Lancashire did not exist as a county in 1086 and Poulton appears in the Yorkshire
section of the Domesday Survey, one of over 60 local villages in Amounderness. Unfortunately
no details are given about these communities. Domesday records 3 churches in Amounderness
but does not say where they were. However it is extremely likely that a church has
stood in Poulton since Anglo-Saxon times.
Poulton was part of a very large Anglo-Saxon parish of Kirkham. The dedication of
the church to St Chad, an Anglo-Saxon bishop, is taken as further evidence that a
church stood in Poulton well before the Norman Conquest.
ROGER DE POITOU
The first written evidence for a church in Poulton is a document drawn up in 1094
when Roger de Poitou, the Norman knight to whom Amounderness had been granted after
the Conquest, presented the church in Poulton to the Abbey at Sees in Normandy.
It was accepted practice for this to be done, and Poulton church, together with
other churches in Amounderness, including the newly built church dedicated to St
Mary at Lancaster, remained in the hold of the Norman Abbey until Henry IV dissolved
the power of foreign abbeys to hold land in England.
Until the early nineteenth century when the Victorians began a major programme of
church building on the Fylde coast, the parish of St Chad, Poulton stretched from
what is now Squires Gate Lane in Blackpool, where it met the parish of Lytham, to
the banks of the River Wyre where Fleetwood now stands. (Over a period of about
eight hundred years Bispham church was at different times both a chapel of ease to
Poulton and a separate parish.)
Poulton has never belonged to a major landowner and so the township has no important
and useful documents such as Manor Court Rolls. After the Reformation, Queen Elizabeth
passed the church to members of the Fleetwood family, but the majority of landowners
in Poulton continued to be local people owning small farms.
A MARKET TOWN
Built on one of the few low hills in the western part of the Fylde, near to the River
Wyre, for centuries Poulton provided a natural social and commercial centre for
the many tiny hamlets which lay over a wide area reaching from Lytham to Kirkham.
Over the centuries Poulton became an important market town providing local farmers
and families with the many services they needed - blacksmiths, farriers, nail makers
carpenters and joiners, shoemakers, dressmakers and tailors and all manner of food
suppliers. The market cross still standing in the square is a reminder of the days
when it served as a sign that regular markets were held there. Poulton has no market
charter, and the earliest mention yet found of a market in Poulton was identified
by Dr Alan Crosby in a document of 1628, but it is very likely that markets have
been held here for centuries.
This view from the top of St Chad’s church tower shows the Market Place with the
Victorian Market held in June 1997.