Lathom is a village and
civil parish in Lancashire, England, about
5 km northeast of Ormskirk.
It is in
the district of West Lancashire, and with the parish of Newburgh forms part of Newburgh ward. The Leeds and
Liverpool Canal passes through Lathom.
Lathom Hall gives a hint to the previous importance of Lathom and
the Stanley family, which has now become the Earls of Derby
. The village of Lathom
actually grew due to the building of the first "Lathom House" which took place shortly after William the
Conqueror had his success in the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
The first "Lathom" (now spelled Latham) was a man named William
who, along with his followers, was a supporter of William the Conqueror
. In 1066, all
faithful supporters were given just recompense. In the case of this
other William, it took the form of vast lands in what is now
Lancashire. On this land, William's followers built him a brick
house. Although brick houses are the norm in
Lancashire nowadays, in 1066 they were a rarity due to the
difficulty in making and baking the bricks.
Also at this time, due to so many men having the same given name
(e.g."William"), surnames were beginning to appear. Thus it was
that William became William de Lothe Hom, or William of the brick
house. De Lothe Hom has, over the centuries, finally evolved into
the form most commonly seen today; Latham.
Lathom House itself has also changed over the years. It was rebuilt during
the Middle Ages and again after the famous Siege of Lathom
House which took place when the Roundheads, under the leadership of Oliver Cromwell, had surrounded the house
(then being used as a fortification for Cavalier troops).
village of Lathom, which remains a small, quiet, rural hamlet,
consisted in the past of local farmers and others who worked at
Lathom House or farther afield in Ormskirk.
mentioned earlier, The Stanley family play a role here, too. It was
in 1526 that Isabella de Lathom, being the oldest daughter of
parents who had no male heir, married Thomas Stanley and the Latham
and Stanley families became forever linked The Earl of Derby, since
that time, has of course, always come from that particular
Latham-Stanley line. The coat of arms of the Latham family had
traditionally been an eagle carrying a baby wrapped in swaddling
clothes in its talons. In 1526 this coat of arms also became that
of the Stanley family. One can still find many pubs throughout the
area and, indeed, in much of England, named The Eagle and Child. In
fact, the Inklings
, J. R.
Charles Williams and
other notable thinkers and authors active in the mid 20th century)
met regularly at a pub so-named in Oxford.
A final note of interest regarding Lathom House or Hall is that
recently, the Historical Council of Northern Lancashire, in their
efforts to reconstruct the buildings of the 1700s came across the
medieval foundations and have tried to salvage them. While the main
buildings became uninhabitable several decades ago, there are still
almshouse cottages neighboring the Lathom Hall chapel. Senior
citizens reside in the cottages and the chapel, named for St. John,
still holds regular Anglican services.
One can see various plaques, etc. in the chapel dedicated to the
memory of the last residents of Lathom Hall; the Bootle-Wilbrahams.
The Latham and Stanley family, to a great extent, migrated to the
New World, beginning with a teenaged "cabin boy" named William
Latham in 1620. Both families have produced great contributors to
science, the arts and their fellow man since that time. In 1967 the
immediate descendants returned to the quiet village of Lathom and
to Lathom House to celebrate, one year late, the 900th anniversary
of the creation of their family name and lineage.
In 2004, Lathom House was immortalized by Steeleye Span in the
title track of their album, They
Called Her Babylon
Image:Lathom House West Wing.JPG|The surviving "West Wing" of
Lathom House, recently converted into apartments.Image:Lathom Park
Chapel.JPG|Lathom Park Chapel, founded by the Earl of Derby
Stone.JPG|Cromwell's Stone in the grounds of Lathom Park Chapel,
used for casting shot in the Siege of Lathom House.