Wilding’s – hostelry

A Preston inn that went by the name of Wilding’s was a regular haunt of the 17th-century diarists Thomas Bellingham and Lawrence Rawstorne. They mostly refer to it as Margaret Wilding’s, sometimes as simply Wilding’s and occasionally as Henry Wilding’s. The location is not mentioned and whether Margaret and Henry kept separate establishments is unknown.

Henry Wilding is first mentioned in Rawstorne’s diary entry for 30 September 1684 and lastly in the diarist’s entry for 1 December 1688. Margaret is first mentioned in Rawstorne’s entry for 21 February 1685 and lastly in the entry for 8 November 1689.

The inn (or inns) was probably one of the named establishments in the town at this time. Both diarists tended to refer to their regular haunts by the name of the innkeeper rather that of the inn. Wilding’s was clearly a superior hostelry to judge by the regular attendance of the town’s gentry, as when a large number of them gathered at Margaret Wilding’s to drink the king’s health (29 May 1685).

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