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SEFton is a parish and manor, which formerly belonged to the Molyneaux family, who had a seat here, which they possessed from their Norman ancester, William de Moulins, who settled here on the grant made him by Roger de Poictiers. Previous to the latter, this property was held by the Thanes, who were the gentry of the Anglo-Saxons *. The church at Sefton is a large and handsome pile of building, with a nave, two aisles, and a tower with a steeple. It is said that this building was erected in the time of Henry the Eighth, by Anthony Molyneaux, a rector of this place, and who was dislinguished for his preaching, and for many acts of piety +. The chancel is divided from the nave by a screen, and contains sixteen stalls of elegant carving. In this place are deposited the remains of many of the Molyneaux family, and several curious and fine monuments are still remaining to perpetuate the race. Among these are two cross-legged figures in stone, with triangular shields; which, Mr. Pennant says, are expressive of their profession of Knight's Templars. These effigies are drawn in a book in the herald's office, from a fine pedigree sent them by Lord Sefton. Around an altar-tomb, of white marble, is an inscription in memory of Sir Richard Molyneaux, who died in 1439, and Joan his wife. He was Lord of Bradley, Haydike, Warrington, Newton, Burton-wode, and Newton-in-the-dale; disting lished himself in the battle of Agincourt, and received the honour of knighthood from Henry the Fifth. Effigies, in brass, are preserved of Sir William Molyneaux, and his two wives: he sigialized himself in three actions against the Scots, in the reign of Henry the Eighth, and in that of Flodden took two banners. The Lancashire archers contributed much to the victory: and Henry, under his own seal, sent Sir William a letter of thanks for his share of it. He died in 1548. The figures of Sir William Molyneaux (son of the last mentioned) with his two wives and thirteen children, are also expressed in brass plates. On a flat stone
*See Pennant’s “Tour from Downing to Alston-Moor,” 4to. 1801.
t See Lodge's Irish Peerage.
stone is preserved the memory of Caryl Lord Molyneaux, an eminent, but unsuccessful royalist: his family raised a regiment of foot and another of horse in support of Charles the First; for which he was subjected to heavy penalties during the usurpation; but after the restoration was advanced to high honors. In the broken painted glass of the windows are some inscriptions, recording the respective makers: among them are, one to Molyneaux, dated 1542; another to Margaret Bulcley, daughter to Sir Richard Molyneaux, dated 1543; and a third to an Ireland of Lydiate, dated 1540.
Is a populous market and manufacturing town, which formerly belonged to the Canons of Burscough Priory, in the vicinity; and by a grant from Edward the First, to that religious house, was invested with the privilege of a market and fair. This grant was renewed and confirmed by Edward the Second. Leland's account of this place is very concise, as he says, there is “a parish church in the town, no river by it, but mosses on each side.” The town now contains four principal streets, which intersect each other nearly at right angles: and the spinning of cotton for the Manchester manufactories, and thread for sail cloth, constitute the chief employ of the inhabitants. The patronage of the church, and the property of the manor, now belong to the Earl of Derby. A remarkable feature is given to the church, by a tower and steeple, being detached *. Withinside is a burial vault of the Derby family, who, previous to the dissolution of the monasteries, were interred at Burscough priory. Edward the Third Earl of
Derby, Derby", by will dated 1572, directed that a chapel, with a cemetery, should be built at Ormskirk; and that his body should be interred there, and a monument erected to his memory “according to his honor and vocation.” At a subsequent period some of the monuments of the Stanley family that had been raised at Burscough priory, were brought here. In the year 1719, the vicarage of Ormskirk was one of the sixty-three small livings augmented by Queen Anne's bounty. The church, which stands at the N. W. end of the town, on an eminence, contains, among other monuments, “two figures of Stanlies; short hair, hands closed, heralds mantles and arms. Two ladies in close bodied gowns, one with an Earl's coronet. These probably were the first Earl of Derby and his two wives; the lady with the coronet his second wife, the Countess of Richmond; for the first, who was sister to the famous Richard Earl of Warwick, died before he was created Earl. The Earl, in his will, mentions “personages” which he had caused to be made for his father, mother, grandfather, and grandmother, at Burscough. Probably all, except the above, were destroyed at the dissolution t.” In the year 1801, this town had a population of 2554 inhabitants. The parish includes several other townships and hamlets; and at about two miles north are some small remains of BURscough PRIoRY, which was founded in the time of Richard the First, by Robert Fitzhenry, who was then lord of Lathom. This Robert endowed it with considerable property, emoluments, and alms; and according to the weak superstition of the age, thought thereby to obtain pardon and rest for the souls of Henry the Second, John Earl of Moreton, himself, his wife, and those of his ancestors; at the same time wishing the kingdom of Heaven to all persons who would increase the gifts, and “giving to the Devil, and his angels, all who should impiously infringe on his bequests”.-At the time of the dissolution, this house maintained a prior and five canons of the Augustine Order, with forty servants; and was endowed, according to Tanner, with an annual income of 1291. 1s. 10d. Of this once extensive priory, only a small fragment of unshaped ruins remains. Contiguous to Burscough is
* This odd circumstance has never been satisfactorily accounted for; though it is traditionally reported, that it originated with two capricious sisters, who were desirous of raising some sacred memorial; and though they agreed to build a tower and steeple, yet they could not agree about uniting and connecting their works: but at length determined to erect both, detached from each other.
* The funeral of this nobleman, who died at Lathom House, October 24, 1574, and was buried on the 4th of the following December, was peculiarly magnificent, and conducted with great pomp and parade. A particular account of it is preserved in Collins's Peerage, extracted from the MSS. of John Anstis, Esq. Garter King at Arms. Among other things it states, that “the chapel, and house, with the two courts, should be hanged with black cloth, and garnished escutcheons of his arms.” A hearse was erected at Ormskirk, “ of five principals, thirty feet of height, twelve feet of length, and nine feet of breadth, double railed, and garnished with black cloth, velvet, fringe of silk, taffaty lined with buckram; also gold and silver ornaments; helm, crest, and escutcheons.” This stately hearse was erected in the nave of the church, where the body was conducted by a grand procession; and in which it was deposited for some time, during the performance of several formal ceremonies, and afterwards interred in the chapel.
* Pennant's Tour from Downton to Alston Moor, p. 53.
LATHoM-Hous E, the seat of Edw ARD WILBRAHAM BooTLE, Esq. M. P. This place is particularly distinguished, as the ancient residence and property of Robert de Fitzhenry, or Lathom #; several of the Stanley family; and lastly, the Bootles. During the calamitous civil wars in Charles the First's time, Lathom, like Wardour Castle, in Wiltshires, acquired particular renown in consequence of the gallant and heroic resistance that it manifested under the command of Charlotte, Countess of Derby, who was besieged here by Colonels Egerton, Rigby, Ashton, and Holcroft,
* Dugdale's Monasticon, Vol. II. p. 304.
f He was one of the Barons whose names are recorded on a curious manuscript roll, relating to the memorable siege of Calais, in the twenty-first year of the reign of Edward the Third. On this occasion he had under him one baron, eight esquires, one knight, and twenty-three archers on horseback-For some account of this siege, &c. see Vol. I. of the present work, under the article of Windsor-Castle.
# See Beauties of Wiltshire, vol. I.
Holcroft, from the 28th of February, 1644, to the 27th of May following, when the commander withdrew his forces to Bolton. The Earl was in the Isle of Man during this time. In this attack, it is stated that the Parliament-army lost above 2000 men, and yet marched nearly the same number away. “The heroic, and most undaunted Lady Governess was often without the gates, and sometimes near the trenches of the enemy, encouraging her brave soldiers with her presence; and as she constantly began all her undertakings with prayers in her chapel, so she closed them with thanksgiving; and truly, it was hard to say whether she was more eminent for courage, prudence, or steady resolution; or justice,
*.” A description of the house, as it then
piety, and religion”.
* History of the house of Stanley, 8vo. ed. p. 239.
* History of the house of Stanley, p. 234, 454, &c.