On this day … 28 December 1688

Man and woman dressed in historical costume, man eating oysters. [front]

The entry in the diary of Thomas Bellingham included:

Ye 28th. A hard frost. We had an account of ye King’s being gone towards France. I sent T. White away wth some letters. I was wth Mr. Mayor and Chr Parker att Cravens …

Craven’s was a Preston tavern whose landlord was Edward, sometimes Ned, Craven. It was possibly on the east side of Friargate, where an Edward Craven had a property in 1685. On another occasion Bellingham records being at ‘Ned Cravens, where we had stinking oysters’.

Of course, the ‘stinking oysters’ might just have been an excuse for Bellingham’s hangover, the 17th-century equivalent of today’s dodgy kebab.

James II fled England on 23 December, some weeks after William of Orange’s invasion of England. The news reached Preston five days later, an indication of the slow speed of travel at this period.

‘T. White’ was Thomas White, who seems to have been Bellingham’s agent, acting for him on his Irish estate.

The mayor was Thomas Winckley, who was born at Garstang in 1638 and died in 1710. He was married to Frances, the daughter of James Hodgkinson of Preston and his wife, Elizabeth, the widow of Henry Lemon of Preston, thus linking three prominent Preston families.

At this period Winckley was adding to the family’s estates, purchasing Higher Brockholes in 1694 and Lower Brockholes in 1696. He lived in a substantial property on Fishergate from some time before 1685.

‘Chr Parker’ was Christopher Parker of Bradkirk Hall, near Wesham. His son, Anthony, was MP for Clitheroe from 1689 until his death from drink in 1693, a not uncommon fate at this period.

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