Knott End, Preesall and the lower end of Pilling Marsh (Pilling Lane) form the township of Preesall-with-Hackensall, situated on the east bank of the River Wyre where the river ends its journey from the Forest of Bowland to the sea at Morecambe Bay.
There has been some occupation of the area for centuries, probably from middle Stone Age times and most certainly from early Bronze Age, and it is known that the Romans passed through the area. Hackensall and Knott End have Norse roots while the name Preesall is Celtic in origin. A minor Viking/Norse warrior chieftain named Haakon came ashore in the river estuary and settled in the area, thereby giving us the name of Hakensall. Preesall is mentioned in the Domesday Book compiled in 1086. At the time of the first census in 1801 the population of the township was 530, the majority of whom were engaged in occupations relating to the sea, river and land such as cockle gathering, fishing, running the ferryboat and farming.
Industry came to the area in 1872 when a series of trial borings were made in the hope of discovering iron ore. Instead rock salt was found in quantity and serious exploitation began in 1875. The salt was pumped to the surface in the form of brine and piped across the river to Burn Naze, where the Fleetwood Salt Company converted the liquid brine into salt. Subsidence fears led to the development of a salt mine proper with rock salt being extracted by miners using special undercutting machines. Some of the salt was discovered to be of a very superior quality and became world famous at the time.
By 1900 3,500 tons of rock salt were being extracted every week and by 1906 production peaked at 140,000 tons, making it the biggest salt producer in Britain. The salt was loaded into hoppers, each containing a ton and a half, and taken on tracks to a jetty on the river. It was then loaded on to steamers that carried 16,000 tons for export all over the world. Extraction continued until 1920 when problems began to occur with water leaking into the workings and they were abandoned in 1930. Four years later a five-acre expanse of ground vanished overnight into an underground reservoir of brine.
Further brine extraction continued up to the 1990s with the brine being pumped across the river to be used in the production of PVC at the ICI Hillhouse site. The Preesall salt seam is now the site of plans by a Texas energy company to store large amounts of gas in specially created caverns.
The Local Government Act of 1894 set up the Preesall Urban District Council, which controlled the affairs of the township until another reorganisation in 1974 passed this control to the newly constituted Wyre Borough Council. In order to maintain a local focus Preesall Town Council was established in the same year.
It is not clear how Knott End got its name. One theory is that the "knotts" were two large mounds of stones which lay out in the river until they were destroyed in the construction of the entrance to the Wyre Dock. Others believe that the name may have been derived from the "knot", a bird that frequents the sands of Morecambe Bay on which Knott End is situated. Another thought is that, when entering the estuary, the early Norse seafarers used knotted ropes as navigational tools - the knots marking distance with Knott End being at the end of the rope.
ARMS: Azure on a Chevron between in chief two Griffin's Heads erased and in base a Martlet or a Rose Gules barbed and seeded proper between two Fountains.
CREST: On a Wreath of the Colours an ancient Galley sails furled Or with Pennons of St. George and pendent from the mast-head by a Knot Azure a Cross-Bow Gules.
Motto 'PRAE SALEM NOTANDA' - Famed for salt or the well-known place by the sea.
The Coat of Arms was granted on the 2nd June 1950.
The chevron and griffins' heads are from the arms of the Elletson family of Parrox Hall and the Martlet is from the arms of the Fleetwood family of Hackinsall Hall. The rose refers to the County, and the fountains allude to the Fairy Well and the salt or brine workings.
The ship indicates the maritime associations of the district, including its ancient fisheries and ferry. The knot stands for Knott End, and the cross-bow (or arbalest) is for Geoffrey l'Arbalestier, who received the Manor of Preesall and Hackinsall in 1190, and was the ancestor of local families.
The motto comprises a play on the name. The arms are the main feature of the Councils' Chains of Office.
A famous visitor to the village, L.S. Lowry, painted various views of Knott End in his well-known 'Matchstalk Cats and Dogs' style. Lowry frequently visited the area in the 1940s and 1950s and produced a number of sketches/paintings depicting scenes across the River Wyre towards Fleetwood.
In recognition of the artist's connection with the area, a sculpture in his honour was erected on the seafront at Knott End (near the ferry slipway) where Lowry is known to have stood and sketched.
There are several attractions to offer the visitor to the villages.
There has been a ferry service between Knott End and Fleetwood since before records began, with the first ferries operated by fishermen who took passengers across the river as and when required. The first official ferry service began in 1894 and continues today with the Wyre Rose operated by Wyre Marine Services.Click here to see the Knott End to Fleetwood Ferry timetable
Why not take a relaxing stroll along the Esplanade? This seafront thoroughfare, with its Edwardian shelters, commands beautiful views of Morecambe Bay, the Forest of Bowland and the Lakeland hills. There are several places to eat and drink and you can also view paintings and artwork of the area in The Gallery while walking by the sea. Note the bronze information plaque opposite the former NatWest bank.
There are several footpaths and walks in the area. Why not try the Wyre Way? This walk guides the visitor along the River Wyre and over the Knott End golf course where stunning views of the Lancashire countryside are around every corner. While on the walk you will pass the second of our famous 'old halls' - Hackensall Hall. The hall is famous for its boggart, the ghost of a horse that is said to frequent the area of the hall. Alternatively, walk down the disused railway track between Hackensall Road and Park Lane or along the sea wall to Fluke Hall.
There are several shops within the village centre offering local produce and fancy goods. There are restaurants, hairdressers, cafés and all the usual shops associated with a vibrant and bustling village. Barton Square boasts a Millennium Clock and just a few yards seawards is a memorial commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.
Preesall and Knott End Gala is held on the second Saturday in July. This is a well- established family fun day that includes a visiting funfair for the gala weekend.
A tourist information point can be found in the Knott End Cafe near the Knott End-Fleetwood Ferry Terminus.
Situated to the rear of the library, the garden was completed in 2015 and provides a quiet place to sit with views across the fields.
A 17th-century building now a private home with all its estate sold off. It was built in 1656 by the then estate owner, Richard Fleetwood, on the site of earlier halls dating back to Haakon's time and was originally the home of the Lord of the Manor. See also Parrox Hall.
Parrox Hall in Preesall is one of the oldest houses in Lancashire and it has been continuously occupied by the Elletson family for 300 years. The family is able to trace its descendants back eight centuries and 26 generations to the original Lord of the Manor of Preesall-with-Hackensall, Geoffrey the Crossbowman (Galfridus Arbalastarius), a Norman soldier who was installed by Prince John in 1189 and granted six carucates of land that formed the original Hackensall estate.
The manor and village affairs were run from Hackensall Hall until a lack of male heirs forced a division of the estate between four sisters. Parrox and its share of the manor became more important in the community and its owner was locally accepted as the squire even though Hackensall Hall and its estate was by far the greater in size and hence proportion of the manor. Hackensall Hall eventually passed out of the family and was bought and sold along with its share of the Lord of the Manor rights. Often its owners were absentee landlords, nothing more than investors in the estate, and the hall was inhabited by tenants.
The present squire is still the direct descendant of the original Lord of the Manor. The hall is open for special viewing throughout the year.
Overlooking the River Wyre, Knott End Golf Club enjoys the best of the coast and countryside. The 18-hole course, designed by James Braid benefits from a modern clubhouse built in 1999.www.knottendgolfclub.com
Telephone: 01253 810576
Private Boats / Watercraft can be launched from the Knott End Ferry Slipway into the Wyre Estuary; there is a charge payable to the Ferry Company. The ramp is mainly concrete with the lower section cobbled / mud and is maintained and operated by Wyre Marine Services.
Please note that the Wyre Estuary is part of Morecambe Bay; the mouth of the estuary is a working port and covered by byelaws. Along with shell fish, bass, flounders, codling, rays and mullets are also caught in the Bay.www.wyremarineservices.co.uk
The railway, first mooted in the 1860s and finally built between Garstang and Pilling by 1870, provided a link between Knott End (and Fleetwood via the ferry) and Garstang and from Garstang to the LNW line to London. As a result of equity problems and the flawed idea to build a bridge at Preesall the line was not finished until 1908. In 1911 a small branch line was built to service the salt works and to link it to the jetty on the river. The heyday of the line lasted until 1930 with both goods and passengers being carried. In 1930 passengers ceased to be carried owing to the competition of motor transport and in 1950 goods ceased to be carried further than Pilling with the line closing beyond Pilling. The whole line was finally closed in 1963. Although the line is no longer the station building at Knott End (now the Knott End Café) along with the stationmaster's house and the crossing keeper's cottage on Hackensall Road can still be seen, as can the station at Preesall (now an egg packing plant).
The Mount on Lancaster Road is a man-made mound whose age and original purpose are unknown. Is it a Viking burial mound, perhaps Haakon's? Or is it, as suggested more recently, the remains of an observation point for horse racing on the Parrox Hall estate?. The siting of the war memorial on it prevents any explorative examination to determine the truth.
The parish church of St Oswald's was built in 1887. Prior to this, worship was carried out at the mother church of St James in Stalmine. You may wish to look skywards and identify what resides atop the steeple - is it a fish or a dolphin and why?
Emergency Services - 999
Ambulance Non-Emergency - 111
Police Non-Emergency - 101
Fire & Rescue General Enquiries - 01772 862545
Coast Guard Non-Emergency - 0151 931 6600
Lancashire Constabulary - 01772 614444 / 0845 125 3545
Over Wyre Neighbourhood Police Team - 01995 607869
Wyre Borough Council - 01253 891000
Blackpool Borough Council - 01253 477477
Lancaster City Council - 01524 582000
Fylde Borough Council - 01253 658658
Lancashire County Council - 0300 123 6701
Trading Standards - 0845 600132
Crime Stoppers - 0800 555 111
Royal Lancaster Hospital - 01524 65944
Royal Preston Hospital - 01772 716565
Blackpool Victoria Hospital - 01253 300000
Citizens Advice Bureau - 01253 867563
Moy Vets - 01253 701098
Lloyds Chemist - 01253 810219
Knott End Library - 0300 123 6703
Knott End Post Office - 01253 810261
Rail Enquiries - 08457 48 49 50
The Samaritans - 01253 622218
Electricity - United Utilities - 0800 1954 141
Water - United Utilities - 0845 7462 200
Gas - Transco - 0800 111 999