South Central Lancs





Trading Methods

Trading Region





This chapter will describe the economy of south central Lancashire, in particular the town of Wigan, during the early seventeenth century. This will enable a more detailed analysis of the significance of the findings of Chapter Four.

South central Lancashire can be defined as the area south of the Ribble, and north of the Mersey, bounded in the west by the West Derby mosses, and in the east by Chat moss and the moors to the north of Bolton. Administratively, it consists of large parts of the Hundreds of Leyland and West Derby, and ecclesiastically parts or all of the parishes of Penwortham, Leyland, Croston, Eccleston, Chorley, Standish, Wigan, Ormskirk, Leigh, Winwick and Warrington.[i]The main towns of the area in the period were: Chorley, Wigan, Ormskirk and Warrington. They were linked by a very poor communication system, which was berated by such notable observers as Cromwell in the middle of the century and Defoe a century later. The major road led south through Preston, Chorley, Wigan to Warrington, where it linked with the better Cheshire roads, and led to London. There was another major road from Liverpool, through Prescot to Wigan, and beyond to north east Lancashire, and into Yorkshire. Of some local importance was a road from Ormskirk, through Upholland to Wigan, however, Walker says of this and another road from Liverpool , through Euxton, Chorley and Blackburn "these were certainly not  important lines of communication and indeed the evidence of their existence in this period is far from conclusive".[ii]As with most other parts of the country, agriculture was the most important single "industry" in the area. The central arable region of Lancashire, which was roughly  coterminous with the area under discussion "was a zone of rich and intensive farming, doubtless not without its stock kept on the fallow fields and on the stubble, but with grain production as its chief concern. Though wheat was grown here oats was the staple grain."[iii] Its rural topography was characterised by enclosed fields with hedges. The extent to which the open field system was ever widespread in Lancashire has been debated by historians, but by the opening of the seventeenth century, small enclosed fields, sometimes surrounded by commons and wastes, were the norm.

The main crop was oats, which was used for both bread and malting, but barley, wheat, beans, peas, vetches, rye, hemp and flax were all grown in places, the latter two for the textile industry and the others for consumption as food or fodder.  The agriculture of the county was generally considered as being backward, or at least not very innovative. This was partly a consequence of the main system of land tenure: for three lives or 99 years, (although copyhold, which made possession of some land virtually hereditary, subject to the payment of entry and other fines,  was not uncommon on some manors, and the frequency of complaints of squatters erecting cottages on the wastes had begun to increase) and also of the power of rural custom. However, this was a turbulent time in the countryside as landlords began to change the practices of their ancestors: "Most Lancashire landlords did try to raise rents when leases fell in, and to increase the yield of entry fines levied at the succession of a new landlord or tenant. In some cases they went further and pursued an apparent policy of maximising income on all fronts, overturning the constraints of custom and ignoring the outrage of their tenantry."[iv]The raising of cattle was another important agricultural activity. Most husbandmen and yeomen had a few cattle, usually for dairy production, although many engaged in breeding and fattening. Alongside most farmers and craftsmen had one or more horses, used as beasts of burden and especially for transport. Rather fewer had small flocks of sheep, which were not as common in south central Lancashire as in the hills and moors  in the east of the county. Most people, especially in the countryside, with a small patch of land would also keep a pig, usually singly, which would be fattened, and ,after slaughter, smoked or salted. Some sophistication had crept into the conduct of livestock farming by this time. There is evidence to suggest that  cattle were hired out: the inventory of a Coppull husbandman dated 1613, shows twelve cows at nine houses in Coppull, Chorley, Charnock, Adlington and Whittle-le-Woods.  Of the nine, seven of the men loaning the cattle owed the husbandman small sums of money.[v]

As well as agriculture, a variety of crafts and by-employments were important features of the rural economy. Although textile production  never had the same significance  as in the Manchester hinterland, it was nevertheless of importance both as a by-employment and as the product which, more than any other, was creating a distinct mercantile class in the towns and villages of Lancashire. Also of importance was the leather industry, the full importance of which has never been adequately recognised. It provided a host of employments: from butchery, to skinning, tanning, gloving, saddling, curriery,  and shoemaking. Neither of these industries was confined to the countryside: they were both of importance in the various towns in the region.

The main towns were Preston, north of the Ribble, Chorley, Wigan, Ormskirk and Warrington. Wigan and Preston were developing as mercantile centres, Ormskirk was a centre of some local importance, and the presence of such tradesmen as stationers , clerks and vintners in Warrington, suggests its development as a crossing point between Lancashire and the more sophisticated culture of Cheshire, dominated by Chester. There is  evidence to suggest  some inequality of wealth  between town and country  in the region during the period. A comparison of probate inventories from Wigan, with a population in excess of 2000, with those of Coppull, with a population of less than 400, [vi] shows that mean wealth is 149 for Wigan and 128 for Coppull, however, eliminating the upper and lower quartiles, to remove the effects of very high or very low inventory values, produces interquartile means of 119.5 and 77.8, respectively. The range of wealth is not significantly different: 27.6 to 469 for Wigan, and 12.7 to 432.3 for Coppull. The highest inventory values in both Wigan and Coppull do not compare to those in Manchester around  the same time: one widow died with personal estate worth more than 1526 [vii].

There are conflicting opinions as to the progress of industry in the region during the period. In 1939  it was asserted: "Southwest Lancashire was not an area for new economic activities, since the restrictive influence of these  privileged and unnecessarily conservative institutions {the guilds and incorporated boroughs} lasted until the eighteenth century." [viii] However,  by 1966 a different view had emerged: "By 1600, however, new industries were making progress in many regions of the county... At Haigh, near Wigan, mining had expanded far beyond its medieval scale as the winter occupation of a few farmers. Pits clustered  along the outcrops and a considerable drainage tunnel., the Great Sough had been built."[ix]Chorley was one of the towns on the road from Preston to Wigan and had a population of approximately 800 in 1642 [x]. The Protestation Oath Rolls for the town are particularly comprehensive and give the occupation of most of the adult males. Assuming the son shares the occupation of his father, about 36% were either husbandmen or yeomen, 19% textile workers, another 13% servants, 8% labourers, 5% gentry, and the remainder include a range of occupations from cutler and gunsmith to matmaker and bonesetter. The presence of such a diverse range of occupations suggests that  although agriculture was undoubtedly the most important single industry in the town, and that most of the rest of the town either supported it (e.g. wheelwrights) or used its raw materials (e.g. tanner), there was a  linen-based textile industry of some importance in the town.

One of the industries, which has already been briefly mentioned, was the coal industry. During the period this was a small scale business. The average number of persons employed as hewers at coal pits was 1-2, but, at 6, there were rather more at cannell pits.[xi] There were pits around Wigan during the period: in Wigan itself, in Orrell, Pemberton, Hindley, Aspull and Haigh. In 1619  a pit was being worked near the centre of Wigan. The Lord of the Manor recorded in his diary that the Bailiffs of the town "desired me to give the said Plat leave to continue that gutter or passage for the Water out of that Cole-pitt which the said Plat had digged in his ground near Milgat," because it was water-logged.[xii] There seems to have been something of a coal-mining boom during the early 1620s, and Plat may have been trying to make the most of the favourable market.

The coal industry was undoubtedly of some importance to Wigan, given the significance of the metalworking industry.  However, metal-workers often kept only small  stocks of coal: in 1620, Peter Laithwaite, a panmaker, had only 3 shillings worth of coal at the time of his death, similarly Henry Wakefield, another metalworker, had 3 shillings of "cole and cannell" at his death in 1640. [xiii] Wigan's importance as a centre of the metal industry has been recognised before [xiv], indeed the presence of the considerable amount of iron, pewter and brass ware listed in the region's probate inventories would be inexplicable otherwise. There is some evidence to suggest that the metal-working industries had started to move out from the core of Wigan into the surrounding countryside. During the period there were pewterers in Ashton, Haigh, Pemberton , and Standish, and nailors in Hindley, Westleigh and Winstanley, although numerically the industries were far stronger in Wigan.[xv] There is little evidence to suggest that pan and wire making were undertaken outside Wigan, indeed, during the 1620s and 1630s when many of the Lancashire guilds were petitioning the Privy Council to seek redress against unapprenticed practitioners of their trades, especially in the countryside, the metalworkers were conspicuous by their silence. The origin of the raw materials used by the various metalworkers is unclear. The only important English producer of tin in the period was Cornwall. Lead, the other constituent of pewter, was mined primarily in Derbyshire and the Yorkshire Dales. Copper, for brass, was mined both in Cornwall and Cumberland, although both these areas had ceased production by the mid seventeenth century, because of the cheapness of imports. [xvi] There is no evidence of Wigan trading directly with individuals from these areas. It is, however, likely that London merchants bought and sold these commodities.

The leather industry has been mentioned briefly. There is evidence to suggest that most townships had some inhabitants involved in the industry during the period. Leather, in the form of horse gear, was essential in the transport industry, and probably provided the main form of protective clothing to such craftsmen as smiths and other metalworkers. During the period 1621-50 tanners from the following townships left wills: Billinge, Blackrod, Upholland, Westhoughton (3), and Wrightington. In Wigan there were at least 7 butchers, 2 sadlers, 13 skinners, and 2 tanners.[xvii] Along with metals and textiles, it was one of the leading industries (in terms of numbers employed) of the town, and, with textiles, of the region.

It would be difficult to overstress the importance of the textile industry in the period. The north east of the county was still predominantly making woollen garments, whilst the south and west was turning increasingly to linen. This is probably one of the reasons for the smaller numbers of sheep kept in the region as compared with the north east. "Preston was a principal centre [of the linen trade]; and linen cloth was one of the most important commodities traded in its market. Kirkham, Warrington, Wigan, and Liverpool also engaged in the manufacture of linen., produced in part from flax grown on the west Lancashire plain and in part from Irish imports." [xviii] In Wigan there were  at least 22 tailors or weaver in 1642, and  probably far more. There were coverlet weavers, dyers, feltmakers, fullers, haberdashers, linen weavers, and  tailors. There was a silkweaver in Chorley in 1642, but there is no evidence of any widespread silk weaving in the region. Weaving was often combined with other occupations, both in the rural setting and also in the towns. Hamlett Green, described as a "panner", in 1635 had  over 41 worth of metal goods, and 14  of assorted textile goods including "new Flaxen Cloth... New Canvas Cloath... whit yarne...flax...gray flaxen yarne...gray Canvas yarne"[xix]One of the features of early modern society was economic regulation. The old-established corporate towns sought to preserve the privileges of their burgesses. The economic changes which were taking place in the period caused stresses and resulted in conflict. In 1633 the Societies of Skinners, Whittawers and Glovers of Wigan, Preston, Lancaster, Liverpool, Manchester and Newton, complained "that they are much interrupted in their trades by persons who interlope upon the same, being such for the most part as have run away from their masters before they served their times, or otherwise use the said trades contrary to law."[xx] This petition was followed two years later by that of the Dyers of Wigan, Prescot, Ormskirk and Bolton saying "that of late, the shearmen, fullers and tailors in those towns have taken the country's woollen cloth to dye, and will not permit any dyer to receive it from them, except the said shearmen and others may receive one penny or twopence in a yard profit out of their dyeing."[xxi] Attempts had been made to prevent interloping in both the Court Leet and in the Wigan Court of King's Pleas during the previous decade. In October 1627, ten men were presented to the latter court and ordered to desist practising trades for which they had served no apprenticeships. At the same court, it was ordered that no person should be free to trade unless he was the eldest son of a burgess, and had served a seven year apprenticeship for that trade.

Efforts were also made to regulate the markets in the region. In South Lancashire as a whole there were important markets at: Chorley, Ormskirk, Wigan ,  Newton, Warrington, Bury, Bolton, Rochdale,  Liverpool, Prescot, Manchester , Preston and Blackburn. The first five were in the south central Lancashire region and will therefore be considered separately from the rest. Regulation took the form of prohibiting "strangers" from trading in the market between certain proscribed times, to allow burgesses to buy what they wanted first, prohibiting trading of certain items outside the open market place, and confining the times when trade could take place. Most towns also demanded tolls from produce taken into or out of the town. All of this penalised "strangers".

To date, only the market of Preston has been studied in any depth.[xxii] The conclusions of the study were that Preston had an inner zone of its market area, stretching approximately five miles to the north and south, and perhaps ten miles to the east, along the river Ribble. It also had a loosely defined outer zone, which consisted of people known to trade in the towns market, stretching for  over twelve miles. A similar trading zone was claimed for other markets: "The weekly market at Rochdale served a tract of country roughly eleven miles square"[xxiii], that is, roughly having a five mile diameter.

With regard to the items traded in the markets "Preston drew oats and arable produce from the Fylde and Ribble valley to its markets, while sheep, cattle and cheese came from the regions of pastoral  specialisation. "The markets of the north east of the county were geared more towards the sale of textile products; fustians were sold at Bolton, and wool at Rochdale.

Outside of the economic realm, there were a number of significant events during the period. The clothiers of Lancashire were lamenting the "great decay" of the cloth trade, and sought remedy from the Privy Council[xxiv]. The following year there was a famine which had an impact on most of the county, increasing mortality and reducing conceptions, and leading to an increase in the price of grain [xxv]. Less than a decade later, Preston and neighbouring towns were devastated by the plague, which killed over a thousand people in the town, and hundreds in other townships. This interrupted trade in most Lancashire towns, increasing burgesses traditional distaste for "strangers", and imposed a considerable financial burden on those townships which did not suffer the worst of the infection, as the J.P.s sought to provide relief for the poor of the infected towns[xxvi]. By 1637 the burgesses of Wigan pleaded poverty: the unpopular Ship Money, a tax resurrected by Charles I to supplement his ailing Treasury, had been assessed at too high a rate, they claimed, and sought to have it reduced. Indeed "They have no other means of maintenance save their small burgages and making pots and pans. The number of their poor is so great, as they are enforced to seek relief from others to maintain them.[xxvii]Demographically Wigan experienced little growth during the period. The population of the town was approximately 1900 in 1580 and by 1650 was probably not more than 2000. [xxviii] These bald facts hide the change which occurred during the period. The 1590s were marked by a severe contraction, which may have reduced the size of the town by ten per cent. The contraction was a consequence of an increase in burials as well as a reduction in baptisms throughout the 1590s. The crisis of the 1590s has been observed in other parts of the country, and was particularly severe in Cumbria. It has been attributed to plague or other disease following a series of harvest failures and thus hitting a population made vulnerable by famine or malnourishment.[xxix] The first two decades of the next century saw an increase in the population to its pre-crisis level because of a reduction in the numbers of burials and a considerable increase in the number of baptisms, which doubled in comparison to the crisis years of the 1590s. There was a less severe, but clear, fall in population in the early 1620s, probably as a consequence of the famine which devastated parts of the county in 1623. This caused a reduction in the number of baptisms in the mid and late 1620s, but there was a recovery and period of stability throughout the 1630s. The number of burials fell heavily after the peak of the mid 1620s, but increased again, along with baptisms, during the late 1630s and early 1640s.  

The reduction in both baptisms and burials of the mid and late 1640s shows the impact of the turbulence of the Civil War and its concomitant problems, at least some of the reduction of the latter being a result of under-recording. An all too rare contemporary account, rather emotionally, shows the facts behind the numbers: "The hand of God is evidently seem stretched out upon the county. chastening it with a three-corded scourge of sword, pestilence, and famine, all at once afflicting it...In this county hath the plague of pestilence been ranging these three years and upwards, occasioned chiefly by the wars. There is a very great scarcity and dearth of all provisions, especially of all sorts of grain, particularly that kind by which that county is most sustaine, which is full six-fold the price of late it hath been. All trade, by which they have been much supported, is utterly decayed; it would melt any good heart to see the numerous swarms of begging poore... to see paleness, nay death appear in the cheeks of the poor, and often to hear of some found dead in their houses, or highways, for want of bread." [xxx]It is difficult to determine the extent of migration into and out of the town. All that can be said is that such migration took place: some of the younger sons of the mercantile and gentry families were setting up in business in London and Ireland, and doubtless other places. The repeated efforts of the Burgesses to limit freedom of the town to the eldest sons of Burgesses would have encouraged this outward migration, although the effectiveness of this restriction has to be doubted given the frequency with which petitions from aggrieved townsfolk were presented complaining about freedoms being extended to "foreigners". [xxxi] There was inward migration, but it is difficult to judge its scale. There were occasional references to agreements that named individuals coming into the town would not become chargeable on the Poor Rate, and a few skilled individuals, such as doctors, petitioned to be made free to practise their craft in the town. Apprentices and servants were probably taken from the surrounding countryside or the families of more distant kin.

 Political control of the town was vested in the Burgesses, who elected the mayor and two Members of Parliament. The Burgesses were an elite group, in the sense that they had a variety of privileges within the Borough and, as a body, they governed it. However, in terms of numbers, there were 133 in 1639 out of a total population of 575 adult males in 1642. This means that almost a quarter of adult males, or 6.5% of the total population of the town was franchised. There were also a large number of out-burgesses, not resident in the town. This group consisted of a number of gentry, knights and titled men, headed by the Earl of Derby. They were less likely to be involved in the town's affairs: in 1639, of 162 out-burgesses eligible to vote in the Parliamentary election, only 39 did so.

 The Burgesses recognised a variety of Guilds, although their precise number changed as they splintered, amalgamated, were created and fell into abeyance. In 1641 there were five Guilds: the Panners, pewterers and braziers, reflecting the importance of the metal industry, and the skinners and tailors.

 The Court Leet met several times a year and operated as the foremost local authority, accepting petitions from townsfolk, making orders and trying petty offences, such as minor assaults. The borough of Wigan was exempt from the jurisdiction of the Quarter Sessions (although the sessions sat in the town), and so the Leet fulfilled some of its functions such as the licensing of alehouses, et cetera.[xxxii] During the first quarter of the century, the pro-active presence of the Reverend Bridgeman as Lord of the Manor of Wigan caused considerable friction between the burgesses and the Church, as they each struggled to redefine their political roles in the town.

 An attempt has been made to undertake areconstruction of the occupational structure of Wigan using the 1642 Protestation Oath Roll to provide a nominal list and occupational data from a variety of sources. There was a 50% success rate in matching occupations to names on the roll. Table 1, below, shows the result of this reconstruction. Although the occupations of at least 21 of the Burgesses can not be determined, most of the "absent" 50% probably consisted largely of the "invisibles" of early modern society: the plethora of servants, apprentices, and kin of ambiguous status living in the household of a wealthier family member. Certain surname groups, presumed below to be families, were strongly associated with particular occupations, suggesting that the "craft mysteries" were kept in the family, at least for some. The four main industries of the period were, in order of numbers employed therein: metalworking, agriculture, leather, and textiles.



Number of Persons


of Total

Number of Trades

Metal workers








Leather workers




Textile workers













   Table 1. Summary of Occupations: Wigan 1642

 There were three main metalworking industries in Wigan: pewtering, the largest, braziery, and panmaking. There were also a number of subsidiary occupations such as smiths and nailors. The main three manufactured large quantities of consumer goods. There was also at least one bellfounder in the town. Amongst the Banks family there were at least five pewterers, and amongst the Scotts, five braziers.

 Agriculture continued to occupy the time of a significant number of people, although the difficulties of interpreting the descriptions "husbandman" and "yeoman" make interpretations of the importance of this activity difficult. Many, if not most, households retained some agricultural link, usually by owning a small number of cows, perhaps a pig and some chickens. Others, not described as either husbandmen or yeomen, held land which they used for farming. When he died in 1637, Gilbert Langshaw, a pewterer, had "one tack of ground called by the name of the Hyne hey", valued at 20, in which was sown six measures of wheat, valued at 1 11s 8d. In 1623, Hugh Forth, a gentleman heavily involved in textiles, had an acre of oats, the more common local crop. [xxxiii]The leather industry was made up of skinners, shoemakers, butchers, and a few tanners and saddlers. The relatively small number of tanners identified suggests that most of the tanning was done outside the town. Amongst the Deane family there were at least five butchers in 1642, and at least three amongst the Forsters. The Laithwaite family appears to have diversified into all stages of the leather industry: amongst their numbers were a tanner, a skinner, a shoemaker and two saddlers.

 The textile industry was the smallest of the occupational groupings, consisting of weavers, linen weavers, coverlet weavers, tailors, who had their own guild, fullers and dyers, as well as haberdashers and mercers. There has been much speculation as to the significance of the putting out system in the early Lancashire textile industry. There is some evidence of it taking place in Wigan: Hugh Forth, in 1623, had the enormous sum of 82 tied up in "yorne at whitninge and weavinge", strongly suggesting the delivery of yarn to local weavers and payment by the piece when the woven material was returned. That weavers bought their own raw materials and sold the finished goods on their own account is suggested by the inventory of Edward Holt, a linendraper from Coppull, who died in 1597. He had sold flax to a number of neighbouring townships, including Wigan. [xxxiv] This evidence would suggest the co-existence of these two forms of organising production. The presence of a haberdasher and three mercers in the town was a foretaste of things to come: these were to be the men who grew rich exploiting the new market for a host of textile products.

 The group described above as "others" consisted of those whose occupation can not be determined but who were accorded an honorific, such as Esquire or gentleman by their contemporaries, as well as the usual occupations of the pre-industrial town, such as carpenters, bricklayers, glaziers, carriers, and plumbers. There was a significant group of labourers, suggesting work was available for this group. The building trades, interpreted broadly, employed sixteen of the group, and suggest that there was some building or renovation work taking place in the town in the period. This impression is confirmed by the occasional reference to vast quantities of building materials. Hugh Forth and Roger Bullock, both gentlemen, had 40 and 30, respectively, of timber in their inventories.

 The basic reconstitution, although flawed in some respects, shows that over 50% of the adult males in the town were involved in one of the three main processing industries: metal, leather and textiles, and whilst most households kept milk cows, and many undertook some small scale growing of crops, fewer than 20% were sufficiently involved in agriculture to have merited the description husbandman or yeoman. The fact that 80% of those individuals whose occupation has been traced were not primarily engaged in agriculture strongly suggests that Wigan could be described as a manufacturing centre in the mid seventeenth century.

 It further suggests that the trade of Wigan during this period would be characterised by the need to sell the urban manufactures, especially metal products which were produced in the town in the absence of any significant competition elsewhere in the county. The inward requirements would have been primarily foodstuffs, but also skins and hides for the leather industry and raw metals for the metal industries.

 During the period, then, the economy of south central Lancashire was characterised by a fairly backward agriculture, which was coming to be dominated by more capitalistic landlords, and industry which was firmly rooted in that agricultural society. There were however a number of industrial and marketing centres of significance during the period, either because of their size, or because of the scale of production which took place within them. Whilst Wigan was certainly a marketing centre of some regional importance, as Chapter Four will demonstrate, it was also a significant manufacturing town, producing a range of consumer products, the most distinctive, and the one whish set the town apart from the rest of the county, being its metal industries.

[i] - The phrase "south central Lancashire" was used to refer to a similar geographical area by Thirsk, in J. Thirsk, The Agricultural Regions of England and Wales, in Thirsk, J The Agrarian History of England and Wales vol 4 1500-1640, Cambridge 1967, p 86

 [ii] - F Walker, Historical Geography in Southwest Lancashire before the Industrial Revolution,  Manchester 1939, p 75

 [iii] - Freeman, Rodgers & Kinvig, Lancashire, Cheshire and the Isle of Man, London, 1966, p 47.

 [iv] - J.K. Walton, Lancashire: A Social History 1558-1939, Manchester 1987, p31.

 [v] - Lancashire Record Office, William Lawrenson of Coppull, WCW 1613.

 [vi] - The figures are derived by multiplying the number of names in the 1642 Protestation  Oath Rolls (575 and 95) respectively , by 4. The figure for Wigan is supported by Walton, op. cit., p 25.

 [vii] - Isabel Tipping died 1599, in T.S. Willan Elizabethan Manchester, Manchester 1980, p 155.

 [viii] - Walker, op. cit. p 60.

 [ix] - Freeman, Rodgers and Kinvig, op. cit. p 51.

 [x] - Calculated by multiplying the number of persons listed in the 1642 Protestation Oath Roll by 4.

 [xi] - J Langton Coal Output in South West Lancashire 1590-1799, in J Patten Pre-Industrial England, Kent 1979

 [xii] - Bridgeman Ledger, Wigan Records Office, D/DZ  A13/1, 2nd Nov 1619.

 [xiii] - LRO. Peter Laithwaite of Wigan, WCW 1620 and LRO. Henry Wakefield, WCW 1640.

 [xiv] - See for example R.J.A. Shelley Wigan and Liverpool Pewterers, in Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, 97 (1945)

 [xv] - Extracted from Wigan Court of King's Pleas.

 [xvi] - C.G.A. Clay, .........................., vol 2, pp56-60.

 [xvii] - Based on 1642 Protestation Oath Rolls, supplemented by occupational data from Wigan Court of King's Pleas and Court Leet Records.

 [xviii] - Freeman, Rodgers and Kinvig, op. cit. p 51.

 [xix] - LRO. Hamlett Green of Wigan, WCW 1635.

 [xx] - Calendar of State Papers Domestic, London 1857, vol 14, 1633-4, 18 Dec 1633.

 [xxi] - Calendar of State Papers Domestic, London 1857, vol 15, 1635, 1 Dec 1635.

 [xxii] - It has been studied by H.B. Rodgers in The Market Area of Preston in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, in Geographical Studies, 3 (1956).

 [xxiii] - Wadsworth and Mann, op. cit. p 55.

 [xxiv] - Calendar of State Papers Domestic, London 1857, vol 10, 1619-23, 30 Apr 1622.

 [xxv] - C.D. Rogers, The Lancashire Population Crisis of 1623, Manchester, 1975.

 [xxvi] - D. Watmough, The Plague in Lancashire 1630-32, The Record, No 284, June 1986.


 [xxviii] - The population has been calculated as follows: the baptisms and burials for the parish were collected for each year from 1580 to 1650. In the period 1629 to 1635, the township or street of each individual is listed. By analysing these, it was determined that the baptisms and burials for Wigan constituted 45% of the Parish total. It was therefore assumed that the population of the township was approximately 45% that of the parish, and this factor was applied to the baptism and burial figures to give the cumulative change for Wigan. The 1642 Protestation Oath Rolls list 575 adult males for the township: using a factor of 3.5 to account for women and children, results in a population of 2013 for the town. Assuming this is 45% of the parish, the population of the latter would be approximately 4472.

- The estimate of 2000 for the township accords with that of Walton (Lancashire..., p25), and that of over 4000 for the parish accords with the estimate of Rodgers (Crisis..., p30).

 [xxix] - D.C. Coleman, The Economy of England 1450-1750, Oxford 1989, p17.

 [xxx] - G. Ormerod, Tracts Relating to Military Proceedings in Lancashire During the Great Civil War, Chetham Society, 1844, pp 277-8

 [xxxi] - See, for example, WRO, Court Leet Rolls, Roll 5 8th May 1641.

 [xxxii] - I am grateful to Jonathan Pratt, B.A., for drawing my attention to this fact.

 [xxxiii] - LRO, Gilbert Langshawe of Wigan, WCW 1637 and Hugh Forth of Wigan, WCW 1623.

 [xxxiv] - LRO, Edward Holt of Coppull, WCW 1597a. Norman Lowe in The Lancashire Textile Industry in the Sixteenth Century, Manchester 1972, refers to him as Edward Holt of Wigan, but the same person is definitely meant, and both will and inventory clearly describe the testator as "of Coppull".