Medieval Coppull






The earliest family mentioned in relation to Coppull is the “de Coppull” family. John de Coppull was lord of the manor in the early 13th C, and was acknowledged as such by Adam son of William Bleyneschohe (D/D Ma/A/5). John had a brother Thomas, and Richard of Coppull is also mentioned as owning lands in Perburn, which may be the area of Coppull now known as Hic Bibi. By the 1230s, Thomas of Coppull was granting land, perhaps having inherited the estates of his brother (or perhaps being the son of John)

At about the same time, Richard of Coppull owned land in the wood of Chorley. By the time of Edward I (1272-1307), Henry, the son of John of Coppull was granting land in Chorley.

 The de Bleinschoc family is also mentioned, Adam son of William appeared in circa 1200 and Richard son of Orm in 1215. They acknowledged the de Coppulls as their lords.  Blainscough was a moated site, perhaps dating from the 12th or 13th centuries, as did many other Lancashire moated sites (Newman, C., p5). Evidence of Blainscough's moat survives today, together with what would have been the grandest avenue of trees leading to a residence in Coppull. Moated sites were often a feature of high status dwellings (Newman, R., p116), and Blainscough Hall would have been, if not the grandest, then along with Chisnall Hall and Coppull's manor house, one of the three most important residences in the village in the medieval period.

Remains of the Moat at Blainscough, Nov 2007

The Avenue to Blainscough, Nov 2007

By the late 13th century there were references to a mill in Coppull and in 1306, Henry del Burgh granted the rights to the moiety (i.e. half) of the “mill and all the mill places between Ogenalebroke and the boundary of William Quytehaud [Whitehead] with the pool and attachment of a moiety of the Yarrow upon that part of Coppul in the ville of Chorley, and Coppul in Worthington”. It is possible that this area was in the north of Coppull, slightly to the south of the Clancutt estate.

 The Chisnalls appear for the first time in the early 14th century, and John of Chisnall owned lands in Wrightington. He was also a tax assessor in 1316, suggesting that the family had achieved some status in the local community by that time. However he was accused of allowing his clerks, William Spynk and Thomas de Chisnall, to extort money from people in the West Derby hundred when they were collecting taxes on his behalf. In 1315 there were two Robert de Chisnalls, one of them a clerk. Along with Blainscough, Chisnall Hall is recorded as having been a moated site. The Chisnall estate included lands in Coppull and other neighbouring townships, and may at some time have had a claim to being a manor in its own right, although there is no evidence of this from the medieval period. It was, doubtless, a high status and important house.  

The opening of the 14th Century also saw the first appearance of a number of other names of the inhabitants of Coppull. In 1306 there are references to Robert del Holt and John de Nightegale, whilst neither of these is explicitly described as “of Coppull”, the Holt (or the Hole on the first Ordnance Survey map) is an old established house in Coppull, and the name Nightingale (or Nightgall) appeared frequently in Coppull in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. In 1311, John Nightgall appears again together with Henry de Ogenale, once again almost certainly an estate in Coppull.

In 1315 there was an attack of banditry in South Lancashire and one of the bandits was Adam le Taillour of Coppull who “took goods and chattels belonging to John le Cruce… to the value of sixty pounds … and that they extorted ten pounds from the town of [West] Derby so that they should not destroy the aforesaid town, and they took ten pounds by extortion from divers men of the same town.” Adam was fined two marks and amongst his sureties were John de Coppull and John de Derbishire.

The first tax assessment (or subsidy roll) for Coppull (which also included the vill of Worthington) survives for 1327, and lists nine people assessed for the tax, the two highest assessments being for John Chisnall and John Derbishire, who were subject to higher tax even than John Coppull who was, presumably, Lord of the Manor. The second subsidy roll survives for 1332 and lists ten taxpayers, the highest assessments being levied on the two Johns who were joined by William son of Robert, each of them paying 4s tax. The bandit Adam le Taillour is also assessed for tax in this roll, paying 16d, along with Thomas de Uggenhalle.

The archives are almost silent for the last half of the 14th Century, perhaps as a result of the Black Death which blighted Europe around 1348.  

The de Coppulls were present in the village in the early 15th Century. John was mentioned in 1406, William and Robert both appear in the 1420s and 1430s. William’s wife Isabel is mentioned in 1446, this perhaps being the first mention of a woman in the written records of the village. James appeared in the 1450s as a witness in deeds.

There seems to have been a period of lawlessness in the village in the period as in 1430 Hugh Haydock of Coppull was accused of breaking into a close of James Shagh and cutting down trees. Then in 1438 Thomas Jonesson of Coppull, Henry his son, yeoman and John of Haukesheved of Coppull, walker, by force of arms broke into the house of William of Coppull at Coppull and stole property to the value of £40, a considerable sum in the period.

In 1497, Robert Ugnall of Coppull granted land to Sir Richard Shereburn [?] and Piers Worthington, the latter being the head of the Worthington family of Blainscough. Blainscough was evidently a significant estate in its own right, as many early deeds refer to “the vill of Coppull, Worthington and Blainscough”.



Newman, Caron "The Medieval Period Resource Assessment", 2004.

Newman, Richard, "Medieval Rural Settlement", in Leslie, Richard, ed., "The Archaeology of Lancashire", Lancaster, 1996