LONG before central Blackpool was developed, such places as Layton and Bispham were rural outposts, surrounded by acre upon acre of farmland.
In fact, Layton was mentioned in the Domesday Book, and Layton Hall was home to the Rigby family, staunch allies of King Charles in the Civil War.
The old road from Poulton towards the sea came over towards Hoo Hill, where the Windmill pub – now a Tesco Express store – stands, but wound away through Layton village, which once had a market place, stocks and ducking stool.
Then the ancient highway headed for an inn called The Eagle’s Nest, which is now the site of the Number 4 Hotel on Newton Drive. There is still some very old property nearby.
Then the road passed ancient Layton Hall, and became what is now Church Street.
Among the characters who hailed from this ancient spot was Leonard Warbreck.
He was described by William Thornber in his history of Blackpool as “an infamous vagabond”, who was at the Battle of Culloden, and acted as a hangman executing supporters of Bonnie Prince Charlie who survived the Stuart defeat.
Then there was John Bailey, a miser who had 65lbs of gold walled up in the hovel he called home. He died clutching his gold watch!