History of Pilling

Pilling is an extensive mossland parish covering some 3387 hectares situated on the southern corner of Morecambe Bay. A largely agricultural parish it is a rural community and has a flat open landscape looking toward the Bowland Fells the Lake District mountains and Morecambe Bay. From artefacts finds, there is evidence of spasmodic human activity dating back to the Neolithic period.

The seaward side of the Parish is supplemented by salt marsh, much of which has been reclaimed recently by improved sea defences. The mosslands merge with that of neighbouring Parishes and in total cover some 9000 acres. These mosslands replaced the forests that covered the area in the early Iron Age.

In the 12th Century much of Pilling came into the possession of the Cannons of Cockersand Abbey, resulting in the creation of various farms or 'houses' to supply the Abbey's needs. Many are still in existence today, although obviously not now connected with the ruined Abbey, e.g. Carr House, Pasture Farm, Fold House and Brick House.

Pilling in the past was, of necessity, a self contained community. At one stage, in the late 19th Century it boasted no less than eight grocers and shopkeepers together with such diversified businesses as a tailor, saddler, wheelwright, blacksmith, butcher and even an oatmeal maker, and of course Pilling Mill.

Even though the monks of Cockersand developed 'houses' they were never high structures. Much of Pilling was and still is built on mossland with consequent inability to install adequate foundation for high large structures.

The wet undrained mossland had an influence over the Parish throughout the ages, in that access by road or paths was difficult. Improvements in drainage have helped reclaim land and (although improvements have taken place on late) road access has always been a problem. Peat being extracted for fuel left the roads uneven and vulnerable to the elements.

Bell Farm, Bradshaw Lane, Pilling

Built about 1700, typical of a Fylde cottage of this time. Now trading as a bed and breakfast establishment. To the rear is Ridgy Pool which in ancient times was a tidal creek, where possibly Norse settlers sailed along to settle further inland, such as Eagland Hill, Eskham, which all have Norse origins. Bell Farm is in the small hamlet of Scronkey which means a crooked stream.

Pilling Hall

Georgian Hall from approximately 1750. Built close to the site of the original Pilling Grange, which existed in 1200, when Theobald Walter granted the whole of his Hey of Pilling about one thousand acres in memory of his late brother **Walter, Archbishop of Canterbury, to the Abbot and the Monks, who later moved to Cockersand Abbey, 'There serving God to have without for all time.' To the South West is the ruin of the foundations of the original Church of Pilling dedicated to St. John the Baptist. at the time of the Monks occupation of the Grange a devout Nun called Agnes Schepherd had a cell in the grounds of the Church in all possibility the site of the old Church is sixth century Saxon foundation an some historians believe there may also close to the foundations be of a foundation of a Norse Kel. (small Church).

St John the Baptist Church

Built by Messrs Austin and Paley, Lancaster architects and considered to be one of their finest works and consecrated by Dr. Moorhouse, Bishop of Manchester on 24th June, 1887. The great East window was designed by Messrs. Burslem of London and was a gift of the Misses Elletson of Parrox Hall in memory of Reverend Dr. Gardner. The West window was dedicated to Mr. T. Corless of Springfield House and constructed by Mayer and Co., of London and Munich.