Rigby’s – hostelry

A hostelry named Rigby’s was a favourite meeting place in Preston for the 17th-century diarists Thomas Bellingham and Lawrence Rawstorne. There could, in fact, have been more than one hostelry of that name in the town at the time, since Rigby was a fairly common surname and the diarists generally referred to hostelries by the name of their landlord rather than the name of the tavern or alehouse.

The popularity of the hostelry or hostelries with the diarists is shown by the fact that there are scores of references to visits there in their diaries.

One of these hostelries was the King’s Arms, for Rawstorne records visiting ‘Madam Rigbyes the Ks armes’ on 8 November 1687, and there are other diary entries linking the name Rigby with the inn. Whether Madam Rigby was the Mary Rigby who is listed as the hostess in 28 of Rawstorne’s diary entry is unknown. Possibly two women named Rigby had inns in the town at this time.

Another establishment known as Rigby’s might have been kept by Jo. (for Joseph?) Rigby, who is recorded in two entries in Rawstorne’s diaries:

22 September 1687 at Preston & at prayers & at Mitre to Coz: ffleetwood & at Ancor wth Mr ffrancis & at Jo; Rigby’s wth Mr [Sorrowcold] Mr Lemon and others.
29 May 1689 at Preston & at prayers and at Jo: Rigbyes wth Coz: ffleetwood of Lailand p3

A Joseph Rigby makes a number of appearances in the Preston court leet records at this time. In February 1683 the court  charged ‘Joseph Rigby for keeping an Inne & selling Ale not being a freeman to the prjudice of ye Burgesses of this Corporacon and doe amerce him to pay per month xs.’ And in October 1695 a Joseph Rigby ‘Alehousekeeper’ was found to be carrying on his trade despite being a freeman of the town. [1]

The location of the King’s Arms would seem to have been on the north side of Church Street, but the location of any other Rigby establishments is unknown.

[1] David Berry, trans., ‘Preston Court Leet Records’, accessed 29 January 2017, http://c5110394.myzen.co.uk/mw/index.php?title=Main_Page

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