On this day … 14 May 1685

The Preston Court Leet was again facing its perennial problem, the seventeenth-century equivalent of today’s potholes, with most of the town’s streets ‘out of repair’. These were ‘the Churchgate townend [Church Street], Ribleton Laine, ye Laine Leading to Swillbrooke [Mainsprit Weind], ffriergate townend, Moore Laine, Long Causey on ye Moore [now Deepdale Road], Marsh Laine & ffishergate Laine’.

Another nuisance in the streets was the flaying or skinning of dead horses ‘to ye great Anoyance of ye Inhabitants of this Towne’. It cannot have been a pleasant sight.

The skins could be turned into leather from which shoes were made, although the corporation did not allow them to be sold in the town, as another of the presentments to the court reveals:

John Hodgkinson currier & John Hall shoomaker being appoynted Searchers and Sealers of Lether for this Corporacon doth not discharge their duty in their places but suffereth shoos to be sould in ye Markett by Edward Sumpner that are made up wth horse Lether contrary to ye statute and therefore doe Amerce them to pay 3s. 4d. a peece.

Elsewhere in town, the poor schoolboys at the grammar school would have been getting wet feet when they went down Stoneygate to the school because they had to cross the Syke stream at the bottom to reach the school. The problem was that the bridge over the stream was so low that with ‘a flush of Raine itts over fflowed wth water’. The bailiffs were ordered to build a better bridge. 𝐒𝐞𝐞 𝐦𝐚𝐩

The court was also told that ‘the schoole house and Schoole privie is out of Repare’ and the bailiffs were given that job as well.

In other presentments, Thomas Bickerstaffe was in trouble again, because he ‘doth continue to lett his Swine goe about ye streets & Laines & into peoples grounds’.

And the townsfolk were probably reluctant to buy their fish on the market place:

… the ffishstones are not washen & kept cleane as they ought to be for want of wch they are very noysome and offensive & prejudiciall to the health of the people of this towne that ye Bayliffs take care to Imploy some pson to sett tubs for ye fish garbage & to keep them washed & cleaned fforthwth upon paine of 20s.


𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬 𝐢𝐧𝐜𝐥𝐮𝐝𝐞𝐝:

1. Yt ye highways within this towne are out of repaire vidzt. the Churchgate townend, Ribleton Laine, ye Laine Leading to Swillbrooke, ffriergate townend, Moore Laine, Long Causey on ye Moore, Marsh Laine & ffishergate Laine & wee Compute yt thirteene pounds six shillings and eight pence wth what remains of ye Last assessmt for ye high wayes may Repare them.

2. James Cowp caused his horse or maire to be ffleaed in ye open street, to ye great Anoyance of ye Inhabitants of this Towne, Contrary to ye Laws and good Govermt of this Corparation, And therefore doe amerce him to pay ten shillings.

3. William Melline and Joseph Rigbie did flea a horse or Mare of James Cowpers? in ye open street And for thire offence wee doe Amerce the, to pay 12d a peece.

6. Yt a watercourse is stopped in a Garden yt belong to ye Corner house in ye Market place Late in possession of William Tomlinson to ye Great Anoyance of Mrs Atherton And other Neighbours there about. Yt ye owners of ye sd house Clense and Scower ye sd water.

7. Yt the platt over ye Scoole dike at ye Lower end of Stonie gate is both too Lowe & too narrow yt upon a flush of Raine itts over fflowed wth water soe yt his Majestys Subjects in Comming to the Markett in this towne & scollers goeing and comeing to and from the Scoole are very much Incomoded & yt ye Baliffes of this towne to Raise ye Cawsey & lay a Broader Bridge before ye 24th day of June next upon paine of 20s.

9. Yt Thomas Bickerstaffe not withstanding fformer presentmts And ijth Lawes & Guild orders of this towne doth continue to lett his Swine goe about ye streets & Laines & into peoples grounds in this towne to ye great prejudice of many people of this towne, therefore doe amerce him to pay 3s 4d and for every offence hereafter to pay 4d a peece.

10. Yt John Hodgkinson currier & John Hall shoomaker being appoynted Searchers and Sealers of Lether for this Corporacon doth not discharge their duty in their places but suffereth shoos to be sould in ye Markett by Edward Sumpner that are made up wth horse Lether contrary to ye statute and therefore doe Amerce them to pay 3s. 4d. a peece.

11. Yt Lawrence Cowper hath made A midding stead near ye end of Hugh Copland house by which he stopeth John Hatch of his Way unto ye close called Jamesons? and in Leadinge away ye said middinge hath made a hole in ye Ground wch is very dangerouse for Children yt ffrequent thereabout yt he fill up ye sd hole betwixt and the 24th day of June next upon paine of 6s. 8d.

12. Yt the ffishstones are not washen & kept cleane as they ought to be for want of wch they are very noysome and offensive & prejudiciall to the health of the people of this towne that ye Bayliffs take care to Imploy some pson to sett tubs for ye fish garbage & to keep them washed & cleaned fforthwth upon paine of 20s.

16. These psons following for harbouring forreners & inmates wch may be burdensome to ye towne. Yt they remove the sd psons or ffamilies betwixt & the 1st day of July upon paine of 20s. a peece.
William Walsh for haboring Henry Beverley & his family.
Alice Myers for harboring a child
Richard Mosley for ye Like
Char: Quignard for Harboringe a Woman & a child.

17. Yt the Buts on Spitle Mosse are out of repare yt ye Bayliffs repare ye same before ye 24th day of June next upon paine of 13s 4d.

18. Yt the Barne over against the tyth barne formerly in ye possession of Mrs Elizabeth Hodgkinson is parte of it falen and all the rest in danger to fall & that ye timber & breeke belonginge to ye sd barne in perloyned and stoulen. Therefore wee desire Mr Maior and the Councell to take some speedy Course to preserve the timber and breeks and dispose of ye barne for ye towns Advantage.

19. Yt the schoole house and Schoole privie is out of Repare. That ye Bayliffs repaire ye same both Walls, Glasse and Slate before ye first of August next upon paine of 20s.


Source:
David Berry’s complete transcription of the court leet records:
http://www.wyrearchaeology.org.uk/mw/index.php/Main_Page

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