Residents and visitors to the area of Lostock Hall may wonder where the hall that the township is named after is located. The original building stood on the site of the present day St Catherine’s Hospice, and the area has been recently opened up for those interested in history, nature or just in search of a good cup of tea. The Medieval hall is long gone, but a later substantial one still stands in newly created St Catherine’s Park.
The River Lostock still flows close by the hall today, and the earliest recorded family from the area were called ‘de Lostock’, taking their name from the river. The Edwardian publication A History of the County of Lancaster tells us that a James de Lostock is recorded as living here between 1332-1350. The area the hall stands on was once part of Cuerden Green and James’s daughter Margery renamed this part as “Lostock Hall” during her tenure. (Part of Cuerden Green still exists- it is the area surrounding the end of the M65 motorway at Junction 1a. ). Margery married into the Banastre (or Bannister) family, who continued to live in the hall during the 1400s. Interestingly there is a building just off Nook Road by Junction 1a marked on the modern A-Z map as ‘Banastres at Bank’. The Banastres were a wealthy Lancashire family. There were branches of them at nearby Cuerden Hall, Walton le Dale and Park Hill in Barrowford (now the excellent Pendle Heritage Centre). Their manorial seat was at Bank Hall at Bretherton (see our site visit here). They continued to live at Lostock Hall until the mid 1500s after which the building was sold on.
There’s a gap in the historical record for a hundred years or so, but in 1662 Andrew Dandie (or Dandy) was recorded as paying rent for lands there to the Lord of Clitheroe. A William Dandy paid tax on three hearths in 1676. This was a form of taxation for large householders, the more fireplaces a home had the more tax was paid. Dandy Brook Park was the name of the area that borders onto the River Lostock, east and west of Todd Lane South (and has now been incorporated into St Catherine’s Park).
Sometime before the mid 1700s there was a fire that seriously damaged the hall. Some of the brickwork that was not affected by the blaze was used in the rebuild in 1764 by William Clayton, a Preston banker. The Clayton family continued to live at the hall until 1840 after which the house was occupied by a series of different families from the cotton manufacturing business.
The last owner was Harry Dewhurst who bought it in 1880. He was part of the Dewhurst Cotton Company which developed the famous Sylko cotton thread. When he left in 1918 he donated the hall and the grounds of six and a half acres to Preston Royal Infirmary to be used as a ‘Continuation Hospital’. Following conversion the building opened four years later to admit convalescing women and children and remained a hospital for 60 years.
In 1981 the hospital closed and St Catherine’s hospice bought the building and grounds from the NHS. In 1985 on the 29th April, the feast of St Catherine, it opened for its first day care patients and a few months later for inpatients. Over the next two decades it extended its services and patient capacity and has become a much respected institution within the South Ribble area.
Most recently the hospice has created a public café and community hub building, called The Mill. It is a converted 1800s barn on the site that was once part of Lostock Fold Farm. The name ‘The Mill’ comes from the fact that the farm was built on the site of a cotton mill and the barn could have been made of stone from that mill. Before its recent conversion the ground floor of the barn was a shippon for 20 cows, along with a bull pen and threshing floor. The floor above held the hayloft. The Mill café is run as a social enterprise to help fund end of life care for the hospice patients and is well worth a visit.
In 2015 St Catherine’s Park opened up access for the public into the gardens of St Catherine’s and the newly created Wetlands area. Visitors can pass through St Catherine’s Gate in the hall’s walled garden into the former Dandy Brook Park and walk by the side of the River Lostock. The path leads down to the First World War replica Inglis Bridge (see the page about this on our Lancashire at War website by clicking here). It continues down to the new South Ribble War Memorial and Peace Garden. The hospice, South Ribble Borough Council and the Rotary Clubs of Longridge, North Preston and Preston South are to be applauded in their creation of this green and historical space. To visit St Catherine’s Hospice website click here. To view the Mill’s website click here. For more about the war memorial click here.
Site visited by A. and S. Bowden 2017
There is parking for the Mill Café at St Catherine’s. There is also free parking for the Inglis Bridge, Memorial and Peace Garden at the new car park on Todd Lane South. You can park in either of the car parks and follow the sign posts to see all the historical and nature sites of the newly created St Catherine’s Park.
St Cathernine’s Park: A Trip Down Memory Lane (2017) published by St Catherine’s Hospice Care and The Mill (free booklet available from The Mill)
Townships: Walton-le-Dale in A History of the County of Lancaster Volume 6 edited by William Farrer and J Brownbill (London 1911) accessed from British History online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/lancs/vol6/pp289-300
St Catherine’s Park : Central Parks leaflet by South Ribble and St Catherine’s Hospice (available from The Mill)
A Bannister Family History (2006) Heritage Trust for the North West