Page:The History of the Church & Manor of Wigan part 2.djvu/32

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History of the Church and Manor of Wigan.

in this parsonage, and that they are but guardians to their successors and must answer for their rights to Almighty God, in conscience whereof I have been at so great charge to leave the churche's rights entirely to them.

Test. Edward Bridgeman.
Aug. Wilbore."[1]
Jo: Cestren.

On the 21st of October, 1617, the rector claimed the Wigan Walke mills as his property, demanding of the tenants of the said mills whether they would acknowledge the church's right to them, in which case he offered to make out new leases to them gratis for the term of his own life without raising their rent or taking anything of them for a fine; but they refused to do so, saying they would hold them, to them and their heirs, of their own right. Whereupon he rode up to London and commenced a suit against them, as also against the corn miller; for he found, on enquiry, that they had always been tenants at will, and had been put in and out at pleasure by his predecessors, who had sometimes taken fines of them.

There were in the manor of Wigan two walke, wake, or fulling mills, both lying on the river Douglas, of which the upper or Coppull mill was situated at Coppull[2]; and the other, which was called the lower or School mill, must have been somewhere opposite to Scholes. There was also a corn mill on the Douglas, situated at the bottom of Millgate, to which the inhabitants of the township of Wigan, as tenants, owed suit, and where they were bound to grind their corn. All these mills were appurtenant to the manor, and none but the lord had any right to set up a mill within the precincts of his manor, as interfering with his perquisites. But before Dr. Bridgeman's time there had been two

  1. Wigan Leger, fol. 36.
  2. The only trace of the name of Coppull I can now find in Wigan is Coppull Lane, which leads down to the river Douglas, where there is a mill called Sutton mill, which is now used to grind corn; and I have little doubt that this was the site of the old Coppull mill. It lies opposite to what is now called Bottling wood, i.e., battling wood.