A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 7. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.
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The parish of Preston lies on the north bank of the Ribble, and has an area of 16,116 acres, including 207½ acres of tidal water. The population in 1901 was 115,483, mostly within the borough of Preston. The surface is undulating, with a general rise towards the north and east.
The history of the parish is practically that of the town which has given its name to the whole. The old portion of the town occupies the centre of a table-land between two brooks which flow south-west into the Ribble, (fn. 1) this navigable river completing the boundary on the south side. Along each side of the Ribble are level tracts of low-lying land, but just at the town the surface rises sharply from the river to the table-land named. To the west of the town was the marsh, while a moor extended itself along the northern boundary. The main street ran from east to west, being the continuation of the road from the south across Ribble Bridge, into which at the entrance of the town came a road from Ribchester. The street had a continuation down to the riverside, but its main line turned to the north-west, and after passing out of the town divided, part forming the main road north and part going west to Kirkham. On the south side of the main street stood the parish church, while on the opposite side, further west just at the turning was the moot hall, with the market place behind it. These streets and buildings, though improved and renewed on a grander scale, have remained predominant features of the town.
The traces of early history are but scanty. (fn. 2) From the Roman station at Walton-leDale on the south bank of the Ribble, the north road, crossing the river by a ford, passed through Preston, (fn. 3) and as this place had good communication westward by water and stood in the centre of two level and fruitful districts—The Fylde to the north-west and Leyland to the south—it had probably some importance from an early time, and may well have been part of 'the land by Ribble' granted to St. Wilfrid for the endowment of his monastery at Ripon about 670. (fn. 4) On the other hand it was obviously exposed to the incursions of the Norse pirates.
Preston was at that time within the kingdom of Northumbria and diocese of York, and at the Conquest was fiscally still part of the county of York. It was in 1066 the head of a fee or lordship comprising the whole district of Amounderness, held by Earl Tostig. Afterwards it was granted to Roger of Poitou, (fn. 5) who probably created a borough there, on which the privileges of a guild merchant were conferred in 1179, the town being then in the king's hands. There is other evidence of its relative importance, and it had a market and fair. (fn. 6) As a borough Preston sent two burgesses to some of the early Parliaments—from 1295 to 1331—but the burdensome duty fell into abeyance, not being resumed till 1529 and 1545. (fn. 7) Even in 1601 the election of a member was left to the choice of Sir Robert Cecil. (fn. 8)
The position of the town in the centre of the county and on a great road from south to north has occasioned its being the scene of many stormy events. On 4 November 1315 Adam Banastre and his confederates led their force to Preston, and, having overcome Sir Adam de Huddleston and others sent to check them, captured the place and made levies on the townsmen. Later in the same day, however, they were overthrown by Edmund de Nevill, the sheriff, who led the main force of the county. (fn. 9) Some seven years later the parish was laid waste by the Scots, who probably burnt the town. (fn. 10) A minor disturbance took place in 1338, when John, Nicholas and William Deuyas, with a number of armed comrades, having crossed the Ribble, made sundry assaults at Ribchester and then went on to Preston. Here they lay hid in the fields near the Grey Friars' house, and when Thomas Starkie and others came near those in ambush set upon them, shooting arrows and driving them into the Friars' church. The rioters afterwards went to Kidsnape in Goosnargh. (fn. 11)
In 1332 a total of £9 4s. 7¼d. was raised in the parish by a subsidy, the hundred paying £53 18s. 2¼d. The amounts for the various townships (fn. 12) are much the same as those fixed for the 'fifteenth' (fn. 13); while the county lay of 1624, considered a fair tax at the time, required the parish to contribute £15 17s. 4½d. towards £100 for Amounderness. (fn. 14) This shows a reduction in the relative value of Preston in the 300 years' interval.
About 1340 the borough had not only the parish church, but an old leper hospital with its chapel and a house and church of Grey Friars (fn. 15); the chapel at Broughton probably existed, and one or two minor oratories. In the centre of the parish was the forest district of Fulwood, in which the burgesses had secured certain rights. The parish suffered from the plague in 1349–50; the Archdeacon of Richmond in a claim for probate dues alleged that 3,000 men and women had succumbed to it, and the jury, in allowing him £10, seem to have estimated the number of wills proved as about fifty in the period defined, viz. from 8 September 1349 to 11 January following. (fn. 16) Some trouble with the labourers appears to have followed the plague. (fn. 17)
The Guild meetings are known to have been held early in the 14th century, for Kuerden has preserved certain regulations of a mayor's court held in June 1328, (fn. 18) in which reference was made to an order decreed 'in the time of our last Guild Merchant.' It was agreed that the mayor, bailiffs and burgesses might 'set a guild merchant at every twenty years,' if necessary, the fees to 'go whole to the mayor at the renewing of the guild and refreshing of our town,' the object being the preservation of the guild, and therefore of the royal charter, by a regular purging of the roll and admission of new burgesses. (fn. 19) The earliest roll extant is that of 1397, and in spite of the order quoted the Guilds were held at irregular intervals; from 1542, however, they have been celebrated every twenty years without a break, the latest being that of 1902. (fn. 20) From 1562 the time of holding the festival has been the Monday after 29 August, the Decollation of St. John Baptist, patron of the guild. The roll of 1397 gives first the In Burgesses—' those who are in the forenamed guild and whose fathers were in' it; then the Foreign Burgesses—knights and gentry of the county in many cases (fn. 21); and then 'the names of those whose fathers were not in the forenamed guild and therefore made fine.' (fn. 22) The entries afford information as to the trades practised in the town, for there are named chaloner, coaler, draper, fleshewer, glover, mason, mercer, miller, saddler, souter, spicer, tailor, webster and wright. At the back of the roll are names of women members, being widows or daughters of members. (fn. 23)
The class of foreign burgesses was at first very small, but in the 17th century and later 'wholesale admissions of the neighbouring gentry and others seeking connexion with Preston as a matter of honour or social advantage and the promotion of many Out Burgesses of long standing to the class of In Burgesses with its larger privileges,' made the number of non-resident burgesses larger than that of the townsmen enrolled, and ' it became necessary to check the process of appropriation of these franchises by non-residents and strangers.' (fn. 24) An inferior class named Stallingers first appeared in the roll of 1562; they were permitted to live and trade in the town, but not admitted to be burgesses. The new borough created seventy years ago destroyed the political importance of the guild, but it remains in full vigour as a popular festival.
The officers ot the Guild were the mayor, who was also mayor of the borough, stewards and aldermen. The following is a list of mayors: 1328, Aubred son of Robert; 1397, William de Erghum (Arkholme); 1415, Henry Johnson; 1459, Robert Hoghton; 1500, William Marshall; 1542, Thomas Tipping; 1562, Thomas Wall; 1582, George Walton; 1602, Henry Catterall; 1622, William Preston; 1642, Edmund Werden; 1662, James Hodgkinson; 1682, Roger Sudell; 1702, Josias Gregson; 1722, Edmund Assheton; 1742, Henry Farington; 1762, Robert Parker; 1782, Richard Atherton; 1802 and 1822, Nicholas Grimshaw; 1842, Samuel Horrocks; 1862, Robert Townley Parker; 1882, Edmund Birley; 1902, the Earl of Derby. (fn. 25) The meetings sometimes lasted a fortnight.
To return from this digression, we find that in the time of Henry Duke of Lancaster (1351–61) the courts of the duchy were held at Preston, (fn. 26) and once at least the parish church served as a court-house. (fn. 27) Usually they seem to have been held at Lancaster, but in time of pestilence were transferred to Preston. (fn. 28) An inquiry as to the obstructions to the passage of vessels up the Ribble was ordered in 1359. (fn. 29) A matter of this kind may have contributed to the decline evident in the importance of the town in the 15th century. 'The burgesses were fewer in number in 1459 than in 1415. The old freemen, sons of fathers who had been in the guild, had dwindled down . . . to about ninety persons,' though the foreign burgesses had slightly increased to forty-five. The new in burgesses admitted in 1459 numbered ninety-three, the roll being thus doubled. (fn. 30)
In 1536, during the excitement of the Pilgrimage of Grace, the Earl of Derby made Preston his head quarters, but on 30 October was able to publish the king's proclamation and desire the gentlemen to go home. (fn. 31) The Earl of Sussex was there in 1537 on a similar work for the pacification of the north; he thought there was 'not a scarcer country both for horse meat and man's meat in England.' As to his mission, he expected to leave the people as 'obedient, faithful, and dreadful subjects' as any in England. (fn. 32) Leland visited the place about that time, and writes thus: 'Half a mile beyond Darwen I passed over the great stone bridge of Ribble, having a v. great arches. From Ribble Bridge to Preston half a mile. Preston hath but one parish church. The market place of the town is fair. Ribble goeth round about a great piece of the ground about town, yet it toucheth not the town itself by space of almost half a mile. . . . A mile without Preston I rode over Savock, a big brook, the which, rising in the hills a iii. or iv. miles off on the right hand, not very far off goeth into Ribble.' (fn. 33)
The town and district were hostile to the Reformation. Even at present, in spite of former penal laws and the vast changes effected by modern industries with their new populations, Preston remains a stronghold of Roman Catholicism. Various incidents recorded in the accounts of the church and the separate townships give evidence of the state of affairs in the time of Elizabeth, and a few more may be added to illustrate a matter of such importance. Thus the Guild of 1582 was marked by a complaint from Lawrence Wall, one of the principal burgesses, that George Walton, the Guild mayor, was promoting the celebration for his own gain, while he himself opposed it as 'tending to mere superstition, as may appear by the view of the ancient records of the said town concerning the keeping of the old guild merchant there, (fn. 34) tending to this effect that the guild should begin with procession and a mass of the Holy Ghost—now not tolerable—and divers other superstitious rites and ceremonies now abrogated.' Wall had urged the mayor—but in vain—to execute the statute against unlawful games and plays, such as the keeping of common bowling alleys, unlawful playing at cards and dice. The mayor and his wife had been ordered by the ecclesiastical commission to receive the holy communion but had not done so. (fn. 35)
Next year it was the Bishop of Chester who denounced it and two other places as having a people 'most obstinate and contemptuous' of the Elizabethan laws on religion; he desired the government 'to deal severely and roundly with them.' (fn. 36)
In the autumn of 1600 a priest named Robert Middleton, a Yorkshireman educated at the English College at Rome, was arrested near Preston by Sir Richard Hoghton, and after being examined by him and Thomas Hesketh (fn. 37) was delivered to the mayor of Preston, who sent him to Lancaster Castle. On the way, near Myerscough, 'they were overtaken by four horsemen and a man on foot, who demanded whether the prisoner was a priest and attempted to rescue him. A desperate affray ensued, in which the assailants were worsted and Greenlow, one of the horsemen, was taken prisoner. The party then returned to Preston, and Greenlow was examined.' It turned out that he was a seminary priest, a Yorkshireman named Thurstan Hunt. In the end both the priests were condemned as traitors for their priesthood only, and were executed at Lancaster in the March following. (fn. 38)
At the Bishop of Chester's visitation in 1605 sixty-eight recusants were presented in Preston town, and nineteen others in the parish, some being described as arch-recusants. Argument was dealt with after the manner of the time: 'William Urmston, gentleman, a great seducing Papist, seduceth the people very much, and sometimes a crafty subtle lawyer. The churchwardens desire some course may be taken with him that they be not troubled with his subtle arguments.' One William Ridley was 'supposed to have many masses said in his house since the death of the queen, whereunto many have resorted.' (fn. 39)
Somewhat later, in 1629 and subsequent years, the following recusants compounded by annual fines for the sequestration of two-thirds of their estates: In Preston—Henry Ashton, £3 6s. 8d.; Alexander Rigby, £2; James Walton, £6; Grace Wilkinson, £3. In Broughton—Hugh Crook, William Singleton and George Wilkinson, £2 each. In Ribbleton —John Farington, £6 13s. 4d. In Grimsargh— William Hoghton, £10. The following compounded for arrears only, having been induced to conform: Henry Sudell of Preston and Henry Grayson of Fulwood. (fn. 40) Richard Hurst, a yeoman of the district, probably of Broughton, was to be arrested for recusancy by order of the Bishop of Chester. The violence of the officers provoked a fight, and one of them afterwards died. Hurst was charged with murder, and it is stated that the judge at the trial, Sir Henry Yelverton, 'informed the jury that the prisoner was a recusant and had resisted the bishop's authority; and told them that he must be found guilty of murder, as an example.' The jury returned this verdict, but Hurst on his way to execution was offered his life if he would take the oath of allegiance. As it contained anti-Catholic clauses he refused, and was accordingly executed 29 August 1628. (fn. 41)
James I was entertained by the mayor and corporation during his progress from the north to London in 1617. Arriving at the cross on 15 August he was received by the mayor and corporation and presented with a bowl; after the recorder's speech the king went to a banquet in the Guildhall. (fn. 42) A great pestilence is recorded in 1630–1. The guild order book of the time states that 1,100 persons and upwards died within the town and parish of Preston from the plague, which began about 10 November 1630 and lasted a whole year. (fn. 43)
On the outbreak of the Civil War the people of the district in general espoused the king's side. (fn. 44) One of the powder magazines for the county had been established at Preston in 1639. (fn. 45) Before the actual outbreak of war Lord Strange in June 1642 summoned a muster of the armed force of the county on the moor to the north of the town, (fn. 46) and Preston itself was garrisoned by Royalists soon afterwards. (fn. 47) Early in the following year Sir John Seaton led the Parliament's troops to attack it. They found it to be defended by a brick wall, but made the assault with great courage on 9 February 1642–3, and after two hours' fighting captured the town. The mayor, Adam Mort, died of his wounds; he had threatened to burn the place, beginning with his own dwelling, rather than suffer it to fall into the power of the Parliament. (fn. 48) Mr. Anderton of Clayton, the commandant of the garrison, was taken prisoner with several other local men of importance, and some were killed. Various guns and war stores were captured 'and divers were pillaged to a purpose.' (fn. 49) Rosworm, the famous engineer, afterwards re-fortified the position.
Five weeks later, 20 March, Lord Derby having learnt that the place was weak because troops had been drawn away to resist him at Lancaster, hurried to Preston and recaptured it for the king. The mayor, Edmund Werden, was in charge of the town, and refused to surrender it; but assaults were made at three points by Captains Chisnall, Radcliffe and Rawstorne, and after an hour's struggle the place was taken. There was no general plunder, but Lord Derby 'gave command that the houses of those who had betrayed the town before should be responsible to his majesty for their masters' treason, whose goods his lordship ordered to be seized and equally divided among the soldiers.' (fn. 50)
Prince Rupert was in the town on 23 June 1644, (fn. 51) and returned to it about a fortnight later, having been defeated at Marston Moor. He then retreated south to Chester, and from that time the Parliament had command of Preston. (fn. 52) The meetings of the Sequestration Committee were usually held there, and there was a Presbyterian classis with meetings of the Provincial assembly. (fn. 53) The post stages arranged at that time show that starting from London on Saturday morning a dispatch should reach Manchester on Wednesday night and Preston the next day at noon. (fn. 54)
After a few years' rest the town had renewed experience of war, for in August 1648 the army of Scotch Covenanters under the Duke of Hamilton in their march southward were joined near Preston by English Cavaliers under Sir Marmaduke Langdale. Religious differences prevented the two bodies acting in harmony, and when Cromwell, hastening unexpectedly from Yorkshire, attacked them on 17 August they were overcome. The field of battle was to the east of the town, from Ribbleton Moor to the river. The duke's forces were partly to the north of the Ribble and partly to the south. Langdale's horse covered their left flank and thus met the first onset of Cromwell's army. It was imagined that this was no more than Colonel Assheton and the Lancashire bands, and so the duke seems to have continued sending his infantry over the river southwards. The weakened force, after a hot fight of some four hours, was driven into Preston itself, where fighting was witnessed, and then scattered to north and to south; many were slain, numerous prisoners were taken, and the ammunition also. (fn. 55) The duke was hotly pursued the next day and finally routed near Winwick. Just three years later, on 14 August 1651, Prince Charles, 'the King of Scots,' passed through Preston on his way south, riding through the streets on horseback so that he might be seen by the people. Lord Derby, having there assembled what force he could from the district, followed him to the overthrow at Worcester. (fn. 56)
The people seem to have welcomed the Restoration, and the public proclamation of Charles II, on 11 May 1660, was made with the usual signs of popular approval. (fn. 57) William Cole, the vicar, preached a sermon on 24 May, the public thanksgiving day, and it was printed with a dedication to Sir George Booth, the leading Presbyterian Royalist. (fn. 58) By a singular decision of the House of Commons in 1661 'all the inhabitants' of the borough were declared entitled to vote for the members of Parliament; and though it does not seem to have been acted upon till 1768 this democratic suffrage was the law till 1832. (fn. 59) The hearth tax return of 1663 (fn. 60) shows that there were 727 hearths taxable in the town; Alexander Rigby had the largest dwelling, with fifteen hearths. (fn. 61) Ribbleton had twenty hearths taxed; the hall seems to have had six, but was divided into three tenements. Fishwick had twentyfive, four being the largest number to one house. Grimsargh with Brockholes had thirty-six, the principal houses being those of the two squires, each with five hearths. Elston had twenty-eight; three of the houses had four hearths taxed. Barton had 102, all in small houses except the hall, which had twenty-two hearths, being the largest house in the parish. Broughton had eighty-two, of which twelve belonged to the Tower. Lea, Ashton and Cottam had forty-nine, thirty-two and twenty-seven respectively; all the houses were small, except Lea Hall, with thirteen hearths. (fn. 62) Fulwood had fiftyone; the largest house had seven hearths. A number of tradesmen's tokens were issued about 1666. (fn. 63)
From several descriptions of the town about the end of the 17th century it seems to have been prosperous. Kuerden has left two descriptions of its state in 1680–90. Crossing the Ribble by the bridge at Walton he entered the town at the Bars. The Pattens' mansion stood on the right, 'a sumptuous house.' Proceeding along Church Street he passed the church and school on the left and 'many stately houses' on the right, on which side also stood the town hall and shambles. Opposite these last a footpath led down to the Penwortham ferry boat. Going past the cross, leaving Fishergate on the left, with its ' many good houses . . . lately erected,' he went through Cheapside and along Friargate, where were yet more 'good houses.' Passing through the Bars he came to the Moorgate and the common, noticing Alderman Wall's 'fair house' on the left. He then followed the causey The town seems to have maintained the same loyal disposition, for when James II visited Chester in 1687 the corporation of Preston sent a deputation with an address; Cartwrighfs Diary (Camd. Soc.), 74. over the moor to Fulwood and Cadley Moor; so he came to Broughton Tower and church and afterwards to St. Lawrence's Chapel and Barton Hall, and passed on to Goosnargh. (fn. 64) Celia Fiennes was pleased with it: 'Preston (she says) stands on a hill and is a very good market town. Saturday is their market, which day I was there and saw it was provided with all sorts of things: leather, corn, coals, butter, cheese, and fruit and garden things. There is a very spacious market place and pretty church and several good houses. . . . The generality of the buildings, especially in two or three of the great streets, were very handsome, better than in most country towns, and the streets spacious and well pitched.' (fn. 65) In 1709 it was thought 'a very pretty town with abundance of gentry in it; commonly called Proud Preston.' (fn. 66) As a port it had declined. (fn. 67)
The religious conditions it is difficult to determine. The corporation was Tory and the vicars of the parish Whig. There were numerous Dissenters, but the relative importance of the Roman Catholics had no doubt declined during the century, and was still further weakened by the disasters of 1715. (fn. 68)
The invasion of the Scottish Jacobites in that year penetrated as far south as Preston, and drew many adherents from the neighbourhood, but ' all Papists.' (fn. 69) The army was placed under the command of a lawyer, Thomas Forster of Etherston, member of Parliament for Northumberland, and it arrived at Preston on 9–10 November some 1,700 strong (fn. 70) James III was proclaimed king in the market place. On Saturday the 12th orders were given that the whole force wae to advance to Manchester, but news being brought, greatly to their surprise, that General Wills was advancing from Wigan to attack them, they resolved to await him. Forster appears to have been badly advised; he refused to defend Ribble Bridge and the fords, so that the royal troops crossed the river without opposition and at once made a vigorous attack on the town (fn. 71) Some trenches and barricades had been formed, and the defenders repelled all the attacks with success, the king's troops suffering severely. Darkness put a stop to the fighting on Saturday, but next day Wills received a considerable accession of strength from General Carpenter, who came up from the east, and was thus able to surround the town. The Jacobites found that they must either cut their way through the king's forces or surrender, having but slight provision for a sustained defence. The following day accordingly they laid down their arms in the market place, (fn. 72) and the king's troops took possession of the town; it is said that they plundered many of the houses. The prisoners were confined in the church for a month, and fed upon bread and water at the cost of the townspeople. (fn. 73) Some were executed; in December four officers were shot (fn. 74); the next month some local volunteers were hanged at Gallows Hill, close to the present Moor Park: Richard Shuttleworth of Preston, Roger Muncaster of Garstang, Thomas Cowpe of Walton-le-Dale, William Butler and William Arkwright; and in the following February Richard Chorley of Chorley and six others (fn. 75) were executed in the same way.
Defoe in 1727 found Preston a fine and gay town, but inferior in population to Liverpool and Manchester. It was 'full of attorneys, proctors and notaries' employed in the special palatine courts. There was 'a great deal of good company,' but not so much 'as was before the late bloody action with the Northern rebels; not that the battle hurt many of the immediate inhabitants, but the consequences of it so severely affected many families thereabout that they still retain the remembrance of it.' (fn. 76) The earliest 'prospect' of the town is dated 1728; it was drawn from the south side by S. and N. Buck. (fn. 77) A printing press was at work as early as 1740. (fn. 78) A verbal description of Preston in 1745 reads thus: 'This town is situated on a clean, delightful eminence, having handsome streets and variety of company, which the agreeableness of the place induces to board here, it being one of the prettiest retirements in England, and may for its beauty and largeness compare with most cities, and for the politeness of the inhabitants none can excel. . . . Here is a handsome church and a town hall where the corporation meet for business and the gentlemen and ladies for balls and assemblies. Here is likewise a spacious market place in the midst of which stands a fine obelisk; the streets are neatly paved, and the houses well built of brick and slates. This town being a great thoroughfare there are many good inns for the reception of travellers. . . . This town has a pretty good trade for linen yarn, cloth, cotton, &c.' (fn. 79)
It was in the winter of 1745 that the Prince Charles Edward led his army south through Preston in his attempt to win the crown of England. He arrived there on 27 November (fn. 80); the bells were rung, and a few joined them, including Francis Towneley, nephew of the squire of Towneley. The army left next day for Manchester. On its hasty retreat north the force regained Preston on 12 December and left for Lancaster the next morning, being closely followed by Oglethorpe's dragoons and the Duke of Cumberland himself.
Pococke in 1750 thought the town subsisted 'chiefly by its being a great thoroughfare and by many families of middling fortune living in it'; hence, he says, 'it is remarkable for old maids, because these families will not ally with tradesmen and have not sufficient fortunes for gentlemen.' (fn. 81)
From that time the history of the parish has been peaceful, with the exception of election battles— notably that of 1768 (fn. 82)—and industrial disturbances. These latter conflicts appear to have been less dangerous here than in other parts of the county, but there was a threatening demonstration against power-looms in 1826. (fn. 83) In 1797–8 the Royal Preston Volunteers were raised for the defence of the county, and a rifle corps also was formed. (fn. 84) The modern volunteer movement received due support in the district, two corps being formed in 1859, (fn. 85) and Preston is now, under the Territorial system, the head quarters of a squadron of the Duke of Lancaster's Own Yeomanry, a battery of the 2nd West Lancashire Brigade Royal Field Artillery, and three companies of the 4th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.
Communications were improved by the turnpiking of the north road in 1751 (fn. 86) and the erection of Penwortham Bridge in 1755. (fn. 87) The old Ribble Bridge was rebuilt in 1781, (fn. 88) and in the following year a new town-hall was erected. (fn. 89) Stage coaches began running to Wigan and Warrington about 1771, and to Liverpool in 1774. (fn. 90) The cotton manufacture was introduced in 1777, (fn. 91) and from that time the place has grown in importance and population. A plan made in 1774 (fn. 92) shows that the streets had remained almost unchanged for a century. (fn. 93) The houses extended eastward nearly as far as the present Deepdale Road and west along Fishergate to the site of the railway station. Northward the houses did not go beyond Lord Street, except that they extended a little further along Tithebarn Street and to the end of Friargate and Back Lane. There were also a few blocks of dwellings to the south of Church Street. The plan of 1824 (fn. 94) shows a great increase in all directions, more especially on the south side, and also to the north-west of Fishergate as far as the Lancaster Canal, which had been constructed in 1798. (fn. 95) The first railways were opened in 1838 and 1840. (fn. 96)
Of the old townships Preston, Fishwick and Ashton have become urban in character and Fulwood is a residential suburb; the others still remain for the most part agricultural. The following figures show the way in which the agricultural land of the parish is at present utilized. In the whole there are but 446 acres of arable land, the great bulk, viz. 12,103 acres, being in permanent grass. There are 363 acres of woods and plantations. The details are thus given (fn. 97):—
In consequence of changes in the boundaries in 1894, when the township of Preston was extended to coincide with the municipal borough, Fishwick ceased to be a township, and the areas of Ribbleton, Grimsargh and Brockholes, and Lea, Ashton, Ingol and Cottam were reduced.
Something has been said of Preston as a port. Dr. Kuerden about 1682 found that a vessel of reasonable burden might be brought up the river to Preston by a knowing and well-skilled pilot. (fn. 98) The Ribble, however, could only be used by small vessels. A company was formed in 1806 to improve the navigation, (fn. 99) and in 1838 was merged in the Ribble Navigation Company, in which Preston Corporation took shares. (fn. 100) The bed of the river was deepened at Preston, the channel seawards was dredged and sea walls were built. A dock was made at Lytham in 1841, and in 1843, owing to the increase of trade, the corporation made a new quay near the border of Ashton. In 1853 additional powers were obtained for the reclamation of tide-washed land.
Though there was a considerable coasting trade, (fn. 101) the navigation of the river continued unsatisfactory. The corporation purchased the company's undertaking in 1883, (fn. 102) and began a comprehensive system of improvement, the river course having since been straightened below the town, and a large dock formed in Ashton was opened in 1892. A small change in the township boundaries followed the alteration of the stream. The channel is kept open by dredging and by a system of retaining walls to prevent silting. The customs port extends from Preston to Hundred End on the south side of the Ribble and as far as the mouth on the north, and thence up to Blackpool. (fn. 103)
The parish has not produced many men of distinction. In view of its present industrial position the first place may be given to Sir Richard Arkwright, the inventor, who was born in the town of Preston in 1732. After following the trade of barber and wigmaker for thirty years or more, living part of the time at Bolton, he turned his attention to cottonspinning machinery. He and his assistant are said to have set up a trial machine in a large house at Stonygate, Preston, but his first mill (1771) was built at Nottingham and his second near Wirksworth in Derbyshire. He purchased the manor of Cromford, was made a knight in 1786 and acted as High Sheriff of Derbyshire in 1786–7. He died in 1792. (fn. 104)
The most distinguished of the natives of the place in the world of letters was the late Francis Thompson, a lyrical poet of great genius and splendour of diction. He was the son of a doctor, and born in 1859. He was educated for the priesthood at Ushaw, but renounced that calling, desiring to devote himself to literature. He fell into destitution, but his talents were recognized and the later years of his life were fruitful. He died in November 1907; in 1910 a memorial tablet was placed on the house where he was born.
Lawrence Claxton or Clarkson, born at Preston in 1615, became a prominent sectary of the Commonwealth times—Presbyterian, Baptist, 'Seeker,' and Muggletonian in turn. He published various tracts and died in 1667. (fn. 105)
Edward Baynard, M.D., is thought to have been born at Preston in 1641. In 1719 he published a poem entitled Health. His daughter Anne was noted for her learning and piety. (fn. 106)
Josiah Chorley, son of Henry Chorley of Preston, became the Presbyterian minister at Norwich, 1691, till his death, about 1719. He published a metrical index to the Bible. (fn. 107)
Richard Shepherd, born at Kendal, settled at Preston, where he practised as a physician. He died in 1761, having bequeathed his library to the town, together with a sum for a librarian's salary and the purchase of fresh books. The library, which was to be strictly for works of reference, is now deposited in the Harris Free Library. (fn. 108) The erection of this building was due to the trustees of Edmund Robert Harris of Ashton, who was born at Preston in 1804 and died in 1877, he having given them power to establish an institution of public utility in Preston to perpetuate the memory of his father and family. (fn. 109) His father was the Rev. Robert Harris, incumbent of St. George's, Preston, from 1797 to 1862. In the Harris Library is preserved also the art collection bequeathed to the town by another native of it, Richard Newsham, 1798–1883.
Sir Edward Stanley of Bickerstaffe, who succeeded to the earldom of Derby in 1736, is stated to have been born at Preston in 1689; he served as mayor of the town in 1731. His descendant, the late earl, took the title of Lord Stanley of Preston on being raised to the peerage in 1886, and was guild mayor in 1902.
Arthur Devis, born at Preston about 1711, became a portrait painter, exhibiting at the Free Society of Artists, 1762–80. He died in 1787. (fn. 110)
William Turner, son of a Nonconformist minister, was born at Preston in 1714, and himself became a minister at Wakefield. He contributed to Priestley's Theological Repository. He died in 1794. (fn. 111)
Edward Crane, born at Preston in 1721, was educated at Kendal. He became a Nonconformist minister at Norwich, but died young, in 1749. (fn. 112)
William Gregory Sharrock, born at Preston in 1742, became a Benedictine monk. He was consecrated in 1781 as coadjutor to Bishop Walmesley, with the title of Bishop of Telmessus, and in 1797 succeeded him as vicar apostolic of the western district, acting till his death in 1809. (fn. 113)
Thomas Jackson, who took the surname of Calvert in 1819, was born at Preston in 1775. He became Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge, Norrisian Professor in the university, and Warden of Manchester. He died in 1840. (fn. 114)
Charles Hardwick was born at Preston in 1817, being son, of an innkeeper there. He acquired distinction as an antiquary, and his history of his native town, issued in 1857, has been frequently quoted in the present account. He died in 1889. (fn. 115)
William Dobson, born at Preston in 1820, and educated at the local grammar school, was editor of the Preston Chronicle, and wrote on local antiquities. He died in 1884. (fn. 116)
Robert Gradwell, son of a Preston alderman, was born in the town in 1825, and after education at Ushaw became assistant priest at St. Augustine's, Preston, and from 1860 till his death in 1906 was stationed at Claughton-on-Brock. He was a domestic prelate to Leo XIII. He was of antiquarian tastes, and published a life of St. Patrick and various essays. (fn. 117)
John Samuel Raven, landscape painter, was son of the Rev. Thomas Raven, minister of Holy Trinity Church in Preston, and was born in the town in 1829. He was drowned at Harlech, while bathing, in 1877. (fn. 118)
The church (fn. 119) of ST. JOHN THE DIVINE stands in the middle of the town, on the south side of Church Street, and is a handsome building in the style of the 14th century, erected in 1853–5. The former church which stood on the same site was a low 16thcentury structure, consisting of chancel, clearstoried nave of four bays, with north and south aisles, and west tower, but before its demolition it had undergone many changes and alterations. In 1644–5 the decay of the building was such that a levy of £30, which had been previously ordered, but a great part of which had not been paid, was increased by an additional £20. Pews were erected in the 17th century, and a rough plan of the seating c. 1650, showing the pulpit in the middle of the nave on the south side, has been preserved. (fn. 120) In 1671 the interior had 'become foule and uncomely,' and efforts were made to 'adorn and beautify' it, but the churchwardens were desired to get the work done 'as well and as cheap as they could.' In 1680 four pinnacles were ordered to be set upon the steeple and 'the weathercock to be placed handsomely in the middle,' and some time before 1682 a clock and chimes were placed in the tower. Towards the end of the 17th century Dr. Kuerden describes the building as 'spacious, well-built, or rather re-edifyed,' (fn. 121) but during the 18th century the church was allowed to fall into decay to such an extent (fn. 122) that on 7 February 1770 the entire roof fell in, and in consequence the north and south walls had to be taken down and the nave rebuilt. (fn. 123) In 1811 the tower, which had for some time been in an unsafe condition, was pulled down to the level of the church roof, and was left in that state till 1814, when it was rebuilt. The chancel was rebuilt by Sir Henry Philip Hoghton in 1817. (fn. 124) An account of the building written in 1821 (fn. 125) describes the body or nave as containing three aisles, with the royal arms where the rood formerly stood. 'Two chapels exist, the Lea chapel and Wall's chapel. . . . The mayor has a grand throne erected on the right corner from the altar. . . . The galleries are supported by eight Gothic arches, the pillars of an octagon shape. The front gallery facing the altar contains a well-tuned organ. . . . The spiral pulpit and reading desk is finely constructed of solid oak and supported by four pillars.' A view of the church about 1845 (fn. 126) shows the walls of chancel, nave and aisles to have been embattled, with lean-to roofs to the aisles, those of the chancel and nave being hidden behind the parapets. The clearstory windows were square-headed and of three lights, but those in the aisles had segmental heads, and the chancel was lit with tall pointed windows of three lights, the mullions crossing in the heads. The tower was lofty and had an embattled parapet with clustered angle pinnacles. (fn. 127) Showing fresh symptoms of decay in the middle of the 19th century, the whole of the building, with the exception of the lower part of the tower, was pulled down in 1853, (fn. 128) and a new church erected on the old foundations.
The present building, (fn. 129) which was finished in 1855, consists of chancel with south chapel, clearstoried nave with north and south aisles and west tower and spire, with north and south entrances in the angles between the tower and aisles. The building is a good example of modern Gothic and is built of Longridge stone. The church was reseated in 1867 (fn. 130) and a new reredos was erected in 1871. In 1885 an organ chamber was built in the north side of the chancel and vestries were added on the south side of the chapel. There are galleries over the north and south aisles and at the west end.
All the mural tablets and brasses which were in the old church in 1853 have been preserved, but with the exception of the Bushell brass at the west end of the north aisle they are of little interest and of no antiquity. (fn. 131) This brass, to the memory of Seth Bushell, a woollen draper who died in 1623, was discovered when the old building was pulled down, and is in two pieces, one bearing a quaintly drawn figure and the other the inscription. Both plates fell into private hands and were not restored to the church till 1900, when they were fixed in their present position. (fn. 132) The Hoghton memorials in the quire comprise mural monuments to Sir Henry Hoghton (d. 1768) and his first and third wives, Mary Boughton (d. February 1719–20) and Susannah Butterworth (d. 1772), and to Ann Boughton, his sister-in-law (d. 1715), (fn. 133) who are all there interred, and there are tablets to the memory of Sir Henry Bold Hoghton (d. 1862), who is buried at Anglesea, near Gosport, and Sir Henry de Hoghton (d. 1876), who is buried in the Bold chapel at Farnworth.
There is a ring of eight bells cast by T. Mears in 1814. (fn. 134) The commissioners of Edward VI reported that there were four bells, (fn. 135) besides one lent by Sir Richard Hoghton, kt. In 1711 an order was given to collect in the parish for a new set of eight bells which were afterwards cast by Rudhall. The fourth bell of an older peal had been recast in 1696, the seventh was recast in 1737.
The plate (fn. 136) consists of a flagon and small paten of 1705, both inscribed 'The gift of the Right Hon. John, Lord Gower, Baron of Stitnam, 1705 '; a flagon and two large patens of 1708, all inscribed 'The gift of Madame Margery Rawstorne, widdow, of Preston, to the Church of Preston, 1708'; a flagon of 1719, purchased by order of the vestry, inscribed 'Preston Lancs1719 ' and round the bottom 'St. John the Evangelist, Parish of Preston'; a flagon of 1725 purchased by subscription, inscribed at the bottom 'Thos. Astley, Robert Walsham, churchwardens, 1725 '; and four chalices, two of 1729 and two of 1785, all without inscriptions. There is also a wine-strainer inscribed 'The Parish Church of Preston, 1819.'
The early registers have been lost or destroyed. Except for two pages dated 1603 the existing registers begin in October 1611, and from that date to the end of 1631 have been printed. (fn. 137) In 1821 the following books were chained to the pillars of the tower archway: The Homilies, Bible, Foxe's Martyrs and Synopsis Papismi. (fn. 138)
The churchyard was enlarged in 1804. The oldest dated stone, of 1619, having become indecipherable has been replaced by an exact copy of the original. The old churchyard cross is named in a will dated 1551. (fn. 139)
It is possible that a church at Preston was one of those holy places deserted by the British clergy on the approach of the destroying English of Northumbria and about 670 granted with lands by the Ribble and elsewhere to St. Wilfrid. (fn. 140) Though its existence may be implied in the reference to churches in Amounderness in Domesday Book, (fn. 141) the first express record of it is that in the grant of Roger of Poitou to the abbey of Sees in 1094, by which he gave it the church of Preston with the tithe of his demesne and fishery, also 2 oxgangs of land and all the tithes of the whole parish. (fn. 142) Together with Roger's other possessions the advowson reverted to the Crown in 1102. (fn. 143) It was included in the grant of the hundred to Theobald Walter about 1191, (fn. 144) but claimed by the Abbot of Sées. By a compromise made in 1196 the advowson was resigned to Theobald, but the rector was to pay 10 marks yearly to the Prior of Lancaster. (fn. 145) After King John's accession the advowson reverted to the Crown, (fn. 146) and as part of the honour of Lancaster descended to the earls and dukes.
Thomas Earl of Lancaster in 1316 had leave to appropriate the rectory, (fn. 147) but his purpose, whatever it may have been, does not seem to have been carried further (fn. 148); and it was not till July 1400 that an appropriation was made by Henry IV in favour of the new collegiate church of St. Mary at Leicester, known as the college of Newark; a vicarage was to be endowed and a sum of money distributed annually to the poor. (fn. 149) After the confiscation of such colleges in 1546–8 the rectory remained in the Crown (fn. 150) until 1607, when it was sold to Sir Richard Hoghton, the advowson of the vicarage being included. (fn. 151) His family, retaining the rectory, sold the advowson of the vicarage in 1828 to Hulme's Trustees, (fn. 152) the present patrons.
About 1222–6 the value of the rectory was estimated at 50 marks, (fn. 153) and in 1297 at double that sum, (fn. 154) this agreeing with the Valor of 1292. (fn. 155) Within thirty years, however, owing to the havoc wrought by the Scottish invasions, the taxation was reduced to 35 marks. (fn. 156) The ninth of sheaves, &c., assessed in 1341, shows a recovery. (fn. 157) In 1527 the rectory was thought to be worth £42 a year and the vicarage £20, (fn. 158) and this estimate is almost the same as that of the Valor of 1535 (fn. 159); it appears, however, that the vicar had to pay the ancient 10 marks rent to the Abbess of Syon, who had taken the place of the Abbot of Sees. (fn. 160) After the sale of the rectory in 1607, a rent of £45 3s. 8d. had to be paid to the Crown by the lay rector, but in 1650 the value of the tithes was estimated as £309. (fn. 161)
The vicarage about 1620 had an annual value of £66. (fn. 162) In 1650, on account of the 'distracted, troublesome times,' it was not worth so much, but the vicar, one of the leading Puritan divines, had £50 from the Committee of Plundered Ministers and another £50 from the duchy revenues, as one of the four itinerant preachers. (fn. 163) The vicar in 1705 certified that he had £53, but the true value was nearly double, though part was precarious. (fn. 164) The income has greatly increased in modern times and is now returned as £802 net. (fn. 165)
|Instituted||Name||Patron||Cause of Vacancy|
|oc. 1153–60||William (fn. 166)||—||—|
|c. 1190||Robert (fn. 167)||—||—|
|c. 1196||Adomar de la Roche (fn. 168)||Theobald Walter||—|
|25 Feb. 1200–1||Randle de la Tour (fn. 169)||The King||—|
|? 8 July 1202||Mr. Peter Russinol (fn. 170)||"||—|
|oc. 1219–40||Amery des Roches (fn. 171)||"||d. P. Russinol|
|3 July 1243||William de Haverhill (fn. 172)||"||—|
|25 Aug. 1252||Arnulf (fn. 173)||"||d. W. de Haverhill|
|22 May 1256||Henry de Wingham (fn. 174)||"||d. Arnulf|
|20 June 1262||Walter de Merton (fn. 175)||"||d. Bp. Wingham|
|oc. 1286–94||Aubrey de Roseriis (fn. 176)||—||—|
|oc. 1306||Eustace de Cottesbach (fn. 177)||—||—|
|oc. 1312||James de Fairford (fn. 178)||—||—|
|1321||Thurstan de Holland (fn. 179)||Thomas Earl of Lanc.||exch. J. de Fairford|
|24 Sept. 1348||Henry de Walton (fn. 180)||Henry Earl of Lanc.||—|
|9 Dec. 1359||Robert de Burton (fn. 181)||Henrg Duke of Lanc.||d. H. de Walton|
|oc. 1369||John de Charneles (fn. 182)||—||—|
|13 Oct. 1374||Ralph de Erghum, D.C.L. (fn. 183)||John Duke of Lanc.||—|
|?1380–99||John de Yarburgh (fn. 184)||—||—|
|1399||William de Stevington (fn. 185)||—||—|
|? 1400||Richard Walton (fn. 186)||—||—|
|17 Jan. 1418–19||John White (fn. 187)||New Coll., Leicester||d. R. Walton|
|26 Apr. 1421||John York alias Legeard (fn. 188)||"||res. J. White|
|6 Mar. 1451–2||Thomas Tunstall (fn. 189)||"||d. J. York|
|9 Sept. 1454||Robert Cowell (fn. 190)||—||exch. T. Tunstall|
|oc. 1482–1501||Thomas Bolton (fn. 191)||—||—|
|c. 1516||Robert Singleton (fn. 192)||Sir A. Osbaldeston||d. T. Bolton|
|oc. 1548–62||Nicholas Bradshaw, LL.B. (fn. 193)||—||—|
|22 Oct. 1563||Roger Chorley (fn. 194)||Thomas Packet||d. N. Bradshaw|
|15 Sept. 1566||Leonard Chorley (fn. 195)||William Chorley||d. R. Chorley|
|12 Sept. 1572||Nicholas Daniel, B.D. (fn. 196)||John Bold||res. L. Chorley|
|15 Sept. 1580||Thomas Wall (fn. 197)||"||res. N. Daniel|
|21 Dec. 1592||William Sawrey, M.A. (fn. 198)||Henry Bold||d. T. Wall|
|12 Feb. 1603–4||John Paler (fn. 199)||Rt. Parkinson||res. W. Sawrey|
|28 May 1621||James Martin, M.A. (fn. 200)||Sir Richard Hoghton||d. J. Paler|
|18 Nov.||1626||Augustine Wildbore, D.D. (fn. 201)||Sir R. Hoghton||—|
|16 Dec. 1626||The King|
|11 Nov.||1630||James Starkie M.A. (fn. 202)||Sir R. Hoghton||res. A. Wildbore|
|2 Dec. 1630||The King|
|? 1639||Isaac Ambrose, M.A. (fn. 203)||—||—|
|2 July 1657||George Thomason (fn. 204)||Sir R. Hoghton||—|
|10 Feb. 1657–8||William Cole, B.A. (fn. 205)||"||—|
|14 Feb. 1662–3||Thomas Stanhope, M.A. (fn. 206)||"||cess. W. Cole|
|27 Nov. 1663||Seth Bushell, D.D. (fn. 207)||"||res. T. Stanhope|
|12 Dec. 1682||Thomas Birch (fn. 208)||Sir C. Hoghton||res. S. Bushell|
|29 May 1700||Samuel Peploe, M.A. (fn. 209)||"||d. T. Birch|
|14 July 1727||Samuel Peploe, D.D. (fn. 210)||The King||prom. Bp. Peploe|
|30 Apr. 1743||Randal Andrews, B.A. (fn. 211)||William Shaw||res. S. Peploe|
|30 Oct. 1782||Humphrey Shuttleworth, M.A. (fn. 212)||Sir H. Hoghton||d. R. Andrews|
|6 Sept. 1809||James Penny, M.A. (fn. 213)||Sir H.P. Hoghton||res. H. Shuttleworth|
|1 Mar. 1817||Roger Carus Wilson, M.A. (fn. 214)||W. W. Carus Wilson||d. J. Penny|
|14 Apr. 1840||John Owen Parr, M.A. (fn. 215)||Hulme's Trustees||d. R. C. Wilson|
|12 July 1877||James Hamer Rawdon, M.A. (fn. 216)||"||d. J. O. Parr|
|9 Apr. 1900||Hercules Scott Butler, M.A. (fn. 217)||"||res. J. H. Rawdon|
The rectory, having been in the patronage of the kings or lords of the honour of Lancaster, was filled by a series of royal clerks or busy officials, most of whom probably never resided, discharging their priestly duties by curates. Hence it was an advantage to the church, and no doubt to the parish, when the rectory was appropriated to the New College at Leicester and a responsible vicar placed in the cure. In addition to the chapel at Broughton there seem to have been two or three others in the parish, (fn. 218) and for these and the chantries there was no doubt a competent staff of chaplains. A list of twelve clergy was recorded about 1530, (fn. 219) but the visitation list of 1548 names only the vicar, two chantry priests and three others; in 1562 there were still the vicar, his curate, the curate of Broughton and another. (fn. 220) Nothing seems to be known of the first Elizabethan vicars, but from the character of the district the conformity with the religious legislation of the time was little more than nominal, and when a convinced Protestant was appointed in 1572 he was soon 'in great perplexity' and 'many ways threatened of his life for his well doing,' i.e. in particular because at Easter he had ' taken the names of all such as would not receive the blessed communion,' (fn. 221) and because he had captured a ' false priest at mass.' (fn. 222) The curate or parish priest whom he found in charge, a married man of openly evil life, (fn. 223) had winked at every abuse and insulted the vicar, causing the ' bells to be rung for souls' when the vicar was preaching and telling him to come down from the pulpit. The parish clerk was a ' popish boy,' who never appeared at church except to make such a noise on the organ on Sunday that no one could understand the singing. (fn. 224) The communion table was formed from an old altar, and 'altar stones and idols' seats' were still in their places; even a 'great number of alabaster images' which had been taken down in accordance with the queen's commands had been carefully buried in the vicarage garden, but the vicar had found and destroyed them.
This incumbent stayed but a few years and his successor, who was 'no preacher,' had tried many occupations before becoming a minister. His successors, and in particular John Paler, may have been those who influenced the Protestant population towards Puritanism, so that Vicar Martin seems to have been driven out by this party. (fn. 225) In 1637 Lancashire was reported to Archbishop Laud as an extremely Puritan county; at Preston and Manchester they called the surplices' the rags of Rome,' and suffered no organs in the churches. (fn. 226) At the formation of the Presbyterian classis in 1646 three Preston aldermen became members of it. (fn. 227)
There is evidence of a somewhat higher type of churchmanship in the town after the Restoration, (fn. 228) and in the last century, under modern conditions, a great change has taken place in Preston, as elsewhere, by the provision of new churches and schools and a large staff of clergy, the new movement being due apparently to the Rev. R. C. Wilson, vicar from 1817 to 1839. (fn. 229)
There were two endowed chantries in the parish church, those at the altars of the Rood or Crucifix of Jesus and St. Mary. The former is stated to have been founded by a Sir Richard Hoghton for the souls of his ancestors, and in 1547 John Shepherd was the chaplain, and celebrating accordingly. There was no plate belonging to it, and the endowment, producing £5 1s. 8d. yearly, was derived from burgages, lands, &c., in Preston. (fn. 230) In other places William or Richard Whalley is called the founder of the Crucifix chantry. (fn. 231) After the confiscation there were numerous disputes about the property. (fn. 232) The altar of St. Mary is mentioned in 1349. (fn. 233) The chantry thereat was said to have been founded by Ellen widow of Henry Hoghton for a chaplain to celebrate continually for her soul and all Christian souls, and to keep a free grammar school. (fn. 234) This chantry can be traced back to 1430, and seems to have been due to contributions from various sources. (fn. 235) Nicholas Banaster was the incumbent in 1547, and 'by report of the inhabitants' the ordinances of the foundation had been 'well kept and used.' There was no plate, and the endowment, derived from burgages and lands in Preston and Fishwick, was only £3 2s. 3d. a year. (fn. 236)
A school can be traced back to the 14th century. (fn. 237) Its connexion with a chantry threatened its existence, (fn. 238) but it seems to have been preserved by the corporation, and under their care has developed to its present standing. (fn. 239)
The principal charities (fn. 240) are those for education, (fn. 241) medical (fn. 242) and religious purposes (fn. 243); but there are in addition a considerable number of smaller benefactions for the benefit of the poor by gifts of money, food, clothing, apprentices' fees, and other ways. None of them appear to be intended for the whole parish; some are restricted to the borough of Preston, and others to particular townships or groups. (fn. 244)
Catherine Pennington in 1871 left £1,000 for the benefit of poor women in the town and neighbourhood of Preston, to be distributed by the wardens of Church of England parishes. The total income is £29 2s. 5d., and it is distributed according to the founder's wish. (fn. 245) Margaret Becconsall in 1872 left money to the New Jerusalem Church, one-seventh being for poor members of the congregation; £7 9s. 6d. is distributed accordingly among from five to nine persons. William Edmundson in 1735 left £50 to buy bread for the prisoners at Lancaster and Preston; half the income, £6 10s. 8d., is given to assist prisoners discharged from Preston Gaol, usually by gifts of clothing or travelling expenses. Mary Cross in 1889 gave £600, now producing £17 14s. a year, for the poor of the borough; the income is distributed in small money doles. The benefits of the Harris Orphanage in Fulwood are available for children whose parents reside within eight miles of Preston Town Hall. This includes the whole parish of Preston and large parts of the adjacent parishes. (fn. 246)
For the township of Preston several apprenticing charities have been absorbed into the grammar school endowments, (fn. 247) but the combined gifts of Dorothy Cosney (1678) (fn. 248) and John Dawson (1698) are now applicable in part for apprenticing and in part for medical relief, nursing, &c. (fn. 249) Some gifts, amounting to £14. 14s. 4d., have been combined with the mayor's dole. (fn. 250) The almshouses have been pulled down, (fn. 251) the bread money has ceased, (fn. 252) and some charities have been lost. (fn. 253) There remain, however, a number of others, so that over £30 a year is given in money doles, (fn. 254) the gifts of bread having ceased.
The township of Barton has a poor's stock of unknown origin, represented by £78 5s. 8d. consols. The interest, 39s., is divided between poor persons in the township. In 1904 there were only two, both imbeciles. Miss Mary Cross of Myerscough in 1889 gave £200 for the poor, and the income is divided as the preceding charity.
William Daniel of Broughton in 1656 gave land there to trustees, charging it with 20s. for the maintenance of a grammar school in the township, or in default for the repair of the church and church bridges. His widow added £20, and the trustees were able to purchase the land for the poor. In 1734, after the payment of 20s. as directed, the rent was applicable to the purchase of white kersey for coats for the poor, (fn. 255) for binding apprentices, buying Bibles or other orthodox books, a preference being had to widows, householders and dwellers in Broughton Row. The charity is still known as the Petticoat Charity, though for a long time only money has been given. The land now produces £17 a year gross; £1 is paid to the school, and the rest in sums from 5s. to £4 among the aged poor of Broughton, being Protestants. The fourth part of Thomas Houghton's charity, already described, is distributed in sums of money varying from 2s. 6d. to 25s. A small rent of 1s. 6d. from Almond's Croft has been lost, the place not being known now. Miss Damaris Dixon in 1895 bequeathed £1,000 for the benefice of Broughton, £1,000 for the benefit of the poor, and £50 for the repair of her grave in the churchyard there. The money for the poor, producing £30 a year, is given to the sick, partly in money, partly by paying doctors' bills.
The township of Grimsargh has a share in that fourth part of Thomas Houghton's charity which is due to Preston. By custom a third of the Preston share is given, and the money, 26s. 8d. in 1903, is distributed on St. Thomas's Day in money doles. John Charnley in 1737 charged his land at Penwortham with various sums, including 20s. yearly for the poor of Grimsargh. In 1824 the land (fn. 256) was owned by the representatives of one Henry Dawson, who died in 1823, and the money was distributed by the constable of the township to poor housekeepers. The payment was discontinued in 1881, no reason being assigned. A charge of £3 15s. a year for the use of the poor of Brockholes existed as early as 1650. The lands charged, known as the Boylton estate were purchased by William Cross in 1808. The charge has been commuted and the capital is represented by £125 6s. consols, now yielding £3 2s. 8d. a year. This is allowed to accumulate, as there are no poor persons in the hamlet.
The townships of Elston and Ribbleton benefit equally by the charity founded by John Farington in 1670. He gave his tenement in Elston to bind children apprentices or to benefit the poor in other ways. As early as 1824 there were no cottagers in Elston, all the poor belonging to it residing elsewhere, and from two to eight persons sharing the interest. At Ribbleton the rents of a number of poor persons were paid and other help given. At the present time the land gives a rent of £78, and accumulations of over £10,000 are invested in consols. Of the total income, £145 17s. 4d. is spent on education, and £193 8s. 5d. is applicable for the benefit of the poor in various ways in accordance with an order of the Charity Commissioners in 1890. (fn. 257) For Elston the charity is scarcely required; for Ribbleton there is more demand, chiefly for gifts of clothes, food, fuel, and aid in sickness. Elston by itself receives a third part of the fourth share of Thomas Houghton's charity appropriated to Elston and Alston; the £1 6s. 8d. received in 1903 was given to Grimsargh. Ribbleton by itself had two charities: the Luck Field in Brockholes and a rent-charge of £5 10s. out of an estate in Elston known as Willacy's Tenement. The former, (fn. 258) augmented by a share of Ribbleto Moor, on inclosure in 1870, was sold in 1873 and the price (£345) invested in consols, and, as no distribution was made, the capital increased to £608 by 1892, when a scheme was made similar to that for the Farington gift. The income is £19 3s. 4d., but only a small part is used. The rent-charge, commuted, with accumulations was in 1869 invested in £307 consols, and the income, 'not being required in the township,' continued to accumulate; but in recent years small weekly gifts of groceries, &c., in the nature of pensions have been given. The capital is now £618, producing about £14 6s. a year.
Edmund Robert Harris of Ashton in 1876 left £500 to provide a fund for gifts of clothing, bedding, &c., to the poor of Ashton, Lea, Ingol and Cottam on St. Thomas's Day yearly. The income is £15, which is now usually given in money doles.