The Victoria History account of Heysham opens with
The seaside parish of Heysham contains but a single township, which has from ancient times contained the two hamlets or manors of Higher and Lower Heyshamn.
Later it states that the manor of Lower Heysham was held by the Prior of Lancaster ‘in free alms by grant of Count Roger of Poitou’. In medieval times the manor of Higher Heysham was held by Adam Gernet and then by Edmund de Dacre and then by Thomas Harrington and then by William Parker Lord Mounteagle.
Full details of this transfer from de Dacre onwards are contained in this extract from Steve Hissem’s detailed website.
Whether any member of these families ever lived in Heysham the Victoria History does not mention. Steve Hissem specifically states he has found no evidence likewise. Presumably the Lords of the Manor would have employed a local steward to hold the manor on their behalf.
In 1597 Lord Mounteagle and Elizabeth his wife sold the manor, with messuages, lands, rents, water mill, windmill, dovecote, willow grove, salt and fresh marshes, free warren, free fishery, wreck of sea, view of frankpledge and all appurtenances, to John Bradley of Thornley, whose daughter and co-heir Jane carried it to the Leyburnes, who were devout Roman Catholics. (In The History of Heysham David Flaxington tells us Jane married John Leyburne in 1611.) The Leyburnes forfeited the manor in 1715 as a consequence of their supporting the Jacobite rebellion. The manor is not named again until 1724, when the Corporation of Lancaster were empowered to buy it. They sold it again in 1766 for £672, and in 1836 it was held in sixteen shares
The Tithe Map of 1838 shows High(er) Heysham (left) centred around Middleton Road and the Schedule accompanying the map lists ownership and valuation of land/property. Compared with Low(er) Heysham it is clear that Higher Heysham contains a greater proportion of larger properties and in the 19th century there were several what would be termed ‘landed gentry’. In the 20th century this changed with the building of Heysham Harbour.