Page:The History of the Church & Manor of Wigan part 2.djvu/115

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History of the Church and Manor of Wigan.

Thomas Coats who had left the town.[1] Mr. Robert Fog is mentioned by the bishop as his curate at Wigan this year.[2] At this time William Rushton, of Chorley, near Blackburn, and John Chetham of the same place, masons, arrogated to themselves the right to sit in the old chancel, commonly called the parson's chancel, and set themselves there in the quire seats, on the north side (near to the seats of the mayor and aldermen) from which they excluded the bishop's son. They were therefore cited, at the bishop's instance, to appear at the next consistory court at Chester to answer in a cause of contempt; but before the time arrived they came to the bishop at Wigan Hall, on the 9th of October, 1626, and, pleading guilty, asked that they might be forgiven for their insolence and intrusion, and promised that they would never attempt to sit there again; and as he refused to accept their apologies at that time, they came again two days later, with a letter from Mr. Roger Bradshaw of Haigh on their behalf, desiring to be spared, expressing sorrow for their contempt and saying that they were willing to make any such submission, either public or private, as should be enjoined upon them by the bishop, or his court, for they now understood, by the general voice of the parishioners, that the said seats belonged to the parsons of Wigan for the time being, and that anciently the parson's clerks, and other of their officers and chaplains, have used to sit there, and sometimes say service therein: in witness of which acknowledgment they attached their signatures thereto.[3]

On the 24th of October, 1626, the bishop removed from Wigan with his family to Chester to winter there.[4]

On his return to Chester, he found that the mayor had (on the strength of his commission) been altering the seats in St Werburgh's without sufficient authority from him, and greatly to the injury of the cathedral clergy and quire. For whereas when he left Chester for Wigan in August, 1624, the parishioners

  1. Wigan Leger, fol. 114.
  2. Family Evidences.
  3. Wigan Leger, fol. 118.
  4. Ibid., fol. 119.