Longworth family

The Longworth family of Lancashire originated in the township of Longworth, near Bolton, but by the early 17th century was established in the township of Upper Rawcliffe with Tarnicar in the parish of St Michael’s-on-Wyre. In 1660 Thomas Longworth succeeded to the estate on the death of his father. His younger brother, Ralph, went to live at Catterall in Garstang parish, but might also have had a house in Rawcliffe. Ralph, who was 39 in 1664, was an officer in the trained band of the Lancashire militia, being appointed captain in 1672 and major 17 June 1689. He was buried in January 1694.

Richard Longworth, the son and heir of Thomas and nephew of Ralph, was aged 10 in 1664. He married Fleetwood Shuttleworth and she and her sister Dorothy, wife of Dr Charles Leigh, each inherited a share of the manor of Larbrick in the Fylde. He is mentioned several times in the Tyldesley diaries where he is referred to as ‘Justice Longworth’. A fuller account of the family can be found in Fishwick’s History of St Michael’s. [1]

A Longworth appears frequently in the 17th-century diaries of Thomas Bellingham and Lawrence Rawstorne. It is highly probable that this was either Ralph or his nephew, Richard. In the diaries Longworth is described as both an officer and as a county magistrate. Ralph was an officer, but it is not known if he was a magistrate, and Richard was a magistrate but it is not known if he was an officer. Internal evidence in the diaries favours Ralph: in the course of the diaries (Rawstorne: 30 July 1689) Capt Longworth is promoted major, as was Ralph; there is a suggestion that Capt Longworth was also a JP in that on 28 April 1685 Rawstorne ‘Went to meet Capt. Longworth to vew Layland bridge’, which reads like JP business, and on 17 January 1689 Bellingham writes,’ I was att night wth Capt Longworth and some other Justices who kept sessions here this day’, and more certainly on 17 May 1689 when Rawstorne records that ‘Mr Kenion gave the Oathes of Allegiance & Supremacie & the Oath of a Justice of peace to … Capt Longworth’. Both Hewitson and Harrison favour Richard as the diaries’ Longworth, but supply no evidence. [2]

[1] Henry Fishwick, The History of the Parish of St Michael’s-on-Wyre, in the County of Lancaster, vol. 25, NS (Manchester: Chetham Society, 1891), 175–79.
[2] Thomas Bellingham and Anthony Hewitson, Diary of Thomas Bellingham, an Officer under William III (Preston: Toulmin & Sons, 1908), 43, http://archive.org/details/diaryofthomasbel00belluoft; Richard D. Harrison, ‘The Rawstorne Diary, 1687-89’ (typescript, nd), 117, Search Room, Lancashire Archives.