8.6. The Quest for Three Grails in Duxbury

Helen Moorwood 2013

A. Introduction (2013)

B. My Quest (1998)

C. Grail One: Duxbury (Old) Hall (DOH)

D. Grail Two: Deowuc’s Burgh (DB)

E. Grail Three: The Pele/Peel/The Pyle of Duckesberie

F. Today/The End of my Quest

G. Notes and references

H. (A tentative) Chronological Summary of Construction, Status & Family Ownership

I. Sketch of a detail from Christopher Saxton’s map, 1577

J. Re-assessment in 2009 (& again in 2013) re the Siting and Dates of Habitation of DB, DOH & the Pele

K. Notes on Sir Perceval & Co. - a Multitude of Myths, Legends, Lore

[This has deliberately been left as a continuous text in one file, with the letters added purely for ease of reference. 2013]


A. Introduction (2013)

The following is based entirely on an article appearing here online for the first time. Rather than scan it in, with all the possibilities for hiccups that might occur (in my experience of others scanning in publications by myself and others), I have retyped it. The original can be seen in any Lancashire library which has back copies of all issues of LHQ. One change here is the omission of illustrations, which contributed nothing to the content:

i)One was a photo of a view from Deowuc’s Burgh, which was quite awful when reproduced in black and white from two coloured snapshots stuck together. In any case the third snapshot to the right couldn’t be fitted in because it was all too long. A bit of a disaster, really! For the record, the caption was: “View South to West from Deowuc’s Burgh; left a ruined piggery, on horizon Coppull Old Hall, foreground the woods along Eller Brook and the Yarrow.” For much better photos of Duxbury, see those taken recently by Tony Christopher, webmaster, on his digital camera and reproduced on For an aerial view of Duxbury, go to Google Earth and browse to your heart’s content. The site of Deowuc’s Burgh is in the extreme southern part of Duxbury.

ii)The Duxbury and Standish coats of arms. These are reproduced and commented on in detail in 8.1. & 8.2..

iii)Caption to a photocopy of the original deed: “Standish deed 207:  Thomas Duxbury sells his lands in Chorley and Heath Charnock to Ralph Standish of Standish. Dated 11th June 15 Henry VIII (1523), signed by Thomas D, with seal. By kind permission of Wigan Archives.” The only purpose of including a photocopy of this was to give an example of what the original deeds looked like, without any expectation of any reader attempting to decipher and transcribe it. In any case this would be unnecessary, because it had already been transcribed by Rev. T. C. Porteus and published in A Calendar of the Standish Deeds, Wigan, 1933. The final transaction was in 1524.

iii)Two maps appeared, but are superseded by 7. MAPS.

Two sentences have been included from my original draft version, which were somehow omitted from the published version.

When retyping, the occasional abbreviation has been expanded, and the occasional comma added or taken out, purely for the purpose of clarity. Also, the odd typo has been silently corrected (with the sincere hope that no new ones have crept in).


“The Quest for Three Grails in Duxbury”, Lancashire History Quarterly, Vol. 2, No. 1, March 1998, pp. 1-6.

B. My Quest (1998)

My three Grails are/were Duxbury (Old) Hall, Deowuc’s Burgh and The Pele, three of the most important buildings in Duxbury near Chorley until the 16th century, all of which disappeared long ago.

Grail One was the home of the DUXBURYs until 1524, Grail Two its presumed predecessor in Anglo-Saxon times and Grail Three the home of the STANDISHes of Duxbury 1315-c.1600. Having established the direct lines and much of the history of the two families,1 my Quest was to discover the actual sites of their homes.

As with the Holy Grail2 it has often been ruefully supposed that all three would remain a mystery, their secrets locked in an irretrievable past, unless perhaps the prophesied “guileless fool” should come in search, who would ask the “correct question” that would release the secret of the Grail.

Through a semi-fortuitous confluence of relevant early documents and maps, an intense interest in the Early DUXBURYs (I had a DUXBURY grandmother), and a relatively innocent but fresh eye, untrammelled initially by the weight of earlier local historical research, I recently felt excited and privileged to play the role of Perceval in Duxbury.

A draft article on my ‘discoveries’ received many helpful critical comments.3

Since then I have visited Duxbury again to field-walk and talk to local residents and farmers, examined aerial photos and re-researched and rewritten much of the history of the Early DUXBURYs of Duxbury. I believe that I have now come as close to the truth as possible from extant evidence, but my Quest will only be truly completed through excavation, which I dream might take place within my lifetime.

Space prohibits giving all the evidence and proof for ‘my sites’ here, as the details require several thousand words. The evidence will therefore have to wait until the book4 or future issues of Lancashire History Quarterly, whichever comes first. Meanwhile, a summary.


C. Grail One: Duxbury (Old) Hall (DOH) (1998)

This was the home of the Senior DUXBURYs of Duxbury from whenever the first one was built and given this name, until 1524 when Thomas DUXBURY sold it to Ralph STANDISH Lord of Standish. I shall always refer to this building as Duxbury (Old) Hall (DOH), to avoid confusion with the later Duxbury (New) Hall (c.1623-1956) built by the STANDISHes of Duxbury, which is of paramount importance in the later history of Duxbury,5 but irrelevant to the DUXBURYs of Duxbury (Old) Hall, as they had already left Duxbury decades before.

Until now it has been generally assumed that the DUXBURYs first lost DOH and their Lordship of the Manor as a result of Henry de DUXBURY’s participation in the Banastre Rising of 1315, or later that century, but that some remnant of the family stayed on, who sold a different DOH in the 16th century. I have, however, been able to establish a continuous DUXBURY presence in Duxbury with an almost certain direct male line of descent from Ulf, born c. 1120, to Thomas, who sold DOH in 1524. The inevitable conclusion is that, although the DUXBURYs certainly sold lands in 1315 and finally surrendered their Lordship of the Manor in 1381-8, they still retained the core of their ancestral lands in Duxbury, i.e. Duxbury (Old) Hall and demesne, until 1524.

“Duxbury Hall” is named in two documents in 1524,6 and again in 1571 as “the mansion house of Thomas STANDISH called Duxbury Hall”.7 It has been speculatively sited by others as near New Barn, at the mediaeval Cruck Barn in Duxbury (still standing), under Duxbury (New) Hall, and at the moated site near Bretters Farm just over the border in Heath Charnock. The evidence for my location comes from a complicated series of comparisons of field size and distribution, then acreages, rents and ownership of a variety of estates over a long period, which establish in turn that:

1. It was most likely in area 1 or 6 (see map of Duxbury Ancient and Modern).

2. “The close of Alddall” (Old Hall) of several documents c.1520 and DOH were two different Old Halls, with Alddall and other fields in documents in area 6, and DOH perhaps in 6 but more likely in 1.

3. DOH demesne in 1524 was maximum 74 acres (calculated from documents).

4. Area 1a+b+c is 74 acres (calculated from Estate maps of 1757 and 1891).

5. Ralph STANDISH of Standish, having bought DOH in 1524, sold it between then and his death in 1538. (His estate in Duxbury in 1538 was 40 acres and in ‘Burgh in Duxbury’.)

6. He sold it to the STANDISHes of Duxbury. (Area 6 was not owned by the STANDISHes of Duxbury in 1757, area 1 was.)

7. The inevitable and virtually indisputable conclusion is that Duxbury (Old) Hall was in area 1 and the demesne was 1a+b+c.

Field names in area 1 suggest three possible sites for the original DOH and its successors, with an aerial photo8 confirming that ‘something’ was at Site 2. Sites 1 and 3 had farmhouses on them in 1757, one successor still there today as a ruin, the other demolished earlier this century.


D. Grail Two: Deowuc’s Burgh (DB) (1998)

This was the burgh/burh (most likely a fortified farm, but possibly a miniscule ‘fortress’) built, fortified or at least inhabited (and defended?) by Anglo-Saxon Deowuc9 some time between the late 6th century, when the first Angles arrived in the area, and c.900, when first Danish and later Irish Sea Vikings arrived. DH gave its name to the township: Deowuc’s burgh > Dokesbir’/Duckesberrie, etc. > Duxbury.10

I have not so far found any published references to any tentative sites for DB. My evidence for the site comes from proof of the location of Duxbury (Old) Hall, the reasonable assumption that the earliest DOH was close to its forerunner DB, and its proximity to “Duxbury Wood”, the only part of all the local woods named as such on various maps. An aerial photo8 shows that ‘something’ was here and field walking the area confirmed this site as the ‘most perfect’ one in the vicinity.


E. Grail Three: The Pele/Peel/The Pyle of Duckesberie (1998)

This was the home of the Senior STANDISHes of Duxbury from 1315 until c.1600. It has always been a mystery house with presumably a Pele tower. It is mentioned in only two documents in 1506/7 and 157711 and on Saxton’s map of 1577, where it was sited on the north bank of the Yarrow, a little west of the old Yarrow Bridge. This was repeated on Speed’s map of 1610/11.

Its name and location were then copied (often moved according to the whim of the cartographer) onto many subsequent maps until the 18th century, but by the time of the first detailed Duxbury Park Estate map in 1757, Pele had disappeared as a name, not named as a building, nor leaving its name in a field or any other feature, the house having presumably been demoted in the meantime to ‘just a farm’ and the Pele tower demolished. Saxton’s location has often been assumed to be a mis-siting of the building almost anywhere in the local area, suggested sites being similar to those offered for Duxbury (Old) Hall plus ‘my site’ for Deowuc’s Burgh. It has also been suggested that The Pele, Duxbury Park and Duxbury Hall were identical.12 They were not – they were three distinct sites.


F. Today/The End of my Quest (1998)

Although little or nothing remains to be seen at any of the sites, Deowuc (600-900) and Thomas DUXBURY (who sold DOH in 1524) would still recognise most of their fields and the same view all around, virtually unaltered since Anglo-Saxon times. If Henry de DUXBURY were to return, hunting for the mill he lost in 1315 to Hugh de STANDISH, he would still find at least the weir almost as he left it. I think my Quest is almost at an end. The Three Grails have lost their mystical status and become real sites. Maybe they will be excavated one day and maybe some Anglo-Saxon and medieval shards will appear to confirm the dates of the sites.

Perhaps part of a goblet from which Deowuc might have drunk mead while listening to the saga of Beowulf, or Henry de DUXBURY while listening to a wandering minstrel singing the latest version from France or Germany of Perceval/Parzival and the Holy Grail?

[My original last sentence has been re-inserted. It somehow disappeared from the published version: lack of space? oversight?]


G. Notes and references (1998)

1. A Family Tree and the history of the Early DUXBURYs are appearing in a series of articles in Lancashire, the quarterly magazine of the Lancashire Family History and Heraldry Society. [These (will) appear in The Duxburys of Duxbury (Old) Hall.]

2. Perceval and the Grail first appeared in literature in Chrétien de Troyes’ 12th century romance “Le Conte du Graal”, later elaborated by Wolfram von Eschenbach in the 13th century in “Parzival”, a courtly epic. Richard Wagner adapted these stories for his last opera Parzival. I have identified myself with ‘naïve’ Perceval rather than the later ‘saintly’ Galahad for several reasons:

I often felt in the middle stages of my research that I was more ‘floundering’ than ‘saintly’. My undergraduate studies introduced me to these medieval poems, and they have remained my favourites. Since 1980 I have lived in Bavaria, where Wolfram von Eschenbach and Richard Wagner lived and wrote/composed. The centuries in which these poems were written are those of the DUXBURYs’ apogee.

3. In my original draft article my 3 Grails were the Burgh, Pele and Hyll of Saxton’s map. If any reader of this current article happens to come across the earlier draft one of May 1997, please ignore it! Many thanks to Jack Smith of the Chorley Historical and Archæological Society and Bill Walker, historian of Duxbury, for their critical comments, which led me to postpone research on Burgh and Hyll and concentrate on these three sites.

[Footnote 3 was omitted in the original. It has now been reinstated.]

4. I am writing a book on the DUXBURYs of Duxbury Hall, publication 1998. [sic! stet! This has never been completed. Too many other things ‘got in the way’, not least a scrutiny of the Standish of Duxbury Muniments - and Myles Standish – and ‘Lancastrian Shakespeare’. HM 2013]

5. This story is told by W. Walker (see Bibliography).

6. Standish Deeds 404, 405, Porteus.

7. W. Walker, p. 3.

8. 1988 aerial photo 5988/148 (in Chorley Library, Preston CRO + other local libraries).

9. Deowuc is a backwards derivation from later versions of the name.

10. Farrer, Final Concords, Lancashire and Cheshire Record Sociey, i, 18 (Victoria County History, p. 208).

11. 1506/7 Standish Deed 195 in Porteus; 1577 Walker.

12. Porteus, Standish Deed 217, note.


W. Farrer & J. Brownbill (eds), Victoria County History, Volume 6, 1911.

T. C. Porteus, Calendar of the Standish Deeds 1230-1575 preserved in the Wigan Library, 1933.

William Walker, Duxbury in Decline 1756-1932, Palatine Books, 1995.


H. (A tentative) Chronological Summary of Construction,

Status & Family Ownership

(retyped, slightly edited copy of the table in the original, 1998)

(>before/by; some time after>)

(Names with PIN numbers, see Family TreeFT1. Standish of Duxbury 1300-1500)  



Deowuc’s Burgh/Duxbury (Old) Hall

& Demesne

Pele/Duxbury Mill (Farm) & Demesne


1. 583 143       2. 5825 144       3. 584 144

588 156



Deowuc inhabited (built or fortified?)

Deowuc’s Burgh

Virgin lands

Anglo-Saxon/Viking farm?


DOH home of the family which took the name of DUXBURY, i.e. Ulf, Magn(e)us, Siward, etc.

Duxbury (Corn) Mill. 2/3 or all owned by Siward de DUXBURY


Banaster Rising

Henry de DUXBURY sold lands (and Duxbury Mill?) to pay his fine for participation in the Banaster Rising, but retained Duxbury Hall & demesne.

Henry de D sold part of ‘Burgh in D’ and part/all of Mill to Hugh de STANDISH. Hugh[1A1] moved to and built/extended Mill Farm.


Scots raid

Senior DUXBURY home. Fortification consolidated >Scots raid>

Senior STANDISH of Duxbury home. Pele Tower built >Scots raid>


Senior DUXBURY home.

Senior STANDISH of Duxbury home. (Doc.)


Thomas D sold to Ralph S of Standish.

Senior STANDISH of Duxbury home.


Ralph S of Standish sold to Ss of Duxbury. James[7A2/7C1]?



“The mansion house of Thomas STANDISH called Duxbury Hall”


Manor-house ‘Pele’ on map and ‘The Pyle of Duckesberrie’ in document.

c.1623       STANDISHes built Duxbury (New) Hall (date on stone)


Demoted to ‘just a farm’, Cadet S or rented.

Cadet STANDISH residence.


3-4 of 19 hearths of Duxbury (New) Hall

2-3 of 9 hearths in ‘Burgh in Duxbury’


Hodson’s Tenement: tenant John HODSON

Farnworth House: tenant John DAY


Duxbury Mill Farm: tenant Mr John ??

Woodcock’s: tenant William WOODCOCK

1812           Last direct male STANDISH of Duxbury died osp

1891           Duxbury Hall & Park sold by last ‘adopted’ STANDISH of D daughter


Hodson’s House Farm

Farnworth House Farm

Londonderry Farm

Duxbury Mill still working mill & farm.

Woodcock House Farm.


Duxbury House Estate

Mill ceased to function, after 700+ years.

Farm continued.

1932                                           Bought by Chorley Borough Council


Farnworth House was the main farm.

Hodsons Farm gradually run down.

New small-holdings.

Mill Dam Farm, last tenant early 1960s

Jimmy Pennington, farmhouse over Yarrow.

Mill wheel blocks & trough still there.


Grundy’s Lane Farm with a few fields.

Hodson’s House a ruin.

‘Old’ Farnworth House demolished.

Some modern housing.

Buttress & stones buried in woods. Mill Dam drained off. Mill weir still there. Hall Field, including assumed site of Pele Tower, part of Conference Centre grounds.


No change.

New Myles Standish Way passes along the top of the hill behind (Hall Hey), between the site of the Old Mill (=Pele Manor House?) and the Conference Centre, through to the A673.


N.B. All on private property!

All on roads/paths open to the public.


I. Sketch of a detail from Christopher Saxton’s map, 1577 (2013)

This sketch is hardly worth reproducing from the 1998 article, because meanwhile Saxton’s coloured map of Lancashire is online in several places, and the Pele is eminently detectable. The same applies to Speed’s map of 1610/11 and later 17th century maps, which all copied the position of “Pele” from Saxton’s map. None gave Duxbury (Old) Hall or Duxbury (New) Hall. The first map to show the position of Duxbury (New) Hall with precision is the 1757 Estate Map, by when the Pele had disappeared as a Hall, represented at this date by the residential Mill, which existed until demolition in the early 20th century. However, the main clue to the site of the Pele, i.e. the Manor House calling itself this and presumably so named because of the nearby Pele tower, is on the 1757 Estate Map. This is the name of the field immediately behind Saxton’s siting of the Pele: Hall Hey. It is barely conceivable that Pele could have been anywhere other than here. A redrawn ‘Estate Map’ of 1584 appears in 7.6..


J. Re-assessment in 2009 (& again in 2013) re the Siting and Dates of habitation of

DB, DOH and the Pele

Siting and Dates of Deowuc’s Burgh.

Until or unless excavation produces evidence of the foundations and possibly artefacts, there is little or even nothing more to be said.

Dates of Duxbury (Old) Hall.

Similarly, only excavation would confirm any site one way or the other. One point omitted in 1998 was the report by Tony Christopher, whose garden backs onto the proposed site of DB, that when excavations were being carried out for an extension, he was puzzled by a whole area of cobblestones that emerged. At least one house, important enough to have had a cobbled yard, had preceded the modern one.

Dates of the Pele. Unless excavation produces evidence of early foundations and possibly artefacts, no precise dating is possible. Logic, judging from the position of other Peel Towers, says that the Pele Tower itself must have been higher up the hill above the Yarrow, to provide a good view of the surrounding countryside. No reports have emerged from the excavation necessary for the new Myles Standish Way. Did anyone even ask the construction company to keep a look out for any foundations? The road is, however, lower than any logical siting for a tower of refuge that could also serve as a look out tower.

Date of construction of Duxbury (New) Hall, which replaced the Pele as the main residence of Standish of Duxbury. Since 1998 some discussion has taken place between Bill Walker, author of Duxbury in Decline, and myself. Bill points out in his Review Article for the St Laurence Historical Society on that “Thomas Standish was still conducting business from the Pele in 1631 (DP502/6/3/3)”. True, but I would suggest that at that time there might well have been two residences standing in the northern half of Duxbury: the Pele, on the north bank of the Yarrow, still more than habitable, and Duxbury (New) Hall in the centre, built according to the latest architectural fashion. Construction of the latter might have been started before 1622, must have been ongoing by 1623 (because this date was on a stone reported by Farrer in 1911 in the Victoria County History), and might have taken several more years for completion. During construction and even after completion the Pele was presumably still used by the Standish family. It might well have been used as a house for one or more members of junior branches of the family, whose occupation there has not yet been identified. There are still a couple of strays who have not yet been accounted for. Or of maiden aunts? There were still several of them about. It was still presumably owned by Family A, and known by all locals as the home of Family A for so long, that it need not be surprising that Thomas[11A1] in 1631 was still conducting business from the Pele.

The main reasons for these suppositions are the following facts and steps of reasoning:

i) We know that it was Alexander[10A1] who commissioned the Standish pew in St Laurence’s Chorley. We know this because the Standish Arms were impaled with the Ashton Arms. Alexander’s wife was Alice, daughter of Sir Ralph Ashton of Gt Lever and Whalley Abbey. She died in 1604, after giving birth to her tenth child. Alexander did not remarry.

ii) Whether Alexander commissioned the pew whilst Alice was still living as a celebration of their union, or as a widower after her death as a memorial to the marriage, will never be known, but it must have been during the time of their marriage or at the latest before his death in 1622.

iii) If Alexander was rich enough to consider commissioning the pew, with which he would also assert his standing in the community, might he not also have been the one to have the idea of building a new and more prestigious hall?

iv) We know from the Inquisition post mortem of Alexander’s estate in 1623 that at that time Alice, Dowager Countess of Derby, widow of Ferdinando Stanley, 5th Earl of Derby (died 1594), was living in one of Alexander’s properties in nearby Anglezarke. We know her biography in a rather large amount of detail (see in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, for starters), and from this know about her own reconstruction of a prestigious hall, Harefield Place in Middlesex, bought for her by her second husband Thomas Egerton, 1st Viscount Brackley, who had died in 1617. Harefield Place had been splendid enough to entertain Queen Elizabeth. Might Alexander Standish, with his current liaison with Countess Alice, have felt it desirable to have a new hall in which to be able to entertain her more befittingly as a Countess and Viscountess? Might he (they?) even have expected visits from some of their prominent friends in court circles?

v) The 1623 stone, with the date inscribed along with the arms of Standish (somewhere I have read that it was impaled with the Wingfield arms) proves that Alexander’s son and heir Thomas had something to do with the construction. Thomas[11A1] had inherited all the family properties and the Lordship of the Manor after his father’s death in 1622. He was married to a Wingfield of Suffolk. Given that this was the lintel over the front door (albeit only known from a later version of the Hall), one might imagine that it was put in place as one of the first features. It does not in itself prove that the whole Hall dated from this period, but giving the date of construction as c.1623 would seem to be more than acceptable and justifiable.

For biographies of Alexander and Thomas see 6.1. Alexander[10A1] and 6.2. Thomas MP[11A1].


K. Notes on Sir Perceval & Co. - a Multitude of Myths, Legends, Lore (2013)

Since writing the ‘Grail’ article in 1998 I have inevitably re-read many Lancashire myths.

I might have taken my analogy with Sir Percival’s quest a little further, because of his place in Arthurian legends, in which Lancashire abounds. Perceval/ Percival/ Parsifal/ Parzifal must have existed as one person in a definite place at some time, presumably around the time of King Arthur. Myths and legends from different places may have later (con)fused different traditions about different heroes from different places, attributing many features to this now ‘mythical’ character before he started to appear in courtly poems and popular ballads in the High Middle Ages. If no consensus can be reached by historians about the identity and precise dating of King Arthur or Robin Hood (the latter living centuries later and therefore, in theory, much more easily traceable historically), it is inevitable that there will continue to be speculation and controversy about anyone associated with Arthur’s court. However, new finds regularly lead to a rewriting of history.

The huge hoard of coins and artefacts recently discovered in a field in Staffordshire by someone with a metal-detector are one good example of the history of the late Anglo-Saxon period requiring a rewrite. The magnificent Cuerdale Hoard (today in the British Museum) was not discovered until 1840 in a river-bank of the Ribble, not too many miles north of Duxbury. I have presumed that this was one likely period for Deowuc to have lived, i.e. c.900. Maybe a similar hoard, as yet undiscovered, will be discovered even closer some day? Maybe it will predate the Cuerdale Hoard?  One can be reasonably certain, however, that someone with a name something like Perceval did exist. Perceval has usually been associated with Wales and Celtic legend. Wales is not too far from Lancashire, and the history of the county has many links with Wales. Maybe he was a wandering Welshman who strayed into Lancashire?

King Arthurhimself, of course, is reputed to have fought three or four of his battles between Wigan and the Ribble. His presence in this area has, in general, lost out to the traditions that associate him with Camelot in the West Country, and his Round Table was constructed in the Middle Ages in Winchester. Wigan often receives no more than a footnote - if even that - in this context. 

Of great interest for this part of Lancashire is another Arthurian knight: Sir Lancelot. One legend in which he appears is the one involving Sir Tarquin, a giant who lived in Manchester Castle, who had sworn to kill Sir Lancelot. Of course, ‘our hero’ beat the giant. This story is given in several books on Lancashire traditions, myths, folklore, which reveal more tales of Sir Lancelot being involved with a Lady of the Lake; this includes elements of her protection of a foundling child, her possible identity as Vivian, daughter of Merlin, and so on. Many of these traditions are associated with Martin Mere, the largest inland stretch of water (in the whole of England?) until 19th century drainage. Start with John Roby of Wigan, Traditions of Lancashire, 1829, and believe him or not, but the oral traditions that he recounts were certainly around long before he recorded them. (He is even online now courtesy of Project Gutenberg.) There are several later editions and later recountings of ‘his’ tales. (A little googling reveals several.) Martin Mere is no more than a few miles away from the Isle of Man in Croston/ Bretherton, in the same area of regular flooding.

All of which brings us in a weird and wonderful way back to ‘Myles Myths’. If Myles’s “Ile of man” in his Will really was the one in Lancashire, there can be little doubt that he would have heard about the ‘myths’ associated with Martin Mere. Even if this Isle of Man was not the one he meant, he still had lands in the same township: Croston. Martin Mere was owned for a few centuries by the Heskeths of Rufford, who enter Myles’s story through documents, not myths. Apart from being Lords of the Manor of Rufford, neighbouring on Croston and Mawdesley, they owned lands in Croston, Newburgh, Mawdesley, Wrightington, Burscough and Ormskirk. Does this list sound familiar? It should do: it is the list of the places named in Myles’s Will, just starting at the end and working backwards. The Isle of Man in his list has been proved by Rev. Rex Kissack to have been NOT the one in the Irish Sea. So now the ‘Manx Myles theory’ has become the ‘Manx Myles Myth’, which shows how easily ‘myths’ can be created out of nowhere, even in the 20th century - a mere figment of someone’s imagination. People in the Middle Ages were just gullible when they believed in Sir Perceval and his quest for the Holy Grail, and King Arthur - oh, I haven’t mentioned that Martin Mere also appears in Lancashire folklore as the lake into which Arthur cast his sword Excalibur. For those who dismiss ‘myths’ as nonsensical, and state that we should only believe in facts, it will please them to know that during drainage of Martin Mere there was no trace of any sword. So of course that is another legend that has been proved wrong, without a grain of historical truth. Or has it? (An excellent account of the drainage is in David Brazendale, Lancashire’s Historic Halls, Chapter 9. Rufford Old Hall and Martin Mere, Carnegie, 1994, pp. 231-256.)

The Hesketh of Rufford Papers (LRO DDHe), alas, take us only back to the 13th century, with not a single mention of local myths and legends. Similarly the Standish of Duxbury Muniments (LRO DP397) only take us back to the first Duxbury of Duxbury, Ulf born c.1120. Not even Deowuc gets a mention, yet we know that he existed, because he left behind his name attached to his ‘burgh’.


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