Page:The History of the Church & Manor of Wigan part 1.djvu/155

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History of the Church and Manor of Wigan.

13 Eliz. 1571, on the death of the above-named Thomas Fleetwood, Esq., Edmund Fleetwood, the eldest child of the first marriage, was found to be the said Thomas Fleetwood's heir, and 28 years of age and upwards, so that Edward, the 3rd son of the second marriage, could not have been more than 24 years of age at that time, unless his brother's age is much understated.[1] Canon Raines, however, calls Edward the fifth son of the said Thomas Fleetwood, and (probably following some old pedigree) says that he was born in 1534,[2] which is highly improbable.

Unlike most of his predecessors he had the merit of being a resident rector; and as the property of his church had suffered much from the neglect of his predecessors he was involved in several lawsuits to obtain possession of his rights. In the first year of his incumbency he commenced a suit against the Langshaws to recover seizin of two ancient water mills, which are described as Walke mills,[3] in the town of Wigan. In his bill of complaint he says that the evidences, writings and muniments concerning the said mills, proving his title to the same, have casually come into the hands of Hugh Langshaw, Gilbert Langshaw, and James Langshaw, who have entered the said mills, and put out the said Fleetwood, and refuse to deliver up the said deeds.[4]

Three years later, namely in 16 Eliz. (1573-4), Edward Fleetwood makes further complaint that William Langshaw, Robert Pennington and Thomas Pennington, of Wigan, husbandmen, in August last past, with sundry other persons, did riotously assemble themselves together at Wigan, and "then and there with force did enter into one walke myll beying buylded upon parcell of the said mannor and of right belonging to the said

  1. John Fleetwood of Penwortham (his uncle) by his will dated on 1st September, 1585, ordained his "trustie and welbeloved cosyn Mr. Edward Fleetwoode, parson of Wigan," to be one of his executors (Hulton's Priory of Penwortham, p. lvii.)
  2. Stanley Papers Chetham Tract xxxi. p. 168.
  3. Walke mills; Bamford (Dialect of South Lancashire, p. 255) describes a walke mill as a fulling mill, i.e. a mill for fulling cloth or making it compact and firm.
  4. Duchy of Lancaster Pleadings, 13 Eliz. vol. li. F. No. 14.