Sunday 4 August 2013

(61) Ainscough of Parbold

A Roman Catholic family who trace their origins to the medieval Ainscoughs of Stallingborough (Lincs), but through their participation in the Pilgrimage of Grace of 1536 and the sequestration of their lands were reduced to humble circumstances and migrated first into Yorkshire and subsequently into Lancashire, where they settled among other recusant families at Mawdesley and Rufford.  Richard Ainscough (1770-1849) moved to Parbold (Lancs), set up as a grocer and eventually took over the village windmill.  This was the foundation of the family firm of H. & R. Ainscough which propelled them to renewed prosperity.  

Richard’s elder son Hugh Ainscough (1816-94) initially spent four years training for the Catholic priesthood at Valladolid (Spain) and then contemplated a medical career, but eventually joined his brother Richard Ainscough (d. 1877) in the family business.  The company prospered and built new steam Flour Mills at Parbold and Burscough. They diversified into farming and land ownership, buying Fairhurst Hall at Parbold and Briars Hall, Lathom; where they established the Burscough Shire Stud.  In 1852 Hugh, who had twelve children, bought a small 17th century house called Lancaster House at Parbold and greatly extended it in a style mixing Italianate and Gothic motifs.  His second son James Ainscough (1858-1933) settled at Fairhurst Hall and added a new wing to the Georgian house; his fourth son, John Ainscough (1863-1937) took on Briar’s Hall in 1902 and again extended it; his fifth son, Thomas Ainscough (1865-1927) inherited Lancaster House.  None of these houses, however, ultimately remained in the family.  Lancaster House was leased to the Sisters of Notre Dame in Liverpool in 1929 and in 1947 they bought the freehold.  Fairhurst Hall was sold after James’ widow died in 1950, and Briars Hall became a hotel in 1970. 

John Ainscough’s son, Oswald Whitwell Ainscough (1906-95) bought Casterton Hall (Westmld) about 1964, and lived there until 1972, when he sold the house and ‘downsized’ to Abbots Brow, Kirkby Lonsdale, a nearby attractive 18th and 19th century house  with a famous view over the Lune valley painted by Turner; this the family retained until 2012.

Fairhurst Hall, Parbold, Lancashire

Fairhurst Hall, before reduction in the 1950s.  Image: Barbara Ainscough.  Licenced under a Creative Commons licence.

There has been a house on the site since the 14th century, but the present building is essentially a seven bay early 18th century house of brick, with a Gibbs surround to the front door.  The house was extended in the early to mid 19th century by a long wing running back from the right hand side of the present house; this had a new main entrance and a shallow curved bay.  The later wing was demolished by Dr. Rigg in the early 1950s, and the house was modernised by the Maidens in the 1960s.

Fairhurst Hall in the 1980s.  Image: Barbara Ainscough.  Licenced under a Creative Commons licence.

Fairhurst Hall: location map
Descent: Banastre family; sold 1536-40 to Richard Nelson; by descent to James Nelson Ashton (fl. 1764), whose Riddell descendants sold to Hugh Ainscough (1816-94); to son, James Ainscough (1858-1933); to widow Lillian Ainscough (d. 1950); sold to Dr. Tom Rigg (fl.1950s), who demolished the wing; sold to Mr & Mrs Ian Maiden; sold 1967 to George Travis.

Briar's Hall, Lathom, Lancashire

Briars Hall Hotel in 2011
There has been a house on the site since the 16th century but the present building dates mainly from a rebuilding of 1745 for the Ashton family.  It consists of a three storey three bay house with lower and later wings to either side; the larger right-hand wing and the porch and bay window on the end elevation to the left appear to represent the extensions made for John Ainscough after he bought the estate in 1902.  The house has been a hotel since 1970.

Descent:  sold 1902 to John Ainscough (1863-1937); to widow, Martha (née Whitwell) (1869-1958); sold for use as hotel in 1970.

Lancaster House, Parbold, Lancashire

Lancaster House: a 19th century watercolour sketch

The house probably originated in the 17th century, judging by its modest proportions and masonry details.  It consists of a hall range and cross-wings but the windows and interior have been altered, presumably when Hugh Ainscough bought it and built a much larger Italianate house beside it c.1852.  This is fairly grand; the entrance bay has a pedimental gable, the windows have arched and stilted-arched tops, and the whole house is crowned with a balustrade.  The former coach house has a heavy Italianate tower.

Lancaster House: a recent photograph, showing the old house on the right and the new block of 1852

Descent: sold 1852 to Hugh Ainscough (1816-94); to younger son, Thomas Ainscough (1865-1927); after his death rented 1929 and sold 1947 to Sisters of Notre Dame Convent, Everton Valley, Liverpool.

Casterton Hall, Westmorland

Casterton Hall in 2011. Image: Don & Margaret.

Casterton Hall: location map
A severely plain but elegant two storey neo-classical house of ashlar, built in 1811 for the Carus-Wilson family, probably to the designs of John Webb, who also designed Leck Hall (Lancs).  It has an entrance front of five bays with a semicircular Doric porch and a side elevation with a big curved bow and blank niches on either side.  To the right of the entrance front is a very handsome attached orangery, probably of the early 19th century, with Tuscan demi-columns and a central pediment. Inside the entrance hall has a shallow segmental plaster vault, and leads into the central top-lit staircase hall, which has an oval skylight.  The house stands in a pretty little park with good views across the River Lune, in which stands a Tuscan cattle shed.  The house is now in multiple occupation.

Descent: William Wilson Carus Wilson (1764-1851), who bought the estate and built the house; to son, Rev. William Carus-Wilson (1791-1859); to son, William Wilson Carus-Wilson (1822-83); to son, Rev. William Carus-Wilson (1845-1911); to brother, Cecil Carus-Wilson (1857-1934); to son, Cecil Caradoc Carus-Wilson MC (1892-living 1952), who sold before 1952;...sold c.1964 to Oswald Whitwell Ainscough (1906-95), who sold 1972, after which it appears to have been subdivided.

The Ainscoughs of Parbold

Ainscough, Richard (1770-1849) of Parbold.  Second son of Hugh Ainscough (1746-1822) of Mawdesley, farmer, and his wife Mary Smith, born 1770.  Grocer and miller at Parbold (Lancs).  He married, 1814, Elizabeth Livesey (1781-1852) and had issue:
(1) James Ainscough (1815-38); died unmarried, 15 January 1838;
(2) Hugh Ainscough (1816-94) (q.v.);
(2) Richard Ainscough (1818-77), of Brooklands, Burscough (Lancs), m. Hannah Liptrot but had no issue; died 17 July 1877; will proved 28 March 1878 (estate under £35,000);
(3) Mary Ainscough (b. 1820), m. - Speakman and had issue;
(4) Elizabeth Ainscough (1825-98), m. Dr. John Rigby of Preston and had issue three sons and three daughters.
He died in 1849.

Ainscough, Hugh (1816-94) of Lancaster House, Parbold.  Second, but eldest surviving, son of Richard Ainscough (1770-1849) and his wife Elizabeth Livesey, born 15 April 1816.  Spent four years training for the Roman Catholic priesthood at Valladolid (Spain) but did not take orders; then several years training for a career in medicine before returning to Lancashire and joining the family milling business; with his younger brother, Richard, founded H & R Ainscough Ltd and built new steam flour mills.  They also became farmers and landowners in the area, and developed a hotel at Southport and the Burscough Shire Horse stud.  A Liberal in politics and a benefactor of the Roman Catholic church, for whom he built the church at Parbold in 1878-84 and the schools nearby.  He married, 1854, Susannah (1830-1923), daughter of John Fairclough of Old Such Farm, Hoscar Moss near Ormskirk, and had issue:
(1) Elizabeth Ainscough (1855-1913), born 21 January 1855; m. William Hunter (d. 1922) of Hastings (Sussex), but died without issue, 27 March 1913;
(2) Richard Ainscough (1856-1921) of Brooklands, born 16 July 1856; educated privately; m. June 1892, Mary Wilson (d. 1957), daughter of James Duckworth of Bury (Lancs) and had issue one son and one daughter; died 20 February 1921; will proved 1 November 1922 (estate £56,549);
(3) James Ainscough (1858-1933) (q.v.);
(4) Hugh Ainscough (1860-1945), of Southport (Lancs), born 3 January 1860; educated at Ampleforth; m. Maria Cissy (d. 1950), daughter of James Blundell of Ormskirk, but died without issue, 31 May 1945; will proved, 6 October 1945 (estate £39,535);
(5) Catherine Ainscough (1861-1960), born 7 November 1861; m. 17 October 1888, William Verity of Parbold (d. 1892), son of Peter Verity of Huyton (Lancs) and had issue one son and two daughters; died 30 September 1960, aged 98;
(6) John Ainscough (1863-1937) (q.v.);
(7) Thomas Ainscough (1865-1927) (q.v.);
(8) Mary Ainscough (1867-1927), born 23 May 1867; m. 2 September 1914, Thomas Aloysius, son of William Withnell of Ormskirk, but died without issue, 3 July 1927; will proved 13 October 1927 (estate £28,483);
(9) Susannah Ainscough (1868-1937), born 27 December 1868; died unmarried, 11 January 1937; will proved 10 March 1937 (estate £45)
(10) Joseph Ainscough (1871-1902) of Hunters Hill, born 27 November 1871; educated privately; died unmarried, 1 March 1902;
(11) Annie Ainscough (1873-1954), born 14 July 1873; m. Randel Withnell of Wimbledon (Surrey), son of William Withnell of Ormskirk and had issue one son and one daughter; died 21 May 1954; will proved 18 August 1954 (estate £4,167);
(12) Francis Septimus Ainscough (1875-96), born 24 August 1875; educated privately; died unmarried, 28 December 1896.
In 1852 he purchased Lancaster House, Parbold, and built a new house adjoining the old one.  He also bought Fairhurst Hall, Parbold.
He died 12 December 1894 and his will was proved 16 December 1895 (estate £81,239).  His widow died 24 November 1923 and her will was proved 14 March 1924 (estate £35,097).

Ainscough, James (1858-1933), of Fairhurst Hall, Parbold.  Second son of Hugh Ainscough (1816-94) and his wife Susan, daughter of John Fairclough of Old Such Farm, Hoscar Moss, born 25 March 1858.  Educated at Ratcliffe College; partner in H. & R. Ainscough Ltd.  He married in September 1887 Mary Helen (d. 1950), daughter of Joseph Smith of Whittingham House, Goosenargh (Lancs), cotton manufacturer, and had issue:
(1) Hugh Ainscough (1889-1947), described in 1911 census as 'feeble-minded from childhood'; died unmarried;
(2) Cyril Ainscough (1893-1915), served in 5th Battalion, Manchester Regiment in WW1; killed in action in the Dardenelles, 7 August 1915;
(3) Martin Ainscough (1898-1973), chairman of Lion Brewery, Blackburn; purchased the Croston Hall estate, 1963 (sold c.2005); m. 1923 Beatrice Mary Rennick (1897-1992) and had issue including two sons; died 5 March 1973.
He lived at Fairhurst Hall, Parbold, which he inherited from his father in 1894, and extended the house.  At his death it passed to his widow and was sold by her executors.
He died 14 March 1933 and his will was proved 22 August 1933 (estate £54,288).  His widow died 22 April 1950 and her will was proved 12 August 1950 (estate £26,425).

Ainscough, John (1863-1937) of Briars Hall, Lathom.  Fourth son of Hugh Ainscough (1816-94) and his wife Susan, daughter of John Fairclough of Old Such Farm, Hoscar Moss, born 5 June 1863.  Educated at Ampleforth; chairman of H. & R. Ainscough Ltd and Burscough Shire Stud.  He married, 16 October 1900, Martha Teresa (d. 1958), daughter of George Francis Whitwell of Stourbridge (Worcs) and had issue:
(1) Francis John Ainscough (1902-89), born 28 January 1902; educated at Ampleforth; director of H. & R. Ainscough Ltd; m. September 1936, Evelyn, daughter of John Ashcroft of Burscough and had issue one son and three daughters; died 28 December 1989;
(2) George Whitwell Ainscough (b. 1903), born 2 September 1903; educated at Ampleforth; m. January 1939, Florence Mary, daughter of James Cunningham of St. Helens (Lancs) and had issue five sons and one daughter;
(3) Margaret Mary Ainscough (1905-93), born 1 March 1905; m. 14 June 1935, Eric Humphrey, son of Robert Sidgreaves of Rawtenstall (Lancs) and had issue a daughter;
(4) Oswald Whitwell Ainscough (1906-95) (q.v.);
(5) John Whitwell Ainscough (1908-92), born October 1908; educated at Ampleforth; m. November 1938, Margaret (1916-99), daughter of Thomas H. Kevill of Burgh Hall, Chorley (Lancs) and had issue three sons and six daughters; died 27 October 1992
(6) Paul Joseph Ainscough (1911-89), born 22 September 1911; educated at Ampleforth and Queen's College, Oxford.
He lived at Briars Hall, Lathom, which he inherited from his father in 1894, and extended the house.  At his death it passed to his widow and it was sold c.1970 for conversion to an hotel.
He died 3 August 1937 and his will was proved 5 November 1937 (estate £88,021).  His widow died 30 June 1958 and her will was proved 9 September 1958 (estate £9,020).

Ainscough, Thomas (1865-1927) of Lancaster House, Parbold.  Fifth son of Hugh Ainscough (1816-94) and his wife Susan, daughter of John Fairclough of Old Such Farm, Hoscar Moss, born 23 February 1865.  Educated at Ampleforth; played cricket for Wigan Cricket Club. He married, 7 May 1901, Jane Agnes (d. 1947), daughter of H. Smith of Parbold and had issue:
(1) Gerald Ainscough (1902-75), stockbroker's clerk, born 26 January 1902;
(2) Joseph Ainscough (b. c.1905); served in army in WW2;
(3) Very Rev. Anthony Ainscough TD OSB MA (1906-86); born 10 May 1906; educated at Oxford University; prior of Ampleforth Abbey, 1975-86; died 11 February 1986.
He inherited Lancaster House from his father in 1894.
He died 20 November 1927 and his will was proved 17 January 1928 (estate £10,012).  His wife died 23 April 1947 and her will was proved 28 July 1947 (estate £2,668).

Ainscough, Maj. Oswald Whitwell (1906-95) of Casterton Hall.  Third son of John Ainscough (1863-1937) of Briars Hall, Lathom and his wife Martha Teresa, daughter of George Francis Whitwell of Stourbridge (Worcs), born 5 December 1906.  Educated at Ampleforth; director of Palace Hotel, Southport, 1934-50 and H. & R. Ainscough Ltd, 1936-64.  Served in WW2 in 1st and 8th Battalions, Kings Regiment in India & Burma; retired as Major.  Director of Liverpool Corn Trade Association, 1953-55 and of Casterton Estates Ltd., 1965 onwards.  He married first, 15 July 1939, Gabriel Mary (1909-51), daughter of Thomas James Finch of Ormskirk (Lancs) and second, 8 August 1959, Morar Catherine Beryl (1929-2000), younger daughter of Sir Michael Albert James Malcolm, 10th bt. of Milton Lodge, North Berwick (East Lothian), and had issue:
(1.1) Gabriel Elizabeth (b. 1940), born 9 November 1940; educated at Convent of Holy Child Jesus, Harrogate; m. 24 June 1967 Varlien Raymond, son of Reginald Henry Vyner-Brooks of Southport;
(1.2) David Oswald Ainscough (b. 1942), of Abbots Brow, Kirby Lonsdale; born 20 March 1942; educated at Ampleforth;
(1.3) Pauline Simone Ainscough (b. 1946), born 26 August 1946; educated at Convent of Holy Child Jesus, Harrogate;
(1.4) Catherine Ainscough (b. 1947), born 15 October 1947; educated at Convent of Holy Child Jesus, Harrogate.
He purchased Casterton Hall in 1964 but sold it again c.1972 and retired to Abbots Brow, Kirby Lonsdale.
He died 16 January 1995, aged 88.  His widow died 26 August 2000.


Burke's Landed Gentry, successive editions; J.M. Robinson, A guide to the country houses of the North-West, 1991, pp. 183, 266; C. Hartwell & Sir N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: Lancashire – North, 2009, p.496; M. Hyde & Sir N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: Cumbria, 2010, pp. 275-76;;

Location of archives

No significant archive is known to survive.

This post was last revised 30th July 2014.


  1. John Francis Ainscough had children out of wedlock. Six in total to the same lady. Three boys and three girls. Although he was never married to their mother. It was very much a loving relationship with Christmases and many occasions spent together.

    1. Does this refer to the person I have identified as Francis John Ainscough (1902-89)? There doesn't seem to be a John Francis in the genealogy above.

    2. Yes my father was Francis John Ainscough. I am one of six children born to my father with Leah Stocker. My parents were together for 45years before his death. So I guess
      that counts for something.

  2. Francis Ainscough "lodged" at Briers Hall, Lathom for many years. The previous reference is not without foundation.

  3. Thomas, James, John and Hugo Ainscough, from 1893, joined Ormskirk Cricket Club, transforming it into a much respected and successful member of the Liverpool and District Competition. Hugo captained Ormskirk form 20 years from 1889. Tom was the most talented and played regularly for Lancashire, in the 2nd. X1. When asked to play for the 1st. X1 he replied that " someone has to stay home to look after the business". He was the first person to score 1000 runs for Ormskirk and was the only one of the brothers not to Captain the Club.. Cyril, who was killed during WW1, was also a fine cricketer. James Ainscough was also President. Martin Ainscough also captained Ormskirk and was President.
    This information appears in my history of the Club "175 years of cricket at Ormskirk"
    Ken Lea

  4. Great family where we used to gather every Sunday afternoon in te summers of the late 1960s and early 70s to play tennis and enjoy the company of all the Parbold Ainscough children and their friends of whom there were many!

  5. Love to know who hospitality 101 is. I'm one of the Parboiled Ainscough children.

  6. Yes my father was Francis John Ainscough. One of Six children with my mother Leah Stocker. My father was not married to mother,but they were together for 45yrs so I guess
    that counts . We had a normal family life,but never met our step sisters until my fathers funeral. The son John did come to our house quite often . Frances Coupe

  7. So where does Priors wood, Dalton come into the picture?

    1. I understand that Priorswood Hall was bought in 1950 by Cyril Ainscough, the son of Martin Ainscough (d. 1973) who is mentioned above.


Please leave a comment if you have any additional information or corrections to offer, or if you are able to help with additional images of the people or buildings in this post.