Изображения страниц

touching justice, as absolutely as the Prince himself in other counties, only acknowledging him their superior and Sovereign. But by the twenty-seventh of Henry the Eighth this power is much abridged." The Duchy was declared forfeited to the Crown in the first year of the reign of Edward the Fourth, by the attainture of Henry the Sixth for high treason; and at the same time an Act of Parliament was passed* to incorporate the Duchy of Lancaster with the County Palatine; and also to vest the whole in the King and bis heirs, Kings of England, for ever, under a distinct governance from the other possessions of the Crown. This Act was confirmed by Henry the Seventh, with a power of resuming such parts of the Duchy land as had been dismembered by Edward the Fourth.t

The * This is a private Act, and was never printed, but is preserved in the

Archives of the Duchy Chamber. Nalson's MSS. p. 208. # List of Records, Letters Patent, &c. relating to the Duchy of Lancaster.

1. An Exemplification made in the first of. Edward the Fourth, of the grants made by Edward the Third unto John of Gaunt, for creating him Duke of Lancaster, making the same a County Palatine, as free as West Chester; with other liberties, granted in the fifty-first of Edward the Third, for term of life only. This exemplification contains a grant made to John of Gaunt, and Blanche, his wife, and to the heirs male of their bodies, of the said Dukedom and County Palatine.

2. Charta de Inspeximus of King Richard the Second, with recital of four several charters of King Edward the Third, made to John of Gaunt, of Liberties and Lands annexed to the Duchy of Lancaster, and Lands exchanged. Dated first of Richard the Second.

3. A Charter of Edward the Fourth, in the first year of his reign, for confirming the separation of the Duchy of Lancaster from the Crown, by authority of Parliament, with an Inspeximus of the Charter of Henry the Fourth.

4. A Charter of the first of Henry the Seventh, wherein is this proviso, “ Proviso semper quod omnes et singuli tenentes, inhabitantes et residentes, imposterum solvent Theolonium, Pariagium, Passagium, Pi. cagium, Stallagium, Lastagium, Tallagium, Tollagium, Cariagium, Pesagium, et Terragium in omnibus et singulis Foriis, Mercatis, Villis et


[ocr errors]

The Court belonging to this Duchy has the power of deciding every cause relating to it; and the officers are, a Chancellor, Attorney-General, King's Serjeant, King's Counsel, Receiver: General, Clerk of the Council and Register, Surveyor of Lands, &c. a Messenger, an Attorney in the Exchequer, an Attorney of the Duchy in the Chancery, four Counsellors, &c. The offices of the Duchy Court are at Somerset Place, London.


[ocr errors]

The Soil and SURFACE of the county are various; and its features in some parts, particularly towards the north, and all along its eastern border, are strongly marked. Here the hills are in general bold and lofty, and the vallies narrow and irriguous. Near the sea coast, and nearly the whole of the southern side of the county, following the course of the river Mersey, the land is low and flat. VOL. IX.

B locis guibuscunque infra predict: Ducat Lancast: ubi aliquod Theolonium Panagium et cetera præmissa ante dicta solvere consueverunt prout est justum.” Dated in October.

5. Statute of Parliament, third of Henry the Fifth, concerning the Duchy.

6. Statute made in the twenty-second of Edward the Fourth, concerning Wards and Liveries of those who hold of the Duchy, and authority given to the Attorney of that Court to prosecute.

7. Statute of the twenty-second of Edward the Fourth, for enclosure of Woods.

8. Statute for Supplement of the King's Household the same year.

9. Statute that it shall not be lawful for any to mark Swans, but those who have Lands of the yearly value of five marks the same year.

10. That the Prince of England shall be called Duke of Lancaster. Second of Henry the Fourth.

11. Partition of the Inlıeritance of the Earldom of Hereford, made by Henry the Fifth, and united to the said Duchy in the second year of his reign; together with the union of the rights and possessions of the Earldoms of Hereford, Essex, and Northampton, to the said Duchy.

12. The act of corporating and confiscating the Duchy of Lancaster, on the conviction of treason of King Henry the Sixth, to the Crown: first of Edward the Fourth.

13. Statute for disposing to the use of the last Will and Testament of Edward the Fourth, in the twelfth year of his reign, of several Honours, Manors, Lordsbips, and Lands.


In various fields, at Formby, near the shore, there is soil above two feet below the sand, which lies beneath the present greensward; and there are the strongest reasons for believing that this soil (which is about four inches thick) originally formed the surface of the ground, and was gradually buried by sand from the neighbouring hills. Few counties produce greater varieties of soil, and this does not change so rapidly as in some others.

The greatest proportion of that district, which lies between the Ribble and the Mersey, has for its superficies a sandy loam, well adapted to the production of almost every vegetable that has yet been brought under cultivation, and that to a degree which renders it impossible to estimate the advantage which might be obtained by improved and superior management. The substratum of this soil is generally the red rock, or clay-marle, an admirable sandy loam, perhaps one of the most desirable soils that can be found.

Moor lands which are in a state of nature, and produce heath, and other wild plants, are of various qualities; and are much more extensive than might have been expected in a county so populous, and where lands must consequently be so valuable.

The MINERALOGICAL history of this county has never been publicly developed: and though the internal contents are singularly rich, the varied characteristics and peculiarities of these riches, have not been made known. With singular advantages of natural and artificial Navigation, the Coals, which constitute its most prolific and useful production, are freely and cheaply conveyed to the various manufactories of Manchester, Bolton, &c. and also to the coast, Coal is found in immense beds, both in the southern part, and towards the middle of the county, but mostly in the hundreds of West Derby and Salford, and in part of Blackburn. It is not obtained much further north than Chorly and Colne: but great abundance of this useful fossil is again procured at Whitehaven, about Newcastle-on-Tyne. At Haigh near Wigan, a species of coal, similar in appearance to black marble, and of a very bituaninous quality, is obtained. It is called Cannel Coal, and burns


with a peculiar clearness of flame, consumes very rapidly, and is apt to fly in pieces in the fire; but, if previously immersed in water, it is said to lose this property. It is of a dull black, breaks easily in all directions, and, if broken transversely, presents a smooth conchoidal surface. The practice of exporting coal to foreign countries, is, according to the arguments of Mr. Williams, * likely to prove extremely prejudicial to Great Britain, and there fore demands a speedy check.

Towards the north and north-east parts of this county, Limestone is obtained in great abundance. In the township of Halewood, near Liverpool, the same substance is found at various depths, but inconsiderable in quantity. In the vicinity of Leigh, and also at Ardwick, near Manchester, a lime-stone is found of such a peculiar quality as to resist the power of water : it is therefore applied to the construction of cisterns, and for making mortar for building under water. The tarras-cistern at Drury-Lane Theatre is composed of this lime.

Stone of various denominations is produced in this county. Upon the common, near Lancaster, is a large quarry of excellent free-stone, which bears a fine polish, and of which this town, equalled by few in the kingdom for neatness, is wholly built. Flags and grey slates are found at Holland, near Wigan. The mountains, called Comstone and Telberthwaite fells, near Hawkshead, afford a large quantity of blue slates, of which there is a considerable export: they are divided into three classes, called London, Country, and Tom slate, of wbich the first is esteemed the best. Scythe-stones are obtained at Rainford, and are well wrought on the spot. Iron ore is found in abundance between Ulverstone and Dalton, in Low Furness. In the north, some coppermines have been worked, but they have not been productive. At Anglesack, near Chorley, is a lead-mine belonging to Sir Frank Standish, Bart. : it consists of several veins, which intersect the strata of the district almost perpendicularly, and run in various directions. The matrix of these veins is formed of carbonat and

B 2

sulphuret * Natural History of the Mineral Kingdom, Vol. I. p. 171, &c.

[ocr errors]

sulphuret of Barytes. The former, which is a very rare mineral, is found in the greatest abundance near the surface : and as it descends, it becomes progressively contaminated by the sulphuret, which in the lowest strata seems completely to usurp its place. The existence of carbonat of barytes, as a product of nature, was first distinctly ascertained by Dr. Withering ; * but that gentleman seems to have been mistaken respecting the place where his specimens were obtained. To James Watt, Jun. Esq. the public are indebted for a description of the external character of this substance, and its effects on the animal body when taken internally. + In the neighbourhood of Chorley it is employed as a poison for rats; and there can exist little doubt of its being the same substance, mentioned by Dr. Leigh, I who erroneously ascribes its deleterious qualities to the admixture of arsenic.

RIVERS.—The chief of this county are the Irwell, the Mersey, the Douglas, the Ribble, the Calder, the Wyer, and the Loyne or Lune. Beside these there are several other smaller streams or rivers, all of which direct their course towards the west, and empty their waters into the Irish Sea. Coinmencing our description with those to the north, we first find the river : Dudden skirting and separating the western side of Furness from Cumberland, and, at its junction with the sea, forming a considerable bay at bigh water.-See Beauties, &c. Vol. III. p. 72.

The Crake River runs nearly parallel to the above, and connects the waters of that Lake called Thurston Water, with the sea at Leven Sands. The waters of Winandermere Lake join the sea through the channel of the Leren, nearly at the same place. The

ost considerable river in the north part of the county is the Loyne or Lune, which, emanating from the fells of Westmoreland, enters this county near Kirkby Lonsdale. Soon afterwards its stream is augmented by the waters of the Greta, and the Wenning from Yorkshire, and the expanded river then passes through the much


* See Philosophical Transactions for 1781.
+ See Manchester Memoirs, Vol. III.
Natural History, B. I. Cl. IV. p. 70.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »