15. THE HOUSE OF FRANCISCAN FRIARS, PRESTON
Edmund, earl of Lancaster, younger son of
Henry III, has from the fourteenth century been
considered the founder of the house of Grey
Friars at Preston. (fn. 9) Leland, however, remarks
that, though he was 'the Original and great
Builder of this house,' the site was given by a
member of the local family of Preston, an Irish
representative of which became Lord Gormanston in 1390. (fn. 10) This is supported by evidence
that the Prestons at a somewhat later date held
the land adjoining the friary. (fn. 11) From an entry
in the Close Rolls, hitherto overlooked, it would
appear that the Franciscans had settled at Preston
before Earl Edmund's connexion with the
county began. On 25 October, 1260,
Henry III granted to the Friars Minor of
Preston five oaks in Sydwood, Lancaster, for
building. (fn. 12) Presumably the site had already
been obtained from one of the Prestons. Subsequent gifts by Edmund, who received the
honour of Lancaster in 1267, towards the
erection of the house doubtless earned for him
the credit of being its founder. In September,
1291, the archbishop of York gave instructions
that one of the friars should preach the Crusade
at Preston itself, and a second at some other
populous place in the neighbourhood. (fn. 13) Pope
John XXII in 1330 on the petition of Henry,
earl of Lancaster, forbad the authorities of
the order to remove the house from the Worcester 'Custodia' of the English Franciscan
province, in which Henry's father had had it
included. (fn. 14)
The subsequent history of the house is a
scanty record of small bequests for masses (fn. 15) until
the time of the last warden, Thomas Todgill, whose
dispute with the lessee of the hospital of St. Mary
Magdalene over the 'Widowfield' is narrated
elsewhere. (fn. 16) He was accused in the court of the
Duchy of having made away with goods placed
in his care during the nonage of one Elizabeth a
Powell; but he denied the charge and the
verdict has been lost. (fn. 17) The house was probably surrendered in 1539, (fn. 18) and the crown sold
it with the friaries of Lancaster and Warrington
to Thomas Holcroft, esquire of the body to the
king, on 18 June, 1540, for £126 10s. (fn. 19)
Wardens Of The Friary
James, (fn. 20) occurs 1480
Philip, (fn. 21) occurs 1509-10
Thomas Todgill, (fn. 22) occurs 1528, surrendered
Cal. Pap. Letters, ii, 345.
||Leland, Itin. iv, 22; G. E. C. Complete Peerage,
iv, 55. Viscount Gormanston is the present representative of this family.
||Fishwick, Hist. of the Par. of Preston, 198.
||Close, 44 Hen. III, pt. 1, m. 1; information
from Mr. A. G. Little.
Let. from Northern Reg. (Rolls Ser.), 96.
Bullarium Franciscanum, v, No. 882; Cal. Pap.
Letters, ii, 345.
||Fishwick, loc. cit.; T. C. Smith, Rec. of the Par.
Ch. of Preston, 244.
||See post, p. 164.
||Fishwick, op. cit. 199.
||On 23 Feb. 1539, Richard, bishop of Dover,
informs Cromwell that he is about to proceed to the
north to suppress some twenty friaries which are still
standing there; L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiv (1), 348,
||Ibid. xv, 831 (43).
||Whitaker, Hist. of Richmondshire, ii, 428.
||Harl. MS. 2112, fol. 115b; Smith, op. cit.
||Smith, 239. In 1544 Todgill, then about fifty
years old, was chaplain of Gray's Inn, London.
Eight years later (16 July, 1552} he became rector of
Holy Trinity, Chester, on the presentation of the
Earl of Derby. He died before 1 Feb. 1565;
Ormerod, Hist. of Ches. (ed. Helsby), i, 331.