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

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the audit.

19. bailiff's to stallenge artificers, merchants and victuallers only one penny
on the Saturday.

20. Mayor and bailiffs to cause these constitutions to be read once every
quarter in the presence of the freemen.

21. No person that hath been imprisoned in the gaol for any felony or
suspicion of felony to remain in the town above three days after his discharge.

22. Mayor's sergeant to have no more wages at the town's cost, but only
by the year — to be paid quarterly - 6s. 8d.

23. The mayor, bailiff, and brethren to have gowns.

24. The bailiffs' sergeant and bellman shall give attendance upon the
mayor every Saturday and principal feast days, and when strangers lie in the town.

27. The sergeants and bellman to be attorneys in all foreign pleas.

28. Grass brought into the town for sale to be forfeited. The mayoi
always to appoint a convenient place for grass to be sold in.

29. Bellman not to carry away any hedging from the finder parrock, noi
take away the three yeats belonging to the town.

30. Sergeants of the commons or bellman to obey their masters or forfeit
6d. for every default.

31. Also that one cobbler shall lie chosen every year, within three hours
after the election of the officers to the [corroysors] to amend old shoes within this


town, and if any member so chosen by the [corroysors] and afterwards al any time do
refuse to serve in that office, he shall forfeit for every default 6d.

32. Also that one swyne herd shall be yearly appointed to keep all the
swyne vesyan within this town, as well in winter as in summer, upon the moor called
JVhernmoore, above the moor yeat. and the said swyne herd to have wages and fees
as followeth, viz., the mayor to pay Xod., every one of the twelve head burgesses and
the bailiff 4d., every freeman having swine 4<1. yearly, every stallenger having swine
to pav according as they are assessed by four men appointed yearly.

}}. Mayor, bailiff sergeant, or under bailiff to be a freeman, and to lie

34. Abo that none shall be made burgesses within the said town except he
have dwelled here the space of one whole year at leas!, within which lime his neigh-
bours may know his conversation, manner, ami behaviour, and that none shall receive
the liberty to have . . . nor be sworn to be burgesses but at a head court. Ever)
freeman's son to pay XXs., every apprentice to XXVJs. VIII., and every stranger
and foreign burgess to pay not less than ... to be admitted to the freedom,
and that none be admitted without a whole consent.

35. Freemen refusing to pay scot and lot to lose their freedom.

41. [f any person give his goods to another man, for fraud or deceit, he
shall lose his liberties.

42. If any freeman make any complaint called wrangling he shall lose his

49. Also, that if any person do rayle, chide, or flyte, and thereof be convicted
they shall be amerced, the first time in Xljd., the second time in IJs., the third time
to be set upon the pillorie or cooke stoole, or else shall make fvne and redemption at
the will of Mr. Mayor and XIJ. head burgesses.

50. Also, that if any person do make a brawl or hubbleshaw, he shall
make no less fyne than js. 4d., whether it be upon officer or other.

58. No inhabitor to take house or land within the liberty of the town,
except they have the good-will of the tenant.

59. That every freeman that shall occupy any of the town's lands or Deep
Cans, shall have and occupy the same lands dining their lives, and after their several
deceases, if any of their children be made freemen, then they to have the same if they
will pay so much for the same as shall be assessed by six burgesses and six freemen.
or else they that will give the most for it to have it.

04. Also, that no stallenger shall mowe or sheare any brackens or bushes
upon the common pasture till the freeman be supplied under pain of 3s 4d.

65. Also that no stranger shall be suffered to come into the town to dwell
till they be allowed by Mr. Mayor, brethren, and XIJ. of the commons to what science
or craft they will take to.

66. Every inhabitant to keep watch and ward, and to find themselves
barneys acci irdingly.



67. No foreigner to bake or brew to sell . . . without a license.

68. No stallenger shall buy any victuals or wares coming- <>r come to the
towne to be sold before the market bell be rung, until the burgesses of the same
towne have bought what they will.

70. All the inhabitants to pay scot and lot.

71. None shall be punished or imprisoned in the Tolboolh but only free-
men, and all drunkards and disorderly persons to be imprisoned in the stock -house.

74. No inn-holder shall refuse to lodge any stranger that seemeth to be
honest and able to pay.

75. Also, thai no bridal dinner shall be made within this towne of
Lancaster above the price of 41k the piece, under pain of forfeit under every default.

76. Also, that none shall make any new ales or rintoracks within the
towne, either bidd to any within the towne or cause to be bidd to any in fare or
house-tything 6s. 8d. , and if any officers do license them 6s. 8d.

77. Also, if any having ale to sell, refuse to sell forth to anybody a penny-
worth or a half-pennyworth, or what as they need. . . . shall forfeit 6d.

78. No alehouse to be kept open on the Sabbath day in the time of divine

service. -

85. No butcher shall sell any quarter of any beast mingled with any
quarter of any other beast.

87. No butcher to sell any flesh against the Assizes or fairs, until the flesh-
lookers have had a sight of the flesh and skin.

88. Vagabonds or idle young persons to be carted or scourged forth of the


89. If any man be found, by request, a common vagabond, or a common
eaves-dropper, standing under any man's eaves, walls, or windows. . . . fined

3s. 4d.

90. All the detected to be carted about the towne and then expulsed forth

of the towne.

92. Also, that all unlawful games be laid away, and young men com-
manded to buy bows and arrows.

97. Every man to repair his own hedge.

113. None to keep sacks of corn, meal, malt, or salt, from Saturday to


117. No shoemaker to >ell shoes unless they be sufficiently tann'd and


118. None shall drive horses or beasts loose through the fields.

122. None shall leave meat-arks or forms in the street from Saturday to

124. None shall winnow any; corn upon the pavement or in the streets.

130. No butcher shall cart bowells, blood, or such like corruption into the


132. No man to cart manure or turn water near his neighbour's wall or
upon his neighbour's house or garden.

136. That none brew, wash clothes, or any vile thing, either beasts,
inmates, or do any other unwholesome or filthy thing in or about the stone we//, the
ware, or any other common well about this towne.

137. No person to get clay before the Castle gates.

139. That sheep shall be kept forth of the fields from the feast of Si.
Andrew yearly until the corn be inned

140. That geese shall be kept forth of the fields from Easter Day, yearly
until the corn be gotten in.

141. That calves be kept forth of the field from Hallow Thursday to corn

142. Thai swine be kept yearly of the fields from the beginning of seed
lime until corn be .... upon pain of forfeit, for every default 4d.

We at once perceive that in many instances our ancestors
were not without a large amount of common sense, which in the
public interest is the best sense of all, and ever a great desideratum
where youth or inexperience is put into power. The bye-laws of
the Corporation, introduced in the 7th year of Queen Ann, together
with those of the 59th of George III., and 4th George IV., 1823,
are simply extensions and reforms with modifications of amerce-
ments or lines.

The Market Hall and Public Baths,

Across and along a covered passage is the spacious market
house. From all sides o( the town proper, this house is easily
approached. It was erected in 1846, and enlarged in 1880 by the
addition of what is called the "back market." In 1890 a balcony
with a row of shops beneath was erected. The hall is said to be
one of the best in the north of England.

The Baths and Wash-houses and the Williamson Park
must now claim a few words. The first of these places was
presented to the town by the late Samuel Gregson, Esq., formerly
member for Lancaster. The swimming bath in the same is 60
feet by 32 feet, and numerous first and second class private baths


are neatly fitted up. A ramble round by Ladies' Walk, and we are
at the lower end of St. Leonardgate, wherein stands the Centenary
Chapel ^School, and as we proceed towards the centre of the
town a large building, namely the Athenaeum, erected in 178 1-2.

Williamson Park

'For real beauty of situation and elegance of arrangement
is the finest in the north of England. Eight years ago the site of
this park was a bleak, gorsey moor. Many years ago it was seen
by the Lancaster people that in this moor lay the material for a
beautiful recreation ground and public arboretum ; and as far back
as the time of the great cotton famine the ground was partly laid
out with the object named in view when the town was anxious to
find a means of subsistence for the unemployed. At length it was
resolved to make a sort of fashionable drive, and some walks upon
the broad moor, and so the work was commenced and the drive
was named Shakespeare Road, and ramifying from it were good
gravelled walks and a plateau upon the most exalted portion known
yet as the " Top of Hard Times." " Thus the moor remained rough
and dangerous in some parts, but pleasant in others," to quote
Johnson, for nearly twenty years, when the late Mr. Alderman
AVilliamson, the largest employer of labour in the town, who, about
the year 1844, commenced the manufacture of table baize and
American leather cloth, and in less than thirty years amassed a
princely fortune, conceived the idea of converting the whole piece
of land into a park at his own expense, and providing for its
maintenance, so that it might never cost the town a single penny.
Accordingly ;£ 10,000 was fixed upon as the sum necessary to carry
out the scheme in addition to ;£ 1,000 for quarry rights. The
worthy Alderman died shortly after making this intention known,
and the realisation of the plan devolved upon his two sons. The
original sum was found insufficient, so the sons set aside another
^5, 000 out of the estate for the purpose. ^13,530 10s 4c!. had
been spent on this noble scheme, leaving a balance of ^1,769 9s. 8d.

* Newly fronted in 188S.


for maintenance fund. Seeing that this was quite inadequate, Mr.
James Williamson, the present member for the Lancaster Division,
came forward and contributed on his own account ,£,8,230 10s. 4d.,
so as to make the maintenance fund _£, 10,000. The offer was
accepted, and the Corporation, in the name of the public of
Lancaster, passed a hearty vote of thanks to the generous donor.
The scenery which the eminences of the park command of land and
sea is such as cannot well be surpassed anywhere. The <hills of
Westmorland and Cumberland form a delightful boundary to the
view as obtained from the summit long' ago christened " The
Sixpence." The vessels in Barrow and Fleetwood are discernible
to the left ; and when the day is bright and clear Grange and
Ulverston are very plainly seen across the broad bay of Morecambe.
The park has every possible convenience, even to smoke-shelter
and drinking fountains ; and between some of the natural rocks,
which form an oval, the visitor finds a grand surprise in the flowery
season after descending the rock-hewn rustic steps, since what may
be termed a miniature Eden breaks suddenly upon his sight. There
are two entrances, and at each a lodge built of ashlar stone, hand-
some and commodious. On the gates are the Williamson arms
and the arms of the Borough of Lancaster. Nature has not been
trespassed upon or disfigured by what is often mistakenly enough
called art ; the latter has only been allowed to make rough places
smooth and more capable of affording enjoyment. The shrubs are
very extensive, and altogether the park covers about forty acres.
The old hills and mounds have been smoothed, and faced with
green sods at their bases, while the shrubs above help to retain the
weird appearance that reminds one of the past, and makes the
contrast more enjoyable. Nor must the rustic bridge and charming
lake be forgotten, the latter forming a good skating rink in the
winter, and more likely to please the visitor because of the enormous
cliffs which tower above it on the south-western side. There is a
waterfall artifically constructed to fall over a cliff eighty feet high
into a smaller and separate lake below. Mr. Williamson, M.P.,
has been a veritable benefactor to his native town. Acknowledging
the Providence that has enriched him and his family, he has deter-


mined that in all his philanthropic deeds the rule should be "the
greatest benefits for the greatest number."

Gas Works.

It may here be remarked that up to 1819 the Lancaster
Corporation lit up the thoroughfares of the town with lamps, but
in that year at a meeting it was resolved that each street should
light its own lamps. In 1820 the resolution was acted upon, and
in 182 1, but in this latter year many of the inhabitants refused to
subscribe. On September 28th, 1825, a meeting was held in the
Town Hall, the Mayor, Leonard Redmayne, Esq., being chairman,
when it was resolved to form a company to supply the town with
gas. The capital, ,£,2,000, was proposed to be raised in 400 shares
of ^20 each. In a very short time the shares were taken up. It
was on February 24th, 1827, that the streets of Lancaster were
first illuminated by gas. Mr. C. Armitage, A.M.I.C.E., is the
present engineer at the gas yard, and he has introduced every latest
improvement in the science of gas making. When the Gas Works
were purchased by the Corporation in 1879, the manufacture of gas
was 53 million cubic feet ; and the price at that time was 4s. 6d.
per 1,000, an allowance being made of i2'j per cent, to consumers
when the consumption reached 150,000 cubic feet per annum, and
8 per cent, rebate was allowed to consumers who consumed under
that quantity. The company had ^30,000 of 10 per cent, stock-
fully paid up, and ,£7,000 of loan capital. The Lancaster Corpora-
tion paid ^80,000 for the ^30,000 ten per cent, fully paid up shares,
and took over one mortgage of .£7,000, so that altogether they
paid £87,000. The amount of capital expended on capital account
at the commencement of 1891 was ^101,124; the increase being
due principally to a new gas-holder and tank erected in the year
1881. Since 1883 nothing whatever has been added to capital
account. The quantity of coal and cannel carbonised in 1890
represents 12,000 tons, and the quantitv of gas made has reached
120 million cubic feet. The price of gas in the borough of Lancaster
is now 2s. 3d. per 1,000 cubic feet net. No meter rents are charged,


these having been abolished in 1889. The meter rents were equal
to about i^d. per 1,000 cubic feet on average. The price of gas
is, therefore, only one half of what it was when the Gas Company
had the works.

The Gas Department has kindly forwarded the names
of the past managers of the Gas Works since their origin in 1827.
They are as follow : — Thomas Dewhurst, William Malley, T. R.
Mellor, William Fleming, and Charles Armitage, A.M.I.C.E.




Lancashire Witches — Trials ok some of them — Debtors in Lancaster
Castle — How they Fared and Passed their Time— Presentations
made by Debtors in 1837 — The Amicable Library — Assembly Room
-The Storey Art Institute— The Theatre — Persons ok Eminence
who have appeared therein — Lancaster Banks.

ANCASHIRE has been famous for its so-
called witches, and the county town was, in
August, 161 2, the scene of a remarkable
trial, in which the following- persons played
the part — the unwilling part — of prisoners:-
Elizabeth Southerne, alias old Demdike, aged
over 80 ; Elizabeth DeYice, young Demdike
(Southerne's daughter), James Device, Alizon
Device (son and daughter of Elizabeth),
Annie Whittle, alias Chattox, a widow of 80
years of age ; Annie Redfern, her daughter;
Alice Nutter, Katherine Hewytt, alias " Mouldheels ;" James
Bulcock, of the Moss End ; John (her son), Isabel Robey, and
Margaret Pearson, of Padiham. Eight other persons from Samles-
bury, namely, Jennet Bierley, Ellen Bierley, Jane South worth, John
Ramsden, Elizabeth Astley, Alice Gray, Isabel Sidgreaves, and
Lawrence Hayes. The four last were discharged. The judge who
tried the offenders was Sir Edward Bromley. Mother Demdike
professed to have met the devil, who called himself "Tib." She
admitted that she had promised to give herself to him in considera-
tion of his securing to her all that she desired. This same old
creature is said to have "made her daughter sell herself to the
devil." Old Anne Whittle was first put upon her trial, alias Ann
Chattox, or Chatterbox, as she was literally, for we are informed
that as she walked to the dock she was constantly seen to be
moving her lips. She confessed that she had "placed a bad wish


upon one Robert Nutter, who had insulted her daughter, and who
died ;" that .she had also " bewitched a man's drink " (the drink of
one John Morris) ; and that she had " made a quantity of butter
from a dish of skimmed milk." Eight others were acquitted, but
one, Margaret Pearson, was sentenced " to stand in the pillory
with a paper on her head declaring her offence, at Clitheroe,
Padiham, Whalley, and Lancaster, and to be imprisoned for one
year.'* Although there can be little doubt that these so-called
" witches " were " a bad lot," yet, allowing for the darkness of the
times — the light of civilisation and education scarcely being above
a mere streak — we are inclined to consider that the judge who
sentenced these erring creatures, many of them to execution, must
have been as ignorant of the gospel of mercy as the delinquents in
front of him. Fancy a judge telling the prisoners that it was
"impossible that they should expect either to prosper or continue
in this world or receive reward in the next," and at the same time
urging them "to repentance for their 'devilish and hellish'
practices." The Pendle Forest must have been a most infatuated
and infatuating neighbourhood, for in 1612 the gallows was prettv
freely used, ten being executed at once. It appears that " witch-
craft " was bad to extinguish, notwithstanding the cruel punish-
ments ; for there was held at Malkin Tower a great convocation of
seventeen witches on the succeeding Good Friday, when it was
decided to kill Mr. Covell, the governor o\ the Castle, and to
bewitch and murder a Mr. Lester, a gentleman residing at Westby-
with-Craven, Yorkshire. Then, again, a Mr. Roger Nowell, J. P.,
who had, it was stated, out oi spite committed the witches to
Lancaster Assizes also came under the anathemas of the senseless
sorceresses, and it was decided to relieve him of his breath for the
part he had taken. A ' Witches ' Sabbath was held, when the
devil, or whoever and whatever he may be, was evoked and revenge
indulged in.

In 1633, another set of witches from Pendle Forest were
tried and condemned at Lancaster, but imprisoned and afterwards
cleared from aspersion by Edward Robinson, a boy who was sub-
orned to give evidence against them.


"Gone to Lancaster" and "Hansbrow's Hotel" were popular
saying's in the good old days when Lancaster Castle was a debtors'
prison. Letters were often addressed to " Hansbrow's Hotel,"
the governor of the Castle then being a gentleman of that name. In
1837, there were between 300 and 400 debtors in this " Hotel, ' :
wherein beer, wine, tobacco, but no spirits, were allowed, and
where those who could afford might have any kind of food or clothing
they wished and any quantity, with the right of receiving friends
from 8 a.m. up to 8 p.m. In this strange hostelrv there were
apartments to be had, whose comforts and privileges were regulated
in accordance with the debtor's purse or the liberality of his friends.
These apartments were humorously styled "The Tap," "The Snug, "
"The Pigeons," " The Chancery," " The Constables," " The Pin
Box," "The Smugglers," " The Albion," " The Belle Vue," " The
Song Room," and " The Quakers." It must be stated that arrests
were often " friendly " arrangements to enable an insolvent to rid
himself of his liabilities. The bailiff and his supposed victim would
travel amicablv to Lancaster, and at the station be met bv some
tout of a "scheduling lawyer," as he was termed, between whom
and the bailiff there was a decent understanding, and a carousal at
the nearest hotel or inn if the debtor's purse permitted, as a last
"spree." In the Castle many games were allowed, and various
political "larks'" indulged in, including stump orations and sham
elections, in which, strange to state, the Tories were mostly
victorious by 160 of a majority. Between 1752 and 1794 there was
even a bowling green at the service of the " wealthier debtors."
But the poor, hard up insolvent, however much he had been the
creature or circumstances, did not find Lancaster Castle a bed of
roses. If he could not pay for the various creature blessings like
his luckier neighbour he must suffer, and his dailv quantum of
refreshment was not very likely to make the surroundings less
monotonous. Two ounces of bread daily, 4^4oz. of oatmeal daily,
and 4}4oz. of salt weekly, with lolbs. of potatoes weekly, formed
hut a miserable fare, while others with willing" friends could be
provided for and enjoy comfortable rooms, tire and lighting, and
even musical entertainment in the shape of a brass band. The


"advantages" of the imprisonment depended upon the pay, which
ranged from five shillings to one pound fifteen shillings weekly.

On the 8th of February, 1837, Richard Bulfield, Esq., was
presented with a handsome silver snuff box by the debtors in
Lancaster Castle, as a "testimony of respect for his integritv and

On the nth of March, 1837, an interesting presentation was
made to the Rev. William Preston Blair, of Manchester, by some
of the debtors confined in the Casile. It appears that Mr.
Blair was sent to Lancaster Castle "in consequence of having, in
order to save a relation, lent him a considerable sum of money, and
also unfortunately accepted bills for him which were returned upon
the acceptor." During his incarceration Mr. Blair was indefatigable
in working for the well being of the souls around him, he was found
by the pallet of the sick and dying, was ever ready to perform divine
service, and to deliver week-night lectures, and thus rendered his
incarceration a g'od-send to those with whom he was placed. Mr.
Nicholls, a Manchester attorney, being deputed to make the
presentation to Mr. Blair, made it in a manner which for neatness of
phraseology cannot be surpassed. The gift consisted of an elegant

In literary and philosophical matters there is a society in
Lancaster dating from 181 5, and its papers are often of a moderately
good order. The Amicable Library, formed in 1768, still flourishes,
and Mr.W. O. Roper, the Deputy Town Clerk, and author of
"Churches, Castles, and Ancient Halls of North Lancashire," is
the secretary. This Library was originally located at a house and
shop in Church Street. There is, I hear, no record of the older
librarians ; but in 1824 I learn that at a general meeting held on
the 15th December, at the Town Hall, it was decided by the com-
mittee to secure more convenient premises. The Rev. W. Lamport
was chairman. It appears that the committee obtained the
building now used as the post office, and the first librarian, so Sir


Richard Owen states, was his aunt, Miss Parren. After her came
Mrs. Cawson, a widow lady, who was followed by her sister-in-
law, Miss Jane Cawson ; then we find Miss Jackson, daughter of
Captain Jackson ; Miss Sarah Jackson, her niece, succeeding, and
after this lady Mr. J. Dowbiggin, who has held the post since 1885.
In the early part of 1891 he was appointed curator of the Storey

Online LibraryCross FleuryTime-honoured Lancaster ... Historic notes on the ancient borough of Lancaster → online text (page 20 of 55)