Leonard's Church, Padiham, Lancashire

In Memory of John Pierce Chamberlain Starkie Esq second son of Le Gendre Nicholas Starkie of Huntroyd Esq and Ann his wife.  He was born 28 June 1830, educated at Eton and Cambridge where he graduated L.L.B., 1857, L.L.M., 1869, was Justice of the Peace for the County of Lancaster and represented the North Eastern Division of that County in Parliament from 1868 to 1880.  In the public affairs of his native country in which he took an active part, his uprightness of conduct, geniality and kindness of disposition gained him the respect and confidence of all, and justly earned for him the title of "a man without enemy".  In the private relations of life he was without reproach.  He married in 1861 Ann Charlotte daughter of Harrington Hudson of Bessingby Hall County of York Esq. Died at Ashton Hall Co Lancaster 12 June 1888

Also in Memory of Ann Elizabeth the only daughter of Le Gendre Nicholas Starkie and Ann his wife married to the Rev. G Horton, vicar of Wellow Co. Somerset where she died 29 January 1869 age 37 years

This tablet is placed here by their mother in loving memory of these her children.


The Mansions of England and Wales illustrated in a series of Views of the Principal Seats, with Historical and Topographical Descriptions, by Edward Twycross,. The County Palatine of Lancaster Volume I, Northern Division, The Hundreds of Blackburn and Leyland. Published by Ackermann and Co. of The Strand, London in 1847.
Burke's Landed Gentry, 6th edition of 1879, volume II, page 1516 and 17th edition (1937)
Christ Church Glasson, a one sheet pamphlet available in the church
Poster provided for visitors at Conder Green near Ashton Hall on the Lune Estuary.
Victoria County History, Ashton with Stodday
Whitaker's History of Whalley, 3rd Edition 1876

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