Page:The History of the Church & Manor of Wigan part 2.djvu/25

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History of the Church and Manor of Wigan.

The ownership of the markets and fairs with the tolls belonging to them was the most important of these rights, and in recovering them to the church he had much difficulty, for it appears that the town had held them against the rector for upwards of fifty years, and naturally refused to give them up unless they were compelled to do so.

His action in these matters is recorded by him in his Wigan Leger. Among the church lands which the tenants claimed to hold in fee and refused to give up were a croft called the Lees and two crofts which I believe to have been part of the present mesnes and which were then held by Ellen Lathwayt. Of these Dr. Bridgeman took legal possession; and on Sunday, 13th October, 1617, being sessions day at Wigan, "old Hellen Lathwayt," widow, came to him at the church stile, with Alderman Barrow and William Barrow, desiring that she might again have the occupation of these lands, but he refused to let her or any of her friends meddle with them, because, as he told them, he saw they made no conscience to appropriate the church's land if they were suffered to enjoy it never so little time; but he offered to give her the profits thereof during her life, out of charity, which she refused, and when her cousin, the young Barrow, expostulated somewhat saucily with him. Dr. Bridgeman said he would keep them to himself, and do what he pleased with the profits. About an hour afterwards she came to Dr. Bridgeman's house; and in