The Ho(u)ghtons of Hoghton Tower


The H(o)ughton surname has been found throughout Lancashire for centuries and is said to be one of the most ancient in England. Hoghton Tower, the ancestral home of the de Hoghtons, is a fortified manor house situated between Preston and Blackburn in Lancashire.

The famous knighting of a loin of beef by King James I is said to have taken place at Hoghton Tower and some scholars believe that William Shakespeare was employed there as a teacher during his ‘lost years’.

According to the Hoghton Tower website, the de Hoghtons are descended from Harvey de Walter, a companion of William the Conqueror.

Below is a copy of a pedigree published in Volume 88 of the Record Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, “A Calendar of the Deeds and Papers in the possesion of Sir James de Hoghton, Bart, of Hoghton Tower, Lancashire” by J H Lumby (1936):


Heraldic Visitations

During the 16th and 17th centuries, heralds visited the counties to establish families pedigrees and their right to bear arms. This happened on four occasions in Lancashire. The Chetham Society published these in several volumes, which are now out of print and out of copyright. For those with an interest in the early H(o)ughton pedigrees (and those of the other noble families of Lancashire), I have scanned the relevant volumes and saved them as fully searchable and printable PDFs.

The first volume of the Chetham Miscellanies, published in 1851, has a chapter listing the families who entered pedigrees for the four Visitations and is a useful starting point for those interested. The extract can be downloaded as a PDF (~ 12 MB).

For the completists, the published volumes of the four Visitations can be downloaded below:

Please note that these are fairly large files (30-50 MB each – it may be as well to download and save them before viewing)

1533 part 1, 1533 part 2



1664-5 part 1, 1664-5 part 2, 1664-5 part 3

It should be noted that the information given to the heralds might not have been accurate, especially if no documentary evidence was forthcoming to support the oral tradition!

For those keen to go even further back than the Visitations, in 1937 the Chetham Society also published “The Knights of the Shire for the County Palataine of Lancashire (1377 – 1460)”. This volume includes biographies of Richard de Hoghton and Henry de Hoghton and I have reproduced this as a PDF for download but please note, this is a very large file weighing in at over 120 MB.

10 Replies to “The Ho(u)ghtons of Hoghton Tower”

  1. Is there any pedigree record of a de Hoghton female marrying into the Rivington de Pilkington family in the 1500s.

    I ask this because during the 1500s the Riv. de Pilkingtons acquired some land in Walton-le-Dale. At this time the de Hoghton family was the Mesne Lord of Walton-le-Dale.

    Was the land acquired/inherited as a result of some family connection, say part of a previous marriage settlement.

  2. Hi! I am having difficulty in continuing my family tree and I was wondering if you could help. I am trying to find John Houghton who was married to Mary Ann Cundy. John was a ships captain in Gibraltar around the 1830 – 1833s. They had a son call Alfred John Houghton and a daughter Marion Agnes Houghton both born in Gibraltar. John Houghton is my 3rd Great Grandfather. I really look forward to hearing from you. Kind Regards Kelly 🙂

    1. Hi Kelly, Thanks for your message. I have checked your tree on Ancestry to see what information you have on John but unfortunately my searches haven’t been able to discover any more about him than you already know. Good luck with your research and let me know if you find out any more about him. All the best, John.

  3. I am researching my family tree. My mother was Nancy Hoghton fourth daughter of Brigadier General F A Hoghton (1864-1916) son of Benjamin Hoghton son of William Hoghton of Chingford Hall, Essex (-1805). He was supposedly of a junior branch of the Hoghtons of Hoghton Tower but I can find no evidence of this, or any of his Hoghton forbears.
    Can anyone help?

    1. Hi Stephanie, The National Archives don’t seem to have much available, except for a copy of William’s Last Will and Testament. You may find more at the Lancashire Archives but they don’t appear to have on-line access to their material. I’m sure you already know but the only connection I can see with Essex is Sir Henry Hoghton, 6th Baronet, who married twice and lived in Hedingham Castle. Good luck in your research and let us know if you make any progress, John

  4. My grandmother Ethel Houghton is descended from the Hoghton Baronets. I came across this Hoghton Tower when searching her family tree.

    Laura Petersen

    1. Hi Laura. Thank you for the information about your grandmother Ethel; do you have a tree you could share that shows which branch of the de Hoghtons she was related to?

      Thanks, John

  5. Hi, I have been working on my family tree on and have traced it back to Sir Richard Houghton but I’m not 100% that I did it correctly. Here is who I believe is my 5th great-grandmother that led me there:
    Rebecca Gregg Houghton
    B:1715 New Castle, New Castle, Delaware, USA
    D:1807 Richmond, Wayne, Indiana, USA

    1. Hi Jimmie, Thanks for the message. There are many trees featuring Rebecca Gregg Houghton on Ancestry (a recent count has over three thousand!) but I wouldn’t know how thorough the research on these has been. Have you visited Wikitree? The people who research family trees there appear to validate their work and there is a Rebecca (Gregg) Houghton on there whose father is John Houghton but the research notes suggest that his date of birth and details of his parents are uncertain:

      Good luck with your research. John

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