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Preston obtained the privilege of a Borough in the twenty-sixthi+ of Henry the Second. The inhabitants gave 100 marks to enjoy the same privileges as those of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. King John, in his second year, had sixty marks, and four chaseurs, or dogs, for ratifying their liberties; but they were fined ten marks and a palfrey in the next year, for their peace, on a plaint made against them by Theobald Walter, concerning the gaol and gallows. Henry the Third, and Edward the Third, both confirmed these grants
Though this borough sent members to parliament four times in the reign of Edward the First, and in the first year of Edward the Second, it had afterwards no summons to that purpose, until the reign of Edward the Sixth : but it has frequently been the seat of violent contests, though, on all occasions of parliamentary investigation, the decisive right of voting has been always determined for the inhabitants at large. The Earl of Derby, who has an handsome house here, returns one member'; but the opposite interest commonly carries the other. The returns are made by the mayor and two bailiffs; and the corporation, besides the mayor, has a recorder, aldermen, common-council men, and a townclerk.
In the sixteenth of Edward the Second, in the octaves of the nativity of St. John Baptist, Robert Bruce made an irruption into England by way of Carlisle, passing through Cumberland, Westmoreland, and Lancashire, as far as Preston, part of which he burnt, as he had demolished other towns in the several counties he had traversed. In about three weeks and three days, says Holished, he returned into Scotland, without coming to any engagement with the English.
Preston has the advantage of being the seat of various lawcourts; amongst these, the duchy of Lancaster has a court of chancery, in which all causes are heard and determined according to certain peculiar customs of their own. Under the chancellor of
the Sec Madox's History of the Exchequer, second edition, 1769, Vol. I. p.
498; and Brady on English Boroughs, 8vo. 1777. p. 98.
the duchy, who is the chief judge, is a vice-chancellor, with the attorney-general, chief-clerk, registrar, and examiner, attornies and clerks, prothonotary, and clerks of the crown, &e. From the county court also, which sits every Tuesday, writs for debts above 40s. are issued, and executions follow on failure of appearance: But writs holding to bail are issued from the prothonotary's office, and directed to the sheriff, who grants a warrant for apprehension. Other courts are also held here; and a court of quarter sessions of the peace, by adjournment from Lancaster, on Thursday in the week after Epiphany.
The Parish Church is a large building, and was impropriated to the college of Leicester, but is now in the patronage of the Hoghton family. The parish is large, and has three chapels of ease; Broughton, St. Lawrence, and the New Chapel. But the last had no certain endowment until the Rev. Samuel Peploe, then vicar of Preston, procured the queen's bounty for it in 1717; and on his promotion to the see of Chester, in 1725, his son succeeded him as vicar here, who was presented, in 1727, by the dean and chapter of Chester, to the 'rectory of Northenden, in that diocess, worth about 150l. per annum.
In the time of the civil contest between king Charles the First, and the parliament of England, the duke of Hamilton, who had brought an army from Scotland for his service, was routed on Ribbleton moor, to the eastward of the town, and at the pass of the bridge. This was in 1648 ; the army under Cromwell and Lambert being very inferior in numbers, but much superior in discipline. In the year 17.15 also, the friends of the pretender were defeated here by the forces of George the First, under the eommand of Generals Willes and Carpenter. Having been joined by many disaffected people, especially papists, great numbers of them were made prisoners, brought to trial, and found guilty of bigh treason. Amongst those who suffered may be noticed the names of Richard Chorley, of Chorley, Esq. Mr. Shuttleworth of Preston, Mr. Roger Muucaster, an attorney of Garstang, Mr. John Ord of Lancaster, and other neighbouring gentlemen, with seven or eight others of Preston, tive of Wigan, and five of Man
chester, four of Garstang, four of Lancaster, and four of Liverpool. One of these was Thomas Syddal, a blacksmith, and captain of the mob, whose head was set up on the cross at Manchester; and another, whose name was Collingwood, had an estate of 2000l. per annum. It is remarkable that in the year 1743, when another rebellion broke out in favour of the Pretender, the son of the said Thomas Syddal, who was a barber, was made a prisoner, and executed, and his head placed on the top of the exchange at Manchester, September 18th, 1746*.
We must not pass over the charter granted to the burgesses of Preston, in 1179, by Henry the Second, without noticing the guild-merchant within the borough, then established, which has been confirmed by many succeeding kings and queens. It is a sort of public carnival, or jubilee, and is held every twenty years, as appears by the records of the corporation. The last confirmation was by Charles the Second, in 1684; since which time it has been regularly held, in the first of Anne, ninth of George the First, sixteenth of George the Second, and second, twenty-second, and again
* It is well known at Long-Preston, near Settle, in Yorkshire, that in the year 1745, a buxom, handsome young woman ef that place, anxious to see the Pretender and his army, went to Preston, in Lancashire, for that parpose, a distance of about thirty-eight miles; and after gratifying her cuuio. sity, and staying some time in, or near the rebel camp, returned to her native village. This became so much the subject of general conversation, that it was the occasion of producing a ballad, which obtained as much notoriety in Ribblesdale, as the famous historical ballad of Chevy Chace. The gentleman who has furnished this anecdote says, that he has frequently heard her sing the very song, of which she herself was the subject, twenty-five years after the occurrence; and she had then, though advanced in life, the remains of a handsome face, and fine person, which had doubtless been impaired by time, and by a strong propensity to indulge in spirituous liquors. The strains of
“ Long-Preston Peggy to proud Preston went,
were seldom carolled from her lips till she had been treated with half a dozer, or more, glasses of spirits
in the forty-second year of his present Majesty; the only monarchi, except Queen Elizabeth, who has reigned during the time of three guilds *. It begins about the latter end of August ; and by the charter, which obliges the corporation to celebrate it at the end of
every twenty years, on pain of forfeiting their elective franchises, and their rights as burgessés, twenty-eight days of grace are allowed to all who are disposed to renew their freedom. By public proclamation, it is declared, that on failure of doing so, they are ever after to be debarred of the same on any future occasion. The last guild commenced on the 30th of August, 1802, when an immense concourse of people of all ranks was assembled ; and processions of the gentlemen at the head of the different classes of manufacturers, with symbolical representations of their respective branches of trade and commerce; and bands of music
By the following list, in which the mayors, and respective festivals, are enumerated, there appears to have been formerly some irregularity in the periods; but since the restoration of Charles the Second, they have been exact.
Aubert, son of Robert,
Second of Edward the Third,
1328. Twentieth of Richard the Second, 1396. Fifth of Henry the Fifth,
1582. Fourty-fourth of Elizabeth,
1602. Twentieth of James the First, 1622. Eleventh of Charles the First,
1635. Fourteenth of Charles the Second, 1662. Thirty-fourth of Charles the Second, 1682. First of Anue,
1702. Ninth of George the First,
1722. Sixteenth of George the Second, 1742. Second of George the Third,
1762. Twenty-second of George the Third, 1782. Forty-second of George the Third, 1802
passed through the principal streets of the town. The mayor and corporation, with the wardens of the different companies at the head of their respective incorporated bodies, each in their official dresses, and with their usual insignia, fell into the ranks in due order; and the whole was preceded by an excellent band of music belonging to the 17th regiment of light dragoons, in full dress, and their officers newly cloathed. Besides the wool-combers, spinners, weavers, cordwainers, carpenters, vintners, taylors, smiths, plum=" bers, painters, glaziers, watchmaker's, mercers, and drapers companies, the whole was closed by the butchers, skinners, tanners, and glovers, habited in characteristic dresses; each company being attended by a band of music, and a very elegant ensign. In this order they proceeded to church, and after service returned and paraded through the different streets in tlie sanie order. The mayor afterwards entertained the gentlemen at his house; and ou the next day the mayoress repeated the treat to the ladies of the town, and its vicinity, who formed a procession on this day, in a similar manner, (preceded by the girls of the cotton manufactory,) superbly dressed, and profusely decorated with jewels. Nearly 400 of them, each wearing an elegant fashionable plume of feathers, formed such a brilliant display of beauty and elegance, as irresistibly to attract universal attention and aılmiration. The procession was conducted to and from the church, in like inanner as on the preceding day; in the course of which, a niiniature model of a complete steam-engine was introduced at work, and performing every operation of the cotton manufactory. The whole was extremely showy and brilliant. Balls, races, and plays, were not forgotten during this interesting festival.
The "guilda mercatoria," or merchants guild, is a privilege to merchants, enabling them to hold certain pleas of land, &c. within their own precinct, and is confirmed by acts of parliament, in the thirty-seventh of Edward the Third, and fifteenth of Richard the Second. It is of Saxon origin, by wbish certain communities stipulate with each other, to punish crimes, make good losses, and acts of restitution in proportion to offences. Fraternities and guilds, therefore, are of ancient use, long before formal licensed