All the records which reach the Lancashire Record Office are informative, and many are interesting even to the layman, but it is a rare event to receive records which are genuinely dramatic. Such an event did occur this year, however, when the Blackpool Lifeboat Institution serve records were deposited here (DDX 1153) [this article was first published in the Lancashire Record Office annual report for 1977]. The records comprise two short series of books: quarterly reports of expenses and exercises, 1864-1889; and returns of services, being signed copies of the official records of active service, 1864-1953. A few extracts from the service records are printed below, providing vivid glimpses of one of the lesser-known aspects of Blackpool’s history.
So far as is known, records survive for only one Lancashire monastic manor – Lytham. Among the muniments of the Clifton family, who acquired the manor in 1606, are pre -dissolution rolls for the years 1504, 1513/14, 1516-1518, 1422-1524,1526, 1529 and 1532-33. Unfortunately, most are too fragile for examination. Sixteen later rolls survive for the period 1541 – 1614. A very good coverage of the period 1611 – 1712 is given by a composite volume of court records which includes those of four nearby Clifton manors.
With the death of Mary, Dowager Duchess of Norfolk, on 17th September, 1754, the ancient family of Shireburn of Stonyhurst became extinct. For more than 500 years the Shireburns had counted themselves amongst the most wealthy and influential of the Lancashire gentry. They traced their ancestry to Robert of Shirebuen, who was granted the manor of Hambleton by one Geoffrey the Crossbowman, probably his uncle, in 1245. As the centuries passed they acquired extensive lands in both Lancashire and Yorkshire, including the manor of Aighton Bailey and Chaigley where their mansion house of Stonyhurst was situated. Despite the fact that they remained loyal to the Roman Catholic religion after the Reformation, and were, liable to the legal penalties imposed upon members of that religion, they managed to preserve their position of eminence to the end.