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endowed in the kingdom: and the incumbent is always Lord of the Manor. Within the town is a chapel of the establishment, also three dissenting meetings, and a Roman Catholic place of worship. A Town-hall was built in 1721, at the joint expense of the Earl of Barrymore and Sir Roger Bradshaigh, the then representatives of the borough. A Free-school was erected, and liberally endowed, about the beginning of the last century, by voluntary contribution; and upwards of thirty years ago, the same liberality established a Blue-coat-school for thirty boys. A commodious Workhouse has been also built at the town's expense, where the necessitous, and superannuated poor are comfortably accommodated; industry, in the more able, is furnished with the means; and the meritorious are encouraged and rewarded. A Dispensary, built of stone, has been lately erected, and is supported by the benevolence of the town and its vicinity, where the poor, when properly recommended, have the benefit of the advice of an able and experienced physician, and are provided with medicines gratis. The best surgical assistance is administered in cases requiring it. At the north end of the town, is a monumental pillar, erected in 1679, by Alexander Rigby, Esq. then Sheriff of this county, to commemorate the valour and loyalty of Sir Thomas Tyldesley, who was slain on this spot, in 1651, in the action wherein the Earl of Derby was defeated by Lilburne. In a field near Scholes Bridge, contiguous to this town, a spring was lately discovered, which has obtained the name of WiganSpa, or New Harrowgate, as the water resembles that of Harrowgate, in Yorkshire. It is highly impregnated with sulphur, and has been successfully recommended in various cutaneous disorders. An appropriate building has been erected for the use of the invalids resorting to this spring, with conveniences for drinking the water, and for using it either as a cold or hot bath. The population of Wigan, which has been progressively increasing, was, in the year 1801, according to the return to parliament, 10,989, the number of houses 2236, The
The parish of Wigan contains twelve townships, in three of which, besides that in the town, are chapels of the establishment, subordinate to the mother church. Three of these townships, HAIGH, Asp1NALL, and HINDLEY, are worthy notice, for the production of the finest cannel or candle coal, which is found in large blocks, as black as jet, and will bear a beautiful polish. The beds are about three feet in thickness; the veins dip one yard in twenty, and are at considerable depths, with a black bass above and below. This coal is not only an agreeable species of fuel, but is capable of being manufactured into various ornamental utensils. On an eminence in this township, about a mile north of Wigan, is
HAIGH-HALL, the ancient seat of the Bradshaighs, a family of high antiquity and distinction, but now extinct; from whom it descended, by marriage, to the Earl of Balcarras, who now resides here. This venerable mansion was built at different periods; the chapel is supposed to be coeval with the reign of Edward II. In the front are the arms of Stanley and Bradshaigh. The house contains some excellent portraits and other pictures. Adjoining to the hall is a summer-house, entirely built of cannel coal, under the direction of the last Lady Bradshaigh, whose virtues and accomplishments are displayed in Mr. Richardson's Correspondence, of which her letters are a distinguishing ornament. Sir Roger, her husband's father, represented Wigan during twelve parliaments,
from 1695 till his death, February 25, 1747. In the vicinity of Wigan originally stood the ancient family mansion of the Marklands. The estate was appropriately called the MEADows, and on the site of the old dwelling has recently been erected a substantial farm-house. From a deed of the 29th of Henry VIII. the Meadows appears to have been an hereditary estate of the Markland family, who were seated in this county as early as the reign of Edward the First. Of this family was JEREMIAH MARKLAND, A. M. at the time of his death, senior fellow of Peter-House, Cambridge. He was one of the most distinguished classical
LAN CASHIRE. 239
classical scholars of the eighteenth century, and more particularly
* Nearly allied to Abraham Markland, D. D. Prebendary of Winchester, and master of St. Cross, author of two volumes of sermons, and a variety of poetical works.
* A portrait of Mr. M. engraven at the expense of his grateful pupil, Wm. Strode, Esq. is inserted in the Rev. Owen Mauning's History of the County of Surrey, Vol. I. 1.
end. In this village was formerly a priory of Benedictines, of which nothing now remains but the church and a few walls.
About a mile and a half from Wigan was a well, which, when a candle was put to it, burned like brandy, and the flame continued a whole day, with heat sufficient to boil eggs, or even meat, though the water in the well remained cold". This well, or at least its peculiar property, is now lost.
About three miles north of Wigan is the village of BLAckRode, at which place Mr. Whitaker fixes the Roman station, named Coccium, but in support of this he acknowledges, there is only “ the faint retrospect of traditionary history, and the vague generalities of a winter's tale; and in this state of uncertainty the attention of the antiquarian is naturally engaged at first by the name of Castle-Croft, at the south eastern extremity of the village, by the tradition of a castle upon it, and the evident remains of ditches round it.” Mr. Percival and Mr. Watson both agree with Mr. Whitaker in placing Coccium at this place+; but these opinions are satisfactorily refuted by the historian of Whalley, who contends #hat this ancient station was at Ribchester.
Is a market town, situated near the eastern extremity of WestDerby Hundred, at the distance of six miles from Wigan, and five from Newton. It is a vicarage, having the chapelries of Astley and Chowbent under its ecclesiastical jurisdiction. In the 28th of Henry VI. this vicarage was appropriated by Wm. Lovell to the canons of Erdbury, who engaged that two monks of their convent should daily perform mass, for the peace of the soul of the said Lovell. The dairies round this town are famous for their cheese, - which which is mild and rich. A branch of the Bridgewater Canal passes by this town, and has facilitated the commerce of the place. Both the town and neighbouring hamlets abound with manufactories; and coals are abundant on the spot. According to the official report of the population, the township of West-Leigh, as called in that work, contained 277 houses, and 1429 inhabitants; and Astleigh township, a place contiguous, contained 275 houses, and 1545 persons. North of Leigh is
* Phil. Trans, No. 26 and 245.
t See Archaeologia, Vol. I. p. 65.
ATHERTON HALL, a seat formerly belonging to a family of that name, is now the property of the Honorable T. Powys. The house, which was built by Gibbs, is large, and has a spacious cubical entrance hall. A plan of this mansion is given in the Vetruvius Britannicus. In the year 1680 a shower of Seeds occurred at this place, and excited much curiosity and controversy. By some persons it was said to be wheat from heaven; but the more rational part of society acknowledged it to be a quantity of Ivy-berries, which were supposed to have been forced into the higher regions of the air by a whirlwind, and fell at this spot. ,
The chapelry of Chow BENT has greatly increased in houses and population within the last twenty years. Though its chapel has been properly consecrated by the Bishop of Sodar and Man, yet it is exempted from the jurisdiction of the diocese of Chester, and its patronage is vested in the proprietor of Atherton Hall. In the rebellion of 1715, Mr. Wood, a dissenting minister here, led his flock to join the royal standard; and on this occasion the important pass over the Ribble at Walton was committed to his protection. For his bravery, &c. he then obtained the title of Captain Wood. East of Leigh is
TYLDESLEY, a hamlet that has grown up with the thriving manufactures of this county. A family named Tyldesley was seated here as early as the reign of Henry III.; but the estate was afterwards alienated. About the middle of the sixteenth century, it again returned to Thurston Tyldesley, of Wardley, who then married Anne, the sole heiress of the Lelands of Morleves
Vol. IX. Q - Hall.