On this day … 18 December 1688

𝐎𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐝𝐚𝐲 …

The entry in the diary of Thomas Bellingham included:
Ye 18th. A wett day. I drew out ye troop, but ye raine drove us in againe … I was wth parte of ye troop, who treated me att ye anchor …’

Bellingham, who had previous military experience, had been called upon to train the local militia, probably by his friend Col Lawrence Rawstorne, who was colonel of one of the three Lancashire militia regiments. Bellingham later served in Ireland, where he was William III’s aide-de-camp at the Battle of the Boyne; his diary is one of the principal sources for the history of that battle.

The ‘anchor’ was the Golden Anchor, an inn visited frequently by Bellingham, who refers to it simply as the Anchor, using various spellings such as Anker, a spelling which brings out the fact that the name refers not to a ship’s anchor but to the old imperial measure of 8.3 gallons and to a barrel of that size. So a yellow barrel outside a tavern would be the inn sign for the Golden Anchor or Anker. The inn stood at the junction between Friargate and the Market Square.

It must have been one of the most important inns in 17th-century Preston, given that Bellingham and Rawstorne supped there on 1 August 1688 in the company of the Duke of Somerset and the mayor and corporation of the town. The duke, an early adherent of William of Orange, was probably in Preston to gauge local support for William’s imminent invasion of England.

The inn is shown on the above section of the 1685 plan of the town

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