This valuable parish comprised the townships of Bispham, Bretherton, Croston, Hesketh cum Becconsall, Mawdesley, Much Hoole, Rufford, Tarleton, Ulnes Walton and the detached township of Chorley. The number of townships and size of the parish led to the establishment of several chapels of ease, notably at Rufford, Chorley and Tarleton.
The township of Croston gets its name from a cross, the purpose of which is not clear, it may have been a market cross or an early preaching cross subsequently restored.
The first church building was probably constructed in the fifteenth century but was subsequently rebuilt and altered several times over the centuries until it was substantially reconstructed in 1866-7. Parts of the original structure can still be seen, however. The base of the tower is unusually almost completely within the church.
From the early fifteenth century, the parish was appropriated to the monastery of Syon in Middlesex, which duly appointed vicars to the parish until it was dissolved in 1539. It is not clear who owned all the rights in the parish thereafter, as although Sir Thomas Darcy was granted a lease of the advowson and possibly the rectorial tithes, by the Crown in 1551, he either sublet all or part of the tithes or had not been granted them in their entirety as causes before the Chester consistory court indicate.
Croston Old School building is situated in the churchyard and is now used as a community resource centre.
Rev W G Procter, ‘The ancient parish of Croston: a historical retrospect’ Transactions of the Historical Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, volumes 60 and 62 for 1908 and 1910. Available online:
‘The parish of Croston’, in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6, ed. William Farrer and J Brownbill (London, 1911), pp. 81-91. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/lancs/vol6/pp81-91 [accessed 6 February 2023].