Imágenes de páginas

de Weryngton quondam stetit jacens in latitudine inter muros fratrum Augustinensium dictæ villæ ex parte occidentali et vicum

death of Thomas Boydell, 20 Richard II., it is found that the deceased held "Lacheford cum passagio pontis de Weryngton" from the Earl of Chester in capite.

In the plea to a quo warranto, temp. Henry VII., (Ormerod, iii. 444,) Henry Byrom and Constance his wife, and James Holte and Isabella his wife, (the representatives of the Boydell privileges,) claim for themselves and their heirs, in right of the said Constance and Isabella, to have chiminum de Lacheforde & heys de Lacheforde usque ad aquam juxta Weryngton, and claim also "passagium ultra aquam de Mersey Runcorn et Thelwall ;” and, in right of this passage, claim for every man and his horse passing the said water from Runcorn up to Thelwall a farthing, and for every laden horse a farthing, for every laden wain or cart drawn by two horses 4d., for twenty beasts of burden 4d., for one hundred heifers or sheep 4d., and for twenty unbroken horses or mares 4d., and for a smaller number according to the same rate. It is clear from the inquisition on the death of Thomas Boydell, that the credit of the first bridge can no longer be ascribed to the first Earl of Derby, and it is equally clear from the passage in the text, that the first bridge had fallen into decay before the date of the manuscript. When and by whom the first bridge was built, and when and how it fell into decay, remain for our future enquiry. It is clear, I think, that the Earl of Derby's structure was entirely new. In the Kuerden MSS. we have the following passage:- John le Webster de Weryngton relaxavit Roberto de Sothewurthe 2 mess. et 2 gardin. in Weryngton in le Norris street, ad terminum vitæ ejusdem. It may be observed, that this deed very probably relates to premises nearly adjoining to those mentioned in the text, and that the name of Norris occurring in it may very possibly be derived from the Norris property in the same neighbourhood, and which the Earl of Derby subsequently acquired when he built the new bridge.

Amongst the deeds in Lord 'Lilford's possession are two which throw additional light on this subject. By the first of these, dated 33 Edward I., Willielmus le Botiller dominus de Weryngton grants to Jordan Fitz-Robert de Sonke a plat of land near the bridge of Merse of the one part, and the Silche which falls into the water of Mersey; and by the other, dated in the same reign, but of which the year is uncertain, the same Willielmus le Botiller grants to William de Hereford unam placeam terræ jacentem inter Domum Laurentii Pistoris et pontem de Merse in Weryngton et unam acram terræ jacentem in Alderswell propinquiorem fossato fratrum Sancti Augustini de Weryngton. The site of the ancient ferry was unsuitable for the erection of a bridge, for the ground was low and peculiarly liable to floods, while the soil was soft and marshy, and did not on either side admit of a solid foundation for the piers. In choosing the site of a bridge it was necessary, therefore, to move lower down the river towards the situation where the present bridge stands, and from the deeds which have been just mentioned it may be safely, I think, inferred that the first bridge stood very nearly on the site of the present

ton formerly stood, lying in breadth between the walls of the Austin friars of the said town on the west and the aforesaid street

one. The passage in the text and the mention of the Silche in one of the deeds, the latter being the drain or syke which runs into the river a few yards to the east of the present bridge, combine to render this probable. As soon as the bridge was built, which is at a distance of not more than half a mile from the parish church, where the town had hitherto terminated, buildings and population soon began to be attracted towards the spot where the new communication was opened, and the street of Newgate, the modern Bridge street, was gradually formed. The priory would soon follow. For reasons before alluded to, I am inclined to think it did not lead the stream. It is true that the 33 Edward I., when the bridge is first mentioned, precedes the first express mention of the priory by many years; but not long after the battle of Evesham, in 1265, we find Richard the hermit, of Warrington, (almost certainly an Austin friar,) making a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Simon the righteous, (see Introduction,) and both the bridge and the priory were probably then standing.

The conjecture of Mr. Ormerod, (Hist. of Cheshire, vol. i. p. 447,) that the date of the erection of the bridge was intermediate between the two Boydell inquisitions, must now be abandoned since the discovery of Lord Lilford's deeds, and we shall still have to inquire at what earlier period than the 33d Edward I. the first bridge was erected at Warrington.

For nearly a century after the Norman Conquest there was little territorial connexion between the earldom of Chester and the lands between Ribble and Mersey. But about the year 1153 the lands between Ribble and Mersey were granted by King Stephen to Randle Gernons, earl of Chester. In those days, however, a parchment did not always immediately give a settled possession, and Stephen's authority would require to be confirmed, as it afterwards was by his next successor on the throne. Randle Gernons survived the confirmation of the royal grant but a few years, and, dying in 1160, was succeeded by Hugh Kyveliock as lord of the Cheshire palatinate. During his enjoyment of the earldom, which continued until 1182, when he died, we find but little mention of the possessions between Ribble and Mersey; but in the vigorous hands of his immediate successor, Randle Blundeville, the Lancashire possessions of the earldom seem to have been made available to their owner. In order to draw closer the communication between the two counties, the grant before referred to was made by him to the Boydells, of the passage over the Mersey; and I should date the erection of the bridge soon after the period of that grant. We have no information as to what were the materials of the first bridge, nor what was its form, and we are equally ignorant whether it was destroyed by the land floods, by the violence of man, or by the slow hand of time. If we knew the cause of its destruction, we might with some probability infer the nature of the fabric. Our ancestors, wiser in this respect than their sons, were not apt to erect their public buildings of a flimsy


prædictum ex parte orientali et extendit in longitudine a aqua de Mersee prædicta ex parte australi usque ad quoddam vacuum burgagium Petri Werburton armigeri ex parte boreali, quod redderet per annum dicto Petro de capitali redditu sex solidos et octo denarios.

construction, and we shall probably not be wrong in supposing that their first bridge at Warrington over our noble stream was a solid structure of stone.

Ignorant as we are of the exact date of its erection, we are equally ignorant of the date when the first bridge disappeared. It was standing, however, in 20th Richard II. (1397,) and in 1465, the date of the manuscript, it was standing no longer, for we read in the text, "ubi pons stetit ;" but how long it had then disappeared, we are not informed. We cannot, however, imagine that our forefathers did not experience great inconvenience from the interruption of the usual communication between the two counties for thirty years, for such at least must have been the period which elapsed before the Earl of Derby's munificent renewal of the bridge; and we cannot but suspect that the long wars of York and Lancaster, and the disturbances they occasioned, if not the actual cause of the destruction of the first bridge, were the means which prevented its earlier restoration. There might be more safety in those troublous times for our hardy forefathers behind the natural foss which the stream of the Mersey presented against their southern neighbours. We hear nothing of the old bridge after the eve of the usurpation of King Henry IV.; and no sooner had the red and white roses been united under the rule of King Henry VII. than we see the new bridge of the Earl of Derby spanning the stream at Warrington.

There is a passage in Mr. Baines's History of Lancashire, vol. ii. p. 352, which requires us to understand the word bridge in a sense different from the ordinary meaning. In the year 1362, he says, Liverpool was slowly rising into importance and an order was issued by the king to the admiral on the station, as well as to the sheriff of the county and the mayor and bailiffs of the borough, to rebuild (de novo construere) a bridge over the Mersey within their lordship. The bridge here meant must surely have been a large ferry boat?

Turning over the pages of the Fadera for quite a different purpose, after the foregoing note was written, I met with the following royal warrant of protection, from which we learn that there had been not only one, but two bridges at Warrington before the Earl of Derby's structure; for the expression in the warrant, "de novo construere," shows that the intended work was a re-erection of some former bridge. It confirms also the conjecture I have offered as to the solidity of the old structure, and by inference perhaps affords us some insight into the reasons why it was so soon destroyed. Some danger was evidently even then apprehended from persons who were jealous of the new work, and these persons might be the parties interested in the tolls of the ancient ferry, who, it seems, took no part in promoting the new work. Sir John le Botiller, Geoffrey de Werburton, and Mathew de Rixton, were

on the east, and extending in length from the water of Mersee aforesaid on the south as far as a certain empty burgage of Peter Werburton, esquire, on the north; which should render to the said Peter yearly for chief rent six shillings and eight pence.

the parties who, it seems, entitled themselves to the public gratitude by this public service. The warrant, which bears date 6th July 38 Edward III., 1364, may be found in Rymer's Fœdera, vol. iii. pp. 740, 741, and is as follows:

Rex universis et singulis vicecomitibus, majoribus, ballivis, ministris, et aliis fidelibus suis, tam infra libertates quam extra, ad quos, &c., salutem. Sciatis quod cum dilecti et fideles nostri Johannes le Botiller, Galfridus de Werberton, et Matheus de Rixton, quendam pontem ultra aquam de Mercy infra dominium suum, caritatis intuitu, de novo construere, et ad tranquillitatem et quietem populi nostri partium illarum ac aliunde, ibidem transfretare volentium, ac etiam pro cariagio petrarum, calcium, et aliarum rerum pro constructione pontis illius, quendam batellum, vocatum la Cristofre, ibidem ordinare proponant, ut accepimus, ac metuant tam sibi, carpentariis, cementariis, latomis, et aliis operariis quam batello prædicto, et marinariis in eo existentibus, per quosdam emulos suos et eorum procurationem, dampnum vel periculum posse de facili evenire.

Nos, ad præmissa considerationem habentes, ac opera caritatis nostris temporibus manuteneri volentes, suscepimus ipsos Johannem, Galfridum, et Matheum, ac carpentarios, cementarios, latomos, et alios operarios, ac eorum homines et servientes, necnon batellum prædictum et marinarios in eo existentes, tam petras, maeremium, et alia necessaria pro constructione pontis prædicti, quam homines partium illarum, et aliunde ultra aquam prædictam ibidem transfretari volentes, ducendo et educendo, in protectionem et defensionem nostram specialem.

Et ideo vobis mandamus quod eisdem Johanni, Galfrido, et Matheo, carpentariis, cementariis, latomis, et aliis operariis, seu eorum hominibus et servientibus, aut batello vel marinariis prædictis, non inferatis seu quantum in vobis est, ab aliis inferri permittatis, injuriam molestiam, dampnum, impedimentum aliquod, seu gravamen.

Et si quid eis, vel eorum alicui, forisfactum vel injuriatum fuerit, id eis sine dilatione faciatis emendari.

Ita semper quod dicti carpentarii, cementarii, latomi, operarii, seu marinarii, ab operationibus vel obsequiis nostris, cum eos seu eorum aliquem pro eisdem capi vel eligi præceperimus prætextu præsentis protectionis nostræ, nullatenus se absentent, set ad nostra obsequia promptos se reddant.

In cujus, &c. per unum annum duratur'. Teste Rege, apud Westm. ii. die Julii. Per concilium.

WILLIELMUS BOTILLER armiger filius et hæres Johannis Botiller militis dominus de Beawsee tenet de dicto Petro Legh milite in capite et per servitium militare ut patet per cartam originalem duo nova burgagia sub uno tecto ædificata vocata terram Henrici Lacheforthe perquisita' de uno Ricardo Patun et de uxore ejusdem ut de jure dictæ uxoris cum uno gardino vel crofto et pomario eisdem messuagiis spectantibus et pertinentibus, quæ quidem messuagia gardina et pomaria jacent et situantur in vico de Sonkygate dictæ villæ in latitudine dicti pomoerii gardini sive crofti et in longitudine dictorum burgagiorum inter messuagium dicti Petri in tenura Rogeri Holbroke ex parte occidentali et novum messuagium dicti Willielmi Botiller et gardinum in tenura Henrici Sadler ex parte orientali et extendunt in latitudine dictorum burgagiorum et in longitudine dicti gardini sive crofti et pomoerii a vico de Sonkygate prædicto ex parte boreali usque ad pomoerium fratrum Augustinensium dictæ villæ de Weryngton ex parte australi, quæ reddunt dicto Petro per annum de capitali redditu quinque solidos.

HENRICUS BIROM2 tenet de dicto Petro Legh in capite per servitium militare unum novum hospitium in quo Johannes Hardwar nuper mansit jacens in vico ducente a le Marketh yate de Weryngton usque ad altam ecclesiam quondam vocatum le Morslande3 cum coquino et stabulo cum aliis domibus necessariis quod quidem messuagium cum pertinentiis jacet et situatur in longitudine inter terram in lite pendentem inter hæredem Galfridi Werburton de Newcrofte et Thomam Danyell5 de Tabley modo in tenura Henrici Wodecok ex parte occidentali et terram Johannis Sonkey in tenura

1 It is not said by what ancestor of William Botiller this purchase was made; probably it was by his father, Sir John, that the purchase from Richard Patun and his wife was acquired.

* In a note to page 86 will be found a claim of the time of Henry VII., by Henry Byrom and Constance his wife. This Henry Byrom, according to Sir Peter Leycester, was of the Byroms in Lancashire, and he was probably the Henry Byrom mentioned in the text.

3 See this name noticed in the Introduction.

« AnteriorContinuar »