On this day … 10 April 1661

A great court leet was held, and as always the proceedings give a wonderful view of life in seventeenth-century Preston, as the selection from the presentments below show.

They include the court ordering the eviction of a number of families that were living in the town without the permission of the corporation. The seventeenth-century equivalent of today’s ‘economic migrants’?

Also, the women who worked in the butchers’ shops underneath the town hall were in trouble for throwing ‘gutts and Garbage into the Streetes’.

And Thomas Walmesley of the Hole House had been ignoring orders not to put his cattle onto the Marsh (Hole House is one of the few reminders of this period of Preston history that can still be seen today). Other places mentioned include the footway that eventually became Deepdale Road and Cocker Hole, the present Manchester Road.

And then there was Thomas Dolphin being pressured to evict Mary Ingham from his house ‘who is lately delivered of a bastard child wth a fforaigner wch is likely to become burthensome to the Towne’.

And why had Mr James Abbott, one of the bailiffs, taken possession of the key to the door to the town hall and refused to let the councillors in to hold a special meeting?

𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬

3. Upon the 17th Ordr of Mr Prestons Guild these psons following to bee very unfitt psons to Inhabitt wthin this Towne And that they bee removed forth of this Towne before the ffirst of Sepembr next upon payne of vjs viijd apeece And for every month after if not removed the harboures of them to pay vjs. viijd.
John Turner his wife and ffamily, harboured by Robt Bayley
Thomas Wilkinson his wife & children harboured by Agnes Myers at East moore yat
Robert Gregson his wife and children harboured by Lawr: Cowp
[with 16 more evictions ordered]

4. The women wch are dresers of the Shambles for that they throw gutts and Garbage into the Streetes & sufer Swyne to pull them in peeces and throwes blood into the Streete wch is anoysome Smell in ye Towne and a most unseemly sight in the Streetes, wee leave the same to Mr Maior to punishe the offendr or to Impose such fynes or otherwise as hee thinks most fitt for the future.

6. Thomas Walmesley of ye hole house for keepinge younge Beafe on the Marshe contrary to the ordr of this Towne therefore to pay for the tyme past iijs. iiijd. And if hee continues for to bee to forfeit iijs. iiijd for evy ofence.

8. Lawr: Tomlinson, Thomas Tomlinson & William Tomlinson for makeing a tusle and drawinge blood upon the body of Richard Blackburne to the breach of his maties peace therefore the said 3 Tomlinsons to pay each of them a peece vjs. viijd.

11. Geo. Hodkinson, Thomas Dolphin, Roger Charnock, Robt Bayley, Thomas Kay, Lawr Cowper, John Tomlinson and Evan Birley should have repaired the foote Cawsey upon the Peele moore leadinge to Debdale brook, wch is alltogether in decay & made unpassable wch they have neglected to doe, therefore evy one of them to pay for the tyme past vjs. viijd. And to cause the same repared and the platts Laid right, and the bridge at the said brooke Laid upp and made passable before the 15th of August next upon payment of vjs. viijd. a peece.

15. Thomas Dolphion for yt hee contrary to the 25th ordr of Mr Prestons Guild hath entertained and recd into his house Mary Ingham who is lately delivered of a bastard child wth a fforaigner wch is likely to become burthensome to the Towne, Wee leave the same to Mr Maior and Councell to put the said Ordr in Executon.

18. Edward Hindle for that hee hath not removed a midinge Lyinge in the path waies in Water willowes nere Corker hole wch anoyeth the Comon paths there, before the first of May last upon payne of vjs. viijd. …

20. Mr James Abbott Baliffe of this Towne for takinge the key of the Hall doore, and premprorily refuseinge to delivr the same key to the Sergents being then Comanded to require the same by Mr Seth Blakhurst then deputy Maior and the rest of the Aldermen and Councell they then haveinge speciall occasion to meete in the moote hall upon Extraordinary occasion for the good and welfare of this Incorporacon. Wee leave the same to the ordr and Consideracon of Mr Maior and Councell to doe therein as they shall thinke fitt for such a Contempt.

A recent photo of Holehouse, Preston
A more recent view of Holehouse by Tony Worrall: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rpsmithbarney/5073020528/
1840s map showing the location of the Holehouse in Preston
1840s plan showing Holehouse: https://maps.nls.uk/view/231280338

David Berry’s on line edition of the complete Preston court leet records: http://www.wyrearchaeology.org.uk/mw/index.php/Main_Page

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