When James II fled England following William of Orange’s invasion in 1688 his forces regrouped in Ireland to contest the Glorious Revolution settlement. Under the command of Richard Talbot, Earl of Tyrconnell, they took control of most of the country and provoked an exodus of Protestant gentry, who abandoned their estates in fear for their lives. Their accounts of atrocities inflicted on the Protestant community by Irish Catholics and Tyrconnell’s forces stoked already inflamed anti-Catholic feelings in England.
Many of these Protestants passed through Preston after arriving in England, and some settled there to wait out the conflict. Their visits, and accounts of their sufferings, were recorded by the diarist Thomas Bellingham.