[From Crosby Records, 1887]


[Crosby Hall searched by the Earl of Derby.-William Blundell, his father Richard and a Seminary Priest conveyed prisoners to New Park.-Examined by the Earl of Derby.-Sent to Chester Castle. -Brought back to Knows!ey. -Examined by the Bishop of Chester.-Imprisoned at Lancaster Castle.-His father dies in gaol.-Released by the Earl of Derby.-Apprehended by Nutter, parson of Sefton.-Examined anew. -Sent to London and taken before the Archbishop of Canterbury.-Adjudged to Gatehouse prison.-Released on bonds.-House searched by Sir Richard Molyneux and Parson Nutter.-Escapes by flight, batt his wife with other recusant women carried prisoners to Chester Castle.-Proclaimed an outlaw. -A fug dive till the Queen's death.-Procures a free pardon from King James.-A "doleful duly" composed by him on Nutter's persecution. -A cry for relief.-Past and present. The names of those who begged his lands for recusancy.-Proceedings against his bondsman.-Attempted distraint.-Villagers indicted for riot and rescue.-Curious petition of a Crosby recusant.]

Som of the troubles and persecutions Sustayned by William Blundell, Esq., for profession of ye Catholick faith.

IN the yeare of our Lord God 1590 the 11th of June the Right honble Henerie Earle of Darbie, sent certaine of his men to searche the house of Richard Blundell of litle Crosbie, in the Countie of Lancaster, Esquire, for matters belonging to Catholicke Religion, &c., where they apprehended and tooke away with them to his honor's house (the New parke) one Mr. Woodroffe, a seminarie priest, and the said Richard Blundell and mee Willin Blundell, sonne of the said Richard: And the day next following we were severally examined by the Earle : And on the thirteenth day of the same month wee were all sent to be imprisoned in Chester Castle. About the 5 or 6 of August next following wee were all by the Earles men featched from Chester and brought to Knowesley, one of his honor's houses, where wee were (as alsoe my mother and one John Carre my father's than) severally examined by Chatterton, the Bishopp of Chester, who was ioyned in Comission with the Earle to examine us uppon Interrogatories by the Lords of the Councell.

And the day following the priest, my father, and I were sent prisoner to Lancaster (where wee found prisoners ther before us, Mr. Henrie Lathom of Mosborowe, and Mr. Richard Worthington of Blanschöuge Comitted for theire Conscience), where also my father and I remained (for the most part) untill the 19th of March of the year 1592, on which day my saide ffather Changed his life for a better. Within about a (fortnight after I had a licence obtained from the Right Honble the Earle of Derbie to come to Crosbie for one onely month, and then retorned to Lancaster againe, whence about Michaelmas ensueing or some-what before I was againe dismissed by his honors warrant.

And uppon the 20th or 21 of November next after I was againe apprehended (in the time of Bell's persecution) by John Nutter, parson of Sephton, and divvers others assisting him, and my wyfe also was taken, and both of us first where carried to the Parsonage of Sephton and theire staide all night, whence on the morning wee were brought to my Lord his house the New Parke before the Earle, the Bishopp Chatterton, and Mr. Wade, one of the Clearkes of the Councell, where my wife was dismissed, and I with others sent to London with 2 Pursevants or Messengers; and on the 8th of Decembr (beinge the feast of the Conception of our bt Ladie) I with am Henrie Lathom of Mosborowe was by the afforesaid Mr. William Wade brought before Doctor Whyt[gift] Archbishopp of Canturburie att his house, Croydon in Surrey, where wee were adiudged to prison, Mr. Lathom to the fleete and I to the Gatehouse of Westminster, where I remained prisoner untill the 12th of July of the yeare 1595, then was sett at libertie uppon bonds to apeare and come in within 20 dayes after warneing given, and (since which tyme I was never imprisoned), and soe coming home with my wyfe, who had come uppe to London with her Brother Edward Norres, and bee retorning after a few dayes, she stayed in prison with mee till my said deliverie, which was some 6 or 8 weeks.

And after wee lived att Crosbie untill the 27th of May in the yeare of our Lord 1598, att what tyme my house was searched by Sr Richard Mollinex, knight, and John Nutter, pson of Sephton, when, I escaping, my wyfe was taken for her Conscience and carried first to Sephton and examined, and retorned home for that night uppon bonds or promise of my ffather Norres (as I think) to appeare att Chester before the Bishopp such a day, and accordingly the last of the same month shee, together with divers other Catholickes, as namely Hector Stocke, Elin Baron, the wyfe of Lawrance Baron of the Edge, Jane Melling, widdow, Elin Blundell, the wyfe of Thomas Blundell of the Carrside in Ince Blundell were comitted to prison in the Castle of Chester, and within a litle more then a month after (as I take it) some man (but I never knew who it was) caused the old indictmt for entertaineing a seminarie priest, which had beene in the yeare 1590 afforesaid, to bee prosecuted against mee, whereuppon proclamation was made accordinge to theire Custome att the Countie Courts att Lancaster that I should come in and appeare, which I not doeing was condemned of felonie by the Coroner.

After this condemnation I tarried secretly att Countrie houses some 3 quarters of a yeare, and in the meane while my wife, getting out of prison in Chester Castle uppon bonds for her appearance againe, &c., shee and I, for feare of -beeing appr-hended, went first to Wrixhame in Wales (where. our brother Banister dwelt), and thence, after a good while, my wyffe being great with childe, retorned into Lancasheare to the Speakes, and I ridde to wéme (where my brother Bannister had another dwell-ing house), and thence to London to gett a pardon, where, send-ing home my horses, I, with my man Peter Stocke, staide there about ffive weekes, and without getteing a pardon, I came into Staffordsheire, changing my name, whither my wyfe came to mee, and theire wee staide about two yeares at six severall places, untill the Queene's death, where, comminge home, I soone after obtained from K. James a free and large pardon, which cost mee in all but either 40 or 50 shillings.


The followinge Dittie was made upo the p'secution made in Sefton parish, especially by Wahan (Vaughan) Bishop of Chester, and Nutter, parson of Sefton and Deane of Chester 2



Youe that present are take of us some pitie,
Who in dolefull wyse shew our grieffe in songe,
Mourne with us a whyle, yee that hear this Dittie
Made to moane ourselves of receaved wronge, [ende,
They feeinde [feigned] late our frende, whoe now seek our
Yea, and utter overthrowe.
For our conscience sake, they pursue or take
Those whom they suspect or knowe
Ancient truthe affectinge, new fond faithes rejecting
Such to prisons they do hale [haul],
Others find some favour, only wee lose labour
When for ease we crye or calle.


Husbands and their wyves parted are a sunder,
Parents severed are from their children deare,
Servants, men and mayds, forced are a number
Service newe to seeke, God, not they, knowes wheare,
Sucking babes do crye, which at home do lie
In the cradle for the pappe,
Mothers do bewayle, being fast in jayle,
Their sweet babies heavie happe,l
All the countrie talketh, everie way one walketh,
What in Sefton we endure
For no strange opinion, but that ould Religion
Austin planted here most sure.


Howses with our grovendes we must sett to others,
And in other coasts seeke our dwellinge place,
But our babes, to yonge to take with their mothers,
Needs must staye behinde ; O most heavie case,
Our foes are so bent, nothinge will content
But our death in sowle by sinne,
When they one can drawe from Christ's sacred lave,
Then they thinke the field they winne,
Wretched is their winninge, when they winne by sinninge,
And thearby God's favour lose;
Happie are those losses, welcome are those crosses,
Which us save from endles woes.


Jesu,,by thy grace, sweeten so our crosses
That we never faint, falle, or cast them downe ;
Make us well content to susteine our losses,
Whearby thou dost work us a blissfull crowne ;
Yett, good Lord Jesus, laye no more on us
Then thoue geevest strengthe to beare,
Beare we see wee must, yett in thee wee trust
To beare all with gladsome chearre ;
Geeve us what thou biddest, and bidde what thou pleasest,
Fullie wee ourselves resygne
In thy Church protect us, when we sinne correct us-
Not our owne wee are but thyne.



We Catholicks tormented sore
With heresies fowl railinge tonge,
With prisons, tortures, loss of geodes,
Of lande, yea lyves, even thieves amonge
Do crave with harte surcharged with grieffe
Of thee, sweet Jesu, some relieffe.


We crave relieffe in this distresse,
We seeke some ease of this annoye,
Yett are wee well content with all,
So thee in end wee may enjoye ;
Ourselves to thee wee do resygne,
Relieve us, Lord, our cause is thyne.


Our cause is thyne, and thyne are wee,
Who from thy trueth refuse to slyde
Our faithe thy trueth, true faith the cause
For which these garboyles wee abyde,
True faith, I say, as plaine appears
To all whoe shutt not eyes and ears.


To all whoe shutt not eyes and ears
'Gainst fathers, scriptures, Church and thee,
Whoe built thy Church as Doctors all
With scriptures playnlie doe agree,
Not soone to falle upon the sande,
But on a Rocke stille sure to stande.


Still sure to stande, yea, on a hille,
For all her friends and foes to see,
Her friends to foster and defend,
Her foes to vanquish gloriousíie,
From age to age this hath shee done,
Thus shall shee do in time to come.


In time to come, as heretofore,
Most certainlye shee shall prevayle
'Gainst all the force and sleightie wyles,
Whearwith hellgates may her assayle;
Whoe shoote against this brazen valle
With their fond boultes themselves will gaule.


Themselves to gaule they vil be sure
Whoe stryve to ruinate thy howse,
And to withdrawe thy children deare
From saufte lappe of thy dearest spouse,
Thy children whom, with streames of bloode,
Thou bought, sweet Lorde, upon the Roode.


Upon the Rood thou bought our soules
With pryce more worthe then all thou bought,
Yett doth the fëëde [fiend] our foes so biynde
Both soules and pryce they sett at nought;
They reaken not anoughe their ill
Except with theirs our soules they spill.


Our soules to spille they think full soone,
Or els our bodies to inthralle ;
Or, at the-least, to wantful state,
Through hard pursuits, to bring us all;
Come quicklie, therefore, Lord Jesus,
And judge this cause twixt them and us.


Geeve judgment, Lord, twixt them and _us,
The ballance yett let pittie houlde
Let mercie,measure their offence, , _ i
And grace reduce them to thy foul de,-
That wee, all children of thy spouse,
May live as brethren in thy house.



The tyme hath been wee hadd one faith,
And strode aright one ancient path,
The thym is now that each man may
See newe Religions coynd each day.

Sweet Jesu, wth thy mother mylde,
Sweet Virgine. mother, wth thy chylde,
Angclls and Saints of each degree,
Redresse our contrees miscrie.


The tyme hath been preestes did accord,
In. exposition of God's word,
The tyme is now, like shipmann's hose,
Its torrid by each fonde preacher's glose.
Sweet Jesu, &c.


The tyme hath been that sheepe obaide
Their pastors, doinge as they saide,
The tym is nowe that sheepe will preach,
And th' ancient pastors seeme to teache.
Sweet Jesu, &c.


The tyme hath beene the prelate's dore
Was seldome shott against the pore,
The tyme is now, so wives goe fine,
They take not thought the beggar kyne.
Sweet Jesu, &c.


The-tyme hath ben priest's woomen weare
Accounted strumpetts every wheare,
The tyme is now that wedd such will,
And everie Jacke will have his Gille.
Sweet Jesu, &c.


The tynne hath been men did beleeve
God's sacraments his grace did give,
The tyme is nowe men say they are
Uncertaine signes and tokens bare.
Sweet Jesu;-&c.. ,


The tyme hath been men would live chast,
And soe could maide that vowes had past,
The tyme is nowe that gifte has gone,
New gospellers such giftes have none.
Sweet Jesu, &c.


The tyme hath been that Saints could see,
Could heare and helpe our miserie,
The tyme is now that feends alone
Have leave to range, saints snust be gone.
Sweet Jesu, &c.


The tyme hath been feare made us quake
To sinn, least God should us forsake,
The tyme is now the lewdest knave
Is sure (hee'l say) God will him save.
Sweet Jesu, &c.


The tyme hath been to fast and pray,
And doe almesdeeds was thought the way,
The tyme is now, men say indeed,
Such stuffe wth God hath little meede.
Sweet Jesu, &c.


The tyme hath been, wth in this land,
One's woord as good as was his band;
The tyme is now, all men may see,
New faithes have kild olde honestie.

Sweet Jesu, wth thy mother mylde,
Sweet Virgine mother, wth thy chylde,
Angells and Saints of all degree,
Redresse our contrees miserie.

These next afore written Ballads of Rithmes wear made by Willm Blundell of little Crosbie, Esquyer, and are in all eighteen.

The names of those who begged 2 pcts of my Lands for Recusancie :-

Imprmis John Gille, 4
2 Charles Grimston
3 Thomas Heaton
4 Gervis Traves
5 The two of the blackguard
6 Thurston Gibson 5
7 Ambrose Astell
8 But before anie of these, one Lever (as I thinke) had a grant of the two pts of my father's lands, and aboute a yeare before my said ffather's death had 80+ for a Composition, and a lease of the saide two pts was made to Richard Armston, esquire, the rent thereof was

And soone after my ffather's death the said Lever (as I take it) began to proceede against me, but I am sure he had nothing. About the year of our Lord God 1593, when I was prisoner att London, John Gille gott a grant of 2 pts of my lands, and about a yeare and a halfe after made a division with the Shrieffes assistance, and had for a Composition a hundred and twentie pounds; the lease was made to Mr Wm Norres, sonne and heire aparant of Edward Norres of Speake, esquire, was dulie payde divers yeares untill Charles Grimston had gott a new grant of 2 pts of my lands, and laboured to gett a Composition, but through god's goodnesse hee had nothing.

Then about the yeare of our lord god 1599 I was outlawde uppon an Indictmt of fellonie for being taken with a priest, which Indictmt was -9 yeares before the said outlarie ; and thereuppon all my lands and goods were forfaited becase I did not come in and appeare uppon proclamation.

Then presently, after about the yeare 1601, Thomas Heaton and Gervise Traves, by reason the said Traves his hurte bee had in furthering the taking of Mr Hunt the priest, gott a new grante of 2 pts of my lands, and laboured verie busílie to gett possession or Composition, but (blessed bee god) gott neither, in which tyme of his labouring to gett my liveing the outlarie before menconed staide, and nothing was done about the same; untill it was thought-(by reason of my close keepeing) that I was fled the land.

And thereuppon proclamaton was made in Leverpoole market according to the statute of fugitives, viz. : that I should deliver my selfe into the sheriffes hands within six monthes, or else the law to proceede.

Then two of the Queene Eliz. : her Cooks begged all my lands as of a fugitive, and thereby disapointed Heaton and Travesse of there purpose. The said Cookes caused a Commission to bee sitten for the proveing of the value of my lands and my fleeing out of the land ; but soe it pleased god neither was ervd suffi-ciently to theire likeing nor anie thing gotten.

Within a yeare or litle more after the Queene died, and I gott a pdon under the king's scale, and thereby was freede, which pdon cost 26s 8d wth 135 4d in expences about it.

Then about the yeare of our Lord God 1637 Came Sr Arthur Aston into this Contrie, and pretended to have a grant of two pts of my lands and all my goods. And once sent halfe a duzen of his agents and after came twice in his owne ilson with a great Companie of men to have taken my goods, but Availed nothing save onely the latter tyme bee tooke an ould gelding.

But in the end it appeared that the grant was not to Sr Arthur but to Gibson and Thurstone, who laboured to gett a Composition, and in the meane time they paide into the Exchecquer xxtie marks, being one halfe yeares rent of the 2 pts of my lands, and the next halfe yeares rent they paid not, and so forfaited theire grant, weh Peeter Stocke, whom for that end I sent to London, found out.

Next after about the yeare of our Lord god 16io came Am-brose Astell prtending likewise to have a grant of the 2 pts of my lands from Bowes and Beeston, and laboured manie wayse to have an agreement, but not getting anie bee came to sease uppon my goods, and driveing one of my kine and some horses was rescowed by two psons. Att which tyme divers men and women came neare to see and looke on without apointment or request of anie, whereuppon bee caused a privie Sessions, and indicted a great meanie to the number of 70 psons, intending to mak a Starre chamber matter of it. But in the meane tyme bee was ilved to exceede his Comission and take bribes, and therby was driven the Countrie.

Yet afterwards, about 1613, he sent a gentleman like man, who was said to bee his sonne, to serve mee, my wife, and divers of my tenants into the Starre Chamber Aces about another false prtended Ryott, as namely, Richard Marrowe, Thomas Bourghe, Wm [?] Harrison, Thomas Marrowe, Thomas Rothwell, James Harvie, which James I sent to London to appeare for all, but uppon his appearance all theire p"reedings proved Conterffeate, and soe ended.

Blessed bee god for all his mercies and goodnesse for ever-more, Amen.

Edward Burghe of little Crosbie, Batcheler (who had neither goods nor liveing) was bound for the appeaeance of one att Lancaster Assysses, who did not appeare, and thereuppon the bonde of 423 was forfaited. The yeare after, viz., 1624, Sir Raphe Ashton, being Sherife, his balies came into little Crosbie to distraine for the forfaiture of the said bond (as they said) without shewing any Authoritie, and themselves not knowne of anie in the towne. They tooke the Catle of Edward Rysse, and wod have carried them away but yt ye brothers of Edward Rysse and some other did rescowe them. Thereuppon the Sherife indicted about xvi or xvii of little Crosbie, and one that was dead 20 years before of a Ryott and Rescowe for taking the goods of Edward Burghe, which they (said they) had seized upon for the forfaiture which was most false and untrue, for the goods weare not his but Edward Rysse's.

To my Lords the Judges of Assyze at Law. The hübly petition of Thomas Burghe :-

The petitioner hübly sheweth unto your Lordshipes, that hee beinge of fourscore years of age, standeth endyted before your Lordshps for recusancie and keepinge of Recusants in his howse, and hath beene much molested and trobled upon the same Indyctment frö tyme to tyme, and now yor petitions doth here submitt himself to your Lordshps censure for the same, and hübly craveth yor Lordshps that hee may be no further vexed ther-uppon, beinge so aged that he is not able to travell hither agayne wthout danger of his lyfe, dwellinge fourtie myles frö Lancaster. 26 August, 1623.

This supplication was drawen and afterward offered upp to ye judges or to one of them by Mr Robart Blundell of Ince blundell, Esqr and Cöncelor.


1 Henry; 4th: Bart of. Derby; does, not seem to have been over-zealous in the cause of the Reformation. If he had :possessed the, persecuting spirit of the Earl of Huntingdon (employed in the Northern Counties) things would have been very different in Lancashire. From the Stanley Papers, (Part II, Chetham Society, No. 31) it appears that his house was frequented by recusants, several of whom were of his own kindred. He died 25th September, 1593. New Park, a seat belonging to the Earl, in Lathom, was pulled down at the beginning of the last century. It was here that during the siege of Lathom House, the Countess of Derby was invited to confer with the Parliamentary generals concerning its surrender, an invitation which she indignantly refused.

2 The two first of these pieces Mr. Blundell has set to music, perhaps to the accompaniment of the Virginals. The following information was given to the Government in October, 1592 : " Mrs. Houghton of the Lea, hathe kepte synte the deth of her husbande, Richarde Blundell, brother to Willm Blundell of Crosbie, Armig, who is an obstinate Papiste, well acquainted with a number of seminaries, and he teacheth her children to singe and plaie upon the Virginalls." (P.R. O. Dom. Eliz. vol. 243, No. 52.) Virginals-an obsolete rectangular musical instrument of the spinnet kind. .,

3 Richard Blundell on entering the English College, Rome, 9 Sept. 1645, declared, inter alia, " My father, son of William Blundell, Esq., was born, or at least suckled, in prison, where his parents for a long time lay on account of their. faith. "-Foley's Records, vol. i. p. 233.

4 This John Gill got his grant from Queen Elizabeth in 1594, but seems to have paid nothing to the Crown. Four year's rent (£45 6s. 8d.) remained due, and was a charge on the estate when Mr. W. Blundell, the Cavalier, repurchased it in 1657.

5 Arthur Gibson, of London, citizen and merchant tailor, and Edward Thurleston, of Daubney, in Essex, had a grant for 27 July,1609, for a term of 21 years. They owed three year's rent to the Crown on surrendering it, which was added, like the above, to the obligations of the estate. (See appendix.)

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