Page:The History of the Church & Manor of Wigan part 1.djvu/168

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156
History of the Church and Manor of Wigan.

[And] whereas the defendants say that King Henry III., by his letters patent did grant unto John Mansell, then parson of Wigan, that the said town should be a free borough for ever, and did grant that the burgesses should have divers liberties and customs to keep yearly courts and to have divers profits and commodities within the said town, and that John Mansell by his deed gave and granted to the burgesses of Wigan, their heirs and assigns, that they should have their town free, and all customs rights and privileges which the said replicant and his predecessors have and yet do retain from the defendants, and by the said deed did reserve unto him [John Mansell] and his successors certain yearly rents by him alleged to be given for all services, exactions and demands; and that afterwards the said deed of John Mansell was confirmed by Robert Bannester, patron of the said rectory, and Roger then Bishop of Coventry, by virtue of which the predecessors of the said defendants were seised in their demesne as of fee of and in the town and borough of Wigan and the profits and liberties, neither the said Fleetwood nor his predecessors having any right to any part of the said borough;" Fleetwood replies that the said burgesses "have no right by charter to keep the courts leet nor any other court claimed by him in his bill of complaint, —nor any right to the customs and liberties or other things by them alleged; that the supposed grant was made to the burgesses of Wigan, their heirs and assigns, and not to their successors, and that the said grant is void because they have not proved that they had at any time been incorporated by the name of the burgesses of Wigan and so at the time of the said supposed grant there was not any such corporation, and if they then had a corporation incorporated by the name of the Mayor, bailiffs, aldermen and burgesses of Wigan, as they pretended to have, the supposed grant was and is void in law, the corporation not being rightly named therein: also that the courts which were then kept were kept and used by the Stewards and bailiffs of the then parsons of Wigan, the said parsons being then and ever since lords and