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About the study

The Myerscough One Name Study was started over 20 years ago by Agnes Myerscough of Longton, Lancashire.

Whilst researching the Myerscoughs in my family, we were privileged to meet Agnes and at the beginning of 2007 Agnes asked us to become custodian of her data on the understanding that it is made available to Family Historians researching their own Myerscough ancestors.

To continue Agnes'€™s work, we have designed a website as the focus of our Myerscough Project. We have taken Agnes's database as the basis and built an index so that researchers can identify whether or not we may have more information about their ancestor within the database. We are continuing with Agnes'€™s work by identifying other Myerscoughs and by researching, identifying and making available Myerscough data, sources and references on the website.

We registered the One Name study with the Guild of One Name Studies in 2008.

Variant names

There are numerous variants of the name Myerscough. The main ones being, Mascra, Merscow, Mascough Myerscow Myerscuff Myersco Mirescough Meirscough Mascow Masca.

Name origin

The name MYERSCOUGH is derived from the Danish language and means boggy wood from myer-bog or muddy ground and scough - €“wood, probably only in wet Lancashire do trees grow in such wet conditions.

The surname Myerscough originates from only one place in England, the Hamlet of Myerscough near Preston Lancashire

Historical occurrences of the name

The name MYERSCOUGH is derived from the Danish language and means boggy wood from myer-bog or muddy ground and scough - €“wood, probably only in wet Lancashire do trees grow in such wet conditions. The surname Myerscough originates from only one place in England, the Hamlet of Myerscough near Preston Lancashire 

A second even smaller hamlet near Balderstones was once called Myerscough. It had Myerscough farm, hotel and smithy. Now only the public house remains, most probably this was named after some Myerscough owner or tenants. In 1653 William Myerscough of Balderstones appealed to the Excise men to return his confiscated goods, perhaps he had been brewing illegal ale!

Today'€™s spelling only became established in the last century; over the years it has been spelt at least thirty different ways from Mascra, the local pronunciation, through to Merscow, Mascough to name only a few

Early References

The earliest references to the Myerscough family that I have found are in the thirteenth century. These were Landowners at Claughton
 One, Henry was murdered in 1247 by a group led by Ralph Cook of Preston, when Henry’s brother William accused Ralph of the murder and another brother Walter claimed that Ralph’s companions had prevented him from helping his brother Henry to withstand the attack the judge fined each of the brothers a mark and put them in prison. The authorities were said to feel sorry for the Murderers. In 1253 William was declared an outlaw and his land passed to his brother Walter.

 In 1323 John de Marsco held forty acres of land at Billesburgh at a rent of four pence per year.

 In 1324 Agnes widow of John de Marscough was fined twopence for default of service at the court of Penwotham

 In 1363 John de Mirescough was granted a third part of the watermill of Preston and an old watercourse. The rent for the first twenty years was a rose and twenty shilling thereafter

The Myerscoughs are mentioned in records as owning land in Poulton in 1292, Lancaster in 1323, and Winmarleigh in 1468.
Lawrence de Myerscough, a chaplain, in 1366 and 1399 leased land at Claughton.

There were no church registration records at this time so it is difficult to sort our relationships but it is likely that these Myerscoughs were of one family.

Sixteen to Eighteenth Centuries

Church registers began in the sixteenth century and until the eighteenth century the name mainly appears in the Garstang and Lancaster registers with a few deaths recorded at Salmesbury, most of them were Catholics and farmed amongst other places in Wyresdale at Bradfall and Spouthouse and also at Barnacre.

They suffered for their faith and were fined for non-attendance at church. One Thomas Myerscough in 1646 had his farm sequestered due to his faith.

Others were Protestants; one Nicholas signed an Oath of Allegiance to the King and Protestant Church when others refused. Another John, was a witness against Thomas Pulton and his family who had not been attending church services

In the eighteenth century there were two different Myerscough families. a Protestant branch is descended from James Myerscough who married Elizabeth Bradshaw in 1698 ,at St Michaels on Wyre, they had four sons and they and their descendants lived in the Fylde area, particularly in the Preesall, Stalmine and Great Eccleston areas where their descendants still live today.

The other Myerscoughs were Catholics probably all descended from John and Elizabeth Maskowe of Chaigly later Balshall Eaves. John was the sole executor of the estate of his Uncle Richard Maskoe of Osbaldeston and most likely to have a Grandson of the above mentioned William Myerscough of Balderstone Although in the 1767 Papist returns, a Catholic census, Myerscough families were scattered all over Lancashire from Bolton le Sands to Poulton le Fylde, Bilsborrow and Haighton they were actually all brothers, sons of John and Ellen of Chaigly and Balshall Eaves in which area two of the brothers were living. From four of these seven brothers the mainly Catholic branch of the family can be traced. In 1783 Richard of Over Kellet, one of the seven left a Will mentioning all of his six brothers. He left a farm to James of Poulton le Fylde, ten pounds each to his sisters and brother Joseph of Haighton and one shilling each to the other four brothers.

Nineteenth Century

In the nineteenth century two cousins, descendants of John of the original seven brothers with their families emigrated to the New World Thomas went to Ontario, William to Illinois where many of their descendants still live. 

Initially they were farmers [as some still are}. Others became bricklayers, painters and decorators, clerks, teachers and salesmen following a similar profession to their English cousins. The Illinois branch has produced a priest, a Baptist minister and three nuns. In the USA there are also more recent twentieth century migrants. One George was an important mining union official. In 1931 his father Thomas, a pioneer Union official had a frightening experience in Kentucky when the Authorities arrested him for his activities. In the night they took him and a companion up into the mountains where they were released only to be shot at several times as they ran away. Thomas fortunately escaped with only a graze.

Twentieth Century

In the twentieth century Myerscoughs had varied jobs from doctors, several in Australia, one being consultant gynecologist to the Sultanate of Oman, an Illinois female Judge dental technician, quantity surveyor, helicopter pilot, income tax inspector, an undertaker in Latham to bus and train driver.

  Martin Myerscough of London has invented a new type of household washing machine.

  Veterinary surgeon Nick Myerscough hit the headlines as the first in England to offer ultra sound scans for pregnant pets.

Myerscough Authors

There have been several Myerscough authors.

  In the nineteen thirties William Myerscough, a naval captain wrote textbooks on navigation and meteorology for airmen.

  Sister Angelina of Illinois, using original Italian texts has written a biography of the founder of her order, Maria de Matthias and also other works of a religious nature.

  Jesuit priest Father J A Myerscough of the Preston Butchers family is the author of “A Procession of Lancashire Martyrs and Confessors”Â

  The above-mentioned coal mining officials Thomas and George wrote about mining affairs.

  American Rodney P Myerscough wrote a dissertation on “ The combined effects of alcohol and sleep deprivation on human aggression”

Myerscough's and the Arts Media and Sports

Some have made their marks in other fields of the Arts.

  Betty Myerscough designs Christmas cards.

  One unknown has illustrated a North West Pub Guide

  Isabel Myerscough, a twenty six year old has won the 1995 BP Portrait Award of Young Artist of the year for her painting of a very large nude negress reclining on a skin rug!Isabel's father and uncle were two distinguished members of the Fidelio string quartet which performed on BBC radio and made several records. Their father, also a professional violinist, used to entertain passengers on the Queen Mary. His father was a comedy artist.

  Valerie Myerscough who died in 1980, besides being a distinguished Mathematician and University Lecturer was also secretary of the Royal Astronomical Society and member of the Philarmonia Chorus.

In 1930, Mabel Myerscough of Ainsdale, Southport married the well known actor and broadcaster, Wilfred Pickles.

Damien Myerscough has appeared on TV in Peak Practice.

A young Myerscough prodigy is 6ft 9in shot putter Carl Myerscough of Poulton Le Fylde, a pupil then instructor at Millfield public school. A UK record holder, he was a very good 2000 Olympics prospect until unfortunately he failed a drugs test.

Myerscough Wills

Some of the clan's wills have proved interesting tit bits.

In 1815 John of Chaigley's grandson, another John, only child of Thomas Myerscough of Bashall Eaves left all his large estate of property in Waddington (including Mascar Row cottages which he built and which still exist today) and fifty acres of land in the Forest of Bowland to his dear wife Margaret (of only a few months). His cousins and half cousins were to receive one shilling each to be claimed one year after his death. The sorrowful widow quickly remarried in 1816. Her new husband in 1843 left all the property to his relations.

In 1728, John of Out Rawcliffe left 'the use of the lower chamber' to his second wife Mary. She must have free liberty of coming to the fire in the house both to cook her meat and to sit by to warm herself without paying for any fuel.

Canon Thomas Myerscough in 1870 inherited a silver watch from his great uncle, another Thomas, who paid in turn for each of his great nephews to study for the priesthood. The two older gave up their studies. The elder , Richard as previously mentioned was a successful butcher and Alderman of Preston. Robert became a coal merchant. Obviously the uncle was most pleased with Thomas who had fulfilled his wishes. Canon Myerscough was at St Joseph's in Preston for many years.

Richard Myerscough a cabinet maker of Lancaster had other views on religion. His unmarried daughter Mary would only inherit his estate if she did not enter a convent. However Mary on her death left all this property to the Catholic Church.

To the modern eye there were some strange bequests. William Myerscough's 1837 will left 'all the produce of my garden, if any, at the time of my death to my nephew Thomas' In a less prosperous age this was probably a very useful inheritance.

The more recent wills written by solicitors are often less interesting but Clementina Elizabeth in 1932 assigned every piece of furniture in her house, including the night commode to one or other of her five children.

When farm worker Ernie in 1996 left one hundred and fifty thousand pounds to his parish church, the vicar decided to use it for new toilet facilities at the church!

Myerscoughs in the Newspapers

Newspapers have been a good source of information, not only about the famous and even in one or two cases infamous members of the clan. Obituaries and wedding accounts can also produce interesting facts.

The 1924 obituary of James Henry Myerscough mentioned his membership of the local Operatic society including the role of Dobbin in Tom Jones.

In 1907, two Canadian brides each chose a dress of green chiffon. Venetian cloth and a picture hat for her going away outfit. In contrast, in 1972, the bride chose a multi coloured hot pant suit for the same occasion. In 2001, a Lancashire Myerscough married his English bride in a Red Indian style in Preston, both wearing authentic costumes.

Myerscoughs and the Law

Some Myerscoughs have been involved in crime, but mostly as policeman or prison officers.

  In 1858, James Myerscough, a Cockerham butcher was involved in a double tragedy at Forton when he found the body of a youth who had shot a young neighbouring girl who had spurned him and then turned the gun on himself.

In London in 1917, Mrs Charlotte Beatrice Myerscough was the accomplice of an illegal abortionist and both were indicted for the murder, later reduced to manslaughter of a young girl. The jury could not reach a verdict in either of the two trials so the women evaded prison.

One Myerscough found guilty of crime was Robert Myerscough, who in 1848 received two months hard labour for stealing a hat at Freckleton.! He later married a prison officer's daughter in Manchester. In 1867, at Liverpool, Robert was sentenced to fourteen years and transportation for receiving stolen goods. Two years earlier, according to the Trade Directories, he was a Cotton Broker. This was during the American Civil War when due to the blockade by the Unionists, raw cotton was in short supply in England. Perhaps to keep his business in operation, Robert became involved in crime. After his sentence was complete he remarried in Australia. Unfortunately his first wife Sarah did not die until four years later. Robert is one of three bigamists found so far.

Richard Myerscough of Preston in 1864 was sentenced to six months imprisonment for maliciously wounding his wife Ellen. They had married the previous year, three years after the death of Richards first wife. It would appear that Richard was forgiven, since the two were living in the same house at the time of the 1871 census.

Myerscough Deaths

Myerscoughs have given their lives in both world wars, in all three services.

  Others have met unnatural deaths in road accidents from William who fell off his cart at Preesall in 1849 to Uncle Ben being knocked down on Barton Flats in 1957

At least five have drowned from Simon in Lancaster in 1804 to Ian in a catamaran accident in the English Channel in 1958.

The previously mentioned Sister Angelita survived the sinking of the liner Andréa Doria in 1956.

  In 1977 Father Dunstan Myerscough SJ of the Preston butchers' family narrowly escaped a Rhodesian terrorist massacre in which seven of his priest and nun colleagues were killed.

John Myerscough, serving in the union army in the American Civil War whilst in camp, shot himself in the foot!

In 1984 John of Great Eccleston was a victim of the Abbeystead explosion.

At least one accident victim seems to have died happy. Elderly widow Betsy Myerscough of Lytham St Annes who in 1906 was literally found dead drunk in a ditch after a memorable pub crawl with a lady friend. They had each partaken of five glasses of whiskey and two of champagne at a total cost of half a crown which the friend had' found'. They were seen dancing in the pub by other customers. That same evening one witness had noticed something wrong about Betsy as she walked along the street 'She was not wearing a hat!'

Name frequency

The name Myerscough can be found on 204 entries in the 1841 Census of England, 319 in the 1851 Census of England, 425 in the 1871 Census of England, 458 in the 1881 Census of England, 573 in the 1891 Census of England and 679 in the 1901 Census of England, in 1901 there are 10 in the Census of the Isle of Man and 9 in the Census of Wales. (Source

According to the Taliesin Arlein ONS Names database, which is an extract of an Office of National Statistics database for surnames in use in England, Wales and the Isle of Man, there were 1064 Myerscoughs in September 2002, ranking it =6,300th in the country.

Using the factors suggested on the Taliesin Arlein site indicates that there may be about 990 living Myerscoughs and that over 3750 people would have had the surname since the start of parish registers in the 16th century.

Distribution of the name

As yet we haven'€™t done a formal analysis -€“ it'€™s work in progress!!!!


We have over 7,000 Myerscoughs and related surnames within our database, linked in families with full supporting information.