Parish, the largest in Lancashire was in early times much avoided by
travellers. With its vast tracts of poorly drained peat marsh and
the huge lake of Martin Mere forming its northern boundary it was
difficult terrain to cross. The original small scattered
farmsteads of the parish now form the basis of today's hamlets of Barrison Green, Bescar, Carr Cross, Drummersdale, Hurlston, Pinfold and
Farming was hampered by poor drainage but these conditions led
themselves to the growing of flax, hemp and willow - used by local
craftsmen to produce rope, baskets and linen. There was ample
fishing in the mere and the drainage ditches for freshwater fish and
eels. This was an important supplement to the farm produce which
could be taken to the nearby Ormskirk Market.
The successful drainage of Martin Mere and the adjoining marshes in 1774
by Thomas Eccleston of Scarisbrick Hall transformed farming in the area,
allowing the full use of its rich soils. In the 19th Century
Scarisbrick farms became major suppliers to the growing city of
Liverpool, the growing of potatoes and other vegetables a speciality.
In 1777, the Leeds & Liverpool Canal opened up new markets for local
produce, and made the transportation of heavy goods much easier.
The prosperity of local farms was enhanced, and advantage was taken of
the canal to import manure from Liverpool to fertilise the fields, and
limestone from the Pennines to enhance the fertility of the soil
replacing the locally dug marl that was used previously.
Transportation was further enhanced with the coming of the Southport to
Wigan railway line in 1855, but its location remote from the centre of
the parish remains problematical. The growth of Southport as a
resort at the end of the 18th Century led to an increase in road traffic
through the parish, which has now become a dominating factor in village