History of the Scarisbrick Family

March 4, 2010

The Scarisbrick family’s origins can be traced back to around the twelfth or thirteenth century A.D. The first Scarisbricks most likely got their name from the village Scarisbrick in West Lancashire, England. Scarisbrick family descendants were major county landowners and were noted as among the ‘richest commoners’ in England. They were regarded as one of the most influential Lancashire families and have the architectural marvel of the victorian gothic style building, Scarisbrick Hall, to their credit.

Earliest record of the family name Scarisbrick

The first record of the family name Scarisbrick dates back to circa 1200 A.D., with its first mention in ‘Place names of Lancshire’ listed as “Scharisbrec”. The first person recorded with this family name is Gilbert de Scaresbrec and according to historians, he is the most likely the ancestor who started the Scarisbrick family.

Significance of the Scarisbrick family name and variations

The name Scarisbrick seems to have been derived from an old Danish first name ‘Skar’ and old Norwegian ‘brekka’ meaning hillside or hill slope, with a likely interpretation of the name being ‘Skar who lived by the hillside’. There are a number of variations of the surname in use such as Scarsbrook, Scarysbrig, Scaysbrook, Scarrisbrick, Scarasbrick and Scarsbrick.

Brief Scarisbrick family history

Gilbert de Scaresbrec was succeeded by his son, Walter. For centuries, the Scarisbrick family held the township of Scarisbrick, with the family being the owner of vast estates in and around the area. Scarisbrick family members married into other notable Lancashire families like Barlows, Heskeths, Bradhaighs and Halsalls. They also made many grants and were patrons of the Burscough Priory.

The later references of the family name after Gilbert and Walter are found in the sixteenth century. A record of a certain Thomas Scarysbrig, a Doctor of Divinity can be found in the name lists of University of Oxford in 1508. It was not until late sixteenth century that the family name started spreading in the parish of Ormskirk, from where it further spread to neighbouring parishes like West Derby and Halsall and finally to even London. Interestingly, Scarisbrick was among the first British surnames to reach the North American and Australian continents.

Scarisbrick coat of arms

Scarisbrick coat of arms

The Scarisbrick family also has a Coat of Arms to its credit. The Coat of Arms was presented by King Henry V to Sir Henry de Scarisbrick, when he was knighted after the Battle of Agincourt. Sir Henry died in 1420 and was succeeded by his son, also named Henry de Scarisbrick. The Coat of Arms comprises of a deed that has an armorial shield with two engrailed bendlets with three mullets in between them, the helmet with a dove, and the legend as “sigillum henrici scaresbrec”.

The more recent and famous members of the family are the Scarisbricks, who built and over the years architecturally enhanced the Scarisbrick Hall. Thomas Eccleston (who changed his name from Scarisbrick) built the hall in 1809. His son Thomas Scarisbrick who inherited the Scarisbrick estate took upon an extensive restoration of the old hall during his lifetime. Upon his early demise, the Scarisbrick estate and hall was inherited by his brother Charles Scarisbrick who brought in the famous architect A. N. W. Pugin to overhaul the Scarisbrick hall. Pugin designed major parts of the hall in Victorian Gothic style and the building is now a Grade I listed building. After Charles Scarsbrick’s demise, the hall’s ownership passed on to the younger generations of the Scarsbrick family and remained in the family’s possession until 1948.

Today, the descendants of the Scarisbrick family are living in many parts of the world besides the U.K. The family name is found in Western Europe, the U.S., Canada, Australia and South Africa.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Christine March 17, 2011 at 2:55 pm

I think in the short history of the hall you should have mentioned
the Marquis and the Count and Countess de Casteja as they are part of your history. With out them the lovely church of St Elizabeth’s would not have been built in memory of Lady Elizabeth.
Descendants from the de Casteja family are still living in France.

Denise Forshaw August 13, 2011 at 11:29 am

I wonder if you know where I could get a copy of the catalogue of the sale at Scarisbrick hall on 16th July 1923
My grandma bought a cabinet and I was interested in it’s history.
Thankyou

arnie sizemore October 17, 2011 at 12:22 pm

can you confirm that the sizemore through a william scarsbrick of jamestown viriginia in 1625 may be family linked to the sizemores in America if it so linked then many years of searching has led our family to historical links

De Casteja Rémy October 29, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Dear all. I can confirm that my great-grand father André de Castéja sold Scarisbrick hall in the twenties. Now our family is spread between France(Paris), Brasil and New York. We have lots of souvenirs remaining from Scarisbrick : books, hunting book, pictures and even furniture that my grand-father Bernard put into his estate in Portugal. I think that Casteja family members are buried in Scarisbrick. For the record my generation received a small amount of money a few years ago from the sale of Scarisbrick. the funds were managed in an English bank since the twenties !!!

Admin October 30, 2012 at 1:54 am

Rémy De Casteja, thank you very much for stopping by and commenting. It’s fascinating to learn that your great-grand father owned Scarisbrick Hall and sold it in the 1920s. What an interesting story to have within your family. We would love to learn more about some of the souvenirs you have from Scarisbrick Hall or perhaps any stories that have been passed down from your great-grand father about the Hall. If you would be happy sharing, please let me know. Kind regards 🙂

roy wright January 7, 2013 at 8:33 am

are there any direct male descendants of Carles Scarisbrick?

Angela Foster May 24, 2013 at 5:50 pm

My grandmother,Ethel Halliwell and her sister,Mary Agnes Halliwell,worked for the Casteja family around the 1920,s.They went to Paris and lived at 42 Rue de Bassano and Boulevard Richard Wallace.I have only one photograph from that period of Ethel with two girls from the family.I would love to know if there are any more surviving photo,s from this period?The Halliwell family lived in Southport.

Barry Taylor August 26, 2014 at 11:23 am

I have an original book containing the properties with discriptions and rents of farms, puplic houses etc, some with maps from the sale of scarisbrick estates.

Susan Bretherton March 15, 2015 at 2:16 am

I am researching the history of St. Mark’s School in Scarisbrick where I work. I am trying to find out why Eliza, daughter of Ann of Scarisbrick, first went to Paris where she met and married the Marquis de Casteja? The couple apparently gave the land and some financial support for the school to be opened originally. There is lots of information about Ann but very little about Eliza that I can find. I was very interested in Remy De Casteja’s comment above and wondered if I might be able to contact him directly? I think that the emblem the children wear on their school jumpers (a lion) comes from the Marquis of Casteja’s coat of arms. I am interested in writing a non-fiction book for the children at the school to help the history of their school come alive.
Any information would be gratefully received.

Many thanks
Sue Bretherton

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: