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This book, presenting to the reader Warrington as it existed during the Wars of the Roses, offers a few traits of resemblance to the recovery of Pompeii, and affords at the same time a greater number of strong points of contrast. Laid by for a period of nearly four hundred years, it is now by the kindness of its owner, THOMAS LEGH, Esq., of Lyme, offered to the Society; and, in its pages, our distant ancestry become familiar to us in their names, their occupations, their money, their habitations, their customs, and their religious worship. Theatres, and the fine arts, are found only in Pompeii, cemeteries and tombs, are met with both

there and in Warrington!

The work, of which a small portion is now offered to the Society, contains a full and minute enumeration of the particulars of the large property at that time belonging to the Leghs; from which is here extracted all that relates to Warrington, and the immediate neighbourhood. Some account of the book itself will not be out of place, before we proceed to examine its contents. The book is a small folio in size, and extends over three hundred and thirtythree pages of vellum. It is written throughout principally in the same hand, but there are occasional alterations, indicated by the colour of the ink and a variation in the writing, which must have proceeded from some other scribe. The character of the hand-writing bears a resemblance to, and yet differs from, the writing in which deeds were then written; it is a sort of law character, in undress,—such as an educated gentleman of that day, would almost necessarily be taught to use. It is strong, legible, and plain, and

minutes like the following occurring in various places, shew that it has been carefully examined by the writer. As for instance, at pages 218 and 236 of the original, we read "corrigitur istuc;" and at page 260, “corrigitur hucusque." It is bound in a strong original binding, which is probably as old as the volume; but the lettering on the back, "Manuscript relating to Lyme Estate," has evidently been added at a later period, and is probably not more than a century and a half old. With a particularity unusual in such cases, the writer has been careful to record the exact date of his manuscript. He tells us that it was begun on the third Wednesday of Lent, in the year 1465, [i.e. according to the civil and legal computation,] and in the sixth year of King Edward IV. We can only reconcile the above year of Grace with the year of the King's reign, by supposing that the writer adopted the civil and legal, and not the historical computation; for as Edward IV. began to reign, according to the latter, on the 4th of March, 1461, and as the manuscript was commenced on the 5th of March, the writer of the manuscript must necessarily have written the year 1466, unless he had been guided by the computation which we have supposed. But a passage in Hollinshed's Chronicles, (p. 664,) will serve to make this matter more clear:-"King Edward" says he, "was proclaimed in the year of the world 5427, and from the birth of our Saviour 1461, after our accompt, beginning the year at Christmas, but after the usual accompt of the Church of England, 1460." After all, however, there seems to have been some uncertainty in the writer's mind as to

which computation he ought to use, for in a subsequent page in the volume, where he has given a separate heading for the description of the Lyme estate, he tells us that that portion of the work was written on the 29th of March, 1466, anno Regni Edward IV. 6°; from which it follows that he must, in this latter instance, have adopted the historical, and not the legal and civil computation.

We have no positive evidence of the actual hand by whom the book was written, nor do we know with certainty whether it was the work of the knightly owner, whose possessions it so minutely records; or of one of his two chaplains, whose names we shall have occasion to introduce; or by some Scottish agent, who betrays his country by his occasional spelling of the names of places. The adoption of an ecclesiastical mode of dating would seem to point out the profession of the scribe,-while, on the other hand, there are reasons for supposing the knight to have been his own amanuensis. Notices occur, here and there, of what he intended to do in matters, some of which are not immediately connected with his subject; and once or twice, the expression meets us, "ut ipse dicit," while in an age when the statute of additions was in full force, and knighthood was punctilious of respect, he is constantly spoken of as the "said Peter," or the "said Peter Legh," without further addition. Hence there arises a strong presumption that Sir Peter Legh penned the work himself; a presumption which will be further strengthened by the magistrates' forms occurring at the end of the volume, -a circumstance which will be alluded to in the sequel.

It was hardly to be expected that the composer of the Legh rent-roll, in the time of Edward IV., should write Latin like Cicero or Quinctilian, and perhaps the reader of the manuscript will not be surprised to find the latinity full of more than ordinary faults. The breaking of Priscian's head did not subject the offender to a charge of assault in those days when neither readers, nor perhaps the generality of writers, were capable of discerning the fault. We shall hardly wonder at this, when we remember that in a later age, even an University thought it necessary to condemn such errors as, "ego currit, et Socrates legere."Fosb. Brit. Monachism, p. 249.

It has not been thought necessary in the printing of this work, to follow the numerous contractions which occur in the original, and which serve to puzzle ordinary readers. There being, however, nothing unusual in most of them, it is believed that they have been faithfully decyphered and interpreted by the transcriber. On one occasion, it appears from a modern notice, that the volume was produced as evidence in a court of law.

There are few Cheshire families the history of which is more interesting than that of the Leghs of Lyme, and as the reader of the extract now published will naturally be desirous to learn some particulars of its presumed compiler, I will proceed to introduce, by way of notice of his family,' the following:

1 The authorities for this pedigree are principally to be found in Whitaker's Richmondshire, vol. ii. pp. 246, 304; Ormerod's Cheshire, vol. iii. p. 338; Baines's Lancashire, vol. iii. p. 644.


I. Sir Piers Legh, who became the grantee of Lyme in 1397, was Steward of Macclesfield and the forest, and was beheaded at Chester, 1st Aug. 1399. He was third husband of Margaret Danyers, whom he married in Nov. 1388, and who survived him. In 4th Henry VI., she gave to her son Piers her moiety of the Boydell property in Grappenhall, and died 6th Henry VI. See her Inq. p. m. Sir Piers and Margaret Legh had two sons, and one daughter:

Sir Peter, who succeeded;

John Legh, escheator of Cheshire, 12th and 13th
Henry VI.; and

Margaret, who married Sir John de Ashton.

History of Lancashire, vol. ii. p. 533.

II. Sir Peter Legh of Lyme, Kt Banneret, was at the battle of Agincourt, Oct. 25, 1415, and died of his wounds at Paris, 1422, æt. 31 or 32. Nicolas, in his Battle of Agincourt, mentions this Sir Peter as having been in the battle, and as having been one of the important personages there, (p. 128.) He calls him Sir Peter de Legh. In the muster-roll, (Ibid, p. 354,) we find him entered thus,

Monsr. Piers de Legh, ov. sa retenu,

Robert Orell,

Hugh de Orell,

Thomas Sutton,

John Pygott,

George de Asheley.

He was buried at Macclesfield. He married Joan,2 daughter

1 In Mr. Ormerod's History of Cheshire, vol. i. page 479, an account is given of a foray made by Sir Peter Dutton and others, one of whom was

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