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Time-honoured Lancaster ... Historic notes on the ancient borough of Lancaster online

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possible. "In 1834 a large assembly congregated for the purpose
o( witnessing the renewal o\' the old shoe " says the Preston Pilot of
that vear, it being the custom to renew it every seven years.
" Those assembled to witness the ceremony were entertained with
nut brown ale, had a merry chairing and then retired. In the
evening they were again entertained to supper." Journal No. xxiv
p. 414 of the British Archaeological Association gives the same
origin as the above. Mr. Bond in his "Reminiscences" tells oi'
men taking their wives to the Horse Shoe Corner with a halter
round their necks, disposing of them to the highest bidder. Mr.
Bond has seen three women coming away from such a ceremony,


but they had no halters on ; they were sold for a shilling each ; he
heard of another woman being sold for eight-pence.

As Golgotha denotes a place o\' skulls, it is, or was, quite an
appropriate appellation since there would be little besides skull and
bone left of the culprit whose body, after having been executed was
left a prey to the elements and the fowls of the air. This neighbour-
hood was the Calvary of Lancaster. Turning to Lindow we find
that there was a Mr. William Lindow, a merchant who lived in
Lancaster, and who died in May, 1786. This district man} - persons
believe perpetuates his name owing to his residence having been in
the neighbourhood. There is on the south side of the town a suburb
called the Greaves, and this name takes the mind back to the Anglo-
Saxon grof or graef, probably from grafan to dig. There was very
likely a long furrow in this locality which 1 associate with the ancient
groves o( the Druids. Farther on is Bowerham "dwelling by the
enclosure," from the Cymric bwr and Saxon ka?n, a home.

Haverbreck Hill doubtless represents the old Norse haver.
for oats, hence we have the oat fields on the breckan, or slightly

elevated ground.

Lancaster has still some memento of the early religious sym-
bols worn by the Knights Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem, and
of the Knights Templar. It may seem like a piece of bathos to
mention the fact that even public-houses, anciently very different
in their organisation and regulation from what is the case to-dav,
were so far as the origin of their titles are concerned, much more
appropriately named than we are disposed to fancy ; and the
White Cross Inn, in Penny Street, and the Red Cross Inn, Skerton
bespeak a desire to show that Lancaster was not supine in regard
to the Crusades. Again the White Cross Works, is a name perhaps
conferred in ignorance oi' the sacred zeal which onci: posessed the
ancient Christians of England, in common with France and Germany.
The White Cross was the sign oi' the Knights Hospitallers, and the
Red Cross that o( the Knights Templars, whose far famed banner


bore the word Banseant, in consequence of the black and white
stripes which distinguished it, and the beautiful text Non nobis,
Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo, da gloriani. (Not unto us, O
Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name be given the glory. ) The
first named order of knights established themselves at St. John's
Hospital, Clerkenwell, that of the latter took up their abode at the
Temple. The Hospitallers originated in the eleventh century, exact
date say some authorities, 1048, their object being to shelter each
hospes or guest on pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The military order was
founded about 1099, and confirmed by the Pope in 11 13. The order
of the Templars originated in 1 1 19, in the reign of Baldwin II., King
of Jerusalem. The White Cross history takes us back to the year
1 188, when Henry II. reigned in England and Phillip II. in France.
The two monarchs swore to be " brothers in arms for the cause of
God," and ceased their strife accepting the cross from the hands of
the Archbishop of Tyre, in the month of January, in the year named,
near an old elm tree, between Trie and Gisors. Roger of Hoveden
and the Script. Rcr. Franc, state that many of the great vassals of
each nation followed their masters' example, and took the same
oaths to be good soldiers of the cross, and to fight on Christ's behal*
" on land or sea, in town or field." The crosses given to the King
of France and his people were red ; those given to the King ot
England and his people were white. An order of the White Cross
was established in Tuscany in 181 4. There can be little doubt that
the Hospitallers of St. Leonard would wear a cross, and as they had
for their founder the Earl of Morton, afterwards King John, it is just
likely that their sacred badge would he red. The hospital had lands
both in Lancaster and Skerton.

Wars of the Roses.

In the Wars of the Roses, Lancaster's Rose was red, that of
York white ; and while they raged the blood of from 80,000 to
90,000 Englishmen was shed, and there fell in the contest three
kings, several princes of the blood Royal, sixty-two nobles, one
hundred and thirty-nine knights, four hundred and forty-one squires,


and six hundred and thirty-eight of the flower of the English gentry.

And yet the seat of the line of Lancaster escaped a shot or flourish
of the sword at this period. The war, or series of wars, was a
great blessing". It put an end to feudalism, showed the people,
the masses, that they were the real bone and sinew of the country,
and not the pampered lords and knights, who neither toiled nor
spun ; so their eyes were opened, and when the chiefs of the aris-
tocracy were bound to espouse the cause of one side or the other,
the scales fell from their organs ot vision, they saw clearly their
chiefs dependent upon them for their very existence, and so feudal-
ism received a divine blow from which it never recovered -never
will — never ought. Before the vassals could be allowed to fight it
was necessary to emancipate them, a circumstance that would never
have taken place perhaps for ages had not this war occurred.

"In those times," writes a literary friend, " gentlemen who
wavered in their opinions used to have the white rose emblazoned
over one entrance to their houses and the red rose on the other,
and to introduce the visitors which ever side they happened to
represent at the gateway accordingly." Other historians, however,
write to the effect that there was no neutrality permitted. Nobles
and gentlemen were obliged to take up arms on behalf of one side
or the other. Still, the subterfuge might be resorted to in some

The Civil Wars.

From "Tracts relating to Military Proceedings in Lancashire during the
Civil War, edited and illustrated by George Ormerod, D. C. L. , F. R. S. , F. S. A. , F. G. S. ,
printed for the Chetham Society, MDCCCXLIV.**' and from other sources, the following
particulars relative to the Royalists and Parliamentarians in Lancaster are taken :—

In 1636, King Charles I. sent his writs to many boroughs for Ship Money
in order to fit out the Royal Navy, and the County of Lancaster was to build and
equip one ship of 400 tons, and to man it with 160 men. The estimated expense was
about ;£i,ooo, and the proportion which Lancaster was to contribute was £30 ;
Liverpool being only required to pay ^25 and Preston ^25.


From the town of Lancaster a petition was presented expressing the "heart
breaking sense and sorrow,'' of the petitioners " f<>r the unhappy rents and distrac-
tions in his Majesty's dominions, especially in the time of the session of so grave and
godly an assembly most graciously convened by his Majesty ; they therefore supplicate
and beseech his Majesty to return to his great council, in whom this nation has con-
tided, that thereby his throne may be established in righteousness." To this the
king replied that he " had not gone but had been driven from his parliament ; and
his Majesty recommended as the best way to put an end to the rents and divisions
which subsisted, that they, the petitioners, should petition parliament to comply with
his Majesty's desires and gemrous offers, which was the only way safely and speedily
to cure the present distractions of the kingdom."

In the 1642. as we have already seen, the Marl of Derby distinguished himselt
in the cause of his Sovereign. The partisans ol the Parliament had occupied
most nf tin- towns in Lancashire with garrisons and erected fortifications for their
defence. Lord Derby, who had collected a body of troops at Lathom House, was
joined by Lord Molyneux with his regiment, and on the 13th March in the year above-
named, the\ marched to Lancaster to besiege it. The royal army after marching all
night appeared before the town early on the morning of the 18th when their com-
mander, the Earl of Derby, called upon the garrison to surrender. This was refused
by the commanding officer so the works thrown up by the parliamentary forces were
immediately attacked, but in the first instance the troops of the king were repulsed
and Lord Derby then bravely led the storming party to a second assault, armed with
a pike. " Follow me," he cried, and a number of gentlemen chivalrously obeyed
the injunction and entered the town followed by soldiers, and very ^0011 Lancaster
was captured with a loss of twenty men. The Earl of Derby then ordered the fortifi-
cations to be destroyed. On the night of the 20th March the victorious royalists
marched to Preston and next clay attacked the town which was carried by storm with
a los^ to the garrison of 600 killed and wounded besides a large number of prisoners.
The royal army likewise suffered severe losses.

On the south-west side of Lancaster, in a held adjoining the road from
Lancaster to Aldcliffe, is an artificial hill ol a circular form which bears some
resemblance to a tumulus or barrow, but which tradition attributes to Cromwell, for
this hill it was said was thrown up by him, and on tile brow of it he planted cannon
against the castle, which is about half a mile off. The circumference of the base is
about 150 yards, and the height nearly 5 yards. The name of the field is Hill
Meadow. It was land subsequently included in Penny's charity.

What mean these stones? The question has been asked respecting the
round boulder stones on the top of the towers of the gateway of the castle. Well,
they are the remains of the missiles taken up there for the purpose of hurling them at
the enemy in the year 1642.



The Royalists numbered 600 men, whereof 300 wen- musketeers. "The}
summoned the to wne " says an old writer, "being well fortified and manned with
600 musketeer-, under the command of Lieut. -Colonel Holcroft, Sergeant- Major
Sparrow and Serjeant-Major Ileywood; which being refused, after two hours hoi
service, they forced the mote and drave the rebels into the castle. Captain Shuttle-
worth (a member of the House of Commons). Captain \Y. Rigby, and many of the
townesmen were killed at the Castle gate, the Major and divers of the townesmen,
such as were most seditious being taken prisoners. On this occasion Mr. Blundell,
of Crosby, had his thigh shattered by a musket ball.'"

In 1643 Major Birch with a detachment of the parliamentary army under ihr
command of Sir |ohn Seaton, then lying at Preston, took Lancaster by a coup tie

Tin'. Sack of Lancaster, a.d. 1645.

In the Royalist Composition Papers is the following entry concerning' Lan-
caster : — June 7th, ordered by the House of Commons, that when this unnatural war
is ended, the Town of Lancaster shall receive ,£8,000 from the estates of Pa| lists and
delinquents of the County who were at the burning of the town, to lie equally divided
amongst the inhabitants, being no delinquents. Among those present at the burning
were : —

James, Earl of Derby.

Richard, Lord Molineux.

Sir John Cansfield.

Sir John Girlington.

Sir Ceo. Middleton.

Rich. Kirby.

Thos. Kitsson.

Thos. Carus.

John Bradshaw.

John Calvert.

Thos. Dalton.

Sir Gilbert Houghton.

Sir Thomas Tildesley.

John Westby.

Mr. Hesketh, of Mains.

Thos. Singleton.

Rich. Corral,

Rob. White.

Mr. Butler, of Kirkland.

Edw. Chisnall.

Mr. Standish, of Standish.

Mr. Anderton, of Euxton.

Wm. Houghton, of Parkhall.

Rich. Latham, of Parbold.

Two sons of Mr. Anderton, oi Clayton.

Sir Wm. Gerrard.

Mr. Blundell, of Crosby.

In a letter sent from "a gentleman resident in Yorke to his friend living in
Lumbard Street," and dated June, 1642, is this " lamentable and sad news from the
north, viz. Yorke, Lancaster, Darby and Newcastle.'''

"Sir, — According to my engagements when I was at London, I can do no

lesse than advertise )OU of our newest newes at Yorke The whole

county of Yorke is frustrate of that happiness and fruition which we might by the
providence of God, enjoy. But now to the terror and amazement .>t all true-hearted
protestants, other neighbouring counties are like (without the aboundant mercy of
God) to be sharers of this doleful tragedy now acting in the north, tor they have


already begun their desperate intentions in Lancaster, as may appeare by the Lord
Strange, his carriadge there, where, with a company of about seven hundred men,
hath by virtue of the Commission of Arms, disposed of some part of the magazine
there, and hath opposed the Deputy-Lieutenant, appointed by the Ordinance for the
militia, for putting the same in execution, and likewise it plainly appears by his
Majesty's letter to Sir John Girlington, the High Sheriffe of that county, to sum up
all protestant subjects with all speed at Preston, to heare his Majestie's two declara-
tions, and the Lancashire petition to the king and his Majestie's answer thereunto. Some
of the Committee for Lancaster desired the forbearance of them to be received, but
hee, in contempt of their order from the Parliament, departed with some of his friends
and cryed out, " All that are for the king, go with us, crying out, ' for the king ; for
the king,' and so about four hundred persons, whereof the most part of them were
popish Romanists, went with him, and ridde up and down the moore and cryed ' for
the king ; for the king,' but far more in number, stayed with the Committee, and
prayed for the uniting of the King and Parliament, with a general acclamation ; so
that 'tis thought, since the Committee's going there, it hath wonderfully wrought upon
the hearts of the people : but upon contempt of the Committee, Sir John (Arlington,
Sir George Middleton, and Sir Edward Filton, are sent for to the house as delin-
quents .... Your assured, loving friend,

Will. Jenkinson."

" From Preston there was sent Serjeant-Major Birch to Lancaster, to view
whether the tow ties were fortified strongly against him or no, who finding no great
opposition, with his owne company entered the towne, and after the towne joined
with him, and they went against the castle, wherein was Master Kirby, one of the
knights of the shire, and Sir John Girlington, with some other forces, who perceiving
that they were not able to resist, stole away out of the castle, and so Captain Birch
took possession of it.

The Earl of Darby marched out of Wigan with 600 foot and 400 horse,
and quartered on Tuesday night at Kirkham, where the countrie people, to the
number of 3,000, being wearied with the insolence and tyrannie of the rebells, canit
with great cheerfulnesse unto him : that upon that da}' he came within foure miles
of Lancaster, intending to take from the rebells those piece-, of ordnance which they
before had seized on from a Spantsh ship, and the next day was met by Sir John
Girlington and Colonel Tildesley with 600 men, whereof 300 were musketeers, and
so went to Lancaster.

A copie of a letter from a gentleman of great worth, in Lancashire.
to his friend in London, who the Stationer can name: - " I have not time to
write any large discourse, the news is not so good, but you may have enough
of it ; yet rather than let you be abused with falacies, I will give you the


Milium- n| .-ill briefly. After taking the ordnance from the Spanish ship, wc
carried them all safe t" the castle at Lancaster, within a few days after, the
Earl of Darby advanced towards us. all the papists rising wholly with him.
Our Major having notice of i( sen) to Boulton ami Manchester for relief for us. Mi.
Ashton took the charge, and advanced as far as Garston, and hearing that tin- eneim
fled upon his coming, he returned to Preston. Whereupon the Earl re-advanced
towards us, and after some two houres hard fight, with the great slaughter of our en
emie (for we could at several times sec two or three of their colours fall at once, and
bodyes lie on heaps), the)' dispersed themselves among the hedges and at the backe
of the houses, and set the towne on lire. This enforced our men to retire to the Castle ;
whereupon the enemie entered the towne ami killed men, women and children, with
all barbarous crueltie, dragging poor people from their houses and cutting their throats
with butchers' knives; they set hie round the towne and departed. We had no vituals
in the castle, and the welle there was presently drunk drie, but we issued out again
into the burned towne took diverse of the enemie there remaining prisoners, and out
of the store yet unhurried we victualled ourselves for a good time. Thus we lay two
or three homes, the enemy encompassing us on all sides, but (we were without anie
feare of danger) at last the Major (leneral and Master Ashton came to relieve us :
they drewe all the strength of Preston and adjacent parts with them. The Earle,
lying at EUwell, they drew to Cockerham, and passed by him to us. The Earle,
who was no way able to have fought with them, took this opportunity of the towne of
Preston's weaknesse. and fell back upon it, and took it that night. Master Hopwood
and Peter Shaw were those taken, and yet escaped again. I know not the loss that
they there received : I am sure it was overmuch. At my going past I left my ar-
moure, clothes, and a hundred muskets there; these are lost, I have nothing left.
Upon notice, the Earle was marched towards Preston ; Sergeant Major Spanow and
Master Ashton followed him ; he had the town before we came, and, as we are
certainelie informed, all this crueltie arises from the Earl of Darby, who hath taken
all the great papists into his counsell, who before were not admitted, who nave put
him upon this cruel massacre, and all rise with him as one man ; and if it be in their
power, will not leave a true protestant in these partes. [f God and good people do
not look upon us, which God grant they may, this countrie will be open for the
Queen to passe with her forces, who hath already sent i.too to Skipton toward
Blagbourne. Being in haste 1 cannot enlarge, but rest

Your faithful! friend. T. II.
Lancaster, the 25th March. 164;.

" The report of our taking in of Preston dew to Lancaster, ami prepared
the towne and castle for our entrance. Thither was sent a company of loot and a
troupe of horse to take possession. This new and enlarged possession was inriched,
honoured and secured by the gods of the sea. who had provided for our welcome and
warlike entertainment a Dunkirkc ship, a man-of-war, that came from S/xu'/ie-,


furnished with twenty-one pieces of big brasse and iron ordnance, lit to supply the
castle and fortitie other garrisons. Desire to see this foreigner, and care to secure
this captivitie, led some of note and worth into a tedious and removing captivitie,
yet could not the enemie be thus satined, for the misse of such a prize they labour to
destroy that by fire which God hath sent by water. But God that sent the pieces
saved them ; the most came whole and safe to the castle, before and after their
lodging was fired. But malice and envie followed them.

The Earle. attended with great strength, beset Lancaster, and sends this
summons : —

"' To //;<■ Major and Burgesses of the towne of Lancaster.

Gentlemen, - I am come into these parts by his Majestie's special! com-
mand, to free you from the bondage of those declared traitors that now oppress you
and endeavour your destruction, by bringing you into their own condition. I will not
now mention your former neglect of the king's service, nor, [ hope, I need not let I
von what forces I have or might have on occasion, nor how joyfully all the couhtrey
in my march havejoyned themselves unto me. If you will submit the towne and
your amies unto mo, and likewise endeavour with me to re-obtaine the castle, you shall
have all fair usage from me : if not expect from me what the law of the lande and of
wane will inflict upon you. Thus, expecting your answer by ten of the clock this
day, 1 rest,

March the l8th, eight o'clock.

Your friend, DERBY."

This summons came first to the hands of our commanders of the castle, who
gave [lie towne leave to returne llii> answer : —

"Right Honourable. -We received yours of this instant, and do returne
this answer : that all our arms are under the command of officers now within our
towne, for the King and Parliament, so that we have not the disposal of them ; and.
at their coming they took and fortified the castle, which was never in our command :
and by reason thereof have our towne likewise at their pleasure; so that both the
towne and castle are now at their disposal, and will be (by <lod's blessing) kept for
his Majestic. And thus we humbly take our leave, and rest

Your honours, in all due respects.

"This answer pleaseth not : they must expect the punishments of war, which
they found. They fiercely assault for an hour in vaine : they turne their rage upon
houses, and by commission on the sudden become ready firemen all of them. They
fire houses and barnes without the sentinell, in which they sacrificed their dead
bodies. Thus they heated and smoked our valiant soldiers from their sentinell ; and
when they were entered the towne. Papish like, thev continue to burne and butchei


denying quarter to our men, but rather cursedly quartering them; from which cruelty
(raging mad) the most "I our forces retired into the castle.'" The account of this
cowardly conquest is thus given in from Lancaster : the dwelling-houses that were
burned were in number four score and ten, containing three hundred haves of
building. The barnes, stables, cow houses, replenished with come, hay, and cattell,
that were burned were eighty-six, containing two hundred and forty bayes of build-
ings, and one maltkiln of foure bayes of building, with three hundred windles <>1
malt therein. By all which it evidently appears that they displayed the banner of
the scarlet coloured beast.

A miracle of mercy was wrought in the midst of this undoing and heart-
breaking misery. They purposely and industriously gave fire to two houses of
persons well affected to King and Parliament, but they would not take tire: no, by
no means, though they renewed their endeavours severall times in several! places.
though the next houses were burnt downe to the grounde. God restrained the
remnant of their rage ; he remembered his promise, Esay xliij 2. " - the flame shall
not kindle upon thee." Faith quenched ihe violence <>f the fire; this shield quenched
the fierce darts of the devil/.

March iqth, 2,000 of our forces marched out for the timely relief of
Lancaster, but how they were divided and diverted, walked and breathed to and fro,
whilst the F.arle fires Lancaster, recovered Preston, and rifled Blackbitrne, I have
noe mind to inquire, but do sadly remember, and cannot forget how these tydings
affrighted our commanders out of Lancaster Castle, and exposed the castle, so well
appointed, to the will of the enemy, had not the mighty God by the assistance of a
minister, doubled the spirit of the heartie (though headlesse soldiers), to maintaine
with utmost hazard so great a trust. Thus God set our sunne backe many degrees,
but not in manifest favour as to Hesekiah ; yet he brought us to himself in fasting
and prayer, the seven and twentyeth day of March, thai we repenting he might

This very night came a messenger from Lancaster Castle reporting the
safety of the castle, the heartinesse of the soldiers, and their comfortable provision.
Lancashire's Valley of Achor.

Lancaster Voyage.

Our desire to secure our garrison - , to relieve Warrington, which we had
occasionally oppressed, and to improve those new talents lent to us by^God, sent us
by sea, made us think upon a voyage to Lancaster, the fairnesse of the weather and

Online LibraryCross FleuryTime-honoured Lancaster ... Historic notes on the ancient borough of Lancaster → online text (page 13 of 55)