[From Crosby Records, 1887]
THE following pages illustrate a phase in the social history of England hitherto but slightly commemorated. Few traces will be found in the Chetham publications of the bitter religious conflict raging, more especially in Lancashire, before the convulsive throes of civil war were felt throughout the land. It is a matter of history that the Penal Laws were called into existence in the days of Elizabeth, to secure submission to the religious ordinances then forced upon the nation. These laws, though chiefly affecting priests (of whom, as Bishop Goss says, 106 suffered death in her reign) were framed so as to visit lay-recusants with the severest penalties. It is manifest that the lives of those who, at that period, adhered to the ancient faith, must have been passed in extreme discomfort. And yet even towards the end of this Queen's reign the number of recusants in Lancashire was very great. Very many of the gentry, and a large portion of the commonalty, resisted with characteristic stubbornness the attempts then made to stamp out all vestiges of the old religion. A remarkable State Paper,1 compiled by the Bishop of Chester and his officials, reveals the attitude of nearly all the gentry of the West Derby Hundred at this important crisis. It is dated 1590, and is prefaced by these observations
" 1. The nomber of recusants is great, and wth dailie increase."
" 2. There may be seene usuallie everie Sunday and holiday, as hathe also very lately been confessed, as many people to repayre to places suspected as to the Parryshe Churche."
It attributes these " enormities " chiefly to the want of due and effectual execution of the penal laws, and proceeds to enumerate the gentry, beginning with the magistrates, twelve in number. These are headed by the Earl of Derby and his son, and a running commentary in marginal notes reveals the character and disposition of each individual. With the exception of the two above-named and Mr. Legh, of Lyme, who are favourably spoken of, some disparaging qualification accompanies the other names, although they are said to be conformable in religion. It must be remembered that no one could be a magistrate without taking the oaths of allegiance and supremacy. Eighteen knights and squires follow, who are bracketed together with this remark All of them though in some degree of conformitie, yet in general note of evil affection in religion non-communicants, and ye wives of most of them recusants." After this we have eight of the same class who are said to be " more usual comers to Church but non-communicants." Three only are admitted to be " soundly affected in religion." We then come to gentlemen of the better sort. Eight are named as recusants, and " thereof indicted," and eleven as " comers to Church but non-communicants," and their wives very little better than recusants. Seven more are said to be " soundly affected in religion," and they are followed by a list of fourteen ladies, beginning with Lady Lucy, wife of Edward Stanley, of Winwick, who are declared to be recusants, and " thereof indicted." Thus it will be seen that in 159o, notwithstanding the severe penal laws then in force, the feeling of the West Derby Hundred, as expressed in the attitude of the gentry, was not in favour of the reformed doctrines, although occasional acts of conformity were made to escape persecution. Of the common people the same document declares that 941 persons had been prosecuted for recusancy before the last quarter session, and Boo since the last commission.
Many private papers and records in the possession of the representatives of recusant families reveal something of the manner in which these laws were enforced, and of the persecutions and sufferings of their victims. Through the kindness of Colonel Nicholas Blundell of Crosby Hall, we have it in our power to place before our readers some documents of this nature.
The Blundells of Crosby were, to use the language of the times, " stout recusants." They stood almost alone in the tenacity with which they clung to the faith of their forefathers. They never sought, as others in like circumstances occasionally sought, to obtain by unworthy concessions, some temporary alleviation of their lot; they never made any " show of conformity." For more than two centuries they bore, without flinching, all the fines, imprisonments, exactions, and disabilities, which were the necessary outcome of the penal laws. And they stood firm to the end, till the day of their deliverance dawned, when they were left free to pray according to the traditions of their race. Their ancestor, Robert de Eynolfsdale, would have worshipped God in the pretty Church of St. Joseph now rising in the. midst of Blundellsands at the bidding of his descendant, the present representative of the family. The latter still possesses the chartergrant of King John, when Earl of Moreton, by which this very land (part of the manor of Great Crosby) was given to the above Robert, nearly seven hundred years ago. The fortunes of this family have been followed at some length by the writer in the introduction to "A Cavalier's Note Book." It will be sufficient for our present purpose to call attention to one member of it, William Blundell (1560-1638), whose career ran through the period of the hottest persecution. He was grandfather to his namesake the " Cavalier," and has left behind him many documents either in his own hand-writing or in that of his servant, which have been carefully preserved by his descendants. These papers contain, together with controversial writings and pious poetical effusions, those reminiscences of his own individual sufferings, which are now placed before our readers.2
William Blundell was born in 1560, and was apparently educated at Douay College, which had been established by Cardinal Allen both for ecclesiastical and lay students. The following entry occurs in the Douay Diary, and although the Christian name is not given, the other particulars are sufficient to identify the young student with our Crosby Blundell.3
" 1580, June 9. This day there came from England two youths of gentle birth, Standishe and Blundell, and another youth, Warton, of whom the two last, although 20 years of age, as might be conjectured from their countenances and stature, had been educated with such care by their friends, that they had never themselves had any experience of schism or heresy, having no relish whatever for any but the Catholic religion."
It is not recorded when William Blundell left Douay, but he had an early experience of persecution when he was taken, with his father, a prisoner to Lancaster Castle, the latter having been convicted of harbouring Robert Woodroffe, a seminary priest. The original indictment in this case is still preserved at Crosby. A letter addressed by Richard Blundell to his wife from prison records the death of Mr. Worthington of Blainscow, a fellow sufferer in the cause of religion; and he himself succumbed to the hardships of his confinement, dying 19th March, 1591-92. We must leave the son to give his own history of the events which followed the death of his father. For many years he led a chequered existence, and his uncompromising character evidently gave much trouble to his persecutors. In the following State Paper he is singled out as one of the most malignant recusants in Lancashire.
" Richard, Bishop of Chester, to Secretary Cecil,-It may please you once more to give me leave to interrupt your graver affairs, with the cause of the poor messengers so cruelly entreated in Lancashire by certain bloody recusants, since which time Her Majesty's service in these parts hath been much hindered, &c. That part of the county where this outrage was committed is full of seminary priests and gentlemen recusants that harbour them, and namely and specially Edward Eccleston of Eccleston, William Blundell of Crosby, Henry Lathom of Mosborrow, and Henry Travers of Hardshaw, Esquires, who give countenance to all lewd practices and despise all authority, that until they be bridled from above and brought in by a strong hand, there is no hope of reformation or obedience in these parts, &c. Given at Chester, this last day of January, 1599."4
The ill-treatment of the messengers to which the Bishop refers, was probably their having been compelled to eat their warrants, an incident rather Irish in character, but which we learn from other sources to have actually occurred at this period.5 The imprisonment of Mrs. Blundell in Chester Castle, which took place the previous year, seems to have aroused some indignation in the country, and the following letter (from a copy at Crosby) addressed to the Bishop by two powerful neighbours was successful in obtaining her release.
"To ye Right reverend FF. in God or very good L. ye L. Bishoppe of Chester,-Whereas wee are given to understand that since the late commitment of Mrs Emilia Blundell (close prisoner in her Maties Castle of Chester) yor honor by some her worshipful frends hath beene often and earnestlie entreated for her enlargernt in regard of some of her infirmities upö good and sufficient bonds for her forthcoming and ye inlaying of her body at such time as shall be thought fitt and convenient. And further that in a fatherlie care ovr the present state of her feeble body and ye preservation of her decayed health yor Lordship is said to carie an honorable inclination and disposition. And for that wee ourselves by divrs and südrie or good neighbours have been likewise seriouslie solicited for the speedy furthering thereof We have therefore thought good thus much hereby to signifie that if in consideration of all or any of ye prmisses it may stand with yr hobie good Lordships liking to favor to allow thereof and ye same to grant accordinglie wee for or parts shall be well pleased to yield thereunto and by or mutual assent to joyne with yor hor in that behalfe so that upon like bonds sufficient permission may be had that for and during all the time of her uncomformitie, obstinacie and disobedience she shall not make any repaire unto or into anie part of or Parish of Sephton, nor yet within the space of so manie myles as by yor LPe shal be limited and appoynted. And for that common experience doth too well teach us that ye evill examples of such Archpapists and disobedient persons doe greatlie hinder the race of ye Gospell (especiallie in these maritime parts) and daylie threaten dangerous events, if ye same be not Wislie foreseene and speedilie prevented: Wee could wish or selves likewise altogether freede from the company of Mr Blundell, her husband, if by any lawful way or means, he (being a confyned Papist) might be removed from among us. Thus referring the whole matter and every circumstance thereof unto yor hors grave and deep consideration with remembrance of or duties we humbly take leave, Sephton of this August ye 23a-98.
Yor good LPs every way assured,
RICHARD MOLYNEX, Jo: NUTTER."
The qualifications of Sir Richard Molyneux for promoting 'the race of the Gospel' may be doubted. The marginal notice attached to his name in the return previously quoted is, "maketh shew of god conformitie, but many of his companie are in evill note."
His son, Sir Richard, created Viscount Molyneux, 1628, married Mary, daughter and co-heiress of Sir Thos. Carryll, knt., a staunch Catholic, and the children seem to have been brought up in that faith. One of the sons was Caryll, Lord- Mollyneux, the famous royalist leader, who succeeded, his brother Richard as 3rd. Viscount in 1654. The family continued Catholic until 1768, when Charles Philip, who had been a minor for some time, and had apparently received a Protestant education, publicly conformed to the Established Church. He was created Earl of Sefton in 1771. 6
The Rev. J. Nutter is said in the same return to be Dean of Chester and Parson of Sephton, Aughton, and Bebbington. Hence he was a great pluralist, and had the reputation of possessing considerable wealth. He was the `golden ass' of Queen Elizabeth, so that we may conjecture the source of the following special commission.7
" 44 Elizh. Depositions taken before the Bishop of Chester concerning certain bags of treasure supposed to have been concealed in the parsonage house of Sefton after the death of Mr. Nutter, Dean of Chester-also for the proving the bastardie of him.8
The " ditties " of Mr. Blundell belong to this period. Out of 18 composed by him three only are given, the rest being chiefly translations of pious Latin hymns. His verses, though rugged, are quaintly expressive, and bring out the religious and controversial side of his character.
He came into life at the period of the greatest revolution that has befallen England; in the very year when by the accession of Elizabeth to the throne, the change of religion was rendered complete. Nursed amid the traditions of Catholicity, he lived long enough to be a witness of the results of this important event. It is interesting to note what an English gentleman in his position has to say on this point. His verdict, as given in the comparison which he makes between the past and the present, is not favourable to the new order of things.
Many family traditions of these persecutions were carried abroad by the English ladies who peopled the convents in France and Flanders,-humble dwellings which had arisen to supply the place of the stately monasteries whose ruins still adorn our land. One such document is annexed to Mr. Blundell's narrative because it contains some additional particulars. It has been furnished to the Editor by the Benedictine Community at Teignmouth, in Devonshire, where the annals of the English Augustinian Convent, formerly at Louvain, are preserved.
For all necessary information regarding the Penal Laws, our readers are referred to the following introduction by the late Bishop Goss, who edited Abbott's Journal for the Chetham Society. He does not pretend to give a digest of these numerous enactments, but says enough to make us wonder, not that England became Protestant, but that a remnant was left to carry on the traditions of the older faith. Dr. Goss was consecrated in 1853 as Bishop of Gerra in partibus, and coadjutor to the first Roman Catholic Bishop of Liverpool, whom he succeeded in 1856. He died October 3, 1872, leaving behind him the reputation of an able and fearless prelate. At one time he contemplated the publication of an account of the Harkirke burial ground, and of the remarkable discovery of Saxon coins related by Mr. Blundell. In addition to this introduction he has left many notes regarding the coins, though not reduced to any order.
The original copperplate engraving of 35 of these coins, procured by Mr. Blundell in 1613, has been utilised for this work. Impressions were taken at the time, and a copy found its way into the British Museum.9 William Blundell, the Cavalier, had one or two hundred copies struck off in 1676, and Mr. T. Blount, to whom he lent the plate, had others taken for the use of his friends. One of them was sent in 1693, to Mr. Abel Small, then engaged in the reprinting of Camden, and led to a notice of the find in that work .10
The name " Harkirke " is said to be derived from "All hära Cyrice," the hoary, grey, or ancient church, and the tradition of the holiness of the spot no doubt influenced Mr. Blundell in his selection of it for a burial ground. The same sentiment may have led to the deposit made loo years previously, as churchyards were sometimes chosen for the concealment of treasure.
Trust not would his experience say,
Captain or comrade with your prey ;
But seek some charnel, when, at full,
The moon gilds skeleton and skull
There dig, and tomb your precious heap,
And bid the dead your treasure keep.11
At Hexham churchyard in 1833, 8,000 Northumbrian coins were found, supposed to have been placed there not later than A.D. 844. The Bishop conjectures that the Harkirke deposit was made on the occasion of a sudden incursion of the Danes, by some one whose death or captivity prevented his reclaiming the treasure. The date he supposes to have been about 913, as there are no coins of the latter part of the reign of Edward, son of Alfred. The Danes have left in this part of Lancashire many traces of their settlements. Crosby, Formby, and Ravensmeols lie contiguous to each other, so that at one time the Danish element must have been in the ascendant. The treasure found at Cuerdale in 1840 is supposed to have been deposited about the same period. It was a much larger find, consisting of 7,000 to 8,000 silver coins, with ingots of silver about, three inches and one-tenth in length, armlets and other ornaments. The deposit lay about 40 yards from the banks of the Ribble. Mr. Blundell speaks of four score as the number of coins discovered at Harkirke, but his grandson, the " Cavalier," says that upwards of 300 coins were found, as well as some few pieces of uncoined silver. If this was the case, many must have come to light after the first discovery.
The Cavalier adds that until 1642, he had a great many in his own keeping, but that at the breaking out of the Civil War he sent them for greater security into Wales, where they were lost. The same fate befell some of the family writings. Certain it is that none of the coins are now at Crosby Hall, and that so many valuable deeds are missing, that it is impossible now to compile a satisfactory pedigree of the family. Mr. Blundell does not give any clue to the place where these treasures were deposited. It may have been Wrexham, where his kinsmen, the Banisters, resided.
It is evident that Mr. Blundell took a great interest in the treasure, which he felt had come to him as some recompense for his charity in providing, like another Tobias, a place of sepulture for those of his religion and race. His quaint explanation of the coins shews a better knowledge of the Anglo-Saxon saints and monarchs than of the science of numismatics. At the period when he lived this science was unknown, so that he had not the assistance of those kindly manuals which very much lighten the labours of students in this province. Moreover, it would be too much to expect from a copperplate of that period that accuracy of delineation, without which the best endeavours at a true interpretation will necessarily fail. The engraver in all probability never saw the Coins themselves, and though Mr. Blundell no doubt copied them with- the greatest care, he confesses with regard to some that he has left places vacant where he could not decipher the " strange characters." After all, it is a matter of less importance than if the Crosby "find" had stood alone. It has been eclipsed of late years by that of Cuerdale, which included most of the Crosby coins depicted in the plate. Mr. Blundell's mistakes in description chiefly arise from his confounding the moneyers with Saxon Kings, and from his erroneous notion that there was a special coin for Peter Pence. The short description given at the end of the chapter was procured by Bishop Goss from the late Rev. D. H. Haigh of Erdington, whose attainments in this particular branch of science are well known.
The Harkirke Burial Register is almost entirely in the handwriting of the successive squires of Crosby, and great care has been taken to notify in each entry that the party interred had been previously denied burial at the parish church. The names are chiefly those of humble tenants and neighbours, the total number buried being 131, of whom 26 were Priests.
The last person who appears to have been refused burial at Sefton Church was Ellen Williamson of Ince Blundell. This was on 5th May, 1629, so that the removal of the inhibition coincides with the induction into the living of Rev. Edward Moreton, D. D., which took place in the following month. Few burials are recorded from Liverpool, but the same prohibition was in force there, and the friends of Anne Webster, a tenant of Mr. Crosse, had much difficulty in disposing of her body. After the Curate of Liverpool Chapel had refused to bury her, they went to the Mayor for an order, but without success.
They afterwards made application in vain to Mr. More, and had then to undertake the long journey to Crosby, where Mr. Blundell acted for them the part of the good Tobias. The exclusion of the Catholic recusants of this district from the use of their parish church yard lasted quite 20 years. In regard to the burial of Priests, it is generally notified that they were carried to the grave at the dead of night. The burials that took place after the above year are nearly altogether those of Priests. Little is known of their lives, which were hidden and apostolic. Constantly exposed to seizure, they had no fixed abode, but went from house to house, preaching in barns, and ready to give their assistance wherever required. It was not till after the Civil Wars that the squires, whose tenants they served, were able to give them a comparative safe asylum in their own mansions. The writer has not met with an earlier instance of a Priest in Lancashire residing with his patron, than that of the Rev. John Walton, S. J., who, in 1646, was retained by the Cavalier at Crosby Hall, which, however, he was frequently obliged to leave at a moment's notice. Something notable has come down to us with regard to two of the Priests here interred. There is amongst the few memorial stones at Harkirke an oblong stone with deeply-cut initial letters, intended to designate the Rev. John Layton, alias Port, S. J., who was buried at 9 p.m. on the night of 19th Feb., 1624, having expired the previous evening. The following passage from the Annual Letters, S. J., 1624, shows that though he died young, he had left his mark in the land.
These letters were annual reports furnished by the Superior of the district to the General of the Society at Rome, giving such details as might be considered interesting or important.
" Great fruit is gained from the sermons preached not only in private houses, but also publicly and frequently in rustic barns, and these are attended by great crowds both of Catholics and Protestants from the neighbourhood. Father John Layton, alias Port, was successful in this work. His sermons were attended by such numbers that it was difficult to find a barn large enough to hold them all, while in the meantime the Protestant churches were nearly emptied. It is recorded that the parson of a celebrated parish church would often deplore from his pulpit with tears the non-attendance of the people, and the almost abandonment of his church, yet all in vain; for upon great festival days his congregation consisted only of his wife and children and domestics, and one or two townsmen to fill the vacant seats of the church. On the contrary, our father sought every means of enlarging and decorating his barn, and feeding 'the multitude flocking there like sheep without a shepherd, with the salutary food of the word of God and the Sacraments. He was one of the many who devoted their labour to hearing confessions and administering Holy Communion, as also to preaching, catechising children, disputing with the heretics, confirming the orthodox in their faith, and performing all the other functions of Apostles. He thus drew into his barn a most copious harvest, and would have gained yet more had not sickness, followed by death, carried him off at the early age of 38." .12 Sefton was doubtless the parish church referred to in the foregoing extract.
Rev. Edward Molyneux, a secular priest who died go years later, seems to have led a similar life, with the same efficacious results. He resided with his, brother, Mr. Richard Molyneux, at the Grange (now a farm house close to the Altcar shooting ranges), of which property the family had a long lease, procured from their kinsmen, the Molyneux's of Sefton. He also went from house to house preaching in barns to great multitudes of hearers. - Mr. Nicholas Blundell records more than once in his diary that he went with his wife to Margery Howerd's to hear " Mr. Molineux hold forth." He also tells us of his being found dead on the sands on 28th April, 1704. He speaks highly of him as a priest and a confessor, and says that he had goo penitents, under his charge, besides children. Of course many of these must have come from a distance. A curious tradition regarding Mr. Molyneux has lingered to this day in the village of Little Crosby. It is said that he was the owner of a fleet horse, and that on the above day, after riding over the sands to Liverpool, as he often did, he put up at his usual inn. When :ready to return in the evening, the ostler told him that his horse was lame, and offered another which he accepted, riding leisurely: homewards. With the intention of robbing him, the man soon after mounted Mr. Molyneux's horse, overtook him on the lonely sands, and, pulling him from his horse, was alarmed at finding that the fall had occasioned his death. He fled hastily from the spot, but several years afterwards, being about to die at Lancaster for some other villainy, he confessed that he had been the cause of the death of Father Molyneux. Whatever truth there may be in this tradition, it seems certain that no suspicions of foul play were entertained at the time, otherwise the diarist would have alluded to them.
The site of this ancient burial place is now included within Crosby Park walls. It lies at a short distance from the Hall, westward, towards the sea. A neat memorial cross has been erected by the present squire to mark the spot. A road formerly ran towards Sefton, through the Harkirke ; and one of the wayside crosses with which England was once thickly studded, has been restored to its ancient position at its side.
Mr. Blundell is sometimes mistaken in the names of those who begged his lands, nor is this to be wondered at. He would naturally desire to know as little as possible of his unwelcome visitors. In some cases he bought them off, and it was clearly their interest to accept a moderate composition. The difficulties in the way of distraint must have been very great, and Mr. Blundell with his tenants, most of whom were in the same plight as himself, had no doubt their " plan of campaign." They would have timely notice of the approach of the enemy, and would take care that there should be little for them to seize. Although the only magistrate in the neighbourhood, Mr. More, was by no means friendly, yet he would be unwilling to proceed to open acts of hostility, and the Sheriff's assistance could not be reckoned upon at ordinary times. When he did come down at the head of a posse of soldiers with trumpets and drums, it was really a very formidable affair. Fortunately the " bark " of the Star Chamber was worse than its " bite," for it frequently remitted or diminished the fines imposed.
Mr. Blundell petitioned the Crown for some abatement of the outrageous sum in which he had been amerced, and the following document, preserved at Crosby, gives the result.
" CHARLES R.
Right trustie and righte well-beloved Counsellor, wee greet you well. Whereas we have been petitioned by yor trustie and well-beloved subjette John ffleminge Esqr executor of the last will and testamt of Sr Wm Norris, Knight, who was fyned in or Court of Stare Chamber in the sume of £1000 and by Willm Blundell, gent : who was fyned in the some of £2000 that wee would be seriously pleased in consideration of their small estates to accept of each of them in lieu of their fynes so imposed such a sume of money as they are able to give. And for that it appeareth by the certificate of the Lord Chiefe Baron of or Excheqr that upon consideration of their meane estates (wh. are well known unto him) hee is of opinion that if £250 may be paid by each of them unto or use in lieu of their fynes it were a behoovefial bargaine for us, wee are therefore seriously pleased upon consideration thereof to accept of the said several surnes of £250 of each of them in full discharge of the said several fines above mentioned, And do hereby will and command you to give order to or attorney general to p'pare a bill fit for or Royal signature conteyninge such a discharge of the said several fines as hee shall think fitt. And for soe doinge this shall be yor warrantt. Given at or Courtt of Greenwich the 19th of Maie in the 7th year of or Reigne. To or Right trustie and Righte well beloved Counsellor Richard Lo. Weston or highe Treasurer of England.
Mr Attorney. I here send you the copie of his Maties Ire under his Royall signature directed unto me by wh you may do what his Maties pleasure is and so pray you to p'sue the direction therein given. 25 Maie, 1631.
Mr. Blundell having married Emilia, sister of Sir William Norris, it is easy to understand how they came to be associated in this petition. The knight's offence arose also out of a matter of religion. He complained to Mr. More that he was too particular in making enquiries from the Churchwardens of Childwall about his absence from church. More replied that he was too credulous of the speeches of the Churchwardens, whereupon Sir William gave him the lie, which, being returned, the knight drew his sword and struck him a blow. A complaint was made by More to that omnipotent tribunal the Star Chamber, and the result was a fine of £1000 besides £50 to be given to More as a solatium. It is singular that both the contending parties should follow each other to the grave soon after their quarrel. Sir William Norris died in 1631, and More, as the Cavalier William Blundell tells us, fell down dead in the street, in 1632. He was 69 years of age, and his improvident habits must have contributed to the ruin of this important Liverpool family. Henry Scarisbrick, of Scarisbrick, who died 1609 left his daughter Mary, wife of John More, gentleman, 200 marks yearly, but appointed Lawrence Ireland and Alexander Barlow her trustees, so that her portion be "no wise impaired by her husband." 13
It will be seen from the above document that Mr. Blundell got off for £250, but in addition to this he had to pay the expenses of the Sheriff and his followers. The receipt of Sir Ralph Ashton for £80, his share of the spoil, is still preserved at Crosby.
The extracts from the " Greate Roll " of Lancashire Recusants, show how carefully all unpaid fines and compositions were charged against their estates. When the property of the Cavalier, forfeited for his loyalty, was offered for sale in 1653, it was purchased for him by two friends. In 1658 he was ready to pay for it, but was confronted by the enormous bill here inserted, which nearly doubled the cost of redemption. He complains also that he was forced to procure " at his great charge " these extracts to be taken from the Exchequer Roll. It appears from the bills attached that the transcribing of this document, which is above 20 feet long, cost no less than £34 16s. 2d. Should the Great Roll of Recusants throughout England ever see the light, it will be discovered how much of the life of England was crushed under the weight of the Penal Laws. Their disabilities and exactions fettered its free existence; they embittered the lives of those who were true and loyal subjects of the Crown, seeking only to worship God according to their conscience. The Penal Laws are largely responsible for the almost total disappearance in Lancashire of the class of lesser gentry - a class very numerous in the early days of Queen Elizabeth.
It is satisfactory to be able to add, on the authority of his grandson the " Cavalier," that William Blundell, who suffered so much for his faith, had the blessing of God in his temporal affairs. He added somewhat to his paternal estate, and left it to his successor unincumbered with debt, besides providing his other children with a competent maintenance. He died at Crosby on 2nd July, 1638, aged 78 years. His eldest son Nicholas having predeceased him in 1631, his namesake the "Cavalier" entered upon his inheritance at the early age of 19. He had been married when only 15, in order to enable his grandfather to make a fresh settlement of the estates,--a matter of considerable importance to those under the ban of the Penal Laws.
The thanks of the Chetham Society are tendered to Colonel Blundell, for permission to transcribe for publication the valuable papers here inserted. The Editor wishes also to acknowledge the readiness with which he entered into his plans, and the many facilities afforded him towards the prosecution of this work.
T. E. G.
1 Dom. Eliz., vol. 235, No. 68. This document is given in "Lydiate Hall and its Associations," p. 242: '
2 Some of Mr. Blundell's writings were made use of by the Editor in a -paper entitled " A Century of Recusancy," read to the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire (Transactions, vol. xxxi.), and are reprinted with the permission of the Council.
3 1580, Junii, 9 die, et Angliá venerunt duo juvenes nobiles, Standishe and Blundell, and alius, Warton; quorum duo extremi quamvis 20, uti ex eorum vultibus ac staturis conjicere licet, annos nati sint, tanta tamen amicorum cura sunt educati, ut quid schhima sit quidve haresis ipsi in seipsis nunquam experti sint, nullum cujuspiam praeterquam Catholica vel minimum quidem, religionis gustum habentes.-Douay Diaries, 1st and 2nd,; p. 166.
4 Dom. Elíz., vol. 274, No. 25.
5 Amongst Mr. Blundell's papers are some verses in the alliterative style, once so popular, on a pursuivant named " Crosse," who, he says, " was sore beaten with Bõman and others, at Ollerton, near Brindell, in Lancashyre, on the 10th day of August, A.D, 1618".
6 The last Catholic Viscount Molyneux, William, was a Priest of the Society of Jesus, and died 1759. In early life he had renounced the family estates, reserving only a very modest pittance. He could not legally dispossess himself of the title, but he never made use of it. He is passed over in the will, dated 14 June, 1751, of his brother Thomas, who constituted his wife, Maria Molyneux, Charles, Duke of Beaufort, and William Prujean, the family solicitor, guardians of his infant son.
7 Called "Nuttall" by Leycester (Antiq. of Chester, p. 169), who says of him, "A man of great wealth: Queen Elizabeth tearmed him a Golden Ass : he died as he was at supper at Sefton, A.D. 161;."
8 Lanc. and Chesh. Records, R. S., pt. 2nd, p. 336.
9 Harleian MSS., No. 1,437.
10 Camden's Britannia, "Gough," vol. iii. p. 137. See also plate III. in Spelman's Life of Alfred.
11 Rokeby, Canto H., part 18.
12 Foley's Records, S.J. Collectanea, pt. ii. p. 1108.
13 Lancashire Inquisitions, Record Society, vol. iii.
[FPC] - fragmentary family tree - William Blundell, the Cavalier, would appear to be the author of Blundell's History of the IoM
Richard = d 1592 | +--+---------------------------------~~~----------+--------- | | William = Emila Norris (sis Sir Wm Norris) Richard b 1560 | | d 1638 | | | : +-----+--------------------- | | | Nicholas = Jane, d/o Sir Roger Bradshaigh Richard (Cath Priest) d.1631 | | +------+-------------- | William = Anne, second daughter of Sir Thomas Haggerston 'the Cavalier' b. 1620
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