Johnson, Alexander

Alexander Johnson occurs frequently in the Bellingham diary as Cousin Johnson. He was married to Mary, the eldest daughter of Alan Bellingham of Levens, in 1681. At his marriage he was the possessor of a large estate, Rushton Grange, in the north-east corner of Bowland. [1] His family were patrons of the rectorship of St Michael’s-on-Wyre for much of the 17th century. [2]

Alexander seems to have taken a house and lands in Preston after his marriage. On 27 September 1688 Thomas Bellingham writes in his diary that he ‘sup’t at Cousen Johnson’s’, on 27 November of that year he was playing cards there, and many further visits are recorded throughout the diary. [3] Court leet records for 1695 refer to ‘late Mr Pigotts house where Mr Johnson now lives’. [4] Further court records up to 1703 complain of an Alexander Johnson esq not scouring his ditches in New Hall Lane, Fishwick Lane and Acregate Lane and not clearing his midden in St John’s Weind. [5] This suggests he had a house in St John’s Weind and some of the enclosed fields in the Ribbleton/Fishwick area.

Correspondence from Johnson to the Bellingham family up to the year 1726 is described as being from Alexander Johnson, of Preston, suggesting his main residence remained in the town rather than at Rushton Grange. [6]

[1] ‘DDX 898/3/7 Marriage Settlement’, Lancashire Archives Catalogue, 18 April 1681,
[2] ‘The Parish of St Michael-on-Wyre | British History Online’, fn 25, accessed 4 January 2016,
[3] Thomas Bellingham and Anthony Hewitson, Diary of Thomas Bellingham, an Officer under William III (Preston: Toulmin & Sons, 1908), 17, 31,
[4] ‘Preston Court Leet – October 1695’, accessed 4 January 2016,
[5] ‘Preston Court Leet – February 1695’, accessed 4 January 2016,; ‘Preston Court Leet – March 1697’, accessed 4 January 2016,; ‘Preston Court Leet – February 1702’, accessed 4 January 2016,; ‘Preston Court Leet – May 1702’, accessed 4 January 2016,
[6] Bellingham and Hewitson, Diary of Thomas Bellingham, an Officer under William III, xiii.

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