Patten, William

William Patten (1646-1710 [1]) was the son of William Patten of Preston and brother of Thomas Patten. His father served a term as mayor of the town. [2] He was married to Agnes, the daughter of James Bellingham of Levens and cousin of the diarist Thomas Bellingham. [3]

Patten was a regular and intimate correspondent of the Lancashire clerk of the peace Roger Kenyon. Letters from him are found in the Kenyon papers from 1681 to 1697. They are addressed from Gray’s Inn in London (both brothers were lawyers) and from Preston. In the letters he supplies Kenyon with both political information and gossip. An example of the former is his report on the bishop’s trial in June 1688 [4], and of the gossip the following from Gray’s Inn 9 June 1682 is a good example:

The Lord Gray was, by the King’s Bench, committed, and still standes committed, for detayneing the body of the Lord Barkley’s younger daughter, and as the reporte goes, hee saith that hee marryed the eldest sister and expected a maidens-heade, but not findeing it, hee resolved to have one in the family, if any bee left; but lest this should tende towards scandelum magnatum, pray keep it to yourself. [5]

This correspondence allies William Patten strongly with Kenyon and the Tory Derby faction, whereas his brother was one of the leading Whigs in Preston and served as a Whig MP.

He makes appearances in the Preston diaries of Thomas Bellingham and Lawrence Rawstorne. These suggest he had an establishment in the town from at least 1687 (Rawstorne 6 September) and another at Ormskirk (Bellingham 4 October 1688). The court leet records show he had a property in St John’s Lane in Preston in 1692 and acquired more in the next few years. [6]

[1] ‘Lancashire OnLine Parish Clerk Project – District of Preston’, accessed 9 February 2017,
[2] ‘Patten, Thomas (c.1636-97), of Preston, Lancs. | History of Parliament Online’, accessed 18 April 2016,
[3] Thomas Bellingham and Anthony Hewitson, Diary of Thomas Bellingham, an Officer under William III (Preston: Toulmin & Sons, 1908), ix,
[4] Historical Manucripts Commission (Fourteenth Report, Appendix, Part IV) The Manuscripts of Lord Kenyon (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1894), 191,
[5] Ibid., 143.
[6] ‘Preston Court Leet Records’, accessed 29 January 2017,